Sony A7R II Review
The emergence of the Sony's A7 series in 2013 completely changed the mirrorless camera market and raised the image quality standards. So far the series features six different camera models that each slightly improved the performance of the previous model. The latest addition to the series took place on 5. August 2015. The Sony A7R II mirrorless camera is among the industry's leading full-frame interchangeable lens cameras, that can create high-quality videos and photos. The A7R II body can be purchased for $2.698.00, although the cost of the camera might be too high for some photography and videography enthusiasts the camera's seemingly high price is justified by its overall performance.
Sony A7R II Complete Review
1. Pros and Cons
- The industry's leading sensor
- Great high ISO value performance
- Silent shooting allows you to take photos without being noticed
- Impressive dynamic range
- Excellent Autofocus features
- Poorly organized menu
- No in-camera RAW conversion
- Short battery life
- No touchscreen
- Just one SD card slot
Sony's latest addition to the A7-series has a magnesium alloy body with nearly perfect weather sealing. With the size of 126.9 x 95.7 x 60.3 mm and the weight of 625g the Sony A7R II is a professional level camera that can be easily carried around. The camera's body with a redesigned grip is better adjusted to large lenses and it fits nicely in the hand. On the back of the camera is a 3-inch 1,228.8K-dot resolution tilting LCD monitor that can be moved 107 degrees upwards and 41 degrees downwards. In situations when LCD monitor cannot be used, an electronic viewfinder can be utilized. It has a 100% frame coverage and a 0.78 magnification factor that enables the users to compose their shots perfectly.
3. Sensor and Processor
At the time of its release, the Sony A7R II had the largest backside illuminated sensor on the market. The 42MP Full-Frame Exmor R BSI CMOS sensor enables the camera to produce still and moving images of extraordinary sharpness and detail. The BIONZ X image processor works perfectly with the camera's sensor and together they provide amazing speed throughout the camera system while eliminating the noise almost entirely. Sony A7R II is equipped with a 5-Axis SteadyShot INSIDE image stabilization system that reduces five different types of camera shakes that can occur during the handheld shooting of photos and videos.
In addition to one of the best image stabilization systems currently available on the market, Sony A7R II features a fast Hybrid Autofocus system with 399 Phase-Detect points and 25 Contrast points that enable tracking of moving objects even in low-light conditions. The camera utilizes E-mount lenses, but Phase-Detect Points can be extended even to A-mount lenses that can be used on this camera only with LA-EA1 or LA-EA3 lens adapters. Also, the Lock-on AF tracking feature is available to those sharp shooters who want their camera to analyze more information and thus improve the camera's accuracy. The brightness range is enhanced by the S-Log 2 and S-Gamut settings that diversify A7R II's dynamic range significantly.
5. Image quality
The Sony A7R II's most celebrated characteristic is its vast ISO range, which is enabled by the camera's sensor and image processor. The native ISO sensitivity range 100-25600 can be extended up to 50 - 102, 400, which enables the A7R II to capture images with the low-level of grain even in the near impossible situations. In addition, the camera's shutter has a reduced vibration design that cuts down the camera vibration by almost 50%, which is a particularly important feature when shooting at high ISO values.
The Sony A7R II is the first camera in the world that can capture UHD 4K videos with HVAC S format at 30 or 24fps internally. Furthermore, the camera can record 4K videos at 100 or 60Mbps, while Full HD video can be produced in 1920 X 1080p resolution at a maximum frame rate of 60fps. All video recordings can be saved as AVCHD, MP4 or XAVC S files depending on the mode used for recording the video. The Sony A7R II has several timecode recording features that can be used efficiently to sync the footage when working with more than just one camera.
The maximum still image resolution is 7952 X 5304 and images can be saved in JPEG or RAW formats. Even though the camera can produce amazing photographs in high quality, it still lacks certain features that make the life of professional photographers much easier. Perhaps, the biggest disadvantage of this camera is the absence of the second SD card slot, which can be crucial, especially when working with large files. The Sony A7R II can store footage on SD, SDHC, SDXC cards or Pro Duo and Pro HG-Duo memory sticks, while both WiFi and HDMI connectivity make transferring, sharing and uploading the footage to the cloud almost effortless.
The Sony A7R II doesn't have a built-in flash, but an external flash can be attached to the camera via the Hot Shoe. However, the camera has a variety of flash modes that enable the user to adjust and control the flash settings. Sony's A7R II is equipped with 3.5 mm audio and headphone jacks that can be utilized to record audio files externally and monitor the audio recording process.
This is surely one of the best mirrorless cameras on the market today since it can create videos similar in quality to those produced by professional RED cameras, but it can also capture still images of the highest professional standard.
7. Key features
- 42MP Full Frame Exmor R BSI CMOS 36 X 24 mm sensor
- BIONZ X image processor
- 5-Axis SteadyShot INSIDE image stabilization
- 399 Phase-Detect AF points
- Highest ISO value 102,400
- Reduced-Vibration Shutter design
- 3 inch 1.228.8K-dot LCD monitor
- 2.36M-dot XGA OLED Tru-Finder EVF
- Built-in WiFi connectivity
With the best sensor on the current market and 5fps at 42MP for up to 22 continuous frames, the Sony A7R II is possibly one of the most capable mirrorless cameras you can get. The battery life is relatively short and is estimated to only a few hundred still image shots, which is why a battery grip is a must have accessory for users who need to work with the Sony A7R II for a prolonged period of time. The Sony's latest addition to the A7 series can be used for a large number of different purposes since it can meet the demands of the less experienced users and the professional photographers and videographers alike. However, less experienced users might find it difficult to operate the Sony A7R II since this camera is primarily designed for professional use.
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