Sony A7R II - Image Quality, Video and Verdict

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Sony A7R II – Image Quality

Now for the main event: image

quality. The Sony A7R II has a particularly bold sensor, pushing

forwards from the standard-setting full-frame CSC design of the A7R.

It’s

a higher-resolution sensor, at 42.4 megapixels, to the last

generation’s 36.4. This is the first time we’ve seen this sensor used,

and rather than causing a decrease in high-ISO performance as you might

imagine, Sony has actually raised the ISO ceiling.

The Sony A7R

II’s native ISO range is 100 – 25600, but can be expanded down to ISO 50

and all the way up to ISO 102400. This is very different to the

ISO-limiting style we saw in the ultra-high-resolution Canon 5DS R.

Sony A7R II 11

This

is possible because the Sony A7R II sensor is back-side illuminated,

increasing its natural sensitivity. This technology has been used most

notably in phones, but now it’s even working wonders in top-end camera

sensors.

Shooting at low ISOs, the Sony A7R II’s detail capture

is simply phenomenal. At ISO 100 the camera rendered 4,800l/ph in our

labs tests, far in excess of almost all cameras but the Canon 5DS R,

which outperformed it with 5,600l/ph.

Like so many cameras of

the moment, the A7R II doesn’t have an optical low-pass filter, helping

it to hold onto every scrap of detail the sensor can see.

Alpha A7R 7

To

give you some idea of exactly how detailed the camera is, it offers

magazine-grade images (300ppi) at 22 x 15in or 57 x 38cm, offering scope

for massive enlargements with zero sense of limited image information.

The combination of effective OIS and good higher-ISO performance offers

spectacular versatility too.

The detail level at ISO 6400 too

is, compared with other CSCs, staggering. Even when shooting at ISO

12800 and 25600, the results can be pretty good with a liberal dose of

noise reduction. Thanks to the ultra-high resolution sensor, the detail

at 25600 is still higher than some capable cameras at base ISO.

Dynamic

range at base ISO is a strong 13.1EV and, like detail, it holds up

very well into mid and higher ISO sensitivity levels. The Sony A7R

II is a stills powerhouse.

Here are some photos we took using the camera:

Sony A7R IISony A7R II 3Sony A7R II 5Sony A7R II 25

Sony A7R II – Video

Its

video abilities are also excellent, especially when compared to

high-end DSLRs at the price, none of which have 4K video capture. The

Sony A7R II does.

Using the XAVC codec you can shoot at 100Mbps,

at 4K resolution. Step down to 1080p and the bit-rate drops to 50Mbps,

which is still great for Full HD.

Having OIS to work with helps to

improve the look of handheld video, and there are plenty of features

that make the Sony A7R II seem like a very good choice for budding video

fans. For example, there’s an aux 3.5mm mic input to let you avoid

using the basic embedded microphone setup, and there are multiple

capture modes.

Of most interest to those looking to properly

edit their footage, the Sony A7R II offers a “flat” mode that helps to

retain the greatest dynamic range possible. It won’t look like much

fresh out of the camera, but gives you plenty of image information to

work with if you’re going to grade the video after shooting.

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Should I buy the Sony A7R II?

The

Sony A7R II could never have made quite as big a splash as its

predecessors. Quite simply there are no strides it could have made to

compete with being the first full-frame CSC.

However, this is by a

substantial margin a better camera than the A7R. A bunch of

improvements add up to a significant whole. Which matters most depends on

your priorities.

Better ergonomics and control layout, 4K video,

great in-body image stabilisation, a silent shutter mode and

significantly increased resolution paired with improved high-ISO

performance: it’s a remarkable achievement. It’s worth considering over a

high-end DLSR if you haven’t already invested in lenses for, most

likely, the Nikon or Canon systems.

Verdict

A superb full-frame CSC whose numerous improvements make it a much more versatile camera than the original A7R.

Score


Score in detail

  • Value 7
  • Design 9
  • Features 9
  • Image Quality 9
  • Build Quality 9
  • Performance 8