Sony took the camera world by surprise in 2014 by offering None, but three full-frame mirrorless cameras. The new A7 series surely made a splash, but none of them actually made a strong case for pros to ditch their enormous DSLRs in favor of a newer, smaller apparel.

Arguably the best stills camera of this Group, the Sony A7R needed a lot to offer, but it wasn’t quite fast or dependable enough for a pro’s workhorse camera. Iffy autofocus, a loud shutter, and dreadful battery life do not just make a fantastic first impression. But a sequel is nowhere in the type of the 42-megapixel Sony Alpha A7R II (MSRP $3,200 body-only).

However, a camera isn’t just the performance of its sensor: It’s The sum of a fantastic many parts. In this aspect, the A7R II is a far more competent and serious pro-ready camera compared to its predecessor. The battery life is as poor as ever, but with improved autofocus, optical stabilization, and 4K video, the A7R II taps to the series’ near-limitless possible. However, with so many excellent full-frame cameras available on the current market, can it justify the price?

Design & Managing

After you first pull on the A7R II from this box, then you’ll notice This it is a blocky, angular beast of a camera. It’s smaller than most full-frame DSLRs, but it’s thicker than most mirrorless cameras. Its body is made chiefly of a lightweight magnesium metal, but it’s still got a satisfying heft to it.

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As Soon as You start shooting, you’ll appreciate the robust chunky controls. The clasp is deeper than it was on the first–though somewhat short–and each one the primary controls you will want are within reach. Putting the focal point mode selector switch underneath your thumb’s organic resting position was a nice touch, also Sony’s menu systems are comparatively simple to operate. It certainly takes some getting used to, however, you shouldn’t Need to search also far for your desired settings

It’s not all roses, however. The clasp is a bit too short, and I almost always discovered my pinky dangling off the bottom of the camera. While that’s the classy approach to shoot photos, it is uncomfortable, and it makes the camera tougher to grasp. You’ll certainly notice that if you’ve got extremely heavy glass onto your own A7R II. You could be able to solve that issue with a battery grip, but it’s another purchase to be produced.

If you are like me and framework shots mostly throughout the Viewfinder, you will love the digital viewfinder on the A7R II. Not only is that the eyecup extremely soft and comfortable, yet this EVF is a lot broad–penalizing quite a little ambient light. It’s perfect for just about any shooting condition, dark or bright, and you could do lots of things within an EVF that cannot be completed in an optical viewfinder like focus assist and peaking.

I will point out that shooting all the A7R II is a little Frustrating in comparison to pro-quality bodies such as the Nikon D810 or Canon 5D MK III. Our primary complaint is that the shutter button. It’s a squishy mess, with almost a complete millimeter of travel. That would not be the end of the planet since there’s lots of space to obtain the half-press to trigger autofocus. The issue is there’s a defined half-press, a defined point where the shutter activates, and afterward, there’s another half-millimeter of travel that accomplishes nothing. It’s like driving a manual transmission using a brand-new clutch which activates immediately; your instinct is always to place it to the ground, though it doesn’t do anything.

Again, it’s not a large issue, but something as essential as the shutter button should be perfect. Similarly, some of the controls do not feel as intuitive as they should. By way of instance, during playback, if you would like to zoom in to assess focus you will need to first press the “zoom” button, which is just barely reachable with your thumb. This is a camera using three controller dials, all which just scroll through images by default. Could they not just make 1 dial zoom by default?

They are small complaints, but if you are on assignment on An occasion they inevitably harvest. While I did not miss any shots, I mostly consider myself blessed. The autofocus was hit or miss, and I swore to myself a couple times hoping to alter some of those less-basic settings on the fly. The stabilization and superb high ISO performance enabled some shots I would have otherwise missed, but the nagging sense that I’d miss a minute while I am fiddling with a gummy controller never abandoned me.

Where this camera really shines is in the studio. When you Aren’t coping with unpredictable lighting and subjects, lots of those little nagging worries about shooting from the window. This is the point where the A7R II is totally free to perform its best work, setting the superb picture sensor to great use.

Features

1 thing is quite obvious: The A7R II is stuffed to the gills Together with features–some useful, others not so much better. Items such as 4K movie, a monster 42.4-megapixel sensor, incredible in-body image stabilization, and in-viewfinder focus assist all make for a flagship-level camera. And though the A7R II isn’t the fastest with its burst speed of 5.5 frames per second, it’s vastly improved over the first. It’s like day and night.

For starters, the 5-axis picture stabilization works fantastically well. Brought into the Alpha line of cameras with the release of this A7 II, this feature does a fantastic job of removing the ill effects of shaky hands at low shutter speeds. Obviously, this is excellent news for shooting stills in low light, but it’s also stellar for videographers, also.

Just like the rest of the Sony lineup, focus peaking along with a variety focusing modes make their appearance on the A7R II. You will also probably make decent use from their focus magnifier if you are apt to learn manual focus on macro shots, along with the flexible focus spot modes are similarly useful. We’d have loved to have seen that a system like the one discovered on the Panasonic GX8 in which you use your thumb on the touchscreen to maneuver your focus spot on the fly, but no camera’s perfect.

Sony’s done an admirable job of developing its FE-mount Lens lineup, but the comparative deficiency of FE-mount lenses on the market, Sony’s full-frame mirrorless cameras boast strong lens compatibility via the use of adapters. As you won’t receive autofocus with most adapters on the market, it’s possible to dramatically boost the lenses available to be used with your own camera by snagging one. The 300+ LA-EA4 adapter particularly allows you to use old A-mount lenses from Konica Minolta’s heyday to elderly Sony-branded ones, also it adds its phase-detect AF sensor and engine.

For instance photographers, the additions of some Completely-silent electronic shutter and WiFi sharing are crucial. The mechanical shutter is still pretty meaty, but it’s nowhere near as clunky as the first. This allows you to operate without being a distraction, and it turns among those A7R’s biggest drawbacks to some selling point.

Those of you out there who like to use accessories Your camera bodies will appreciate the hot shoe situated on the peak of the EVF. For videographers, the camera supports 8-bit 4:2:2 recording of the 4K movie with the use of an outside recorder through the well-hidden HDMI interface on the left of this camera. The deficiency of 10-bit 4K movie is an issue, but you can find additional A7 cameras which serve that need. To finish the videographer’s ensemble, the A7R II boasts mic and headset ports behind a doorway on the left side of this camera.

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Performance

The Sony A7R II set in an absolute clinic in our lab tests, Acing almost every one. When there is stock-still harass affect about these high-resolution sensors, the 42.4-megapixel sensor in this camera is simply among the best available on the current market, especially with the ability to shoot 14-bit RAW. The file sizes are enormous, but at least memory is cheaper than ever before.

The sensor’s important benefit is its superb dynamic Selection, allowing you to push exposure in post-processing without suffering an excessive loss of detail or banding. Within an upcoming software upgrade, the A7R II is going to be able to enjoy the same 14-bit uncompressed RAW as the upcoming A7S II. Additionally, shots shot with the Sony A7R II will have much more detail in shadows thanks to this sensor’s low noise floor. At 100 percent, the 42-megapixel shots may look rather noisy, however, the signal to noise ratio is extremely large.

This is the big intention sensor set out by Sony Alpha A9 thus Much, and its presentation ceiling is a lot higher in terms of raw sharpness compared to pretty much any camera on the market–besides perhaps the Canon 5DSR and medium-format cameras, anyhow. As a result, you are going to want a high-quality glass to use together with the A7R II, but you will squeeze every ounce of performance from any glass that you mount into the camera.

As with almost any high-res sensor, there is always an issue that small pixels will equal more noise. After we pushed it to its limit, however, we discovered the camera performs surprisingly well even at its high ISO speeds. This carried over into movie as well, where we were able to create the incredibly bright video using as little as 1 lux of light. That’s nuts, and it shows just how capable the hardware at the camera actually is.

Sony’s also done a Fantastic job of restraining the camera’s white Equilibrium and exposure algorithms to create consistently accurate results. It’s to the point that if I am shooting RAW or JPEG I just leave most things in automobile and forget about it. I have probably said this about a mere couple of cameras but using the A7R II’s dynamic range is exactly what it is (along with its noise and resolution performance) even shots taken at ISO 12,800 are adequate enough to be used with minimal post-processing. It’s nice to not need to second-guess if your shots will maintain up. If your focus was on point, you have got the shot.

Ideo performance was usually excellent with all the camera. It Shoots 4K movie in Sony’s XAVC S codec, which is based on h.264 compression. This means it’s compatible with basically every PC on the market. It’s less space-efficient than newer h.265 compression, but it’s less of a hassle now. From a quality perspective, it’s rather great. There are some more issues, however, the movie is sharp and cinematic thanks to its big full-frame sensor.

Where this all comes crashing down is your battery performance. It’s beyond abysmal, placing in one of the worst showings of any camera we have ever tested. Where ace cameras such as the Nikon D810 as well as also the Canon 5D MK III will easily top 1,000 shots on a single charge we discovered you’re blessed to acquire more than 200 from this A7R II.

Sony combats this by adding a second battery from the box, Nonetheless, it’s little more than a feeble mea culpa. The business has been using the same batteries in its cameras for years, and it’s just not large enough to power full-frame sensors, the latest Bionz X processor, an EVF, along with the big LCD. I would easily exchange the A7R’s compact footprint for double the battery life.

Conclusion

Have a bow, Sony.

Simply place: The A7R II is an unbelievably excellent camera. Where That the A7 II was little more than a little bit of the first, the A7R II is a full-blown redraft. It carries all of the promises of the first while accentuating it in almost every manner.

Having a much better sensor, 4K video, improved picture quality, a Vastly more responsive shooting experience, and slightly elegant controls that the A7R II is just more enjoyable to shoot with. There’s no denying the first A7R was capable of some unbelievable vision, but it always felt as though you’re combating the camera, instead of using it.

Nonetheless, it’s not perfect. And if you are likely to shell out over $3,000 to get a camera–especially if it’s to the job–you want it to be perfect. There are enough little annoyances which add up to an experience which doesn’t feel quite as smooth as it should. Along with the lean first-party lens selection and abysmal battery life isn’t helping things, either.

These are all issues you can work around, of course, however, These issues become magnified given the A7R II’s direct competition–and of course Sony’s aspirations. This is a camera system designed to woo professionals, using a sensor which should draw the same sort of use as the Nikon D810 and Canon 5DSR. The A7R II holds up nicely in these comparisons, however, if it’s daily reliability you are after then the Canon and Nikon options are simply better choices.

But if you are willing to put up with a few quirks, you will find the times when everything just comes together. After the autofocus system perfectly tracks a moving subject, the 5-axis stabilization system compensates just right for your caffeinated hands, along with also the A7R II’s 42-megapixel sensor delivers a stunning high-resolution picture. Perhaps the second is much better informed using a movie, in which case you can easily swap into capturing it into pristine 4K, even at extreme darkness.

Those are the times when you can see the Complete measure of Sony’s accomplishment. The A7R II isn’t perfect, however, this is actually the culmination of Sony’s collective work in the imaging industry throughout the last ten years. For years, Sony’s mirrorless camera system has been residing little more than the promise Of what it might someday be. The A7R II is the second where Sony eventually delivers.

Camera TypeProfessional SLR
Lens TypeInterchangeable Lens
Digital Zoom2 x
Total Pixels43.6 Megapixels
Effective Pixels42.4 Megapixels
Image StabilizationOptical (Sensor Based)
Built-In ViewfinderYes
Viewfinder TypeElectronic
Viewfinder Coverage100 %
Viewfinder Magnification.78 x
DiopterYes
Display TypeArticulated LCD
Display Size3 in.
Display Resolution1228800 pixels
Video RecordingYes
Video Recording Features1080p Recording
4K Recording
Stereo Microphone
External Microphone Jack
Headphone Jack
FlashHot Shoe Only
Connectivity / PortsHDMI Out
USB
Wi-Fi
Hot Shoe
NFC
Flash Sync Port
Memory OptionsSD/SDHC/SDXC
MemoryStick
Battery TypeRemovable Lithium-Ion Pack
Battery Model NumberNP-FW50
Height95.7 mm
Width126.9 mm
Depth60.3 mm
Weight (Body Only w/ Battery)625 g
WaterproofNo
ShockproofNo
DustproofNo
Weather-sealedYes


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