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I'm sure this has been asked a million times.. but planning on picking one of these up later today.

I'm on the fence. I'm still finding myself so I can't tell you exactly what type of photography I'll be doing but some areas of interest are: Landscape, Night Sky, Portraits, Street, Action Sports.

After researching:

  • Reasons I'd choose the A7ii: better depth of field, better low light performance

  • Reasons I'd choose the A6500: better/faster autofocus, smaller, 4k video (not really buying it for video though, I have a GoPro5), cheaper lenses

My gut says A7ii for the FF sensor, but then I'm buying an old camera.

The A7iii is perfect, but out of my price range and I'll end up with less glass. I'm also hoping to shoot this week and it seems to be backordered everywhere.

If the A7iii were $300-500 cheaper and in stock... no brainer.. but here I am on the fence. After writing this, maybe the best option is to go A7ii and invest in FE lenses and upgrade to the a7iii body down the road?

I just can't figure out if I'm stuck in the details or if I'm really losing out on something one way or the other. I'm a hobbyist looking to get more serious.

closed as off-topic by xiota, Philip Kendall, Michael C, Crazy Dino, scottbb Aug 20 '18 at 23:26

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    You're probably not going to be happy shooting action/sports with any of those options. Even the α9 isn't "ready for prime time" when it come to tracking erratic, fast moving subjects at high frame rates. The cost of lenses to do sports/action right in anything but bright daylight will also cost significantly more than your options above. – Michael C Aug 20 '18 at 10:13
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Since you state that "the A7iii is perfect", you probably won't be entirely happy with either the A6500 or A7ii. You'll probably be less unhappy with the A7ii.

However, if you have no pressing need to get a new camera this instant ("hoping to shoot this week" is pretty vague), you would likely benefit from waiting a bit longer. Nikon and Canon are expected to release full-frame mirrorless cameras "soon". The competition should drive prices down, which would make the A7iii more affordable. (I'm not saying prices will be driven to dirt cheap levels, just that prices tend to be lower with more competition.)

Renting or borrowing is another option you may consider. It would also give you a sense of whether the cameras live up to the hype.

If the choice is between having no camera vs one of these cameras, I would suggest not waiting too long before getting a camera. However, nowadays, nearly everyone has a cell phone with a camera capable of capturing images of reasonable quality.

Some other factors to consider:

  • A major draw to mirrorless cameras is they tend to be smaller and lighter than DSLRs. Sony's full-frame mirrorless cameras are about the same size and weight as full-frame DSLRs.

  • Battery life of mirrorless cameras is about half of an equivalent DSLR.

  • Lenses made for use with full-frame sensors tend to be more expensive than lenses made for APS-C sensors.

  • Do you know how a full-frame sensor will affect your images? If not, there's a good chance APS-C will cover all your needs.

  • Some people dislike Sony cameras because they tend to be glitchy. Apparently, they have an accelerated development cycle that limits pre-release testing.

  • Also consider whether waiting to purchase would allow extra money to be saved up for the camera you really want. – Kat Aug 20 '18 at 17:06
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    We can come back to this later and see who's right, but I'm willing to bet that there won't be a price war in the mirrorless sector even with Canon and Nikon joining in. Sony mirrorless already competes against full-frame DSLRs, and other mirrorless brands (regardless of sensor size). It's likely that prices will trend downward and more competition won't hurt that, but I wouldn't hold your breath for a big price drop. – mattdm Aug 20 '18 at 18:28
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Let me add few points related mostly around the cameras. You do not leave with body only, you need lenses. And here (especially Sony) where the "game" become veeeeery expensive. You can find 18-105/f4 for crop Sony for 500 euro. But for FF Sony 24-105/f4 cost 1350 euro.

I personally used 18-105 on A6000 and was very happy.

I will not continue discussion about tele lens where the prices become even more unpleasant.

You can do 95% of the things with crop camera. So reconsider again do you really need FF camera. At the end all is based on some trade-offs

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I just can't figure out if I'm stuck in the details or if I'm really losing out on something one way or the other. I'm a hobbyist looking to get more serious.

You're stuck in the details. The A7iii is not a magical leap over the A7ii. And full-frame gives you more options in some situations, but the vast majority of photographers aren't doing anything where it really matters and even when they are aren't usually meticulous enough that that's the limiting factor. (And if you've got this pull because you hear everyone talking about how it's bigger and better — why not go to to medium format? It isn't like 36×24mm is actually magical.)

You feel that the A7iii is "perfect" and the A7ii is "an old camera" — but when the A7iv comes out, will the A7iii be any less perfect? Get a camera. Get one you like and enjoy using. If that means spending more to keep out the "I shoulda spent more" regret, then maybe it's worth doing. (You may end up with something you keep longer, too.)

I vehemently disagree with the "Canon and Nikon are hinting at plans, so maybe wait and see..." advice Something newer and shinier is always around the corner. Today's expensive camera will eventually be discounted or cheap used — but that does no good if it's sitting on the shelf or in someone else's hands. When Canon and Nikon have options, the only reason it might matter is if that put you off from taking photos in the meantime.

More on this at What should I look for when shopping for my first DSLR? (which applies to mirrorless as well as it does to DSLRs).

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    Good point about FF vs. crop body. I own two FF cameras (5D Mark III and 5D Mark II), yet when I'm shooting sports/action, even under lights, I'm normally using an APS-C body (7D Mark II) for my primary camera. Why? Mainly faster handling and flicker reduction, as well as enough reach with a 70-200/2.8 ($2K) to avoid needing a 300/2.8 ($6.1K). – Michael C Aug 20 '18 at 18:28

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