Review: Sony Alpha A7R II Camera
Although Sony’s big leap into the camera business came in with much promise after it took over, in 2006, Konica Minolta’s camera business, the excitement resided somewhat with Sony not being able to produce good quality professional cameras for the more serious camera enthusiasts.
However, this gap was filled in 2013 with Sony unveiling its impressive RX1 that was followed by the launch of Alpha 7R and 7. The specialty of these cameras was the fact that in spite of coming in a compact body, they featured full-frame sensors.
Main Features of the Camera
The Alpha 7 boasted of a mammoth 24 megapixel sensors but its successor, 7R, surpassed it with as much as 36 megapixels. Hence, not just good ‘regular’ pictures but professionals vouched this compact camera for clicking attractive landscapes and still images as well.
The Sony A7R II boasts of not only an attractive 36 MP sensor with about 42.4 millions pixels in total but it also provides you with a high performance processor (known as Bionz X from Sony). This permits your camera to work under different light conditions with the native sensitivity ranging between ISO 100 and 25,600; camera’s expansion setting falls in the range of ISO 50 to 102, 400.
Continuous shooting too is possible and can be done at 5fps.
Furthermore, to make it one-of-a-kind and brilliant camera, Sony provided its powerful sensor with a really useful OLPF or optical low filter pass system. Besides, in order to make the pixels appear bigger, the said model of Sony became the 1st one to sport “full-frame” BSI or back-sided-illuminated sensor.
To enhance the sensor’s readout by 3.5 times, on top of the sensor, Sony utilized a copper wiring system instead aluminium (the ordinary). This also allows for improved and quicker autofocus facility and aids in compact “rolling shutter” action for better video quality.
Unlike Alpha 7R, A7R II has a great auto focus system that is hybrid to accentuate both phase detection focus and contrast effectively. This calculates around a sum of 399 points and covers about 45% of the area of image.
According to Sony, the autofocus system works around 40% more rapidly than all its other previous models while providing better motion tracking. Hence, you can expect to get better choices for focusing modes compared to the other previous models of the same range.
For example, to follow a moving object, the camera is backed with Flexible Spot mode along with a Lock-on AF mode (Wide/ Centre/Zone/Flexible Spot – with small, large and middle options along with Expand Flexible Spot). The camera, first, tries to calculate the distance from the object, whether it is in movement compared to the other objects or not, and clicks images by ascertaining the position of other objects in vicinity.
Apart from this, this camera with full frame has a built-in 5-axis image stabilization to reduce blur or jitters in still photographs and videos respectively. The OLED viewfinder comes with an innovated shutter unit that is specifically designed for creating lesser vibration and has a whopping life of 500,000 cycles.
Can You Also Capture Good Videos With Sony Alpha A7 RII?
Well, the A7R II is a hit as far as good video quality is concerned. After all, no other full-frame before this offered you with a 4000 recording in-camera sans any external recorder usage.
If you want to create the best video footage, simply set the camera to Super 35mm to create footage sans any skipping of line or binning of pixel. However, the video frame is much narrower when compared to shooting stills. However, you may also set off the Super 35mm to use the entire imaging area though pixel binning may occur.
However, its capability of using Picture Profiles as well as set definite values for Knee, Gamma (highlight compression) and Black Level, along with adjustment of colour (Colour Deepth, Level, Phase and Mode) and Detail make it a better counterpart of the erstwhile A7 model as far as video quality is concerned.
Furthermore, Sony’s setting ‘S-Log2’ enables the dynamic range of the camera to increase by as much as 1300% to make profounder shadow and highlight details that is perfect for grading post-capture.
You can record the movies using XAVC S with MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 compression, or MP4: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 compression, or AVCHD with MPEG-4 AVC/H.264. Perfect HD shooting is also available with frame speed being as much as 60p at the rate of 50Mbps (NTSC) or 50p at the rate of 50Mbps (PAL). Provision of Time Code helps in identifying scene and synchronizing numerous footages from multiple cameras.
Why Should You Buy Sony Alpha A7 RII?
It is a high resolution camera with full-frame sensor—all in a compact, weather-sealed body. It also captures amazing video, and is enabled with high-end features including in-camera 4k recording.
Why You May Not Want to Invest in This Camera?
The menu needs streamlining for better performance. Besides, there is limited range of lenses compared to the other cameras en vogue now, and its video recording button is somewhat awkwardly positioned.
In spite of really fewer lens options to choose from, this camera can be termed as an alternative to the DSLRs for landscape and still images owing to its good pixel count.
Besides, the Auto Focus and the brilliant features for video capturing make this camera a favorite among many serious photographers.