Sony a7RII: my opinion in 7 points

Yesterday, Sony announced 3 new cameras: the RX10 II, the RX100 IV, and the rumored a7R II, which we were waiting for and hearing about for a loooooong time.

Every camera is interesting and a huge step forward, but being a landscape photographer (mostly), I will tell you more about what excited me most about the a7RII, and especially in the light of long exposure photography.

11425539_846315538750965_7996445082006891878_o

Specs

  • 42MP Full-Frame Exmor R BSI CMOS Sensor
  • BIONZ X Image Processor
  • 5-Axis SteadyShot INSIDE Stabilization
  • 399 Phase-Detect AF Points & 5 fps Burst
  • Internal 4K XAVC S Video & S-Log2 Gamma
  • Weather-Resistant Magnesium Alloy Body
  • Built-In Wi-Fi Connectivity with NFC
  • ISO 102,400
  • no shutter blade motion
  • 3.5x faster than the A7r
  • A7rII focus is almost 40% faster than the one of the A7r
  • Shipping in August

Estimated Price: $3200 USD

 

My opinion in 7 points:

1- The 42MP sensor:

Very little info has surface about it, but given the quality of the previous Sony sensors (including those being used by other major camera manufacturers), I expect and HOPE for a high dynamic range, a very low noise level and limited number of hot pixels. Two of the most important aspects for long exposure.

sensor2- No low pass filter:

Back to one of the greatest features of the original a7R in my mind: the absence of a low pass filter. This feature will lead to crispier images, and you’ll see how sharp your lenses actually are…

filter

3- The 5-Axis SteadyShot Stabilization system:

It will give stabilization to EVERY lens available on the market, including 3rd party lenses. That’s right, you read it: EVERY lens available! From zoom lenses to 30+ years old medium format glass. From the latest Zeiss beauties to the highly technical and fully manual Canon tilt/shift lenses. And all of the others as well 🙂

Potentially, it also means that it is possible to move the sensor around in the camera body. What’s the point you’ll ask me, right? Well, if you move the sensor one way, take a shot, move it the other way, take a shot and stitch them together, that’s a pretty good way to increase the resolution of your image… sort of like doing a pano.

OISlenses

4- New silent shutter with no blade motion:

No noise!! How cool is that for genuine street and portrait photography?

Even better in my mind (very biased toward long exposure of course), no blade motion, meaning less vibrations in the system, meaning even crispier images!

shutter

5- Internal 4K:

Sure I’m a photographer, sure I normally don’t do video. But hey, 4K!! And no need for an external recorder, it does it all internally. So damn, I think I’ll get into video at one point or another

sensor-size

6- ISO 102,400:

Why ISO 102,400? Hell, why not! 🙂 Again, high sensitivity can be a nice addition. Not that I would personally use it too much, but having the option seems like a great way to sweeten the deal: you can use fast or not so fast lenses for street or action photography more easily

7- faster everything:

Sony heard the complains that people had with the a7R: slow-ish auto-focus, especially with 3rd party lenses. Well, to go hand in hand with a higher sensitivity, they were able to speed things along: the camera itself is 3.5x faster than the A7r, and auto focus is almost 40% faster than the one of the A7r. I even heard somewhere that Canon lenses will have next to the same speed as on Canon bodies.

specsmovies

Conclusion:

I am very excited about this new release. Sony was able to take the best of every camera in the alpha line and concentrate it in this body: high sensitivity, higher resolution, 4K video recording, image stabilization, to name just a few.

One big question that remains unclear however is how the sensor will behave in terms of noise level, dynamic range and hot pixels.

Working closely with Sony, I hope to have more info soon on these aspects, and I also hope to get my hands on a body ASAP, take it in the field and let you know more about it… So hang tight!

Your thoughts:

What do you think about this new release? Are you excited? Indifferent? Would you have wanted to see more features and then, which ones? Let me know in the comments below!

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12 thoughts on “Sony a7RII: my opinion in 7 points

  1. thibaultroland Post author

    Hi Yucel! Unfortunately, I do not know when the a7SII will come out… one can only guess, maybe in half a year from now? (this is entirely based on the time difference of when the a7R and a7S were release…). As for more ISO, the a7S is not enough for you? I’m still pretty amazed by its performence! 🙂

  2. thibaultroland Post author

    Hi Claus! Thanks for your message. All I can say is that Sony engineers are very aware of this issue and they’re working on it… So let’s cross our fingers they find a solution rapidly! ;D

  3. Pingback: Sony Tidbits… | sonyalpharumors

  4. Steve O

    seems like they fixed most everything lacking in the A7r except for one HUGE thing: lossless RAW! Please convey what an important issue this is to most photographers doing fine art prints. Even if there is a drop in speed, make it at least an option!! Thanks.

  5. Scott Haddad

    Thibault, Thank you for your thoughts. I’ve a question for you. I do landscape photography and sometimes make long exposure images. I’m using an NEX7 and find that in a cloudless sky, I sometimes get banding issues. Do you happen to know A7r deals with this issue? I’ll likely purchase the a7rII when it is available but I wanted some insight as to how the full frame sensor tackles this rather nasty issue. Thanks again.

  6. thibaultroland Post author

    Hi Steve! During the meeting they told us they are working on it, and I read another interview somewhere saying they will provide it. I cannot say anymore because I frankly do not know. I can only say what I read here and there. Let’s wait and see what happens, but i’m not too worried ;D

  7. thibaultroland Post author

    Hi Scott! Oh yes I am very familiar with such problems 🙂 That is what we long exposure photographers are annoyed with more often than not. To answer your question, it actually not something specific to Sony. I was shooting Canon before and it happened with the 5D Mark III as well.
    It is mostly due to 2 things: color and luminosity gradients in skies for LE are extremely sublte, and the dynamic range very limited. Also, using compressed images (jpg rather than raw) will increase banding. Now, how to avoid it? One thing is always use Raw, which you may already do. The other option is to use the entire dynamic range of the sensor (as opposed to exposing to the left for instance), the third is to add a bit of noise in the images. I have noticed that doing so will make transitions smoother, remove banding, and not necessarily be seen in the final prints if you don’t overdue it.
    I hope this helps!? Please let me know if you have additional questions!

  8. rikkipaul

    Long exposure? I thought I read that the longest shutter for the 7Rii was 30sec?
    Is that restrictive in your work?

  9. thibaultroland Post author

    Hi Rikki Paul!
    No, the exposure time is not limited to 30 seconds. 30 s is only the upper limit of the automatic settings, but there is a Bulb “B” setting which lets you go pretty much to any time you want. I’ve done 10 minutes no problem 🙂
    So no restriction at all for my work ;D

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