TEST: Sony has done well to integrate both video and still image in their cameras. An example of this is the now one-year-old A7s.Now, the A7s Mark II come – and is refined with flying colors.
With the same resolution as the Sony A7s at 12 megapixels and the same ISO range of 100-102400 – and expandable to 50 and upwards to 409600 ISO – it is easy to believe that Sony just inside a lightly upgraded model.
But that’s not the case. Many things have been changed and updated with the successor. Noise is controlled better than before with the help of smarter algorithms and better circuits. And the relatively lower resolution (for example A7 Mark II on 24 Megapixels and A7R Mark II at 42 m pixels) at the same fullformats-size of the sensor, means that more light can be collected at each pixel.
But basically, A7s II meant to take hold around those that both require a lot of their camera to film with, at the same time, they need a really good camera – and just the combination succeed Sony really well with: better features, better control and faster autofocus.
Some design changes
It’s funny that Sony actually takes to heart what we reviewers write, along with other photographers. Something that is usually discussed in those contexts is how the buttons and functions are put together. Although the A7s were good, the A7s II better. Among other things, so has the trigger has been adjusted from to be closer to the camera body, that now find themselves out on the hand grip, which incidentally has been greater – and much more comfortable to hold. It has now also placed on and off button. Below this there is a knob that are more like those we find, for example, Canon and Nikon, with a tagghjul rather than a cylinder.
On the flip side, we see no major differences in addition to the menu button and the C3 key now tilts for better access. This switch also changed in the same way as it is on the front side, which is very good. On the other hand, it is a small outstanding detail above the wheel as most are in the way, and probably is there to prevent unintentional adjustment. Away with it.
This, plus a button on programvalsreglaget and extra adjustable button on top, has actually increased the ease of use quite a lot.
All changes seem thoughtful.
Good screen, better Finder
The screen of the A7s II of 3 inches and a resolution of 1.29 million pixels, is good. For the who films a part, it is useful that it is tilting up and down, but above all, it has a good, clear and bright picture, even outdoors.
But even better is the electronic viewfinder on 2.36 million pixels. The fact is that I am somewhat lyrical over how good it is. At first, it was really good and quick white balancing, good sharp image, but is also completely flicker-free due to the update frequency of the image. But in addition to this, it is also extra large – with a magnification of 0.78x. This means that it often uses the viewfinder will be plenty satisfied – the image is felt to be really big – and makes it difficult to return to a smaller viewfinder after testing this.
It is also possible to set the color temperature in five steps, adjust the brightness and sharpness of the eyes via a diopter adjustment. Professional!
In case of hard testing by the autofocus so I feel that Sony has managed well with their adjustments. The number of contrast-detect focus points is now 169 pieces, and Sony have worked a deal to speed up autofocus in low light situations and the autofocus when shooting video.
Overall, Sony managed to even here. The autofocus seems quick and secure, and has also gotten up to speed some of auto focusing when shooting video, even if you notice a slight difference in focus for still or during filming.
Generally feels the camera’s autofocus rapp in most situations. It has continuous autofocus turned on so you can see how the focus all the time working in cycles by adjusting the focus forward and backward, which may be a bit distracting because the image is felt to be wavy. But if you instead use the following autofocus, it is impressive to see how the focus point dynamically follows the object-and it goes really smoothly and quickly.
If one film and want to use the auto focus can I do recommend to let the camera adjust the focus, because then you get a smoother and slower focusing where you don’t have to see fokusens chasing.
Option is you focusing manually, which also works very well with this camera.
Better video properties
The predecessor Sony A7s had» almost «ability to record video in 4 k, but only through external recording devices. With the A7s Mark II, you can record in 4 k (3840×2160 at 100 megabits) in XAVC S-format directly into the camera, and it makes it really good. By utilizing the entire image sensor when shooting 4 k and full-HD video quality will be higher, because the camera reads out more information around the stage.
Also new is that A7s II can record full-HD in 120 frames per second (100 megabit quality), which allows you to play back the sequence of four or five times slow motion. This is particularly useful if you’re shooting such as sport and need an extra power.
The standard settings of the zebra-selection of pitted parties, as well as highlight of what is in focus, there is of course also, along with helper programs that can be selected in the menu to turn over video settings to the camera, then select those most suited to the stage.
A7s II has just like the predecessor A7s opportunity to S-Log2 to improve the tone of the lighter areas. But what’s new is the profile of S-Log3, which increases the dynamic range of the film by improving tonal range of the shadows.
In the whole big, this makes it easier to post-process the footage, and thus is also given a greater opportunity to more advanced photography.
In addition, there is the possibility to record two movies at once: a high resolution and a low resolution, where you can edit the low res and then transfer the adjustments on the high resolution at the rendering – which gives a faster workflow.
The camera is also equipped with a five-axis image stabilization, just like that of the Sony A7R II, to ensure steady images free-hand or at longer shutter speeds, and, of course, be used. And the image stabilizer also works well, we can see how it works off both handshakes and bigger tremors in a measured way.
Since Sony has also invested in an electronic shutter on the front curtain for quiet shooting, which also contributes to reduced risk of camera shake in the images.
Possibly you can turn sour into something over how they placed the record button for video so ill-timed that they actually have – on the back at the grip. It will be difficult to push the button on a normal basis, but fortunately, it is possible to choose a different button to start recording, for example, on one of the two C-buttons on the top. Problem solved. But then it became a programmable key card.
Good at everything
The camera is fast is clearly visible. It does what you tell it without thinking, and that is a key ingredient of a camera. Therefore, it is especially evident in A7s II – to make settings for video, effects, still image, and make adjustments in menus that change the camera, it goes directly and without problems.
The same applies to the handling of the camera in shooting situations – it is with all the time. The only time you want to give it a little boost is at the burst shooting by quickly touching the object, then it is borderline for five frames per second that the camera has the fastest (or 2.5 frames per second with full functionality).
It really feels as if Sony honed all small parts to create a better camera than its predecessor, in both video and still picture plane – and they have succeeded with. In addition, there are many more exciting smaller features that make A7s II into a successful whole.
At high ISO sensitivity performance Sony A7s II fully equal to the predecessor A7s, which isn’t surprising since it’s the same sensor in both cameras. As a further comparison, this means that it performs equally as Canon 1 d X and Nikon D4s.
Compared with A7R II that goes up to 102400 ISO so the difference is not great at all, even if your camera produces images with more noise, it also has higher resolution, which in turn reduces the noise if you scale down the image.
Sony have now also updated their firmware in many of their cameras, which means the ability to store images in 14-bit raw form against the previous 12 bits. Where we notice a difference between the information contained in the dark areas.
Sony has created a product that is adjusted according to the feedback received from its users. And it is noticeable that they accepted both from stillbildsfotografer and filmmakers. Features flirts with both groups of users, and also addressed by both sides.
Therefore, I can do no other than to note that Sony created a real winner to the camera that keeps a high level in all areas.