Need Sony camera advice - does my plan make sense?

BrushyHillGuide

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I've been struggling on the decision which Sony A7 camera to buy as I leave camcorders behind and want to start doing a lot more still photography. I used to do a lot of (video) camera work for a company that produces around 8 shows for the Outdoor Channel but I mostly filmed with a pretty large shoulder carried camera that used Mini DV tape. Since they went to 100% digital, when I do film for them now I use a camcorder that they provide. They're not big on using a DSLR or mirrorless for anything but stills (i.e. hero shots and time lapse). I'm doing this ME, though! So, I decided (pretty much, lol) to go with a Sony Alpha 7R IV and I'm going to pick up a used Sony A7S II later for video when I need a lot of low-light capability. While I have a lot more experience with video, I really have a desire to get into still photography - I want to do a series on life at our ranch's 5 camp houses this coming fall. Not just trophy photos but the people who come to hunt. Since we're a day-lease hunting operation, we have a complete change-out of hunters every few days or a week for 4 months. This will give me SO much subject matter. From my reading, the newer A7R IV has an improved autofocus in video that I think will work pretty well for most of what I'd be videoing while hunting here in South Texas. I realize it won't be as good as a A7S III but I'm thinking it'll be plenty good enough; and if I add a used A7S II to my toolbox before long, I ought to have the ability to take some pretty great video between the 2 cameras. My understanding is that the A7S II is still the 'king of the hill' when it comes to low light video performance and they can be purchased used for a pretty fair price - ~$1400. Am I making sense here? For a well-rounded kit, wouldn't these 2 cameras give me just about all I'd need to produce some pretty amazing HD and 4k video? Again, this will be primarily for my own YouTube channel but I may offer some of it to the production company.

For lenses, I'm going to be pretty limited on my budget after buying the A7R IV so I'm thinking I'll start with a Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD with an E-mount. It's only (yeah, "ONLY!" lol) $799. It seems like a great option for an affordable landscape, vlogging and interview type of lens. My other option would be to start with the Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 - I REALLY like the idea of the in-lens Steady Short stabilization (added to the sensor stabilization) and it seems like a fantastic zoom range for filming bow hunts, especially from a blind. It's an additional $300 (new) and I'm not sure it would really work as a vlogging lens. However, that price includes a $300 rebate to get it down to the $1100 price; so maybe this IS the lens to start with since those savings (and this price) will go away soon and return to almost $1500! What do you experts think - which of these 2 lenses would YOU recommend I start with? This is a HUGE purchase for me. Heck, I passed up on a terrific thermal scope to save the funds to do this - and that was VERY hard for me to pass up as a die-hard predator hunter, lol! I know there are "better" lenses out there but these two keep me from completely blowing past my budget. Originally I had set a $4k budget - wishful thinking, lol!

What do y'all think? Am I making the most of my budget starting with this; and is my plan to add the A7S II to my camera bag (along with a couple other lenses) this fall setting me on a path to having a really good system fo both still and video content creation?

Assuming I do go through with the A7R IV, which has dual UHS-II compatible SD card slots... which size memory cards would go with? 64GB, 128GB, 256GB? I am a little concerned with how large the file sizes can be on still images with that camera; and how fast that can/will eat up storage. On the other hand, I'll probably do a fair amount of photography at somewhat smaller formats because I'm not sure I'll really need, or want, to be shooting at the camera's full 61MP capacity all the time. I definitely don't want to go with anything bigger than 256GB because I don't want to have that much content in a single card - IF it gets lost or damaged I don't want to lose an enormous amount of content. That's one thing I learned filming for those shows - we NEVER filled up any MiniDV tapes and the "kill" shot tape was immediately packed up and stashed in the deepest, darkest, most secure spot in my pack. We could work around ANY lost footage but without the kill shot, the entire hunt (and all the footage) was useless. Don't ask me how I learned that lesson, LOL!

Sorry for the crazy long post but I'm trying to hash this out and the more info I give you, the better advice I'll get back. At least that's what I thought! Thanks, in advance, to anyone that reads all this and takes the time to reply! 🙏
 
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BrushyHillGuide

BrushyHillGuide

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@Camera Land is your resource and will steer you on the right path

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I’ve been talking with them. Joel and another guy. Still, I was hoping to get some opinions from other folks on RS that have experience with the A7 series. Like [mention]Jordan Budd [/mention] since she’s the one that started me down the A7 path a couple of years ago. Something to be said for personal individual experience in the field, ya know?

Thanks for the reply!


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Jimss

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Mar 6, 2015
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I have a Nikon p900 that is a lot of fun! It has a super zoom 85x lens that is actually more powerful than most spotting scopes! Much better quality than phone scopes. I like to take bird and other wildlife pics. I use it a lot for scouting pics/video. It takes great video as well. Not sure if this is what you are looking for. You get a lot more fire your money with a super zoom camera. A camera body with lenses is big$.

I use the biggest ss card availAble so I don’t deal with so many cards. Also buy an extra battery. I would bring your laptop along and back up your photos and video on a large portable hard drive after each day of shooting.
 

Camera Land

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I'm out today, back Monday. Feel free to give me a call to bounce around ideas. What you wrote makes sense. Both lenses are great options. Tamron better in low light, Sony more reach, Optical quality very similar

Joel
516-217-1000
 
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BrushyHillGuide

BrushyHillGuide

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I'm out today, back Monday. Feel free to give me a call to bounce around ideas. What you wrote makes sense. Both lenses are great options. Tamron better in low light, Sony more reach, Optical quality very similar

Joel
516-217-1000

Thanks Joel! Unless someone talks me into a different lens setup, I’ll call you Monday to get an order placed.

I don’t think the Tamron 17-28mm will have enough reach for filming a shot on a whitetail out to ~40yds. Most shots are 20-25yds. I think the Sony WILL have plenty of reach and will do well as a sort of all-around, starter lens to get me up and shooting.


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tim tarras

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Antigo, WI
Also take a look at the Tamron 28-200mm F/2.8-5.6 Di III RXD. From the reviews I have read it is pretty impressive. I'm seriously considering it for photos and videoing my son's games. It is $649 at Cameraland right now.
 
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BrushyHillGuide

BrushyHillGuide

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Also take a look at the Tamron 28-200mm F/2.8-5.6 Di III RXD. From the reviews I have read it is pretty impressive. I'm seriously considering it for photos and videoing my son's games. It is $649 at Cameraland right now.

Yall are gonna wipe my bank account! Lol. Thanks, brother!


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BrushyHillGuide

BrushyHillGuide

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Sabinal, TX
Also take a look at the Tamron 28-200mm F/2.8-5.6 Di III RXD. From the reviews I have read it is pretty impressive. I'm seriously considering it for photos and videoing my son's games. It is $649 at Cameraland right now.

The only thing I wonder about that lens is whether I’d be tied to a tripod at longer focal lengths because it doesn’t have stabilization in the lens? I do like ‘running and gunning’ so in-lens stabilization is really attractive to me. Still, it’s incredibly cheap right now!


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BrushyHillGuide

BrushyHillGuide

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There is stabilization in the body so the lens does not need it

I realize that it’s certainly possible to get nice photos and video using just the sensor stabilization, after talking to a few pros that are using the RIV and watching SO many reviews it became pretty clear that having BOTH types of stabilization running produced noticeably better results; at least compared to just the in-camera stabilization. If I weren’t likely to submit a lot of my work for use on one of the TV shows I work with, I wouldn’t worry as much. They can get pretty picky and the quality of the product along with the narrative effects what they pay me. So, I’m trying to hedge my bet whenever I can and make it easier for me. The guy I usually film said he’d pitch in to help me and that’s increasing my budget some; so why not use both when I can?


Check 16:15 and forward for some great comparisons of various stabilizations:


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sk-co

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Aug 30, 2021
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Colorado
I have an A7rII and a Sony 35mm F2.8(no stabilization) While the in body sensor stabilization certainly helps, it leaves something to be desired. I didn't buy that lens for video but it certainly will influence future lens choices as I continue down the Sony road and acquire more lenses for video.
 

couesarizona

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Apr 10, 2016
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southeast arizona
Look into the A7III for video and photo. Also there is a awesome website that sells used equipment. KEH.com. One thing about the A74 are the file size. Do you have the computer to possess all that information?
 

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