Sony Alpha A7S II Review

Following the introduction of the Sony Alpha 7 II and Sony Alpha 7R II, it had been only a matter of time before Sony introduced the update to the Alpha 7S, its 12Mp, low light, and video-centric model, which includes recognition in the film and tv industry. Affirmed, the Alpha 7S II was announced in September 2015 and is currently on sale.

As the changes brought by the brand new camera are welcome, its specification sheet holds a couple of surprises, featuring most of the upgrades already seen somewhere else in the Sony A7 range.

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Sony Alpha A7S II: Price

For example, like the Sony A7R II, the Sony A7S II may record 4K 4:2:0 8-bit video (in XAVC S format and without pixel binning) to a suitably fast memory card and it has a 5-axis stabilization system.

Pixel binning combines the result from a little grid of pixels, and it’s a way to getting higher sensitivities from a sensor at the cost of a lower resolution.

Just like the A7S, the Mark II may also record a 4K video to an external recorder just like the Atomos Shogun via HDMI with 8-bit 4:2:2 color depth.

Having an 8-bit color implies that there are 256 tones of every primary color, which might sound reasonable. Still, it doesn’t compare, therefore well with recording externally to a 4K recorder from a Panasonic GH4 as its 10-bit output gives 1024 shades per color.

One significant first scored by the Sony A7S II for the Sony A7-series, however, maybe the ability to record complete HD footage at up to 120fps at 100Mbps (without pixel binning) for super-slow movement playback.

The A7S cameras are also designed for low-light shooting, and as before, the utmost sensitivity setting is ISO 409,600. The indigenous range is ISO 100-102,400. There’s also the 5-axis image stabilization program that we’ve noticed and valued in the A7 II and A7R II, for smoother footage and sharper pictures.

Like the original A7S, in the center of the Sony A7S II is a full-frame 12.2Mp Exmor CMOS sensor. According to Sony’s Masaaki Oshima, Deputy General Supervisor of the Digital Imaging Business Group’s Imaging Items and Solutions Sector, the new camera uses the same sensor and processing engine as the A7S. Still, new circuitry, along with improved sound reduction algorithms, implies that sound is controlled superior to before. It has also been optimized for video shootings.

Sony Alpha A7S II: Build and Handling

Just like the Sony A7 II and Sony A7R II, the brand new Sony A7S II feels well-crafted and is comfortable to carry, with most controls being within easy reach. The brand new camera can be more challenging than the original model, with an increase of magnesium alloy and a reinforced zoom lens mount. It’s also weatherproof, although you need to watch out for rainfall droplets obtaining onto the viewfinder sensor and switching off the rear screen when you do not want it to.

In response to criticisms of the look of the initial Sony A7, A7R, and Sony A7S, Sony has produced shifts to the Mark II versions. Included in these are making the grip larger, moving the shutter release forward to the top of the grip, and changing the trunk barrel-like dial to a far more standard, semi-recessed type dial.

However, the video record button continues to be on the corner of the thumb grip on the back of the camera, and it’s awkward to find and press when holding the camera. Fortunately, there are lots of customization options so that it can be set to some other button. Those that want to use the A7S II mainly for stills could find among the two customization control keys on the top-plate the right choice. At the same time, dedicated videographers may choose to utilize the large button on the trunk of the camera at the center of the control dial and routing pad. This switch makes an excellent choice for accessing the concentrated point setting for stills shooters.

Sony Alpha A7S II: Performance

As it includes a lower pixel count compared to the Sony A7R II and Sony A7 II, the Sony Alpha 7S II can’t resolve as very much detail as its stablemates instill. Still, there will do information to create high-quality A3 prints. Furthermore, its larger photosites help with noise control. While you wouldn’t wish to make use of ISO 409,600 routinely, if you are reporting occasions in near darkness, you’ll receive something nearly recognizable – just as you’ll from the original A7S.

In most cases, the A7S II produces much less saturated and even more natural colors in video and stills. Thus giving give much greater scope for post catch adjustment/grading.

Sony has considerably improved the Sony A7S II’s autofocus system more than the Sony A7’s even though it’s even now unlikely to tempt pro video shooters from manual focus while shooting. It’s helpful when taking stills. You may expect just a little hunting in dark interiors and outside during the night; nonetheless, it usually gets the subject sharp provided that you will discover a location with a reasonable comparison. In more typical lighting circumstances, it’s fast and accurate. It is also competent to tracking a shifting subject matter in a good light. However, in Lock-on AF setting is frequently distracted by other items in the picture, so it’s easier to use Flexible Spot or Expanded Flexible Place mode and also to try to keep carefully the active AF stage over the topic yourself.

The Sony A7S is a specialized, high-sensitivity stills/video camera, and according to Sony, over half of the individuals who got it are professionals. There is no information about the ratio of stills to video shooters available, but our experience shows that it’s the video component that sold it. The Sony A7S II can be an update to the Sony A7S, and it’s more appealing to videographers, with improved managing.

Sony already makes higher quality A7-series digital cameras, so it’s in a position to focus on the A7S II in low light and video photography with no need to compromise it for a broader market. The in-camera 4K recording brings it current – this was starting to look like a significant failing in the initial model – and the quicker autofocusing, 5-axis picture stabilization, and better sound control are of help steps forward.

Sony Alpha A7S II: Auto-Focus and Stabilization

In most cases the A7S II produces much less saturated and much more natural colours within video and stills. Thus giving give much higher scope for article capture adjustment/grading.

Sony has significantly improved the The7S II’s autofocus program over the A7’s even though it’s even now unlikely to tempt professional video shooters from manual concentrate whilst shooting, it’s helpful when getting stills. You may expect just a little hunting in darkish interiors and outside during the night, but it generally gets the topic sharp so long as you could find a location with reasonable comparison. In more typical lighting problems it’s quick and accurate. It is also capable to monitoring a shifting subject matter in good light, however in Lock-on AF mode is frequently distracted by some other items in the picture so it’s easier to use Flexible Place or Expanded Versatile Spot mode also to attempt to keep carefully the active AF stage on the subject yourself.

The built-in five-axis image stabilization system is also new for the A7S series also it works effectively in video and stills setting with the correct lenses. When shooting a movie it enables you to handhold the digital camera and still obtain reasonably steady results without a tripod or monopod. Don’t expect it to create you’re going for walks or running pictures look like these were shot on a Steadicam – it will not, nonetheless it will take away the micro-jitters which will be the inform-tale indicators of a poor handheld chance. When shooting stills we found it feasible to obtain images that are consistently razor-sharp at 100% when working with a shutter velocity of 1/15sec with Sony’s FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS zoom lens mounted with a close subject matter. Many photos at slower shutter speeds furthermore stood muster, some as sluggish as 1/5sec.

Unfortunately, one problem for the Alpha 7R II can be an issue with the A7S II – overheating. That is most severe when shooting 4K footage to a memory and using the EVF and picture stabilisation simultaneously. When it will get as well hot the camera just shuts itself right down to protect itself from harm. Really the only solution to that is to control the recording occasions or to make use of an exterior recorder rather than the SD card.

Our encounter indicates that it is nearly as poor with the A7S II much like the A7R II, but if you are utilizing the EVF and stabilisation you might need to allow camera cool off after recording continuously for 30 or 40 minutes – dependant on the ambient temperature. The utmost capturing duration is in fact 29 minutes 59 seconds, but in the event that you shoot lengthy clips in fast succession you’ll quickly get near to the 30-40 minute point.

Finally, an instant word in relation to battery life. Sony estimates a physique of 310 images with all the digital viewfinder and measured to CIPA requirements. We discovered this very conservative and got over 450 (natural and JPEG) pictures from one electric battery, although we had been pretty cautious about switching the digital camera off between shots. Nevertheless, if you’re shooting video you will discover they don’t last for very long and it’s really a good concept to take 4 or 5 batteries if you are likely to spend a day time video shooting.

Sony Alpha A7S II: Specifications

  • Sensor: 42.4 MP Sony Exmor R BSI CMOS image sensor
  • Autofocus System: Fast Hybrid AF with 399 Phase-Detect Points
  • Continuous Shooting: 5 fps
  • Electronic Viewfinder: XGA OLED with 2.36 million dots, 100% field coverage
  • Viewfinder Magnification: 0.78x
  • Movie: UHD 4K and Full HD movie shooting
  • Panorama Mode: Yes
  • HDR Capability: Yes
  • Battery Life: Up to 290 images (Viewfinder) and 340 images (LCD)
  • LCD: Tiltable 3″ LCD with 1,228K dots
  • Image Stabilization: SteadyShot INSIDE Image Stabilization with 5-axis compensation
  • Shutter: Electronically controlled, vertical-traverse, focal-plane type
  • Shutter Rating: 500,000 cycles
  • Electronic Front Curtain Shutter: Yes
  • Wi-Fi Capability: Built-in
  • Weight: 625g

Sony Alpha A7S II: Conclusion

The A7S is really a specialized, high-sensitivity stills/video camera and in accordance with Sony over 1 / 2 of individuals who got it are professionals. There is no information regarding the ratio of stills to movie shooters obtainable, but our encounter suggests that it is the video component that really offered it. The A7S II is an update to the A7S and it’s really more appealing to videographers, with enhanced handling.

Sony already helps make higher resolution A7-series digital cameras, so it’s in a position to focus on the The7S II in low lighting and video digital photography with no need to compromise it for the wider target audience. The in-camera 4K recording provides it current – this is starting to appear to be a significant failing in the initial design – and the quicker autofocusing, 5-axis image stabilisation and much better noise control are of help steps forward.

These improvements also need to help make the A7S II more desirable to stills photographers who have to shoot inside low gentle and who won’t need to produce prints higher than A3 in proportions – professional wedding photographers and front-line reporters are common examples. Nevertheless, there is not much enhancement in the picture quality on the original camera’s.


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