Sony Alpha A7R II: Why You Must Own It

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There’s so much news on the Sony Alpha A7R II‘s extremely promising features.

sony alpha a7rii

The sensor is one of the most interesting parts, though.

sony alpha a7rii sensor

It is full-frame and 42.4 megapixels. That’s more than the 36.3-megapixel Nikon D810, more than the 22.3-megapixel Canon EOS 5D Mark III. You have to head to the Canon 5DS and 5DS R to get more.

Apart from ramping up the resolution, Sony has actually increased max ISO sensitivity from 25600 to 102400. This may be termed as bold, but it’s because the A7R II also has the world’s first BSI full-frame sensor. BSI sensors which are generally used in new generation smart phones to compensate for their tiny sensor size, but Sony is pioneering this more light-sensitive design in cameras like the A7R II.

Adding a 5-axis stabilisation we’re looking at a camera you should be able to shoot handheld in virtually any conditions and still get fantastic results. The Sony Alpha A7R II looks a bit like a camera that can do everything eyes can imagine of.

Sony Alpha A7R II: Design and Handling

Of course, versatility is nothing new to the A7 series.

The aesthetics are somewhat similar – a modern design with nods to the same classic film DLRs Olympus references in its OM-D series. However, the feel has changed.

The Sony Alpha A7R II grip is much deeper than that of the original A7R, making it feel much more substantial, and getting you a surer grip. This is a magnesium alloy construction that feels strong too. It’s weather sealed as well, making it the perfect outdoors-y camera once paired with the right weather-sealed lens.

Sony Alpha A7R II: Performance and AF

The AF changes are much less subjective. The Sony Alpha A7R II has an amazing 399-point on-sensor phase detection system, a huge improvement over the relatively weak AF systems of the A7 and A7R.

As it’s on the sensor, the phase detection AF can be used with any lens, including non-native lenses that require an adapter. The Sony Alpha A7R II was an order of magnitude faster than its predecessor.

If you’re thinking about switching from a DSLR to the Alpha series, this is a pretty compelling argument for the move.

So is the EVF. It’s perhaps the best created till date, with XGA resolution (or 2,359,000 dots), 100 per cent coverage and 0.78x magnification. That’s the highest magnification of an EVF. It’s big, clear and bright. The A7R has a great EVF too, but this one should appear slightly larger.

One sacrifice of an incredibly high-res full-frame camera is shooting speed. The Sony Alpha A7R II’s 5fps shooting speed means it’s not for pro sports photographers. However, that’s the same speed as the Nikon D810, and one frame per second faster than the first A7R. It’s not bad

Sony Alpha A7R II: Video

One area where the Sony Alpha A7R II soundly beats the DSLR competition is video. It can shoot at 4K resolution, without needing an external recorder like the A7 S.

The Sony Alpha A7R II records using the XAVC S codec, at up to 100Mbps at 4K resolution, or 50Mbps at HD. There’s also a special Super 35mm crop mode that emulates the field of view of cameras like the Red Epic while using oversampling at a rate of x1.8 to help reduce noise.

With extra features like Time Coding and shooting modes that design for post-production grading, the Sony Alpha A7R II should be able to easily edge out the Panasonic GH4 as the CSC of choice for video shooters. For those that can afford it, at any rate.

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