Sony A7RII Announced – And it looks awesome!

sony-a7rii-promo

Sony quietly announced the A7RII, and it looks awesome from the specs, but specs rarely tell the full story.  For now, all we can do is look at the specs.

Basic Specs

  • 42.4 megapixel Exmor R BSI CMOS Back-Illuminated Sensor
  • BIONZ X Image Processor
  • 5-Axis In-body image stabilization (which works with some third party Canon and Nikon lenses)
  • 399 Phase-Detect AF Points
  • Only 5 fps Burst (Slower than I'd have expected to see in this camera)
  • Same 1,020mAh battery (NP-FW50) used in all the other A7 series cameras (Agh!  This is a HUGE annoyance!  1,020 mAh is TINY.  For comparison, the battery I use for my Nikon is twice the capacity)
  • 4K Video without the need for an external recorder
  • Weather-Resistant Magnesium Alloy Body
  • OLED viewfinder with .78 magnification
  • Built-In Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n)
  • Built-In NFC
  • No GPS (Argh!!!)
  • Native ISO: 100
  • Max ISO: 25,600 (expandable to ISO 102,400, but who really uses that?)
  • Faster autofocus (That's marketing speak.  I'll believe it when I see it.  Sony's mirrorless offerings aren't exactly known for their AF speed despite their lofty marketing claims.)
  • No low-pass filter
  • Less shutter vibration (Claimed 500,000 shutter actuations)
  • 1/8000 fastest shutter speed (1/250 flash sync)
  • 625 gram body-only weight (151 grams heavier than Sony A7r, 255 grams lighter than Nikon D810)

Jim's Quick Take

From the specs, this looks like a pretty nice step forward for the Sony FE mount camera line.  In fact, these specs may be enough to convince me to buy one when pre-orders are available next week.

I'm anxious to see what Sony's new 46.2 megapixel sensor looks like and how it performs in the real world.  The real question for me is if it can best the image quality of the 36 megapixel D810, which in my opinion, delivers the best image quality of any popular camera in production right now.

The spec that concerns me with this camera is one that most photographers don't seem to pay any attention to.  The weight on the A7RII is 151 grams heavier than the original A7R.  Weight is one of the main attractors to mirrorless over the Nikon D810 for me.  So far no mirrorless camera has matched its image quality, so weight and connectivity are the draws for me.  With the A7RII now being only 255 grams less in weight, the incentive to change over is less.  Not to mention that the price of the A7RII is now the same as the D810.

Also, I'm interested to see that Sony did not announce the A7000 today.  Rumor has it that overheating issues have plagued the model and delayed its announcement.

Lens Selection

It's still scarce.  There are only 12 FE lenses for the A7RII, though of course you can use an adapter to use other lenses on the system.  Sony has promised 8 new FE lenses coming before the end of Q1 2016.

The lens selection remains the achilles heel of the Sony full frame e-mount line (well, that and autofocus performance).

Video Features

The Sony A7RII does two really cool things for videographers.  First, it records native, internal 4k.  No need for an external recorder.  If you're a curmudgeon who complains that 4k is useless since no one has a 4k TV, then check the resolution of my iMac 5k.  Also, 4k recording means you can creatively crop video for 1080p.

The second thing introduced in the camera for videographers is the ability to use only a portion of the sensor to record videos in full resolution with a longer “focal length.”  A 46.2 megapixel sensor leaves a lot of pixels doing nothing when only recording 1080p or even 4k for that matter.  This feature allows you to pick which pixels are used to “zoom in” tighter.  It's like crop mode, but you still get full resolution–even for 4k.

The camera doesn't impress in the fast frame rate department, only capturing 120fps in 720p, but at least appeases the video nerds with a clean HDMI out.

Pricing and Pre-Orders

Pre-orders are set to open on June 17, and the camera will ship in August, so only time will tell whether this camera is worthy of attention.

Official pricing has not yet been released, but it looks to be about $3,200 (US).  That's a fair price for a camera with this lineup of specs, but significantly higher than previous models in this line.  You can pre-order at B&H now.

 

13 thoughts on “Sony A7RII Announced – And it looks awesome!”

  1. I have the A7r and it’s pretty dreadful. Slow and I mean molasses slow in all respects, from switching on, to autofocus to shutter lag to frames per second to buffer capacity.

    Apparently the A7rII has USB2.0 (not USB3) and no UHS-II support. This leads me to think this camera is not going to be wildly fast either.

    At this price it’s the last thing I’d pre-order. I’ll wait for the reviews and the launch price to settle down to something reasonable.

  2. I’m very excited as a Canon/Sony user. Currently have a 6D, and I had a Sony A7, but i sold that awhile ago with the anticipation of this camera. I loved my A7, and took it everywhere i went. I disagree with the lens lineup being weak. Where as I agree that there isn’t as much choice when it comes to price, the main lenses are there. All your wide angle primes and a 16-35 is there. 55 1.8 is amazing, zeiss came out with that 85 1.8 batis that looks awesome. The have a 24-70 equivalent, but it’s f4 i believe… They definitely need a 70-200 equivalent to the 2.8, but other than that I think they are doing fine with lenses now. You will pay the price, but I look at it like I look at Apple. You pay for what you get. High quality, high end products. They don’t really market to the cheap side. Plus i think these mirrorless cameras are geared more for small primes instead of big zooms to keep the size and weight down which is a big reason to go mirrorless right? So get those legs moving with those primes and you will be a better photographer because of it 🙂

    1. @Rob – I’m not quite sure how you could argue that the lens selection is strong. There are only 12 FE lenses. 12!!! There is ZERO option for wildlife or sports photography, and there is no fast wide-angle lens for night photography. The 24-70 and 70-200 are only in f/4, which is a HUGE negative to portrait photographers.

      It may not be as bad as it was a year ago, but I can’t point to any other system camera from any manufacturer that has a weaker lens lineup.

      And no, an adaptor is not a panacea. That introduces a whole new set of issues.

      1. Jim,
        I agree as far as no fast 70-200, or 24-70, but fast 55 1.8, and fast 85 1.8 batis is pretty good start. Its not a sports camera. I would like to see a 135 f2. I hear from Jason Lenier (he was on thoughts on photography) that the zeiss 135 f2 A mount is his favorite lens on his a7’s. According to him, the native sony adapter along with A mount glass works very well on the a7’s, as opposed to the metabones and canon team…The problem i see is that they do have ALMOST all the basic focal lengths, but they are also all in the upper price range. No cheap stuff. As far as night photography, what about the 25 f2 batis lens? Could be wider I suppose, but decent and that’s plenty fast. I use my canon 16-35 2.8 now for them. I only will buy primes for this camera anyway. If size is a bonus to get these cameras, then throwing on a 70-200 2.8 defeats the purpose, but a 135 f2 could work. I hear you though on saying the weight though is almost comparable to your d810. But not the size of it.

        I love that sony seems to be going all in as far as features go, unlike our dslr counterparts, canon and nikon. Only feature I would love to see, speaking of night photography would be the olympus style watch the picture unfold in the back of your screen in bulb mode. That is so awesome! I loved my a7. Sold it months ago anticipating this camera.

      2. The a7vens have been out what a year? I’m not sure we can expect better lens support this early on. How many lenses did Canon or Nikon have their 1st year? And I’d really rather have a steady slow stream of good lenses when they’re ready for prime time, not before.

        1. @Joe – The question is not whether or not Sony is “doing a good job” at building up the lens lineup. I really don’t care how they compare to the speed at which Canon and Nikon built their lens lineup.

          The only question that is relevant to my purchasing decision is WHERE ARE THEY RIGHT NOW, because that’s what I’m buying. If the lens lineup isn’t great, then I’m not interested in buying. If it’s built out and meets my needs, I’ll buy.

  3. There are a lot of lens choices. They’re just not all native. Being able to use an adapter for autofocus with Canon lenses is pretty cool.
    And being able to use focus peaking on a wide range of lenses is also something that no other camera with this resolution can do. As a landscape, product and architectural photographer, this camera gives me enough incentive to sell some of my Nikon gear. For me having high resolution, good dynamic range, ISO flexibility, and a lightweight package, it’s hard pass on. Not to mention the ability to adapt a variety of lenses including the Nikon 14 to 24 with a tilt shift adapter.

    http://www.imaging-resource.com/news/2014/08/14/hartblei-introduces-hcam-master-ts-14-24mm-tilt-shift-optic-for-sony-e-moun

    However with all the great potential this camera has, it needs to deliver, “as good as”, or better dynamic range, and ISO, than the 810. if it doesn’t… it will just be another good camera, and not something spectacular like many are hoping.

  4. @ Jim

    I am a fan of your Improve Photography and many thanks for that.

    I am tired of hearing the lens saga – you can use all the lenses of the world with the new a7rII and you have some of the best Zeiss lens for this camera as well. Give Sony some credit where it;s due. Thank you.

  5. BTW, I sold my D810 and 6 lenses today. Goodbye Nikon. I’ll squeeze by with my a6000 til’ the a7RII arrives.

  6. Ha! Ha!! It’s funny when you contradict yourself with the lens saga!!! With an adapter, you can use any lens on the a7rII and the focus is even as fast as with the native Canon lens on a Canon camera. And for a7rII, you can use some fantastic Zeiss lenses which are top lenses.

  7. Well, the question is not how many lenses did nikon have on their first year.. That was 60 years ago and they haven’t change their Bayonette since. Nikon has changed their af, but the lens it self still worked. The biggest issue with the sony lens that I see is they aren’t as quick (Fstop wise) and In some cases they are double the price for primes, Not worth it IMO… I am very curious to see their new adaptors for this generation.. If I can use my Nikon glass with none of the draw backs, as their rumors say, I’ll debate making the switch finally to sony bodies….

    Not hating on their bodies, just hate their lenses.

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