Sony’s Boldness – The Alpha A7R mark II


POST DISCLAIMER: I have been a Canon user for quite a while. First purchased the HV30 and later jumped into the DSLR wagon with the T2i.

Me, and everyone else, have been anxiously anticipating the release of Sony’s flagship camera: The Sony Alpha A7R mark II. Sony packed such a massive and impressive list of features in a very small body that it’s not hard to understand how big the expectations were at the time of its release.

Count me in! I confess! I was eagerly awaiting on the sidelines, to either confirm or deny the craze around it, and see how this little camera could change me, and so many other professional and amateurs shooters, with all this new enhancements and possibilities.

We have all been playing with the rules the big two have provided us with. They have told us what equipment to shoot with and what to carry on our photography bags. They have done that for quite sometime now, and somehow still maintained the torch well and alive. Others have tried and failed to shadow the Pantheon with a multitude of products (Pentax, Minolta, Fuji, Leica and lately Samsung) but yet, only the big two are the ones still taken seriously by most professional photographers.

I was a Minolta user when the Maxxum 5D came out. I still have it locked inside a dark shelve, next to my first camera – a Pentax P30. Not long after my purchase on a sunny afternoon, Sony came along and purchased Minolta’s technology in a snap, and with it, all Minolta’s patents and glass technology. Sony did produce some cameras from the professional Minolta line later on, but nothing compared to this, nothing exciting to write home about.

Today Sony is innovating, everyone can see that. They just release a tiny camera with great low light capabilities, 42 megapixels, sensor stabilization and 4K recording. That’s a good thing, not only for them, but for the industry and the photography and video world as a whole.
After years of missing the mark – Memory Stick…. ? Anyone? – They’re finally pushing the envelope while listening to the community (or at least that is what they claim).

Still, they’re serious caveats with the release of this camera. Its impossibility to record reliable 4K on either S35 or Full Frame makes it a dangerous gamble for professionals and amateurs alike (this is for you low budget Indy Filmmaker – Indiana Jones that is).  At $3,200 this beauty might avert many from a serious commitment and perhaps massive divorce.
Although I admire what Sony is doing with the A7R mark II, the elefant in the room is very big and large: the lack of innovation by the big two.

Canon had conquered the DRLS markets for amateurs and professionals. They first introduced video recording on their high-end line of photography cameras which instantly triggered a revolution of content creation (Lets all take a moment to also thank the folks at YouTube and Vimeo). Yet, Canon has not produced an exciting new camera for the prosumer market for quite some time. Many Canon avid owners claim that Canon had such a big chunk of the market, that innovation has all but dissipated from their DNA.

They have a point. The megapixel war is one thing, but crippling your technology for sake of marketing and product penetration is another (The HV30 is a perfect example of this: an amazing sensor crippled inside to provide a cheaper prosumer camera). Regardless of their vision, it’s also true that each company, one as large as  Sony and Canon set-out a  technology route, a blueprint for the decade and future. They create their products based on their R&D efforts and market research. Sometimes this just is incompatible with what people really want (Kodak anyone ?) other times it matches and overlaps perfectly well with the market expectations. It’s definitely a very thin line and only the risk takers, the innovators, are the ones pushing the possibilities for everyone in the photography and video consumers market.

Lets just hope the big two get their act together. Canon’s latest ridicule announcement of a 250 Megapixel camera is just a weak gimmick to recapture the attention for their lack of exciting products.

Although Sony’s new flagship is flawed, I applaud their boldness and direction.
Good show!