Sony A7ii: preview

I woke up this morning to very great news. I read on www.sonyalpharumors.com (thanks,  Andrea) that Sony Japan had announced the Sony A7ii. Sony had managed to squeeze in the technology which people said they could not (not in a compact mirrorless body). Well, Sony has proved them all wrong. In this post, I have looked through and compiled various bits of information regarding the A7ii with comparison to its other siblings in the same stable.

Background:

Few years back, Olympus came out with the E-M5 camera with its 5-axis in-body image-stabilisation (IBIS), which at that time was a most impressive piece of innovation which pushed the E-M5 into the limelight. I recall having wished that Sony would come out with this technology. After all, Sony is well known for innovating and thinking out of the box.

When they released their Sony A7 and A7R last year, I was slightly disappointed that they did not incorporate the 5-axis IBIS, as that would make them incredible cameras. But I still bought the A7R, as it opened up opportunities to capture at extreme high resolution, previously only available to medium format shooters.

But now, Sony has managed to ‘squeeze’ in the 5-axis IBIS into their A7ii. That is very impressive indeed. Clearly Sony have listened to consumers, and have their finger on the pulse – something they need to do if they want to break into the monopoly of Canikon in the camera industry.

So what technology have they squeezed into the A7ii?

1) 5-axis in-body image stabilisation, which corrects for pitch, yaw, up/down, left/right and rolling. This allows for stabilising the camera for shooting photos and videos. Images below from Sony Japan website.

The 5 axis of Image Stabilisation
The 5 axis of Image Stabilisation

This can be particularly important when doing manual focusing, as it stabilises the subject on the live view screen or electronic viewfinder (EVF) so accurate focusing can be done. This will work with all lenses, including Sony A-mount lenses and older legacy lenses. Imagine the Zeiss Otus 55mm F1.4 APO and Otus 85mm F1.4 APO have just received a free upgrade with image stabilisation, as have all other lenses.

Sony have their own E-mount lenses with Optical Steady Shot (OSS), which stabilises the image optically. This can be used in conjunction with the IBIS, so each shares a component of the image stabilisation (see below). No other camera company does this Рit traditionally was either optical lens IS or in-body IS, but then Sony always dares to be different.

5-axis IBIS, IS can work with OSS in E-mount lens
5-axis IBIS, IS can work with OSS in E-mount lens

The image below is from Sony Japan showing image taken with their 500mm F4 lens at 1/50 secs – that is 3.5 stops of image stabilisation. So Sony have suddenly given their A-mount lens a significant free boost/upgrade for E-mount users. And we all like freebies.

Shot with Sony 500mm F4 at 1/50 secs
Shot with Sony 500mm F4 at 1/50 secs

This is particularly relevant for me with my two Sony A-mount lenses (85mm F1.4 Zeiss Planar and 500mm F8 mirror AF) – may have to hang on to those now. Even the other great A-mount lenses suddenly look very appealing – Sigma 35mm F1.4 ART, 50mm F1.4 ART and the Sigma and Tamron 70-200mm F2.8.

Page 2, Page 3