First Impressions

Sony Alpha 7RII (a7RII)

My affinity for Sony's Alpha line started a while back. When decision time came to upgrade from my Canon T4i the Panasonic DMC-GH4 had everything I needed at the time. More specifically, 4K internal recording. The Sony A7S crossed my mind, but came in a distant second when I made this decision. It's low light was very impressive, but it was missing that internal 4K feature that I wanted.

Speed up time about seven or so month Sony began announcing Mark II versions of the Alpha line and the RII really caught me by surprise. For one the price, coming in at $3200 at launch; it was a hefty cost to be able to carry, but totally worth it for all the options you were getting in my opinion. I waited to see what the SII would hold for users, unfortunately it wasn't anything I was super interested in, so the RII was for me. The SII just didn't have all the things I wanted and the big kicker was the full frame shooting mode only. This meant I couldn't use my favorite lens of all time (the Sigma 18-35mm Art lens). It was full frame or nothing with the a7SII.

Don't get me wrong I will miss the slow motion features and incredible low-light capabilities of the a7SII, but I can live with the low-light of the a7RII and if I really want the slow motion features I could just save up for an Atomos Ninja Assassin.

As much as I tried to down play on social media, secretly I was saving up money to make the jump. I could simply not ignore the hardware features these cameras where offering.

Now I've made the leap this holiday season and I could not be happier. The low-light capabilities of the Sony a7RII are surprisingly great. At any rate check out my first impressions of the RII. I'm extremely satisfied with my purchase and would do it over again in a heartbeat.

I was lucky enough to score this camera 'Used - Like New' on Amazon. If you're interested in pricing and availability, I'll link it below. 

$3,198.00

RØDE VideoMicro Review and Test

The RØDE VideoMicro is probably the best bang for your buck when it comes to improving the audio of your camera. It's definitely a huge improvement over the onboard microphone of most, if not all, cameras and camcorders. The microphone itself is super portable, does not require any external power, and comes in at around $70.

Some of the technical specifications include:

  • Acoustic Principle: Pressure Gradient
  • Active Electronics: JFET impedance converter
  • Capsule: 0.50"
  • Polar Pattern: Cardioid 
  • Address Type: End
  • Frequency Range: 100Hz - 20kHz
  • Maximum SPL: 140dB SPL (@ 1kHz, 1% THD into 1KΩ load)
  • Sensitivity: -33.0dB re 1 Volt/Pascal (22.00mV @ 94 dB SPL) +/- 2 dB @ 1kHz
  • Equivalent Noise Level (A-weighted): 20dB-A
  • Connection: 3.5mm headphone jack

The VideoMicro is one of my favorite pieces of gear and RØDE is really giving you a lot for your money. For $70 you get a ton of stuff, check out how awesome this thing really is:

Interested in hearing how this performs with some of the included accessories attached and how it works in somewhat of a "real-life" setting? Take a look at this video:

Picture Samples from the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV

I've had the RX100 IV by Sony for a little over three weeks and I'm come to really enjoy shooting with it. And to my surprise, I find myself shooting more pictures than ever before. It has opened up the photography door for me because of it's compact size and awesome shooting modes. The Auto mode on this thing is really fantastic and produces some really beautiful images. Here are some example JPG images from the 1-inch CMOS, 20.1 Megapixel sensor that have all been shot in Auto, completely untouched:

For nearly $1000 the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV really impresses when it comes to image quality in almost any situation.

And to close this post up, here a couple more.

CyberPower 1350VA UPS - AVR Series

A UPS (not the folks in the brown clothes) is a vital element to a workstation. Uninterruptible power supplies are probably the most ignored element in most setups. UPSs are something that could save you the heartache of having to restart a very important project, or worse... Save you from having to replace thousands of dollars of equipment. CyberPower makes a very affordable UPS - the 1350VA is one of CyberPower's most affordable and best selling UPSs. Coming in at around $140 USD, it's pretty much a no brainer to include one of these into your setup.

Food for thought:

  1. UPS will protect all of your important equipment during less than desirable electrical situations.
  2. UPS will save you from projects becoming corrupted in the event of a power failure.
  3. UPS is affordable and is easily implemented into any setup.

Finally, don't get caught having to rework a project you spent hours of time on. Modern productivity applications have failsafes built in, but they don't always work - so don't risk it! Avoid having to replace thousands of dollars of equipment due to electrical damage, UPSs provide next level surge protection. It's much easier to replace a $140 UPS then it is a $4500 Mac Pro. Wouldn't you agree?