The Sony A7 II is one of the most interesting proposals in the range of mirrorless cameras from the Japanese manufacturer. Sony integrates a full- frame Exmor R sensor in a more manageable body than that of a SLR and also complements it with a five-axis optical stabilization system , which is integrated into the sensor itself. It is a camera for the advanced hobbyist or for the professional looking for a more compact and manageable body . Sony renewed their full-frame sensor mirrorless last December and we had a chance to test it together with the Sony 28-70 lens, we tell you our impressions.
Design and handling
The ergonomics was one of the points to be improved in the Sony A7 and again this model some bugs are solved, such as placing the shutter button further forward on the handle . Speaking of the grip, it is quite prominent and offers a comfortable and secure grip, necessary in a camera that weighs 600 grams without counting the lens, and also has a rough non-slip texture. The chassis is made of magnesium alloy , a strong but relatively light material. The feeling when holding and handling the Sony A7 II is quite similar to that of a DSLR,but logically its size is tighter. However, although it is not a bulky camera, it is quite solid and you will notice that you carry it with you.
The controls are well placed so that we can access them comfortably. As we said, the fire button is slightly advanced on the grip, so that it is easier to reach with the index finger. The position of the wheels to control the speed and the diaphragm is also comfortable, and is one of the aspects that reminds us of the handling of a SLR. Sony distributes the buttons and dials between the top and the back, next to the screen, which is not touch . However, they are still determined to place the video button in the right corner, in a position that forces the thumb to move from the grip. The mode dial is accessible, but on request they could have separated it a bit more from the viewfinder.
Screen and viewfinder
Framing can be done through the screen or the electronic viewfinder . The screen is a 3-inch LCD with 1,228,800 pixel resolution . It offers sharp images and its brightness is high enough for us to see the frame when we are outdoors. However, in bright light it is much more comfortable to use the electronic viewfinder. It offers 100% coverage and has 2,360,000 pixels of resolution. The brightness and sharpness of the image has made us not miss the mirror and its ergonomic design also gives us that reflex camera feeling we were talking about.
Returning to the screen, Sony has placed it on a hinge that allows us to fold it down , but yes, only on the vertical axis. It is comfortable to work at high or low angles, and also to avoid reflections from the sun. As we have already said in the previous section, the screen is not touch, but we have not missed this function either, with the manual controls it is more than enough.
Focus and shoot
Sony integrates a system of hybrid approach that offers faster response than the previous model. It features a 99-zone phase-detection focus system and 25-zone contrast-detection focus, for a total of 117 zones. It does not reach the level of a professional SLR like the 7D Mark II, it plays in another league, but its focus is quite fast and precise, even when the lighting conditions are rather poor. It also delivers when shooting action photography , combining continuous focus with burst shooting at 5 fps, made possible by the BIONZ processor.integrated .
The sensor is a full- frame Exmor R, with 24.3 megapixels of resolution and a size of 35.8 x 23.9 millimeters. The ISO sensitivity ranges from 50 to 25,600 and we were pleasantly surprised. Noise is visible above ISO 12,800, but it is quite subtle, only noticeable when approaching the highest sensitivities. The good thing about the Sony A7 II is that its optical stabilizer allows us to shoot at low shutter speeds without shaking the photo, so it is not necessary to increase the sensitivity as much. It is an stabilizer5-axis SteadyShot built into the body. However, where we will notice it most will be in the videos.
The camera offers Sony's common shooting modes , such as Superior Auto that automatically selects scenes, although the desired result is not always achieved. In that case it is best to opt for manual modes to adjust all the parameters of the shot. The combination of the full frame sensor with the image processor BIONZ, get images with a very wide dynamic range, crisp and tonal range rich , even though some automatic modes too saturated colors . In the case of videos , they have quality FullHDand records at a maximum rate of 60 fps . Sound can be recorded through an external microphone or with its built-in microphone, which offers a good volume level and also has a system to reduce wind noise.
Here are several tests carried out with the Sony A7 II and the Sony 28-70mm zoom.
Superior automatic mode. Backlighting
Level of detail
Example of video recorded with the Sony A7 II and the built-in microphone.
Connectivity and autonomy
The Sony A7 II has several physical connections on the side, covered by two covers. When opening the second cover, the one closest to the screen, we find a MicroHDMI port and a MicroUSB . In the elongated cap are the audio connectors for microphone and headphones , both with a diameter of 3.5 millimeters. It is also equipped with WiFi and NFC wireless connectivity , to be able to transfer the photos to a smartphone or tablet and also to control it remotely.
The battery offers a somewhat adjusted autonomy that forces us to carry a secondary one if we go out to take photos all day. The good thing is that it loads relatively quickly.
The Sony A7 II is a successor worthy of the first model that improves key points such as ergonomics and focus , but keep others such as sensor or processor , offering an excellent result. The five-axis stabilizer is one of the strong arguments for opting for the Sony A7 II in favor of the former. It makes shooting in low light easy and works very well to minimize shaking when shooting video, although we will have to control the pulse for the result to be optimal. In short, a mirrorless camera that brings us closer to the handling and quality offered by a high-end SLR, even at its price., and it is that the body alone already costs 1,800 euros.
Sony A7 II
|Typology||Mirrorless interchangeable lens|
|Type||35mm full-frame Exmor® CMOS sensor|
|Size||35.8 x 23.9 mm|
|Image processor||BIONZ X engine|
Sony 18-70mm lens (ILCA-77M2Q)
|Focal distance||18-70 mm|
|Opening (No. F)||f / 3.5-5.6|
|Image Stabilizer||5-axis SteadyShot built into the body|
|Type||Fast Hybrid AF (Phase-detection AF / Contrast-detection AF)|
|AF system||99 points per phase detection|
25 points by contrast detection
|focus area||Autofocus Lock (Wide / Zone / Center / Flexible Spot (S / M / L))|
Wide angle (117-point phase-detection AF, 25-point contrast-detection AF)
Flexible spot (S / M / L)
|Focus modes||Single-shot autofocus (AF-S), continuous AF (AF-C), direct manual focus (DMF), manual focus|
Focus light (0.3 - 3 meters)
|Measuring system||Evaluative of 1,200 zones|
|Sensitivity in measurement||EV-1 to EV 20 (ISO 100 equivalent with a F2.0 lens)|
|ISO sensitivity||50 - 25,600|
Noise reduction at high ISO
|Shutter||Electronic control, vertical transverse and focal plane type|
Photographs: 1/8000 to 30 seconds, light bulb.
Movies: 1/8000 to 1/4 (1/3 steps) up to 1/60 in auto mode (up to 1/30 in auto slow shutter mode)
|White balance||Auto white balance, daylight, shadows, cloudy, incandescent, fluorescent (warm white / cool white / day white / daylight), flash, color temperature (2500 to 9900 K) and color filter (G7 to M7: 15 steps, A7 to B7: 15 steps), custom, underwater|
|Type||Electronic viewfinder type|
|Extension||Approx. 0.71x (with 50mm lens at infinity, -1m)|
|Diopter adjustment||-4.0 to +3.0|
|Ocular point||Approx. 27mm from the eyepiece lens and 22mm from the eyepiece frame|
Display and layout
|Size||3 inch LCD|
|Folding||Yes, on the vertical axis|
|Dimensions||126.9 X 95.7 X 59.7 mm|
|Weight||556 grams (body only)|
599 grams (with battery and holder)
|Type||Sony Î ± multi-interface shoe compatible flash system, adapts bracket adapter for flash compatible with accessory bracket with auto-lock|
Red-eye reduction (on / off selectable)
High speed sync
|Features||Synchro. 1/250 seconds|
Compatible external flash
|Photo modes||Auto (iAUTO, Superior Auto), Program AE (P), Aperture Priority (A), Shutter Speed Priority (S), Manual (M), Scene Selection, Sweep Panorama, Movie|
|Scene modes||Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sports Action, Sunset, Night Portrait, Night Scene, Manual Twilight|
|Image Effects||Soft high key|
Partial color (R, G, B, Y)
Toy camera (normal, cold, warm, green, magenta).
High contrast monochrome
Posterization (black and white)
Black and white
Dynamic range: Automatic high dynamic range (automatic exposure difference, exposure difference level (1-6 EV, 1.0 EV step))
Off. Dynamic Range Optimizer (Auto / Level (1-5))
|Video features||Display Audio Level, Audio Recording Level, Auto Slow Shutter, HDMI® Information Display (On / Off Selectable), Time Code / User Bits, Dual Video Recording, Auto Slow Shutter, Record Control|
|Burst shooting||5 fps|
|Image size||Format 3: 2 G: APS-C L: 3,936 x 2,624 (10 M), M: 3,008 x 2,000 (6.0 M), S: 1,968 x 1,312 (2.6 M)|
35mm full frame L: 6000 x 4000 (24M), M: 3936 x 2624 (10M), S: 3008 x 2000 (6.0M) 16: 9 G: APS-C L: 3,936 x 2,216 (8.7 M), M: 3,008 x 1,688 (5.1 M), P: 1,968 x 1,112 (2.2 M)
35mm full frame L: 6,000 x 3,376 (20M), M: 3,936 x 2,216 (8.7M), S: 3,008 x 1,688 (5.1M) Sweep Panorama : Standard: horizontal 8,192 x 1,856 (15M ), vertical 3,872 x 2,160 (8.4M)
Wide angle: horizontal 12,416 x 1,856 (23M), vertical 5,536 x 2,160 (12M)
|Video size||FullHD 1,920 x 1,080, 60 fps / 50 Mbps|
|File formats|| Image: JPEG compliant (DCF version 2.0, Exif version 2.3, MPF Baseline compliant), RAW (Sony ARW 2.3 format)|
Video: AVCHD 2.0 / mp4 / XAVC S
Audio: AVCHD / mp4 / XAVC S
Connections and autonomy
|Memory card||Memory Stick Pro Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duoâ „¢, Memory Stick XC-HG Duoâ„ ¢, SD, SDHC, SDXC|
|With cables||3.5mm Microphone Mini Jack|
3.5mm mini headphone jack
Multiple interface shoe
MicroHDMI type D
Remote control (sold separately)
|Battery||NP-FW50 W series rechargeable battery|
350 shots of autonomy
60 minutes of video
Kit price 1,800 euros (2,100 euros with 28-70 mm lens)