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Tuesday, 13 June 2017


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I've got the MK1 a7 (bought secondhand) and have used it solely with old manual focus lenses for the last 2 years. The Sony full-frame sensor is superb.

I would have thought the actual landscapists would want the high-res version, the A7RII.

Sony seems to have bobbled the A7SII -- it's lacking the phase-detect AF points, which are key for an action camera which is what it's ISO otherwise points it at. Idiots -- or marketing to somebody other than me. Similarly (and this seems to be lots of people not just me) the A7R seems to be better for video as well, while the older S models were the video specialist.

Can't afford to switch, especially to a high-risk environment.

Wait. Did I miss something? Don't you have three cameras already? The GX8, X-T1 and the iPhone? And didn't you buy the GX8 a month or two ago? I'm not judging, mind you. I have too many cameras myself.

And one of those cameras is the Sony A7 "Classic." I wasn't planning to buy it but Best Buy had an open-box special on the body plus 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 kit zoom for $800. I figured it would be a fun way to play with full-frame digital photography for a fraction of the normal rate.

I have since added the 24-240 superzoom (also purchased as an open-box special because I won't pay list price for the 70-200 or 70-300) and the cheap and cheerful 50mm f/1.8. I also have an $80 Godox TTL flash unit. I may add the new Samyang 35mm f/2.8 autofocusing prime but I'm about finished building the kit.

So how does the A7 work? Just fine, thank you. Even with an older sensor, image quality is quite high and there are all the depth-of-field advantages of using a full-frame rig. Unlike the A7 II, however, there is no option for completely unprocessed raw files. And, by the way, the kit 28-70mm is better than you might think. Good thing, because I'm not springing for over-priced and over-sized Zeiss glass.

And did I mention that virtually all Sony cameras drain their batteries, even if you're not using them and the camera is turned off? It's true. Charge up a battery to 100 percent, put it in the camera and make sure the camera is turned off. Go back three weeks later and the battery will be depleted or nearly so. It's the same thing with my RX10 and RX100 V ($699 open box). This may not be much of an issue for many. But keep it in mind.

So, is the A7 family worth it? For me, given the discounted priced I paid, the answer is yes. But it wouldn't be my only camera besides an iPhone.

Oh, you must buy a "full-frame" sensor camera. After all, otherwise, you will have crummy bokeh, insufficient photons (after all, it's physics), a miserable and insufficient ISO of only 12,500, and a myriad of other faults that clearly crimp your photographic style. At least, that's what the "photographers" on Dpreview will self-righeaously proclaim for weeks on end.

"...for a more practical AWD car in the Winters."

You do switch to winter tires in the winter, right? That's far more important than all-wheel drive -- 99% of the time.

Your car could be more fun in the summers with summer tires. All seasons = no seasons; bad all year round.

The then there's the new Honda Civic Si (Coupe or Sedan), 1.5 l turbocharged, 205 HP @ 5,700 rpm, limited slip diff. The only transmission is a six speed stick. $24,000 +/-.

If you need a hatchback its the Civic type R. 306 HP. Arrrrgh. A race car with a warranty.

Get an A7II and an RX100 of whatever vintage you can afford. Those two do genuinely different things (one sits in your pocket and the other doesn't).

To my eye and purposes the differences among the A7[x] series is largest online and smallest in actual photos taken.

You have been making some "big" landscape photos lately. Do you have the same desire to print them "big" too? If not, why full frame? I guess it gives you the chance to use legacy lenses at their intended focal length (as opposed to their effective focal length on other sensors). You could use a 50mm f/1.4 Super Multicoated Takumar on that Sony with an adapter and focus peaking.

Otherwise, what is the advantage of the full frame camera?

If you're interested I strongly recommend you rent one. I had one and loved it. But note that it will do best with FE lenses that it can talk with.

Re: Sony a7II.
I have around 250 film cameras, covering the whole gamut from folders to press to rangefinder to SLR and TLR.
I use film and have a blast (roll and cut).
That said, I bought a Pentax K-7 when you first reviewed the camera, upgraded to a K-5 with some serious Limited glass, then went off the wall and bought a Sony a7II when they were first introduced 2+ years ago.
I use the Picture Profile modes that Kirk Tuck first drew my attention to and make some high contrast but super-sharp B&W using the manual focus lenses I have, from Canon, Nikon, Leitz and Fuji (yes, I use Fujifilm SLRs).
I'm now almost computer-literate but have NO ISSUES with the menus; I just can remember WHERE the things I want are to be found.
The shutter noise is, from my point of view, another media red herring: compared with the shutter slap of a Voigtlaender Bessamatic film SLR, there is no noise.
For the cognescenti who inhabit these pages, I don't care about bokeh, resolution, I can focus using the focus peaking and I know what the various features such as aperture/shutter priority automation are.
I also don't go above ISO 800, as I don't like the results.

For me, Mr. Average Hobbysit, who still has a darkroom, I don't see the minute faults that your other readers do; I just have a lot of fun.
My advice to you is to open your mind to fresh ideas, rent an a7II and HAVE FUN!

That said, I haven't tried autofocus lenses on my Sony and I gave up colour a while ago.
Therfore, in comparison with me, you may not even get close to the same mileage.

Don't know nothin' 'bout neither camera, but the 6D is probably the best looking FF DSLR ever made- and by that I mean, handsome in a plain, non repulsive kinda way. Right size, and fits the hand well too. End of review.

With all the great choices on the market today, there should be some camera somewhere with the perfect blending of all ingredients. If it exists, it remains elusive for most of us.

My personal solution is a two-camera balancing act: Olympus EM-1 for portability, stealth and speed, and the Sony A7RII for those landscapist moments. It would be wonderful if just one of these could do everything, but it just doesn't happen. The Oly is a bit too low in dynamic range and resolution for serious landscape work, and the Sony becomes a "big" camera once you put a good full-frame lens on it.

Horses for courses, as our friends across the pond say...

After I tried a A7II handheld with a 600mm solid cat lens, I am planning on upgrading from the original A7 but my current project is eating up all my time and money so there is no reason to upgrade before the A7III comes out and the price drops.
Neither seem loud to me. Louder than a view camera, quieter than any SLR. I almost always have it set up to only make sound when the shutter closes unless I am shooting at faster than 2000 of a second.

The real question is how quiet a camera do you need for landscape work? Where you live anything quieter than a shotgun won't be noticed.

It's funny ... on the various discussion fora, you'd get the impression that even though there's an A7 for (just) under $1000, the $1500+ A7II is the "entry level" model and everyone seems to be shooting A7RII's or posting their thoughts on their new A9's. Meanwhile, over in the Nikon camp, the D750 (roughly on par with an A7II in terms of price and IQ) is a perfectly respectable choice.

I looked at the A7II recently, but opted to upgrade from an A6000 to an A6500. The debate centered around the fact that the A6500 costs almost as much as the A7II and both cameras offer the main things I was looking for in an upgrade (IBIS, higher res EVF and a virtual horizon display in the VF). The A7II would have addressed my 4th complaint about the A6000 - no dual control dials. I'd probably have an easier time putting together a satisfactory lineup of lenses for the A7II, but the total system cost would be considerably higher, especially given that I already have a couple of e-mount lenses.

I ended up buying a used A6500 at a good price (relative to other camera out there on the market, the a6500 "feels" like an $1100 camera, not a $1400 camera).

My imagined A7II kit would have consisted of the 16-35/4, the compact (but pricey) 35/1.8, the reasonably compact and reasonably priced 85/1.8 and then maybe, eventually, the 70-300. Instead, my A6500 kit includes the 10-18/4 (also recently purchased, also used), the 28/2 AND 30/1.4 (the 30/1.4 came with the A6500 - now I have to decide between those two) and the 18-200 (a good travel lens - I still use my DSLR for anything requiring a really good tele).

Kirk Tuck is a big fan of the A7II. He's written a few things on it such as - https://visualsciencelab.blogspot.com/2016/08/an-evening-spent-writing-personal.html

As you have lenses sorted, why not the XT2 with more pixels? Better results than the FF Canon and better dof than the Sony. Also, I doubt you would easily better the Fuji glass.

Can't comment on the A7 but I have just purchased a 6D - my first Canon dSLR - and so far I'm very happy.

It's a nice size - very compact for FF and I like its simplicity. It slightly reminds me of my old Olympus E-1 in that regard - not too many bells and whistles and most things you need to adjust are easily done without recourse to menu-diving. I've just taken a load of indoor shots of a play rehearsal on my first serious shoot with it and the results are great. The shutter is nice and quiet too for such occasions. I'm liking the wide range of often quite affordable lenses but the 40mm pancake is probably going to be on it more than anything else.

It seems so far to be one of those cameras that doesn't get in the way of the photography - I get the impression that it'll be a reliable workhorse and at the prices you can find them now, at least on the UK, quite a bargain.

Whatever you choose, I hope it works well for you. I know if I had more to spend, including on a new computer to cope with larger files, the Pentax K-1 would have come into the mix for me but then I'd have wanted the FA Ltds and that's not really going to happen any faster than your new Miata.....

I like my Sony a7II very much. It is not an ideal camera but threre is no such thing. Together with two zooms: 16-35 and 70-200 it is quite complete set for my landscape photography. The shutter noise is not nice indeed, but who cares. What counts for me is enough resolution and dynamic range and tilted screen, nice EVF, customization of almost everything. Not cheap but worth its price.

Regarding what camera to buy, I'm a Canon user, and there is a new 6D mk II coming out very soon. The 24-70 f/4 is is a sleeper lens, very nice.
Having said that I can't imagine you will be any happier with a 6D than you were with the Nikon or Sony FF cameras
You keep saying you want IBIS Sony has it Canon doesn't.
You say you are considering a Canon with IS, well why not buy an IS lens for your Fuji ? You seem to have been happier with the Fuji than any other camera, (except for stabilization), and you have published more pictures from the Fuji than the 2 FF cameras combined.
Maybe you just want to rent the Sony, that's ok too.
Aren't you the guy who observed that a camera you really know and are comfortable with it the one you should use? (really good advice BTW).
And aren't you the guy who just argued that smaller and lighter are better, and smaller sensors are more than sufficient?
Well why not at least rent a stabilized lens or two for the fuji??
....just sayin'.......;-))
The Fuji is your 'main squeeze'
None of this means you shouldn't also rent a Sony or Canon if you want to.

Hmmm....might as well toss the D750 into the evaluation machine...nice discounts currently available:


I'm biased, but I really like this camera.

Good luck!

I just acquired a Sony A7II ... been shooting with an a6300 which I didn't fall in love with - prior to that a NEX-7 which has been my favourite camera to-date. Like you, I was a big fan of the Minolta 7D (I had two of them) and when Sony acquired Minolta I just 'went with the flow.' I was a wee bit worried that Sony would squander and ruin the Minolta heritage and innovative character but - to the contrary - they have been developing wonderful cameras. If my first two weeks with the Sony A7II are any indication I think I have another camera I'm going to love - but - it is early days. Don't worry about the nonsense about shutter noise ... it's fine IMHO although silent shutter would have been a nice option. I will let you know what I think in a couple of months when I have given it a fair trial. Cheers!

I've been invested in Sony e mount now since the Nex-5. First one I really liked was the Nex 7. Rather than brand hop, I've made incremental upgrades, and my current main body is the A7II. I'd say that I have been quite happy with my results and the camera's performance, but I'm now about to pull the trigger on the A7R II, because I'm Jonesing for the 42MP and no AA filter. Both the 28-70mm Sony and the 24-70mm Sony/Zeiss are fine lenses. Let me also state that I'm no SOOC type. I shoot raw (the score) and edit (the performance). I've owned the FE 70-200mm f4 and liked it quite a bit. Upgraded to the 2.8 recently and very happy. The A7 series would also open you up to two lenses that I've thought for a while you'd appreciate: the Sony/Zeiss f2.8 35mm or the Zeiss Loxia f2 35mm.

Post Script to my comment above ... I have never found that the battery shortcomings that many bemoan in the Sony line have been a problem for the several Sony's that I have owned over the last 6 years ... remember when we had to put a new roll of film in after just 36 exposures (maybe most don't remember anymore)? So now I have to put a fresh battery in after 250 to 300 exposures ... "it's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine."

I'm a fan of this plan, too. I really like the A7II with the 16-35 zoom and I'm never not virtually tethered to my iPhone 6s.

Great article; has just the right amount of angst and self-doubt without overdoing it. Overindulgence is so common these days. Immediately as I read your article I flashed on Ralph Waldo Emerson's fine essay, Self Reliance, and his oft quoted line, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines." Perfect - at least, IMHO (YMMV). I avoid those sorts of consistencies as much as I can.

I use my iPhone (6s) for my walk around camera. When it's time to do more "serious" work, I turn to my trusty Canon 5D MkII. I like FF primarily because when I look through the OVF with a 50, or 35, or whatever on the front, I expect a particular angle of view. That's why I chose to put that lens on the camera. It's just what I like because it's what I know. I'm not tempted (much) by the new versions of the 5D because mine gives me great files that I can render into gorgeous 3x4 foot Duratrans, and 8x12 foot projections. In other words, it gives me what I need. And, like an old married couple, we may have our differences, but there is a level of intimacy that cannot be achieved hopping from one relationship to another. I get the excitement factor in that, but, in photography, I want to know what I'm going to get. Plus it eliminates much of the angst.

Best wishes with all that. I'll be reading with great interest!

Just get yourself a Sony RX10ii, or if you want to play with extreme telephotos, the RX10iii (at the expense of bokeh at portrait focal lengths). Enjoy it.

My 'big rig' is a Pentax K-5 with a K10D as backup, and I have a variety of lenses, including some DA* and Limited models, plus some manual-focus Pentax-A lenses, but since buying a mk I Sony RX10 secondhand on eBay for about $600, I haven't really touched the Pentax system, even though I know that in theory it will provide superior image quality. The Sony fits in a Billingham L2 bag with ample space for filters, batteries, etc., and the populated L2 fits in my carry-on backpack for air travel leaving over 50% of the volume free. Images from the RX10 at ISO 3200 in B&W conversion are perfect, with no visible grain (at least in Capture One); what's not to like? Perhaps you should do as I did and buy a secondhand RX10 before springing for a mk II or III at full price?

I utterly failed the two-car plan last year. We bought an Explorer Sport Trac to be the winter machine.. and it spent the winter laid up in garage and shop. The Fiat Pop was a snow wonder despite its low clearance and miserly tire-'chain' space. Took us 5½ hours to get from Portland to Longview but it did fine and without chains.

I've failed the 2-camera plan as well; rather than re-type the story resides at http://granitix.blogspot.com/2017/06/camera-kit-chaos.html

Two quick thoughts...

1) Take your time... Canon rumors says we're two weeks away from a 6D mk2 announcement.

2) Have you handled a Sony A7 with a large zoom attached? I had the chance to mess around with a friend's A7r ii and Sony 24-70 f2.8. I am not a picky person, but too me, that combo felt terrible. The camera body was too small for the lens. It was hard to grip. Also, the camera body felt like a toy compared to Nikon and Canon DSLRs. I wanted to like the Sony but within minutes of getting ahold of it I lost all Sony envy.

Buy one camera and own it.

I greatly admire anyone who can hold themselves to only two cameras. That is true discipline.

By the by, I forgot to mention I ordered, and received, all three volumes of your latest book offer. I have yet to unwrap them. While I can't wait to view the works of Strand and Freidlander, it is also a daunting task for my eyeballs. I will need to pace myself, amongst all my other tasks. But it is a delicious dilemma I must confess.

The phone option will not work for anyone over 45 who needs to put glasses either on or off to see the d*amned screen, which is useless anyway in bright light.

I'm intrigued by the A7 and A7 II with a 24-70/4 zoom. I have a small sensor (Nikon 1 V1) camera converted to infrared and it does not have any lenses that seem to work particularly well in the IR spectrum. Also the sensor is small and the resolution low by today's standards. The EVF is fantastic when shooting IR as is the on-sensor focussing, it's a WYSIWYG setup and I really enjoy working that way in IR. To overcome the Nikon 1 systems shortcomings, a step up to a bigger sensor with more resolution and lenses that work well with IR. I've been researching and found that the Sony 24-70/4 is pretty much fault free for IR use, and I'm sure the larger sensor in the A7 series bodies would be a great step up.
For your landscape use I reckon there'd be good benefit in using an A7R II, the higher pixel count is good when you have a large scene with lots of fine detail. It will be interesting to read your notes on the A7 series if you continue down that path.

I've got two cameras of different sizes and the way I use mine is to equip them so that as far as possible they're alike, just diffeently-aized. They are; a 6D + 24-105 f4 L + 40mm STM; and a 750D (T6i, I think) + Sigma 17-70 f2.8-f4 + 24mm STM; and those lenses are almost equivalent to each other, allowing for the field of view difference between FF and APS-C. I use the 6D when weight isn't an issue (loal trips) and the 750D on trips, especially anything involving airplanes. And I suppose the iPhone is a third camera, but more casual - I don't think I'd ever mount it on a tripod, although i have seen videos showing cases where that's done.

One more thing. I have in the last few months had a few images (landscapes) professionally printed at 30 x 20, and I have to say that I am thrilled - totally knocked out - at the amount of detail that the 6D sensor has retained. Much, much more impressive than looking at the images on screen.

The Sony A7 and A7II are probably some of the best buys one can make now. I should know, I have one of each:) The fact that one can mount the lovely Loxias or Batis, is just the icing on the cake.

The A7R2 is my choice: Delivers all I ever need. With it Batis 25, Sony 35, Sony 55, Zeiss MF Contax 85 and Batis 135. The last is the best lens I have ever owned, and I have owned many. Batis 25 and Sony 55 are superb but not on the Batis 135 level.
The 24-70/4? Have owned it, but does definitely not match the 42 mpix sensor. With A72 24 mpix it may work better.
A7x are not perfect cameras, need tailoring to avoid menu diving (and drowning. Having said that they deliver IQ in spades. The not so expensive zoom lenses are unfortunately not good enough for FF and high resolution. The old truth is still valid: Spend less on camera and more on lenses!

Having two different cameras is a good idea indeed. The technical aspects don't matter as much as the resulting mindset: keep one camera for when you know what you are doing and one for casual snaps. I like both long projects (between a few months to a few years) and snapshots. Handling a different tool reinforces the intention, or, in the case of the snaps, lack of intent. Think about downscaling, yet like the idea of two means of transportation? I'd recommend a bicycle (and a small camera) for pottering around in summer, and a car for 'the real projects'.

I've tried various things over the years and I've concluded that for me the the key thing is whether the shooting experience is good. With modern cameras image quality really isn't that much of an issue unless you're making very large prints, so pick a camera that you like to use. How does the camera feel in your hands? Does it "work" for you? Do you "feel good" about carrying it? Is it fun to use?

My small and large camera have same size sensor: Ricoh GR and Fuji XT-10 (will likely upgrade to XT-2 in next year or two). I predict you'll keep missing the Fuji--they have some great zooms!

Sony A7X ..... 🤔 Once bitten, twice shy.....

I own both the A7ii and the A7rii. Both are fabulous tools. The A7ii came first and I must say I truly love this little workhorse. I call it my backup to the A7rii but truth be known it gets almost as much work as the A7rii. The image quality is excellent and after a days shooting with both I find it difficult to tell which I used for an image. I set up a naming preset on import that embeds the model into the file name. Neither camera is built for sports shooting, however, I have captured some amazing action shots with it - maybe just luck. I have dragged it through the dust and sand of the Death Valley winds and heat, the ocean spray of the storms on the Oregon coast, the rain and moisture of our British Columbia rain forests and well below 0 temperatures in the winter of our coastal mountains and it just keeps working - flawlessly. I sold my Fuji xt-1 system to get both the full frame larger sensor and the in body stabilization. The Fuji's are undeniably fabulous cameras and lenses, however, I made the right decision for my style of photography. Have fun making a decision.

I'm with David Raboin on this...I want to be using a standard-sized (read: BIG & HEAVY) FF lens on small body even less than I do on a regular, DSLR-sized body. The camera and lens have to balance each other for maxmimal effectiveness in handling your equipment. This is why the Oly M4/3 and Fuji APS/C system of bodies and lenses are ideal for my needs. "FF" image quality with smaller, lighter, more compact bodies and lenses that are well-matched to each other. The camera bodies are well-proportioned in a way have one can handle both the body and lenses together as a system effectively and ergonomically. When I use the bigger Fuji 50-140 f/2.8 or 100-400 onto my Fuji X-T2, strapping on the Vertical Power Booster Power grip makes the camera much better to shoot with these lenses comfortably and effectively.

I've started using a "third" camera, my iPad Mini. It's always in the backpack even when the Fuji isn't, and I've come to appreciate the larger viewing screen. It's kind of like using a view camera. I'm thinking about getting the Olympus Air camera unit and having my genius machinist brother fabricate a bracket to connect it to the iPad. A digital Linhof!

Does anyone like the Sony A7II? I do, but with a caveat.
First, I really like the electronic viewfinder and its various features such as focus peaking, focus magnification, histogram, level, gaining up in low light, etc. It makes it difficult for me to go "back" to using my Canon DSLR.
I started out with a new A7. Because I wanted IBIS, I sold the trouble-free A7 and bought a gently used A72. I use legacy lenses as well as the Sony Zeiss 35mm f2.8, all of which benefit from sensor stabilization. But despite careful handling of the camera (I did not drop it or expose it to extreme weather), and with only about 6000 shutter actuations, the IBIS froze and locked up the camera. No amount of careful shaking of the camera helped fix the problem. The camera was professionally repaired, with a quick turn around time, for $300. The "cushions" were replaced. Despite my inquiries, I have not received a satisfactory explanation of what the cushions are and why they failed. So even though I enjoy using the camera, my confidence in the reliability of the camera has been shaken.
By the way, I really like the Sony Zeiss 35mm f2.8 lens. For me, the compact size and light weight are worth the compromise in maximum aperture. Most importantly, the image quality with that lens is very good.

Consider a Pentax K1. It has a great senor, in body stabilization, rugged weatherproof body, and can be had for around $1700. There is also a much better than average 28-105mm kit zoom for $495. Also, there are tons legacy lenses on EBay.

Having moved to Portland two years ago, I recently bought one to supplement my Fuji gear. It's a marvelous landscape camera. I'm planning to use it in Eastern Oregon, Washington,and Idaho in a few weeks from now.

The downside, well you've been writing about that in your most recent posts, and its not mirrorless. But it is a truly great cameras.

Love the idea, Mike.

I've got an Olympus OM-D E-M10 (first gen) which in cameras is in my opinion the equivalent to what our Corolla is in cars. It will do the job, and get you the picture. Not the best, but a quite acceptable one.

But the A7 Mk2 is the one that really interest me, even more so since I realized that both of our Olympus film bodies (OM-1 and OM-2) are having problems with their shutters, and ruin many potentially good (and expensive) film shots. So yes, a "digital back" for my OM Zuiko 50mm/1.4 would be great to have.

Or maybe an FM-2; could even be better. But that wouldn't accept my Zuiko lens AFAIK.

I have an A7ii and love it. I think the shutter sound is perfect. It reminds that I am doing photography.

I have a Sony A7RII and a A7II. The A7II is converted to Infrared. I like it just fine. I'm using the 16-35, 24-70 and 70-200 f/4 lenses. The 70-200 is the best of the bunch. I also have the 18 & 25 Batis. The lens that is missing is a 35mm f/2 with autofocus. If they make one of those and it didn't have an IR hot spot, I could see that attached to the A7II 90% of the time.

I'm really enjoying the autofocus system. It's good. Better than the Fuji cameras I owned but not as good as my D800 and D810. But, the coverage is wider than the Nikons, so I like it better.

The menu system is definitely Sony. It needs work. It seems as if everything is randomly placed next to each other.

The biggest problems I have with the cameras: 1. No dedicated focus joystick, although the latest firmware is suppose to turn the of into one, 2. The star eater problem.

Overall, problems aside I do like it. I like it so much that the Nikons only come out when I need a 600mm or I need to shoot the night sky.

This will be worth the wait: http://www.sonyalpharumors.com/sr5-a7iii-specs-confirmed-a9-joystick/

The more difficult question is, which lens to choose to accompany that A7II ?

Some suggestions:

Sony FE 50mm f/1.8
Inexpensive, compact, lightweight. The AF motor could be perhaps a bit noisy and slow-ish. Good optical quality, even compared with a reference lens like the Leica Summicron-M 50mm. The connoisseur's choice, perhaps.

Sony FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA
Expensive, but an optical quality that has earned it the moniker of "mini Otus".
6MP crops out of a 24MP picture still deliver impressive sharpness, and this prime lens could thus perhaps also be considered as a 55-110mm F/1.8-3.6 zoom, which, together with its silent linear focus motor, makes its high price a bit more palatable.

Sony FE 28-70 f/3.5-5.6 OSS
This kit lens delivers an IQ that that's better than expected, considering it low price, and, being a zoom, of course offers more focal length and framing / composition flexibility than a ~50mm prime lens.

Sony FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS
Expensive, but slightly faster that the 28-70mm, and the 24mm wide end may feel less limiting than the 28-70 to wide-angle aficionados.

You should maybe rent all four of them from LensRentals to get a practical feel of how they perform, and their size and weight when coupled with an A7II.

I think you should get a standard ~50mm prime (instead of a zoom) as your single lens for the A7II (to be a bit OC/OL/OY-ish) and use the iPhone's 28mm-e lens for your wide-angle requirements.
The intent is to force you to seriously engage with the iPhone as a 28mm-e camera. The iPhone 7plus' 56mm-e lens — unlike the 28mm-e — isn't stabilized, and an A7II with a ~50mm prime and IBIS could thus be a nice, high-quality complement to the iPhone, especially in low-light environments.

As you don't seem to be into bugs and macrophotography, I didn't include in my suggestion list the Sony FE 50 f/2.8 macro, which is actually a compact, lightweight and versatile "normal" lens, and seems to have an excellent optical quality to boot.

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