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Gear Reviews

Sony A7II | A Photo Shoot in the Desert at WPPI

By Jay Cassario on March 12th 2015

If you were to ask me a year ago about my thoughts were on mirrorless camera bodies, I would have most likely shrugged my shoulders and told you how I had no real interest in them. Then, as most of you familiar with my work know, I was introduced to the Leica rangefinder system and I quickly realized that the DSLR wasn’t the only means of getting professional quality digital images. I fell in love with shooting a smaller and lighter camera body, so I started to pay more mind to the newer mirrorless systems being released by Fuji, Olympus, and Sony.

Over the past year, I watched as professional wedding photographers that I both knew personally and followed began dabbling more and more in mirrorless, some completely switching over. I held off as long as I could, mainly due to being stubborn, but a couple months ago, I got the chance to try out the Sony A7S with my Leica glass  and I can honestly say that I was impressed. I decided to go with Sony over Fuji and Olympus due to the fullframe sensor that would offer similar image quality that I am used to with my Nikon bodies. Nothing against the Fuji or Olympus, but I chose the one that I felt could give me the best results with my current Leica lenses.

[REWIND: Why I Chose The Leica M9]

While I was impressed by the Sony A7S, the low resolution of 12MP and uncomfortable grip left much to be desired. Image quality was good, but it wasn’t great, and I never really felt comfortable shooting with it. Then the A7II was released with its state of the art image stabilization system and better grip, so I was excited to give it a try. While in Vegas for WPPI, I stopped by the Sony booth and got the chance to test it out a bit. Here is a quick video of my thoughts:

When the opportunity came up for me to head out to the Red Rock Canyon for a model shoot, Sony let me take the A7II along for the ride and really put it to the test. All of the following were shot with the A7II and the Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux ASPH with the Voigtlander Close Focus Adaptor. Going into a shoot with only one body and one lens isn’t anything new, I often do it to push myself creatively, without having to worry about gear choices. The A7II was a joy to shoot, and I can honestly say that I loved everything about it. Focus peaking worked great and didn’t get in my way. I really enjoyed the new larger grip and better button layout. As far as image quality, I’ll let the images speak for themselves.

Sony A7II Sample Images


I ended up purchasing the A7II since coming home from WPPI. I couldn’t have been more happy with how it performed in the desert, and how good the image quality is with my Leica glass. Not only was I impressed, but my good buddy and fellow SLR Lounge writer, Anthony Thurston traded in his Fuji XT-1 kit for a Sony A7II as well when we got back. I’m currently working on an article now comparing the Sony to the Leica M9 and M240 with Leica lenses, so stay tuned, it should be a good one.

Many thanks to B&H Photo who sponsored our coverage of the show.

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Jay Cassario is a fulltime photographer from South Jersey, owner of the multi-photographer wedding and portrait studio Twisted Oaks, and Brand Ambassador for Leica Camera USA.

WEBSITE: Jay Cassario
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Twitter: @JayCassario

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Emerson Bailey

    Love this photo set do you have any tips on the Brenizer method?

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  2. Peter Gordon

    Thanks for a fine article. My M9 is super for standard situations, but I agree that once the light fades, time for another body. I just received a A7ii and wonder if you could share your set up for multiple Leica lenses. Also, have you compared the 50 cron and 55 Zeiss? Thanks

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  3. Arin Chassine

    Jay – beautiful shots! Any tips on getting a circular flare like that (from the 6th picture)?

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    • J. Cassario

      That flare is unique to the lens I shot these with Arin, one of the biggest reasons I love this lens. It’s the Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux ASPH.

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  4. Tim Buerck

    Nice shots! You should try out the Carl Zeiss Loxia lenses. They are sweet.

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  5. Francisco Hernandez

    I spy a Brenizer?

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  6. Walid Isar

    Is there any chance of comparison review with a Nikon DSLR, e.g D610?

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  7. Greig Reid

    These photos are incredible and the processing is wonderful. Will need a video from Pye or yourself on how to get this look from the LR preset system – for both the colour and b&w.

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    • J. Cassario

      Greig, if your interested in learning a little about my editing shoot me an email.

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  8. Gurmit Saini

    Amazing images and love the flare have to try something like this! Just to check are they all natural or did you used some additional lights too?

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    • J. Cassario

      Gurmit, these are all natural light, no additional lights or even reflectors.

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  9. Kishore Sawh

    That Jay Cassario, so hot right now. Jay Cassario.

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  10. Sal Chan

    Awesome shots!

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  11. Keith Starkey

    With the leica lens, the camera’s a rich-man’s hobby or a professional man’s bread and butter. That counts me out!

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    • Anthony Thurston

      I shoot mine with a Canon FD 50mm F/1.2L, a much cheaper lens by comparison, but still great results. Just because Jay uses his fancy Leica toys doesn’t mean that you have to, still a great camera wither way.

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    • J. Cassario

      Keith, that’s one way to look at it, or you can look at it as a cheaper alternative to getting Leica quality images without spending the $5k on a Leica body. The combo of the A7II and Leica lens is right around $4600 if you get the Leica lens used, not much different that a Canon 5D Mark3 and the popular 50L. Actually right around the same price. Plus, Im currently writing my review on the A7II with Sony lenses, and to be honest, the results are just as good. I simply used my Leica lens on this shoot because I had it with me.

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  12. Matthew Saville

    Can we see some 100% crops from that A7 mk2? :-D

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    • J. Cassario

      I plan on showing some in my next article, but for this I mainly just wanted to show off the images I got with the camera. If your interested I could email you a couple 100% crops, just let me know Matt. They are definitely impressive though :)

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  13. Graham Curran

    Are those images all straight out the camera? They look stunning.

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    • J. Cassario

      Graham, these are the fully edited images from the shoot. I am working on a more detailed review of the camera where I will show some RAW images and 100% crops, but these are all edited.

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  14. Konrad Sarnowski

    Damn, those colors are sooo good, man! Great job :)

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  15. JD Land

    Awesome stuff Jay! Great write up and stoked to read the next article!

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  16. Pye

    I love the way those images turned out bro! Fantastic work. I wish I would have made the time for some concept shoots while out there. Every one of your shots is fantastic, and that flare shot, that’s some Jay Cassario approved flare action right there!!!

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