Even five years after Sony launched the A7 II, the camera is still one of the best values out there. It’s no doubt that Sony sold a boatload of these cameras over the holidays. And while the camera holds up amazingly well and is an even better value than Canon’s EOS RP, we need to talk about one of its biggest flaws: weather sealing.
Now I think its important to remember that Sony has learned a lot since the A7 II first started hitting shelves back in 2014. From the beginning, Sony’s cameras were criticized by professionals for, among other things, their lack of adequate weather sealing. And in the years that followed the camera’s launch, I’m told Sony has dramatically improved the weather sealing on their cameras.
I bring this up not to dump on Sony, but to warn photographers looking for a cheap entry into Sony’s full-frame mirrorless system, that the A7 II may not be the best choice if you often find yourself shooting in the wet or trecking across the desert.
How I broke my A7 II
About a month back, I pulled my A7 II out of my camera bag to snag a few quick shots for an upcoming blog post. I discovered that for some reason the function and AEL buttons were triggering the playback menu. Worst of all, it was all my fault.
The damage likely occurred a few days earlier while attempting to clear some debris from the rear control dial using a q-tip and a bit of isopropyl alcohol. My fiancé, Niecie, and I had been hiking along a particularly muddy mountainside and some mud must have worked its way into the control dials.
Why a quick search of the internet revealed that this wasn’t an uncommon issue with the A7 II, few results offered any remedies. However, at least one suggested using isopropyl alcohol to flush the debris from the electrics.
Now before anyone jumps into comments to tell me how much of an idiot I am, isopropyl alcohol is commonly used to clean delicate electronics because of its low flashpoint. This nature of isopropyl alcohol means it evaporates quickly and is unlikely to cause damage if, of course, you give it enough time to dry out first.
However, here was where I made the first of two mistakes. First I was using 70% isopropyl alcohol. For cleaning electronics, you really don’t want anything less than 90% and if you can manage to find something stronger, even better. My second mistake was failing to give the camera adequate time to dry out before reinstalling the batteries. I really should have given the camera a few days in a warm dry place to ensure the electronics were bone dry before reinstalling the batteries.
It was a dumb and easily avoidable mistake.
Why I’m leaving Sony, but you should still consider one.
The experience ultimately cemented my decision to ditch my A7 II for a camera with more robust weather sealing. As someone who spends a lot of time shooting in wet and sandy conditions, good weather sealing, it turns out, is more important than I ever gave it credit for.
However, my decision to ditch Sony was also a bittersweet one. While I never fell in love with the camera, I certainly appreciated its tremendous value and dynamic range. In fact, I detailed the five things I love and hate about the A7 II in an earlier blog post. And even after five years, I still think Sony’s A7 II is worth considering if you’re looking to get into Sony’s mirrorless system.
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What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below:
- What do you think of Sony’s mirrorless cameras
- Have you experienced sticky buttons on your Sony A7?
- How did you fix it?
- What do you think of the weather sealing on Sonys?
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