CAMARAS Sony A7R II Review

Sony A7R II Review

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Sony A7R II Review

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Sony A7R II Review

The Alpha 7R II is the new top model in Sony’s full-frame system camera line-up. Thanks to the latest sensor technology, it combines high resolution with high ISO sensitivity and also offers a 4K video function with all kinds of setting options. However, Sony also charges a proud price for the system camera. The detailed test reveals whether the promises of high image quality at low and high ISO sensitivities are kept and how the mirrorless system camera performs in practice.

Short evaluation

Pros

  • Very high resolution
  • Good image quality even at high ISO sensitivities
  • Very good video quality with many setting options
  • Well-functioning sensor shift image stabilizer
  • High-resolution, large electronic viewfinder

Cons

  • Spongy first pressure point of the trigger
  • Only very few lenses can even exploit the resolution to the full
  • With 3.500 Euro quite high price.

Ergonomics and workmanship

Like the Alpha 7 II, the Alpha 7R II features an improved housing design with an enlarged, more ergonomic handle. Nevertheless, it is quite compact for a full-frame camera. But it’s by no means light with its just under 625 grams, which even leads to a felt even more robust case in view of the small case dimensions. However, the Alpha 7R II does not have any real protection against splash water and dust by means of seals, which makes it unique in its price class in the negative sense. Only an unspecified moisture protection should be installed. The small case unfortunately only uses a rather small lithium-ion battery, which doesn’t even deliver enough juice for 300 shots. Optionally, the Alpha can be equipped with a second battery if the optionally available vertical handle is screwed on. Sony has made a virtue out of necessity and has enclosed a second rechargeable battery. It is even possible to charge both batteries at the same time, as both an external charging cradle is included and the Micro-USB connection enables charging in the camera. Speaking of connections: The two plastic flaps with rubber hinge don’t look very good. Sony has also dispensed with lettering. Two 3.5 mm stereo jack connectors in the form of a microphone input and a headphone output are concealed behind the front connector. Behind the second flap is the Micro-USB connection and the Micro-HDMI interface, which also supports live image output and allows external image recording without fade-ins in video mode. The micro-USB interface not only allows charging of the inserted battery, but also data transmission and remote triggering of the Alpha 7R II.

Sony A7R II Review

The Sony Alpha 7R II is only sold without a set lens. Therefore the standard lens 55 mm 1.8 was used as test lens.

Sony is not stingy with swivel wheels and knobs despite the small case dimensions, they are also easy to use. However, the shutter release of all things has a much too spongy first pressure point, so that in the heat of the moment you accidentally release the shutter instead of just focusing and holding the focus until the right moment of release is reached. The rubber coating of the handle seems a bit cheap, but the mirrorless system camera can always be held and operated well. In addition to the front setting wheel, there is also a rear one. In addition, the four-weigher is equipped with a grippy third selector wheel, which can be individually assigned. Furthermore, the exposure correction wheel is within reach of the thumb, which, although it is quite difficult to move, sometimes unintentionally made an exposure correction during test mode. The fifth wheel on the car, Pardon, the camera, is the program selector wheel, on which, despite the “professional” price of almost 3,500 euros, there is also an automatic mode as well as motif programs (more on this later). In addition there are two individual memory locations on the program selector wheel and four obviously programmable buttons. In addition, other control elements can also be adapted to individual requirements.

Even the quick menu, which saves one or the other course into the luxuriant camera menu, can be individually adapted. Ultimately, every Alpha 7R II also uses this technology differently and it is difficult to keep track of it. The somewhat chaotically sorted menu contributes its part to it. For example, the settings for the focus are widely scattered on various menu pages. The focus mode is selected in shooting menu 3, the focus aid is selected in setting menu 1, and the color of the edge enhancement level is selected in setting menu 2. Whether to focus with the shutter-release button or a separate button is then determined again in setting menu 5, and in setting menu 7 you can select which button will perform this function. However, there are numerous other focus settings that can be found on other menu pages. And that’s just an example. After all, there is no need to scroll vertically in the menus, the six main categories are sometimes divided into up to nine one-sided, numbered tabs.

Despite all criticism of the operation: Once you have tailored the camera to your own photographic preferences, it can be operated quickly and ergonomically, and the main menu is hardly needed anymore. The screen can be folded up and down, while remaining behind the camera. Only for the landscape format or Selfies a swivel rotary screen would be still better suitable. The monitor can also be used as a pure info display. However, a touch function is missing. If you take the viewfinder by the eye, it activates automatically thanks to the proximity sensor and the screen is turned off. As befits a camera with a 35mm sensor, the OLED viewfinder is quite large with a 0.78x magnification factor – even though the absolute viewfinder size of the electronic viewfinder no longer depends on the sensor format. With almost 2.4 million pixels, the OLED has a very fine resolution and offers a high contrast range and good dynamics. However, sensitive natures can perceive a slight flicker in bright image areas. People who wear glasses and for whom large dioptric corrections are not sufficient and therefore look into the viewfinder with glasses must live with slight shading in the corners.

Equipment

Although the Sony Alpha 7R II has a sporty-professional price of 3,500 Euros, it also offers absolute beginners the necessary automatic functions. If you don’t want to deal with shooting parameters, you still get a technically high picture quality at the push of a button in the fully automatic mode or the motif programs. But this can also be practical for professionals if it has to be done quickly and the camera is just a little bit configured. Even the exposure compensation wheel has no effect in the fully automatic mode. In addition, the A7R II features Sony’s famous panorama mode. Do not move the camera too slowly. This mode is unmistakable due to the “wheel-out”. The Alpha 7R II uses the continuous shooting mode with its approximately five frames per second – and although it offers an electronic shutter, it cannot be activated in the panorama mode. The mechanical shutter works like the electronic shutter with shutter speeds of up to 1/8,000 second. An electronic first shutter curtain can also be activated for the mechanical shutter, which is indispensable for preventing the rolling shutter effect. This is also recommended as it prevents shocks caused by the shutter even before it is released. While the predecessor Alpha 7R still had micro blurring in the image, this is now effectively prevented. This also makes the triggering a little quieter.

Experienced photographers have full access to the setting of all camera parameters in the creative programs. This includes, for example, adjusting the automatic ISO sensitivity not only in the control range, but also the minimum shutter speed can be adjusted to achieve longer or shorter exposure times, for example, before the sensitivity switches up. ISO auto is also available for manual exposure, even the exposure-compensation wheel retains its function. A real plus of the Sony Alpha 7R II is its movable image sensor. Thanks to five-axis measurement, the image stabilizer works extremely effectively with any lens attached. In addition, an optical image stabilizer and internal stabilization can be combined, which is particularly advantageous for long telephoto focal lengths. However, even with stabilized lenses, the viewfinder image is not stabilized until the shutter release button is pressed halfway.

  • Sony A7R II Review

    According to Sony, the Alpha 7R II offers moisture protection. However, unlike other cameras in its price range, it does not offer proper seals against the penetration of dust and moisture.

The mechanical image stabilizer is also active during video recordings and thus prevents an image trim of an electronic stabilizer. The video recording button allows you to record moving images with sound at any time. Although the Alpha 7R II has a microphone connection, it also has an integrated stereo microphone. If you turn the program selector dial to video mode, the Alpha 7R II allows much more setting options including manual audio level control and manual exposure. The storage formats available are AVCHD (up to Full HD at 50p and 24 Mbps), MP4 (up to Full HD at 50p and 28 Mbps), XAVC S HD (up to Full HD at 100p and 50 Mbps) and XAVC S 4K (up to 4K at 25p and 100 Mbps). With the setting PAL instead of NTCS even slightly higher frame rates can be activated. The video image quality makes a very sharp and high-resolution impression, the focus tracking also works well thanks to the phase AF sensors on the image sensor. In general: Compared to the predecessor model, the Alpha 7R II focuses quite quickly and above all unerringly thanks to its 399 phase AF sensors. Although the Alpha 7R II still takes more than twice as much time from pressing the shutter-release button to taking the picture (0.45 seconds) as the fastest mirror-less system cameras, the Alpha 7R II’s shutter speed is still the same. In full format, however, larger glass masses have to be moved – and with a resolution of 42 megapixels, this also has to be done very precisely.

The Sony Alpha 7R II also performs very professionally with the flash – in both a positive and negative sense. It does not have a built-in flash, even a small attachable flash is not included. Thanks to the multi-interface accessory shoe, however, external TTL system flashes can be connected. These even allow wireless flash control. Too bad, with an on-board flash one could have steered these without “heavy block” on the camera with on-board means. The shortest synchronisation time is 1/250 seconds, but high-speed synchronisation is also possible with appropriate flashes. Flash exposure correction, flash at the end of the exposure and a long time synchronisation are of course also available.

Interestingly, in the continuous shooting mode it doesn’t matter if you shoot in raw or in best JPEG quality. In raw mode, the Sony Alpha 7R II is even slightly more powerful. One more picture can be taken in the “fast” series with five frames per second and in the following slow continuous run the 7R II is also slightly faster in Raw than in JPEG. Most likely this will be reversed with the uncompressed raw, which will be delivered soon via firmware update. Because at the moment the Sony compresses lossy despite the raw data format. Either way, the camera needs a longer pause after the end of the series until the data has landed on the memory card. You can’t look at the pictures before. By the way, there are no editing options in playback. Only an image enlargement as well as the display of overexposed image areas is possible.

Thanks to built-in WLAN, images can be sent directly to smartphones or tablets with iOS or Android. The built-in NFC chip makes it particularly easy to connect to Android devices. The matching app from Sony also allows remote control of the camera including live image transmission. For professional recordings, however, the USB remote control option from the computer is more suitable.

Regarding apps: The camera itself can also be expanded with apps, even if the impression is sometimes created that you have to pay extra for functions that other camera manufacturers already offer in the standard menu. However, some of Sony’s apps are also free. Those who miss special functions in the camera should definitely take a look at the apps.

Picture quality

With the Alpha 7R II, Sony wants to succeed in combining high resolution with low noise even at higher ISO sensitivities with the new, rear-exposed full-frame CMOS sensor. Whether the Alpha 7R II succeeds in this, we will study it here below.

  • Sony A7R II Review

    The 35mm sensor of the Sony Alpha 7R II resolves 42 megapixels. In the bayonet originally designed for APS-C sensors, it looks huge.

Sony A7R II Review

The tripod socket on the Sony Alpha 7R II is far enough away from the battery compartment and is of course located in the optical axis.

Since the Sony Alpha 7R II is sold without a set lens, the fixed focal length FE 1.8 55 mm ZA with Zeiss label was used in the test laboratory. This is the second best Sony lens to date, which we were able to measure in our test laboratory on the predecessor model Alpha 7R. The best lens so far, the Sony 90 mm macro, was unfortunately not available for testing. In fact, the 55er on the Alpha 7R II in the center reaches an even higher resolution than the Alpha 7R, even if the difference is less than ten percent. On the 7R II, a maximum resolution of 79.4 line pairs per millimeter (lp/mm) is achieved at F4 with the MTF50 measurement, i.e. at 50 percent edge contrast. The 7R reached a maximum of 73.3 lp/mm at F8 with this lens.

Another interesting difference: Since the measurement is performed in JPEG, the image processing plays an important role, whereby the Alpha 7R and Alpha 7R II use an aperture-dependent image processing, for example to minimize diffraction effects. Sony is no exception, Fujifilm calls this technology Lens Modulation Optimizer, LMO for short. For the Alpha 7R this led to an increasing resolution at F5.6 compared to F4, while for F4 the resolution decreased compared to F2.8. This “bend” in the resolution curve no longer occurs with the Alpha 7R II. Here the resolution in the center of the image increases to F4 and then begins to fall when the aperture is further closed, until F16 gently, above it more strongly. At the edge of the picture, however, the resolution even increases to F11, where it reaches a maximum of 66.1 lp/mm. With an open aperture, however, the 55 on the Alpha 7R II is very disappointing at the edge of the picture, 32.8 lp/mm is just under half of the 65.9 lp/mm in the centre. The resolution advantage of the 42-megapixel sensor compared to the 36-megapixel sensor is therefore marginal, a good lens is more important than the camera. And even though Sony is building a completely new lens system, there are hardly any lenses that really take advantage of the sensor. Those who like to photograph landscapes should take a look at the Zeiss Batis 2/25 mm, which, for example, provides a much better edge resolution than the Sony lens used here for the test.

This does not mean that the 55 Zeiss F1.8 would be a bad lens: it is distortion-free on the Alpha 7R II, even chromatic aberrations are minimal, even the maximum only reaches about one pixel. The edge darkening is at a low level of 0.4 to 0.8 EV (23 to 44 percent). However, it should not go unmentioned that the Alpha 7R II corrects all these optical errors in JPEG by default.

Another interesting effect was found in the test laboratory: When measuring dynamics, noise and tonal values, exactly the same exposure is always required. Compared to the Alpha 7R and Alpha 7 II, however, the aperture of the lens on the Alpha 7R II had to be opened 1/3 EV further for the same ISO sensitivity and exposure time to achieve the same image brightness. In fact, the ISO sensitivity of the Alpha 7R II is consistently somewhat lower than the set value. This is also true for the 7R, but with the 7R II this effect is more pronounced and should not be ignored in the low-light comparison of the two cameras.

The Alpha 7R provides the signal-to-noise ratio: Up to ISO 800 this is over 40 dB, up to the highest sensitivity of ISO 25.600 over the critical mark of 35 dB. At high ISO levels, it even beats the Alpha 7 II, which has a lead of over 40 dB up to ISO 1,600, but only remains above 35 dB up to ISO 6,400. The Alpha 7R II is over 40 dB up to ISO 800 and over 35 dB up to ISO 1,600. In this discipline, the higher integrated sensor cannot win a flowerpot. Brightness noise becomes slightly visible with the 7R II from ISO 3,200 and strongly visible from ISO 25,600, but the color noise is at a low level. With the 7R, on the other hand, neither color nor brightness noise dominates. The Alpha 7 II only shows slightly more visible brightness noise at ISO 25.600, but it’s lower than the 7R II at ISO 25.600.

However, these parameters are not the only ones that are decisive, because strong noise reduction can bring signal-to-noise ratio and noise to a very good level, while the textures of fine details can visibly suffer if the cameras with the noise also eliminate them. The Alpha 7R II delivers a lossless image up to ISO 3,200, while the noise reduction effect on fine details remains low up to ISO 12,800. Up to ISO 12.800 the Alpha 7R II delivers a more than usable image quality, as the practical pictures show, even if the measured value of the signal-to-noise ratio is not very good. The Alpha 7R can keep up: Up to ISO 3.200 there is practically no texture loss, up to ISO 12.800 this remains low. The Alpha 7 II, on the other hand, is limited to ISO 1,600 and 3,200. It should also be mentioned that the texture measurement refers to the same output size with the same viewing distance. Here, the high-resolution 35 mm sensors can actually benefit from their higher resolution and, despite smaller pixels at high ISO, display more details at the same output size.

Back to the Alpha 7R II: The laboratory measurements show a very high dynamic range of over ten f-stops from ISO 100 to 6,400, from ISO 100 to 800 it is even almost eleven. At ISO 50, signal attenuation takes place, which costs almost one f-stop dynamic range. Even up to ISO 51.200, the dynamic range remains green with over nine f-stops. At ISO 102.400, the influence of image processing on the tonal values is so strong that the DxO Analyzer was unable to calculate either the tonal value curve or the dynamic range.

Regarding tonal value curve: With the exception of the damped ISO 50 with a flatter tonal value curve, this curve is crisply divided. Sharpness artifacts, on the other hand, remain at a low level, but increase due to the aperture-dependent image processing already mentioned at the beginning to compensate for diffraction losses up to F16, where they reach their maximum, which is completely uncritical below ten percent.

  • The Sony Alpha 7R interfaces are concealed behind two inconspicuous, unmarked plastic flaps with rubber hinges: microphone input, headphone output, USB port and micro HDMI socket.

The output tonal range is very good up to ISO 400 and reaches the highest level with 256 of 256 possible gradations. Starting from ISO 800, the output tonal range drops rapidly, but remains at a good level up to ISO 1.600 with over 160 levels. It only becomes critical above ISO 12,800 with less than 96 brightness levels. The color depth is good up to ISO 12,800 with over two million colors. The two highest ISO sensitivities, on the other hand, distinguish less than a million colors, which is a little bit less. While manual white balance is expected to be accurate, some colors deviate slightly from the original. However, this essentially concerns the excessive colour saturation of red, orange, magenta and violet tones.

Overall, the Sony Alpha 7R II to ISO 400 achieves an image quality at the highest level, it is very good up to ISO 3,200 and only above ISO 12,800 do significant losses occur. Thus, despite the increased resolution, high ISO sensitivities can be used without hesitation, even if the ISO extension that Sony has enabled in the 7R II compared to the lower-resolution sensors delivers a rather modest image quality. ISO 12.800 with a high image quality level is an announcement in any case! In order to be able to use the enormously high resolution, on the other hand, you need more than the 36-megapixel sensor not only very good lenses, but also a high precision of the photographer in his craft in terms of shake and focus accuracy.

Sony’s Alpha 7R II for the first time uses a rear-exposed 35mm sensor and promises to manage the balancing act between high resolution and high sensitivity. Despite an increase in resolution from 36 to 42 megapixels compared to the Alpha 7R, the 7R II achieves four times the ISO sensitivity with ISO 102,400 instead of 25,600. The promises of better image quality must be proven or refuted in the test laboratory.

The fixed focal length FE 1.8 55 mm ZA with Zeiss label was used, the second best lens to date, which we were able to measure in our test laboratory on the Alpha 7R. The best lens so far, the Sony 90 mm macro, was unfortunately not available for testing. First to the resolution: In fact, the 55er on the Alpha 7R II reaches an even higher resolution in the center than on the Alpha 7R, even if the difference is less than ten percent. On the 7R II, a maximum resolution of 79.4 line pairs per millimeter (lp/mm) is achieved at F4 for the MTF50 measurement, i.e. at 50 percent edge contrast (see the diagram below from the laboratory test with costs). The 7R reached a maximum of 73.3 lp/mm at F8 with this lens.

Another interesting difference: Since the measurement is performed in JPEG, the image processing plays an important role, whereby the Alpha 7R and Alpha 7R II use an aperture-dependent image processing, for example to minimize diffraction effects. Sony is no exception, Fujifilm calls this technology Lens Modulation Optimizer, LMO for short. For the Alpha 7R this led to an increasing resolution at F5.6 compared to F4, while for F4 the resolution decreased compared to F2.8. This “bend” in the resolution curve no longer occurs with the Alpha 7R II. Here the resolution in the center of the image increases to F4 and then begins to fall until F16 gently, above F16 stronger. At the edge of the picture, however, the resolution even increases to F11, where it reaches a maximum of 66.1 lp/mm. The 55 on the Alpha 7R II, on the other hand, is very disappointing at the open aperture, 32.8 lp/mm are just under half of the 65.9 lp/mm in the center. On the Alpha 7R the 55 showed a better performance at the edge of the picture. The maximum resolution of the 90’s macro on the Alpha 7R is also interesting: it is 78.1 lp/mm at F4, just behind the resolution of the Alpha 7R II with the 55’s, although the II offers six megapixels more resolution. With the 90’s macro she would certainly have cracked the 80 lp/mm, maybe she would have even scratched the mark of 85 lp/mm. In September we will be able to test the new Zeiss Batis lenses on the Sony Alpha 7R II and are looking forward to the results. For now, it should be noted that the resolution advantage of the 42-megapixel sensor compared to the 36-megapixel sensor is marginal and that a good lens is more important here. It should also be noted that there are hardly any such lenses, even though Sony claims that all FE lenses are good enough for the new 42 megapixel sensor. In practice, even with the second best lens in Sony’s line-up, you can hardly exhaust it.

This does not mean that the 55 Zeiss F1.8 would be a bad lens, as we explained above: it is distortion-free on the Alpha 7R II, even chromatic aberrations are minimal, even the maximum only reaches about one pixel. The edge darkening is at a low level of 0.4 to 0.8 EV (23 to 44 percent). However, it should not go unmentioned that the Alpha 7R II corrects all these optical errors in JPEG by default.

The Alpha 7R provides the signal-to-noise ratio: Up to ISO 800 this is over 40 dB, up to the highest sensitivity of ISO 25.600 over the critical mark of 35 dB. At high ISO levels, it even beats the Alpha 7 II, which has a lead of over 40 dB up to ISO 1,600, but only remains above 35 dB up to ISO 6,400. The Alpha 7R II is over 40 dB up to ISO 800 and over 35 dB up to ISO 1,600. In this discipline, the higher integrated sensor cannot win a flowerpot. Brightness noise becomes slightly visible with the 7R II from ISO 3,200 and strongly visible from ISO 25,600, but the color noise is at a low level. With the 7R, on the other hand, neither color nor brightness noise dominates. The Alpha 7 II only shows slightly more visible brightness noise at ISO 25.600, but it’s lower than the 7R II at ISO 25.600.

However, these parameters are not the only ones that are decisive, because strong noise reduction can bring signal-to-noise ratio and noise to a very good level, while the textures of fine details can visibly suffer if the cameras with the noise also eliminate them. The Alpha 7R II delivers a lossless image up to ISO 3,200, while the noise reduction effect on fine details remains low up to ISO 12,800. Up to ISO 12.800 the Alpha 7R II delivers a more than usable image quality, as the practical pictures show, even if the measured value of the signal-to-noise ratio is not very good. The Alpha 7R can keep up: Up to ISO 3.200 there is practically no texture loss, up to ISO 12.800 this remains low. The Alpha 7 II, on the other hand, is limited to ISO 1,600 and 3,200. It should be noted that the texture measurement refers to the same output size with the same viewing distance. Here, the high-resolution 35 mm sensors can actually benefit from their higher resolution and, despite smaller pixels at high ISO, display more details at the same output size.

Back to the Alpha 7R II: The laboratory measurements show a very high dynamic range of over ten f-stops from ISO 100 to 6,400, from ISO 100 to 800 it is even almost eleven. At ISO 50, signal attenuation takes place, which costs almost one f-stop dynamic range. Even up to ISO 51.200, the dynamic range remains green with over nine f-stops. At ISO 102.400, the influence of image processing on the tonal values is so strong that the DxO Analyzer was unable to calculate either the tonal value curve or the dynamic range. Apropos tonal value curve: With the exception of the damped ISO 50 with a flatter tonal value curve, this curve is crisply divided. Sharpness artifacts, on the other hand, remain at a low level, but increase due to the aperture-dependent image processing already mentioned at the beginning to compensate for diffraction losses up to F16, where they reach their maximum, which is completely uncritical below ten percent.

The output tonal range is very good up to ISO 400 and reaches the highest level with 256 of 256 possible gradations. Starting from ISO 800, the output tonal range drops rapidly, but remains at a good level up to ISO 1.600 with over 160 levels. It only becomes critical above ISO 12,800 with less than 96 brightness levels. The color depth is good up to ISO 12,800 with over two million colors. The two highest ISO sensitivities, on the other hand, distinguished less than a million colors, which is somewhat less. While manual white balance is expected to be accurate, some colors deviate slightly from the original. However, this essentially concerns the excessive colour saturation of red, orange, magenta and violet tones.

Overall, the Sony Alpha 7R II to ISO 400 achieves an image quality at the highest level, it is very good up to ISO 3,200 and only above ISO 12,800 do significant losses occur. Thus, despite the increased resolution, high ISO sensitivities can be used without hesitation, even if the ISO extension that Sony has enabled in the 7R II compared to the lower-resolution sensors delivers a rather modest image quality. ISO 12.800 with a high image quality level are definitely an announcement! In order to be able to use the enormously high resolution, on the other hand, you need more than the 36-megapixel sensor not only very good lenses, but also a high precision of the photographer in his craft in terms of shake and focus accuracy. The shutter release delay of the Sony Alpha 7R II is very short with 0.03 seconds by the way, the autofocus of the 55 mm with 0.45 seconds including the 0.03 seconds shutter release delay, however, doesn’t cause a storm of enthusiasm. But the autofocus works very precisely.

F1,8 F2,0 F2,8 F4,0 F5,6 F8,0 F11,0 F16,0 F22,0
55 mm Image centre 65,9 lp/mm 70,9 lp/mm 77,3 lp/mm 79,4 lp/mm 76.8 lp/mm 73,5 lp/mm 70,7 lp/mm 67.0 lp/mm 51.9 lp/mm
55 mm Image edge 32.8 lp/mm 34,0 lp/mm 42,8 lp/mm 50,5 lp/mm 56.0 lp/mm 62.2 lp/mm 66,1 lp/mm 63.3 lp/mm 50.3 lp/mm

In our test laboratory, the image quality parameters are measured using the DxO Analyzer software.

Bottom line

The Sony Alpha 7R II is a very well equipped, high quality, currently unrivalled full frame camera, but still a long way away from a perfect camera. With its sporty price, one could expect dust and splash water protection, for example. Sony would also be happy to help with the menu structure, for example by labeling and preassigning the C1-C4 buttons, so that you get meaningful operation with correspondingly labelled keys at the factory. Despite the professional price, Sony has not completely shaken off consumer origin. The image quality, however, is above all in the photo area, but also in the videos, beyond any doubt. The Alpha 7R II delivers a remarkable resolution up to quite high ISO regions, especially up to ISO 400 the image quality is almost perfect. However, it should not be overlooked that the use of appropriate lenses is necessary and even the 55 mm 1.8 at the edge of the image can only be convincingly dimmed.

Fact sheet

Fact sheet
Manufacturer Sony
Model Alpha 7R II
Sensor CMOS 35mm 36.0 x 24.0 mm (crop factor 1.0
)42.4 Megapixel (physical)
43.6 Megapixel (effective)
Pixel pitch 4.5 µm
Resolution (max.) 7.952 x 5.304 (3:2)
Video (max.) 3.840 x 2.160 30p
Lens Sony FE 55 mm 1.8 Sonnar T* ZA (SEL-55F18Z) (fixed focal length lens)
Video viewfinder EVF, 100 % field coverage, 2,359,296 pixels resolution, 0.78x magnification (sensor related), 0.78x magnification (KB equivalent), diopter compensation (-4.0 to 3.0 dpt)
Monitor 3.0″ (7.5 cm)
Disbandment 1.228,800 pixels
tiltable yes
rotatable
swivelling
Touchscreen
AV connectors
Audio Stereo (3.5 mm jack (stereo, 3-pin))
Audio input (stereo) (3.5 mm stereo microphone jack)
PAL/NTSC video output (switchable) (HDMI output Micro (type D))
Fully automatic yes
Automatic motif control yes
Motif programmes 9
Program automation yes
Program shift yes
Aperture priority yes
Aperture priority yes
Manual yes
Bulb long time exposure yes
HDR function yes
Panorama function yes, Sweep panorama
Exposure metering Matrix/multi-field measurement (1,200 fields), center-weighted integral measurement, spot measurement
fastest shutter speed 1/8.000 s
Lightning bolt
Synchronous time 1/250 s
Flash connection Standard centre contact, Sony Multi Interface flash shoe
WLAN yes
NFC yes
GPS
Remote release yes, remote control via Smartphone/Tablet
Interval shooting
Storage medium
Memory Stick (Duo, Duo Pro)
SD (SDHC, SDXC, UHS I)
Sensitivity
automatic ISO 100-25.600
manually ISO 50-102.400
White balance
automatic yes
manual measurement yes
manual colour temp. yes
Fine correction yes
Autofocus yes
Number of measuring fields 399 Cross sensors25
Contrast sensors
Speed 0,45 s
AF auxiliary light LED
Dimensions (mm) 127 x 96 x 60 mm
Weight (ready for operation) 625 g (housing only
)905 g (with lens)
Tripod socket in optical axis
Zoom
Zoom adjustment manual on lens
Battery life 290 (acc. to CIPA standard)
– = “not applicable” or “not available”

Short evaluation

Pros

  • Very high resolution
  • Good image quality even at high ISO sensitivities
  • Very good video quality with many setting options
  • Well-functioning sensor shift image stabilizer
  • High-resolution, large electronic viewfinder

Cons

  • Spongy first pressure point of the trigger
  • Only very few lenses can even exploit the resolution to the full
  • With 3.500 Euro, quite high price

Sony Alpha 7R II Datasheet

Electronics

Sensor CMOS sensor 35mm 36.0 x 24.0 mm (crop factor 1.0
)43.6 megapixels (physical) and 42.4 megapixels (effective)
Pixel pitch 4.5 µm
Photo resolution
7.952 x 5.304 pixels (3:2)
7.952 x 4.472 pixels (16:9)
5.168 x 3.448 pixels (3:2)
5.168 x 2.912 pixels (16:9)
3.984 x 2.656 pixels (3:2)
3.984 x 2.240 pixels (16:9)
2.592 x 1.728 pixels (3:2)
2.592 x 1.456 pixels (16:9)
Panorama Swivel panorama
12.416 x 1.856 pixels
5.536 x 2.160 pixels
8.192 x 1.856 pixels
3.872 x 2.160 pixels
Picture formats JPG, RAW
Colour depth 42 bits (14 bits per color channel)
Metadata Exif, DCF standard
Video resolution
3.840 x 2.160 (16:9) 30 p
3.840 x 2.160 (16:9) 25 p
3.840 x 2.160 (16:9) 24 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 60 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 60 i
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 50 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 50 i
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 30 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 24 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 120 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 100 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 30 p
Video format
XAVC S (Codec H.264)
AVCHD (Codec H.264)
MP4 (Codec H.264)

Lens

Lens mount
Sony E

Focusing

Autofocus mode Phase comparison autofocus, autofocus working range from -2 EV to 20 EV, contrast autofocus with 25 measuring fields
Autofocus Functions Single autofocus, Continuous autofocus, Tracking autofocus, Manual, AFL function, AF Assist Light (LED), Focus Peaking, Focus Magnifier (13x)
Focus control Depth of field check

Viewfinder and Monitor

Monitor 3.0″ (7.5 cm) TFT LCD monitor with 1,228,800 pixels, anti-glare, brightness adjustable, tiltable 107° upwards and 41° downwards
Video viewfinder Video viewfinder (100 % field coverage) with 2,359,296 pixels, 0.78x magnification factor, diopter compensation (-4.0 to 3.0 dpt)

Exposure

Exposure metering Center-weighted integral measurement, matrix/multi-field measurement over 1,200 fields, spot measurement, AF-AE coupling
Exposure times 1/8,000 to 30 s (Auto
)1/8,000 to 30 s (Manual)
Bulb Function
Exposure control Fully Automatic, Program Automatic (with Program Shift), Aperture Priority, Aperture Priority, Manual
Bracketing function Bracket function with maximum 9 shots, step size from 1/3 to 1 EV, HDR function
Exposure compensation -5.0 to +5.0 EV with step size from 1/3 to 1/2 EV
Sensitivity to light ISO 100 to ISO 25.600 (automatic
)ISO 50 to ISO 102.400 (manual)
Remote access Remote triggering, remote control via Smartphone/Tablet
Motives Landscape, Macro, Night Scene, Night Portrait, Portrait, Sunset, Sports/Action, 2 additional scene modes
Picture effects High Key, high contrast monochrome, miniature effect, retro, softer, toy camera, 7 more image effects
White balance Auto, Clouds, Sun, White balance bracketing, Fine tuning, Shadow, Flash, Underwater, Fluorescent lamp with 4 presets, Incandescent lamp, from 2,500 to 9,900 K, Manual 3 memory locations
Color space Adobe RGB, sRGB
Continuous shooting Continuous shooting function max. 5.0 fps at highest resolution and max. 23 stored photos, max. 37 JPEG at 5 bps
Self-timer Self-timer 10 seconds apart, special features: or optional 5 or 2 seconds, 3 or 5 shots after 10, 5 or 2 seconds, bracketing Self-timer (2, 5 or 10 seconds)
Shooting functions AEL function, AFL function, live histogram

Flashgun

Lightning bolt no built-in flash availableFlash shoe
: Sony Multi Interface, standard center contact
Flash range Flash sync time 1/250 s
Flash functions Auto, Fill-in flash, Flash on, Flash off, High speed sync, Slow sync, Flash on second shutter curtain, Manual flash output, Red eye reduction, Flash exposure correction from -3.0 EV to +3.0 EV

Equipment

Image stabilizer Sensor shift (optical)
Memory
Memory Stick (Duo, Duo Pro)
SD (SDHC, SDXC, UHS I)
Microphone Stereo
Power supply USB charging function
Power supply 1 x Sony NP-FW50 (lithium ion (Li-Ion), 7.2 V, 1,240 mAh
)290 images according to CIPA standardSony
AC-PW20 AC adapter
Playback Functions Image rotation, Protect image, Highlights / Shadow warning, Playback histogram, Playback magnifier, Image index, Slide show function
Face recognition Face Recognition, Face Recognition (8 faces)
Picture parameters Sharpness, Contrast, Saturation, Noise Reduction
Special functions Electronic water level, Grid can be displayed, Zebra function, Orientation sensor, Live View, User profiles with 2 user profiles
Ports Data interfaces: USBUSB-Type
:USB 2.0 High SpeedWLAN
: available (Type: B, G, N)
NFC: available
AV connectors AV output: HDMI output Micro (Type D
)Audio input: yes (3.5 mm stereo microphone jack)
Audio output: yes (3.5 mm stereo jack (3-pin))
Supported direct printing methods DPOF, Exif Print, PIM
Tripod socket 1/4″ in optical axis
Case Splash guard
Features and Miscellaneous Dynamic Range Optimizer (1-5 levels
)picture Profiles (11 settings)
Video functions: Level indicator, level control, AF tracking sensitivity, AF speed, slow shutter, HDMI info, time code, dual video recordingVideo
color space: xvYCC StandardClean
HDMI output:NTSC 3,840 x 2,160 (30p/24p), 1,920 x 1,080 (60p/24p), 1,920 x 1,080 (60i), YCbCr 4:2:2; PAL: 3,840 x 2,160 (25p), 1,920 x 1,080 (50p), 1,920 x 1.

0

80 (50i), YCbCr 4:2:2Multishot noise reductionAF eye sensorPlay-Memory

Apps lens correction
(vignetting, chromatic aberration, distortion)
Quiet shutter mode5-axis image stabilizerFlash bracketing

Size and weight

Dimensions W x H x D 127 x 96 x 60 mm
Weight 625 g (ready for operation)

Other

included accessories Sony NP-FW50 special battery
optional accessory Sony AC-PW20 Power Supply UnitSony
HVL-F20M Slip-on Flash with Swivel Reflector

Uncompressed 14-bit raw first for Sony Alpha 7S II and 7R II

Sony reacts to the criticism of the lossy raw compression in the Alpha-7 cameras. Compression can lead to artifacts on certain structures. The Alpha 7S II, which was launched for just under 3,400 euros, can optionally store raw data recordings uncompressed in raw format with 14-bit colour depth or compressed with 14-bit. The compression was mainly due to performance reasons, as continuous shooting can be stored faster and the cameras last longer at maximum speed. For all other Alpha-7 models, starting with the recently available Alpha 7R II, there will be firmware updates to upgrade the uncompressed raw data storage. Sony is also announcing that it intends to expand its portfolio of full-frame e-mount (FE) lenses at the beginning of 2016 from currently eleven to 20 models.

Firmware update 3.00 for the Sony Alpha 7R II and 2.00 for the 7S II: Longer 4K video recordings

Sony is providing new firmware for its two mirrorless full-frame Alpha 7R II and Alpha 7S II system cameras. Version 3.00 for the 7R II and 2.00 for the 7S II contain the same improvements. Thus, the recording time of 4K videos was extended by about 20 percent if a portrait format handle equipped with a second battery or the APS-C or Super35mm mode is used. The maximum recording time is still 29 minutes. In addition, the image quality is to be improved by a simplified correction of chromatic aberrations. The new firmware can be downloaded from Sony’s German support website and installed on your own using the procedure described on the website. If you don’t have the confidence to do this yourself, you should get help from your dealer or Sony support.

Firmware update 3.20 for Sony Alpha 7R II and Alpha 7S II: XAVC S video recordings now also on SDHC

Sony is providing new firmware version 3.20 for the two mirrorless full-frame Alpha 7S II and Alpha 7R II system cameras. Until now, an SDXC memory card was a basic requirement for video recording in the XAVC S format, which offers the highest video quality. After the firmware update, an SDHC card should be sufficient as long as it meets at least Class 10 or Speed Class 1 (U1). For the very highest quality with 100 Mbit even a Speed Class 3 (U3) UHS-I card is required. Since the maximum file size is 4 GByte, the camera splits video between multiple files if necessary. The update can be downloaded by the user and installed by following the instructions on Sony’s support website. If you don’t have the confidence to do it yourself, you should get help from your dealer or Sony support.

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