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Sony a7r II Review

The new Alpha A7R III has lately taken the place of the older Alpha A7R II. In addition to providing several enhancements in terms of performance, the Alpha A7R III should also be capable of delivering an even more comprehensive dynamic range.

The newer model is the one to go for (or Nikon’s D850), but you might be able to pick up the A7R II at a fantastic bargain if you wait. If the budget can extend to it, the newer model is the one to go for.

Ever since it acquired the camera division of Konica Minolta in 2006, Sony has had high goals for the market for still and video cameras. However, after some early enthusiasm, there were only occasional times of activity, and the focus of many photographers and industry analysts began to decrease slightly.

After that, in September 2013, the business introduced the RX1, a remarkably tiny camera with a small form factor. After waiting for a little over a year, the Alpha 7 and 7R were shown to the public, and that’s when we started paying serious attention. The unveiling of these cameras to the press in the UK elicited an audible gasp due to their diminutive size. They were the first compact system cameras in the world to have a full-frame sensor.

Sony a7r II Performance

Our experiments in both the natural world and the lab have shown that the Alpha 7R II can resolve a great deal of information. However, this should come as no surprise, given that the sensor in this camera contains 42 million individual pixels.

However, interestingly, we discovered that we couldn’t match the JPEG’s in-camera processing when processing raw file images of our chart using the software that was supplied; the JPEGs resolve very slightly more detail than the raw files do. The highest level of detail is captured at the lowest sensitivity settings, as you would expect.

In the laboratory, we discovered that the A7R II is almost capable of reaching the maximum score in our resolution tests, but it does not out-resolve the chart. Additionally, it is not quite capable of matching the detail captured by the 50MP Canon 5DS, which is not surprising given the disparity in pixel count between the two cameras. In a similar vein, the 36MP A7R and the Nikon D810 are unable to capture as much information as the 48MP A7R II can.

JPEGs take on a little artistic look when seen at 100% on screen when the sensitivity is adjusted to mid-range levels.

At high values, this becomes much more apparent, as the edges look to be a touch sharp while the sections in between are a softer wash of color. When seen at regular viewing sizes, the JPEGs look OK, but when viewed at 100%, they have an overly processed appearance.

Sony a7r II Build Quality.

The A7R II, like the other cameras in the Alpha 7 family, features a design reminiscent of traditional single-lens reflex cameras. However, Sony has addressed some of the complaints raised over the first-generation A7 and A7R and has made the same adjustments to the handling of the A7R II as it did to the A7 II.

Because the front grip is more prominent than the others, using it is both more pleasant and more secure. The button that releases the shutter has been relocated forward onto the top of the grip, and directly below it is a recessed dial that is in an ideal location for making adjustments to the settings. Because of this, there is no room on the top plate for a second button that may be customized.

The body of the A7R II is made out of magnesium alloy, and it is protected from the elements much like the rest of the A7 series.

When held tightly, the front grip of the camera makes a creaking sound. I’m not talking about the type of grip that can break a bone in a handshake; instead, I’m referring to the kind of grip required when you have a lens like the FE 16-35mm f/4 or the 70-200mm f/4 mounted. The rest of the camera has a pleasant density and feels very solid, but the front grip makes a noise when it’s held tightly.

Sony a7r II Image Quality

During this evaluation, the Sony A7R II generated photographs of exceptionally high quality. The Sony A7R II boasts a wide and extremely useable ISO range that goes from 50 up to 102,400. ISO 50-3200 produces almost no noise at all, while ISO 6400 and 12800 offer results that are more than satisfactory, and even ISO 25600 and 51200 may be used successfully in an emergency.

However, the RAW examples show exactly how much processing the camera undertakes by default since they are significantly noisier than their JPEG counterparts across the board, regardless of the ISO value.

The 42-megapixel photographs come out of the camera slightly soft when using the default creative style. For the best results, you should sharpen them some more by utilizing an application such as Adobe Photoshop; alternatively, you may adjust the degree of sharpening that the camera applies automatically.

The night shot turned out well thanks to the camera’s maximum shutter speed of 30 seconds and its Bulb mode, which allow lots of room for creative experimentation during nighttime shooting.

The efficient Dynamic Range Optimizer function may extract additional data from an image’s shadow and highlight sections without adding any noise or other artifacts that aren’t wanted. The High Dynamic Range mode combines the results of two separate images taken at various exposures into a single image. The result is an image that has a higher dynamic range than what would be produced by a single photograph.

However, it does yield some excellent effects even though it can only function with JPEGs and stationary subjects. Even after all of these years, they are using Sony’s Sweep Panorama still a delightful experience. While the many Picture Effects enable you to create unique looks in a short amount of time, which would generally need you to spend a significant amount of time in the digital darkroom, the Creative Styles make it simple and quick to adjust the JPEG photos captured by the camera.

Sony a7r II Specs

Body typeSLR-style mirrorless
Body materialMagnesium alloy
Max resolution7952 x 5304
Other resolutions3:2, full-frame (5168 x 3448, 3984 x 2656), APS-C (5168 x 3448, 3984 x 2656, 2592 x 1728); 16:9, 35mm (7952 x 4472, 5168 x 2912, 3984 x 2240), APS-C (5168 x 2912, 3984 x 2240, 2592 x 1456)
Image ratio w:h3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels42 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors44 megapixels
Sensor sizeFull frame (35.9 x 24 mm)
Sensor size notesBSI-CMOS full-frame sensor. No optical low-pass filter
Sensor typeBSI-CMOS
ProcessorBionz X
Color spacesRGB, AdobeRGB
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
ISOAuto, 100-25600 (expands to 50-102400)
Boosted ISO (minimum)50
Boosted ISO (maximum)102400
White balance presets10
Custom white balanceYes
Image stabilizationSensor-shift
Image stabilization notes5-axis (4.5 stops per CIPA standard)
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsExtra fine, fine, standard
File formatJPEG (DCF 2.0, EXIF 2.3)RAW (ARW 2.3)
Optics & Focus
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointSingleContinuousFace DetectionLive View
Autofocus assist lampYes
Digital zoomYes (4X)
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points399
Lens mountSony E
Focal length multiplier
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDTilting
Screen size3″
Screen dots1,228,800
Touch screenNo
Screen typeTFT LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeElectronic
Viewfinder coverage100%
Viewfinder magnification0.78×
Viewfinder resolution2,359,296
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed30 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/8000 sec
Exposure modesAutoProgramAperture priorityShutter priorityManual
Scene modesPortraitLandscapeMacroSports ActionSunsetNight PortraitNight SceneHand-held TwilightAnti Motion Blur
Built-in flashNo
External flashYes (via hot shoe)
Flash modesFlash off, Autoflash, Fill-flash, Rear Sync, Slow Sync, Red-eye reduction, Hi-speed sync, Wireless
Flash X sync speed1/250 sec
Drive modesSingleContinuousSelf-timer (single/continuous)Bracketing (single/continuous)WB bracketingDRO bracketing
Continuous drive5.0 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 10 sec; continuous (3 or 5 exposures))
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedSpot
Exposure compensation±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±5 (3, 5 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV, 2 EV steps)
WB BracketingYes
Videography features
Resolutions3840 x 2160 (30p, 25p, 24p), 1920 x 1080 (60p, 60i, 24p), 1440 x 1080 (30p), 640 x 480 (30p)
Videography notesheadphone and microphone ports, XLR support via adapter
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC, Memory Stick Duo/Pro Duo/Pro-HG Duo
USBUSB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMIYes (micro-HDMI port with 4K still, uncompressed video output)
Microphone portYes
Headphone portYes
Wireless notes802.11b/g/n with NFC
Remote controlYes (wired or via smartphone)
Environmentally sealedYes
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionNP-FW50 lithium-ion battery and charger
Battery Life (CIPA)290
Weight (inc. batteries)625 g (1.38 lb / 22.05 oz)
Dimensions127 x 96 x 60 mm (5 x 3.78 x 2.36″)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingYes (via downloadable app)

Sony a7r II Verdict

The Sony A7R II has a large pixel count, which makes it a genuine rival to DSLR cameras for professionals who work in landscape and portrait photography. However, its superb autofocus performance and video functions offer it a far wider appeal. However, there are still very few lens alternatives to choose from.

Sony a7r II Pros & Cons

Good For
  • High-end video capabilities, including the ability to shoot in 4K within the camera
  • Sensor with a high resolution and a complete frame
  • Compact, hermetically sealed body
Need Improvements
  • Button to capture video that is awkwardly located
  • There is a need for menu simplification.
  • A somewhat constrained selection of lens options

Build quality
Ergonomics & handling
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Movie / video mode
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The new Alpha A7R III has lately taken the place of the older Alpha A7R II. In addition to providing several enhancements in terms of performance, the Alpha A7R III should also be capable of delivering an even more comprehensive dynamic range. The newer model...Sony a7r II Review