Fstoppers Reviews a Groundbreaking Sony Alpha a7II Full-Frame Camera

March 22, 2015 - photo frame

One year after a proclamation of a strange Sony Alpha a7, a new Sony a7II takes distributed stairs towards improving duty and ergonomics in their full-frame compress complement camera series. With a revised extraneous design now creation a conspicuous reason with a DSLR-like forward-angled shiver symbol as good as a inner introduction of five-axis sensor-shift picture stabilization, Sony turns their bottom indication a7 into a not-so-basic specialist of a own. In this Fstoppers review, we inspect a good and bad of how a Sony a7II performs with real-world use.

Prior to a recover of a a7II, Sony’s full-frame mirrorless line enclosed 3 camera bodies. The dual specialists in this line, a Sony a7R which packs a high-resolution 36.4MP sensor and a Sony a7S known for a implausible low-light video performance, are both some-more or reduction seen as a “professional” versions on tip of a non-specialist jack-of-all-trades Sony a7 bottom model. But now with a recover of a Sony a7II, it seems that there is no longer one bottom indication camera and dual specialists, nonetheless rather 3 graphic specialists all carrying equal value requiring a bit some-more introspection to confirm what is a right buy.

Build Quality

Departing from a matched extraneous pattern of a Sony a7, a7R, and a7S, a a7II consists of a thicker physique to enclose a five-axis SteadyShot INSIDE stabilization and has a noticeably deeper grip. Some buttons have been added, moved, and polished over a prior pattern standard. Featuring a full magnesium amalgamate physique and immaculate steel mount, a altogether construction of a Sony a7II feels unequivocally plain while handling it. The matte black finish looks gorgeous, generally when compared corresponding with a other Sony a7 array cameras that have a glossier finish. While still slimmer than allied DSLRs, a Sony a7II fits in your palm unequivocally likewise interjection to a extending grip. There’s also an accented prong on a backside of a physique for your ride to reason opposite that creates carrying a camera down during your side a pleasure. It’s a elementary and intelligent ergonomic pattern that allows we to reason a physique with reduction effort while carrying it, nonetheless still contend an identical feeling of control.


I find a symbol blueprint to be utterly good and allows for discerning entrance to many opposite options. Unless we miscounted, there are 20 detached control buttons right during your fingertips, with many of them being customizable in a menu system. Speaking of a menu system, it’s primitive during best with prolonged lists, confusingly abridged wording, and graphical icons that don’t unequivocally assistance slight things down. This indeed creates me flattering happy to see so many earthy controls since a reduction time we have to rummage around in a menu, a better. Good news is that after programming a camera’s buttons with a controls we cite to have at your fingertips, we unequivocally don’t see a menu complement many during all. For me personally, we ran out of menu control settings we indispensable automatic to a buttons that indeed left me with a over-abundance of buttons to customize. To me, that’s an OK problem to have.

Looking some-more closely during a buttons on a Sony a7II, a tangible construction and tactility of many of them is pleasant. The tragedy in a bearing remuneration dial is spot-on perfect. The embedded dials on a front of a reason and on a tip behind have graphic stops to them during any click in a dial, nonetheless we would have elite if they were even some-more pronounced. These dual dials are typically going to be determining your shiver speed and aperture, and we found that once in awhile we would stagger a clicks too distant when changing these settings (and roughly always did so when gloves were on). The biggest emanate in controls, however, is a prosaic corkscrew dial on a camera’s backside. While we adore that this little area has a ability to control 6 opposite customizable things (up, down, left, right, core button, and corkscrew wheel), it starts to tumble detached once we comprehend how easy it is to incidentally press one of a buttons when scrolling a wheel. The repair seems elementary enough, make a 4 directional buttons stiffer to press, or a deeper application to activate, nonetheless alas it is how it is during a moment. Accidental symbol presses in this area occur to me each singular time I’m out regulating a camera, and it always takes me profitable seconds to figure out that symbol we incidentally pressed, press it again to remove whatever neglected thing we caused, get behind to scrolling to my dictated environment (ISO speed in my case), and afterwards finally fire my subject.


The weight dump from a allied DSLR to a Sony a7II is adequate to make we grin if that’s where we are entrance from. With a Sony a7II entrance in during 1.22 pounds, a weight of your lens is radically what determines all in this department, and maybe some-more specifically, if you’re regulating a telephoto lens or not. we find that any lens that we possess that isn’t my Sony FE 70–200mm f/4 is fundamentally a non-issue when it comes to being a carrying burden. There’s unequivocally no graphic disproportion between slinging a Sony a7II with a FE 55mm attached over your shoulder and carrying around a little compress camera in a same fashion. The weight reaches that indicate where it’s a same all-day-carry gentle feel.


Five-Axis Sensor-Shift Image Stabilization

The biggest new underline that has everybody articulate is a five-axis sensor-shift picture stabilization. While not a initial mirrorless camera to incorporate a technology, it is a initial full-frame camera to mangle belligerent and supply one. Basically, a picture sensor is “floating” within a physique of a camera and moves to recompense for transformation in a 5 axes of X, Y, yaw, pitch, and roll. Many photographers are vehement about this underline being placed in a full-frame camera since that means any lens ever made, with a right adapter (for that there are plenty), has now magically upgraded to have picture stabilization. Sony claims their SteadyShot INSIDE record in a a7II can recompense 4.5-stops value with stabilization. we didn’t supply adult some elaborate lab tests to see if that was truly a case, nonetheless we can tell we that from regulating a lens like a tellurian being that I’m in adore with carrying a stabilization in-body. It positively changes a approach we conclude a light around you, since now we are means of shots that compulsory opposite settings or opposite lighting conditions to lift off. However, it is critical to comprehend a stipulations of stabilization. It isn’t a loyal surrogate for good low-light ISO performance. With picture stabilization inside a Sony a7II, approbation we can lift off shots with reduction accessible light, nonetheless if your theme is in motion, a stabilization will not assistance you. This is in contrariety to contend a Sony a7S that can fire peculiarity images during high shiver speeds in low-light situations since of a glorious ISO performance.

Battery Life

Image stabilization in a Sony a7II is a bee’s knees, nonetheless it does come with a price. You might have listened that battery opening on a Sony a7 array is zero to write home about, and that’s true. It’s not crippling, nonetheless carrying during slightest one gangling battery is customary use since of it. Now with a Sony a7II and a sensor physically relocating about to recompense your movements, a battery life has gotten even worse. It’s formidable for me to decider accurately how many worse since winter temperatures here in Wisconsin clean out batteries during an accelerated rate, nonetheless compared to my Sony a7R we wasn’t removing nearby a same mileage in a same cold conditions. Rationally vocalization though, this isn’t a terribly outrageous issue. The resolution is to have spares on-hand, that are small, light, and comparatively inexpensive ($49.95). Battery life isn’t something that actively kills your picture-taking knowledge if we know what you’re traffic with and simply lift a gangling in preparation.


Capable of recording 1080p video during 60fps, a Sony a7II is about what one would pattern for a cost indicate and “general use” sequence in 2015. It facilities an HDMI outlay as good as outmost microphone and headphone jacks. While it is lacking in 4K recording capabilities, Sony did supplement a XAVC S codec to this camera that annals during 50mb/s. Recording with XAVC S requires faster SDXC memory cards with during slightest 64GB storage capacity. Therefore, a 16GB SanDisk Extreme memory cards we possess were exclusive to play around with this. However, a formula of recording in 1080p during 60fps demeanour unequivocally good to my admittedly hobbyist eye of video. When recording handheld in a still position, a SteadyShot picture stabilization works unequivocally good to contend a liquid suit as we vessel around, and is unequivocally means of holding down a immobile shot. If we are in suit as we record, a SteadyShot unequivocally doesn’t offer critical assistance other than holding out a little palm tremors. Recording 1080p 60fps on my iPhone 6 Plus and walking around looks roughly like it was shot with a Steadicam setup, since doing a same with a Sony a7II shows many some-more apparent stepping and XY movement. Shooting video with picture stabilization incited on also sucks down a battery during a quick pace. If you’re sharpened video some-more frequently, it would substantially be correct to collect adult a battery reason for a Sony a7II so that we have dual batteries prepared to go. If you’re indeed utterly critical about video, I’d also cruise anticipating a income to compensate for a pricier Sony a7S that can outlay 4K and has unusual low-light opening as we’ve showcased a number of times on Fstoppers.


Going into a review, we was vehement to see how a autofocus faired opposite a unhappy opening of a Sony a7R we own. The Sony a7II has a hybrid autofocus system, that means it relies on both 117-points of phase-detection as good as 25-points of contrariety detection. Sony says that a autofocus speed has increasing 30 percent over a strange a7. we don’t know if we simply can’t shake my prior knowledge with Nikon DSLRs or what, nonetheless autofocus with a a7II still left something to be desired. we can straightforwardly tell that it works faster and some-more accurately thatch in to a right mark over my a7R, nonetheless it still isn’t as quick as allied DSLRs offered today. It isn’t all bad though. With satisfactory lighting and unobscured graphic objects to concentration on, it hits concentration points only as good as any other camera I’ve owned in a past few years, it only takes somewhat longer to get there. Honestly though, that’s flattering engaging when we reason a Sony a7II in one palm and a brawny DSLR in a other. we cruise a autofocus opening of a Sony a7II will be good adequate for many users, beginner and veteran alike, nonetheless those who compensate their bills by removing pointy photos of passing moments in time might wish to cruise holding off.

Manual Focusing

One of my favorite treats with a Sony a7II is how good primer focusing with any lens is handled. Between concentration peaking, concentration assist, carrying a viewfinder arrangement directly off a picture sensor, and picture stabilization, this is a camera we wish if we adore primer concentration lenses. Being mostly a inlet and landscape shooter, we customarily have time on my hands to primer concentration many of my shots. After regulating Sony’s concentration support and concentration peaking, we would never wish to use a camera during length though those features. With combined picture stabilization, you’re going to be means to pinpoint pointy concentration even faster since there is reduction handshake transformation while holding a camera.


The Sony a7II is now labelled during $1,698 from BH which creates it $400 reduction than a $2,098 Sony a7R ($2,298 reduction $200 present savings) and $800 reduction than a $2,498 Sony a7S. While a strange Sony a7 hasn’t been categorically dropped yet, many retailers cost it a same as a a7II nonetheless afterwards offer around $400 present assets creation it $1,298. If we aren’t pinching each final penny perplexing to get into a a7 line, we can safely negligence a strange Sony a7 due to a immeasurable improvements done in a a7II for $400 difference.

Looking during a Sony full-frame a7 line, a pricing of a a7II is positively auspicious towards a targeted customer. Comparing a a7II to a a7R, a $400 overpass between them seems incomparable than it should. Sure, with a a7R a sensor increases from 24.3MP to 36.4MP with no visual low-pass filter, nonetheless a trade-off in going with a a7II is five-axis sensor-shift picture stabilization, all-around improvements to physique ergonomics, faster hybrid 117-point phase-detection autofocus on tip of a common 25-point contrast-detection autofocus they both have, higher-quality XAVC S video and S-Log2 gamma ability, electronic initial screen shutter, squeezes in one some-more frame-per-second (5FPS over 4FPS), faster peep sync-speed (1/250 over 1/160), and a improved immaculate steel lens mountain instead of a a7R two-piece steel and cosmetic junk that we replaced. This all unequivocally creates one doubt how many of a must-have a 36.4MP sensor is. Obviously opposite photographers are convinced in their camera choices by opposite features, nonetheless even a owners of a product and landscape-friendly a7R have to acknowledge a lot is being upheld adult on in entrance to their decision. This is since it’s startling that a a7II doesn’t come equally labelled as a a7R. The preference between a a7II and a a7S is some-more clear-cut; If you’re even a bit critical about videography, your eyes should be directed during a a7S if staying within a a7 lineup.

There are also some “hidden” costs to be wakeful of. When we squeeze a Sony a7II body, it doesn’t come with any batteries or a standalone battery horse (the adapter enclosed with a Sony a7II hooks a camera adult to a wall to charge). These aren’t vital income pitfalls, nonetheless only know that you’ll substantially spend an additional $100 on tip of a cost of a physique to get yourself going.

What we Liked

  • In-body five-axis picture stabilization works impossibly good for photos.
  • The ergonomics are great. It fits good in your palm interjection to a brawny reason and is an all-around certain knowledge carrying it.
  • The new forward-angled DSLR-like shiver symbol feels glorious to use.
  • There are plentiful customizable buttons on a body.
  • The all steel lens mountain keeps a lenses feeling unbending and non-wobbly when mounted, a problem that some of a strange Sony a7 and Sony a7R bodies have.
  • Favorable cost compared to a other cameras in a Sony a7 line.

What Could Be Improved

  • Battery life suffers when regulating picture stabilization.
  • The menu complement is complicated. You’re going to be reading the primer with this one.
  • Wheel-dial symbol excellence to equivocate random presses when cycling a wheel.
  • Image stabilization for video is good when we are stationary, nonetheless slacks when we are in motion.
  • Cheap feeling appendage doors when compared to a peculiarity of a rest of a body.

If you’ve formerly review over a camera specs for a Sony a7II and they intrigued you, nonetheless you’ve been holding off for whatever reason, I’m revelation we that there is zero to fear by purchasing a Sony a7II. The Sony a7II delivers a fusillade of overwhelming facilities and superb well-rounded opening that pledge and veteran photographers will appreciate. Having picture stabilization in and with a full-frame sensor is something that excites we each time we go fire since it gets to be used zodiacally opposite your lens arsenal. The extraneous physique pattern is also a best nonetheless from a Sony a7 array and will feel utterly informed to those who are hopping a blockade from DSLR camera systems, despite many smaller and lighter. Priced during $1,698 and available now, a Sony a7II is a camera that is prepared to accept your artistic challenges.

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