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A7r II First Impressions and Sample Images

Just got my A7r II and it is a pretty awesome camera. I don't feel like the dynamic range is that different from my D800, the detail is better though. The 5-axis stabilization is awesome, it really helps in low light. I feel like I get a lot of latitude from the files. The autofocus seems about on par with the NX1 I was shooting with and seems to do a good job in most situations. I don't know if it is on par with my D800 without doing a side by side comparison. I am fully converted to having an EVF instead of an optical viewfinder for most things.

Here are a few sample images:

Sony A7r II Straight Out of Camera

A7RII Edited File

Bountiful Temple



My favorite camera this holiday season

I get asked by a lot of people for camera recommendations. With Christmas just around the corner I thought I would tell you what my favorite camera is for Christmas. The camera I have been telling people about more than anything else has to be the Sony a6000. 



Why this camera over a typical DSLR?
For starters it's only $600 for the body and kit lens. It also is packed with an amazing feature set. These are my favorite features:

  • 11 fps continuous shooting with autofocus
  • 1080 60p HD video
  • Focus peaking to help with manual focus
  • 24 megapixel
  • Great autofocus system
  • Big sensor
  • Small and lightweight

    If you are looking for a camera less than $1000 I would definitely pick this one, once you get over $1500 I have other cameras I would recommend.

    What's your favorite camera this year?



Recommended Camera Bodies

These are my favorite camera bodies and are what I recommend when people ask for advice.

Best Beginner DSLR: Nikon D3200 $599

Nikon D3200

The Nikon D3200 has an amazing sensor in it for the price, just look at its sensor rating on

. It also has many features that will help the beginner photographer learn to take better pictures. With 24 megapixels you will be able to make small crops to your images without losing detail.

Best Prosumer Body: Nikon D7000 $896

Nikon D7000

Part of the reason I love this camera is because of the great deals you can find on it. Click on the link above to see current pricing on Amazon. This camera has been around for two years but it is still fantastic. The D7000 is an ideal camera for someone that is looking to upgrade from their first DSLR. It offers more advanced features like more autofocus points, higher continuous shooting rates, weather sealing and a magnesium body. Another great thing about going to a prosumer/semiprofessional level body is that almost all of your settings have a button, instead of having to go through all kinds of menus to change settings.

Best Portrait and Landscape Body: Nikon D800 $2796

Nikon D800

The D800 has a whopping 36 megapixels which makes it great for getting great detail out of portraits and landscapes. It also has a full frame image sensor that makes it much better for low light images. Landscape photographers will love the dynamic range of the camera. The downside of the D800 is that it does not have a super fast continuous shooting rate, only 4 fps.

Best Sports and Action Body: Canon 1DX $6799

Canon 1DX

The Canon 1DX will shoot an astounding 12 frames per second. It also has one of the most sophisticated auto focus systems on the market, that make it great for tracking fast moving subjects. The 1DX is also great in low light. Keep in mind the 1DX does not have a built in flash, but if you are using a professional body like that you will want an external flash anyway.

Best Travel Camera: Sony NEX 7 $1098

Sony NEX 7

The Sony NEX series of camera is great for those that want great picture quality without the bulk of a full size DLSR. This makes it great for taking on vacation. It has the same size sensor as the D3200 and also has 24 megapixels. The downside is that it does not have very many external buttons and lacks an optical viewfinder (they had to shrink it down somehow).

I will continue to update this page as new camera models become available that would change my recommendations.



Gifts for Photographers for Under $30

Still looking for some gifts for the photographers in your life that fill your world with ridiculous amounts of pictures?  Here is a list of my favorite gifts for photographers that are under $30.

Remote Shutter Release $20-$25

A remote shutter release is pretty essential for landscape photography. It allows you to keep the camera absolutely still when you have it on a tripod. If you just press the shutter button on your camera it will induce some movement of the camera. You can also use the self timer to keep your camera still on the tripod but I hate waiting 2-10 seconds for every exposure to start. Make sure you get the right remote for your camera model. Canon and Nikon have a few different models.

Nikon Remote Shutter Release $24.95

5 in 1 Reflector $20

This is one of the cheapest ways to drastically improve the lighting of your portraits. The 5 in 1 setup gives you a white, silver, gold, translucent, and black reflector. Typically I stick with the white or silver in most situations but the translucent part is great for diffusing harsh light. Usually when I am using this outdoors I will position the sun to backlight the subject and then use the reflector to light the subject from the front. For a great tutorial on how to use a reflector check out this


 where the Fstoppers crew does an entire photo shoot with an iphone and reflectors.

NEEWER 43" 5 in 1 Reflector $19.85

Joby Gorillapod $22

Gorillapods are great when you don't want to bring a full size tripod. They don't take up a lot of space and are very lightweight. You have probably tried precariously balancing your camera on some object to get a group shot. With the Gorillapod you don't have to do the balancing act; just put your camera on the Gorillapod and you can wrap it around objects or set it on a flat surface like a normal tripod. Be sure to get the right size Gorillapod for the weight of your camera.

Joby Gorillapod $22.00

16gb Memory Card $18

It's always good to have extra memory cards in case you fill up your other cards or one of them has an error. With how cheap memory cards are now, there is no excuse for not having a backup card. I recommend SanDisk or Lexar cards for their fast data transfer. Currently I use the SanDisk Extreme card and it has very reliable with very fast data transfer.

16gb SanDisk Extreme SDHC Card $18.41

All prices are as listed on Amazon on 12/11/2012 and are subject to change.



The Ideal 2nd Lens

So you have that fancy new dslr and the kit lens it came with. You have probably taken a lot of pictures with it and are now ready to get a second lens. The best value in both Canon and Nikon systems is to get a 50mm prime lens. A prime lens has one focal length (it doesn't zoom). These lenses are also a great choice because they have a very wide aperture. This wide aperture makes them ideal for low light situations. It will also have the ability to give the look of a sharp subject with blurry background sometimes called bokeh by photographers. In addition to being great optically, working with a prime lens will help you become a better photographer.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

 $108 on Amazon