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A7RII vs SL for stills/video hybrid?


R3D-D0T
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Hello,

 

I normally use medium format/studio quality lenses for stills but lately I have been traveling a lot and would like a hybrid solution that can do great full frame shots and 4k video.

 

I rounded down my options to either the A7RII or the SL (the latter because I have some M lenses).

 

My concerns are

- Weight

- Any limitations (is 24 mp too little?)

- EVF

- Reliability

- Video quality output

 

Thanks!

Edited by R3D-D0T
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Had the A7rII, and previously the A7s for a while.. sold them all to get back to Leica.

 

Rented the SL for 2 weeks recently, used exclusively with M lenses.

Was very pleased with it.. probably pull the trigger later.

 

Weight - I wish the SL was lighter, but it does balance better than the Sonys once you put any quality lens on it. 

Initial Sony FF lenses were smallish/lightish.. but all the quality lenses are now near SL size/weight.

Result is a nose-heavy combination.

 

EVF - SL was superior.

Video quality - SL will give you 10bit if you do have an external recorder. 

Also, SL is APS-C crop only for video.  A7rII will give you non-crop FF 4K, though with worse quality than APS-C mode.. so similar.

 

24MP vs 42MP, its all big enough to print about as big as most consumers need.  I have 12x18 prints of 10MP..

A7rII is the best sensor on the market for sure, but not for M lenses.  You will get hard to predict corner softness that is unattractive.. varying by lens.

SL sensor is maybe 2/3 of a stop behind on noise (until you get to really high ISO like 20k), and maybe 1 stop behind on DR at each ISO level.

 

Reliability - SL feels better put together.  You also get 2 SD card slots, true weather sealing, and a much better battery. Sony I found burned about 1% per minute of battery...  First camera I owned 3 batteries for. 

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Simply give both cameras a hands-on. You will very soon know which you prefer.

 

Some reasons for the SL:

M lenses work great with SL, R lenses have the perfect size

SL has "better" colors than alphas (can be adjusted, but ... )

Sounds strange, but: The a7R II is simply too small for me.

The menus of the Sonys are BS. (user interface)

EVF of the SL is currently the best available: Quicker (response), HighRes, wonderful for macro, easy to use with glasses

 

24 MP is plenty for me (I also have an 5Ds with 50MP, so it is not that I have nothing "better"). It depends on your printing, if it is enough for you. I think it is enough for A2, probably often also for A1.

 

The video quality is definitely excellent. But I do not know about the handling - the SL is made for professional use (PL adapter), but I have no such lenses. With ordinary lenses it is sometimes awkward to use. A dedicated video camera is better (but costs about as much as the SL).

Edited by steppenw0lf
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Prior to taking the Leica plunge in 2016, I used A7-series cameras for stills and video. Today I continue to use the Sonys, but only for video (A7RII, Super 35 mode, PIX-E5 external recorder, PL mount adapter and PL lenses) and for those stills assignments where light levels are absurdly low. I shoot most events with M 240s; the SL for studio/location portraits or publication work requiring multiple electronic flash units. Would still like to do more video work wth the SL, but two things hold me back: 1) I really need a cage for my video work, and the LockCircle product is a little pricey, 2) the SL produces much more noise at ISO 1600 than the A7RII. 

 

I really like using the Leicas, but sometimes a different job requires a different tool.

 

Tom

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I have owned Sony A7r and now own SL.   The menus alone on the Sony caused me to sell it and that was well before the SL was out.   The SL is more intuitive -- at least after you have used it for a while, and quieter and M lenses work extremely well on it.   More specifically, manual focus is much easier (at least to me) with the SL than the Sony.   The difference in mp has turned out to be inconsequential.  This is not to denigrate the Sony sensor, which is very good.  For me, the performance with my Leica M  glass on the SL outweighed any theoretical advantages of more mp.  Oh, and the EVF in the SL is far superior too.  The SL is more expensive but if you want an EVF and are using M lenses, it is the way to go.

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i Also moved from A7Rii to SL and i never look back. its just do everything that i want to and it doesn't do everything i never need to. it seems the SL will last longer than every camera i've ever own. the only concern is money. i bought SL with 24-90mm. and i really love it. the only concern to me currently is i wanted 90-280mm. and its very very expensive. oh and one more thing, the noise on SL is much higher that A7RII, but the noise is much more pleasing in my eyes than sony. 

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I currently own both cameras.  I almost never use the Sony A7Rii anymore. The Sony is significantly lighter and smaller than the SL and has a terrific sensor...end of advantages.  I have medium-large hands and the A7Rii tends to cramp my hands.  The buttons are tiny and I sometimes miss them with my heavy fingers.  Frankly, I find the user interface to be awful.  The menu system has no logic to it and could easily be cut in half without loss of useful items.  Finally, the Sony battery is terrible.  On any average day, I never go out without at least three batteries.

 

Both cameras are capable of capturing pictures that are breathtaking.  I print my own up to 17 inches and have never felt that the SL lacked anything to the 42 megs of the Sony except for the possibility of major cropping.  I am at the point where the only real issue for me is weight.  My full SL bag needs its own Sherpa.  However, I so love the Leica approach to camera design that I am close to selling my Sony system to get a Leica Q for just a "walk about" camera.

 

Mark

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Hi! New to this forum as poster, but long time reader...

 

I had purchased my first Leica, an M7 about 20 years ago. It had spent 10 years in a drawer, was brought back to life some years ago. Since then, the Leica virus got me. M - today digital -  is my first choice of camera when I go out... until the SL came into play... Now I change between my SL, a battered and trusted M8 and my beloved M-P240.

A year ago, I had rented an A7RII and the SL for a weekend. After that, I had bought the Sony - for being smaller and cheaper - and used it intensely with the Zeiss 55/1.8 and my M-lenses, later with the G-master zoom. After that year, I sold all my Sony gear to buy the SL. Never looked back!

 

Reasons:

 

A7RII:

 

- Yes: its smaller and lighter, but feels like a piece of plastic next to my M.

- Sony ergonomics: not good for my hands. Hard to reach all those little buttons, especially movie button is hard to reach.

- Menus are NOT GOOD!

- Advantage of being small and light vanished completely when I started using G-Master 24-70 zoom: camera way too small to balance giant lens!

- Sensor is world class. I miss a little of that low-ISO magic of the Sony in my SL.

- Weather sealing is not good. Spend a day at Verdun in torrential rain and missed a full weather proof camera....

- That amazing thirst for battery life, I always had to carry 3 batteries for a day of shooting. And charging these batteries is painfully slow. Major let-down!

- Only one SD-card slot.

- I like the look of the Sony, but never liked using/handling it.

- I did not like the results when using M-lenses.

 

SL

 

- It is large and heavy, but feels rock-solid

- balances well with zoom-lens

- SL zoom lens is of the same size as my g-master lens!

- fully weather sealed

- ergonomics suit my needs much better

- menus are much better in my view

- much better battery life

- two card slots

- better results with my m-lenses

- handling the camera is a dream

- speed of the camera is better, AF and response. Sony often felt sluggish in comparison

- I love the SL's shutter sound, much nicer than whining Sony  (but miss possibility to totally switch shutter to electronics as in Sony for concert shots)

- SL zoom lens is a dream

- SL sensor is also world class

- the view finder is way better! Manual focusing is a joy, it was not with the AR7II.

- weight is not an issue with M-lenses. Even the zoom is carried easily with my broad Artisan and Artist cross carry strap.

 

The MP-count is not very important for me. 42MP were nice, but I do large prints from my SL as well as from my M8. No problems. Anyway, it's only a hobby for me.

 

The main difference between Leica SL and Sony Alpha is probably that I am looking forward to using my SL every time, whereas the Sony used to be the necessary companion for my M for certain applications and was never "loved" the same way.

 

It is still an emotional hobby!

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