Travel Gear Sony a7II Camera Review cover image

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.

Sony a7 and Sony a7II Camera Review - Iceland

Norway – 1/250 sec, ISO 640, F16, Sony A7II

 Sony A7II Camera

Sony A7II my Camera of Choice!

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.

Sony a7 and Sony a7II Camera Review - Iceland waterfall

.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
Wireless: Wifi/NFC
Weight: 19.6 oz / 21.13 g

Sony a7 and Sony a7II Camera Review - Italy Gelato Cone

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.

Sony a7 and Sony a7II Camera Review - Italian dancer

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. 

Best Travel Gear Sony a7II Image Quality bergen norway waterfront

1/320 sec, ISO 640, F7.1 70mm, Sony A7II

Best Travel Gear Sony a7II Image Quality example

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.

LCD Screen of Sony A7 Best Travel Gear Sony a7II Image Quality

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..

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