Just over a year ago, this young man joined our extended family.

My brother-in-law and sister-in-law asked if I’d be interested in shooting his one-year photos. Of course, I couldn’t say no, both because it gave me a chance to really put the Sony a7II to the test and because I got to capture the photogenic young man.

This specific set of photos stood out. I’ve never been able to capture such dramatic light, and I adore how the dark shadows on the right side of his face create depth for the light on the left side of his face.

As for the camera, I gathered a few extra impressions while shooting:

  • The a7II’s continuous autofocus was incredible compared to any other camera I’ve tried. I’ve read articles and watched videos discussing how poor Sony’s a7 cameras are at continuous focus, but this was a substantial improvement over anything I’ve ever used.
  • The a7II’s buffer held up extremely well. For the above photos, I shot with continuous-AF with a high-speed shutter. The a7II never hiccuped when writing the 25MB RAW photos to the SD card. I was a little worried about this, but my worries were misplaced.
  • Battery life got me through the shoot. But this was a short shoot. A very short shoot. Only about two hours. By the end of the shoot, I was down to about 35% battery. There’s no way this battery would hold up for a heavier day of shooting or back-to-back days when travelling if you can’t find a power outlet.
  • The 55mm f/1.8 Sonnar worked like a charm and I finally understand why it’s rated so highly. That being said, I would have done anything for an 85mm lens.
  • In my experience so far, the a7II adjusts ISO more aggressively than the prior Olympus camera bodies I’ve become accustomed to. As such, I set ISO at 800 (indoors, no big rays of sunlight to be found) and shot throughout the day. For the most part, I’m happy with the a7II’s noise control. However, when showing these photos to one of my co-hosts, he pointed out the noise on Koi’s face. I’ll have to be more careful when dialling up ISO.

Overall, this was a superbly fun day. Any day where you get to pull out your camera is a good day, but there was something specifically special about this one.