Sony A7S II Review

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The Sony A7S II is Sony’s flagship hybrid stills camera and interchangeable lens video camera launched in 2015. Launched more than five years ago, this is still one of the best cameras available in the market due to the features which are still not offered by anyone else.

It has extraordinary sensitivity and an extended dynamic range through every ISO range and 5-axis image stabilization that gives you superior shooting control.

Sony A7S II Review

Sony Alpha A7S II is a 12.0MP Pro Mirrorless camera with a Full frame (35.6 23.8 x 23.8 millimeters) large CMOS sensor.

It also has an integrated brand-new Image Stabilization system, a weatherproof body, tilting screen, and Sony E lens mount. In short, every feature a person might be looking at in high-end mirrorless cameras.

Usually, this camera comes in a body alone or a complete package that includes the Sony FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS zoom lens making it ideal for capturing video and stills in dim lighting.

Full-frame 4K videos can be captured internally, with the full pixel readout without binning of pixels, and full HD video can be shot at 120fps and 100Mbps. The a7S II has an ISO sensitivity range from ISO 50-409600, which applies to stills and video capture.

Salient features of Sony A7S II:

Design

Sturdy, simple, best ergonomics and user-friendly designs are the specialties of Sony’s cameras. And this mirrorless camera features the best of all these features.

The Sony Alpha A7S II is an all-frame compact camera. The design and overall look are similar to models from the top-of-the-line Alpha range. It’s not the most miniature camera, yet it’s less than a DSLR alternative.

What’s new in this new model compared to its predecessor or Sony’s cameras in the similar category?

Well, A7S II  is a step up from every aspect and takes its cues from all the significant improvements in design that you noticed during A7R II. The first-wave A7 models had standard settings but were challenging to use in parts. Sony Alpha A7S II uses new controls that are designed to operate better.

Sony A7S II top view

Handling

The grip is now different. It’s more rounded, which gives a better grip on the hand. The shutter button’s location is different as well. The controller itself has been moved forward and now sits closer to the point where your finger naturally falls. It’s more comfortable.

The Sony Alpha A7S II shape is identical to the previous generation, but the finishing is different. The smooth bodies have exchanged for a rough and almost speckled look that is a lot more like the one used in top DSLRs. It appears to be slightly more rugged and durable.

Like before, most of the camera’s frame is composed of magnesium alloy. Although there’s not complete weather sealing, the frame has been constructed to keep out water.

The other feature new to the model is a lock mode dial, which can help prevent you from changing to a different shooting mode in error.

EVF and Screen of Sony Alpha A7S II

At first glance, the Sony Alpha A7S II has the identical EVF found in the A7S. It features the same 2.36-million dots viewfinder. Higher-resolution models are available; however, they are incredibly scarce as of the date of writing.

There’s been a slight improvement in this feature of the gadget. It’s gone in the range of 0.71x from 0.71x to 0.78x magnification. This makes the image appear more prominent, and nobody will be complaining about it. It’s an excellent EVF.

Sony A7S II display

LCD and ViewFinder

Sony Alpha A7S II is equipped with a tilting 3.0″ screen LCD. The resolution of the screen is 1,229k dots. Additionally, it comes with an Electronic ViewFinder built-in. Its built-in ViewFinder has a coverage of 100 pixels and a resolution of 2 359 dots.

100% guarantee that the final image will show precisely what you observe in the viewfinder when shooting. The coverage indicator will also mean that the frame of your shot will be more precise, which means there is no need for additional cropping.

The Sony A7S II elevates your photography by integrating Imaging Edge desktop applications. Utilize “Remote” to control and watch live shooting on your PC’s screen “Viewer” to preview the photos quickly, rate them, and choose images from the vast collections of pictures; and “Edit” to develop RAW images into high-quality ones for distribution. Make the most of Sony RAW files, and improve the efficiency of your productions.

Max Shutter speed of Sony Alpha A7S II

Other highlights on Sony Alpha A7S II are its 5.0 FPS max speed and 1/8000 sec max shutter speed. These allow users to take continuous photos.

In addition, Alpha A7S II comes equipped with an electronic shutter with a maximum speed of 1/8000 seconds. Also, it means it is possible to take pictures without sound. But there’s one aspect of being aware of. Although electronic shutters are excellent for continuous and silent photography, they can cause rolling shutter effects to your photos in certain situations.

Flash

Unfortunately, unlike other class cameras, Alpha A7S II does not have an internal flash. But fortunately, it comes with an additional slot to accommodate other external lights instead.

Focusing

Additionally, Alpha A7S II has a Face detection AF function which quickly locates faces within the frame and then locks the focus to the faces instantly. Aside from the face detection camera, A7S II comes with an awe-inspiring feature – Eye Tracking AF.

This AF system lets the camera detect people’s eyes and automatically keeps the focus on their looks.

Additionally, the feature can track every move performed by the subject accurately. The eye-tracking AF feature within Alpha A7S II is an ideal tool for shooting portraits. It is helpful, especially if you have a small field depth and use quick lenses. The system can quickly identify faces and then automatically focus the faces.

Video Features

Regarding the Sony Alpha A7S II video quality features, it can capture videos at the highest resolution, 3840 x 2160. You also can choose from a variety of formats you will save your videos.

For instance, this mirrorless camera lets you save files with MPEG-4 and AVCHD or XAVC S formats. Sony Alpha A7S II supports 4K (Ultra-HD) video.

If you choose this resolution, you’ll be amazed by the clarity of the video as well as the clarity of the details when viewing it on a high-definition screen. These impressive resolution numbers help this model distinguish from the earlier model with a maximum video resolution.

So, suppose you’re planning to upgrade your camera and would prefer to be able to take a lot of high-quality videos. In that case, high resolution is an essential benefit of the Alpha A7S II.

Furthermore, Sony Alpha A7S II has a unique port that allows you to connect an external mic. It has an external audio port that makes the Sony Alpha A7S II an excellent camera for videography of high-quality use.

Connectivity and Storage

Another benefit of the Sony Alpha A7S II is its integrated wireless (Wi-Fi) and NFC connectivity. This makes it possible to share files using compatible devices without having a physical connection.

Furthermore, this device is equipped with HDMI, USB 2.0, and HDMI ports, allowing you to link Alpha A7S II with suitable external devices.

Sony A7S II connections

Battery Life

Following the commonly accepted CIPA standards, the battery used in the Sony Alpha A7S II provides an average of 370 shots. The typical battery life of cameras of this category is 432 shots.

Based on the widely accepted standards to consider, it is possible to conclusively say that Sony Alpha A7S II is over the average battery longevity. However, it’s a good idea to get some extra batteries if you plan to take long photography excursions.

The only downside is that the battery’s lifespan isn’t even close to that of the similar-priced DSLRs, such as that of the Nikon D810. The battery can last for about 300 shots, as Sony packs two batteries inside the box, but be aware that this won’t be enough for serious photography trips. Keeping a battery backup is always a good idea.

The Sony Alpha A7S II can be charged up via USB with the battery of an additional device. A battery inside your bag for camera use is a great idea.

Sony A7S II battery

Sony A7S II Major Specifications:

1.      Lens

  • Sony A7S II supports E-mount lens support. All Sony E-Mount lenses are compatible.

2.      Sensor

  • It has a 35 mm sensor.
  • It has a 35mm full-frame (35.6 x 23.8mm) Exmor CMOS sensor.
  • It is Approx.12.2 MP
  • Image sensor aspect ratio is 3:2

3.      Recording:

  • The recording format for still images is JPEG (DCF Ver. 2.0, Exif Ver. 2.3, MPF baseline compliant), RAW (Sony ARW 2.3 format)
  • The recording format for movies is XAVC S / AVCHD format Ver. 2.0 compliant / MP4
  • It provides you with high frame recordings of NTSC: 1920 x 1080 (24p/12Mbps, 30p/16Mbps), PAL: 1920 x 1080 (25p/16Mbps)

4.      Storage Media

  • Sony A7S II provides compatible recording on Memory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo, Memory Stick Micro (M2), SD memory card, SDHC memory card (UHS-I compliant), SDXC memory card (UHS-I compliant), microSD memory card, microSDHC memory card, microSDXC memory card

5.      Noise Reduction:

  • Long exposure NR: On/Off, available at shutter speeds longer than one sec., High ISO NR: Normal/Low/Off selectable

6.      Focus Type:

  • The focus is on type Contrast-detection AF

7.      Focus Point:

  • Sony A7S II provides 169 points (contrast-detection AF)

8.      Image Stabilization

  • Image Sensor-Shift mechanism with 5-axis compensation

Pros and Cons of Sony A7S II:

Things we loved:

  • It provides you with the best electronic viewfinder.
  • Sony offers 5-axis in-body stabilization in its newest camera bodies that are very useful, especially for some hybrid photographers.
  • Say goodbye to blurry portraits! The continuous eye autofocus feature allows you to get tack-sharp focus on the model’s eye at the push of a button. In daylight, it is exact and consistent. It doesn’t work well in low light and reverts to facial recognition.
  • There is no inquiry that one of the biggest causes why photographers move to mirrorless in general or Sony is explicitly for the smaller form factor.
  • Not only are these cameras feature-packed, but they also offer tremendously good image quality.
  • The full-frame A7RII and crop sensor A6500 give you unreal resolution, dynamic range, and sharpness; you will be delighted with that, and it has allowed me to get the most out of my photos.

Unimpressive aspects of Sony A7S II

  • The battery life on Sony cameras is almost offensive compared to a DSLR.
  • It would take at least 3 seconds to wake up and be ready to take a photograph.
  • It also powers you to intentionally replace your batteries when shooting an event because the camera will take around 7 seconds to take a photograph after replacing its battery!
  • It provides you with only 1 SD card slot.

Conclusion

In the wake of Sony’s great low-light cameras, the A7S, Sony has made an incremental but still remarkable upgrade to Sony A7S II. But the sensor has not changed. Sony has reworked the engine for image processing to give the best high ISO performance.

Considering how amazing the initial A7S was when operating at higher ISOs is quite an achievement. Additionally, the camera received changes similar to its Mark II sibling with improved ergonomics and controls, in addition to receiving Sony’s remarkable 5-axis image stabilization.

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