About two months ago, I became the happiest owner of a Sony a7R II – a professional camera. I researched a lot before making any decision, and, according to my needs, this one proved to be the best one for me.
The Sony A7R II is one of the cameras in which Sony has put the latest technology of the moment, to seduce and give a blow on the table, thus giving itself to be noticed once again in the market.
With a complete camera, powerful, fast, and with a performance that from the beginning of use, it does not stop. This is the camera model whose details make it the perfect hybrid, both for those who are more passionate about photography and those who go for the video recording side.
Sony’s full-frame mirrorless camera series has managed to stand out so much that even the most loyal fans of Canon and Nikon have decided to go to Sony’s side. All this is because its generation of cameras signifies that Sony is serious about having the results that have caught everyone’s attention.
That is why, after trying it, I now present the A7R II, the camera that has received the “camera of the year” award from the vast majority.
It is a top-performing camera with high-end features, which I highly recommend. Keeping in mind the price/quality ratio (which I always suggest to be a top priority when buying a product), this one is truly a must-have.
Sony A7RII review
Sony A7R II comes with a back-illuminated full-frame (35 mm) CMOS image sensor with 42.4 megapixels and a sensitivity up to ISO 102400. The fast hybrid AF system has a dense extra-wide focal plane phase-detection. AF coverage keeps the subject in sharp focus throughout the frame, and the 5-axis image stabilization reduces blur, which otherwise will affect hand-held photos.
The body of the A7R II camera is, in a certain way, the same as its predecessors, the A7 and A7R, with some improvements, which make its handling much more comfortable and safe.
Even though this design shares a certain similarity with the A7 II, we have a sealed body resistant to dust and splashes in this model. This camera offers a robust and reliable finish thanks to its magnesium alloy.
The camera body is thicker than previous models to give space to the built-in stabilizer and have a more successful non-slip grip, which means that there will be a more secure and ergonomic grip being a comfortable camera off to hold.
For perfect portraiture shoots, it focuses on a person’s eyes when you press the button. By default, this camera has the eye AF function set on the control wheel’s center button. You can change this by allocating a new key from the menu → custom settings → custom key settings → assign the Eye AF function to the desired key.
In addition to that, the A7R II has an intelligent redistribution of the buttons, which significantly improves the experience of use. Sony has also demonstrated its commitment to the users by reinforcing the camera mount to support larger and heavier accessories.
Counting with the extra, the camera has multiple options, customized on the buttons and controls, working according to the photographer’s taste.
As an extra, it comes incorporated with a new splendid electronic viewfinder, thus offering a higher resolution and a great magnification (0.78x). Excellent for continuous work, this with the support that the mobile screen gives us, which provides a variable angle.
There is a lock button on the mode dial to avoid unintentionally activating it and ruining the moment of shooting. This is something widespread in the most advanced SLR cameras. This small and simple detail is what demonstrates Sony’s clear focus on its professional camera.
It is also recording 4K movies featuring full pixel readout without pixel binning. It got a fast hybrid AF for film, which is an extra-precise system that focuses entirely.
The built-in screen on the A7 RII consists of a 3-inch LCD panel with a very vibrant image. This can be tilted to facilitate visibility. As in the viewfinder, we can superimpose a histogram in real-time and thus obtain indications about the levels of inclination.
The screen brightness is by default too low for outdoors but can be easily leveled by entering the camera settings. The biggest drawback of this screen is that it does not have a touch system, which is something that would greatly facilitate the work when using it or to focus.
High-bit-rate XAVC S format
Supports 4K recording at 100 Mbps bit rate as well as Full HD recording at 50Mbps. That is why the α7R II will capture movies filled with great detailed movement.
A detail to highlight in the camera A7R II is its advanced hybrid focus system, which has nothing to envy any professional DSLR. This system has 399 points for phase detection and 25 points for contrast, which allows a significant benefit in terms of focus, improving the design using optics from other brands and frames.
This camera’s real jewel is its 42-megapixel full-frame type backlit sensor, which has high performance that is not half done. The work obtained in high resolution, together with the absence of the low-pass filter (OLPF), offers us results with exquisite sharpness.
The dynamic range and level of detail of the Sony A7R II have a very high standard, not only in RAW formats but also in JPG. Although Sony was aiming for CMOS that was above 50 megapixels, with these 42 megapixels, it has achieved fabulous results.
The camera’s newly developed reduced-vibration shutter and the silent shooting mode minimize camera shake caused by shutter action for reducing the image blur.
All this, mixed with an ISO sensitivity capable of forcing up to 102,400 points, is a solid bet on Sony. The shooting speed reaches five frames per second, in addition to the backlit sensor is responsible for capturing light until reaching unthinkable points.
The proof of this is that the sensor can find light points and take an image (of low quality) in totally dark rooms, which is still an incredible detail. As for noise, we have verified that it perfectly holds up to sensitivities from 12,800 ISO.
XGA OLED with Zeiss T Coating
Reduce surface reflection, and a large viewfinder magnification at 0.78x shows how settings affect images and maximizes the high-resolution performance.
For those fans of video recording, the camera has an optimization to record at 4K UHD from 720p to 1,080p, especially in the Super 35mm format.
The video files are compatible with continuous AF since it has its built-in AF system. In this way, the built-in stabilization can be activated, reducing the effect of oscillations.
BIONZ X image processing engine
Tunes efficiently the image sensor’s data for more accurate and more natural, low-noise image depiction.
The audio obtained is recorded with the built-in stereo microphone or connected using a minijack of external microphones. It also has a headphone jack to monitor sound while recording.
Sharper images for not using an optical low-pass filter that can compromise picture clarity.
Sony A7RII Specifications:
- Sensor type: 35mm full-frame (35.9 x 24.0mm), Exmor R CMOS – The world’s first back-illuminated full-frame CMOS sensor with 42.4MP
- Processor: BIONZ X image processing engine
- Focus type: Fast Hybrid AF w. 399-point focal-plane phase-detection AF coverage
- Focus point: 35mm full-frame: 399 points (phase-detection AF) APS-C: 357 points (phase-detection AF) / 25 points (contrast-detection AF)
- Shutter Type: Electronically-controlled, vertical-traverse, focal-plane type
- Shutter speed: Bulb, Movies: 1/8000 to 1/4 (1/3 step), NTSC: Up to 1/60 in AUTO mode (up to 1/30 in Auto Slow Shutter mode), PAL: Up to 1/50 in AUTO mode (up to 1/25 in Auto Slow Shutter mode), Still images: 1/8000 to 30 sec
- Image stabilization: 5-axis image stabilization for stills and movies
- Lens compatibility: Sony E-mount lenses (FE)
- ISO sensitivity: Wide ISO range from ISO 50 to ISO 102400
- Viewfinder Type: XGA OLED, 1.3 cm (0.5 type) electronic viewfinder (color)
- Viewfinder Display: Graphic Display, Display All Info., No Disp. Info., Digital Level Gauge, Histogram
- Monitor type: 7.5 cm (3.0-type) TFT drive
- LCD: Graphic Display / Display All Info. / No Disp. Info. / Histogram / Digital Level Gauge / Shooting information for viewfinder mode
- Real-time image adjustment: both for viewfinder and LCD
- Playback modes: 9/25-frame index view, Auto Review (10/5/2 sec, off), Delete, Enlarged display mode (Maximum magnification L: 24.9x, M: 16.2x, S: 9.4x), Folder selection (Still / Date / MP4 / AVCHD / XAVC S HD / XAVC S 4K), Forward/Rewind (movie), Image orientation (Auto/Manual/Off selectable), Panorama scrolling, Protect, Single (with or without shooting information, Y RGB histogram & highlight/shadow warning), Slide-show
- Audio: Built-in stereo microphone or XLR-K2M/ECM-XYST1M (sold separately)
- Speaker: Built-in, monaural
- Compatible print standards: Exif Print, Print Image Matching III, DPOF setting
- Storage media slot: Multi slot for Memory Stick Duo/SD memory card
- External flash compatibility: Sony α System Flash compatible with Multi Interface Shoe, attach the shoe adapter for flash compatible with Auto-lock accessory shoe
- Wi-Fi and NFC: NFC One-touch functionality, Wi-Fi
- Battery life (still images): Approx. 290 shots (viewfinder) / approx. 340 shots (LCD screen)
- Size and weight: 126.9 x 95.7 x 60.3 mm / 582 g (Body Only) / 625 g (With battery and media)
In the box:
- Power cord
- Two rechargeable battery NP-FW50
- Cable protector
- AC adaptor AC-UD10
- Battery charger BC-VW1
- Shoulder strap
- Body cap
- Accessory shoe cap
- Eyepiece cap
- Micro USB cable
DRO and auto HDR:
DRO corrects your images to achieve smoother and more natural gradations with more detail in the highlights and shadows. It can be used in continuous shooting mode and when targeting moving subjects.
High Dynamic Range
HDR combines the best specifics from three exposures to blow up your images’ dynamic range, from pitch-dark shadows to brightest highlights, and to capture all the tonal variations seen by your naked eyes.
Only two things I was able to find about this jewel camera that does not excel in performance – the battery life and the continuous shooting capability, which is only five fps (frames per second). Anyway, the box contains two batteries, which was always enough for a shooting day in my case, and to change the battery takes a few seconds – so not a big issue.
The five fps should do the job (it is okay in my case) but could be better.
Here is a video by Michael The Maven about the focusing system on A7RII:
Sony Alpha 7R II ILCE-7RM2 is a fantastic digital camera that I rated with 5 out of 5, and I can easily recommend it as a truly professional, great companion to carry everywhere. From shooting the most exceptional moments, scenes, or portraits to recording great videos are doing the job with astonishing results.
I am not saying that this is the best camera out there, but (always) considering the price/quality ratio – for me is the best. You can have it for less than £1,600 brand new (body only), which is a real deal for a top professional camera.
This is an impressive camera, which has managed to convince diehard fans of all kinds of brands to switch to Sony.
The truth is that this is not at all strange at all since, despite its shortcomings (which it certainly has), almost everything in this camera is fantastic. It is a more than decent hybrid autofocuses (even with manual lenses) with 399 focus points, a sensor with extraordinary resolution, color, detail, and dynamic range.
Another feature is that it has a remarkably high ISO among the best in the market’s high-end. Image stabilization in the sensor itself, a silent shutter, S-Log profiles, exceptional video quality (especially in crop mode), and a large-excellent electronic viewfinder.
I hope you enjoyed my Sony A7RII review. Please comment below about anything you want to add or ask, as I am always happy to help. Thanks for reading!