An up front and honest user account of the Sony a7R II camera: A love hate relationship from IMVideo…
Sigma Art 50mm 1.4, Zeiss Distagon 85mm 1.4, Tokina 11-16, Metabones Speedbooster used at all times on APS-C/Super 35 mode.
I'm having a love/hate relationship with this camera. I was ready to return it because
A) It overheats in 4k after 15 minutes of constant shooting. That really sucks the big one.
B) I'm having an issue where it will just stop recording sometimes after 30 seconds but then record for 2 minutes just fine…maybe my cards are slow..but they fit the U3 specs
C) I was worried about the low light compared to the A7s as it seemed quite worse compared to the claims Sony had all over their marketing campaigns.
D) The battery life with 5 axis stabilization on is really bad. 45 minutes of video at best.
Aside from that, here's what I found after doing this test:
1) It actually is pretty damn good in low light for video…pictures not so much. To get the most out of the camera sensitivity wise, you need to shoot in APS-C mode/ Super 35 which seems to render detail better in high ISOs. Don't know why but it does. I was able to get up to around 5000ISO before it started dropping off. I should mention that S-Log also helps this as all the picture profiles were much nosier in comparison.
2) 4k is stunning. Really. Only issue is due to the compression you will need a monster machine if you want to edit the native footage…otherwise you may want to use the dual recording option (which shoots a low res mp4 for offline editing) and sync them later. I'm editing on a 12 core new Mac Pro trash can and it still has a few instances of chugging. Aside from that…the footage looks as good as the A7s/Shogun combo which is such a pleasure when trying to be portable. The biggest issue with the A7s/Shogun combo was power consumption and data storage. You get around an hour in 250 gigs on the Shogun where the internal 100mbps 4k in the A7rII yields around 1 hour and 20 minutes for 64 gigs. Awesome.
3) Jello cam…really good in Super 35 mode and not as bad full frame as the A7s.
4) The body itself is solid as a rock and way nicer in the hands than the A7s. Also every button is customizable inducing video recording.
5) Due to the high bitrate of this camera, colour correction was a breeze. I was able to push this codec considerably in the last few minutes of the video as you can see. The low/mids/high all separate nicely in Film Convert and I was able to bump up the exposure without adding much noise.
Overall, I love this camera for what it can do but I'm really peeved at this recording stopping issue. I hope Sony addresses that since that makes me nervous to bring it to a pro setting which for many would be a deal breaker. However, I plan on using the Shogun with this camera until that is resolved.