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Sony A7rII and Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 ready for sport photography?

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This is a Guest Post from IzioPhotography:

Sony A7rII and Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 ready for sport photography?

You can already find a lot of reviews on the internet about this topic. Unfortunately they have used the [shoplink 54958]70-200mm f4 lens[/shoplink]. Certainly a very good lens but not when you have to shoot sports like Hockey. Depending on the light this lens is just to slow. And since i have received my [shoplink 54957]Sony 70-200mm f2.8[/shoplink], why not giving it a try. As one of my assignment I’m acting as team-photographer for the premier league Hockey Club EV Zug in Switzerland. A perfect playground for the test. During the last 3 home games of the EVZ I have used the combination of a [shoplink 55034]Sony A7rII[/shoplink] and the [shoplink 54957]Sony 70-200mm f2.8[/shoplink] as my main “working-horse”. I have integrated them in my mobile pictures-creating work-flow:

  1. shooting pictures with the Sony,
  2. transferring them via WLan to an IPad pro
  3. quick post-processing them on the IPad
  4. uploading them to the social-media and news services

This work-flow is a bit different to a “classic” one. Were you would use a Notebook and perhaps a tool like Photomechanic to add description to the pictures. But since I create the pictures for the team and their social-media, websites and news-feed I have different needs. Like being light, mobile and fast. I do not have to write that much into the files. My first concern was how the autofocus of the Sony A7rII would perform and would the lens start hunting for the focus? Over or under exposed pictures can be recovered. But out of focus? They are lost. Therefore forget the Wide focus setting. It might look cool, to watch all those green boxes hunting for an objective to focus on. But first they are way to slow, second they will not always lock on the objective you want and third did I mention they are slow? My tests indicated that the Centre focus setting has the fasted and most reliable focus. The lens had never an issue with “hunting for focus”. Smoothly working lens, sharp and fast. The pictures that you find in this posts are all taken with this lens. The setting of the camera:

  • 1/800 shutter speed
  • f2.8 aperture
  • ISO 2000

Post process was done in Lightroom: straighten up, cropping, correcting white balance and contrast. In a nutshell, what did i like:

  • The lens is sharp, even at full open aperture
  • The lens does not hunt for the focus. Works smoothly
  • Autofocus is reliable when you set it up correct (Centre)
  • WLAN is working smoothly. Better than my Nikon WT-5

What did I not like?

  • I miss a second slot for a memory card
  • Battery performance is weak. The battery-grip is a must. You need those two batteries for the full length of a Hockey game
  • 5 frames per second is a bit slow. A few more would be great
  • More reliable autofocus settings to play with.

Let’s come back to the initial question. Is the A7rII ready for sport photography? Yes, but not for all sports. Hockey is fine, as you see with my images. For soccer we are missing longer lenses like a 400mm or 600mm. Some action sports would profit with more frames per seconds and a autofocus that you can tweak more. In my case I’m happy with the Sony. Picture quality is the same with my other Nikon cameras (D4s/D810), the WLAN work much more reliable compared to the Nikon WT-5 module.

I hope I could help someone with this short test. I’m not affiliated with Sony or Nikon.

70-200mm f/2.8 FE GM store links: [shopcountry 54957] 70-200mm f/4.0 FE store links: [shopcountry 54958]

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