Review

The Full Frame Sony A7II is the latest and greatest mirrorless e-mount camera from Sony! In this review I will go over everything I can think of to test this bad boy out including real world photography and lab testing. I have the killer FE 16-35mm f/4 OSS ZA lens to try out as well as my Canon EF lenses via the Metabones electronic lens adapter, and also my old school MC 50mm f/1.4 Rokkor-X Lens via a passive adapter.

Sony Alpha A7 II Video Review

– The Best Mirrorless Camera from Sony Yet!


Sony A7 II – Key Features:

  • 24.3MP Full-Frame Exmor CMOS Sensor
  • BIONZ X Image Processor
  • 5-Axis SteadyShot INSIDE Stabilization
  • Enhanced Fast Hybrid AF and 5 fps Burst
  • Full HD XAVC S Video and S-Log2 Gamma
  • 3.0″ 1,228.8k-Dot Tilting LCD Monitor
  • XGA 2.36M-Dot OLED Electronic Viewfinder
  • Weather-Resistant Magnesium Alloy Body
  • Refined Grip & Robust Lens Mount
  • Built-In Wi-Fi Connectivity with NFC
  • Multi-Purpose Hot Shoe

Sony ILCE7M2 Detailed Specifications

Camera Type Interchangeable lens digital camera
Lens Compatibility Sony E-mount Lenses
Image Sensor 35mm full frame (35.8×23.9mm), “Exmor” CMOS sensor
Number of pixels (effective): Approx. 24.3 megapixels
Number of pixels (total): Approx. 24.7 megapixels
Image sensor aspect ratio: 3:02
Color filter: R, G, B primary color
Anti-Dust function: Yes
Anti-Dust system: Charge protection coating on optical filter and image sensor shift mechanism
Anti-Dust operation (auto):Cleaning Mode
Media Type Memory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo, Memory Stick XC-HG Duo, SD memory card,SDHC memory card (UHS-I compliant), SDXC memory card (UHS-I compliant)
Recording format JPEG (DCF Ver. 2.0, Exif Ver.2.3, MPF Baseline compliant), RAW (Sony ARW 2.3 format)
Image size (pixels) [3:2] 35mm full frame L: 6000 x 4000 (24M), M: 3936 x 2624 (10M), S: 3008 x 2000 (6.0M)
APS-C L: 3936 x 2624 (10M), M: 3008 x 2000 (6.0M), S: 1968 x 1312 (2.6M)
Image size (pixels) [16:9]

35mm full frame L: 6000 x 3376 (20M), M: 3936 x 2216 (8.7M), S: 3008 x 1688 (5.1M)

APS-C L: 3936 x 2216 (8.7M), M: 3008 x 1688 (5.1M), S: 1968 x 1112 (2.2M)

Image size (pixels) [Sweep Panorama] Wide: horizontal 12,416 x 1,856 (23M), vertical 5,536 x 2,160 (12M), Standard: horizontal 8,192 x 1,856 (15M), vertical 3,872 x 2,160 (8.4M)
Image quality modes RAW – RAW & JPEG – JPEG Extra fine – JPEG Fine – JPEG Standard
14bit RAW Yes
Picture Effect 13 types: Posterization (Color), Posterization (B/W), Pop Color, Retro Photo, Partial Color (R/G/B/Y), High Contrast Monochrome, Toy Camera(Normal/Cool/Warm/Green/Magenta), Soft High-key , Soft Focus(High/Mid/Low), HDR Painting(High/Mid/Low), Rich-tone Monochrome, Miniature(Auto/Top/Middle(H)/Bottom/Right/Middle(V)/Left), Watercolor, Illustration(High/Mid/ Low)
Creative Style Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Clear, Deep, Light, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset, Night Scene, Autumn leaves, Black & White, Sepia,Style Box(1-6), (Contrast (-3 to +3 steps), Saturation (-3 to +3 steps), Sharpness (-3 to +3 steps))
Picture Profile Yes (Off / PP1-PP7) Parameters: Black level, Gamma (Movie, Still, Cine1-4, ITU709, ITU709 [800%], S-Log2), Black Gamma, Knee, Color Mode, Saturation, Color Phase, Color Depth, Detail, Copy, Reset
Dynamic Range functions Off, Dynamic Range Optimizer (Auto/Level (1-5)), Auto High Dynamic Range (Auto Exposure Difference, Exposure Difference Level (1-6 EV, 1.0 EV step))
Color space sRGB standard (with sYCC gamut) and Adobe RGB standard compatible with TRILUMINOS Color
Delete Yes
Recording system (movie) XAVC S – AVCHD format Ver. 2.0 compliant – MP4
Video compression: XAVC S:MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, AVCHD: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, MP4: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264
Audio recording format: XAVC S:LPCM 2ch – AVCHD: Dolby Digital (AC-3) 2ch, Dolby Digital Stereo Creator – MP4: MPEG-4 AAC-LC 2ch
Recording system Movie – Picture Effect Posterization (Color), Posterization (B/W), Pop Color, Retro Photo, Partial Color (R/G/B/Y), High Contrast Monochrome, Toy Camera(Normal/Cool/Warm/Green/Magenta), Soft High-key
Recording system Movie – Creative Style Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Clear, Deep, Light, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset, Night Scene, Autumn leaves, Black & White, Sepia,Style Box(1-6), (Contrast (-3 to +3 steps), Saturation (-3 to +3 steps), Sharpness (-3 to +3 steps))
Recording system Movie – Picture Profile Yes (Off / PP1-PP7) Parameters: Black level, Gamma (Movie, Still, Cine1-4, ITU709, ITU709 [800%], S-Log2), Black Gamma, Knee, Color Mode, Saturation, ColorPhase, Color Depth, Detail, Copy, Reset
Recording system Movie – Color Space xvYCC standard (x.v.Color when connected via HDMI cable) compatible with TRILUMINOS Color
Movie function Audio Level Display – Audio Rec Level – Dual Video REC – TC/UB (TC Preset/UB Preset/TC Format/TC Run/TC Make/UB Time Rec) – Auto Slow Shutter – REC Control – HDMI Info. Display (on / OFF) – HDMI Output (1920 x 1080(60p), 1920 x 1080(60i), 1920 x 1080(24p),, YCbCr 4:2:2 8bit / RGB 8bit)
Noise reduction Long exposure NR: On/Off , available at shutter speeds longer than 1 sec.
High ISO NR: Normal/Low/Off
Multi Frame Noise Reduction Auto/ISO 100 to 51200
White balance Auto / Daylight / Shade / Cloudy / Incandescent / Fluorescent < Warm White / Cool White / Day White / Daylight> / Flash /Underwater/ Color Temperature <2500 to 9900K> & color filter / Custom
AWB micro adjustment Yes
Bracketing 3 frames, H/L selectable
Focus System Fast Hybrid AF(phase-detection AF/contrast-detection AF)
Focus sensor “Exmor” CMOS sensor
Focus point 35mm full frame: 117 points (phase-detection AF) APS-C: 99 points (phase-detection AF) / 25 points (conotrast-detection AF)
Sensitivity range EV-1 to EV20 (ISO100 equivalent with F2.0 lens attached)
AF Mode AF-S (Single-shot AF), AF-C ( Continuous AF), DMF (Direct Manual Focus), Manual Focus
Focus area Wide (117 points (phase-detection AF), 25 points(contrast-detection AF)) / Zone / Center / Flexible Spot (S/M/L) / Lock-on AF ( Wide / Zone / Center / Flexible Spot (S/M/L))
Eye-start AF Yes (only with LA-EA2 or LA-EA4 attached(Sold separately))
Lock-on AF Yes
Eye AF Yes
Other features Predictive control, Focus lock
AF illuminator Yes(with Built-in LED type)
Range: Approx. 0.3m – approx. 3.0m (with FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS attached)
Metering type 1200-zone evaluative metering
Metering sensor “Exmor” CMOS sensor
EV-1 to EV20 (at ISO100 equivalent with F2.0 lens attached)
Exposure Control Multi-segment – Center-weighted – Spot
Exposure modes AUTO(iAuto/Superior Auto) – Programmed AE (P) – Aperture priority (A) – Shutter-speed priority (S) – Manual (M) – Movie (Programmed AE (P) / Aperture priority (A) / Shutter-speed priority (S) / Manual (M) ) – Sweep Panorama – Scene Selection
Scene Selection Portrait – Sports Action – Macro – Landscape – Sunset – Night Scene – Hand-held Twilight – Night Portrait – Anti Motion Blur
Exposure compensation +/- 5.0EV(1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps selectable)
(with exposure compensation dial : +/- 3EV (1/3 EV steps))
Bracketing Bracket: Cont./Bracket: Single, With 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 2/3 EV, 1.0 EV, 2.0 EV, 3.0 EV increments, 3/5 frames selectable
Auto Exposure Lock Locked when shutter button is pressed halfway. Available with AE lock button. (On/Off/Auto)
ISO sensitivity Still images: ISO 100-25600 equivalent (1/3 EV step), (ISO numbers up from ISO 50 can be set as expanded ISO range.),
AUTO (ISO 100-6400, selectable lower limit and upper limit)
Movies: ISO 200-25600 equivalent (1/3 EV step) / AUTO (ISO 200-6400, selectable lower limit and upper limit)
Viewfinder Type: 1.3 cm (0.5 type) electronic viewfinder (color)
Number of dots:2 359 296 dots
Brightness control: Auto/Manual (5 steps between -2 and +2)
Color temperature control: Manual (5 steps)
Field coverage: 100%
Magnification: approx. 0.71 x (with 50mm lens at infinity, -1m-1)
Diopter adjustment: -4.0 to +3.0m-1
Eye point: Approx. 27mm from the eyepiece lens, 22mm from the eyepiece frame at-1m-1 (CIPA standard)
Viewfinder – Display Contents Graphic Display
Display All Info.
No Disp. Info.
Digital Level Gauge
Histogram
LCD screen Type: 7.5cm (3.0-type) type TFT
Number of dots (total): 1,228,800 dots
Brightness control: Manual (5 steps between -2 and +2), Sunny Weather mode
Adjustable angle: Up by approx. 107 degrees, Down by approx. 41 degrees
WhiteMagic: Yes
Real-time image-adjustment display: On/Off
Quick Navi: Yes
Focus Check: Yes Focus Magnifier (35mm full frame: 5.9x, 11.7x – APS-C: 3.8x, 7.7x)
Zebra: Yes
Peaking MF; Yes
Marker Display: Yes
Grid Line: Yes
LCD Display Contents Graphic Display – Display All Info – No Disp. Info – Digital Level Gauge – Histgram – For viewfinder –
Face detection Modes: On/On (Regist. Faces)/Off
Face registeration: Yes
Face selection: Yes
Auto Object Framing Still images
Other features Smile shutter (selectable from 3 steps) – PlayMemories Camera Apps – Help guide – Clock Function,Setting – Area Setting – Shop Front Mode – Zoom Ring Rotate – Eye-Fi ready
Clear Image Zoom Approx. 2x
Digital zoom Smart zoom (Still images): 35mm full frame: M:approx 1.5x, S:approx 2x – APS-C: M:approx 1.3x, S:approx 2x
Digital zoom (Still images): 35mm full frame: L:approx 4x, M:approx 6.1x, S:approx 8x – APS-C: L:approx 4x, M:approx 5.2x, S:approx 8x
Digital zoom (Movie): 35mm full frame: approx 4x – APS-C: approx 4x
Shutter Electronically-controlled, vertical-traverse, focal-plane type
Shutter speed: Still images:1/8000 to 30 sec, Bulb, Movies: 1/8000 to 1/4(1/3 steps) up to 1/60 in AUTO mode (up to 1/30 in Auto slow shutter mode)
Flash sync. speed: 1/250 sec.
Electronic Front Curtaion Shutter: Yes(ON/OFF)
SteadyShot INSIDE (image stabilization) Image Sensor-Shift mechanism with 5-axis compensation (Compensation depends on lens specifications)
Compensation effect: 4.5 steps (based on CIPA standard. Pitch/yaw shake only. With Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA lens mounted. Long exposure NR off.)
Flash Control: Pre-flash TTL
Flash compensation: +/- 3.0 EV (switchable between 1/3 and 1/2 EV steps)
Flash bracketing: 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 EV steps, 3/5 frames selectable
Flash modes Flash off – Autoflash – Fill-flash – Slow Sync. – Rear Sync. – Red-eye reduction (on/off selectable) – Wireless Hi-speed sync.
External flash Sony a System Flash compatible with Multi Interface Shoe, attach the shoe adaptor for flash compatible with Auto-lock accessory shoe
FE level lock Yes
Drive modes Single Shooting – Continuous shooting (Hi/Lo selectable) – Self-timer (10/2 sec delay selectable) – Self-timer (Cont.) (with 10 sec delay 3/5 frames selectable) – Bracket: Single – Bracket: Cont. – White Balance – DRO bracket – Continuous shooting: Hi: max. 5 fps, Lo: max. 2.5 fps
Playback Modes Single (with or without shooting information Y RGB histogram & highlight/shadow warning) – 9/25-frame index view – Enlarged display mode (L: 18.8x, M: 12.3x, S: 9.4x, Panorama (Standard): 25.6x, Panorama (Wide): 38.8x) – Auto Review (10/5/2 sec,Off) – Image orientation (Auto/Manual/Off selectable) – Slideshow – Panorama scrolling – Folder selection (Date/ Still/ MP4/ AVCHD/XAVC S)- Forward/Rewind (movie) – Delete – Protect
Wi-Fi View on Smartphone – Send to Computer – View on TV – One-touch remote – One-touch sharing
NFC One-touch remote – One-touch sharing
Flash Type PC interfaceernal flash – Multi / Micro USB Terminal – NFC – Sync. Terminal – Wireless LAN(built-in) – HD output – (HDMI micro connector (Type-D) / BRAVIA Sync(Control for HDMI) / PhotoTV HD / 4K Still Image PB) – Multi Interface Shoe – 3.5 mm Stereo Mic minijack – Remote Control – Headphone Terminal – Vertical Grip Connector – PC Remote
Audio Built-in stereo microphone or XLR-K2M/ECM-XYST1M(sold separately)
Built-in,monaural Speaker
Print Exif Print, Print Image Matching III, DPOF setting
Custom function Custom key settings
Programmable Setting (Body 2 sets /memory card 4 sets)
Lens compensation Peripheral Shading, Chromatic Aberration, Distortion
Battery One rechargeable battery pack NP-FW50
Approx. 270 shots (Viewfinder) / approx. 350 shots (LCD monitor) (CIPA standard)
Movies (actual recording) Approx. 60 min (Viewfinder) / Approx. 65 min (LCD monitor) (CIPA standard)
Internal battery charge Yes
External power AC Adaptor AC-PW20 (sold separately)
Power consumption With Viewfinder: Still images: approx. 3.5W(with FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS lens attached), Movies: approx4.2W(with FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS lens attached)
With LCD screen: Still images: approx. 2.6W(with FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS lens attached), Movies: approx4.2W(with FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS lens attached)
Weight With battery and Memory Stick PRO Duo included Approx.:21.1 oz / 599 g
With battery and Memory Stick PRO Duo included: approx. 1 lb 5.1 oz
Dimensions mm (WxHxD) excluding protrusions Approx. 126.9mm x 95.7mm x 59.7mm
inch (WxHxD) excluding protrusions Approx. 5 x 3 7/8 x 2 3/8 inches
 

The Full Frame Sony A7 II

So here is the Sony A7 II full frame mirrorless camera with the Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens mounted so you can see the size/ scale.

Sony A7II and FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens

Sony A7II and FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens

Build quality feels great and I like the slightly textured finish as apposed to the smooth finish of the previous generation. The larger grip is excellent as expected, and the new shutter position is a huge improvement ergonomically as well.

The A7II full frame mirrorless camera is heavier than the previous generation for sure! I noticed this immediately when I took it out of the box and was surprised honestly. Clearly the larger form factor, and full magnesium chassis added some heft to this camera and it is worth noting.

Sony A7II and FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens

Sony A7II and FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens

Loving the new larger grip, shutter, and built-in dial. It’s pointer finger heaven and better than the previous generation in my opinion.

Sony A7II and FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens

Sony A7II and FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens

New port doors on the cameras left side open down and are rubberized plastic. It is definitely easier to get the usb cable in with this design, but the doors don’t feel as good as the metal ones. A trade-off I suppose and they are otherwise working great so far with no accidental openings! Having an easier time getting the usb cable in and out might seam like no big deal ,but it’s actually huge in my opinion considering how my times you have to do it.

a7r-vs-a7m2-left-side-open

Sony A7r vs Sony A7II – Port Side w/ doors open

The new slimmer front and rear control dials work really well and have nice amount of dampening and space between notches. It’s easier to go from one notch to the next without going three clicks for example. I often go further than I want when using the A7r dials, but these don’t have that problem. They are closer to the actually camera body though, so if wearing gloves they may be a bit harder to use.

front-rear

Front and Rear Control Dials

From the top you can clearly see the new shutter placement and thinner deeper grip design. Also note the SteadyShot INSIDE text and new custom button added to the top right side.

a7II-top

From the Top View

The bottom of the camera has been completely re-designed and is much better! The bottom flat area of the camera is almost 1/2 of an inch thicker front to back. This is a huge improvement and means your tri-pod plate will get full contact on the bottom of the camera. My Gitzo quick release plate hangs over the back a lot on my A7r. Basically, this means you can mount a heavier lens on with more confidence without the camera chassis flexing or anything. I would estimate the mount point is about 50% stronger with this new design based on how my tri-pod plate fits and how it feels when mounted. Awesome job Sony and thanks for addressing this “weak” point for lack of a better word.

A7 Vs A7 II - Bottom

A7 Vs A7 II – Bottom

As you can see the Sony A7II has some serious upgrades going on for it in the camera body design and ergonomics department specifically. The increased weight and size is also significant. It feels great though in my hands and the extra weight is not bad at all honestly. With extended carrying I would notice the extra weight though I’m sure.

 

Sample Photos

These images are a combination of Jpeg and Raw quality saved out for the web via Lightroom 5 @ ~1000px, 75% Quality, Sharpening for web standard. 100% Crops of the center area are also provided on some images for easier per pixel detail inspection. See the info just below photos in the caption for details.

Sony Alpha A7II (ILCEA7M2) FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens, FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens 

Click Images for Higher Resolution Versions!

I had the camera on a tri-pod and used manual mode, ISO 400, 30seconds, f/8 and here is the result:

Sony A7II w/ FE 16-35mm f/4 OSS ZA Lens @ 35mm, f/8, 30seconds, ISO 400, Jpeg

Sony A7II w/ FE 16-35mm f/4 OSS ZA Lens @ 35mm, f/8, 30seconds, ISO 400, Jpeg

Bones is getting big already! This is from today 01/09/15

Sony A7II w/ FE 35mm f/2.8 Lens @ f/2.8, 1/1250sec, ISO 100, Raw Quality

Sony A7II w/ FE 35mm f/2.8 Lens @ f/2.8, 1/1250sec, ISO 100, Raw Quality

Resolving power is quite good on the 24mp A7II with the Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 Lens wide open in harsh lighting.

100% Crop - Sony A7II w/ FE 35mm f/2.8 Lens @ f/2.8, 1/1250sec, ISO 100, Raw Quality

100% Crop – Sony A7II w/ FE 35mm f/2.8 Lens @ f/2.8, 1/1250sec, ISO 100, Raw Quality

My boy Jase is just about 5 Months old already! I know, tome flies…. I did enhance the eye a little on this photo with an adjustment brush using a little brightness and clarity. If you would like to learn more about enhancing your photos in Lightroom, check this thread out on the forums >>

Sony A7II w/ FE 35mm f/2.8 Lens @ f/2.8, 1/60sec, ISO 500, Raw Qaulity

Sony A7II w/ FE 35mm f/2.8 Lens @ f/2.8, 1/60sec, ISO 500, Raw Quality

Sony A7II w/ FE 35mm f/2.8 Lens @ f/2.8, 1/60sec, ISO 500, Raw Qaulity

100% Crop – Sony A7II w/ FE 35mm f/2.8 Lens @ f/2.8, 1/60sec, ISO 500, Raw Qaulity

 

Another sample photo via the very sharp Sony Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens, raw quality.

Sony A7II w/ FE 35mm f/2.8 Lens @ f/2.8, 1/640sec, ISO 100, Raw Qaulity

Sony A7II w/ FE 35mm f/2.8 Lens @ f/2.8, 1/640sec, ISO 100, Raw Quality

Even with the anti-aliasing filter in front of the senor the per pixel resolving power is very good, although not as good as my 36mp Sony A7r Review Here >>

Sony A7II w/ FE 35mm f/2.8 Lens @ f/2.8, 1/640sec, ISO 100, Raw Qaulity

Sony A7II w/ FE 35mm f/2.8 Lens @ f/2.8, 1/640sec, ISO 100, Raw Quality

Some nice detail offered on this dog food bag at Sam’s Club @ f/4, raw quality 35mm lens again.

Sony A7II w/ FE 35mm f/2.8 Lens @ f/4, 1/60sec, ISO 500, Raw Qaulity

Sony A7II w/ FE 35mm f/2.8 Lens @ f/4, 1/60sec, ISO 500, Raw Quality

100% Crop - Sony A7II w/ FE 35mm f/2.8 Lens @ f/4, 1/60sec, ISO 500, Raw Quality

100% Crop – Sony A7II w/ FE 35mm f/2.8 Lens @ f/4, 1/60sec, ISO 500, Raw Quality

An old abandoned house that is starting to fall down finally.

Sony A7II w/ FE 16-35mm f/4 OSS ZA Lens @16mm, F/8

Sony A7II w/ FE 16-35mm f/4 OSS ZA Lens @16mm, F/8

Sony A7II w/ FE 16-35mm f/4 OSS ZA Lens @16mm, F/8

100% Crop – Sony A7II w/ FE 16-35mm f/4 OSS ZA Lens @16mm, F/8

 
 

Auto HDR

Auto HDR is one of the Auto features that I really enjoy using from time to time. It does not work as good as taking sperate files and working them on the computer, but for a completely automatic process the results are quite good. See below what AUTO HDR did for this scene.

Sony A7II - Auto HDR - On

Sony A7II – Auto HDR – On

Sony A7II - Auto HDR - Off

Sony A7II – Auto HDR – Off

 

Lab Testing – High ISO

ISO – 25600 Raw Quality – First, the full scene @ 35mm, then the 100% crops below for detailed inspection!

Click Images for the full res ~1000px versions.

ilce7m2 - ISO 25600

ilce7m2 – ISO 25600

ISO 25600 – 100% Crops

ilce7m2 - ISO 25600

100% Crop – ilce7m2 – ISO 25600

100% Crop - ilce7m2 - ISO 25600

100% Crop – ilce7m2 – ISO 25600

ISO 12800 – 100% Crops

ilce7m2 - ISO 12800

100% Crop – ilce7m2 – ISO 12800

100% Crop - ilce7m2 - ISO 12800

100% Crop – ilce7m2 – ISO 12800

ISO 6400 – 100% Crops

ilce7m2 - ISO 6400

100% Crop – ilce7m2 – ISO 6400

100% Crop - ilce7m2 - ISO 6400

100% Crop – ilce7m2 – ISO 6400

ISO 3200 – 100% Crops

ilce7m2 - ISO 3200

100% Crop – ilce7m2 – ISO 3200

100% Crop - ilce7m2 - ISO 3200

100% Crop – ilce7m2 – ISO 3200

Once at ISO 3200 the results are very clean and totally usable for most anything in my opinion. Above ISO 3200 you will begin to see the noise creep in and get steadily more noticeable. ISO 25600 is pretty noisy and really un-usable in most cases. The black areas also have a slight purple color cast that is noticeable.

DXOMark Sensor Score

DXOMark does the most detailed technical sensor testing that I know of on the web. I trust the results and it’s a great way to compare apples to apples when trying to decide what camera to buy I find. Note below how the new A7II fairs against the A7s (Reviewed here) and A7r (Reviewed Here) full frame mirrorless cameras.

dxo-sensor-score-a7iiAs you can see the dynamic range and color bit depth on the A7r have a slight edge, but in the real world this is pretty hard to notice honestly. Basically you would get a little more room for adjusting highlights and shadows if shooting raw quality. Also a little more color information to work with in the same way. The images other than resolution would still look very similar in the end though in my opinion, because it’s relatively minor differences. The A7s High ISO abilities are just amazing though and it stands in a class of it’s own as far as that goes…

 

5-Axis Steady-Shot

Sony Alpha a7II Mirrorless Digital Camera

Sony Alpha a7II 5-Axis SteadyShot

I tested the Steadyshot with my old school 50mm f/1.4 Rokkor-X Lens and it works awesome now with the Firmware update >>

I have also tested the SteadyShot with the Metabones III lens adapter and it works awesome! It see the lens and I was able to get a 1/15sec shot @ 200mm with the lens IS turned OFF. Only utilizing the in camera steadyshot proved to be better than expected with such a large lens honestly. I figured I would get about 1/30sec maybe, but no much slower than that.

The SteadyShot also works great in video as you saw can see in the full video review above at the beginning of this review article.

Testing Steady-Shot

Testing the steadyshot hand-held at very low shutter speeds was not only fun, it was a first for me! My A7r does not allow this type of shooting due to camera shake. First the full test scene then the 100% crops for sharpness inspection!

Full Scene @ 1/15th sec hand held

sony a7II - Steadyshot Test - MC 50mm f/1.4 @ 1/15 second

sony a7II – Steadyshot Test – MC 50mm f/1.4 @ 1/15 second

100% Crop – 1/15th sec

100% Crop - Sony a7II - Steadyshot Test - MC 50mm f/1.4 @ 1/15 second

100% Crop – Sony a7II – Steadyshot Test – MC 50mm f/1.4 @ 1/15 second

100% Crop – 1/8th sec

100% Crop - Sony a7II - Steadyshot Test - MC 50mm f/1.4 @ 1/8 second

100% Crop – Sony a7II – Steadyshot Test – MC 50mm f/1.4 @ 1/8 second

100% Crop – 1/6th sec

100% Crop - Sony a7II - Steadyshot Test - MC 50mm f/1.4 @ 1/6 second

100% Crop – Sony a7II – Steadyshot Test – MC 50mm f/1.4 @ 1/6 second

100% Crop – 1/4 sec

100% Crop - Sony a7II - Steadyshot Test - MC 50mm f/1.4 @ 1/4 second

100% Crop – Sony a7II – Steadyshot Test – MC 50mm f/1.4 @ 1/4 second

 

Using Lens Adapters

I really enjoy using alternative lenses on the Sony E-Mount cameras, and now with full frame and SteadyShot, it’s way more fun and easy to get sharp shots! Here are some shots I got with the 50mm on Christmas Eve at family’s house with killer decorations everywhere! Auto WB and Jpeg mode was used here for these images.

You can pick up the Minolta MC Rokkor-X PG 50 F/1.4 Lens for ~$20 – $60 US on Ebay (Click Here) The Cheap Lens adapter I’m using only cost ~$17 US, and you can get it @ Amazon (Click Here)

Sony A7 II w/ 50mm f/1.4 Rokkor-X Lens

Sony A7 II w/ 50mm f/1.4 Rokkor-X Lens

Sony A7 II w/ 50mm f/1.4 Rokkor-X Lens

Sony A7 II w/ 50mm f/1.4 Rokkor-X Lens

Sony A7 II w/ 50mm f/1.4 Rokkor-X Lens

Sony A7 II w/ 50mm f/1.4 Rokkor-X Lens

Sony A7 II w/ 50mm f/1.4 Rokkor-X Lens

Sony A7 II w/ 50mm f/1.4 Rokkor-X Lens

Sony A7 II w/ 50mm f/1.4 Rokkor-X Lens

Sony A7 II w/ 50mm f/1.4 Rokkor-X Lens

This next abstract style photo was taken on the kitchen table looking thru a glass with the Christmas tree in the background. The results look like deep space to me 😉

Sony A7 II w/ 50mm f/1.4 Rokkor-X Lens

Sony A7 II w/ 50mm f/1.4 Rokkor-X Lens

Bones sleeping 🙂

Sony A7 II w/ 50mm f/1.4 Rokkor-X Lens

Sony A7 II w/ 50mm f/1.4 Rokkor-X Lens

Here is another of Chubs shot with the Metabones III and EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS Lens and and I used the on camera steadyshot only. It worked awesome!

Sony A7II w/ Metabones and EF 70-200mm f/2.8 IS L Lens

Sony A7II w/ Metabones and EF 70-200mm f/2.8 IS L Lens

Sony A7II w/ Metabones and EF 70-200mm f/2.8 IS L Lens

Sony A7II w/ Metabones and EF 70-200mm f/2.8 IS L Lens

 

Conclusions

The Sony A7 II delivers in my opinion and besides the few nit-picks I pointed out in the video review, it’s fantastic. The firmware update addressed the only real issue with the camera and now the IBIS works flawlessly with my favorite old school lenses! 1/6th of a second sharp shots no problem and that can’t be done on my Sony A7r. Any want my Sony A7r, so I can buy this new A7 II? Seriously, offers are welcomed 😉

The FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens is a must have lens in my opinion! Killer at both 16mm and 35mm, plus rich color and great contrast. I also really enjoyed using the FE 35mm f/.8 ZA lens and the built in SteadyShot really helped with the low light situations. With the much heavier Old School Minolta 50mm f/1.4 Rokkor-X Lens the on camera stabilization was very noticeable and extremely helpful I found.

The A7II IQ is very good, but about the same as the original A7 as far as I can tell. Real world image quality is excellent and I recommend shooting Raw so you can get the most out of your photos in the digital lab so to speak. This does take time though, so using the built in picture effects and other creative modes are fun and the results are really good using jpeg quality. In Jpeg mode the noise reduction, saturation, and sharpening are fairly heavy. At times the images are a bit sharper than I would like which is why I prefer shooting Raw and enhancing more selectively myself. The Sony cameras so many options nowadays, that I highly recommend you check out my RX100 III How-To Use video. That video will show you how all the newer Sony cameras work for the most part in a variety of ways. All the menus systems and basic functions are the same for the most part as you will see.

Auto focus during video is not as good as the A6000 which I reviewed most recently (Click Here) It will not stay on what the flexible spot is set to for example and goes back into Auto AF mode when recording. This makes it difficult to record at the minimum focus distance for example as the camera will go into auto and loose the focus point when the record button is pressed. You can press the shutter which will force the camera to focus while recording, but once you let go it will float back to average auto again. It doesn’t seam to matter what settings you have enabled for AF either. One way to fight this is by simple using manual focus when you need to and then switching to AF when applicable. I also would use the focus lock and just edit the video accordingly knowing I had to do that of course…

Notes for Sony:

Overall the camera is a fantastic next generation unit, but a few things could be improved in my opinion:

  1. Menu Button really needs to be moved over to the right side of the camera
  2. Memory card door should snap shut more aggressively, so it doesn’t open accidentally when hand holding occasionally.
  3. Audio and USB/ HDMI port doors are a little flimsy compared to the older metal doors. I feel they could also snap in better or be more rubberized for a tighter seal. It is easier to get the usb cable in though which is very nice
  4. Battery door still does not snap closed without having to slide the little lock lever over. This should be spring loaded so a simple door closing will lock! Very easy and I can’t believe this is still not fixed after all this time. In the real world it’s only once and while when changing the battery, so it’s not the biggest deal really. It was worse on the Nex-6, because the memory card is in under the same door and required more frequent open and closing.
  5. The menu system is pretty good, but could be better. Please allow for a favorites area or something that can be custom programmed. So we can put whatever the most commonly used features we need. For myself, format, Custom WB set, and a few other things would be in there…
  6. Self Timer and Bracketing should be in a different function menus so one can be used with the other. As it is now you need a remote, shutter release cable, or smart phone w/ Apps to get Bracket shots without touching the camera. Almost all other manufactures allow for this and it seams like a software fix can resolve this know frustrating issue. Particularly HDR Photographers complain about this mostly coming from Canon and/or Nikon.

Final Words:

I hope you got what you were looking for in this review and please feel free to ask questions or comment below. Using the support links below and elsewhere, helps keep things a float, so I really appreciate it you taking the time to use them when making purchases.

Jay

Support Links:

Sony Alpha A7II @ BHPhoto

Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 OSS ZA Lens @ BHPhoto

Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Lens @ BHPHoto

Don’t forget to check out the E-Mount lens Guide Over Here for all the lenses currently available!



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Thanks,
Jay

 


About the Author

Jay
Hello, I'm the owner and operator of SonyAlphaLab.com. Please check out the About page for a full background on myself and the Lab ;) Google+ | Twitter | RSS-feed | Email Updates!!