We’ve been traveling around the world for a year now with a Sony A7 or A7II shooting travel photography and I wanted to share my thoughts with you. Originally we started with a simple Nikon DSLR camera. While it served it’s purpose I didn’t realize what I was missing out of until we upgraded to the Sony A7 or Sony A7II. Compared to our Nikon, the A7II is like a spaceship! I spent the first month trying to figure out all the amazing things the camera could do. While I watched hours of Youtube, it doesn’t take that long for a rookie photographer to feel comfortable with this camera.
As a professional travel blogger, I’m always looking to pack less. Every item in my bag must be useful. While professional photographers cary 3 bags of equipment, I’m limited to only one. This means every lens, camera, and piece of gear are very important to me. Many people ask me what camera I use all the time, so I thought I’d share my thoughts.
Norway – 1/250 sec, ISO 640, F16, Sony A7II
Mirrorless cameras are relatively new to the camera world and Sony is leading the pack with it’s A7 line. Sony offers multiple options for photographers and videographers the most noteworthy ones are…
-A7RII has 42.4 megapixels and is designed for photographers.
-A7SII has 12.2 megapixels, which is better in low light, and is designed for videographers.
-A7II has 24.3 megapixels – which is a great blend for videographers and photographers.
The Sony A7II, A7RII, and Sony A7SII all have 5-axis stabilization technology which helps deliver sharper photos and smoother videos when holding the camera in your hands.
Read More: Travel Packing List: Carry-On Essentials
.6 sec, ISO 100, F22, Sony A7II
Sony A7II Camera Specs
Camera Format: Full Frame
Pixels: 24.2 Megapixels
Max Resolution: 6000 x 4000
Lens Format: Sony E & FE
Memory Card: SD/SDHC/SDXC
Video Recording: 1080 in 60/30/24p
Viewfinder: Electronic (100% coverage)
ISO Sensitivity: 50 – 25,600
Shutter: (30 – 1/8000 seconds)
Burst Rate: 5 FPS
Focus Points: Hybrid Focus with 399 points
Weight: 19.6 oz / 21.13 g
1/200 sec, Iso 100, F6.3, Sony A7II
Sony Camera Lenses
Previously, one of the shortcomings of Sony mirrorless cameras is the selection of lenses. I thought about buying a Sony camera in 2014 but decided to wait because there weren’t many lenses. Finally, there are plenty of lenses available and more are arriving on the market each day. Below are some of my recommended lenses for the Sony A7II.
*I carry around the last two in the list, but I still want to buy the first two.
Video Quality of Sony A7II
The Sony A7II is great for video! The 5-axis stabilization makes it easy to film while on the go. Since I don’t have the ability to cary sliders and multiple tri-pods, most of our video is hand-held. I was skeptical of the advertised “5-axis stabilization” but when tried out the camera I could tell it really made a difference. While the camera doesn’t shoot in 4K, I didn’t feel that would limit us with any video since no users have 4k screens.
Low Light Situations of Sony A7II
The Sony A7II does great in Low Light. While it’s not the best camera on the market in low light situations, I’ve found I can shoot up to ISO 6400 without any issues for web photos. If you’re photos are for printing any size larger than 8×10, the ISO 6400 will have too much noise.
The photo below is of dancer in a small old Italian barn during our trip to Puglia. The low light made it very difficult to capture the dancer without too much blur. Also, since we were only 2 feet away from the dancer, I used my wide angle 14mm lens.
1/250 sec, ISO 6400, F2.8 14mm, Sony A7II
Picture Quality of Sony A7II
The Sony A7 cameras are the worlds smallest full frame cameras. Sony sensors are some of the best on the market and several reputable brands use Sony’s sensors; Nikon and Fuji to name a few. The photo quality of the Sony A7 or A7II rivals any of the large body DSLR cameras. The Raw files are approximately 42MB each so even with the 24.2 MP camera there’s plenty of info in each file. The sharpness and clarity of the images can be seen in the photo below.
This image of Bergen was shot without a tripod. The image is sharp even when zoomed in all the way.
Read More: Electronic Gear for Travelers
1/320 sec, ISO 640, F7.1 70mm, Sony A7II
Zoomed in – Very little blur -no tripod
LCD and View Finder
One of my concerns before I purchasing the Sony A7II I was the LCD view finder. After talking with some professional photographers, one complain was the lag between the subject and the LCD finder. While there is a very slight lag, I haven’t found it to be a problem. I wouldn’t recommend this for any professional sports photographer, but for travel photography there isn’t an issue. The fold out LCD screen is surprisingly helpful and useful. The tilting screen only tilts up and down so it can’t be used as a selfie screen.
Weight of Sony A7II
The great selling points about mirrorless cameras is their compact design and their weight. While this is true for the body, the problem is that the lenses are very heavy. My Carl Zeiss 24-70 F2.8 lens and camera body feels just as heavy as any full size DSLR camera. However, most of the weight is in the F2.8 lens. Therefore, If you don’t need the larger lenses and only use the smaller standard lenses, then the weight would be much less than a full size DSLR.
Why to buy the Sony A7 or A7II
The reason why I love the Sony A7II camera for travel is the overall balance and usefulness of the camera. The fantastic photo quality is tantamount to the cinematic style video. The endless features, light weight, and ease to use is great for photographers or videographers of any level. Most of all, the Sony A7II is one kick-ass camera that I love!
Want to buy the Sony A7II or Sony A7R? Buy them here..
Thanks for all the spec breakdowns those images look insane! I was looking into getting this camera and I think I am going to go for it. Thanks again 🙂
Glad you liked it. The A7II has surpassed my expectations! It’s a great camera for people who want to do both Photo and Video. If you’re looking to do more photo, I recommend the A7RII, whereas; if you want more video, I recommend the A7SII. All these cameras are great! If you have the cash, the A9 looks like an even better option, but it’s $4,500 for only the body.
How you share this type of helpful post? But it is my bad luck that I didn’t get it (The post about the Camera) before I buy my loving camera. I am using Sony a7s ii right now. Anyway, the ice-cream pic defines everything about the camera. I think people should read the article before they buy a camera for traveling. Now, going to share this post on my twitter to see my followers. Thanks and have a good day! 🙂
Glad you enjoyed it! The Sony A7SII is also a great camera. I believe it has better low light capabilities than the Sony A7II. I just upgraded my lens to the sony 24-70 2.8 G-master and I absolutely love it. It’s crazy sharp. I’ll be sure to make a new post about it.
Thanks Scott for the detailed review. The result seems just mind-blowing and I would love to try this Sony A7SII camera.
Great article, I have been using the A6000 for a while not but love the image quality of the Sony A7II.
That is one awesome article you have gifted. I have been using A6300 but I think the picture quality of A7II is far better than that of A6300. Thank for sharing.
i’d love to have & appreciate the A7 II all-metal mount onto my A7, but i can’t imagine that the Mk. II does feature only plastic dials onto the body – and this for that asking price ! Like DPR said, my dials onto the A7 are out of metal, aluminium here. That’s a huge drawback & no-go into this price class.
Very valid point. After 2 years of abuse by me, I never saw an issue from the plastic dials. While aluminum is better, I didn’t have any problems with the plastic ones.