Sony A7sii - Is it Still a Good Camera in 2020?

Gear Focus Friday
Tips & Advice

Gear Focus

Jan 3, 2020

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Take a look at why I feel the Sony A7sii is possibly still a good camera for some users in 2020. New camera gear comes out almost every day it seems. The camera market has changed so much in the last year alone, that it's become almost nauseating to follow along. With the introduction of camera that shoot 61MP images, or 6K RAW video footage, why would I still recommend a camera that came out 5 years ago? (With a 12MP sensor no less.) Here's my Sony A7sii review.

The Specs

First, let's talk a little bit about some of the Sony A7sii specs. The A7sii sports a 12.2MP full-frame 35mm mirrorless sensor with an ISO range of 50-409600. The camera also has a shutter speed range of 30 seconds to 1/8000 sec with a maximum continuous shutter of 5 frames per second. In terms of video, this camera shoots 4K UHD up to 30fps internally and up to 120fps in 1080p.

So let's take a look at the good

Let's talk about video since that's where this camera really shines. I've used this camera day in and day out for the last 3 years. It has been my workhorse camera since the day I bought it. I still use it to this day to shoot real estate or concert footage. I just know this camera like the back of my hand. Shooting with the Sony A7sii in low-light blows my mind Every time I shoot in a situation with low-light, such as a wedding with terrible lighting, this camera blows my mind. I've been able to crank my ISO to 10,000 and still have usable footage. I shot a documentary in Michigan back in 2018, where my friends and I drove around the Upper Peninsula for two weeks and camped. There were times when the only lighting source I had was the dashboard of a truck, and I was still able to get footage I could use. Granted, it was grainy as all hell, but the camera was picking up things I couldn't even see with my eyes.

Is 4K enough in 2020?

Another great thing about the Sony A7sii is that it is a full-frame 4K mirrorless camera. Having full-frame 4K footage (looking at you Canon) is almost mandatory these days. Even though most of my videos get rendered out in 1080p, they get shot in 4K. This allows the videos to still maintain a ton of detail, even if it's only being viewed at 1080p. As the technology advances, I think 4K will definitely still be relevant in the coming years. (Much like 1080 is still relevant today.) The Sony A7sii mirrorless camera Being mirrorless, these cameras are incredibly light. I know a lot of videographers who hate the size of the smaller mirrorless cameras, but when you're holding a camera for 8-10 hours a day, you want something as light as possible. The form factor feels nice and the grip fits well in the hand. If you prefer a larger camera, like a Canon 1Dx, you can purchase a dual battery grip to give you a little more heft and size.

And now for the bad points for the Sony A7sii...

Battery life is a huge sticking point nowadays, especially when you have cameras like the Sony A7iii that can last all day on a single battery. The battery life on the Sony A7sii is, well, kinda trash. Now, to be fair, this camera did come out 5 years ago, and tech wasn't where it is today. However, one of the first things I did for this camera was buy a ton more batteries. I don't leave my house with anything less than 5 batteries, and I bring a charger with me. I can maybe get 30 minutes of straight recording on a single battery. Like I mentioned before, there are options now that help to slow this down, one of which is a dual battery grip. There are other power options like the BlindSpot PowerJunkie, but I have not had any experience with those in the Sony realm.

Are the menus too much?

Another issue I had starting out with the Sony A7sii was the menu system. Holy hell is it vast. It is overwhelming when you first start out with it. Its the equivalent to switching to an Android from an iPhone. It took me about a month to truly learn the system and get comfortable with it. There's a little bit of a give-and-take here though. With the vast menu system, you can truly customize it and make it do everything you want it to do. The custom buttons are a great feature that more camera companies developed after this camera came out. The little things can really add up Like I mentioned before, I really like the form factor of this camera. But, like, what is with thisStrange record button placement record button placement?! What engineer designed this camera and thought that was a good spot to but that button?! It is physically impossible to press that button with only one hand on the camera. That means it takes more time and energy to start the process of recording. I know its a minor thing, but when the main focus of this camera is video, the little things like that add up. The good news is Sony learned the error of their ways when they released the A7iii. The last strike against the A7sii should be taken with a grain of salt. This camera was designed with a focus on video and was not really designed to take stills. That's made pretty evident by the 12.2MP sensor this camera has. Sure, this camera takes some amazing looking stills, if you know what you're doing, but don't expect to be able to crop in and reframe a shot in post.

So should you pick up the Sony A7sii in 2020?

All in all, this camera is amazing. Like I said, I still use it to this day. It has its quirks and design flaws, but what camera doesn't? When this camera came out, it was groundbreaking. It was the first mirrorless camera that Sony put out that actually gained some traction. The Alpha line is not a new line and has been around for quite some time but the A7sii was the first camera that really put Sony on the map, and then with the release of the A7iii, Sony took the mirrorless camera game by storm. When the camera released, it came in at a price point of $3,000 USD. Now, in 2019, you can buy the camera for $2,300 USD brand new or around $1,200 USD used. What do you think? Is the Sony A7sii still worth buying or even having in 2020? Let us know your thoughts in the comments down below. Remember, it doesn't matter what camera you have as long as you continue to FEED YOUR PASSION. Looking to sell your used Sony A7sii? List now for free with Gear Focus and pay nothing until your gear sells!

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