I am a proud user of the Sony A7Rii camera and ran hundreds of still production in the last two years with that beast. While the pictures are mostly great, and the camera is sure one of the best pieces of hardware on the market, I was always a bit puzzled of why Sony made using the camera so incredibly awkward. But then: I was only shooting still and with a lot of fiddling and customizing I got the system going in a way I could live with.
Recently I started doing some video productions in between still shoots to enrich the content. As this is not the main focus of what I do, I thought I could get away with using just one camera for both purposes, video and still. The idea is to be able to switch from still to video rapidly without having to re-set stuff big time along the way. But that does not work. Because Sony messed everything up. And if you think I am to harsh in my verdict here: try it yourself. I give only my two main reasons, but you will stumble across many more if you look into the matter. So here are only the deal breakers:
- There is no easy switch from the M-mode I use for shooting stills to movie-mode. Of course, I could just stay in M for still and video, but as video needs very different settings (with an emphasis on the correct shutter speed) it would be good to have a “video setting” on movie mode and a “still setting” on M. But if you set either mode the data will be transferred to the other mode as well. If you re-set there and switch back: the same game. Where in the world is the point of having a separate mode then? I could just use the existing modes. Fact is: you must completely build your setting anew every time you switch modes, completely killing your flow, and the flow of everybody else on the set.
- Sony cameras have a rather useful super 35 mode. Basically, it is a crop mode which gives a clear video signal (no pixel binning) and in a way makes your prime a vario lens as your 28 would look like a 40 equivalent in that mode. That makes a lot of sense as you do not want to change lenses much when doing videos as you are very likely to use a gimbal which you would have to re-balance every time you switch, again killing your flow. But Sony made it impossible to assign switching from FF mode to super 35 to a custom key. It just does not work. You can assign the most exotic functions to any key you like, just not this very basic and useful one. And this is not peculiar to the A7rii, many users have been complaining about this with other Sony cams as well, but nobody seems to listen. So you have to go to the menu to item 138 in menu c) third dash subcategory micro beta to change.
You might think that this all this is not a big deal. And maybe it is not if you shoot landscapes and cute little ducklings. But in real life people shoots – and think not only stock, think also weddings and such – these things are bad. There is no way to switch between taking photos and videos in a quick way. Sony is killing the agility in my workflow as a photographer. Without any reason. It is simply that whoever designed the user interface did never take a camera and actually tried things.
I have this camera, it has all the capabilities, and I cannot unlock them because of: reasons.
Sony, please listen.