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JJ_Rao

Sony a6500 vs a7ii for UW Photography

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Hey all,

I am in a bit of a bind; I've seen some discussion on this for land based stuff, but not for underwater.

 

Right now, Sony is offering a pretty good cashback for its mirrorless cameras and I would like to upgrade to something better than my old canon point and shoot. The two contenders are the a6500 and a7ii. I can currently get an a7ii for about a 200 bucks cheaper than the a6500, including accounting for my intended setup (16-50mm kit / 28-70mm and a 50mm f/2.8 macro + equivalent accessories)

 

Quirks of the respective housings aside, i would like your thoughts on the following:

 

1. Autofocus ability while underwater - how does the a6500's 'best in class' focusing system translate underwater, in comparison to the a7ii

 

2. Ease of use (i note the a7ii has more control dials), but how does this translate underwater (assuming all dials are accessible on a housing)

 

3. Image quality - i won't be doing much video, and i've heard the a6500's sensor is nearly as good as the full frame sensor on the a7ii.

 

4. Better value long term - noting that the a7ii has a relatively outdated sensor, lenses are more expensive, but it still full frame, vs the top of the line APS-C sensor in the a6500

 

Cheers!

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I'll dive in and offer my opinion. I use an A7RII underwater. I have used both a6500 and a7II above water, but not below, and also used the lenses you mention.

 

Here are my thoughts:

 

1. I think the a6500 is generally superior, much faster and more accurate autofocus. I think image quality is similar between the two, but a larger sensor can provide the benefit of gathering more light and using lower ISO. But, again, my use is above water.

 

2. I am not sure of which 50 2.8 macro you are talking about. The one for full frame is horribly slow w/autofocus and essentially useless underwater for my needs. So I went to the 90 2.8 and am happy. I have not used the Tuit 50 2.8 for apsc, but I hear it is better at autofocus than the full frame 50 2.8. In any case, I would avoid the full frame 50 2.8 for UW use.

 

3. The extra dials on the full frame are nice, but not always necessary. Its plenty easy to change settings on the a6500.

 

Given my experience UW, I would suggest the a6500. I would prefer the smaller housing and less expensive lenses, which might allow you to get some extra gear for UW shooting.

 

The a6500 also might get cheaper once they release its replacement, which is rumored to be coming out in the next year or less. Plus, you could find a used a6500 for sale and save money that way.

 

Hope this helps, just one person's opinion though.

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I've used A7II underwater for the last few years and would take it anytime over the a6500. Yes, autofocus is not nearly as good as on the a6500 (my main land camera is A9, so I know the difference), but good enough underwater, especially since I use it for wide angle and at f/8 or smaller. I can't think of a single situation where I wished for faster/better autofocus.

 

But where I think the A7II is a lot better than A6500 as far as underwater photography goes is ambient light photography. The larger sensor lets you shoot at higher ISO and the RAW images allow for more color manipulation in post production.

 

If I were more interested in macro photography and using lights - I would choose the a6500 instead. Smaller camera and housing, and all the advantages of the full frame sensor would become irrelevant.

Edited by mt-m

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If you are shooting in Australian temperate waters then the 90mm macro on an APS-C may prove challenging - just too long a focal length(135mm equivalent) and too much water and floaties between you and your subject. I use an EM-1 MkII and have the 60mm macro, (120mm equivalent) but bought the 30mm as well to use around Sydney - the 60mm is great for small nudis etc. but if you come across a weedie sea dragon or red indian fish or any larger critters or even want to shoot some fish you end up having to back off too far. The other issue with too much water between you and the subject is that the lens can lock onto floaties instead of the subject, particularly if you go from shooting really close to a larger more distant subject. That's with my Olympus, the Sony may or may not be different.

 

The lenses I use most around Sydney are the 30mm macro and 12-40mm (24-70 equivalent), generally macro inside the bays etc and 12-40mm at open ocean sites.

 

This post indicates the A6400 has the best AF: http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=64118&hl=a6400#entry406719

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