The Sony A7S II is a new 35mm full-frame compact system camera with a 12.2 megapixel sensor that provides an incredible ISO range of 50-409,600 and high dynamic range. Other standout highlights of the A7S II include internal 4K video recording with full pixel readout without pixel binning in full-frame format, Full HD 120fps and 4x/5x slow motion recording, gamma assist display, time code and optional XLR audio inputs, 5-axis image stabilisation system, BIONZ X image processor, a silent image capture mode, continuous shooting rate of 5fps, and an enhanced auto focus system with 169 AF points which can operate down to light levels as low as EV -4. The A7S II also features a dust/moisture-resistant magnesium alloy body, 0.78x magnification XGA OLED electronic viewfinder, tiltable 3-inch LCD screen, and NFC and Wi-Fi connectivity. The Sony A7S II is available now priced at around £2499 / $2999 body only.
Ease of Use
The aluminium bodied Sony A7S II is virtually identical to the A7R II and A7 II cameras, measuring 126.9 x 95.7 x 60.3mm and weighing 582g without a lens, battery and memory card fitted, some 140g more than last year’s A7S. The A7S II has a large handgrip which protrudes forwards and is more DSLR-like than on the original A7S. We found it easy enough to get to grips with the A7S, but the new grip on the A7S II makes for an even more secure hold. Sony have taken advantage of the bigger surface area to re-position the shutter release, which now sits in a much more logical position on top of the handgrip, with a new command dial also more conveniently located on the front. All-in-all, we’re impressed with the ergonomic improvements that have been introduced on the A7S II, and feel that the resulting increase in size and weight is a worthwhile compromise. Also located on the front of the A7S II is the newly reinforced lens mount using magnesium alloy and a small porthole on the left for the self-timer/AF illuminator.
The A7S II is Sony’s latest full-frame camera with optical 5-axis image stabilization. Most image stabilization systems compensate for camera shake by correcting yaw and pitch. Sony claim that camera shake is actually caused by five different kinds of motion, and their image stabilization mechanism additionally corrects for horizontal shift, vertical shift and rotary motion (rolling) for both still images and movies. The A7S II offers 4.5-stops of compensation, slightly behind the Olympus OM-D E-M5 which offers 5 stops, but very impressive considering that the A7S II has a much larger sensor. Furthermore, the in-body system ensures that the A7S II can stabilize all kinds of lenses, not just those with the FE designation, including E-mount lenses without Optical SteadyShot (OSS) and A-mount lenses as well, although third party lenses without any electronic contacts only benefit from three axes of compensation, and you need to input which focal length you’re using.
Front of the Sony A7S II
On top the A7S II has an external hotshoe, dubbed the Multi Interface Shoe, for attaching one of a range of accessories, including an external flash. Thanks to its electronic front curtain shutter, the A7S II has a sync speed of 1/250th sec, making it well suited to flash-based portrait photography. Turn the On/Off switch on the top plate and the Sony A7S II readies itself for action in a just over a second, noticeably quicker than the A7S. The adequately sized shutter-release button has a definite halfway point, determining focus and exposure with a bleep of affirmation and focus points highlighted as green rectangles on the LCD.
The A7S II has a brand new reduced-vibration shutter with an electronic first-curtain that produces 50% less vibration from shutter movements than on the A7S, a very welcome improvement. The new shutter also offers an impressive cycle durability of approximately 500,000 shots, comparable to most pro-level DSLRs. The new Silent Shooting mode does exactly what its name suggests, taking the picture quietly without any sensor vibration or movement via the electronic shutter. In conjunction with the incredible ISO range, this turns the A7S II into a candid photographer’s dream ticket.
The A7S II uses an enhanced “Fast Intelligent AF” contrast-detection system, comprised of 25 contrast-detection points and nine central AF points that have been split into 16 segments each, rather than the phase-detection systems that the A7R II uses. Although a little quicker than the A7S camera, the the A7S II’s AF system does still suffer from a slight lag when shooting in good light or bad. It’s certainly not terrible, but it’s still enough to limit the A7S II’s use to slower moving subjects, and it’s also not up there with quicker contrast-based auto-focusing systems from the likes of Olympus and Panasonic on their compact system cameras.
When you choose to manually focus, a distance scale is displayed along the bottom of the LCD screen, MF Assist can be turned on to magnify the image and help you get sharp results, and there’s also the same convenient Peaking and Zebra functions from Sony’s DSLRs that highlights sharply-focused areas of the image on the LCD screen. Go on to take the shot and JPEG or Raw images are quickly committed to memory in a single second, the screen momentarily blanking out and then displaying the captured image before the user can go on to take a second shot.
A round shooting mode dial with a knurled edge and positive action is also located on top of the camera with a new locking button at its centre, which is a little annoying in practice as you now need to use two fingers to change the shooting mode.
Front of the Sony A7S II
Despite ostensibly being a camera aimed at professionals, Sony has still included Intelligent Auto scene recognition, which works in virtually identical fashion to the intelligent auto modes of Panasonic’s and Canon’s compact ranges. Simply point the A7S II at a scene or subject and the camera analyses it and automatically chooses one of a number of pre-optimised settings to best suit.
Adding to the A7S II’s snapshot simplicity, these features accompany face recognition and smile shutter functionality on board, the former mode biasing human faces in the frame and the latter mode firing the shutter when it detects a smiling subject. The Face Detection system automatically adjusts the focus, exposure and white balance for people in the frame, and can even be set to distinguish between children and adults. Smile Detection offers three self-explanatory options, Big, Normal and Slight. Used in conjunction, the Face and Smile Detection systems do result in more hits than misses, especially in contrasty lighting conditions. The self-portrait options in the self-timer menu work by automatically taking the shot with a two second delay after either one or two people have entered the frame.
In addition to the regular Program mode, which provides the full range of camera options and additionally allows you to change settings like the ISO speed and metering, is the welcome inclusion of Aperture-priority, Shutter-priority and fully Manual modes which let you independently set the aperture and shutter speed, making the A7S II instantly appeal to the more experienced photographer. The ability to choose from 30-1/8000th second shutter speeds opens up a lot of creative potential. There’s also very welcome support for the RAW file format, which is really the icing on the cake for serious photographers, although we don’t like the fact that you still can’t capture Extra Fine JPEGs and Raw files at the same time. Two Custom modes on the shooting mode dial allow you quickly access different combinations of settings.
Side of the Sony A7S II
The proven Sweep Panorama mode lets you capture a panoramic image very easily without the use of a tripod. All you need to decide is whether you would like to start from left or right, top or bottom. Then press and hold down the shutter release while doing a “sweep” with the camera in hand. Exposure compensation is available before you start the sweep, but the exposure is fixed once you depress the shutter button. After you are done with the sweeping, the camera does all the processing required, and presents you with a finished panoramic image. There are two modes, Standard and Wide. Note that if you do the sweeping too slowly, or you let go of the shutter release button too early, the panorama will be truncated.
Side of the Sony A7S II
In the clever Hand-held Twilight and Anti Motion Blur scene modes, the A7S II takes six shots in a rapid sequence, typically at a high sensitivity setting and a (relatively) fast shutter speed, and then combines them into a single image that has somewhat less noise than a single shot taken at the same ISO and exposure settings. In our experience, the difference between the two modes is that in Anti Motion Blur mode, the camera is more willing to pick a really high ISO setting like ISO 6400 to maintain a fast shutter speed, whereas in Hand-held Twilight mode, it will only go as high as absolutely necessary to avoid camera shake at the chosen focal length. If light levels are truly low, however, the A7S II will pick a high ISO speed even in this mode.
The Sony A7S II can shoot and record 4K video in multiple formats including full-frame and cropped Super 35mm formats, both without pixel binning. The Sony A7S II can output uncompressed UHD 4K, 3840 x 2160 pixel video (30p/24p/25p) at a 4:2:2 color depth without downsampling to either the inserted memory card or over HDMI to compatible third party recorders. The A7S II also supports the XAVC S format, which is based on the professional XAVC codec and records full-pixel readout 4K footage at 100Mbps and Full HD video footage at up to 50Mbps. In addition 1080p HD footage can be recorded at 120fps in XAVC S mode for 4x/5x slow motion recording.
Rear of the Sony A7S II
There’s the ability to change the EV level, white balance, metering, ISO speed, DRO/HDR, creative style and picture effect, plus various audio recording options. If you set the shooting mode dial to Movie, you can also choose from Program, Aperture or Shutter priority and Manual modes, giving you full control over exposure for both stills and movies.
Rear of the Sony A7S II/Image Displayed
The clean HDMI output from the camera also allows video to be viewed on an external monitor or recorded on another device. High-resolution still images can be displayed directly on a 4K television, offering four times the detail of Full HD. The A7S II incorporates extensive customizable color and gamma controls, offering the ability to adjust the gamma, black level, knee, color level, and more, as well as use the new S-Log3 Gamma and S-Gamut3 curves in addition to S-Log2 that are found on high end Sony Cinema cameras, plus it offers multiple timecode recording options to meet different workflows.
Rear of the Sony A7S II/Turned On
The Sony A7S II can shoot full-resolution 12 megapixel pictures at up to 5fps, quite a fast rate for a 35mm full-frame camera. To achieve the full 5fps you need to set the drive mode to the Speed Priority Continuous option, which locks the focus and the exposure at the first frame. The A7S II’s regular continuous burst shooting can change the focus and exposure between frames but provides a slower rate of 2.5fps.
Rear of the Sony A7S II/Main Menu
Sony’s long-standing D-Range Optimizer and HDR functions are present to help even out tricky exposures, for example where a bright background would normally throw the foreground into deep shadow. You can see from the examples on the Image Quality page that these features produce a photo with noticeably more dynamic range than one taken using one of the standard shooting modes, but at the same time without replicating the often “false” look of many HDR programs, and both offer a wide degree of customisation that’s previously only been seen on Sony’s DSLR/SLT range.
Rear of the Sony A7S II/Function Menu
Completing the top of the A7S II is a second prominent dial for setting the Exposure Compensation and two small buttons marked with C1 and C2, which as the names suggest can both be customised to access one of the camera’s key controls.
On the back, instead of the bulky optical viewfinder of a conventional DSLR, the Sony A7S II has an electronic viewfinder. The XGA OLED electronic viewfinder on the A7S II has been further upgraded to offer a large 0.78x magnification, 100% field of view, and a staggeringly high 2,359,000 dot equivalent resolution, resulting in a display that’s virtually indistinguishable from a more traditional optical viewfinder.
As the EVF is reading the same signal from the image sensor as the rear LCD screen, it can also display similar information, with a choice of five display modes. For example, you can view and operate the A7S II’s Function Menu, giving a true preview of the scene in front of you and quick access to all the key camera settings while it’s held up to your eye. The various icons used to represent the camera settings are clear and legible. The icing on the viewing cake is the clever built-in eye sensor, which automatically switches on the viewfinder when you look into it, then switches it off and turns on the LCD monitor when you look away.
Top of the Sony A7S II
The A7S II’s EVF system also performs very well indoors in low light, typically the scourge of most EVFs which have to “gain-up” to produce a usable picture, resulting in a noticeably grainier picture. The A7S II doesn’t suffer from this unwanted effect at all, making its electronic viewfinder the equal of and in many areas better than a DSLR’s optical viewfinder. The truest testament to the A7S II is that we almost exclusively used it by holding it up to eye-level, something that we wouldn’t do unless the EVF was of sufficient quality.
There’s also a 3-inch, 1,228K-dot resolution White Magic panel LCD screen which can be tilted up to 41° downwards to shoot over crowds or up to 107° upwards and comfortably used outdoors even in harsh sunlight, although it still can’t be rotated to the side. Located above the screen and to either side of the EVF are the Menu and C3 buttons.
Bottom of the Sony A7S II
Press the Menu button and a number of shooting and set up folders appear on screen, with white text on a black background aiding visibility. The seven shooting folders allow users to select image size, ratio and quality and – if JPEG (RAW and RAW+JPEG also available) – compression rates too, plus features like long exposure and high ISO noise reduction – all in fact activated as a default, and also contains the video quality and audio options, while the six Customise folders allow you to tweak the A7S II to your way of working. Wi-fi, Apps, Playback, and Setup folders complete the long list of configurable options. By default the C3 button allows you to change the Focus Mode, but as the name suggests it can be customised to another function.
Tilting LCD Screen
To the right is the slimmed-down rear control dial and a useful one-touch movie record button embedded within the edge of the rubberised thumb-rest. Underneath is the combined AF/MF and Auto Exposure Lock (AEL) switch/button, and underneath that the Function button which accesses up to 12 customisable options that appear on in two horizontal columns along the bottom of the LCD screen. The Function menu proves to be a very handy way to quickly change the A7S II’s key settings and one of the main ways of setting the camera to suit your shooting style.
The traditional round navigation pad can be used to navigate through menus and options, in conjunction with the small button in the middle which activates whatever it is you’ve chosen. Three of the four directions on the navigation pad can also be customised to provide a quick way of setting various options. The navigation pad doubles up as a control ring that’s used to navigate through and set menu options, and usefully also has a new setting to choose the ISO speed. The ring is a little small, but it’s not too over-sensitive and the ability to take full control of the A7S II is very welcome. In total the Sony A7S II offers 10 customisable buttons and 56 assignable functions, making it very easy to configure to suit your particular requirements.
The Sony A7S II in-hand
Underneath the navigation pad is the Playback button, which gives users the ability to dip in and out of created folders of images or the calendar view, view thumbnails, select slideshows and choose transitional effects and accompanying music, or delete shots. Press the shutter button halfway and you’re helpfully catapulted back into capture mode. And that’s basically it. With a press of the Menu button in playback, users have access to a few in-camera retouching effects, including the ability to crop and sharpen an image and apply red-eye correction. Completing the rear of the A7S II is the self-explanatory Delete button, which doubles up as the customisable C4 button (accessing the wi-fi options by default).
As denoted by symbols on the side of the camera, the Sony A7S II is wi-fi and NFC capable and the functions can be adjusted in the Wi-fi main menu. You can choose to transmit the images to either a smartphone computer, or a compatible TV set. One cool feature of the wi-fi is being able to link the camera to your smart phone using the PlayMemories Mobile app. You can then use the phone as a remote so those outstretched arm ‘selfies’ will be a thing of the past. The A7S II also features NFC (Near Field Communication) technology (the same technology that’s used for mobile payments), which allows you to connect it to a compatible internet enabled device or another NFC-enabled camera by simply tapping them together. You can also use the WPS Push option to locate a hot spot, access settings, edit the device name, display the MAC address or format all settings if you wish.
In addition to the built-in wi-fi/nfc connectivity, the A7S II supports PlayMemories Camera Apps. As the name suggests, this is a downloadable service that lets you add new functionality to the camera, either via wi-fi or USB connection. Smart Remote Control, which allows you to control the exposure and shutter release via your smartphone, is preinstalled on the A7S II. Other optional apps available include Picture Effect+, Bracket Pro, Multi Frame NR, Photo Retouch and Direct Upload, and Sony plans to provide more new apps in the near future. Note that only some of the apps are free.
The bottom of the Sony A7S II features a standard metal screw thread for attaching it to a tripod that’s inline with the centre of the lens mount. A lockable plastic cover protects the lithium-ion battery, officially good for 310 shots. In practice we only got around 200 shots when using the electronic viewfinder and LCD screen, which obviously draw on the battery for power. Sony have included not one, but two batteries and two separate chargers in the box, but it’s still a good idea to invest in some extra batteries for an all-day shoot, and you can also recharge the battery in-camera via USB. The A7S II is also the latest A-series camera to be able to use an external USB power source to charge it whilst still taking pictures, which is very beneficial for time-lapses or longer video clips.
The removable memory card is housed within a compartment located on the right of the A7S II (when viewed from the rear), with the camera supporting the SD / SDHC / SDXC format in addition to Sony’s own proprietary Pro Duo Memory Stick format. Positioned on both sides of the A7S II are prominent metal eyelets for attaching the supplied shoulder strap. On the left are two unmarked, sturdy plastic covers, underneath which can be found the Multi port, HDMI port, and the external headphone and microphone connections.
All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 12 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 5Mb.
The Sony A7S II produced images of outstanding quality during the review period. The Sony A7S II has a very extensive and usable ISO range of 50-409,600. ISO 50-3200 is noise-free, whilst ISO 6400 and 12,800 produce more than acceptable results, and even ISO 25,600 and 51,200 are OK for emergency use. The fastest settings of 102,400, 204,800 and 409,600 are very noisy, but they do let you shoot in virtually complete darkness. The RAW samples illustrate just how much processing the camera does by default, though, as they’re much noisier at all ISO values than their JPEG counterparts.
The 12 megapixel images are a little soft straight out of the camera using the default creative style and ideally require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you can change the in-camera sharpening level. The night photograph was excellent, with the maximum shutter speed of 30 seconds and the Bulb mode offering lots of scope for creative night photography.
The effective Dynamic Range Optimizer function extracts more detail from the shadow and highlight areas in an image, without introducing any unwanted noise or other artifacts. The High Dynamic Range mode combines two shots taken at different exposures to produce one image with greater dynamic range than a single image would produce. It only works for JPEGs and for still subjects, but does produce some very effective results. Sony’s now tried-and-trusted Sweep Panorama is still a joy to use. The various Picture Effects quickly produce special looks that would otherwise require you to spend a lot of time in the digital darkroom, while the Creative Styles provide a quick and easy way to tweak the camera’s JPEG images.
There are 14 full ISO settings available on the Sony A7S II. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting for both JPEG and RAW formats:
Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web – Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default sharpening setting. You can change the in-camera sharpening level if you don’t like the default look.
The Sony A7S II has 3 different image quality settings available, with Extra Fine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.
The Sony A7S II’s maximum shutter speed is 30 seconds and there’s also a Bulb mode for even longer exposures, which is excellent news if you’re seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 30 seconds at ISO 100.
Dynamic Range Optimizer
D-Range Optimiser (DRO) is Sony’s solution to improve shadow detail in photos taken in contrasty light. There are 5 different levels and an Auto option.
High Dynamic Range
High Dynamic Range Optimiser (HDR) is Sony’s solution for capturing more contrast than a single exposure can handle by combining two exposures into one image. There are 6 different EV settings and an Auto option.
There are 13 Creative Style preset effects that you can use to change the look of your images.
The Sony A7S II offers a range of thirteen creative Picture Effects.
Sweep Panorama Mode
The Sony A7S II allows you to take panoramic images very easily, by ‘sweeping’ with the camera while keeping the shutter release depressed. The camera does all the processing and stitching and even successfully compensates for moving subjects. The main catch is that the resulting image is of fairly low resolution.
- Lens Compatibility
- Sony E-mount lenses
- Sensor Type
- 35 mm
- Sensor Type
- 35mm full frame (35.6 x 23.8mm), Exmor CMOS sensor
- Number Of Pixels (Effective)
- Approx.12.2 MP
- Number of Pixels (total)
- Approx.12.4 MP
- Image Sensor Aspect Ratio
- Anti-Dust System
- Charge protection coating on optical filter and image sensor shift mechanism
Recording (still images)
- Recording Format (Still images)
- JPEG (DCF Ver. 2.0, Exif Ver. 2.3, MPF baseline compliant), RAW (Sony ARW 2.3 format)
- Image Size (pixels), 3:2
- 35mm full frame L: 4240 x 2832 (12M), M: 2768 x 1848 (5.1M), S: 2128 x 1416 (3.0M), APS-C L: 2768 x 1848 (5.1M), M: 2128 x 1416 (3.0M), S: 1376 x 920 (1.3M)
- Image Size (pixels), 16:9
- 35mm full frame L: 4240 x 2384 (10M), M: 2768 x 1560 (4.3M), S: 2128 x 1200 (2.6M), APS-C L: 2768 x 1560 (4.3M), M: 2128 x 1200 (2.6M), S: 1376 x 776 (1.1M)
- Image Size (pixels), Sweep Panorama
- Wide: Horizontal 12416 x 1856 (23M), vertical 5536 x 2160 (12M), Standard: Horizontal 8192 x 1856 (15M), vertical 3872 x 2160 (8.4M)
- Image Quality Modes
- RAW, RAW & JPEG, JPEG Extra fine, JPEG Fine, JPEG Standard
- RAW Output
- 14 bit
- Uncompressed RAW
- Picture Effect
- 13 modes: Posterization (Color, B/W), Pop Color, Retro Photo, Partial Color (R, G, B, Y), High Contrast Monochrome, Toy Camera, Soft High-key, Soft Focus, HDR Painting, Rich-tone Monochrome, Miniature, Watercolor, Illustration
- Creative Style
- Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Clear, Deep, Light, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset, Night Scene, Autumn Leaves, Black & White, Sepia (Contrast -3 to +3 steps, Saturation -3 to +3 steps, Sharpness -3 to +3 steps) (Style Box 1-6 also provided)
- Dynamic Range Functions
- Off, Dynamic Range Optimizer (Auto/Level (1-5)), Auto High Dynamic Range: Auto Exposure Difference, Exposure Difference Level (1.0-6.0 EV, 1.0 EV step)
- Colour Space
- sRGB standard (with sYCC gamut) and Adobe RGB standard compatible with TRILUMINOS™ Color
- Recording Format
- XAVC S / AVCHD format Ver. 2.0 compliant / MP4
- Video Compression
- XAVC S: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264; AVCHD: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264; MP4: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264
- Audio Recording Format
- AVCHD: Dolby Digital (AC-3), 2ch, Dolby Digital Stereo Creator, MP4: MPEG-4 AAC-LC, 2ch, XAVC S: LPCM, 2ch
- Image Size (Pixels), NTSC
- XAVC S 4K: 3840 x 2160 (30p/100Mbps, 30p/60Mbps, 24p/100Mbps, 24p/60Mbps); XAVC S HD: 1920 x 1080 (60p/50Mbps, 30p/50Mbps, 24p/50Mbps, 120p/100Mbps, 120p/60Mbps); AVCHD: 1920 x 1080 (60p/28Mbps/PS, 60i/24Mbps/FX, 60i/17Mbps/FH, 24p/24Mbps/FX, 24p/17Mbps/FH); MP4: 1920 x 1080 (60p/28Mbps, 30p/16Mbps), 1280 x 720 (30p/6Mbps)
- Image Size (pixels), PAL
- XAVC S 4K: 3840 x 2160 (25p/100Mbps, 25p/60Mbps); XAVC S HD: 1920 x 1080 (50p/50Mbps, 25p/50Mbps, 100p/100Mbps, 100p/60Mbps); AVCHD: 1920 x 1080 (50p/28Mbps/PS, 50i/24Mbps/FX, 50i/17Mbps/FH,25p/24Mbps/FX, 25p/17Mbps/FH); MP4: 1920 x 1080 (50p/28Mbps, 25p/16Mbps), 1280 x 720 (25p/6Mbps)
- High Frame Rate Recording
- NTSC: 1920 x 1080 (24p/12Mbps, 30p/16Mbps), PAL: 1920 x 1080 (25p/16Mbps)
- Picture Profile
- Yes (Off / PP1-PP9) Parameters: Black level, Gamma (Movie, Still, Cine1-4, ITU709, ITU709 [800%], S-Log2, S-Log3), Black Gamma, Knee, Color Mode (Movie, Still, Cinema, Pro, ITU709 Matrix, White&Black, S-Gamut, S-Gamut3.Cine, S-Gamut3), Saturation, Color Phase, Color Depth, Detail, Copy, Reset
- Movie Functions
- Audio Level Display, Audio Rec Level, Auto Slow Shutter, HDMI info. Display (On/Off selectable), Time Code/User Bit, Picture Profile, Creative Style, Picture Effect, Rec Control, Dual Video Rec, Marker Setting, PAL/NTSC Selector,Gamma Display Assist
- Colour Space
- xvYCC standard (x.v.Color when connected via HDMI cable) compatible with TRILUMINOS™ Color
- Compatible Recording Media
- Memory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo,Memory Stick Micro (M2),SD memory card, SDHC memory card (UHS-I compliant), SDXC memory card (UHS-I compliant), microSD memory card, microSDHC memory card, microSDXC memory card
- Storage Media Slot
- Multi slot for Memory Stick Duo/ SD memory card
- Noise Reduction
- Long exposure NR: On/Off, available at shutter speeds longer than 1 sec., High ISO NR: Normal/Low/Off selectable
- Multi Frame NR
- Auto/ISO 100 to 409600
- White Balance Modes
- Auto WB / Daylight / Shade / Cloudy / Incandescent / Fluorescent (Warm White / Cool White / Day White / Daylight) / Flash / Color Temperature (2500 to 9900K) & Color Filter (G7 to M7: 57 steps, A7 to B7: 29 steps) / Custom / Underwater
- AWB Micro Adjustment
- G7 to M7 (57 steps), A7 to B7 (29 steps)
- 3 frames, H/L selectable
- Focus Type
- Contrast-detection AF
- Focus Point
- 169 points (contrast-detection AF)
- Focus Sensitivity Range
- EV -4 to EV 20 (at ISO 100 equivalent with F2.0 lens attached)
- AF Mode
- Single-shot AF (AF-S), Continuous AF (AF-C), Direct Manual Focus (DMF), Manual Focus
- Focus Area
- Wide (169 points for contrast-detection AF) / Center / Flexible Spot (S/M/L) / Zone / Expand Flexible Spot / Lock-on AF (Wide / Zone / Center / Flexible Spot (S/M/L) / Expand Flexible Spot)
- Other Features
- Lock-on AF, Eye AF, Focus lock; Eye-Start AF and AF micro adjustment (both only available with optional LA-EA2 or LA-EA4 attached), AF illuminator (built-in, LED type, range: Approx. 0.30-3m), AF ON
- Metering Type
- 1200-zone evaluative metering
- Metering Sensor
- Exmor CMOS sensor
- Metering Sensitivity
- EV -3 to EV 20 (at ISO 100 equivalent with F2.0 lens attached)
- Metering Mode
- Multi-segment, Center-weighted, Spot
- Exposure Modes
- AUTO (iAUTO, Superior Auto), Programmed AE (P), Aperture priority (A), Shutter-speed priority (S), Manual (M), Scene Selection, Sweep Panorama, Movie / High Frame Rate (Programmed AE (P) / Aperture priority (A) / Shutter-speed priority (S) / Manual (M) )
- Scene Selection
- Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sports Action, Sunset, Night Portrait, Night Scene, Hand-held Twilight, Anti Motion Blur
- Exposure Compensation
- +/-5.0 EV (in 1/3 EV or 1/2 EV steps), with exposure compensation dial: +/-3.0 EV (in 1/3 EV steps)
- Auto (AE) Bracketing
- Bracket: Single/Bracket: Cont., 3/5/9 frames selectable. With 3 or 5 frames, in 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, 1.0, 2.0 or 3.0 EV increments, with 9 frames, in 1/3, 1/2, 2/3 or 1.0 EV increments.
- AE Lock
- Available with AE lock button. Locked when shutter button is pressed halfway. Can be disabled from the Menu.
- ISO Sensitivity
- Still images: ISO 100-102400 (expandable to ISO 50-409600), AUTO (ISO 100-12800, selectable lower limit and upper limit), Movies: ISO 100-102400 equivalent (expandable to ISO 100-409600 equivalent), AUTO (ISO 100-12800 equivalent, selectable lower limit and upper limit)
- Viewfinder Type
- XGA OLED, 1.3cm (0.5 type) electronic viewfinder (colour)
- Number of Dots
- 2,359,296 dots
- Brightness Control (Viewfinder)
- Auto/Manual (5 steps between -2 and +2)
- Color Temperature Control
- Manual (5 steps)
- Field Coverage
- Approx. 0.78x (with 50mm lens at infinity, -1m style name=”sup” -1 /style )
- Dioptre Adjustment
- -4.0 to +3.0m style name=”sup” -1 /style
- Eye Point
- Approx. 23mm from the eyepiece lens, 18.5mm from the eyepiece frame at -1m style name=”sup” -1 /style (CIPA standard)
- Viewfinder Display
- Graphic Display / Display All Info. / No Disp. Info. / Histogram / Digital Level Gauge
- Real-time Image Adjustment Display
- Screen Type
- 7.5cm (3.0 type) TFT drive
- Total Number of Dots
- 1,228,800 dots
- Brightness Control (LCD)
- Manual (5 steps between -2 and +2), Sunny Weather mode
- Adjustable Angle
- Up approx. 107 degrees, down approx. 41 degrees
- Display Selecter (Finder/LCD)
- LCD Display
- Display Graphic Display / Display All Info. / No Disp. Info. / Histogram / Digital Level Gauge / Shooting information for viewfinder mode
- Real-time Image Adjustment Display (LCD)
- Focus Magnifier
- 35mm full frame: 4.2x, 8.3x, APS-C: 2.7x, 5.4x
- Yes (selectable level + range or lower limit as custom setting)
- Peaking MF
- Yes (Level setting: High/Mid/Low/Off, colour: White/Red/Yellow)
- Face Detection
- On / On (Regist. Faces) / Off, Face registration, Face selection (Max. number of detectable faces: 8)
- Auto Object Framing
- Clear Image Zoom
- Still / Movie: Approx. 2x
- Smart zoom (Still Image)
- M: Approx. 1.5x, S: Approx. 2.0x
- Digital zoom (Still Image)
- Approx. 4x
- Digital zoom (Movie)
- Approx. 4x
- PlayMemories Camera Apps™
- Lens Compensation
- Peripheral shading, chromatic aberration, distortion
- Zoom Ring Rotate
- Lens Compensation
- BIONZ X™
- Shutter Type
- Electronically controlled, vertical-traverse, focal-plane type
- Shutter Speed
- Still images: 1/8000 to 30 sec., Bulb Movies: 1/8000 to 1/4 (1/3 step) NTSC: Up to 1/60 in AUTO mode (up to 1/30 in Auto Slow Shutter mode) PAL: Up to 1/50 in AUTO mode (up to 1/25 in Auto Slow Shutter mode)
- Flash Sync. Speed
- 1/250 sec.
- Electronic Front Curtain Shutter
- Yes, On/Off
- Silent Shooting
- Yes, On/Off
- Image Sensor-Shift mechanism with 5-axis compensation (Compensation depends on lens specifications)
- Compensation Effect
- 4.5 stops (Based on CIPA standard. Pitch/Yaw shake only. With Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA lens mounted. Long exposure NR off)
- Flash Compensation
- +/-3.0 EV (switchable between 1/3 and 1/2 EV steps)
- Flash Bracketing
- 3/5/9 frames selectable. With 3 or 5 frames, in 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 EV increments, with 9 frames, in 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, 1.0 EV increments.
- Flash Modes
- Flash off, Autoflash, Fill-flash, Rear Sync., Slow Sync., Red-eye reduction (On/Off selectable), Hi-speed sync , Wireless
- External Flash Compatibility
- Sony α System Flash compatible with Multi Interface Shoe. Attach the shoe adaptor for flash compatible with Auto-lock Accessory Shoe.
- FE Level Lock
- Flash Control (with optional external flash)
- Pre-flash TTL
- Drive Modes
- Single shooting, Continuous shooting,Speed Priority Continuous shooting, Self-timer, Self-timer (Cont.), Bracketing (Cont., Single, White Balance, DRO)
- 10 sec. delay/5 sec. delay/2 sec. delay/Continuous self-timer (3 frames after 10 sec. delay/5 frames after 10 sec. delay/3 frames after 5 sec. delay/5 frames after 5 sec. delay/3 frames after 2 sec. delay/5 frames after 2 sec. delay)/Bracketing self-timer (Off/2 sec. delay/5 sec. delay/10 sec. delay)
- Speed (approx. max.)
- Speed Priority Continuous shooting: Max. 5fps, Continuous shooting: Max. 2.5fps
- No. of recordable frames (approx.)
- Speed Priority Continuous shooting: 64 frames (JPEG Extra Fine L), 200 frames (JPEG Fine L), 200 frames (JPEG Standard L), 31 frames (RAW), 26 frames (RAW & JPEG), 24 frames (RAW (Uncompressed)), 24 frames (RAW (Uncompressed) & JPEG) Continuous shooting: 100 frames (JPEG Extra Fine L), 200 frames (JPEG Fine L), 200 frames (JPEG Standard L), 59 frames (RAW), 34 frames (RAW & JPEG), 29 frames (RAW (Uncompressed)), 28 frames (RAW (Uncompressed) & JPEG)
- Playback Modes
- Single (with or without shooting information, Y RGB histogram & highlight/shadow warning), 9/25-frame index view, Enlarged display mode (Maximum magnification L: 13.3x, M: 8.7x, S: 6.7x), Auto Review (10/5/2 sec, off), Image orientation (Auto/Manual/Off selectable), Slideshow, Panorama scrolling, Folder selection (Still / Date / MP4 / AVCHD / XAVC S HD / XAVC S 4K), Forward/Rewind (Movie), Delete, Protect
- PC Interface
- Mass-storage, MTP, PC remote
- Multi / Micro USB Terminal
- Wireless LAN (Built-In)
- Wi-Fi Compatible, IEEE802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz band); Playback of still images and movies on smartphones, PCs and TVs
- Yes (NFC Forum Type 3 Tag compatible, One-touch remote, One-touch sharing)
- HD Output
- HDMI micro connector (Type-D), BRAVIA Sync (link menu), PhotoTV HD, 4K movie output, 4K still image playback
- Multi Interface Shoe
- Auto-lock Accessory Shoe compatible with supplied shoe adaptor, Microphone terminal (3.5mm Stereo minijack), Headphone terminal (3.5mm Stereo minijack), Vertical Grip Connector
- Built-in stereo microphone or ECM-XYST1M / XLR-K2M (sold separately)
- Built-in, monaural
- Compatible Standards
- Exif Print, Print Image Matching III, DPOF setting
- Custom Function Type
- Custom key settings, Programmable setting
- Memory Function
- Yes (2 sets)
- Supplied Battery
- Rechargeable battery pack NP-FW50
- Battery Life (Still Images)
- Approx. 310 shots (viewfinder) / Approx. 370 shots (LCD screen) (CIPA standard)
- Battery Life (Movies)
- Actual: Approx. 55 min. (viewfinder) / Approx. 60 min. (LCD screen) (CIPA standard); Continuous: Approx. 95 min. (viewfinder) / Approx. 100 min. (LCD screen) (CIPA standard)
- External Power
- AC Adaptor AC-PW20 (optional)
Size & Weight
- Dimensions (W x H x D)
- 126.9 x 95.7 x 60.3 mm
- 584 g (Body Only) / 627g (With battery and Memory Stick PRO Duo)
- Operating Temperature
- 32°-104°F / 0-40°C
WiFi® & NFC
- Wireless & Network Capabilities
- NFC One-touch functionality
What’s In The Box
- Rechargeable Battery NP-FW50
- Cable Protector
- AC Adaptor AC-UUD11
- Battery Charger BC-VW1
- Shoulder strap
- Body cap
- Accessory shoe cap
- Eyepiece cup
- Micro USB cable
Although the new A7S II seems like a rather modest upgrade of last year’s A7S model on paper, in reality it offers enough new features, especially for videographers, and usability enhancements to justify the increase in both size and cost.
The Sony A7S II now features the same very effective 5-axis image stabilisation that made its debut on the A7R II model. While not quite as effective as the Olympus E-M5 II’s 5-stop IS, the Sony A7S II’s system is remarkable given the sensor size (more than 4x bigger than the Olympus’ Micro Four Thirds sensor), and it also works with any lens that you care to attach to the camera for both stills and video. Other key improvements include the electronic viewfinder, again borrowed from the A7R II, and the enhanced auto focus system with 169 AF points which can operate down to light levels as low as EV -4, although it’s a shame that there’s no phase-detection as on the A7R II.
The A7S II’s 12.2 megapixel sensor continues to provide excellent results from ISO 50-12,800, while ISO 25,600 and 51,200 are fine for making smaller prints and web use. The fastest settings of 102,400, 204,800 and 409,600 are very noisy but astonishingly do let you shoot in almost total darkness. The A7S II and the fast Carl Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 lens that we predominantly tested it with make it hard to resist the lure of shooting wide-open at f/1.4 in combination with such a big sensor and vast ISO range. There are lots of new benefits for videographers – internal 4K video recording with full pixel readout without pixel binning in the full-frame format and Full HD 120fps and 4x/5x slow motion recording being the main two – which make the A7S II well worth upgrading to from its predecessor.
The A7S II has also addressed most of its predecessor’s flaws. Poor battery life, lack of touchscreen functionality, and a non-articulating screen are the main negative points that we’d hope to see addressed on the next model, but we can live without them given everything else that the A7S II has to offer. As the A7S II inherits the design of the A7R II, it is also substantially heavier than the original model, which may put some people off, and the launch price has also been increased. All in all, though, the A7S II certainly benefits from Sony’s incredibly aggressive strategy in the cmera market, and is an essential purchase if you’re predominantly a low-light stills shooter or videographer.