Last Updated July 2, 2015
I’m very excited about this camera and I’m almost certainly going to switch to Sony from my Canon setup when it becomes available. I’ll keep updating this post as new information about the camera comes out.
Pricing & Availability
- Retail cost $3200
- Available in August
- Preorders from B&H starting June 17
- Landscape shot with 16-35mm FE f/4 (1920 x 1080)
- Field of irises with 90mm FE macro (1920 x 1080)
- Opera house full size jpeg (7952 x 5304)
- Sony provided images (not full size)
- Larger (~8 MP) versions of Sony images (warning site is slow)
- AF video demonstrating eye tracking with native lens – impressive
- AF video with Sigma 50mm f/1.4 and metabones III adapter
- AF video with E-Mount and A-Mount lenses – AF demo starts at 3:00. Discussion of AF menu settings at 5:45 (e.g. select phase or contrast detection)
- Autofocus video with Tamron 15-30 and Viltrox adapter
- Autofocus video by the Phoblographer – shows a preproduction unit focusing on various subjects in a room
- Video showing focusing with the Canon 24-105L by Phoblographer
- Interview with Sony product managers – covers IBIS, Super 35mm, AF
- Interview with Kimio Maki, Senior General Manager, Digital Imaging Business Group, Sony Corporation. This worth reading as Maki gives the background for their design decisions with the A7R II.
- Planet5D take on the A7R II
- UniquePhoto preview of A7R II – starts at 11:00, general overview of the camera
- Review of A7r II by Gordon Laing – includes demo of shutter noise, AF with Metabones and Canon lenses
- Interview with Sony Alpha Product Manager Kenta Honjo – BSI sensor eliminates need for cameras focusing solely on resolution or sensitivity (can do both)
- Preview by Tony Northrup – basic overview based on the feature/spec list
- Interview with Brian Smith – thoughts on the A7RII by Smith after using a test unit
Sony Official Videos
- A7R II Product Design – shows the body and control layout
- A7R II XGA OLED Tru-Finder – covers the electronic viewfinder
- A7R II Fast Hybrid AF – shows AF on go-karts
- A7R II The Ultimate High-resolution 4k movie in Super 35mm – sample movie
One area that I’m very concerned with is the level of Sony support for repair work. With Canon, I can send my lens/body in to their service center and get a reasonably priced repair in a few days. However, initial reports for Sony have not been promising:
- Sony farms out warranty service
- A typical $200-300 repair costs $800 at Sony
- User experiences with Sony Service
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a back illuminated sensor (BSI)?
In a normal camera sensor, the wiring for each pixel is placed in front of the photodiode (I have no background in sensor design but this seems like a bad idea as it would block light. However, I understand that this is for manufacturing reasons). In contrast, with a backside illuminated sensor the photodiode is placed in front of the wiring (see this link for more details).
What does a back illuminated sensor (BSI) imply for the image quality on the A7RII?
In theory, a BSI sensor should allow more light to be collected. More light means better high ISO performance and increased dynamic range. However nobody yet knows the magnitude of improvement. I.e., will this be a substantial change in image quality or a relatively minor improvement. The BSI sensor should also help with tilt-shift and rangefinder lenses where light rays may hit the sensor at a steep angle from perpendicular.
How fast is autofocus with the Metabones adapter?
- “At the press launch in New York we even got a glimpse of the a7R II autofocusing Canon EF lenses using a Metabones electronic adapter. Focus appeared to be on par with OVF focus on a native Canon body” – from DPReview
- “We’ve used an a7R II with a Canon 24-70mm lens and a Metabones adapter, and focus is indeed very fast indeed.” – from DPReview
How well does the AF work in low light?
There are no user tests but according to Sony specifications, we see the following minimum sensitivity limits:
- A7RII: -2EV
- A7II: -1 EV
- A7S: -4 EV
- A7R: 0 EV
- A7: 0 EV
So one stop better than the A7II but not as good as the A7S.
Is shutter vibration still a problem?
“According to Sony, the shutter is considerably better damped, but an electronic first-curtain shutter is the real story here, in our opinion. It eliminates all potential for shutter-induced vibration, which was a problem with the a7R, especially when paired with longer focal length lenses. Furthermore, a full-resolution ‘silent’ mode allows you to capture images without the shutter curtains moving at all.” – from DPReview
How loud is the shutter?
The A7R II has a silent shutter mode which uses an all electronic shutter eliminating noise. Also with the electronic front curtain shutter “it’s about half of the loudness of the previous models” (from Brian Smith)
Does the A7R II provide uncompressed RAW?
No. The A7R II provides the same lossy 11+7 bit RAW format as its predecessor. However, an interview with Kimio Maki suggests that Sony may be working on uncompressed RAW which would become available with a firmware update.
Does the A7R II have the ugly sensor reflections present in the prior models?
I’m searching for test shots that may demonstrate this. See this picture. So far, reflections do not seem to be a problem.
What 4k video modes does the A7RII support?
The camera “can shoot and record 4k video in multiple formats including Super 35mm (without pixel binning) and full frame mode” – from the press release
Can APS-C lenses be used with Super 35mm video mode?
Super 35 format is somewhat larger than APS-C with a diagonal of 31.1mm vs 26.7mm (see sensor size comparison) so you may experience vignetting or some loss of the image. However, experience mounting APS-C lenses on full-frame suggests that many have a larger image circle than the minimum requirement (so each lens would need to be checked).