Sony α7 Ⅱ (Alpha 7 2) Part Two: The Beautiful Lovechild of Sony's α7 and Olympus' OMD-EM1
In part, this is due how well they managed to keep it under the radar. With the new stacked sensor announcement and the rumor mill’s fixation on the supposed ‘Pro’ full-frame E-mount that apparently is coming early next year, we were effectively blindsided by the α7 Ⅱ.
The other big thing, for me at least, is the significance of this camera’s spec list with regards to the inevitable release of the α7R Ⅱ and the α7S Ⅱ sometime over the course of next year, because, as with the original α7, it is the base upon which the next camera I’m likely to buy will be built.
But back to the α7 Ⅱ…
It’s going to be gooood.
This camera is rocking a not-new 25-megapixel 35mm full-frame EXMOR CMOS sensor, paired with a new generation BIONZ X engine which can better take advantage of the sensor.
More and Full-Body Photos Below
It can handle sensitivities up to ISO 25600 natively, and, with its new multi-frame noise reduction system, can produce quality shots up to ISO 51200, which is not too shabby if it works.
The α7 Ⅱ has some α6000-inspired tech for its hybrid autofocus system that’s supposed to be “remarkably fast for full-frame,” and its 147 auto focus points should deliver good tracking. Reportedly, it’ll hit 5 shots per-second while accurately tracking a subject.
AkihabaraNews Reviews the Sony Alpha 7S
Sony seems to be on the ball.
Video has also received a massive boost with the inclusion of the XAVC-S codec and the S-log 2 video profile that’s used in the α7S and some of Sony’s semi-pro and low-end pro video cameras. If all that is implemented as well as it’s expected to be, the α7 Ⅱ could be one of the best-looking HD video makers on the planet. I’ll need to play with it properly first, but this camera could end up being the reason I’ve been waiting for to ditch Panasonic and their terrible support infrastructure.
But back to the α7 Ⅱ again…
Sony has finally moved the shutter button to where it always should have been and the ergonomics have been refined a bit as well. There is no info on software tweaks or updates, but they’ve never been great with software so I’m not expecting much.
That’s about it really.
Oh, I almost forgot, It also has 5-axis in-body stabilization!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111one
Yes! That amazing IBIS system that Olympus had in their OMD-EM5 and EM1 that everyone (who cares about the future of imaging) has been waiting to be transferred to Sony (as a result of their 2012 marriage) has finally happened!
...except that it isn’t. Apparently it’s a proprietary Sony system, though I find it hard to believe there wasn’t at least some expertise transfer amongst mingled engineers who developed the systems. But who cares, so long as it works as well as the Olympus IBIS system does, it’s going to be the win.
More and Full-Body Photos Below
It also appears that Sony has taken things a bit further: the new 5-axis in-body stabilization can apparently work TOGETHER with the optical image stabilization built into sony’s E-Mount lenses to get the combined best of both worlds. It obviously remains to be seen how well that works in reality, but this could be a game changer. The extra equivalent F-stops that the IBIS grants the shooter should make the α7 Ⅱ a better low-light camera than everything except Sony’s own α7S, and it will make the α7 Ⅱ a wildlife photographer’s dream. Paired with quality video, these powers combined should make for a Sony camcorder-like steadyshot experience.
Not yet perfect… but possibly close enough.
Sony’s done a range of other little things to the α7 Ⅱ that really take it to the next level, and the only big thing they forgot was a touch screen (Dammit Sony, it’s the end of 2014 and you’re still doing this?? Seriously?? No touch screen?). Well, maybe they’ll put one on the new α7R II and α7S II models to help set them apart from the α7 Ⅱ.
And for those models, the α7R Ⅱ will likely be a megapixel monster with extra optimizations for mind-blowing still quality, and the α7S Ⅱ will likely be the 4k video maker’s ILC of choice. But the α7 Ⅱ appears to be a true hybrid that’s beyond capable at both video and photography but with a more accessible price than its specialized siblings.
In the end, this is a damn good upgrade. Until now, while good at some stuff but great at nothing, the α7 always felt like the runt of the litter. This successor feels like the all-rounder the original should have been.
- Sony Sample Shots
- Sony Global α7 Ⅱ Site
- Digital Camera Digest (Japanese site) has some sweet high res shots.
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