Review: Sony A7 – The Best Travel Camera Ever?

Back in December, we decided to take the plunge.. No, no – not that “plunge” (we’re already married). We switched camera brands and this post is here to tell you why we left Canon DSLR and Canon S-series.

PLANTING THE SEED

The previous summer, we had planned an incredible month long of traveling, checking off the list places like Iceland, Russia, Denmark, Portugal and so many more. Equipped with iPhones 6s and 7s+, we figured we could capture every angle necessary and still be happy with the quality. Obviously, portability was important to us and we did not want to lug around a full fledged camera bag with a huge 80D with lenses, a GoPro (please make a better codec, sensor and lens) with all its accessories and a point and shoot Canon S110. Full disclosure, these cameras are great and we’ve had some amazing shoots with them but we were looking for something else – something different.

A FULL SUMMER OF TRAVELING WITH ONLY AN IPHONE

With no equipment at all (sure we brought our DJI Spark drone but it’s tiny), we started our first leg of our trip with a week stop in Iceland.

Our friends and us in Iceland – shot by Michelle “the selfie queen” on an iPhone 7s+

iPhone 7s+ Picture shot by Michelle in Iceland

The photos from our Iceland leg were breathtaking if only because of the scenery, that’s where we first wished we had a Gorilla Pod, a proper full frame camera with over 20MP and some better dynamic range but I’m getting ahead of myself. (update: we own one now and LOVE it!)

We then flew to Copenhagen to spend a few days in this beautiful city and hop on our Norwegian Cruise. We visited incredible countries during our 9 day cruise and the following pictures were all shot using the iPhone 7s+.

Our friends enjoying the sunset while cruising – Shot taken on iPhone 6s by Seb

Glaciers in Iceland

Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, Hungary (the only picture taken with the iPhone 6s)

Budapest, Hungary (taking advantage of the iPhone’s Portrait Mode *faking depth of field)

Budapest, Hungary (river wine cruise at night)

Budapest, Hungary

Stockholm, Sweden

Helsinki, Finland

St. Petersburg, Russia

The pictures came out great for the most part but still lacked that natural buttery bokeh we like, any type of optical zoom and the versatility of interchangeable lenses. Also, the amount of post editing on iPhone pictures is definitely limited as we like to work with Lightroom and would prefer shooting as “flat” as possible. There had to be a better way to combine portability and quality.

THE HISTORY

The camera brand we decided to switch to for everyday shoots and professional shoots is: SONY. Having started in video productions in the early 1990’s with Sony cameras such as the VX-1000, the DSR-PD150 and even later in the mid 2000’s with the HVR-Z1, Sony was the go to camera brand for amateurs and professionals alike. I was no different. I shot countless weddings, tv shows, commercials and even short films with these models, all with great results.

I switched to Canon when Vincent Laforet came out with his Reverie short film showcasing the amazing new ability that Canon DSLR’s had: Shooting cinematic video. For 10 years, Canon dominated the DSLR market. No question about it.

Lately, Sony has made some incredible products to rival some of the best Canon models and even in some cases, blow them out of the water. Often, Sony’s price point is much better than Canon or Nikon for a comparable model.

Browsing through all of the various models Sony has to offer, we really had to stop and think about what kind of camera would be useful for high quality photography AND videography. The magic combo! The ultimate choice would have been the A7R Mark III, but with a price tag of close to $6,000 we chose the mirrorless Sony A7 Mark II to dip our toes back into the Sony name.

It’s a full frame sensor resulting in the highest of picture quality and the BIGGEST advantage for us, its’ low light ability. We’re often shooting at night in restaurants or bars and can’t always use light kits. It’s a great run & gun camera. The video mode of this camera shoots 24, 30 or 60 fps at 1080, my only complaint is that it doesn’t have 120fps at 1080 or even 4K at 24fps.

For the past 3 months, we’ve been shooting for various clients around our island of St. Maarten and achieving great results with promo, food, drinks and model photography/videography. All shots below were taken with the basic FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.

WHERE IT REALLY COUNTS

This A7 series Sony camera really shines when shooting video. Here are a few examples of promo videos we’ve produced in the past couple of months with that same FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 lens. Disclaimer: the shot in the thumbnail below is the only one shot with the iPhone 7s+, the rest is the Sony camera.

The camera is powerful enough for any shoot and compact enough for any traveling we will be doing in the future. Our next purchase will be a fast lens to get even better low light like the 85mm or 50mm at f/1.8. We’re also looking into a point and shoot Sony camera like the DSC-RX100 IV with 4K video and 960fps (buttery smooth slow-motion) – in your pocket!!

If you liked this post, make sure to follow us on instagram where you can see all of our crazy pics and posts (we’re rarely serious) and don’t forget to share it with other camera/travel enthusiasts.

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