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Sony A7II – impressions page 2

I have to say that the Sony A7II on its own already looks very good, but partner it with the Sony 24-70mm Zeiss and it looks even nicer.

The Sony A7II with my Zeiss 24-70mm lens
The Sony A7II with my Zeiss 24-70mm lens

The layout of buttons and connectors has definitely improved from the first iteration in the Sony A7 and A7R. I am hoping the subsequent E-mount full-frame cameras will take inspiration from the A7II and perhaps refine it even further.

The various connectors hidden behind two flaps which are side by side
The various connectors hidden behind two flaps which are side by side
The A7II is very customisable and has very user-friendly layout
The A7II is very customisable and has very user-friendly layout. So many buttons to use.
Live view screen is the same size as the A7R
Live view screen is the same size as the A7R

So I have to say that the Sony A7II feels very good in the hand, and has many very useful features. I am not put off by the extra thickness of the body or the extra weight, which to be honest isn’t that much of a change from the A7R.

Now the questions I wanted to find answers to were: how is the image quality, image stabilisation and autofocus speed?

Image quality:

Here I have taken 100% crops from the jpeg files at ISO 3200 and 6400.

ISO 3200 - 100% crop
ISO 3200 – 100% crop
ISO 6400 - 100% crop
ISO 6400 – 100% crop
ISO 6400 100% crop
ISO 6400 100% crop
ISO 6400 - 100% crop
ISO 6400 – 100% crop

As you can see even at 100% crop, the image retains excellent detail and has very little noise. So the jpeg engine definite works well at least up to ISO 6400; this is similar in performance to the image quality of the A7R, which is capable of doing this with many more pixels – one big reason I like my A7R a lot.

Image stabilisation:

For this test I took shots at 70mm with various shutter speeds. I found that I was able to get sharp images down to 1/5 sec, which is equivalent to about 4-stop of image stabilisation. This feature I do need to test further, particularly with manual focus lenses. But this is probably my favourite feature in this camera – well done Sony.

Mundane knot on the wooden floor used to test image stabilisation at 1/5 secs - 100% crop
Mundane knot on the wooden floor used to test image stabilisation at 1/5 secs – 100% crop

Autofocus:

I was shooting the A7II indoors where the lighting was not very bright. Hence I am sure the autofocus defaulted to contrast-detect rather than the faster phase-detection autofocus. But it did perform as well as or perhaps slightly better than my Sony A7R, which is already good enough for me. So I would say that it does meet up to my expectations autofocus wise – and should focus even faster in brighter conditions when using the hybrid contrast/phase-detection autofocus.

Summary:

I am impressed with the Sony A7II and the fact it now has the state-of-the-art (and one and only) full-frame 5-axis in-body image stabilisation in the world. First use of this camera has given me a very positive impression. The usability of this camera has been notched up another level, with better ergonomics and customisability.

I like the in-body image stabilisation (a lot). I really like that new grip. I like the feel and ergonomics of the camera and the extra buttons. I like the shutter sound. The image quality and autofocus performance are very good indeed. But I still would not trade in the A7R for this, as I would miss that 36 megapixel sensor too much. Now should Sony come out with a 36 to 50 megapixel E-mount camera with in-body image stabilisation and similar ergonomics to the A7II, then I will definitely be buying it.

Boon

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