The Sony Alpha 7R II camera is all set to revolutionise the market with substantial improvements over its previous model, the Alpha 7R, which is clearly one of the top performing cameras currently in the market. Do join us while we count the milestones…
The Alpha 7-series of Full-Frame mirrorless cameras from Sony have already captured the limelight with advanced features including high-quality videos. Now Sony has come up with a major improvement in the Alpha 7R range with the introduction of the Alpha 7R II (A7R II). The new camera boasts a 42.4 megapixe BSI-CMOS sensor, in-body 5-axis image stabilisation, internal 4K video recording and much more.
Design and Build Quality
The latest version of A7-series has some improvements in design as compared to the earlier one. The A7R II is as sturdy as its predecessor, having a magnesium alloy chassis along with polycarbonate nishing. The major design improvements come to light when you observe the top panels. The A7R II has a less confusing top panel with the power switch-shutter release button assembly moved forward to the top of the grip. The front control dial has been moved to a more convenient position on the grip itself instead of the slanting surface on top of the grip. ere are two custom buttons on the top panel instead of one earlier. The main dierentiator, 4K and SteadyShot have been prominently advertised on top. The back panel remains more or less the same except for a slanting surface just below the view nder housing the menu and custom (c3) buttons and a thin wheel-like control dial instead of a tall cylindrical one. Both the lens mount and the tripod receptacle are metal. The accessory shoe has been painted black instead of chrome, which was the case with the A7R.
The Alpha 7R II incorporates several improvements over the Alpha 7R. The key dierences can be seen in the following table. The highlighting indicates an improvement in the feature.
The 42.4 megapixel Sony Alpha 7R II (Alpha 7R M2) uses a Full Frame (35.9×24.0mm) ExmorR Back-Side Illuminated (BSI) CMOS sensor along with a Bionz X processor. The BSI CMOS sensor promises better noise control, enabling higher sensitivity than other cameras with normal sensors. The camera is compatible with all Sony E-mount lenses. Other lenses can be used with the help of adapters. The camera does not feature an optical lowpass filter. The camera uses a sensor-shift image stabilisation system, which effects a 5-axis correction of pitch, yaw, and roll. Sony claims a compensation of up to 4.5 steps with the Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA lens. The sensor also incorporates a dust protection mechanism with charge protection coating on optical filter and image sensor shift mechanism.
Still images are recorded with a maximum size of 7952 x 5304 pixels in JPEG and Raw (Sony ARW format) formats with an option to record both simultaneously. Raw images can be recorded in 14 bit. JPEG compression can be set to Extra Fine, Fine, and Standard. Videos can be recorded in XAVC S, AVCHD, and MP4 formats up to 4K (3840 x 2160, 30p/25p/24p) quality. The device supports HDMI output up to 3840 x 2160 (25p, 30p, 24p).
The 7R II uses Fast Hybrid AF, which combines phase-detection and contrastdetection autofocus methods for faster autofocus speeds. The camera has a total of 399 phase-detection autofocus points, which cover the entire frame, whereas contrast detection method makes use of 25 autofocus points. This multitude of AF points is particularly useful for high-speed subject tracking. AF modes include AF-A (Automatic AF), AF-S (Single-shot AF), AF-C (Continuous AF), DMF (Direct Manual Focus), and Manual Focus. Focus area options include Wide (399 points -phase-detection AF, 25 points-contrastdetection AF), Zone, Centre, Flexible Spot, Expanded Flexible Spot, and Lockon AF.
The camera uses 1200-zone evaluative metering with the usual metering modes — Multi-segment, Centre-weighted, and Spot. Th e exposure meter is sensitive from EV-3 to EV20 (at ISO100 equivalent with f/2.0 lens attached).
Shooting modes available are Auto (iAuto/Superior Auto), Program AE (P), Aperture priority (A), Shutter priority (S), Manual (M), Movie, Sweep Panorama, and Scene Selection. Movie modes include P, A, S, and M. Scene Selection provides options for Portrait, Sports Action, Macro, Landscape, Sunset, Night Scene, Hand-held Twilight, Night Portrait, and Anti Motion Blur. Exposure can be compensated up to +/- 5.0EV in 1/3 or 1/2 EV steps. Exposure Bracketing is available with options of Continuous and Single with 3, 5, and 9 frames selectable. ISO sensitivity ranges from ISO 100-25600 for both stills and videos. In still mode, it can be expanded from ISO 50 to ISO 10,2400. For those who are wondering why companies provide such high ISO sensitivity options, the answer lies in video capture. The high ISO option allows you to capture videos even in near-dark conditions. Since SD and HD videos do not require the full resolution of the sensor to be used, the final captured video is downsampled considerably and hence will have lower noise than a still image captured at full resolution at the same ISO setting. White Balance options available are Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent (4 options), Flash, Underwater, Colour temperature, Colour filter, and Custom. The camera also provides options of Auto White Balance micro adjustment along with White Balance Bracketing for up to three frames. The Alpha 7R II uses an electronically-controlled, verticaltraverse, focal-plane shutter providing shutter speeds from 30 to 1/8000 sec and Bulb for still images and 1/4 to 1/8000 sec for videos (up to 1/60 sec in Auto mode). The shutter syncronises with the flash up to 1/250 sec (X-sync). The camera also has an electronic front curtain, which allows for silent shooting.
The Alpha 7R II incorporates a 0.5-inch, 2,359,296-dot electronic viewfinder with a frame coverage of 100 percent. The camera uses a 3.0-inch 1,228,800-dot TFT monitor as the main display. The screen can be tilted up by approx. 107 degrees and down by approx. 41 degrees. The display includes digital level gauge, histogram, focus magnifier, zebra, peaking MF, and grid line. The camera can detect up to eight faces.
The Sony Alpha 7R II has a standard accessory shoe (hot-shoe). Flash control is through TTL pre-flash method, and flash exposure can be compensated up to +/- 3.0 EV in 1/3 or 1/2 EV steps. Flash can be bracketed for 3, 5, or 9 frames. Flash modes available are Flash off, Autoflash, Fill-flash, Slow Sync., Rear Sync., Red-eye reduction, Wireless, and Hi-speed sync. The camera is compatible with Sony Alpha system flash. Drive modes available are Single, Continuous (Hi/Lo selectable), Self-timer, Selftimer (Cont.), and Bracket (Single,
Continuous, White Balance, DRO). Self-timer can be set to 10, 5, or 2 second delay. The camera can shoot continuous frames at a maximum of 5 frames per second. You can capture a maximum of 24 JPEG Large, 30 JPEG Fine, 23 Raw, or 22 Raw + JPEG frames. The Sony Alpha 7R II uses a Memory Stick PRO Duo/PRO-HG Duo, SD/SDHC (UHS-I compliant), SDXC (UHS-I compliant) for storage. 4K videos can be recorded only on an SDXC (UHS-I) card. You can also use an Eye-Fi card to share images easily with Wi-Fi devices. The camera has built-in Wi-Fi and NFC to connect wirelessly with compatible devices. The 7R II has a headphone terminal with 3.5 mm stereo mini jack, and vertical grip connector. The device also has built-in stereo microphone, and built-in monaural speakers. The camera is powered by one rechargeable battery pack NP-FW50. The battery can be charged internally through the mini USB connector or through the supplied battery charger. The Alpha 7R II weighs 625 g (with battery and Memory Stick PRO Duo, and measures 126.9 x 95.7 x 60.3 mm.