Dec 272014
 

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The Sony A7II  Real World Camera Review. My Camera of the Year 2014.

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You just gotta love Sony. They are back yet again at the end of 2014 and have released a camera that is not only a fantastic update, but this one is my pick for camera of the year 2014! 

Yep, they squeezed in the last couple of weeks of 2014 and captured my #1 fave camera of the year. My #2 for 2014 is the Sony A7s, and those who know me and know this website know that I LOVE the Sony A7s. If you did not see my A7s review, you can see it by clicking here. 

The low light monster A7s really grabbed me in so many ways, from the full frame 12MP sensor that can literally see in the dark to the beautiful color and quality that comes from it. The fact that I can shoot at ISO 40,000 and get usable images from the A7s is pretty amazing. To my eye (and many others) Sony improved the image quality/color and AWB with the A7s and this made the images POP and have a more beautiful color. The Auto Focus could/can see in and focus in the dark, even without an AF assist light. So the A7s has been my #1 camera ever since it was launched. The silent shutter and ability to shoot wide angle Leica M lenses was icing on the cake.

The Amazing Sony/Zeiss 35 1.4 on the A7II. Natural light and wide open at 1.4

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So now today I am here to sit at my desk in a Log Cabin in the woods I rented for the Holidays..for the long haul..to write about my real word experience with the new and quite popular Sony A7II. As you already know, from my opening statement above…I love the A7II enough to have made it my pick for Camera of the Year 2014.

For me, Sony stepped it up in many ways with the A7II compared to the over one year old A7 yet it will not replace my A7s. Instead it will be an addition to it.

Wow. The Leica Noctilux on the Sony A7II at f/0.95. Look at the color..the depth..the magical rendering that adds emotion and soul to the image. This lens on the A7II is MAGICAL and in no way inferior to  using it on a Leica M, in fact, the color is much better here than with the M. Click image for larger version.

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For one, the build of the A7II is all new and more beefy and solid. The camera feels like a  “pro” camera. It’s very nice.

They also changed the ergonomics by adding a new bigger grip and changing the buttons and dials around a bit. The shutter button and custom buttons are placed in a much better way allowing your fingers to naturally fall where the buttons lay. Perfect. After much use with the A7Ii and A7s, I prefer the shutter button placement of the new A7II. Take a look at my 1st look video below which was shot the day the A7II arrived…

My 1st look video when I received the A7II

 
The AF speed has improved by 30% over the A7 Mark I according to Sony (and I agree) and what may be the biggest news of all comes in the form of in body image stabilization. Sony is now using the 5 Axis IS system which moves the sensor itself to compensate for any hand movement or shake. This means that you will now get up to a 4 stop advantage when shooting low light and needing that extra bit of help keeping things steady…

…and yes, the 5 Axis IS works with classic lenses as well as modern day Leica M mount lenses though the system will revert to a 3 Axis IS (similar to what is in the Olympus E-M10). The 5 Axis will not make the A7II equal the A7s but it does indeed help in low light situations.

The Sony/Zeiss 35 f/2.8 at 2.8, a fantastic lens on the A7II. Click for larger. 

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Sony also upped the Ante with the video, bringing in the same video possibilities as the A7s which has been heralded by some video pros as a fantastic camera for making films. I feel the video works very well with the image stabilization though I am not a video wizard and will be evaluating this camera mainly for photos. Even so, the video I shot with the A7II was fantastic. It has a mic input and the on board mics are quite beefy. By that I mean they are not tinny sounding. They sound nice and full as a good mic should.

With all of these improvements in the A7II you would think Sony would have priced it at the A7s level, or around $2500. Nope! The A7II is $1698 for the body only, which is a HUGE HUGE bang for the buck and worth every penny. Every cent. Every bit of it. I remember many years ago buying an original Canon 1Ds. I spent about $10k on the body and a couple of NON L Canon lenses. Today in 2014 this Sony A7II beats that old Canon 1Ds in EVERY single way from speed to image quality to high ISO to usability and versatility. Digital Photography has come a LONG way over the past 10-15 years.

With the Sony A7II comes a camera that will let YOUR abilities shine or your NON abilities to also shine ;) It is a camera for an amateur, enthusiast or pro, as it has enough to handle almost anything besides fast action sports shooting even though the continuous AF has been improved quite a bit. If you want a camera for the long haul, one that does not cost a fortune yet gives you results that appear that it does, one that will grow with you or allow you to flex your own photographic muscle, then I urge you to read on as this A7II may be just what you have been looking for.

The Voigtlander 40 2.8 for Sony E mount using the Voigtlander close focus adapter. This $400 lens is very nice with a classic rendering though does have some slight vignetting. I reviewed it HERE.

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But the A7II is not perfect, and I will get into all of this as the review goes on.

DISCLAIMER: As you have already seen, I will also show image samples from the A7II using all kinds of lenses from the Sony/Zeiss offerings (35 2.8. 55 1.8 and 16-35) as well as some M mount lenses from Leica, Zeiss and Voigtlander. Even a few from the teeny Nikkor 5cm 1.4 S mount. With the A7 series, almost ANY lens can be used from any manufacturer with the use of adapters. For this reason, I will be showing the results from all kinds of cool lenses in addition to my favorite three Sony/Zeiss lenses.

THIS, to me, makes the A7 series so much more desirable than any other camera system available today. Sure, you can mount most lenses to an Olympus E-M1 as well but you lose out on the full frame sensor that gives you the full lens character. So a Leica 50 Summilux or Noctilux will retain the same character that it does on a Leica M, in some cases even better. Amazing!

Just think about how special this is. Many of you will be saying “I have no interest in manual focus lenses” because you probably have a DSLR history or are just so used to AF lenses you are nervous to try a nice manual focus lens. I am here to tell you though  – DO NOT FEAR MANUAL FOCUS lenses on the A7 II! Shooting old classic RF lenses is a joy and SO BEAUTIFUL. Lenses can be had from $30 to $13,000 so there are affordable choices that are quite nice.

Manual focus with a Leica Noctilux, at f/0.95. Added a filter using VSCO filters and with the focus peaking and magnification of the A7II, manual focus is a breeze and is actually in a way more rewarding and makes using the camera even more special. 

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With that said, the original Sony 35 2.8, 55 1.8 and new 16-35 perform fantastic as well on the camera. There is something for everyone with this camera and that is the beauty of it.

The A7II at ISO 8000. An out of camera JPEG with Noise Reduction turned OFF. Sony/Zeiss 35 2.8. 

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The Sony/Zeiss 35 2.8 at ISO 1600 – click for larger – OOC JPEG – The color, the crispness and the overall rendering is fantastic here! OOC JPEG at night!

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The Sony/Zeiss 35 2.8 once again, at night! OOC JPEG

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The Sony/Zeiss 16-35 with the A7II at ISO 3200, zero noise reduction. OOC JPEG

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The Sony/Zeiss 16-35 at ISO 2000 – OOC JPEG

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The 16-35 2.8 zm Zeiss at my Christmas 2014 Getaway ;) Where I wrote this review!

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The 16-35 and A7II at a Comicon fanfest in Phoenix AZ

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First Impressions & Build

Wow, so many photos already and I am just getting started on this review! Phew!

My very 1st impressions of the Sony A7 Mark II was quite surprising. I was expecting an A7 with 5 Axis thrown in but when I took it out of the box I was a bit shocked to feel how much better built it felt, and the A7 already had a good build as it was. This was different. The new body with new grip and button layout feels more beefy and solid. It is slightly larger now due to the 5 Axis inside but it’s still much smaller and thinner than a DSLR.

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When I held the camera in my hand I was impressed with not only the feel and heft but the new finish of the camera which is now a matte and a slightly rougher finish compared to the almost candy coated glossy black of the A7’s that came before. It has the metal build of the A7r and you can feel it. The camera is not thicker but the grip is, and this makes the camera appear larger than the older A7 and A7r as well as the A7s. Adding in the 5 Axis IS made the body slightly bigger so for some of you, this is good. For others you may not like the extra size.

When you hold this camera you instantly know you have something of great quality here, even more than the $1698 that it costs. It feels like a $2500-$3k body and no matter what anyone tells you, it is SMALLER than ANY DSLR and quite a bit smaller than even the Nikon Df. It’s not quite DSLR sized, and the way I love to shoot it is with small rangefinder lenses. BTW, Manual focus is a breeze (as already hinted) with the large EVF (same EVF from the previous A7 series).

You can set up any of the custom buttons to whatever you like. I have the C3 button on the back set up for focus magnification (and yes, you still need to do two button presses to get it magnified) and it makes for a quick and easy way to manually and critically focus any RF lens, such as a Leica Noctilux 50 0.95 which is the most critical lens to focus wide open. Basically, all of the buttons can be assigned to whatever you like meaning your A7II can be customized to your preferences.

Speaking of the Leica Noctilux

When using the Noctilux on the Leica M, you HAVE to make sure your rangefinder is 100% spot on or else it will be a lesson in frustration. Your shots will be slightly out of focus and makes the lens an expensive paperweight. On the A7II, using the Live View EVF with peaking or magnification means you never have to worry about your camera being calibrated. What you see is what you get. As much as I love and adore Leica M bodies, I would be lying if I said I never had Rangefinder calibration issues. When this happens it is NOT fun so using these “best lenses in the world” on the Sony A7II is a joy.

Below are a few examples of this stunning and unique lens on the A7II

All shots using the Leica Noctilux, 0.95, and shows the same gorgeous quality that it does on the Leica M but in some ways, slightly better. 

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and below…ISO 12,800, from RAW, ZERO Noise Reduction. THIS is what makes these Sony cameras special. ISO 12,800 and with a lens like the Noctilux lighting up the scene, it gives the impression that there was light to work with. When shooting this I could not see her with my eyes yet looking through the EVF allowed me to “see in the dark” and the image appears to be lit up when it was not really like this in real life. The A7s or A7II with a Leica Noctilux offers things that are not possible with any other camera system, period. ZERO noise reduction as always.

If anyone is interested in a Noctilux for their A7, A7II, A7s or A7r, I recommend Ken Hansen ([email protected]), the legendary Leica dealer.

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An Artist’s Tool

The buttons on the back are all laid out nicely, in place where you would and could easily access them. I am sitting here writing this and I have a Nikkor 50 1.4 S mount rangefinder lens on the camera. It feels SO SO solid and is nice and compact with this lens on.

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The bonus? This lens has some magic in its rendering and while I once had it for Leica screw mount (which can run you up to $600-$800) this time I was able to buy the S mount for about $100 and pick up an S to E adapter from Cameraquest. Same lens as the screw mount but until now, the S mount lenses were not desirable as they were not usable on any digital cameras. As of today, it is quite easy to find S mount RF glass quite cheap. I have a feeling this may change with so many Sony shooters out there and the new Adapter ;)

There I go again, talking about lenses!

The cheap but super cool Nikkor 5cm 1.4 S mount Rangefinder lens works perfectly with the Sony A7II and S to E adapter (available at CameraQuest here)

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The Sony A7 series is like a true artists tool because you can literally mount ANY lens to it and there are some very cool, very funky and mighty fine lenses out there that can be had for a song. Even my $30 Jupiter 8 does fantastic on the A7II. No DSLR can do this, none. You can not do this on a Fuji body THE RIGHT WAY as the lenses are all compromised seeing that you do not use the full frame of the lens on an APS-C crop sensor. Same goes for Micro 4/3. To date, the ONLY cameras capable of such versatility with lenses is the Sony A7 series. Even the Leica M can not do what the A7II does. The A7 series of cameras are unique for this very reason.

The Jupiter 8, a 50mm f/2 that is light, cheaply made and CHEAP to buy (mine was $30). This lens is even fantastic on the Sony A7II! It’s a Leica screw mount lens so I use a cheap $10 Adapter to turn it to M mount then use my Voigtlander close focus adapter to mount it to the A7II. 

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So my 1st impressions on Day one of the camera were pretty amazing. In fact, two hours after getting the review unit I placed an order for my own A7II. I put my money where my mouth is as I always do when I rave about something. With that out of the way (and already over 2800 words written, geez) let me get started by breaking down what I LOVE about the camera, and then I will talk about what I think should have been different or improved upon.

I will break this down into oddball sections that pop into my head as I write..when I do my reviews I never have a plan or template or even an idea of what I am going to say…it just flows out as I write, so keep that in mind.

The A7II with the super cool Voigtlander 40 2.8 (my review of that lens is here). Crisp, clean, slight vignetting but super sharp for $400. These are OOC JPEGS.

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The A7II Sharpness and Detail

While I love the Sony A7s and have used it ever since its launch, almost daily, the A7II will obviously have more detail due to the 24MP sensor (vs the 12mp sensor of the A7s). The bonus? For the most part, the A7II gives us the color, AWB and more pop of the A7s, which improved from the A7 and A7r. Below take a look at simple OOC JPEGS, yes Out of Camera JPEGs showing how sharp this camera can be without any muss of fuss of RAW processing. Make sure you click on each image to show the 100% crops correctly!

The 1st shot is from the A7II and 55 1.8 lens, at 1.8 This is a JPEG ladies and gentleman, usually this means mushy details but for this one I was very pleasantly surprised to see Sony improved the JPEG rendering of the A7II. Click for larger,

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This next image shows a 100% crop. I used an old 50 year old Leica 50 2.8 Elmar. Click the image to see the full size crop..the detail and the nice looking JPEG file. Again, OOC JPEG!

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Even more details. Rich deep color using the “CLEAR” JPEG preset. 

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…and one more with a crop..the Voigtlander 40 2.8 at 2.8. This lens give a nice color rendering that borders on watercolor and reality. It’s quite beautiful. JPEG!

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…and a full size image  – out of camera JPEG using the Sony 55 1.8 – YES, A JPEG!

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While we get most of the good stuff from the A7s (color, AWB, pop, video specs) we do not get ALL of the good stuff. For example, with the A7II we do not get the silent shutter option as this is sensor specific. We also do not get usable ISO 40,000 images but we do gain the 5 Axis Image Stabilization which helps with low light. We also gain the build and re-design of the A7II.

So basically the A7II should be compared to the A7 Mark I (which I do not own but have shot extensively) and not the A7s as the A7s is a specialty camera for those who do not mind the 12MP resolution. The A7II when compared to the now $1200 A7 is much better due to all of the improvements.

Let’s break down the details of the A7II..

24.3MP Full-Frame Exmor CMOS Sensor

This sensor is fantastic yet it is the same sensor that we had in the original A7. Sony tweaked things a bit though to deliver the better IQ and color over the A7 Mark I.

BIONZ X Image Processor

Sony’s processing that gives us more speed in the A7II.

5-Axis SteadyShot INSIDE Stabilization

First seen in the Olympus bodies such as the E-M5, E-M1 and E-P5, 5 Axis IS is powerful. For video it is superb and for images it allows you to shoot in lower light than before as the 5 Axis IS will move the sensor itself to compensate for your own hand shakes. It works well and I was able to shoot an image at 1/15th of a second with the 55 1.8. Some will say we should be able to do 1/8th of a second with the 55 but without the 5 Axis I was only able to pull off 1/45th. Click below for my 1/15th shot indoors, ISO 1600 with 100% crop. (click on the image).

So any way you slice it, the 5 Axis IS is a nice help and it is worth having it for photo and video. With video it gives some wide angle lenses such as the 16-35 a steady shot kind of feel. No shakes, no jitters, just smooth video.

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Enhanced Fast Hybrid AF and 5 fps Burst

Sony sped up the Auto Focus speed for the A7II and I can tell that it improved. Continuous AF is also improved with much better tracking of your subject.

Full HD XAVC S Video and S-Log2 Gamma

For the video guys, this is good stuff.

3.0″ 1,228.8k-Dot Tilting LCD Monitor

Same LCD as the previous A7 series

XGA 2.36M-Dot OLED Electronic Viewfinder

Same EVF as the previous A7 series

Weather-Resistant Magnesium Alloy Body

The A7II is weather resistant and has weather seals. Body is made of Magnesium Alloy.

Refined Grip & Robust Lens Mount

We gain a beefier lens mount and the larger more refined grip. This is a nice improvement but some will prefer the smaller grip of the old A7 and some will prefer the A7II grip.

Built-In Wi-Fi Connectivity with NFC

The A7II still has the WiFi and NFC built in.

So all in all, the A7II uses the Same A7 sensor with tweaked image quality in color, AWB and overall JPEG rendering. The Body is redesigned to feel like a pro body with a beefier grip and lens mount. The 5 Axis IS is the big news here and gives the camera an overall polished feel. The A7II feels complete. It feels like a camera and not a computer. This is good.

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Low Light/High ISO of the A7II 

Ever since I acquired the Sony A7s I have become spoiled by the spectacular ability it has in low light. I have shot images at 102,000 ISO and they were PUBLISHED and usable. Insane capabilities. Of course ISO 102,000 will in no way create a clean image but it does better than any other camera I ave ever used when it comes to cranking up the ISO to get a usable image.

The A7s is quite a bit better than the A7, A7II, A7r when it comes to extreme high ISO because of the 12 MP sensor. Having those big fat megapixels on a full frame sensor helps to kick it into overdrive when it comes to low light abilities. But many could not get along with the 12 MP sensor. Some had a problem with it mentally, others just had a problem with it because they did not want to spend $2500 for a 12MP camera. Me, I printed 20X30’s from my A7s and the prints are gorgeous so I do not need 24, 36 or 54 megapixels to be happy. I am not one who stands an inch from a print trying to see how detailed it is…to me, this is not photography but a pixel peeping disorder. These are the things that can take away the true meaning of photography yet many suffer from it.

With the 24 Megapixels of the A7II we get to a happy medium between low and crazy high. I feel 18-24 MP is perfect and higher is usually when I start to have issues with file sizes, blurred images from hand shake, etc. Also, this is the first Sony body for me that meets or exceeds the legendary Sony RX1R. 

So after using the A7s since launch and not having a worry in the world using Auto ISO up to 80k, low light with the A7II made me nervous. I decided that I would cap it off at 12,800 which to me, is about as high as one would want to go with the A7II. But even so, 12,800 is massive!

Below are some shots taken at various high ISO as well as a side by side with the A7s at ISO 12,800 and 25,600.

ALL with ZERO Noise Reduction. ZERO. 

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Many have asked me how much better the Sony A7s is with high ISO. Well, remember that the max ISO of the A7s is 402,000. The max ISO of the A7II is 25,600. I have shot the A7s at 102,000 ISO and had a shot published at that ISO though it was noisy.

The A7s at 12,800 and 25,600 has an edge over the A7II of course but the difference may not be as huge as you think. I found the A7II is also pumping out even more bold color than the more natural color of the A7s. Still a different rendering than the A7 Mark I though. These files were all Out Of Camera RAW files, meaning, nothing was tweaked at all. No noise reduction was applied at all. What you see is what you get.

Click the images below to see the 12,800 and 25,600 shots. This was taken inside a kitchen without lights on in the kitchen, just some window light.

And now a comparison with the Sony A7s at ISO 12,800 and 25,600 (the max of the A7II)

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So while the A7s is still the king of the night, the A7II does mighty fine at higher ISO’s. I found ISO 8000 is a sweet spot for high ISO work, and ISO 12,800 will work well if needed. Not too shabby! Images above were taken with a Voigtlander 35 1.2 Lens.  Another mighty fine manual lens for the A7 series.

The Wide World Of Lenses for the A7II!

NATIVE LENSES: There are many lenses for the full frame A7 system even though the A7 (FE) mount is only 13 months old! Not sure why people claim there are no lenses. Sony has release a slew of them in a short time with many more to come.

16-35 Zeiss – Superb Ultra Wide Zoom, SUPERB!
28-70 Kit Zoom – CHEAP and Decent..did I say CHEAP?
24-70 Zeiss – Excellent Zoom, just as good as any Canon or Nikon!
35 F/2.8 Zeiss – Bests my Leica 28 Elmarit at 1/2 the cost. Yes, really.
55 1.8 – Gets close to the Leica 50 APO at 1/8th the cost. (I have done side by sides on this site. many preferred the Sony lens)
70-200 f/4 – Here is the 70-200 most people wanted! 
There is also a 28-135 Cinema lens for FE mount by Sony.
Zeiss 35 f/2 Loxia for FE
Zeiss 50 f/2 Loxia for FE

Also, the 50 Mitakon Speedmaster f/0.95 – I reviewed it HERE but this is a full frame FE mount lens. Super speed.

New primes on the way this year. Within 3 years there will be more lenses for FE then you know what to do with as third parties are making them for FE as we speak.

Those lenses above cover 16-200mm right now. The A7 series is only 13 months old. In 13 months that is quite a number of lenses released. More than Fuji managed to release or Olympus for that matter. The FE mount is NEW so for this many lenses to be out already is quite amazing really.

More details…

So if you want NATIVE mount lenses, there are plenty here now with more on the way. If you want to be adventurous there are so many lenses you can use and have more fun with and get even more beautiful results with for not any more effort. It is the most versatile system you can buy right now with more lenses available to shoot than any other system.

To date, my favorite native lenses have been the 55 1.8, the 35 2.8 and the newer 16-35 which is a stellar wide angle lens. So for Sony native lenses you have quite a few excellent choices, even a nice 24-70 Zeiss.

Then we have the new Zeiss Loxia lenses, the 35 f/2 and 50 f/2. These are stellar in quality but are manual focus and a little larger in my opinion. They will offer you great Zeiss color and pop but do not expect the size and feel of the Zeiss ZM lenses, which also perform well on the A7II.

Of course there are all kinds of lenses that can be used on the A7 series with the correct adapters. Leica M mount lenses, Voigtlander M mount lenses, screw mount lenses, Nikkor S mount lenses, Canon and Nikon lenses, Contax lenses, etc.

When you sit down and think about it, the A7II has thousands of lenses that can be mounted and used. From vintage to artsy to creative to modern day masterpieces. I love shooting of rangefinder glass on these cameras as it is a sinch to focus and the results are quite different than the native lenses, with more character and pizzaz as well as being quite a bit smaller and better made.

I use Leica M lenses, Voigtlander M lenses, Zeiss ZM M lenses, and even a Nikkor S mount lens. All are fantastic in their own way, even my $30 Jupiter. ;) All are simple to use and make shooting more fun IMO.

Taken with A vintage Nikkor 50 1.4 in S mount. An old rangefinder lens that I am using thanks to the new Adapter available at CameraQuest.com. If you have old S rangefinder lenses, this adapter will let you use them on the Sony A7 series of camera. 

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The Voigtlander 40 2.8 on the A7II

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So whoever buys into the Sony A7 system, you have thousands of lenses at your disposal to use and have fun with. From a cheap Jupiter to a crazy Leica Noctilux  to the Native lenses from Sony, all will deliver a different feel and vibe which makes using this camera very motivating. You never know what jewel you may uncover on you lens hunts.

If going with a Leica M mount lens, wether it is from Leica, Voigtlander, Zeiss or whoever, I highly recommend THIS adapter from Cameraquest.com. I own two and they are hands down the best adapter available, even allowing close focus with any M lens, something even the M can not do. Pricey but you get what you pay for and I always believe it is better to buy ONCE instead of buying, selling and buying again.

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Shooting Wide Angle M Mount Lenses on the A7II

From my experience, anything less than 28mm will bring in some color distortions with the A7, A7r and yes, A7II. The A7s is the best A7 camera for Leica wide angle lenses and the A7II has done OK with even the Zeiss 25 2.8 Zm lens but not so well with the Voigtlander 15 4.5. So if you mainly shoot wide angle Leica lenses, the A7II will not be your best bet. It is indeed the same sensor as the A7 Mark I, so I did not expect any major improvement there.

Below are three shots using the Zeiss ZM 25 2.8 Lens. A tiny and superb wide angle  that is between a 28 and 21. It did not do quite as well on the Leica M9 or M 240, and was a little off on the A7r due to colored fringing and edges. On the A7s and A7II it seems to do pretty good with the best performance on the A7s.

Three shots with the A7II and Zeiss ZM 25 2.8. You can buy this lens at B&H Photo HERE.

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To my eyes the 25 is not perfect with the A7II but it is perfectly acceptable for me. I am not a massive pixel peeper though and go for the memory/emotional aspect of the photo, not the perfection aspect. Still, I am LOVING the A7II colors with almost any lens I attach to it. With that said, the best choice for Leica lenses from 28mm and wider would be the A7s.

The Video of the A7II

I am not a huge video guy and 96% of my use with the A7II and A7s will be for photo purposes but the A7s and A7II have fantastic video quality from what I have seen, better with the A7II due to the in camera 5 Axis IS. Shooting video with the 16-35 Zeiss was awesome as it stabilized the lens in a way that made the video appear almost steadycamish. NO shakes or jitters, just smooth video.

Some have complained about artifacts in the video but in my short and limited use, I saw no such things. Nothing that would bother me in the slightest. Then again, if I were making a full length pro feature film, I would be using something besides a mirrorless camera to shoot it. If you want the low down on the video I suggest searching the video sites such as eoshd.com. 

Even so, my humble little video using the A7II is below. It is a hodge lodge of nonsense just to show how the 5 Axis works, and you can see just how well it works when I attach the Leica 50 Noctilux to the A7II and then the A7S. The A7S video is much more shaky where the A7II video is smooth and silky.

Video test of the 5 Axis IS and A7II along with a side by side with the A7s to show the difference 5 Axis makes for video

My Fave Accessories for the A7 II

With a new camera always comes new accessories, at least for me. I have to figure out what strap I want to use, what bag, what memory cards, what case (if any) and even things like shutter soft releases and items that sort of pimp out my cameras. Below is a list of the things I will be using with my A7II and things I already have on my A7s:

STRAPS: My most used straps these days are the Street Strap Long (available HERE) and when I want to get serious, the MoneyMaker from HoldFastGear.com. BTW, The Street Strap has outlasted my expensive Artisan and Artist silk strap which was messed up within one week.

SOFT RELEASE: Amazing soft release for Any A7 camera? The Artisan Obscura Sticky Back release is beautiful. One has been on my A7s since I got it and it has never fallen off. I love these as they will not come off or come loose. Check them out here. 

TACTILE: I attached these little metal buttons to my A7s and love them. They give the camera a better tactile feel when button hunting and works on the A7 or mostly all digital cameras. You can check them out at rluther.com 

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BAG: My favorite bag EVER. The Wotancraft Ryker. Black or Brown, either one is GORGEOUS. My review is HERE.

WRIST STRAP: The nicest wrist strap I have used lately is from Classic Cases. It’s high quality leather and super comfortable. You can see them or order them HERE.  I have one of these attached to the A7II and a Street Strap on my A7s.

MEMORY CARDS: I use a Transcend 64GB and it has been reliable, fast and it was affordable. It is a 60MBPS card and you can nab one on Amazon for under $34. I bought FIVE. 

BATTERIES: I saved some cash and bought a few of these Vivitar replacements as they are cheaper and work just as well as the Sony branded batteries. THIS is the exact deal I bought..TWO batteries, a charger, a rocket blower , lens brush and cloth..all for $24.95. THIS is a steal! Just to verify, these are the A7 batteries and will work in the A7, A7r, A7s and A7II.

LEICA M ADAPTER: My #1 recommended adapter for Leica M lens use is the Voigtlander Close Focus adapter. To me, it is the best made, and allows for close focus. No lens play, just a solid locking connection. I bought mine from Cameraquest.com. 

NIKON S/CONTX RF ADAPTER: Picked up one of these new Adapters and was impressed with the quality and the fact that I can now use Nikkor S mount RF lenses on the A7 series. These are fantastic well made TINY lenses and can be found at great prices. Get it HERE.

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OFFICIAL SONY BATTERY GRIP (above) – This grip is all new for the A7II as the old one will not work. This is a weather sealed grip built to a pro standard and when it is on the camera, it feels like a PRO camera. It makes the camera much larger of course but also doubles the battery life. If I were to buy this I would only use it on heavy days when I needed lots of battery life. The price seems steep to me at $349 but some of you LOVE your battery grips, so Sony is offering this one for the A7II (and possibly whatever comes next to replace the A7r). You can order the grip HERE.

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JB WOODEN GRIP (above): JB has released a new wooden grip for the A7II. You can order it here for under $70

A7II – ISO 6400, Zeiss 35 2.8, OOC JPEG. It was dark! – ZERO Noise Reduction!

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My Favorite Lenses for the A7II, Native and otherwise

I often get e-mails asking me..”what is the best lens for XXXX” – I get this question day in and day out. Truth be told, there is no “best” lens as what lens you choose depends on what you like to shoot! Me, I have always been a 35 and 50 guy and I love fast primes. Even so, the Sony/Zeiss 35 2.8 SHINES on the A7II, more so than it did on any other A7 body. Same goes for the 55 1.8. No idea why the is but others have noticed it as well.

These two lenses are my go to lenses when I want AF, and reliable performance.

The Sony 35 2.8 Can be seen HERE

The Sony 55 1.8 Can be seen HERE

Other lenses I adore with the A7s and A7II are the Voigtlander 35 1.2, the Leica Noctilux 0.95, the Zeiss 50 1.5 Sonnar ZM, the Zeiss 50 f/2 Planar ZM and even the Voigtlander 21 1.8. 

So many lenses are amazing with these bodies, just choose what you enjoy the most and have at it! If you are unsure you can always rent lenses from lensrentals.com.

PopFlash.com also has deals on Leica M glass most of the time.

16-35 Zeiss at f/4

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The Shutter Sound of the A7II

Many people were not happy with the loud shutter of the original A7R. In fact, it is the loudest of all A7 cameras. The A7II takes it down a notch from the A7R and is pretty much the same as the A7. My A7II is a bit more subdued though and sounds a little more muted than my A7s. While it does not have the silent shutter of the A7s, the shutter sound never caused me one issue when shooting street, portraits or anything. Below is my video showing the shutter sound of MY A7s and the A7II I have on hand.

A few more words about the Leica Noctilux with the A7II (or any A7 body)

I am a lucky guy and thanks to Ken Hansen, who has been part of this site since day 1 (Ken is a legendary Leica dealer with over 50 years experience) by helping me to get it going, I was recently able to obtain a Leica Noctilux again after selling off my last one 1 1/2 years ago due to needing funds more than the lens.

It has been a year and half since I shot with the Noctilux on the Leica M 240 (see a post here) and while it is always a magical lens and what I call a “Lifetime Lens”, it is a lens that is not only hard to justify for mere mortals, it is a lens that is so unique it may be the most lusted after rangefinder lens in history. It is a controversial lens due to the cost where half of the people never understand it and the other half 100% do.

The draw and rendering of this lens is nothing short of breathtaking in the right circumstances, something that is not easy to achieve every time you use it but one thing is for sure, when you DO use this lens it will deliver a WOW rendering that most non camera people will rave over. But be careful, overuse will make it boring after a while so use it sparingly. Bring it out once a month or so and it will retain that wow factor.

From the f/0.95 aperture to the legendary Leica build to the shallow and dreamy depth of field as well as the rich color and contrast, this is a lens that can deliver deep emotion. At $11,000 it is a hard one to swallow and is quite ridiculous in pricing IMO. Even so, I love it, I adore it and I hope that I can keep this one (and plan to). Seeing friends like Ashwin Rao who still has his original Noctilux (also from Ken Hansen) and still loving it makes me feel lucky to own one again.

On the A7II you will get 3 Axis IS with manual Leica M lenses, still a wonderful IS system that helps eliminate the shakes. (same as the Olympus E-M10 which uses 3 Axis IS). Just set the A7II menu to 50mm and shoot away!

Also, Anyone who shoots this lens on the M or the A7 series I HIGHLY recommend the Variable ND filter for it (Ken Hansen has loads of them). Best ND I have ever used and allows wide open aperture in full sunlight which gives an altogether different effect. You can contact Ken at [email protected] and ask him about it. Tell him I sent ya!

A few more images from the combo of Noct and A7II are below…

PS – The Leica M and Noct will cost you $19k. The A7II and Noct will set you back $12500 or so. Insane I know, and it is NOT for everyone but just showing that you can save some cash by using it on the A7 bodies. Keep this lens for 7 years or more and you will make money if you ever decide to sell it. It IS one of the rare lenses that can indeed be considered a true investment. For example I bought a brand new F/1 Noctilux long before the 0.95 was released. I paid $3500 from B&H Photo. NEW. Today I see them going for $8000 if new in the box or true mint with box. Amazing. In 10 years the f/0.95 may be up to $18k or more. You never know, but Leica lenses have a history of appreciating over the years.

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The three images below had filters applied using VSCO film filters – B&W is not a problem for the A7II ;) 

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As you can see, the combo of Noctilux and the A7II seriously rocks. These were all wide open at f/0.95. When you stop down to f/1.4 you get the performance of a Leica Summilux ASPH. Stop down to f/2 and you get the performance of a Summicron but with the added benefit of the 50 APO colors, and the contrast of the Noctilux. To me, the Noctilux beats the old F/1 version handily.

The Bokeh of this lens is legendary, the stuff of fantasy and dreams. I have seen some pretty special photos with this lens when in super  talented hands. Get the light right, the mood right and the scene right and masterpieces can be made with this lens.

Things about the A7II that I wish would have been different

The A7II is one hell of a camera, and again, my “Camera of the Year 2014” but it is not perfect. Yes, the IQ is stunning. Yes, the 5 Axis IS is wonderful. Yes, the color saturation and depth of the 24 MP sensor is fantastic. Yes, the fact that so many lenses can be used and mounted is awesome. Yes, the new design and beefy build is welcomed and yes the video is stellar. Yes, you can shoot at ISO 8000 and up to 12,800 and get usable results.

But if I could make a change or two the 1st would be to the BATTERY. The battery life is not so hot with the A7II and seems worse than it does with my A7s. It uses the same battery as the previous A7 series but with the new 5 Axis IS being used, it seems that the battery life is even shorter. I found I needed a couple of batteries for a full day of shooting, and I am a light shooter. If you get the A7II I suggest buying 2 or 3 extra batteries. I bought 3-4 Vivitar branded batteries for mine off of Amazon and saved a bundle while getting batteries that work just as well as the Sony branded batteries. The link to the Vivitar batteries is HERE and what a deal it is. Just click it and see what you get for under $25..it’s amazing.

So it seems the battery should have been made better. The Nikon Df battery is awesome and I wish Sony would develop something similar.

Also, I wish the A7II had the silent shutter of the A7s. I use it every now and again and while it is not mandatory it does help sometimes when you need ultimate silence.

One last thing…if the Auto Focus was maybe 15% faster it would be hard it fault at all. As it is, the Af may hunt in low light (The A7s does not) but the good news is that the Auto Focus is CRAZY accurate. I have never gotten a false AF hit with the A7II (but did a few times with the A7 and A7r). In low light it is much faster than the old A7 but not up to the A7s for low light AF. Still, its just as good if not better as most mirrorless cameras that are out these days. I have been testing the Fuji X100T and it has been frustrating the hell out of me with its constant AF misses (though the camera says it is locked). The A7II never has this issue.

The A7II and Sony Zeiss 16-35, a SUPERB wide angle for your A7 body.

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The Sony A7II vs the Leica M 240. 

Many have asked me this question lately and it is not an easy one to answer. The M 240 is a special camera with a special build, feel, emotion AND price. Coming in at $7k (deals can be had) and limited in high ISO and close focus and video use, it is mainly for those who want and love to shoot a rangefinder. The RF system makes the Leica M a 100% different camera to shoot than just about ANYTHING out there today.

The M feels fantastic, one of the best feeling cameras made today. The battery life is amazing, and the quality is superb. But, compared to the A7II, I feel the A7II can give better image quality, better color, and even more detail with 85% of Leica M lenses. Plus, the A7II beats the M in low light as well. Video? Sony 100%, no question. At the end of the day the Sony has a better sensor than the custom made one in the M 240.

All in all I find the only thing the M has over the A7II is the user experience and shooting ultra wide Leica branded coded M glass such as the 18, 21, Tri Elmar, etc. . Shooting an RF camera is a wonderful thing..a state of mind..an inspiration and brings passion into my shooting. I get some of this with the A7II but not as much.

At the end of the day, $1600 for an A7II that puts out better IQ and color and has more versatility is a steal compared to the $7000 M. Even so, I love the M. Always will. This is something that is personal preference and only you can decide. Have the cash? Buy both :) Bank account suffering after the holidays? Buy an A7II and know you ill be getting image quality that actually surpasses the Leica M in good light, low light, high ISO, low ISO, with much better video capabilities (if that’s your thing). I am not knocking the M at all, but I always speak the truth and 2 years after the M 240 arrived, we now have a camera from Sony that literally kicks its bootie in most areas, for 1/5th the cost.

Even so, the M will always have a place in my heart as it provides a “connection” to the user. It’s a thing of beauty.

Night time, Sony A7II and Sony/Zeiss 35 2.8 – No issues focusing!

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The Sony A7II Vs the Fuji X-T1

Here there really is no contest for me. I like the X-T1. I feel it is as good as it gets for Fuji, but for me, many of you know that I dislike the X-Trans sensor. The IQ from that sensor excels in perfect lighting but in anything other than that, it fails. You lose punch, sparkle, depth, color, and pop. You gain flatness and a dull sheen. I have seen 10’s of thousands of Fuji images and I have seen some that blew me away (perfect light, natural or studio) and most, around 95%, are flat and dull to me. They are “nice” but lack depth and punch and seeing that the Fuji uses an APS-C sensor you will also lose out on other things such as using 3rd party lenses to their full potential.

For me there is no contest here, if I were offered a Sony A7II at $1698 or a Fuji X-T1 at $499 I would splurge for the Sony. The Sony is $500 more than the Fuji ($1698 vs $1198) for the body only but I always say “you get what you pay for” and this is usually 99% true. I’d rather spend the extra $500 and be 100% happy then spend $500 less and wonder “what if”. I have learned that lesson in life many years ago.

With that said, the Fuji X-T1 is fantastic, and I feel Fuji’s best mirrorless to date. It’s fast, looks great, feels great, has great controls and some wonderful lenses. But when directly comparing, for me, I prefer the A7II in every way from build, feel, IQ, abilities, lenses that can be used, and so on.

To those that love their X-T1 that is awesome, as it can indeed put out some beautiful colors and images but for me, full frame will win out due to DR, Punch, Pop, etc. If there were no full frame Sony mirrorless, then the Fuji would be near the top of the heap but with the A7II and A7s, the Fuji drops below them for me.

You can read my X-T1 review HERE.  As you can see, I raved about it as Fuji got it right and it is something that will make any Fuji fan proud.

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The Sony A7II vs the Olympus E-M1

Another AMAZING camera even two years after its release. The E-M1 is the pro grade Micro 4/3 and does just about everything right. The body is awesome, the feel is superb, the controls just work and the speed of this thing is impressive. The lenses available are 2nd to none and it was the 1st camera with 5 Axis inside. It’s a jewel for sure and many poo poo’ed it due to the smaller sensor but this sensor in the E-M1 easily stands toe to toe with any APS-C sensor around except for low light ability. The one main weakness of the E-M1 these days is the high ISO performance which lacks. Shoot in low light at ISO 3200 and you will get noise. Low light is a great test for high ISO and while many reviewers test it in studio light (which is silly) the real test is using it when you would need it..low light. So the E-M1 falls short for low light work when compared to most modern day cameras.

Compared to the A7II you are saving $300 with an E-M1 (not much) but losing the full frame sensor, better high ISO capability and all that comes with this such as DR, less noise at base ISO, etc. To me, these two are much closer than the Fuji X-T1 and A7II as the E-M1 is one of my all time faves. I still own one. Will take a lot for anything to get me  to remove it from my collection. Even so, I can get more use, better IQ and color, and better low light and DR from the A7II for $300 more. I feel the E-M1 may need to see a price reduction to $999 in the very near future. Will be interesting to see what Olympus comes up with in 2015.

The Sony A7II vs the Sony A7r

The A7r has not yet been replaced and Sony may be pairing down the A7 system to the A7 and A7s and creating a “pro” A9 to replace the A7r. Of course this is speculation as I know nothing at all about what is to come but rumors have been pointing to this.

If choosing today I would take the A7II over the A7r, 100%. No contest.

The A7r is clunky, loud, slower, worse in low light, no IS inside, has inferior AWB and color performance, and has too many MP when they are not needed for 99.5% of people. Every aspect of the II beats the R for me, all of it. The body, the performance, the IS, the video, the experience.

The II is more responsive and again, quieter. The R is the loudest of all A7 bodies (no, they are not all the same).

So to those who asked which one I would go for, the answer is clear. The one I did go for over the R, the A7II. It’s a more finished product and more enjoyable in real world use.

A7II vs the A7s

As for which camera I will use more, my A7s or A7II, that is hard to say as I love both. I see myself using the A7s in the low light scenarios or when I need the silent shutter. The A7II puts out such beautiful images in normal light that I may prefer it for my day to day shooting as it has slightly more oomph to the final image (though not a huge difference). Add in the 5 Axis, pro beefy build and feel and it bumps the A7s from daily driver to 2nd fiddle. Both have a place in my bag. The cool thing is the A7II is $1698 vs the $2498 of the A7s. That is quite the price difference so for new buyers I say go A7II. I own both and love both but if buying one it would be the A7II for me.

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Pros and Cons of the Sony A7II

PROS (for me)

  1. Fantastic build, better ergonomics than old A7
  2. Button placement much better than previous A7
  3. 5 Axis IS really works well (for video as well)
  4. Video is stepped up from A7
  5. Weather Sealed
  6. Can mount almost any lens made for 35mm (this is huge)
  7. Improved color, pop, and overall IQ over A7
  8. Faster AF and overall response than A7
  9. Nice detail and sharpness
  10. Improved OOC JPEGS means you could shoot this as a JPEG camera!
  11. PRICE! $1698 is a GREAT buy. No one can say this is overpriced.
  12. Same great EVF/LCD from previous A7 bodies.
  13. Makes a great 2nd camera to a Leica M or A7s
  14. Still smaller than the smallest DSLR’s, MUCH smaller than a D800 style camera
  15. More Sony Native lenses (and primes) on the way in 2015!
  16. Still usable images at ISO 12,800, which is fantastic.
  17. Sony/Zeiss 35 and 55 seem to take on a new life on this camera for some reason.
  18. Worlds 1st full frame with 5 Axis IS!

CONS (for me)

  1. Battery life is disappointing. Needs a better battery. 250-350 shots per charge. Should be 1000.
  2. No silent shutter that is in the A7s – Boo.
  3. In really low light AF slows down. My A7s is faster in low light.
  4. Still no go for ultra wide Leica M mounts such as Voigtlander 15. Color issues with these lenses.
  5. Can have Moire in certain situations as the sensor is VERY detailed and has loads of resolution (but rare)

Sony/Zeiss 16-35 – crisp and clean – This is a stellar wide angle zoom besting my old Canon 16-35 from back in the day, easily. 

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My Final Word on the Sony A7II

Sony is just hitting it out of the park lately (last 2-3 years)  – The RX1, the RX100, the RX1R, the A7 and now the A7s and A7II are all superb cameras that are pushing the tech and the experience up a notch compared to anyone else. It’s pretty amazing what they have done over the last 3 years.

When the original A7 bodies were released I spoke with Sony about their passion for this project. Basically, I was told they are not holding back and will be pushing forward to develop this system, lenses and all, for the long haul. They have many lenses on the way in 2015 (and ten lenses already for the FE full frame A7 system within a years time)  and it appears they are just getting started. I had the feeling that this was their baby..the one they were banking on (instead of DSLR production) and from my experience, it is working.

The Sony A series update cycle seems to be on a 12-15 month thing right now since it has been just over a year since the A7 and we now have the A7II. I am guessing the A7r replacement will be the rumored “Pro A9” but believe me when I say it will be much more expensive and have a larger MP count. Many may want to hold out for that one even though right now it is all speculation and rumor (and no, I know nothing). Rumors say Feb 2015.

I was a fan of the A7 and A7r but did not buy one for myself after much thought. The things that held me back were slower than expected AF in low light, a teeny bit of clunkiness and in the case of the R, too noisy of a shutter and too high of a MP count for my tastes. When the A7s arrived I was in heaven as it solved these issues and became the most capable camera I have ever owned or shot with. The A7s, for me, was and is a game changer in the world of mirrorless photography and I am fine with nits 12 MP resolution as it does all I will ever need.

With the A7II Sony has done it again, and damn them! When a company releases a camera that is so good it motivates me to go out every day and shoot, then they have done something right. In 2014 it was a slow year IMO for stellar camera releases. Even the Fuji X100T failed to excite me (AF misses, X Trans Sensor, same old same old). The Panasonic LX100 failed to ignite the passion in me (massive lens flare issues, mushy details). It was not until the Sony A7s and now A7II that my passion was kickstarted in 2014. Passion, motivation and endless possibilities are what these cameras brought me. Sony is costing me more money…Ugh.

No one NEEDS a camera upgrade if you have one that works well already. I did not NEED an A7II as I have a few other cameras already. But when I saw what it could do, how it did it and the endless creative possibilities with it, I knew I WANTED it and the last few weeks have been so much fun discovering what this camera can do. To me, the price of the camera already was worth it for the joy it has brought and the many memories I created with it. Could I have done this with the A7s? Probably, but having the extra punch and 5 Axis in the A7II is what sold me. If and when the Pro A9 comes out looks like I will have THREE Sony cameras as long as it is not some crazy 50+ MP sensor.

The most impressive thing to me about the A7 series in general, especially the A7s and A7II is the fact that not only can we use so many cool lenses on these bodies to the lenses full potential, but now they are ALL stabilized with the internal 5 Axis IS. THIS is impressive and many blow it off as it is nothing, but to me and many others it is a HUGE deal. Many like to trash Sony because they just hate the name Sony. Many will never give this camera chance because they are stuck on Leica, Canon, Nikon, etc. That is the wrong way to look at it as the A7II is one hell of a camera. IN fact ,when I tested a Nikon D810 lately I found the Af to be OK (missed some shots), the body much too large and fat, and the weight an issue. The A7II performed just as well for me in every situation and did so while remaining light, small and with that 5 Axis IS. Again, a pretty big deal. The ability to throw on a tiny Leica 50 Summicron or Summilux, something that you can not do on a DSLR is quite amazing as well.

Yes you can do this on a Fuji but the results are MUCH different when dealing with APS-C as you will not use the entire lens so the lens character goes out the window. Overall, the A7II is a fantastic update and well worth the $1698 price tag. Doesn’t get any better for this price, period.

2014 may have been a slow camera year but Sony came in and snuck this one in last minute. For me, nothing else released in 2014 betters it. To me, this is what I would have called the “ULTIMATE DIGITAL CAMERA” just 6 years ago. Today, I still feel it is just that and I can only imagine what Sony has up their sleeves.

I highly recommend the A7II. I had no issues with it besides the sucky battery life. Everything else is beautiful from the buttons, dials and ergonomics (for me), 5 Axis and IQ. 

No matter if you want to shoot the native AF lenses, Leica M mount lenses, funky mount lenses or anything in between the A7II is going to bring you beautiful image quality, fantastic low light ability, super nice video and pretty fast and responsive (but not the best) AF. Bravo yet again to Sony. I can not wait to see what lies ahead for 2015 as I expect the A7r replacement and near the end of 2015 an S replacement.

I will go ahead and say it…I have been reviewing cameras for 7 years. This Sony A7II is the most versatile, fantastic, useful and all around best priced for what you get camera I have ever reviewed. Bam! I also feel that the review image samples here are among the best quality I have put in ANY of my reviews in those 7 years. 

You can buy the Sony A7II at Amazon HERE or B&H Photo HERE. My two #1 recommended Sony dealers. 

A few more images below, 1st three should be from the Zeiss 16-35 with the 2nd one at ISO 12,800 outside at night…

ZERO NOISE REFUCTION

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  510 Responses to “The Sony A7II Real World Camera Review. My Camera of the Year 2014.”

  1. Steve,
    Love the website, finally joined. Moving from a D800 I recently went to a camera shop to check this A7II out. Is there a reason or have any others enjoyed the aperture and shutter button placement of the original better? For some reason I feel I am stretching my finger down to change aperture. Other than that the camera seems sweet. I would really like to go for the A7RII but may spend the extra cash on glass. Not sure I need the pixels. On that topic, wasn’t Zeiss supposed to announce new Loxia sizes last week? Any, thanks and keep up the great work.
    Brandon

  2. Hey Steve
    I am a new comer to the camera world and I am doing research into buying my first mirrorless camera and I have no idea where to start. I bought the Olympus em5 ii but ended up returning it because I am very interested in a full frame camera. I honestly cannot make up my mind and require your help haha. Do you think the Sony A7II would be a good camera to start with, or is a micro four thirds camera good enough. I am using it for general use, I enjoy astrophotography (which full frame would be amazing for), and again mostly for general use. I know the A7II is twice as expensive here in Canada between the Olympus em5 ii or em1 but there is just something about full frame that keeps drawing me closer and closer. I just took the em5 ii for a camping trip before I returned it and I enjoyed it a lot. I tried astrophotography which was fine, but kinda noisy. There is a pretty big size difference, but I wore the em5 ii around my waist with the strap 90% of the time anyway.
    Please I need some advice!

  3. Hello Steve Huff
    Thanks for your very detailed review of the a7ii. I missed your comments on the anti aliasing filter, as it is still within the camera. I would have preferred no aa filter. Today I use pentax K30 and Ricoh GR – the latter does not have an aa filter and it outshines the K30. (You wrote in your review of the a7 and a7r that Sony should have made one camera instead of 2, and it should have no aa-filter!, but Sony did not listen).
    I am now considering to buy either an a7ii or an a7r(which is now cheaper in Denmark, where I live). I don’t like the large files of the a7r, and I like a7ii’s new funtionalities (e.g. shake reduction), so it should be easy to chose the a7ii – but that aa filter makes it hard to decide.
    I would love to have you comment on this issue.

  4. Thanks for a very good review and blog; they helped me decide to buy the a7II. However, the camera is now telling me that I need to create a database file on the new memory card (SDXC UHS-1, class 10). I’ve never seen this, including with my NEX-5N. Should I do it? (I know not to “format” a card.) In addition, have you had any problem with changing the battery midstream with a card and losing any photos? Many thanks for accepting beginner questions. I’m going to be buying a few things at Amazon through your links. Thanks again.

  5. I am an amateur photographer. My current camera is a Canon 70D, and my favorite lens is a Canon 15-85. As I approach retirement, I am looking for a lighter alternative, and your glowing review makes me want to order the A7II it today. If I do, could you recommend a good “walking around” lens that I could leave on my camera and use for a variety of shots?

    On the other hand, I have never owned a full-frame camera, and it might be more camera than I need. You have written incredible reviews about the Olympus OM-D E-M5, Mark II. Your review of this camera makes me want to purchase this camera instead, with the 12-40 professional lens.

    The two alternatives are similarly priced. Perhaps the cameras should not even be considered as alternatives to each other, but I am very conflicted. Do you have any words of advice for me?

    • I own both ;) A Full A7s and A7Ii system with many lenses. I own an E-M5II as well, and love both. The Olympus will be smaller and quicker. The A7Ii will give you richer files with deeper color and more DOF options. The Olympus has far superior in body IS. The Olympus has so many amazing lenses to choose from, most are SMALL. The Sony has tons of lenses now as well, most are large.

      If you want smaller, the A7Ii and 35 2.8 or 55 1.8 is fantastic. The Olympus with ANY of the primes is as good as it gets for Micro 4/3. The 12-40 Zoom is good as well but still not at the level of the primes (12 f/2, 25 1.8, 45 1.8. 75 1.8, etc)

      I use my Sony more for stills. My E-M5II comes out for fisheye use, video use (the new 5 Axis is stunning and eliminates the need for big stabilization rigs) or certain lenses I like using with it.

      Both are fantastic and will give you quality that meets or exceeds your Canon.

      • Thanks so much for your thorough reviews and for your guidance. As an amateur looking for smaller and lighter, I just ordered the Olympus M5II, with the 12-40 zoom lens.

  6. Hi steve
    I’m kind of struggling at the moment on which camera to get, I have only just started to love photography and I’m looking for my first full frame camera, I like the Rx1r for its compact size and lens combo also has a small flash built in for times when a little fill flash is needed, and what I have read will take high IQ photos as good as any full frame camera, or do I go with the A7ii and a 35mm or 50mm ziess lens, I probably would only ever be able to afford maybe one or two lenses and for me that would be prime lenses, The photos that you have taken of your family with the A7ii in this review are stunning, did you use a flash for the portraits or reflector??? Hope you can help with my decision.
    Many thanks
    Adrian

    • I have not used a flash or strobe in nearly 20 years, all natural light for me. The RX1R is fantastic, tiny, one lens, amazing IQ. The A7II and the Zeiss 35 and 50 Loxia is also special. Knowing what I know today, Id go with the A7II and Zeiss 35 Loxia before I would buy an RX1.

      • Thanks for your reply, I think I’m going to order the A7ii with a 35mm and not a flash, thanks again.

        Many thanks
        Adrian

        • Hello Steve & RG:

          So, my question comes up again as I investigate the A7II and the soon-to-be-released A7RII. A number of assignments require the use of an on-camera TTL flash unit. I use on a consistent basis, off-camera manual strobes and on-camera Canon flash units, both of which work consistently without fail. Given some of the negative comments I’ve heard about Sony TTL flash units, what would I use if I were to get into this system??

      • Steve, which Zeiss 35mm are you talking about? the 2.8 or the big one.

  7. Hello Steve,

    Thanks a lot for this great article. Here is a question you haven’t answered yet: when budget is limited (30 year’s old with baby on the way), I usually go for medium body but great lens with the exception of legacy lens where q/p are not comparable.
    Here is it wise to go for exepensive body (A7II) and affordable legacy lens (takumar, canon RF, old zeiss etc…) + kit lens for fast pace?
    Or should I go with a6000 + good AF sony zeiss lens.
    I know you re going to say it’s all about how confortable you are with manual lens, . Well I am quite confortable. My best shots were done with them BUT they are times where you need AF: fast street, animals, sports etc…Since I m an allround photographer, from protrait to surf to street to travel…but I can manage myself with a manual lens and manual settings
    What would a younger broker self would have done?

  8. Hi Steve, thanks for your work, I really appreciate. I’m an A7II owner, I’m happy…BUT…I have a problem!!

    I’m searching in the seven seas for a solution…when I open my raw in Lightroom (last version), well, the file is loaded in two times (perhaps due to my computer processing speed). At first the image appears far better than when is finally loaded. Better color, sharpness, everything. When the image is finally loaded turns…like a walking dead! When I load my Canon 5D Mk III raw, something similar happens but the differences are so tiny here that it’s not a problem at all…I use my A7 II with Sony Zeiss 35 1,4, Loxia 50, Jupiter 85, Zeiss 100 Makro Planar and well…regardless of the lenses that I use I have the same problem..I compared how Lightroom and Picture 1 display raw, and they look in the same way.

    If you have an answer for that…God bless you!!!
    Thanks;)

  9. Hi Steve,
    thanks for the great in depth review. I’m on the fence as to whether I should invest in the A7II or the A7s. I know the A7s has the advantage of the amazing ISO performance, but between the two bodies which is better at Continuous AF tracking? Thanks in advance.

    • Well, the A7s is a tad faster with AF, will focus even in the dark. I prefer the files from the A7II as well as the body and features but the A7s is fantastic, I own both. If you will shoot in near darkness the A7s wins. If you want the best features and built body, the A7Ii wins. Cant go wrong with either really.

  10. I come back to look at these photos often! They are some of your ‘best’! Simply wonderful! Just wanted to say…

  11. Steve, between the A7II and A7S for weddings, parties and situations where you rely on AF, which one would you choose? (Currently I have the A7 and sometimes is hit and miss).

    Thanks

  12. Hi Steve,

    Thanks for the amazing review. I am going to order an A7II soon. I am looking at getting a 35mm and a 50mm for this camera. I was thinking of getting the Voigtlander 35 1.4 and Voigtlander 50 1.5 Aspherical (in chrome). Would you suggest the the loxia 50 over the voiglander? They are about the same price. Also, in terms of the 35, is there another lens you suggest?

    Thanks for your help. I cant wait to get my hands on the A7II and use all my old MD, FD, and Nikon F manual lenses as well.

  13. Looking at the new Sony FE 28/2, a nice moderate wide-angle lens, I’m thinking that that one prime with the Sony a7 II, along with a 55/2.8 and 90/2.5, provides a nice set of focal lengths for exceptional quality and a weather-resistant option in the FE 28/2. I could get something like the Nikon 1 system with their 70-300 and a BSI-sensor when one comes out with an EVF for a portable super-zoom. Having 2 cameras would be a nice convenience and I think the setup would still be far more travel-friendly and light than my current one.

  14. Good afternoon,

    Thank you for your excellent reviews of the Sony a7 II, Sony a6000, and Olympus OM-D E-M5 II. I currently have a Sony a77 setup with their 16-80, 70-400 g1, and Tamron 18-270, along with a heavy-duty Gitzo Giant (8.5 ft) tripod and A-S Z2, but am thinking of selling all of that and moving to a much lighter setup to cover that range in a travel-friendly way (and maybe a Nikon 1 with their new 70-300 to replace my 70-400).

    I currently have two wonderful “macro” prime lenses, the Micro-Nikkor 55/2.8 and the Tokina 90/2.5. I’d very much like to start using them across their full capabilities (to infinity) on a mirrorless system.

    90 & 55 on a7ii are near the “portrait” and “normal” ranges.
    90 & 55 on a6000 seem like they’re at odd effective focal lengths.
    90 & 55 on E5 II are near “portrait” and moderate telephoto.

    For those manual focus lenses only, the combination seems the most versatile and natural on the a7 II, but it is also decent on the E5 II, and the 90 starts to become good for small macro critters like bugs (although with the 2x tele for the 90 on all systems, it becomes better on all systems for small macro critters).

    While it seems clear that the a7 II is the best in terms of IQ and pairs nicely with a 55/2.8 as a “normal” angle lens, the a6000 has an 18-200 and the M5 II a 14-150 (splash-resistant) to go with them — very versatile for walk-arounds. The walk-around lens for the a7 II, the weather-resistant 24-240, is substantially more expensive and larger. The high-res mode of the M5 is a nice bonus for stationary subjects. There are a couple 70-300 m4/3 lenses that could “replace” my Sony 70-400, although my impression is the Nikon 1 70-300 is of significantly higher quality and is pretty good especially for being on the Nikon 1 sensors (but it’s also $1k).

    Thoughts?

  15. Hi Steve

    Agree with most of what you said regarding what the camera can do. I love my A7r and I would take the A7r over the Leica M.

    You omitted one small detail. The weight of the A7II. You must have strong arms and wrists (or I have weak ones). It is no lightweight and if you are looking for something small, I can’t say this is it. Especially once you add anything other than the Sony 35mm or the 28mm lens on it.

    With that weight, you need IS. The A7r and A7s are light and tiny by comparison.

    If I want something heavy, I will shoot medium format. If I want to be able to carry it around with me all the time, I want something light and fast.

    I have to applaud Olympus on that front. They have dragged the Micro four thirds system kicking and screaming into a system that challenges pro level DSLRs for image quality. Panasonic should get an honourable mention for their part in it as well. I think it is quite telling that you still have an EM 1 in addition to the Sony A7 system.

    When you look at the innovations in the digital system, Olympus started most of them. Sensor cleaning (e- 300), digital specific lenses (four thirds system), live view (e-330), screens that tilt (e-330), in camera picture effects (E-30), small interchangeable mirrorless cameras (Panasonic should get that one with the GH1) and now multi shot functions in a small camera. In body image stabilisation must go to Minolta. (Has Sony thought of changing the name of the A7 to the Minolta XD-7d?)

    Thanks for a great website.

  16. Hi Steve!

    The battery of my A7II goes low even when I don’t use it. Is it normal? Does anyone have the same problem? Thanks for your answers.

  17. Thanks Steve. I have already ordered the 35 f1.4. Cant wait to try it.

  18. Steve,

    Great review and very helpful. I am looking at my options for a second body that will act as both a second shooting option but also the redundancy for my 5Dmkiii should it fail on me during a shoot (e.g. a wedding!). I have read many many reviews but none really cover off the impact of using other lenses in relation to autofocus and more, the focus tracking. I am led to believe from the theorists that the tracking is essentially non-existent if I were to attach Canon lenses via the Metabones adaptor. For example the 50mm 1.2 L? Have you had a chance to look at this and do you have anything for us on that front?

    Cheers

    Iain

  19. Hello Steve, I have just ordered the A7II. I only want to buy 2 or maximum 3 lenses with this camera. I am thinking of getting a Voigtlander 15 v3 for the ultra wide option. A Zeiss 35 1.4 for the daily use and a MF 50mm Loxia perhaps for that MF small camera feel on certain days. I wish I could find a small fast 35 AF which could rival the new large 35 1.4. I sold off my entire canon gear last month just because I wanted the smaller leica feel. If I don’t get the lox 50 now, I will probably plan to get a summicron 50 later this year.

    Your advice is appreciated.

    • The 35 Summarit is an AMAZING tiny 35 but it is f/2.4. If you want 1.4, none are going to be small except the Voigtlander 35 1.4 but the quality is not up there with Zeiss or Leica. The Loxia is one of the best lenses for the A7II IMO.

  20. Dear Steve. You do mention it from time to time but not enough for my personal view. The Leica special way and the feeling of a true Leica.
    Leitz/Leica created the 35mm camera while Sony makes presently money on everything, cinema, music, appliances of all kind, they would sell weapons or drugs if that would be legal. I have no reason to hate anybody but see little reasons to love Sony and similar modern giants.

    OK. Sony made a camera with many advantages and few faults. Still, for a non pro photographer but just a lover of cameras, lenses and what few talented people made until now and still sometimes create presently, a Leica is like a Stradivarius. No doubt Sony or any other electronic giant can make a machine capable of reproducing all kind of sonorities one can imagine and even not imagine. They will still not match a Stradivarius for any musician with a true fine feeling for musical performance.

    For the same reason a present day “Voigtländer” is no more than a Cosina lens even if a certain company bought the name and rights. They invented never existing lens types they called “Super Wide Heliar” or “Apo Lanthar”, a true usurpation of famous and wonderful optical lenses of the past, the true remnants of which still marvel us many years after the real Voigtländer company disappeared.

    If shooting thousands and ten thousands of digital pictures (for work or for pleasure) is the goal, then OK with Sony et al. Their products certainly will do that job.

    If however creating few but highly worthy images which will still be admired in the future, even after the photographer whi made them is no longer alive, then a Leica with Leica lenses can perfectly do it, even an old one.
    A pure decision of the relative importance one gives to quantity versus quality.

    A Leica of 1930 can still be used (if needed even overhauled) after 85 years and create -in the right hands of a true photographer- works of art for future generations.
    If one of these fabulous Sony super-cameras you write about will still work in 5 years, once every warranty is long over, is a big question. Repairing any of them will in most cases be neither possible nor economical. In the meantime however Sony will have made their money and for them (and for many like them) only money (certainly not photographic art) talks.

    Anyway thank you very much for your effort and the interest your blog rises among so many people.
    You are one of the few people in this world who seem to be able -somehow- to make a living on things they like.
    I wish you a lot of success.

  21. Need some opinions on Sony flash units for this camera. Before I pull the trigger, I must get some thoughts on TTL flash units for the A7II. I’ve heard that the Sony flash units have overheating problems? One strong feature of the Canon system is their line of Speedlights. Insights?

  22. Thanks Steve…enjoy your article. I went to buy the camera and of course Amazon wont ship to Australia….damn lol

  23. Another cracker, thank you sO much, Steve!

  24. I’m sorry if this has been answered above but there were too many comments to read, I shoot exclusively at night, that’s when I feel creative (and besides work that is the only time I have left), so low light ISO performance is the single most important thing which makes the A7s perfect, but unfortunately I cannot afford one at the current prices.

    So my question is how good is the A7IIs IBIS ? Can it be enough to top the A7s (I mean can it shoot 6400 stabilized that the A7s would shoot at 25600, and is its ISO 6400 comparable to A7S’s 25600 ?)
    I hope I can be forgiven for this weird question,I can see 2 options either wait for A7s prices to fall or go out and shoot everything that I want to now with a A7II.

    I have been using the 7D for past 3 years so I hope you understand.

  25. Steve, Have been following your site for ages…after reading the review of the A7-II, I am convinced this is the one for me. I just sold all my canon gear over the last one week. Time to go Sony with some nice zeiss and M glass.

    cheers

  26. Hey Steve!

    Been following your website for ages, and you even convinced me to buy an X-T1 last year. Now you’re convincing me to buy a Sony, dammit. ;)

    I shoot the X-T1 along with the 23mm, 35mm, 56mm at weddings – I use it for the entire day except for parts of the ceremony and reception, then I bring out my D800 for it’s superior low-light performance focusing speed when tracking.

    After reading a few reviews of the A7II and then thinking “I should see what Steve thinks” and reading yours, I find myself really considering switching systems from the Fuji over to the Sony. I love the Fuji – the WB choices especially are fantastic, I love the EVF, and image quality is sometimes spectacular and generally quite good – but it’s focusing tracking is poor, low-light performance is meh sometimes, and for some reason the RAW files seem to bog Lightroom down much more than my 3 times larger D800 RAW files.

    So, all that said – would you make the switch to Sony? I shoot about 35 weddings a year, so it’s an investment but on the other hand one that is ‘paid for’ since it’s not just a hobby for me – so it’s not so much about the money as it is about getting a better final product.

    Cheers in advance, love your site!

    Jon

  27. I have been 100% Canon, then 3 years ago I migrated to 80% Leica, 20% Canon. By mid-Summer I plan to be 50/50 Leica/Sony. Given everything I’ve heard about shooters migrating away from Canon to Sony (& other systems), one has to believe Canon has some mirrorless option in the works; abit maybe too late at least in the near-term?

  28. HI Steve. Greetings from across the pond.
    Having lived with the Sony A7r and Fuji XT-1 for a little over a year, they came along and accompanied my Canon equipment on my photo shoots.
    This sort of amounted to a long term test for me as all three cameras are great.
    The outcome in essence and after using Canon for 25+ years I now have both feet in the Sony camp, all other equipment has now been sold.
    Sony gave me something I had missed that ability to craft your shot with manual lens, all but my sony 55mm1.8 are manual, a nice mix of Leica, Carl Ziess and Voightlander.
    My final lens will be the Ziess Loxia 35mm that’s it I am happy.

  29. As much as I wanted to love this camera, it just didn’t work for me. No question the quality is there all around, images, camera build, ergonomics, a great camera all around. I think I would have been OK till I picked up a Nikon DF, and for me this style camera suits me so much better. Why you ask?

    The viewfinder to me is there as soon as I bring the camera to my eye, bright full view and just feels right for me. I know some love the EVF but after awhile the EVF lacks a real image quality to it, for what that’s worth.

    Speed, is the next item, I feel so confident with the DF, but then I should as I shoot with the D3s for some time now and the DF has the same quick response all around. I feel the difference in the handling, but this could just be me as I will typically shoot a couple thousand images in a week, at an event. or two.

    Battery life does make a difference, maybe not for some but for me at an event for sure.

    Having tried the Oly, Panny and the Sony here I am back to the Nikon, not such a small footprint but to me the experience makes the difference. The DF is one camera that one needs to try as I had passed on this for sometime thinking no way.

    Just a another user with another viewpoint.

    Cheers
    Stan

    • The DF is much larger, thicker and I much prefer a good EVF to any OVF. It’s all personal choice though. I get much better IQ and color from the A7Ii over the Df, which I do like. But as I always say, go with what works best for YOU. For some it is a phone, others a P&S, others a D4 others a Leica. The only way to get better is to have a tool that motivates you. ;)

      • I agree 100% whatever works. Just took me a a round about way to go, to find what works for me when I am not working. For a while it was the Fuji X100 but that always left me wondering what a much better camera it could have been.

        Love what you are doing here, and all of the comments.
        Cheers

  30. Thank you Steve, wonderful review and a huge help in my decision making process regarding upgrading my camera. There is so much amazing new gear out there! My Panasonic G1 has served me well enough, but I do miss the full-frame look. And when I drool over those absolutely gorgeous 0.95 Noctilux portraits I do wonder how my faithful Canon FD 85mm 1.2L will render shots when mounted to an A7mkII… I suspect they would have a very similar feel. I can’t wait to try it!
    Thanks again, my decision is made at last!
    Regards from New Zealand :-)

  31. Hello Steve; very comprehensive review! Plan to invest in the A7II very soon. Will be using Leica M glass to start and plan to move away from Canon. Some on-line bloggers have been lamenting the Sony raw file format. I’m not understanding why. Any comments?

    • Because those online bloggers are nothing but pixel peeper heads and not really photrographers. If they were real photographers and enjoyed shooting and the images and the memories they would speak only amazing things about the A7II. Pixel Peepers are for pixel peepers, they have nothing to do with photography. Though I admit, I can pixel peep all day with Sony A7II files and they are gorgeous. So no idea what these people speak of as the things they discuss are not even visible in real world photos.

      • Steve, I completely agree. Went to my camera store and shot a few test raw file images on the 7II in mixed lighting indoors at 1600 asa with both the Zeiss zoom & the 55, wide open. Imported into LR and the files were beautiful; low noise, good flesh tones. I had -0- issues with the 7II files and frankly, they required less tweaking than my M files.

  32. Hi Steve!
    Thank you for the wonderful review!
    I am before decision what to buy, EM1 + 12-40mm versus A7II + kit lens FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 (which is not so bad according to my opinion, of course is not Zeiss), but I am really limited by the budget. For me is it a decision for the future and choice of the system. I will really appreciate your opinion.
    Thanks for your answer and continue with your great work.

    Lubos

    • What did you end up buying? I have exactly the same doubt and I don’t know what to get!!!

      • Hi Andrea,

        I have not purchased anything yet. However, I am first going to play around with my old MD and FD lenses and then decide how import the exif data transmission is to me. If i feel I want that, then I think I will be going with the Loxia line of lenses. If not, then probably I’m going to pick up the voigtlander setup. When all is said and done, both setups cost about the same (including the purchase of the voigtlander close focus adapter) so its a wash in that case. Im leaning towards the Loxia right now, but only time will tell.

        Waiting also gives me the ability to rationalize the cost more because its not one big purchase all at once, it will be spread out over a few months.

        Hope that helps.

        Sam

      • I just realized i replied to the wrong post.

      • I got the 35mm 1.4 Zeiss. Although amazing lens and love the results and build quality, (and I thought the size would not bother me), I will be replacing it with the Loxia 35 due to size and weight…

  33. Steve, great review. New to the DSLR-Mirrorless scene. Have a canon point and shoot G1X digital camera. I purchased the A7II on my Son’s advice and love the camera. Purchased it with the kit lens FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6. I recently purchased the Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm F4 ZA OSS Wide Angle Zoom Lens. I am now trying to decide which other prime lens I should get, I am for sure investing in the Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 FE, well … almost sure.
    I use the camera to shoot while flying a helicopter or airplane.. the 5 axis stabilization helps. I like to shoot lots of night city skylines.. and landscapes. Since I don’t have unlimited funds.. was wondering if the Sony 28mm f/2.0 FE with the Fisheye converter would also be a good investment. I’ve used the FE 16-35mm zoom with mixed results.. I still need a fast lens for night shooting, the zoom lens is not fast enough, it is great for day time shots. I can compromise with the 35mm since I can get more distance (altitude) from the scenery and it is a fast lens. Will the shallow depth of field at max aperture be a problem when shooting night city skylines with the 35mm? I was also considering getting the FE 24-240mm F3.5-6.3 OSS Full-frame E-mount Telephoto Zoom Lens to round up my lens collection.
    By the way, my prior SLR’s were both Canon, (AE1-P and Ellan IIe) I did consider buying another Canon DSLR full frame, but my Son pointed out the benefits of using the 5 axis stabilization for the type of shooting that I do.. I am so glad that he pointed me in the right direction… very happy shooting with the A7II and look forward to finally using a sate of the art camera..

  34. Steve I think since he has the Contax lenses he may want to us them. I have been OK with the Kipon C/G-Nex adapters, small light and not to pricey.
    Best

    • Thanks Stan, you got the point, as I have this nice lenses, why not to use them and save some money or use it to buy focal lengths that I don’t own now. At least this is my idea. That’s the reason for all my questions about what body to buy and the lenses. Anyway, if my 28 it’s not usable in both bodies I’m free to choose one based in my priorities and would of course buy another 28, that could replace it with same quality. Maybe my ‘poor’ english was not so clear before :)
      Some tip to where to buy the Kipon? I tried to search here in Italy sites, the only one that I found costs 210 euros.
      Thanks again and regards

      • I agree the Contax lenses are a great fit for this camera and I have all 4. If I remember correctly I did get the adapters on Amazon. It could also be be eBay as well.

        They were very reasonable maybe $25 ea.
        Best

  35. Hi Steve,
    Thanks always for your reviews!
    I wrote some time ago about rangefinder wide angle lenses in A7 and A7S. Now there’s the A7II and you are very enthusiast about it!
    Well, I will go direct to the point to ask your opinion to help me to choose A7S or A7II (I’have read almost all posts):
    – My kind of photo are street and on my trips around the world (nature and architecture)
    – My preferred focal length is 28mm (the maximum wide angle that I use is 24)
    – I had a Lumix L1 with a great Leica/Panasonic lens and I have a Contax G2 with 3 lenses: 28, 45 and 90. I don’t have any other lenses. I know that you didn’t do tests with those lenses, but I saw that in other sites that the 28 could not be perfect with the A7S.
    – Now my L1 is broken and I would like to have something at the G2 level of quality, I mean, something with Zeiss or Leica glasses.
    – Video is important but not priority. I’m a photographer yet :)
    – The idea that I can photograph in the dark (A7S) seduces me, but the IBIS and the other great features in A7II also and maybe better for my kind of photo.
    – As you said in some post I’m one that have a concern to pay more for less pixels :)
    Two questions:
    – Based in those points, what model could you suggest me?
    – What fixed wide angle lenses (28 and 35, ZM or Leica, or any other with the same ‘bouquet’ ) could be nice if A7II and that you have already tested.

    Sorry if there’s already the same questions and I didn’t noticed…
    Thank you!
    Regards,
    Alexandre

    • Just thought I could add to this. I have had much success using my Contax lenses with adapter on the Mii. The 35 and 45 are outstanding and very easy to focus. I have adapted 12 lenses to this camera and enjoy the differences each provides. For me this camera the 7mii is about as universal of a camera one could ask for.

      I also like the Sony 35 2.8 when I want auto focus and it is so compact makes a great travel camera.

      Cheers
      Stan

    • An FE 28mm f2 is due out anytime soon. So you will not need to adapt.

      • Sure, my question was because I have already the Zeiss 28 and I will need one adapter to use the other G2 lenses that I have (45 and 90).
        If my Zeiss 28 works well I could invest in a 35mm, focal length that I don’t have.
        Is the FE 28 mm f2 at Zeiss or Leica level?

  36. Steve,
    Thanks for your great, useful reviews. I’ll look forward to you shooting with and writing about the new Zeiss 35mm 1.4, and will be interested in how it stacks up against classic Nikkor 35mm 1.4 glass. Same interest goes for the new Zeiss 90mm 2.8. Sony is certainly developing some of the interesting and exciting cameras available.

  37. Steve, Nikon Df battery is better because it does not shoot video

  38. Thanks for the great review. I been painfully debating between the A7ii and the EM-1 since December. I had previously owned the EM-5 and the Nikon 5300. I loved the Olympus color but I have ordered the A7ii, based off your review and Tony Northrup’s. I have not received my order yet but have been looking through reviews for camera setting tips. I have come across a few reviews that claim Sony has the worst jpegs. Do you agree?

    • Lol, NO! The JPEGS from the A7II are AMAZING! Almost every image in THIS review are JPEGS. The JPEGS from the A7II are some of the best I have seen from any camera. Anyone who says otherwise is either an extreme pixel peeper (which has nothing to do with photography…pixel peeping) or is mistaken.

      • I have received my new A7ii (with the 55 and the 24-70) and I completely agree with you Steve. The JPEGS are amazing! So happy with my new camera. Thanks for all your great reviews! This camera also has amazing AF. Do not know what some are complaining about.

  39. Steve, not only a wonderful review but wonderful comments on responses to your review. It seems to me that as much dedication and work you put into a major review, you put even more effort into responses!
    I hope you still monitor this review for questions. I was surprised that with all these responses from so many knowledgeable photographers that only one tiny reference was made to the lossy compression of the sensor. I’ve read some pretty scathing reviews regarding this compression and the resulting artifacts. Would you please give me and your readers your view of the subject. I would think this an important thing, but no one on your site, including you, even mentions it, except the reference noted above. I’d think you would mention this in the main review. Thanks, Steve.

    • I do real world, and I see nothing at all LOSSY about the images the A7II puts out. I have HUGE prints on my wall from this camera and they are gorgeous. GORGEOUS. Color, tonality, richness, depth..THIS is the #1 camera for me when I want ultimate IQ. That’s a fact. Most who moan about things like “lossy” compression are those more interested in pixel peeping, which has NOTHING to do with real photography. At all. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

      With the Loxia lenses it is unreal at times. Check the site this week for new images with the A7II. Thank you.

      • Ok, good ’nuff. thanks!. I was also surprised to hear that the RX1 has the same raw compression, as being a former owner of the RX1, I know that I got fabulous images from it. It pained to trade it, but I really wanted IS, so traded it in for the A7M2. Thank you so much for your effort! Your site brightens the morning, I’m sure, of many pool slobs such as myself who are in the daily grind. 3 more years, and I’m out of it! Later this year, I take the A7M2 to China.

  40. Thanks Steve! You pointed out! Yes, the a7II is very good indeed. I compared it with other MILC and now a day no other MILC can beat this beast.
    I do hope Sony will “update” the a7r with IBIS and better BIONZ!
    On my opinion with raw-file a7II could be little better by ISO 6400! I do hope the a7rII/a9? will have better rawfile by higher ISO! ISO6400 should be as good as ISO1600! Over ISO6400 is not needed, or maybe for JPEG?!

  41. Hi Steve as everyone else has said thanks for the review. I just wanted to support your views on the Fuji xt-1 . I got one and lovely camera it was I was utterly gutted at the landscape shots I took and the mush of detail in foliage even when processing in raw in Lightroom and using some highly recommended processing settings. It’s like permanent NR at a really high level.

    On the basis of this review I’m going to get an A7 mk2 and the kit 28 -70 and see how that goes then look at using some canon glass until I can get some nice small manual focus primes.

    I’ll donate but now it’s bedtime in N.Z so thanks again keep up the good work.

    Cheers mike

  42. I plan to rent/test the A7II soon, with the 24-70 & a flash. One component of my shooting is the requirement that I use an on-camera flash, and radio trigger an off camera flash. With my canon gear, I use the camera body pc socket to trigger the radio transmitter, or I can use my canon shoe-mount on-camera EX flash which also has a PC socket to trigger the radio. None of the Sony A series bodies have a PC socket. Do you know if any Sony flash has a PC socket. IF not, do you know of a 3rd party flash compatible with the Sony that has a PC socket that would allow me to trigger a radio transmitter?

    • Chris,
      I have been using phottix strato ii radios and my Nikon flash SB700 in manual on the A7ii and works very well. These units have mini jacks that allow you to interface to anything.

      Good Luck

      • Hey, I wanted to mention. Using a completely manual LumoPro on camera, I was able to trigger an off-camera LumoPro using radios, either the Paul Buff radios or PocketWizard transeivers. I prefer the Buff, because the transmitter is so small, I can attach to the flash with a small piece of velcro.

  43. Hi Steve,

    I am looking for a bit of advice, I purchased the A7 about a month ago for $1,100 they did not have the A7II at the time, and for the price I paid I though it was a no brainer. Now I find myself debating weather I should have gotten the A7II instead.

    This is my first real camera, and I do not own any other lenses except for the one I got with the A7 (Sony SEL2470Z FE 24-70mm f/4 Lens) which I love. but i feel 70mm did not cut it to take stills from the back of the auditorium, in my daughters concert. I am looking into getting the (Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G OSS) or something with more zoom for those type of scenarios as well as when we go hiking or outdoors.

    The A7II will set me back another $600 it is worth it? would I benefit from having image stabilization on both the camera and the lens. or should I just save them towards the new lens.

    I thank you for your advice.

    Wilson

  44. HI Steve:

    Out of curiosity, is there any chance that some wide angle lens could perform better with voigtlander close focus adapter? Well it’s said that the distance cause the color shifting and other problem. However, considering that the adapter extend the distance between CMOS and the lens, the light angle should be smaller. Of course you cannot use the infinity, which make it less useful. DO you think it’s possible?

  45. Steve, I bought the Sony a7II on your recommendation and it has transformed my low light photography. I am a dedicated Leica person with an M-P and a set of good Leica lenses, but the Sony is a step above in low light even when I use my Noctilux on my M. Bravo and Thanks!

  46. Steve, the a7m2 is on my short list, but I’m primarily a landscape shooter. So the zeiss 24-70 f4 would be my workhorse lens. But the majority of pro reviews are less than favorable, so i hesitate to commit to the Sony system, although I prefer full frame. Do you have any experience with this lens, and if so, what do think about it?

  47. Hi Steve Thanks for your work! I get a A7 mk2 and near to buy a 50mm lens. Everybody says 55 f1.8 is great but I really don’t know which choose between 55mm 1.8 and the Loxia 50mm f2. I really like manual focus shooting and lenses with “personality”;) have you planned a review of the Loxia? Could you give me a suggestion?

    • If you want Manual Focus…

      Loxia 50
      Leica 50 Summicron f/2 (superb on the A7II)
      Leica 50 Summilux
      Leica 50 Noctilux
      Zeiss 50 PLanar ZM f/2
      Zeiss 50 1.5 Sonnar ZM (most character)

      • Thank you! So, between Loxia and Summicron you suggest Summicron?

      • Steve – are you still a fan of the Voigtlander Nokton 50 MM 1.5 ASPH? thought you used to have it mentioned on your ‘my gear’ page and haven’t seen you mention it lately – like above? was thinking of getting that lens and curious if you still rated it?

        Thanks!

        • It’s a superb lens, just under the Leica 50 Lux, but very close.

          • Steve. I have the 35mm summicron for my M240. I am considering adding a 50mm for my M240. Can’t afford anything more than the 50mm summicron. For $1000 less the 50 1.5 nokton seems like a good choice. Do you agree?

          • The Voigt will give you a more LUX like rendering, nothing like the cron. So all depends on what type of look you want.

          • Thanks. Final question. I also have the A7ii and love it thanks to you. For adapted use on A7ii any edge to either Nokton or Summicron? I’m leaning towards Summicron to use on either. But, quite a price difference and slightly better low light to the Nokton. I’m very undecided and hate to order with intent to return. Ugh.

  48. hellow.. Which a7 series cam I use for wildlife photography with best iso performance and AF performance
    With using adapter
    nd what about third party lenses like sigma 150-500mm, or sigma 150-600mm sports For birding with using adapter and how was the result?
    Have you tried for wildlife or bird photography with a7 series cam.

  49. Last friday, my friend showed me a test video he just did with this camera plus a Leica tri-elmar 28/35/50mm lens. You can view the video at https://vimeo.com/119453443. He is very excited about this camera, especially because of its suitability with legacy lenses.

    • Very nice!

      Has anyone seen a comparative of the low light performance with/against the a7s and the a6000? Just curious – much to love about all 3…but I am going to need to keep a kidney for future too
      All good choices – but I need some advice ( or a kick in the pants) to decide on which one.

  50. Steve,
    I ordered the Amadeo adapter for all Nikon S/Contax C lenses intending to purchase the A7II. Stephen has now advised me that that Sony has changed the mount on the A7II, and the adapter does not work with it, but does work with all other NEX series cameras (A7, A7R, A7S) It looked to me in this review that you used said adapter and recommended it… can you verify with Stephen Gandy the source of this information?

    • Stephen Gandy is the guy selling them so he should know. It works on my A7s and A7II (both have the new sturdier/beefier mount) but it is TIGHT on them. VERY tight. Still, it works.

  51. More questions…
    -I plan to use an A-series body for video up to 30% of the time, and I plan (for now) to use all Leica M lenses even down to 21mm; I’d choose the S over the II?
    -If I purchase the 12mp S, has anyone ever tried to res-up a file to 24mp? Used to do that back when DSLR’s were only 6mp max, and I got OK results. I’m hoping the better DR & using the sharp Leica lenses would help in this regard.
    Any thoughts would be appreciated and thanks for a great post!

  52. Hei Steve.
    First of all, thank you for great work with the review.
    I would like to ask you one question. In the end part of the review, you compare A7II to A7R and you write A7R is worse in low light. Can you elaborate? Why i am asking is because i am still sitting on the fence between those 2 and low light capabilities is important for me (not as much to pay for A7s). So i have checked the dxomark and dpreview compare tool and both sources say/show that A7r is actually better in high ISO. I have no clue why since i would assume that less hence bigger pixels on the same size sensor in A7II would collect more light and improve signal to noise ratio. But as i said both dxomark and dpreview states oposite.
    Did you ever compare pictures from A7r and A7II side by side for noise levels or it was just your general impression? Or was it IS that is making A7II just use lower ISO settings for the same effect that make it better in low light in your opinion?
    I would appreciate it a lot if you could help me out here.
    Kind regards.
    Chris

  53. Hi Steve,

    Great review and images here. One quick question:

    I have the Sony A7 with the FE 70-200 F4 and the Sony A77II with the 16-50 F2.8. How does it compare the AF Speed of the Sony A7II with the Sony A77II specially after the A77II got the firmware upgrade?

    The A77II was already fast but with the upgrade is blazing fast locking focus. I hope you can enlighten us on that.

    Thanks

  54. Hello Steve!

    I took your advice and ordered an A7II for me. And also a couple of vintage lenses, which are the SMC Takumar 28mm f/3.5, the Olympus OM F.Zuiko 50mm f/1.8 and a MC Rokkor-PF 55mm f/1.7.
    With that, I have decided to get the kit lens (28-70), only to have a zoom for some certain situations. But I was wondering if I could go even further. So, after a research, I was tempted for the Nikon AF NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4D IF Lens. I could find it used for about $700. My question now is: is the $300 of the FE Zeiss 55 f/1.8 worth, since I have the Rokkor of the same focal length, or should I go and get the wonderful Nikkor 85? Reminding thar AF itself is not an issue, since I prefer manual focusing anyways.

    Thanks a lot!
    Victor

  55. Hi there Steve

    I would really appreciate your advice….

    I am looking to upgrade from my EM-1 to the A7ii and debating about what ’50mm’ to get. Originally I was very keen to get the Nokton 1.5 ASPH (wanted it for quite some time after reading your reviews, but could never afford a M240) with Voigtlander close focus adapter, but now considering if should go with the Zeiss 55mm 1.8.

    I seem recall that the 50 Nokton 1.5 ASPH used to be on your ‘my gear’ list, but it doesn’t seem to appear there any more, but see you do use the 55 1.8. Is there a particular reason for the change? Is the disappearance of one and appearance of the other related?

    I am not concerned about one being auto focus and the other one not (I shoot the 25mm 0.95 on my EM-1 and LOVE it). Here in the UK, the 50 1.5 + the close focus adapter is def more expensive (almost twice the price) than the 55 1.8. And given that, I am wondering if given how good the 55 1.8 seems to be if it is worth spending more on the Nokton?

    I would really appreciate your thoughts.

    Best

    Mik

    PS. Been following your site now for a few years and really love it! You inspired me to swap my FF DSLR for the EM-1…

    Thanks for all your great work.

  56. Can we use a7ii for wildlife with 3rd party lenses

    • Yes. I got some older NIKON lenses, like the old (great lens no IS) 70-200 2.8. That’s one of the reasons I am leaning towards Sony, I can use my old lenses. I can take a few samples and send over if anyone interested. :Let me know.

  57. Steve,

    Great site, great reviews. Thanks for all the hard work. Big fan…

    Question about lenses. I just got the A7ii with the Sony 55 1.8 (which I love) and the 16-35 (I haven’t had a chance to use too much).

    Now I am want to add a smaller, full time lens. I was thinking about the 35mm. Looked at reviews and watched your comparison to the Voigtlander…I have no experience with the Voigtlanders. I also shoot Nikon (D800) and Oly OMD-EM1.

    What lens (+Adapter if needed) do you recommend as the next purchase? If I get a Voigtlander, can I use that with Sony as well as the other bodies with adapters. I am looking for something around 35 mm, some for family portraits, kids, pets and street photography. I want to stay under $1K with the adapter.

    Thanks for advice in advance…
    Murat

    • Murat, do you plan on keeping your em-1, and how do you compare it to your a72? I was thinking about buying the a72 for short f/l’s say 16-70, and the em-1 for anything longer due to size and weight considerations. You are in a great position to judge the wisdom of that strategy. What do you think?

      • I love the EM-1. Have most of their lenses, primes and the PRO wide zoom. I tried the new zoom lens. Shot an indoor event. It was good. Lighting was very bad so I do not think it was a fair time to assess the performance. Besides that I love the system, I do not know however, If I can efford to keep adding lenses to the Sony and keep the OLYs. Let me know if you would be interested in the OLy setup I have…;)

  58. Hey Steve,

    I’d need a little help. I’ve just received my A7ii (after having read your review i ordered), still cannot use the camera, as my adapters haven’t arrived yet. However, there is a small, but clearly noticable clucking sound from the inside of the camera? Is it normal? I’m worried a little bit, as i didn’t have similar with my other cameras.

  59. Hi Steve,
    Great review so thanks for that!
    1 Question, since the prices of the A7II and A7S are starting to become similar (and may go down a bit more after 12 Feb during the camera tech show), what would you buy if you could only have 1 camera out the of the 2? (assuming a similar price range)
    I can only afford one but love them both :)
    Thanks in advance!

      • Steve, you don’t feel as though your losing some low light performance though. You know putting up the shutter speed to try to freeze some action it’s way easier on the the A7s. I work so much that most of my shots are at night in low light like bar, clubs, parties, etc, etc..

        • The A7Ii is also fantastic in low light, the A7s is great in the dark. I can use either in 99% of situations. For the other 1% I own the A7s.

          • Thanks!
            I was also interested in the low light performance so that sounds perfect for me. Hopefully I can get a good price on a A7II with kit lens then eventually work up to the FE 55 Carl Zeiss when I get a bit more cash :)
            I can imagine having the Carl Zeiss stablised would be a bonus too.

  60. I’m considering the A7ii to replace E-M1 for low light jazz club shooting. I often can’t get the shutter speed I need at usable ISOs, even using the 1.2 Nocticron. I love the FOV, sharpness (and size) of the Olympus 75mm – what would you recommend as a comparable lens for use on the A7ii?

    • Yes, Olympus has to up their hi iso game somehow. Since Fuji XT1 took a page from Olympus micro four thirds maybe Olympus should just completely snatch the original Fuji X100 bayer sensor and use a portion of that. Being that Fuji has abandoned it, which I feel is just plain crazy to me.

  61. Anyway…Sony gives a really good file! May I have a suggestion about a 50mm? Voigtlander Nokton f1,5 or Sony Zeiss 55mm f1,8 for A7 Mk II? (I usually use manual focus )Thanks again;)

  62. I think there is some confusion about batteries here. According to battery outlet the Nikon Df takes a battery with 10Ah, while the Sony A7 takes one with 2Ah. So, if the Nikon takes 1,000 pictures with it, while the Sony takes 300, the Nikon is more power hungry (Apparently simple physics be damned). 10mAh per shot versus 7mAh.

    The real question is do you really want a small light camera to have a huge heavy battery, or several small light batteries (with the total being the same). Personally, I would rather the weight be in my bag rather than around my neck. Of course, I remember changing film every *36* shots, so I may be biased.

  63. Well, yes I’m shooting raw and today I experienced again this yellow cast shooting outside in daylight, with a Zeiss Distagon 35mm f1,4 Canon mount and a Metabones adapter. Same shots with both Canon 5D mark III and the same lens. Sony raw are noticeably with a more yellow cast…:(

  64. Hi Steve! Just received my A7 Mk II;) I’m comparing raw files between A7 Mk II and my Canon 5d Mk III (same 35mm and 100mm Zeiss lens with Canon adapter) and Leica M240 with a Zeiss 50mm and Leica adapter.

    I’m noticing a strong tendency regarding the Sony (much more than Canon and Leica) to tilt to yellow orange, did you notice that? Pics are really YELLOW! Even choosing Neutral style. I’m really interested in your opinion, I’m not “familiar” with Sony and maybe this is normal…

    Thank you and compliments again for your work!

    • I have no yellow issues. Are you shooting RAW? Are you shooting in odd light? I have had no issues unless shooting in oddball lighting, then it is a 1 second fix in the raw conversion. My Leica M was always shooting with a cast and was unpredictable but again, easily fixed in RAW conversion. If you are shooting JPEG neutral you should get somewhat muted color and a signature that leans in the middle between warm and cool. You will get a yellow cast in certain mixed lighting but 99% of cameras are the same. (Fuji, Leica, Olympus, Nikon etc)

      • So true, I have a special hue/saturation adjustment layer in photoshop just for orange that I take a down on images I work on and that is usually for most cameras more or less.

  65. I used to have an x100 & x100s and have been thinking about getting an XT-1 because I miss the film simulations. Does the Sony have something similar? If yes what are they called…I’ve searched for “film simulation” and I couldn’t find it.

  66. Hi Steve,

    great review, i totally agree, the MII is prob the best cam at this time. was so happy getting this one after MI.
    I am just wondering you testing various lenses but not a word about the a Mount lenses from sony which are IMHO the best available lenses by using LA4 adapter ?

    i am using the Zeiss 85 and is the best i ever had in comb A7II

    reg.Niko

    • Niko,
      Have you used the Sony 135mm f/1.8 Carl Zeiss T* Telephoto Prime Lens with the LAEA4 adapter (or anyone else for that matter)? Was thinking of picking up that particular lens for portraits with either the 7ii or the 7rii if it gets announced within a couple of weeks. 85mm just isn’t enough reach for me regarding tight head shots but the 135 would probably suffice well. Thanks.

      • Hi
        Yes I trie the 135 and for my needs to long but a fantastic lens too.
        All a lenses working extremely fast at af using the LA4

        I am really happy about the 5 axis stab in the a2 so all lenses are usable without any doubts

  67. Hi Steve,
    Just a question, you say you didn’t use A-mount lenses on the A7II.
    But otherwise your pictures tell us you use the 16-35mm F2.8 which is A-mount as far as I know (the FE version is F4). Which one did you use ?

    • NO A mount for me. Adapter is a monstrocity and most lenses are huge. I used the 16-35 f/4 and still have it here. My review will be up tomorrow (that is the plan). I do not use A mount lenses on the Sony A7 series.

      • Steve, have you found a good macro lens for the a7m2. I know sony has one planned for 2015, but it’s a 90. I was looking for something a bit longer for the bugs.

  68. Steve, if the A7s and A7 mark ii were the same price, which would you go for?

    • Eek! Tough one. Just think about it like this:

      If you will shoot in REALLY low light or near darkness and want the best there is in that situation, go A7s (it also AF’s in near darkness)

      If you want more detail, larger files, in body IS, beefier build and larger grip – go A7II. Truth be told, the A7II is probably my fave but I love both. With the A7II being cheaper, well…you get my drift.

      Id go A7II

      • My question that equation of A7ii – A7s would be…”How many times will I have to depend on shooting in near total darkness”? I would bet very, very few – for the vast majority of us.

        • Well, not shooting near darkness but 3200 abouts there. From I am seeing the A7s image doesn’t break up as quick as the A7 mark ii from the examples I have seen. It seems that Olympus tweaked the color on the Sony too. This is from comparing the Em5 Em1 and A7 mark ii images on the Dpreview comparison chart this is just conjecture on my part.

  69. Hello. Thanks for a usefull rewiew. I ended up buying the camera after this and locking forward to trying it out. Waiting for money to buy more lenses.At the moment i must use the one i have, so i wonder what adapter you would recommend for Canon EF-S lenses?

    Kristin

    • I am not a Canon lens guy so maybe someone can chime in with a recommendation. Usually I search Amazon for adapters as they seem to have them all. Any will do I am sure.

    • I tried the Commlite, although everything else work fine but i noticed that when i use 135 F2, set IBIS focal length manually to 135mm it is much more stabilized than set it to auto. Seems like the communication about focal length for IBIS system is not perfect here. I think you should try Cameraplus on amazon which is basically a rebrand of Viltrox adapter.

    • Kristin, your EF-S lenses will NOT work with the Sony A7 series. Even if you get an mount adapter, the EF-S lenses are designed for crop sensor cameras, so you will see really bad vignetting at the corners when shooting with the A7. I switched to the Canon 6D a couple years ago and traded in my EF-S lenses and crop bodies (50D and T1i) to get the 6D. I kept all my EF lenses.

      Regular EF (without the -s) lenses will work fine with the A7s because they are design for full frame sensors, so you can keep on using those until you save up for native Sony lenses.

  70. Dear Steve :)
    Thankssss for your great review !!!!!!!

    A question:
    Does vintage lenses (Pentax, Canon, Nikon, etc) suffer border blus like on A7?
    Or was it solved?
    I have some premium Pentax lenses, like A*85mm f1.4, K28 f2.0 (summicron 28 f2) etc. So I’d like to know if the wuold be great on A7II or not.

    Thanks :)
    Alberto from Italy

    • I use vintage lenses all the time on my A7s and A7II without issues. The only lenses that gave issues on the A7 and A7r were wide angle M mount glass like the 12, 15, 18 and some 21’s. Some 28s were fine and the Voigtlander 21 1.8 is good as well. 28 and up are all OK in my book. I use vintage 35’s, 50’s and even a 90 on mine with superb “better than M” results.

  71. Steve, does the a7m2 have electronic first curtain shutter option, and if not is there a problem with shutter shock softening images at certain shutter speeds?

  72. I have read through most of these comments and think your level of tact and professionalism is amazing. You could give a course on how to disagree tactfully and still get your point across!!! Anyway, my question concerns two cameras. The Olympus OMD-EM1 with the Pana Leica 42.5 lens or the A7ii with the Zeiss 35 2.8 lens. Cost wise it is very close. I shoot family pictures mainly which range from portraits, landscapes on family trips and many many sporting events. (Can you sense I am an overworked hockey Dad this time of year!!!) Which camera system do you think is the best for that type of shooting? (I realize I will need a zoom for the sporting events eventually.) and eventually what Zoom would work best with either camera. Thanks. Always enjoy this site and your level of enthusiasm.

    • Remember – The E-M1 with Nocticron while a GORGEOUS combo and prob my fave combo for M 4/3 is an 85mm lens in effective use. The Sony with 35 will be 35mm, so it’s like a 35mm vs 85mm. Which focal length do you prefer? The E-M1 is AWESOME, even today. The Nocticron is doubly as awesome! But then again, so is the A7II!

  73. Hello, I appreciate your list of accessories, It made me want to attach those soft shutter button as well as metal buttons on my camera. However, in rluther.com there also the product called “the guard” which is basically the ring around movie record button shown in the picture. I like their look but i don’t know if it will fit the A7II or not, (or if it will cause any trouble). Do you have those thing too? Do you think it’s fine on A7II ?
    Thank you.

  74. Steve, great review. Are you using Adobe LR or ACR for RAW conversion, or some other RAW converter? And do your comments re image color depth, DR and pop relate to both RAW and JPEG? I shoot mainly RAW.

  75. Reading this article intrigued me to go to the store and test the Sony A7. (I have a few Leica R lenses that I would love to use digitally.) At the store, the sales-man disclosed a few things that you didn’t mention in this article, and I’m now wondering why. 1) I asked about using the Leica R glass. Sales-guy replied that there are converters out there but they aren’t consistent and finding one that perfectly fits my glass with take trial and error. 2) I asked about in-camera metering. Sales-guy replied not possible with any converter, and metering only works with Sony glass. Also, I’d need to use a handheld meter and then manually override the camera settings each time I photograph a scene or if the light changes. 3) The sales-guy later added that the quality of the glass doesn’t matter with this camera, because the camera has a database of algorithms to post-process images and if the lens isn’t recognizable (non-native) then it doesn’t get the post-processing. He said the old Leica lenses are for film and that they are curved to distort the image to correct for the curving of film. They work fine on a digital Leica because the camera is correcting this, but with the Sony it doesn’t.

    I’m curious to hear about your workflow using non-native glass on the A7. Are you metering and over-riding the camera settings with each exposure?

  76. Hello Steve and all the community… I just bought this camera and so far I love it… I have encountered something that I don’t love so much… When I take photo burst I find out that the camera takes a while to process and save the pictures so it actually takes a while before I can review the pictures. Have anyone encountered the same problem? Is it because of the memory that I am using? what is the recommended SD Memory speed for this camera? thanks a lot for your time!

  77. So… after reading this review and also all the posts.. I have decided. I bought the Sony a7II with 55 1.8 and I switch from my Nikon Df with heavy 24-70 (and a lot of the best nikkor lenses) to this jewel. No remorse for now. EVF is amazing, you can see exactly how will your photo before you shoot, manual focus amazing and, finally, a pleasure to use. Thank you Steve!!! Just one question about tripod: what do you suggest for this kind of mirrorless? light and transportable…

    • I am not a big Tripod guy, never needed them for much of anything and probably used one 2-3 times in the last 15 years for taking a photo. I just have a 12 year old Manfrotto setup as well as a couple mefoto tripods, which work well and are designed for mirrorless.

  78. Creative style now works when shooting RAW on the A7 II. Great for B&W photography. Something I was hoping for. I know it’s rather a moot point with the flexibility of LR, but it suits me just fine to b eable to see this in live view.

  79. Hello Mr. STEVE…… LOVE ALL YOUR REVIEWS…. Im a novice photography…..I currently use the a6000 for 8 months and loving it along with the 18 to 200 zoom. And I’m looking to upgrade the camera…. However I did noticed a flaw with Sony mirror less system and their hotshoe flash system….. DOES HVL F43M’S AF ILLUMINATOR WORK ON A7ii maybe because it’s a full frame unlike the a6000. The af illuminator will not work on the camera….. But will work on a door. . But the flash af flaw is a concern for me…. After doing some research on the issue…… The flash af illuminator seems not to work on the mirror less systems….. If you have the time. Do a test or two….. Or is Sony making a flash compatible for all mirror less systems

  80. Steve
    Just bought the A7II body and would like to sell the Leica M body. How do I do it without losing money like you? Any suggestion?

    • Depends on how much you paid for it. You can’t sell it for any more than the going rate so losing money depends on price paid. I’d suggest the buy and sell here or eBay or another photo forum.

  81. Hi Steve,

    Thanks as always for your great and thoughtful reviews. I’m hoping you can help me out…I currently have a RX1R with the EVF and while I’m getting incredible results from the little beast, I’m a glasses wearer and have had to resort to using the EVF without an eye cup just to be able to see most of the frame. I’ve never been able to wear contacts so that’s not an option. Knowing that I generally stick to one camera, one lens, do you think it would make sense for me to drop the RX1R for the A7ii with either the 35/2.8 or something else? The only other factor I’m considering is that while I long for the Leica rangefinder joy (which I’ve experienced many times), it’s simply out of my range so I’m wondering if using a manual focus lens on the A7ii could bring me at least some of that joy.

    Any thoughts are greatly appreciated!

    • The A7Ii will give you the same issues from what it sounds. If the issues is being an eyeglass wearer and having issues with the EVF, the A7II also has an EVF.

      • Thanks Steve, appreciate the response. I’m on vacation in Florida at the moment and have had a few great days with the RX1R despite the EVF challenges so I think I’ll stick with it for now. happy shooting!

  82. Hey Steve! Loved the review!

    I have an Olympus OM-D E-M5 and was wondering if the A7II would be a good upgrade for me. I am not a professional but a hobbyist who loves to do street photography, light portrait work, and some landscapes. Is it worth upgrading to the A7II or would I be better off investing my money on better lenses for the EM-5?

    • The A7II will be larger, sturdier, better grip, larger buttons/dials and provide a pretty large step up in DR, Details, more shallow DOF if wanted as well as video. It will not be any faster than the E-M5 when it comes to AF. If you want better performance over your E-M5 in low light, landscape details, ad creamy portraits, the A7II will be a big step up in those areas.

  83. Steve – I hope I am not asking you to repeat yourself, and I have read thru the posts…
    But what “level” of action camera would you say the Sony a7ii is? I will be traveling, and have room for ONE camera, and maybe 2 lenses. I want to be able to capture some landscapes – and have the ability to print poster size stuff when I return – but also want to be able to shoot moving objects when the moment is right. ( Geezzz. that sounded like the 36 hour pill commercial…sorry!)

    So, is the auto focus/tracking speed capability up to snuff for such? Or should I be looking at a different camera?

    • Depends on what type of moving subjects you are referring to. The A7II can track well, but not to the level of a Nikon D4 or Canon 1D style camera. It’s a bit better than an Olympus E-M1 in this area. Much better than any Fuji in this area. But overall, mirrorless cameras, so far, are not meant for blazing fast action tracking AF if you are trying to track super fast subjects.

      • Thanks Steve!
        Just read the a6000 review as well….looks like the autofocus and tracking of it are better – but there is much to love about the a7ii…..my head hurts….

  84. Hey Steve! Loved the review!

    I have an Olympus OM-D E-M5 and was wondering if the A7II would be a good upgrade for me. I am not a professional but a hobbyist who loves to do street photography, light portrait work, and some landscapes. Is it worth upgrading to the A7II or would I be better off investing my money on better lenses for the EM-5?

  85. Back again, so on the A7ii it is tab 5 and yes listed as High ISO NR. I was expecting to see JPEG NR or something along those lines. Thanks for the help.

  86. Hi Steve, I must have missed something on how to turn off NR on the JPEG settings. Other then menu 5 can you or someone else give some insight how to get to this setting. Love the camera and will be using in my event photography work.

    Thanks for the great site and insight from a real world view.
    Cheers

  87. Steve, thank you fro such a great review. Regarding portraits, do you have a lens recommendation for the A7II? I currently use a D810 w/ Nikon 200mm 2.0 for tight head-shots and love the quality. Also use the 85mm 1.4 and on my Hasselblad, a 120mm. Did you ever try the Sony – 135mm f/1.8 Carl Zeiss T* Telephoto Prime Lens with an adapter on any of the A7’s? Thanks again for all of your time and effort on this comprehensive review.

    • The 135 is a fantastic lens but a tad large with adapter for my tastes. For many, camera size doesn’t matter but Sony is coming out with an FE 85 and 135..hopefully sooner rather than later. I will wait for those. Until then I will use a Leica 90 or 50 Noct, which is amazing for portraits. Crazy expensive yes, but lifetime lenses.

  88. Hi Steve,

    First of all, thank you for the great reviews and advice. My favorite lens on the E-M1 is the 42.5 f/1.2 (thanks to your advice). My questions relate to my next buy – the A7s vs A7II. Given that you sold your Leica systems for the Sony systems says a lot. I consider focus accuracy paramount, therefore I am leaning towards the A7II. My questions are:

    1) What ISO do you see as the decision point at which you would use the A7s over the A7II?

    2) I will be taking photos at a family wedding later in the year. Which body (A7s vs A7II) would be better for this type of photos and what lens/lenses do you think are desired for shooting these types of photos? Ones that come to mind are the 55mm f/1.8 and the 35mm f/2.8.

    3) What Sony body / Leica M lens adapter to you use?

    Thank you again,
    Jerry

    • ISO – Up to 12,800 on the A7II but prefer to stop at 8,000 – A&s I will go to 80,000 ISO.

      Weddings? Well, the A7s would do wonderful in any light. The 55 and 35, for me, do better on the II though for color and detail. Cant go wring with either but if planning OVER 8,000 ISO go A7s. I only use the Voigtlander close focus M to E adapter – it is hands down the best adapter you can buy and adds close focus ability to your Sony using Leica glass.

  89. Do you have any clue to allow usage of a canon flash on top of the A7ii and keeping the TTL feature ? I would like to use my MP-E 65 and my ring flash with the A7ii :)

  90. How come no one makes a Summicron-R mount to Sony FE mount adapter?

  91. ^^^ puts “all the weight of the camera” in the lower palm and 3 fingers of the right hand.

  92. Steve, thank you for the switching off NR for JPEGS tip. I am surprised how high I can go actually and not be annoyed by the noise which looks like fine grain. If I do need to smooth at a higher ISO it’s very easy in PS to do so. I also have Topaz and NIK Define2 NR plugins that work well.

    BUT if I have ONE gripe with the A7II so far it is a MAJOR one. I wonder what the heck (wanted to say worse) their thinking was in regards to the ergonomics of the Video record/stop button. As opposed to how much better Panasonic handled it with GH3 and GH4. I do event video and in addition to my shoulder rig Panasonic 3 1/2 chip PMW 320 shoulder rig, I used first the GH3 and since replaced by the even better and more impressive GH4 …. for the smaller DSLR form factor / look in acquisition when called for.

    For me anyway, hitting the A7II record and stop button ensure a large hand motion glitch at the start and finish of every clip. I wind up saying screw it rather than “trying” to make it look smoother, because I have to shift position of the camera and more importantly its security in my right hand to hit the stupid button on the rearward, extreme right edge of the grip with my right thumb….. which normally, like with my GH4, sits comfortably up just to the right of the EVF. When I shift the thumb there it puts all the lower palm and 3 fingers of the right hand.

    Literally with where the video button is on the GH4 you can hold the camera and its grip securely in just your right hand and push the “video” button which is also up near the EVF. PLUS ….. ding ding ding….when you are actually in Video or filming mode, the shutter release becomes the record / stop button even better.

    With the A7II, incredulously they did not think to allow the shutter button in filming mode to be used that way, and if one “tried” to hold the camera in just one hand and push the ‘video” button on the back right edge, it is so awkward I’m literally pushing it out of whatever was left of the nice secure grip. This completely requires a big hand shift and motion glitch both sides of the clip and use of the left hand definitely to keep the camera in my right hand. F for the A7II’s grade on this compared to A+ for how Panasonic much better thought it through with ergonomics for shooting video with their cameras. The thumb sits up by the viewfinder normally.

  93. Thanks for this review ! I have the A7ii for 10 days now and I am more than happy! I have tried many mirrorless (OM-D EM-5, Fuji X-E2, X-T1, X100,…) and I never felt confident and happy with the body (I have 1Dx & 70D). With the A7ii I feel really confortable when I use it, the new form factor is really pleasant and the picture rendering with the 55mm is very near to the Summilux 50mm asph (I borrowed one from a friend)
    I love the 3D rendering of this lens : https://www.facebook.com/MarcBesancenotPhotography/photos/a.517500061633139.1073741826.517495264966952/781194015263741/?type=1&theater

    I am just disappointed by the shutter noise and the battery life.

    I am now considering getting a Summicron 35mm asph to have a versatile combo for everyday.
    Do you plan to test the Loxia 35mm soon ? I am wondering if the “3D rendering” will be as good as the Leica one.

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts (I tried on my blog but it’s so time consuming…)

    Have a nice day,
    Marc

  94. Hi Steve, I also just picked up the A7ii and agree the fit and finish is great. I was also looking at how to turn off the JPEG NR and not sure where in tab #5 as I did not see this as a listed option can you be more explicit.
    I use Aperture for raw processing and since this does not support the A7, I will most likely work JPEGs for now.

    I did have to order a grip as for my event work which I intend to use this on as well. I need more of a grip as on camera flash makes it a bit more unbalanced. I was glad to see I can use my Nikon flashed on the camera set to manual mode which is how I wok.

    Great site, lots of info and very worthwhile.

    Cheers

  95. Right, thanks Steve. As typical for me I found it right after posting. Had been looking for words, “noise reduction” to start the option, when it was, “High ISO NR”

  96. Hi Steve, hoping you can give me an opinion on lens choices for the A7ii. As per an earlier comment I am seriously considering the A7ii with a 50mm Summilux and can afford the camera immediately but saving for the Lux will take until summer. I’d like to get started before then and so was considering buying a second hand lens to get started with. Was thinking either Canon 50mm 1.4 USM or Nikon 50mm 1.4 G.
    I’ll be out in Hong Kong for business in a couple of weeks so was going to try to pick a second had copy up there.
    Would appreciate your opinion in these lenses on A7ii or other cost effective options you’d recommend.

    Many thanks
    Imanol

    • Id suggest the Sony/Zeiss 55 1.8 or if you want cheaper, grab a nice old RF lens. There are so many nice Canon 50 1.4 LTM lenses that are 1/4 the size of a DSLR lens but with better build. They work amazingly well with the Sony. I would not use DSLR lenses personally but if that is what you want it is easily done via the adapters. Id look at KEH for a Canon 50 1.4 or 1.8 LTM lens. The 1.8 is dirt cheap, tiny, metal and has a super rendering.

      • Thanks Steve, as I’m saving for the Summilux don’t really want to drop $1000 on the Sony lens. Many thanks for the KEH recommendation, just ordered a Canon 50mm 1.4 SSC BL FD in top condition for just over $100.
        Again, many thanks for the advice it’s very much appreciated.

        Imanol

        • No problem, enjoy it. Though I was speaking of the Canon rangefinder lenses like the one below.

          https://www.keh.com/216129/canon-50mm-f-1-8-black-chrome-lens-for-rangefinder-cameras-40

          FD lenses are SLR lenses if I am remembering correctly. Never tried one but I expect it will be soft wide open. You will need an FD to E mount adapter as well.

          • Cheers Steve, did a little web searching before ordering and the SSC version is supposed to be ok wide open. Not expecting miracles for $100 just something to get me going until I can spring for the Summilux. Appreciate the clarification re the rangefinder lenses, I can always get one if the FD doesn’t work out. Will let you know how I get on.
            Thanks again
            Imanol

        • I love my Canon 50mm 1.4 FD Breech Lock lens. I think you’ll love it. I also love my Canon 50mm 1.8 LTM (which I bought from Steve actually). I’ll never sell that lens.

  97. Hello there!

    Great stuff again! I have some questions though. This is going to be hard. I need a new body soon. I always leaned to the A7s but i’m doing a lot of landscape photography. Now i get that the A7s is great for street and astrophotography, but for normal landscapes it MAY just lack a bit of resolution for me. Now the A7II looks absolutely great. However im going to do more astrophotography so I was wondering if anyone had tried shooting some astrphotography with it? I’m interested to see how it holds up. Ill probably get the Samyang 14mm F2.8 . ISO will not exceed 6400. Still have some doubts between the A7S or the A7II but I think i’ll go with the A7II

    Thanks again Steve!

  98. Steve
    Thanks so much for the great review and time you spent putting it together.

    But I give up hunting through the menu options. How do/did you turn off JPEG noise reduction?? I would like to be like you :) :) and try that.

  99. Hi Steve
    You mentioned you sold your M system and just keep the A7II and A7S. How do you sold the M system without losing lots of $$?

  100. Dear Steve,

    As I said in my previous post, thank you for your fabulous work. The review of the A7ii is again spot on and so complete.

    As a result I now have the camera, next to the E-M1 (2013) and RX1 (2012).
    Both of these “past” winners will stay in my collection. Nothing beats the quality/size of the RX1; and nothing beats the form factor and joy of use of the E-M1.

    I have been shooting with the A7ii for some days now and have to say that the camera is a total joy to work with.The menus work well, the Fn button is as handy as the SCP of the E-M1. It shoots so much easier with Leica glass than the M does. The two step magnifier allows for the sharpest focus; and the closer focus range you can achieve with the Voigtlander adapter you recommended, works amazing.

    One issue I have is that when I shoot Leica glass, the camera does not record the focal length of the lens, nor the aperture in the metadata of the picture, only the ISO and shutter speed are recorded.

    Is that a setting I have somewhere missed, or simply the prize you pay for the flexibility of all these lenses?
    Is there any way around it?

    Thanks so much,

    Peter

  101. Hi Steve, thank you for your detailed an inspiring review. It made me change from Nikon D300 to sony A7 II.

    It’s an really amazing camera and on the first day I was really happy to shoot more than 370 photos with one battery charge. When turn OFF for 24 hours the battery charge was still the same.

    But I noticed a weird battery drain when I not used the A7 II for 7 days in a row. One day I turned OFF the camera with 56% of battery charge and I didn’t touched it for 7 days. After 7 days I turned it on again and it takes about 5s to turn completely to on. Than I noticed that the battery charge did drop to 27% !! I always run the A7 II in airplane mode to not use wifi.
    On the Nikon and one OMD E-M1 I was used to can turn off the camera for many weeks even month without a noticeable battery discharge.

    Is there any experience with the Sony Alpha series about this problem or maybe a solution?

    I was hoping this is a known bug and this will be fixed in a firmware update but I see there is no fix in the update to 1.10

  102. Thanks for the review, really good stuff!

    Just one thing which bugs me – you say they’re the best cameras for legacy glass/MF? I can’t agree with that, in fact I think they’re awful ergonomically in this regard.

    I am a fan of the Sony cameras, but can’t understand why the use of manual focus lenses is so clunky. Coming from Leica M, and to Fuji X, it would be so easy for Sony to make this perfect, and it would get me, for one, finally on board with them.

    The key thing to me about having great MF is the ability to see the composition while focusing. Leica, of course, do this, and so does every MF film camera ever made, because it’s essential! Fuji’s split screen ERF is awesome on the X-T1 and X-100T – you can see the entire composition as well as the focus patch.

    Sony, every time I’ve tried to use them, always have me nearly bashing the camera in frustration. You can’t achieve critical focus with just peaking (i.e. without some focus magnification) in my experience, and focus magnification aid is so badly implemented I always miss the shot I was hoping to get.

    Firstly, on native lenses in DMF mode, when AF fails to hit, you have an instant override. This is a great idea, but a massive fail in practice – you turn the lens ring to focus and it magnifies, if you have that set. OK, fine, EXCEPT you have to wait a minimum of 2 seconds for full view to return and recompose, by which time the subject has moved, got bored and left, or died. Why? Why not just come back to full view the instant you stop turning the focus ring, then it would be useful? Why is there no setting under 2-seconds, or just instant? If you tap the shutter release to come back to full view quicker, the AF overrides the MF setting you just made. Genius. Not.

    So, you go to MF mode. OK, now it partially works OK on native lenses, but 3rd party lenses still require multiple button presses to zoom in, focus and zoom out and re-compose. You can’t even just hit the same button again to zoom in/out, because you have to go through two further zooms to get back out again, so you have to hit the shutter release once to re-compose and again to take. Madness.

    On a Fuji, in contrast, you set it to split view, and either on the X-T1 or X-100T, you get both views at once. That is MILES better. Why can’t Sony do this? There should be no reason. It’s incredibly frustrating. I’ve given up on it for the moment until they implement better ergonomics around MF. It undoes all the potential usefulness for legacy glass, it’s clunky and it doesn’t have to be!

    • Ive used nothing better for manual focus glass such as Leica. Fuji is awful IMO, the X100T and XT1..awful. Not only due to the crop sensor but the fact that MF is just not a joy to use as it is with the A7II. All the A7II needs is a couple hours of using a manual lens and your custom buttons set to you pref. Using Leica lenses is a breeze and I am quicker using the Sony than using the Leica M. It’s ergonomically just right for me and many others and the magnification is a cinch to use. Peaking works fine if you set it to minimum and white or yellow. Can be very quick with it. The cameras that have frustrated me the most with MF in performance and use are the Fuji’s. The E-M1 is fantastic but the crop sensor kills the full frame glass character. Just received some LARGE prints back from my A7s and A7II, framed up and all for my walls. Gorgeous and lacks in nothing, and all were shot with manual focus glass. Loving this camera.

      • Hi Steve. Would you be willing to share some of your A7II tips and settings? Especially how you set up and use it for manual glass. Just received the Voightlander VM-E close focus adapter to use with Leica 35mm summicron. Do you use that adapter? It’s a little expensive but I have heard good things about it. Thanks ver much.

      • We’ll have to agree to disagree on that one. I’ve owned and extensively tried to get used to an NEX-6, and briefly an A7 with native and adapted (Contax Yashica Zeiss) MF lenses, and never got used to it ergonomically. I’m happy that you and others get on with it, but I don’t understand why Sony doesn’t just give those of us who don’t the options Fuji does. How would it possibly hurt?

        My Fuji X-T1, in contrast, is a joy to use in MF/split screen, what I don’t like is the X-Trans sensor, whereas the image quality itself is better from my Sonys. Ideally, Fuji and Sony should get together and give us Sony sensor tech inside a Fuji body ;)

        Of course, when Sony produce a wider range of native glass (and it’s good more is coming soon) and AF which works reliably in low light, this will mostly cease to be an issue.

        • In fact, though, could I take the opportunity to ask exactly how you have the camera set up for MF, just in case there’s a neat way of doing this I’ve missed? That would be greatly appreciated!

        • Sony will not change it as most love the way it is, more than not. It’s very good as it is. They have 10 native lenses for FE, all with fast and accurate AF when using the A7s or A7II.

          • I agree with the AF being fast and accurate in good light, where I always found myself having to MF was in low light, but perhaps this has improved to the point it’s no longer neccessary. [edit: seems from your review this is the case with the A7s, not the A7ii just yet].

            Maybe it might be worth giving them feedback that things could be improved so that others who want to work another way couldn’t be happy too? I’m not suggesting they remove the option to work the way the camera is now, which some people like, and are used to, just that they have an option in the menus to work a different way also. Clearly a lot of people (not yourself which is fine) love Fuji for ergonomics, too, so there’s clearly some wiggle room in the market here.

            Anyway, thanks again for the review.

          • A7s is the best low light AF camera I have ever used, besting any PRO DSLR I have used fr AF in low light. It lacks in nothing when it comes to low light AF as it does things no other camera can. The A7II is much better than the A7 and A7R for AF, it is just behind the A7s but in low light it is not as speedy as the S. But it is much quicker than the old 7 and R.

  103. Back in stock at B&H!!

  104. apart from the 5 axis stabilisation which is not so important for me, I think my A7S and M240 are still the top cameras for me. The A7S is slightly smaller and nothing touches the low light capability or the silent shutter in the A7S

  105. Have had a Sony a7II for a few days since having to send my Leica m240 for calibration. To me, a7II vs Leica is like GTR vs Ferrari. a7II is close to perfect in almost all technical departments, perfect focus, saturated color, excellent IQ, and it is much cheaper, BUT I have to say just after a few days with a7II in the absence of Leica, I miss my m240 so much and can’t wait to go back to using it. m240 is a flawed product compared to a7II as a digital camera, but the simplicity of using a Leica and the unique feel of the camera just give me this special feeling. More importantly, the pictures taken with a Leica just have a life of its own to me, while a7II’s pictures, great as they are, seem like the perfect child manufactured through a pile of perfect tehnoclogies, but without the same soul as the Leica ones. It is just my personal opinion, but to me it is a no contest between the two as long as you have the money.

  106. Hi Steve. You mentioned battery life isn’t good. I’ve noticed the same thing, and have purchased the vivitar battery package you mentioned. I noticed in the Wifi menu there is an “Airplane” mode and it’s default is “Off”. I’m wondering if we set that to “On” if it will make the batteries last longer, but I’m not sure if the Wifi is on all the time if Airplane mode is off. It seems it would be, if there is an airplane mode setting. Any thoughts?

  107. A quick question? You said in the A7S review that the image quality had this medium format quality too them? Now you are saying the A7ii is creating better images again? Can you clarify this for me Steve please?
    thx

    • I said the A7II has the same color, AWB and signature as the A7s, but with more detail, and it does. Sony improved the IQ with the A7s over the R and standard A7 and took those improvements and put them in the A7II. So the A7s and A7II share pretty much the same signature but the A7II has more resolution, beefier body, 5 Axis IS, etc.

  108. Fanboys of other brands can no longer lament Sony for not supporting their gear with pro-active firmware updates. The A7 Mark II was just released at the end of November and already we have a firmware update (v1.10) for the camera. And WOW is it a BIGGY. Most notable, so far for me, is the improvement to image stabilization in focus magnification while shooting in manual mode…BRILLIANT Sony.

    • **UPDATE** There is also improvement to the overall IBIS performance. You will notice it immediately upon half pressing the shutter button at 1/8th and lower. I’m getting sharp images in very low light, at 1/5th without using a 2 second delay. Well done Sony!

  109. A brilliant review from a passionate professional. Extremely helpful. Thank you Steve.

  110. Hi Steve,
    First of all, great review! So nice to see someone write and talk so passionately about photography!!!

    I just came across your website a few days ago while searching for reviews on the A7ii. I’m planning to finally upgrade my (almost don’t dare to write it down here…) nikon D200 (witch BTW served me very well for many years including some very rugged outdoor adventures without any problem) to a FF system. As a nikon owner for many years (My fist one was a second hand nikon F1 with the nikkor 50mm 1.2, followed by some others including a FM2 – which I still have and plan to keep forever- and finally in the digital era the D200) the logical thing was to go for another nikon, specially because I own a few lenses already. I was convinced of buying a D810 or a D750 until a few weeks ago… when I came across the sony A7’s. This camera system and all it is about just made me change my mind and what I until some weeks ago would have found impossible happened: I decided to go for sony instead of nikon. The main reason for me is the weight and bulk of the system (I was planning to get a D810 with the 16-35 f4 and the 24-120 f4), especially because I shoot al lot of outdoors and love to climb mountains…. when every gram you carry with you counts A LOT!!! So when I realized I could have the same IQ with a A7ii + zeiss 16-35 and 24-70 mm (saving almost 1kg in weight and also some money!!!) it became almost impossible to stick with nikon… and to be honest your great review of the A7ii was the last drop that made me change my mind!!

    The only question I still have unanswered is about the weather resistance of this sony system. As I’ve already mentioned I enjoy using my cameras outdoors, sometimes very exposed to the elements… not that I ever needed a (super heavy) pro-body to outstand heavy rain or something like that, but a few showers and a few falls are something that my D200 had to survive many times in the last few years…

    So could you please share your opinion on this topic with me? How do you think the sony A7ii would compare in terms of weather and dust (or fall) resistance to a prosumer Nikon body as a D200 or D810?? I’m sure it’s not as weather sealed as a D4, but I don’t need all that and prefer much more the smaller size and weight of the sony’s.

    Thanks a lot again for sharing your passion in such an inspiring way!

    Warm greetings from The Netherlands!!

    BTW I am anxiously waiting for your review of the zeiss 16-35mm!!! When will you be posting it? How do you think it compares with the nikon 16-35mm f4 VR??

    • Thanks! I have had the A7II in rain, snow and never an issue but then again, no camera has ever given me an issue in rain, even the non weather sealed Leica M9. The A7II has weather sealing but not sure if it is to the level of some other cameras. Even so, I doubt it would ever be an issue. As for the lens, I never use DSLR lenses so not sure how the Zeiss compares to the Nikon but the Zeiss is quite amazing. Perfect from 16-35 at all apertures.

  111. Hi Steve. My Sony Zeiss 35mm 2.8 arrived today. I put it on my A7II and did a comparison between it and my Leica Summicron-C 40mm using the Voightlander close focus adapter. The 40mm seems to be a tad sharper, but it’s really close. What I’m surprised by is how awful the color of the 35mm was compared to the 40mm. There is a green color cast. The color coming out of the 40mm is really clean and accurate. Have you noticed any color issues with the 35mm?

    Great review, as always!

    • Correction: It seems to only be an issue in Auto White Balance mode. I put the white balance setting into daylight mode (light was sunlight coming through window) and they had the same green color cast. Must be a tint to the windows. After this test it seems the 35mm was actually more technically accurate as far as color when in Auto White Balance mode, even though the 40mm was more pleasing and accurate to my eye. Interesting.

    • Never had an issue but sounds like a white balance thing, so if you are indoors under odd lighting that could be the issue. I get nothing but delicious color with the 35 2.8.

  112. Hi Steve,
    please may I know what is Your opinion comparing Sony RX1R (Your camera of the year 2012) to the new A7S II with FE Zeis 35/2,8?
    AF speed and accuracy, control, image quality, High ISO…?

    Thank You!
    Roman

    • AF speed – A7II (there is no A7s II) no contest
      Accuracy – A7II no contest
      Image Quality in good light – Nod goes to the A7II, but the RZ1R has a different rendering due to the f/2 Zeiss lens. Love the RX1R
      Low light – About equal but color, AWB, AF, Accuracy all go to the A7II, which will also be larger but has the integrated EVF.

  113. Hello Steve,
    I’ll travel to USA next month and I’m looking for a mirrorless camera for me. I worked with social photography for about 10 years until my Law degree, and now how I work as a Lawyer I’m selling my professional equipment (Canon 7D, flash, grip and all lenses) and looking for a light-weight great quality option to take art and travel photographs.

    I have two options in mind:

    1) Sony A7R + Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6;

    2) Sony A7 Mk II + Sony Sonnar FE 55mm f/2.8.

    I want to spend US$ 2750 max (including taxes, Chicago).

    What would you recommend? I’m having the common dilemma (better body + worse lens, worse body + better lens). Since It’s my first mirrorless camera, I’m kinda lost in my decision.

    Thanks in Advance!

    • I say go with the better body and better lens, you have it listed. A7II and 55 1.8. That is the best option right there. The A7II beats the A7R in every way, and the 55 1.8 beats the 28-70 kit zoom by a mile. I would not even consider the A7R.

      • Hello Steve, thanks for the quick answer!
        I was really expecting such a decisive answer, lol.
        But that kept me a bit doubtful. Why does the A7II beats the A7R, since the last one has the monster 30+MP non-filter sensor?

        • I spell out the reasons in my A7II review. Better color, better AWB, 5 Axis IBIS (which is awesome), better for 3rd party glass over the A7r, much quieter shutter over A7r and much better build, ergonomics and usability. No one needs 36MP, no one. All it does is make file sizes huge, hand shake more noticeable and worse low light/high ISO performance. If all you will ever do is tripod landscape shooting in great light, go A7r. If you want a camera for every day and all situations, go A7II. If you shoot mainly in really low light, go A7S.

          • Steve
            You mentioned you sold your leica M and maybe even the monochrome. Curious on how you flipping in and out with the leica camera bodies without lost lots of $$. When I try to sell my camera bodies, I end up lost about 2/3 of the value.

  114. Hello Steve,

    I was wondering if you’ve tried the Loxia 35mm or the 50mm and how do you feel about those lenses on the Sony A7 Mark ii?

    I am debating between a Summicron 50mm and a Loxia 50mm.

    Thank you.

  115. Hey, Steve. What are your on the Zeiss Loxia 50mm or 35mm for the A7 mark ii? Have you tried them at all? You’ve been kind of silent on them, very curious.

    I am saving up for a Leica Summicron 50mm or the Loxia 50mm. Not sure which way to go.

  116. Hi Steve,

    i really liked your review and would be interested your opinion about manual lenses of 28 and 35mm. What about Contax G lenses? Or other vintage SLR lenses? Leica M lenses are out of my budget, so i’m looking for something cheaper with some character. Any idea?

    • There are loads of M lenses on the cheap. I have a few that cost me between $50 and $350. Search KEH for Leica M or Leica Screw Mount, LTM, Zeiss ZM, Voigtlander, etc.

      Even the Jupiter lenses are good on the A7 series.

      I have not tried any contact lenses on the A7 and am not familiar. I am also not into DSLR lenses though have tried the Nikon 50 1.2 which was nice but that lens is a tad over rated. Its soft until f/2 and has a haze about it. But you can indeed get old RF lenses from Canon. Nikon as well (search KEH for Canon Rangefinder or Nikon Rangefinder). Many of them are in screw mount which just needs a paper thin $10 adapter before putting into the E to M adapter. (all on amazon)

      Id try to find a Canon 50 1.8 RF lens. Cheap but gorgeous rendering.

      • Thanks for your quick reply with your opinion. For sure i don’t want any dslr lens for my new camera, I’m looking for something special with great characteristics. Will definitely check out KEH’s offerings. Thanks again

  117. Hi steve, thank you for your a7 II review, now i’m at dillema, do i need to switch my gear or not (from canon to sony mirrorless), what dou you think about high iso comparison of canon 6D vs a7 II ?… thanks

    • The 6D is fantastic. A superb DSLR, in my top two fave DSLR’s. One that I actually reviewed because I enjoyed it. If you are happy with the 6D, I would keep it and be happy. If you hate it or dislike it, only then would I change it out. I also recommend renting the A7II so you can get a feel for it. You can use your Canon lenses on the A7II but they will AF faster on the 6D.

      • Thank you for your reply… I just curious about the high iso comparison of them, may be at 3200 and above… hopefully i could get your answer about that… thank you for your kind steve…

    • Always best to read reviews form those who EXTENSIVELY used the camera, as well as real user reviews (Amazon and BH Photo Reviews). This review at the Verge looks like it took 20 minutes to whip up and was written by someone who obviously did not spend quality time with the camera as the things he says is sub par are not. High ISO competes with any other full frame (besides Nikon Df, A7s and D4) and AF is much improved over the A7, and ACCURATE – more accurate than my time with any Nikon DSLR or even the Canon 6D (also faster than the 6D from my use). Battery life…yes. Its not the best so expect 300 shots or so. But the A7II is one hell of a camera, nothing bests it at or around its price, it is half the size of most DSLRs and currently has 10 native mount lenses and thousands of third party lenses from vintage to modern.

      • Just curious Steve, how long do you mean by “extensively.”? You mentioned in another comment you change cameras often, so how can you also say you test cameras extensively? And another factor that no one seems to talk about is how much the auto focusing of cameras are dependent on the lenses. For example, it’s a known fact that the Canon 85mm f/1.2L version 1 lens focused slower than the cheaper 85mm f/1.8 USM (you can look up DigitalRev’s video where they show this). Saying the 6D focuses slower based on a few slow focusing L lenses isn’t quite telling the whole story. Sure, the photo quality from the 1.2 is “better” for certain types of photographs, but as with anything in photography and any art form, you compromise and learn to work with the camera and lens limitations to achieve the photography you are trying to create.

        I’ve been using the 6D for 1-1/2 years and I believe I have learned the quirks of the camera and how it acts with the lenses I put on it. It’s like buying a new guitar (I bought a new last year) and going through the process of learning what strings, musical keys, areas on the fretboard, level of strings to fretboard, etc. will make it sound its best. Cameras are just tools in the end, which we both agree on, and a good photographer can take good photos with any camera. I just think sometimes people get a little too caught up in the minute technical details when really the thing that’s most important is developing your eye/ear.

        Thanks for reading my philosophical musings, carry on.

    • @ George: Ignorance is on Display at the Verge: The kid that wrote the A7 Mark II Verge article doesn’t even qualify as an amateur. I’m mean really; did you happen to see his sample pics? My grandmother takes better photographs with her vintage Yashica 635. Also, he’s a Fuji fan-boy: http://www.theverge.com/2014/12/15/7391089/fujifilm-x100t-review. Say’s that he actually (yes, he said actually) sold all of his Canon DSLR and Sony Mirrorless gear to fund the purchase of an X100S and says; “it is the only camera in my arsenal”. Having a fixed lens Look-a-Leica hardly qualifies as an arsenal. His background is smartphones, not photography. So if you’re trying to decide between Android or IOS he may be of some use. Having shot well over 10,000 snaps with the A7/R/S, I can say unequivocally that the Verge article is just about useless for anything other than quoting specs or putting ignorance on display.

  118. Apologies Steve, I meant to say on top of manual focus checking and not exposure (which of course would be evaluated by the A7), in the context of say using a 3rd party zoom lens when, it would presumably be quite impractical to be entering settings when experimenting with variable focal lengths. Thanks though for assuring that entering the details of a fixed focal length lens is quick enough.

    I think I will take a couple of my Nikon lenses (inc a zoom) to a shop and check things out as the improvements in the mark II looks super and desirable. Also, will remember to do the lottery in case I get a bit lucky and are able to invest in a full Sony system!

    Thanks for your website. So glad I came across it.

  119. Hi Steve, thanks for the review, really enjoy the site.

    Would you mind telling me which VSCO filters you most commonly use for colour and B&W? I love the look of the colour woodland shots you have posted with the girls and would like to get the same filters but dont want to have to buy all 6 VSCO packs to find the right one!

    And thanks again for the great review, I shoot EM-1 and EM10 with 12-40 and 40-150 2:8s as well as a couple of primes and this is great for most of my shooting i.e family days out, kids sports, family events etc but I am sorely tempted by the A7ii with Leica Summilux as an addition to the current kit.

  120. Hi Steve,

    I am currently quite happily using a variety of Nikon lenses through an A7 in manual mode with a basic/cheap adapter and would like to continue with the Nikon lenses as I cannot afford to buy into the Sony lens system.

    The A7II looks very attractive especially with the 5 axis stabilisation. My query is whether I can get this IBIS with my Nikon lenses and current adapter without any addition work as I read an article which said that manual steadyshot settings will need to be activated if the adapter does not transmit focal length and focus distance electronically. This would become such a fuss to manually input these settings particularly if a zoom is being used as it would be on top of manual exposure setting. I presume my cheap adapter transmits nothing with regard to focal length and distance apart from light!

    Is my aspiration for an A7II defeated/dented in these circumstances? ……. :(

    • ANY 3rd party lens will need to be entered, which takes 3 1/2 seconds (I timed it). I do this for every Leica M mount lens I use or any 3rd party lens. There is NO WAY for the camera to know what lens is attached unless you are attaching a Sony lens. Also, you do not need to use manual exposure with any 3rd party lens. The camera will do the exposure for you just as it would with a native lens.

  121. There are so many incredible aspects to the Mark II. Here’s another: you will get sharper photos and a higher hit rate (more keepers) at 1/5 or 1/8th if you use the 2 second timer, handheld. Brilliant!

  122. Hi Steve thanks for the review, I just ordered a Mk II! I have a Zeiss 35mm f1.4 Canon mount, I use it on a 5D, amazing lens but really heavy and Canon to Sony adapter is really expensive. Do you suggest to sell it and what can I buy to keep that image quality? Voigtlander Nokton 35 f1.2 or a Zeiss Biogon?

    • Not sure what that Zeiss goes for $$ wise but I would go for the new Zeiss 35 1.4 ZM (for Leica mount) – its probably 1/4 the size of your Canon mount and even better. If that is out of the budget, other 35’s that are good are the 35 1.2 Voigtlander (though can be a tad soft at 1.2 in comparison to a good Zeiss at 1.4), the Zeiss Loxia 35 f/2 or the Zeiss ZM 35 f/2 Biogon.

  123. That’s a great review. I had the first Sony A7, and was using a 35mm Zeiss Biogon 2.8, and 50mm Sonnar 1.5 on there at the time. I just felt there was something totally lacking with the final image, that I ended up selling the body. (I know many others found this with the A7 and A7R with M-mount lenses also). Both these lenses performed so much better (and truer to the lenses reputation–especially the Sonnar) on my M9 that it’s left me wondering how Sony have managed to get the IQ with M mount lenses working better on the A7II, especially when they are using the exact same sensor and processor in there. Your example shots do look better than what I could achieve with the A7 (with regards to character, pop etc) but I’m still pretty dubious about buying one, especially after my A7 experience. I have heard that the A7s is pretty solid with M mount lenses, so is there a big difference between the A7II and A7s with regards to IQ character using M mount lenses? From the A7s shots I’ve seen on flickr, they do look more like they have a bit more to them character wise when using M mount lenses.

    • A7s and A7II are giving the same quality with M glass, with a teeny more color pop with the A7II as well as more detail. Just do not use 12,15, 18, etc on the A7, A7r or A7II. I am getting slightly better results with my M glass on the A7II than I was on the M itself. Especially the Noct, Zeiss 50 sonnar, etc.

      • Great, thanks for the info on this Steve. How would you compare it to the M9’s CCD (over the M) at lower ISOs? I thought the M9 ccd had a nice character with the native leica lenses.

        • CCD is much different than CMOS but for me, I am happy to be rid of CCD as the low light performance is non existent with those old sensors, including the M9. ISO 1250 was just about unusable and even 800 has plenty of noise. For the time it was great, for now it is not. But overall CCD has more bite than CMOS and can look better at a base ISO but after that not so much.

          • Totally agree on the ISO. Still waiting on the A7II release here in the UK, but that’s helped. Thanks.

          • What are your thoughts on pairing the metabones Nikon F to Sony NEX and using the Nikon FX AFS lenses with the A7ii? Happy New Year BTW!

          • I wouldn’t do it but you CAN do it. For me, much to large and if I were using large DSLR lenses I would use a DSLR to balance them out. But yes, it is possible.

  124. Today is the day I pull the trigger on an A7s and A7II by clicking links through this site. Also buying a 55mm 1.8 and a 24-70. Possibly a 70-200, though I haven’t used my big Nikon 80-200 2.8D in over a year. Still not sure what I’m going to do! Help me decide, please. I shoot 65% stills, 35% video. I’m okay with 12mp as my D700 has 12mp and it’s been plenty, even up to 20×30. I rented the A7s and 24-70 and loved them both, though I found the ergos a little cramped and there was nowhere for my pinky to go. Also adapted some Nikon lenses and enjoyed the way it worked. Whatever I choose, I will definitely buy some RF lenses. I prefer manual focus in situations that allow it. I’m primarily a street shooter and appreciate the ability to shoot in low light. The primary selling point of the Sony system to me is size, manual focusing aids, and video integration.

    A7s advantages/disadvantages:
    + better video
    + better low light performance
    + smaller, lighter weight
    + silent shutter
    + Great 15% trade in deal at B&H ends today, plus can buy grip for $100
    – No IBIS
    – no improved ergonomic grip and layout
    – Likely replaced by A7sII in a few months, which is the camera I really want.

    A7ii advantages/disadvantages
    + IBIS is impressive for stills and video
    + Seems like decent video
    + Better ergonomics with grip and buttons
    + Double the resolution of A7s; nice, but not necessary for me.
    + Likely to remain current generation for a while, makes it easy to buy a second body (A7sII) when the new generation comes out and have the same controls.
    – Not the low light genie the A7s is
    – No silent shutter
    – Bigger and heavier.

    What would you do? Going to place the B&H order in about three hours. Grateful for any advice in advance.

  125. Hi Steve,

    Question : wenn you use a manual focus lens, you set the lens wide open to ajust the focus. If you want to take the picture at F5.6, do you FIRST open the lens, focus and the put the stop F5.6, OR is it really possible to set the focus throught the EVF with a lens at F5.6 ?
    Nice review, see some of my pictures (still X100s fan) http://www.ericwuethri.ch

  126. Great review Steve!

    Thx for your efforts…

  127. “Even at postage stamp sizes there are major differences. It’s not about sharpness, not at all, it is about depth, color, pop, and overall beauty of the file quality”

    You’ve just precisely summed up what I feel too when I view web images taken with APS-C & FF cameras. I don’t understand how others can’t immediately see this too.

  128. Has anyone used Olympus OM zuiko lenses on the A7II?

  129. Probably the best review I’ve ever read. Thorough and inspiring! I’ll use the referral link when making the purchase.

    I’ve been sitting on the fence about a new camera for ages, wanting “one camera to rule them all” at a reasonable price, lightweight, portable and good for image and video. in the a7ii is finally one I can buy and not look back.

    I’m hoping to limit myself to two, max three, lenses, otherwise the portability factor becomes an issue. With that in mind, I’ve appreciate if you could answer two questions about lenses:

    1) You haven’t made a direct 55 1.8 / 30 2.8 comparison. You’ve recommended the 30 2.8 on a number of occasions, and spoken favorably about the 55 1.8 IQ though called it “sterile” a couple of times. Can you please compare the two and make a recommendation if one were to buy just ONE prime for the a7ii?

    2) You make an attractive case for going manual. I haven’t used a manual lens in 20 years. Can you recommend lightweight options for BOTH a prime lens (between 28 and 50 range) and a general purpose zoom lens that would allow me to utilize IBIS? I would be getting my feet wet here, so not quite emotionally ready to break the bank.

    Many thanks!

    Chris

    • The 35 2.8 and 55 1.7 are both fantastic but two different lenses. You will either want a 35mm focal length or a 55. That is a personal choice but both are top notch quality lenses when it comes to IQ. Manual lenses can be so much fun. Old Lieca mount lenses can be found starting at $100 (screw mount) – check KEH.com for old Leica or Leitz glass and then get any M to E adapter. You can start cheap with a $15 adapter from amazon to test the waters. You can try an old Summitar, Summarit, or even an old Summicron.

      • meanwhile my dear response steeve :)
        I wanted to know if you can try the M240 VS A7II with eg 50 LUX or other to see the difference in POP and especially dynamic management to compare also made (even if it is natural auusi sterile’s me) I am sure it will interreser many people …
        And good year in 2015 :)

  130. hello steeve I posseseur an M 240 with 50 Lux Asph and I own a Pentax 645Z to work with super 35/55/75/90 Macro objectives and 200. I am very happy with, however I can not find the same “magic” when I use my M, even if the sensor is impressive even more dynamic and especially in the recovery of low lights. I do not find it as pretty in high light and a lot more “sterile” I am tempted by the A7II, but I’m afraid of losing the “magic” plus “silver” M 240. And also the fun use it … as the sensor to look a bit the same as my 645Z (Sony sensor) …
    Because the rendering is very important, it not only has the IQ and digital noise. The loss of the anti moiré filter as my M does not remove the micro contrast or “défaults to the backgrounds (the infin and foliage) ?? The aim is it to you that the reactive rangefinder? ?? anyway if I change I keep my 50 Lux, I try Apo 50 and I find it very beautiful but sterile tooThat my 50 Lux Asph. I look forward to your response. Thank you for your site I dévorre regularly (my angais is bad so I use a translator :)

  131. Great review!

    If you had to chose between the Sony/Zeiss 55mm and the Leica Summilux 50mm ASPH (with adapter), which lens would you chose?

    Thanks!

    /c

    • If cost was the same? Leica without hesitation. The Leica is smaller, better made, heavier, feels amazing in the hand and in use, has a unique legendary rendering with stellar Bokeh. Its very pricey though. The Sony 55 is hollow feeling, larger, BUT…is of exceptional quality when it comes to IQ. It has AF as well and is much less expensive. I did a side by side here with the $8k 50 APO and many preferred the Sony. So, all personal preference. If you want a work of handmade art that you will feel great about using and will inspire confidence as well as bring you that Leica look, the 50 Lux is the way to go. The Sony will produce a more “sterile” image but nothing about it is bad when it comes to IQ. Just not as much character or life as the 50 Lux. The 50 Lux will be a better investment if you keep it for the long haul.

  132. I was looking forward to this review! I was looking to get a camera mostly for street photos & had zeroed in on the X100T mostly for the size. But im now considering the A7II for two reasons 1)the ability to add a wider lens (than 35)because I do work in close distances & 2) low light capability (IS, ISO) Im curious how big the A7II will be compared to the x100t

    • The A7II BODY is just about exactly the same size as the X100T but the grip sticks out of course. So the grip makes it bigger in that way but the body length and depth is the same as the X100T (just about). Lenses will make it larger of course. But the body is not large. Next to a D800 type of DSLR it appears tiny. It is smaller than a Nikon Df by quite a bit as well.

  133. Hi Steve,

    I very much enjoyed your review.

    My question if you have a moment, concerns comparison to the original A7. Obviously the MKii is a better camera, but now that you can get the original A7 for 60% of the cost of the new variant, is it worth consideration at this price, or is the new camera so much more?

    Cheers

    • Well, you can save $400 by buying an A7 over an A7II at $1298 vs $1698. The questions you have to ask yourself:

      1. Do I want 5 Axis IS? This helps for photos and videos as well as 3rd party lenses.
      2. Do I want a beefier more solid body?
      3. Do I want improved weather sealing?
      4. Do I want faster auto focusing as well as much better continuous AF?
      5. Do I want the new tweaked processing for better JPEGs and IQ?
      6. DO I want the better AWB and color performance?
      7. Do I want the new ergonomics of the A7II?
      8. DO I want the video performance of the A7s over the old A7?

      These are the main questions. For me, its a no brainer. The extra $400 is well worth it as i feel the A7II is more like a $2300 camera than a $1700 camera. The improvements are enough to make it feel like a new camera in feel, looks, response, etc. The IS is icing on the cake. I learned long ago that it is always better to buy what you really want for that little extra over making a compromise. When making a compromise we will instantly feel “what if”…then its all downhill. Now if your budget only allows $1300, then the A7 will do fantastic for you. It’s a good camera and at that price a true bargain. The A7II is indeed the better camera though.

      • Adam, if you trade in a junk lens at B&H, you can get 15% off the original A7, plus 4% rewards, bringing your purchase price close to $1,000. That is a steal. So the real differential in price is $700. But as Steve says, there’s no substitute for getting what you REALLY want. Better video codec, beefier build, IBIS, and better focusing particularly make a compelling case for spending more $. Poor man pays twice, as they say.

  134. I hate you Steve. You making me want to get this one too. : )

    Keep up the great and honest work and a Happy New Years to you and your family and to all the regular posters here good and bad, I love you all : )

  135. Steve,

    Great review and really made me want to upgrade. Before I do can you please help?

    How does low light auto focus compare on the A7 II v’s A7? I have the A7 and it really is terrible on auto focus in low light (FE 55 / 1.8). I previously owned (but sold on) the EM1 with 12-40 pro lens and that nailed low light auto focus. Shame the A7 is so bad in this regard.

    • As stated AF has improved all the way around. Its better than the A7 in low light, much more accurate but not as good as the A7s in low light, which is the best AF camera for low light I have ever touched. A7s is a hot rod for low light and the A7II easily surpasses the old A7 for AF in low light.

  136. Thanks.
    Rx2, 5 axis, nocti-like-lens-smaller-with-curved-sensor.

    Oh yes.

  137. Great review Steve! Some of us have been sitting on the fence and now the original A7 is very cheap. For thos of us that will be using standard sony primes and zoomes with OSS only, would you recommend the just getting the original A7. I have not seen a real in-depth comparison between the two models including samples. Once again, love your reviews!

  138. Great review Steve. I’ve been hearing that Leica sales are low and suspect Sony is the main reason. Did you sell your MP?

  139. Wow, it still is really hard to talk about Fuji objectively, isn’t it?

  140. Try putting the camera in airplane mode. In my experience it makes a big difference in battery life and it isn’t hard to turn on the wireless when you need it.

  141. Hi Steve!
    Thank you for the wonderful review!

    I’m currently using a Fuji x100t and an Oly e-m5 with 45/1.8 for street.
    This is a great combo for me: small, fast and easy to use in action.

    The only drawback is the sound of the 5 axis Oly. Because this changes the situation if the person notice me before taking the photo.
    Shutter speed is no problem for me. I like to get in contact with my objects anyway after taking the photo.

    Do you remember the sound of the Oly e-m5 5-axis IS? Is it comparable to the Sony 5 axis sound?

    CU
    Ralph

  142. Congratulations Steve for this marvelous review. Some time ago I sold my M240 and 50APO and bought a second hand A7 to find out if this A series is for me. Together with the 55f1.8 lens, I find it a great combo.
    I was ready to pull the trigger to get the A7s that was so positively reviewed by you, but now I do not know if I should get the A7s or this A7II. When reviewing my pics from last year I see that most of my bad pics were shot (of course) under bad light conditions, so manly indoor shooting of family events. Got a Mitakon 50mm 0.95 lens today and will experiment with this for the coming weeks. Together with IBIS this A7II and Mitakon might be an excellent combo for a reasonable price. I refuse to continue to pay those ridiculous Leica Prices anymore. They just released a new price list for Europe, again 5% up. Not for me. I stepped out of Leica and look forward to shoot with my A7 (same as you did)! Sony is building excellent cameras for fair prices. Sony RULEEEZ!

  143. Steve,
    Have you tried the Voigtlander 40mm 1.4 on any of the a7 series? It’s one of my favorites for it’s tiny size and fast speed. It’s not the sharpest wide open but by 2.8 is sharpens up nicely. Plus it looks sexy on the a7.

  144. Steve,

    Thank for a great review! This may be enough to finally move up to FF from my Nex-7. Have you ever tried any Minolta Rokkor primes on the A7 bodies?

  145. Hi Steve,

    Another year gone. Another camera added based on your “Camera of the Year” selection.
    GAS is not getting better, but at least you help it with some focus.

    2012: Sony RX1
    2013: Olympus OMD E-M1
    2014: Sony A7 II

    Great list; great reviews; and thank you so much for posting it over the Christmas break.
    Such a joy to read and read again.

    Quick question:
    Am I right in thinking that your 2013-selection (E-M1) has a shorter shelf life than the 2012 Camera of the Year (RX1)? In many ways the A7 II is build around the same sensor as the RX1 with as major innovation the 5-axis IS, that made the E-M1 such a hit only 12 months ago…

    Is it fair to read that your enthusiasm for the E-M1 has reduced and basically the FF is the way forward from here?

    Thanks,
    Peter

    • Thanks Peter. Happy that you get some useful info from my reviews. I love the E-M1, still own one. It’s fantastic but these days I feel I will use the Sony’s more (and do). With the A7II there is nothing the E-M1 does that the Sony does not do and I get richer IQ from the Sony. So while I feel the E-M1 is bettered, there are so many great lenses for the E-M1 system and it is up there with the best cameras around today, even in 2014 and heading into 2015.

  146. Steve,

    Your video demonstration of the A7ii’s stabilization is very convincing. It proves that for a video shooter the A7ii really can make a difference in terms of jitter and fluidity when it comes to hand held filming, and even act as a destitute man’s steadicam when walking. Funny, EOSHD didn’t think there was much to it.

    Makes choosing between the A7ii and A7s even more difficult as a video shooter.

    B&H, if you invoke the trade in deal gets you this:

    A7 (original): $1,000
    A7II (no discount) $1700
    A7s: $2125

    Plus power grip for original A7 generation is only $100 with camera purchase.

    This is a difficult choice.

    The A7 original seems an absolute steal as discounted.
    The A7II has it all except silent shutter, astounding low light ability.
    The A7s is missing IBIS and has a less ergonomic control layout.

    Thanks again for your reviews. Of all the online reviewers, your photographs — even though they are casual of family and pets — actually demonstrate an artistic and talented eye far more than the other internet “technicians”.

  147. Steve What does “awaiting moderation” mean. Tom

    • 90% of comments are automatically held for moderation by the system. Things that can cause this to happen are certain words, links, phrases…any number of things. Then they stay there until I am online and able to review them and approve them. This avoids name calling, hate comments, stores trying to promote themselves, and of course the trolls who come to start trouble.

      • Thanks Steve, after seeing all the praise on the Sony A77II, I’m considering one as a my go to camera. While my DSLR is good the Sony looks good too in a different way. I commented for of the potential newer Sony in Feb 2015 but again I believe my comment for that never made it to. Any help in fixing my comment issue would greatly be appreciated. Tom

    • Steve I still can not get any of my comments to you can fix the problem.

      • Not sure I understand the questions…what are you wanting to do with your comments?

        • Steve, there seems to be lots of conversation and comments going back and forth on the Sony A77II. When I try to make a comment no one seems to care nor answer a comment I make regardless of what I ask. If you are in charge and control the flow between questions and comments, are you intentionally blocking me for any reasons. For days now I have been trying to get answers to my comments. Do I need to totally unsubscribe if you are blocking me. Was there anything I said that offended you personally? If you do NOT want me on your system just say so and I will unsubscribe, this is way to frustrating to continue in in vain trying to be part of it all. Tom

          • Still do not understand your comment. You are angry because no one responded to your comment? Many comments here never get a response. Some do, some do not. I am not sure what your comment was but when you leave a comment and no one answers you it does not mean you are blocked. If you were blocked you would not even be able to see the site.

            Not sure why you think I would be offended because no one responded to your comment.

  148. Steve,

    Fantastic review as always. I know you have the magical F/0.95 Leica Noctilux and the shots you posted with this review are beautiful. Though, for those that don’t have the extra $11K in cash for that magic glass, have you tried using the legacy Canon 0.95 “Dream Lens” on the A7II? If so, posting some samples with the A7II would be phenomenal though I know you are quite busy.

    • Thanks for reading! The Dream Lens..ahhhh, one of my faves. After my last write up on it I received a HUGE offer for the lens, a record setting price, so I sold it. I could not refuse the offer. So I no longer have one (but will again one day when I find the perfect specimen) ;) The Dream Lens was fantastic on the A7s (which was my last write up a couple months back) so would be just as good or better on the A7II.

  149. For The Sony(s) A7… are the new Olympus OM, 40 years after. The A7 it’s great with Zuiko OM legacy lens

  150. Thanks for the review, Steve. I retire in 16 months and will be closely watching the evolution of the 7r II and the 7S II, to see if the S will contain 5-axis IS. If so, I will purchase the 7S. Otherwise the 7r III. Will absolutely purchase from links on this site. Your wonderful site helps many people such as myself through their workday. I always read your site first while eating breakfast at my desk!
    Regarding battery grips, I just never understand why people who want compact FF cameras opt for giant battery grips when extra batteries can be carried in a small compartment of a small camera bag. Well, each to their own!
    Just for grins & giggles, would you show a pic of the RX1 side-by-side with the 7r II so I can see the difference?

  151. Great review, Steve – all one can ask for! Really tempting but I will stay with my MFT gear for the moment, maybe next year ;).

  152. Dear Steve,
    such a great review, Your words I always consider when buying a camera, thanks a lot!
    I am a Fuji X100S shooter, but not totally satisfied with the focusing capability, and still use some film Nikon cameras (with 50, 35 D AF and AiS 28 lenses – all manually focusing).
    I was just to buy my first FF camera – Nikon D750 – known for its DR and great shadow recovery capacity and a very fast AF system. But after reading your review I am a bit divided.
    As Nikon use the Sony chip in their cameras do You think the A7II can behave in a similar manner in the shadow recovery as the D750? And as having those Nikon F lenses will I be able to use the AF from that lenses on A7II? And what about the possibility with A mode using these lenses on the Sony body?

    Thanks a lot in advance for any advise on that topic.

    Roman

    • If you are invested in Nikon glass I would stick with Nikon. The A7II is just as capable of shadow recovery as any other full frame camera. BUT, I would rather use Nikon AF lenses on a Nikon body mainly because it defeats the purpose of having the smaller body when using large lenses on it. Using Nikon MANUAL lenses would be a great experience on the A7II, more so than the D750.The A7II… It’s smaller, has 5 Axis, IQ is just as good but possibly better color, and I much prefer a good EVF over an optical VF in a DSLR.

      In any case the D750 is a superb DSLR so my suggestion would be to rent both from lensrentals.com and try them out.

      • Thank you Steve…as I have tried the D750 already, now I will give a try to the Sony boy and then will see :-)

        Have a good year 2015!

  153. Hello Steve, thanks for your review. Very usefull. I’m a fuji and a sigma owners (x-pro, xt-1, DP3 Merril) after many cameras (nikon F6, contax G2, Mamiya 7, contax 645, olympus EP2, sigma SD9, leica M7,sony A850, canon 1D MK III, canon 6D).

    This new A7 II is certainly one of the coolest and best camera on the market. It can certainly produce technicaly bettter pictures than a fuji.

    But some observations.

    Don’t you think that the majority of photographers never print larger than A4, may be A3, if they do ? For such a little size it’s very difficult to see a difference between APSC and FF.

    Do you still have pleasure when you are “shooting” with an A7 ? I’m really wondering why you sold your leica M and MM ?

    Despite SONY bought KONICA, its market approach is a pure financial approach with low consideration for their customers. They prefer launching a new camera every year, instead of upgrading firmwares like fuji for example.

    • I sold my M because the A7II is a better camera. Offers more versatility, can shoot all of my M lenses better than the M, is built just about as well, has no focus issues or RF to go out of whack, has better color performance, better low light performance, allows me to close focus my M lenses, is faster, and has MUCH better video.

      I told Sony’s president 1 1/2 years ago that if they can create an A7 that beats my Leica M, the M would go. They finally did that in the A7II. The price of $1698 vs $7-8k says it all.

      I love Leica and especially the M, but if I can use a camera that is better in almost every way, gives me just as much joy to use and makes me smile more when I see the results, AND pocket a few grand, then it’s a win win.

      Even at web sizes the difference is EASY to see between full frame and APS-C. I did a comparison with web images a while back with the M vs the Fuji and it was HUGE. The Fuji files were flat, dull, and had no pop or soul.

      Even at postage stamp sizes there are major differences. It’s not about sharpness, not at all, it is about death, color, pop, and overall beauty of the file quality.

      Sony releases a replacement model every 1-1 1/2 years, for some models two years. That is in line with most others. Fuji has released how many X bodies? X Pro 1, XE 1, XE 2, XT1 and a few more… all within 2-3 years.

      It’s a no brainer and I do what I feel is right instead of worrying about politics. I give credit where its due, and there is only one area where an M beats the A7II, and that is the RF experience and feel of that M body. But at the end of the day, I get plenty of enjoyment from the A7s and A7II, sometimes even more so.

      • “Even at postage stamp sizes there are major differences. It’s not about sharpness, not at all, it is about death, color, pop, and overall beauty of the file quality.”. I disagree.

        About SONY the problem is no firmware updates, no upgrades. I might not have been a Fuji fan, but their constant innovation, dedication and putting out new stuff for their cameras slowly won me over. They support their cameras. The Xpro didn’t have focus peaking at first and then it now has. Fuji is constantly bringing new life into their cameras. Fuji cameras had issues, updates came and they are fixed.

        • There is a reason Fuji put out those updates. THEY HAD NO CHOICE as the X-Pro 1 was flawed from the get go with the worst in class AF, bugs, etc. They were gutting slammed left and right and had to do that to save the camera. Fuji has a history of releasing cameras that are buggy and “unfinished” so F updates come out to fix the issues. They already replaced their 56 1.2 with a better version within a years time, and the only body they released that was was a finished product was the latest X-T1. Even so, the IQ from it doesn’t compete with the A7II nor does the DR. The A7II has no issues to fix via firmware. The A7s doesn’t either. The A7 and A7r also really have nothing that can be enhanced via firmware. Firmware is released to fix bug and improve things that were lacking up front. Fuji released FW update after FW update as they needed it badly to fix issues.

          • I am not a Fuii sensor fan but their latest FW upgrade deserves some credit. Introducing an electronic shutter with a max speed of 1/32000 (no typo) is quite something and allowing to move the focusing point directly via 4 way controller is very useful and the second best solution after a touch screen. Both of these additions clearly improve the camera and are not about addressing FW flaws. The ability to set min shutter speed in auto iso they introduced some FW ago, something Sony is still missing.

          • I wonder if Sony COULD update the video codec of the original A7 to the one used in the A7II, the same codec they just updated via firmware in the A77II (A-mount).

          • I “left” Fuji although I invested in primes and two bodies, and one reason was that I was seeing no direction and no advantage in their system. A new body every 4 month, primes (e.g. the 23mm and in a lesser way the 14mm) that price and size wise were heading towards (or exceeding) FF equivalents while still poorly built with no weather and dust sealing. I still love some of the pictures I took with the X system, and yes, Fuji is innovating in many ways, but partly at customer’s cost.

      • “I sold my M because the A7II is a better camera. Offers more versatility, can shoot all of my M lenses better than the M”

        Steve, you are telling us the A7II will shoot the SEM 18,21.24, 28 cron, and all the Leica 35s better than the M9?

        I find this very very hard to believe, since it has the same sensor as the A7, with added IBIS, or so we are lead to believe, which means all the smearing issues are there.

        The 16-35 is fine, but can you really compare it’s results to SEM 21?

        Certainly the Nocti will shoot fine, as it has on all the A7 series. I highly doubt the 50lux on A7II is as fine as with M9, but would love to be proved wrong in this conception :)

        • I am telling you that for what I shoot (28, 35 and 50) the A7II handily beat my Leica M 240. Not only with the Sony Native lens of 16-35, 35 2.8 and 55 1.8 but with my M mount lenses including Voigtlander 35 1.2, 50 Cron. 50 Noct, Voigtander 15, etc. Yes, better than my M 240 in every way (and my M was better than my old M9). I have shot with the 21 Elmar on many occasions. I have shot with the WATE extensively (on the 240). The 16-35 is just as good on the A7II as the 21 is on the M yet I get a full 16-35 FL and save $1700 or so.

          The 50 Lux is also much better on the A7II than on the M 240 where it fell a little flat.

          If this was not the case I would have kept my M that I adored. Truth be told it was the A7s that had me sell my M off as I used the A7s 99% of the time over the M 240. I know of others who did the same thing (A7s vs M). It is what it is and I am not about brand snobbery as some are..I am about WHAT WORKS and WHAT WORKS the best for me.

          At the end of the day most Leica lenses work just as well or better on the A7II than they do on the M 240 that are 28mm and up. For wide angle we have the awesome Zeiss 16-35 which lacks in no way at all – razor sharp corner to corner from 16 all the way to 35 with fantastic Zeiss color.

      • This comment is beyond ridiculous. You’ve officially lost all credibility with me Steve. Either you have an AMAZING eye, are a horrible photographer, or are being paid, because for the life of me I can’t see how you would come to a conclusion that no other reviewer has been able to come to. Huge difference in postage stamp size photos…get real.

  154. Great reviews like this can suddenly derail plans to buy alternative cameras. I sold off a 5D3 to buy a Leica M a year ago, but find I’ve missed my 24-105 L zoom and 70-200 L that seem to permit such spontaneous shooting in many different settings including professional baseball games. I was pretty well resolved to buy a Canon 6D, a 24-105L and the new 100-400L until reading this review of the A7II. In your expert opinion, Steve, should I really be considering the Sony A7II to achieve the type of shooting I’d be doing with a DSLR? I’m not sure how the A7II would be different or better, but from your personal experience with the A7II it sounds like it might be the better alternative. Any key observations that might help me with the choice?

    • Hey Robert,

      First off, an M is NEVER a replacement for DSLR users who love their zoom lenses. The M is all about using primes, zooming with your feet and learning how to “see” with one focal length. Once you get past the whole zoom mentality it is magical and refreshing to get rid of the zooms :) If you are into lenses like the 100-400 then stick with the 6D as there is no 100-400 with the Sony. You can use the Canon on the Sony but that defeats the purpose of having a small body.

      Id stick with Canon if you want mega tele zooms. The 6D is superb, and I prefer it to the 5D3.

    • The Sony 70-400 is close to the 100-400 but with the A-mount adapter you lose a bit of the size advantage. The E-mount 70-200 is a fantastic lens. You might do well with the A7II 24-70 & 70-200 E-mount (and maybe save a few bucks over the Canon).

  155. I liked your review, Steve, and agree with your conclusions.Even if Sony follows tradition and introduces a 7Rii or A9 whatever in the next few months, I will have no regrets buying the 7ii.

    I’ve had my A7ii for exactly two weeks, and it’s a total winner. After the first two days, it was clear that my M9-P was either going on the shelf or serving as a backup camera. I bought adapters for M and Nikon F lenses, but no lens explicitly for the A7ii. The killer features, for me, are the 5-axis image stabilization and focusing enhancements. My aging eyes weren’t dealing well with the Leica rangefinder, but I’m not afraid to use any lens wide open with the Sony. Today I shot an extended (like 7 hour) music competition using a 135 mm Tele-Elmar f/4 – at f/4 – and the shots are not only sharp, but pixel sharp on the Sony. Nobody turned around hearing the shutter – it’s M quiet in free field.

    In case anyone is curious, my 50 year old Summicron 50mm DR not only fits, but the close-up range can be used without the spectacles simply by pressing the ball detent.

    I have done test shots with my Nikon 300/4 AF-S, a very sharp lens with excellent results. There were not many reasons to use that lens without a tripod, even in daylight. Best of all, my Nikon 20 and 24 lenses do not vignette, nor cause color shifts. The long back-focus length straightens the light reaching the sensor. Though larger than rangefinder lenses, they do not seem outsized on the A7ii. I’m looking forward to using my 17-35/2.8, 28-70/2.8 and 70-200/2.8 zooms, as soon as I can corner my son and get them back.

    The M9 still has the advantage for capturing the “decisive moment.” The shutter delay of the Sony is small but noticeable compared to the M9. The M9 lets you see outside the field of view, and the view is not interrupted at the moment of exposure. I shot basketball for a newspaper with a Leica years before Nikon offered auto-focus and 9 fps.

  156. Top notch review Steve, I enjoyed reading it and could see you enjoyed the camera. I really wish Sony would release a few AF primes and I might give them another chance. I have long sold the original A7 and 55 without looking back. if they put half the R&D into lenses that they do into camera bodies they might actually have a system to buy into. I am not going to say another system is better then others but the A7’s are impractical to recommend with such a lack of lens selection.

    • Sony has quite a few lenses for the A7 series – from 16-200 right now. The 16-35, 35 2.8, 55 1.8, 24-70, 70-200 as well as many on the way. Then we have the Zeiss Loxia lenses for FE, any of the Zeiss ZM lenses, any Leica M lens, etc etc. There are thousands of lenses that can be used on this system and I 100% HIGHLY recommend this camera because of that versatility. I was shooting the 16-35, 35 2.8 and 55 1.8. That right there is plenty for 95% of people. Some would maybe want the 24-70 or 70-200. Not me, but new primes are on the way this year. There is no shortage of lenses for the A7 system. In other words, there is nothing I can’t do with it when compared to any other system (besides tilt shift which is a teeny tiny percentage of users).

      We have so many lenses that can be used, and for me, all they need is one more fast prime (an 85) and maybe a 28 prime. But those will be here in time and until then I can use the lenses that are here to cover those focal lengths or one of the many other lenses.

      When you sit down and put it on paper, the A7 series has more lenses that can be used than ANY system on the market. Very practical, as practical as they come. If the 16-35, 24-70, 70-200, 35, 55 is not enough for you and you only want AF lenses then its not for you. I think sometimes people use lenses as an excuse for many things. I reality, all one needs is 1-2 lenses. Many legends shot with either a 35 or 50.

  157. WOW!
    This was the most detailed – and obviously heartfelt review I have ever read about any camera. Kudos for your skill in articulating technical information in a manner that is friendly – and not haughty ( like a few comments I read…)
    Now a member and follower, and think that the a7ii may find a place in my camera bag. Yes, I know it isn’t perfect as a camera….nor am I as a photographer. But it is obvious more feature rich than I will make use of.

  158. Great review as always. Sony deserve a lot of credit for what they’ve done with the A7 series but the elephant in the room is still the lack of native lenses. I totally get the appeal of using older MF lenses with adapters but that’s not for everyone. Some people want / need AF and the full functionality which is sometimes lost with adapters. Surely a company with Sony’s resources could do better than 2 primes and a couple of slow zooms after all this time? I mean they’ve managed 4 iterations of the bodies already – where are the lenses? Seriously, they can’t manage an 85mm portrait lens even?

    The other issue is the eye watering cost of the native lenses. To get what for many would be a bare bones kit of the 2 primes and the f4 24-70 will cost £2,500. Add the cost of the A7ii and you’re looking at £4,100 ($6,300 equivalent) in the UK. Suddenly the ‘affordable full frame’ tag doesn’t seem so apt any more! I know they have the Zeiss name but can they really justify charging 2x the price of the new Nikon 35mm for the Sony equivalent?

    Not trying to be a whiner but I think many potential purchasers will share this perspective and it will keep them away from the system for now.

    • I agree that the “affordable full frame” tag line falls apart when you look at the native lens line up, save for the 28-70 kit lens, which is not supposed to be very good. The lenses all seem to be premium priced. There’s no reason Sony couldn’t offer the 1.8 primes Nikon currently offers at such reasonable prices for its DSLRs.

      I bought the Zeiss 35mm 2.8 FE in advance of my A7ii (or A7s, can’t decide) purchase due to a great deal on Craiglist. The thing is featherweight, which is great. But at $799 list, it’s a ridiculous price to many. What ever happened to the nifty 50s of yore, even Canon and Nikon have $100 or $200 50mm primes that are generally excellent.

      • What I don’t see anywhere in the discussion of the A7 cameras is that, for now, the lack of native lenses makes the series a niche product. To be mainstream, a camera needs to be part of a true system and Sony is nowhere near that yet (though why a company with billions of $ in revenues can’t put out plain vanilla, no R&D required, 28, 85 primes and a 2.8 28-70 or 24-70 2.8 zoom without making customers wait years is a mystery). And photographers won’t take kindly to being lectured that ‘great’ photographers don’t need more than 1 or 2 lenses – that’s just a flimsy excuse. Photographers with the money to run multiple systems alongside each other will no doubt find the A7 series attractive. But for regular people who have to choose one system only, the A7 isn’t there yet. Add the 2 or 3 lenses that most people use and price them in line with Nikon or Canon equivalents and then we’ll be talking.

        • The M9 is an esoteric camera – due to pricing. If you are a pro, or have plenty of disposable income, or even a spare kidney – great….Most of us do not however. It is a nice “brag piece”….Why even compare it to the Sony a7ii?
          As for lenses -I remember just a few years ago, the same complaint being lodged about Micro Four Thirds cameras: 1. The sensor is too small to ever be useful at anything short of great lighting.
          2. There are no lenses – so it is a “niche” product…..

          My – how quickly things change. Apparently, the camera world is much akin to my wife….both require a bit of patience…..but usually both are worth the wait!

          • “Why even compare it (Leica) to the Sony a7ii?”

            I didn’t compare it to Leica – I mentioned Nikon and Canon. Sony appears to believes that the Zeiss name justifies a 50-100% price premium. Not sure that I really want to buy into a system like that.

            Anyway, it’s just that, amidst all the love (much of it justified) being shown to the new Sony, I wanted to throw out some caveats. The main one being that for people who don’t want to use adapters and focus manually (and that must be a large number of potential buyers), the lens range is poor and very expensive. I don’t think it’s unreasonable in (nearly) 2015 to expect a company the size of Sony to provide a basic set of compatible lenses within a relatively short period of time. I’ve yet to see a convincing explanation of why they haven’t done this yet. And vague assurances about future releases don’t inspire much confidence.

            Don’t get me wrong, if money was no object I’d buy an A7ii in a heartbeat and enjoy playing around with all those lovely old lenses. But for those of us who have to think hard about the financial implications of switching systems and want (within reason i.e. excluding wildlife & sports) our cameras to cover most eventualities, the A7 as a SYSTEM isn’t compelling yet.

          • Lenses for the full frame A7 system:

            16-35 Zeiss – Superb Ultra Wide Zoom, SUPERB
            28-70 Kit Zoom – CHEAP and Decent
            24-70 Zeiss – Excellent Zoom, just as good as any Canon or Nikon
            35 F/2.8 Zeiss – Bests my Leica 28 Elmarit at 1/2 the cost.
            55 1.8 – Gets close to the Leica 50 APO at 1/8th the cost. (I have done side by sides on this site. many preferred the Sony lens)
            70-200 f/4 – Here is the 70-200 most people wanted.
            There is also a 28-135 Cinema lens for FE mount by Sony.
            Zeiss 35 f/2 Loxia for FE
            Zeiss 50 f/2 Loxia for FE

            New primes on the way this year. Within 3 years there will be more lenses for FE then you know what to do with as third parties are making them for FE as we speak.

            Those lenses above cover 16-200mm right now. The A7 series is only 13 months old. In 13 months that is quite a number of lenses released. More than Fuji managed to release or Olympus for that matter. The FE mount is NEW so for this many lenses to be out already is quite amazing really.

            So if you want NATIVE mount lenses, there are plenty here now with more on the way. If you want to be adventurous there are so many lenses you can use and have more fun with and get even more beautiful results with for not any more effort. It is the most versatile system you can buy right now with more lenses available to shoot than any other system.

          • I struggle to understand your position. Not saying you are wrong – I just see it differently. I see that technology will not stop because I am comfortable with what I have been getting for results. And – as a by product of that technology ( the computer rules of newer, better, faster, and cheaper apply to all digital devices now – especially cameras ) perhaps the last bastion of “old time photography” is – the LENS…
            It is not without argument that that newer lenses are better – some can point to software being needed to “fix” what in the early days of photography would have been consider a flawed lens. And there are still some fine quality made lenses as well as junk and mediocre stuff too. More than ever. At more price ranges than ever. Which dissolves the value of “investing” in a brand too much…to my point:
            What Sony – like Samsung, Panasonic and others have done is see an opportunity to bring newer ( sometimes “smarter” – sometimes not) and often better performance at a price point than MANY more can afford. No longer is the ability to achieve fine art capable equipment out of the reach of most.
            While there will always be a smaller following for the esoteric brands, which represent real craftsmanship, companies like the electronics giants mentioned above – will continue to dominate camera and lens manufacturing for ONE reason alone. Price. Their ability o invest large – and produce volume benefits all of us with better performance for dollar spent. Period.
            That – is a pragmatic – not artistic – viewpoint, and will grate on some folks – my pre-emptive apologies folks.
            But – name one time that an economics equation has been solved by emotion, rather than fiscal fact.

          • I agree. The cameras become boxes with sensors, shutters, and EVFs. Put whatever lenses you want on that box! Fun. It will become the electronic giants’ game — Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, and maybe Canon. Everyone else will become quaint relics of the past. Even Nikon. And keep in mind, I’m a 30-year Nikonian.

          • Indeed… And – one has to wonder WHEN all of the producers of bodies will re-align their thinking and create a “standard” mount that can accommodate a variety of lenses form various manufacturers. Other industries have seen the wisdom in this, and even a few dig. camera companies so far – with the 4/3 consortium.
            Amazing the technology we have at our disposal now….and just how ridiculously slow to think ahead some of the manufacturers can be about this aspect of lens fitment……And it is not that they are preventing us from using other brands of lenses with all of the available adapters. In fact – they could make more if it were easier still to change from one brand lens to another not he same body.
            But – then I am searching for logic in a world driven more by pride, ego, and emotion it seems. HaHaHa!

          • Totally agree with you. Cost is a huge factor. Another one to keep in mind is that Canon and Nikon are HUGE Japanese companies with fingers in lots of different industries. Cameras are just 1 small part of their companies, They want total domination in all the markets they are in. They have a different business philosophy and less to gain from taking chances than smaller camera companies like Panasonic and Olympus, who can take chances and change quickly. The 1 exception to this is Sony, which is a giant but also seems to be taking lots of chances.

      • Why are you comparing prices of the lenses to DSLR gear? It should be compared to other FF compacts, and there is only one! Leica!!! Now tell me how much the 35 2.8 Elmarit Leica is?
        How many lenses did Fuji et al have within 12 months of release of there mirrorless bodies? Give it time and go have fun shooting as has been mentioned a plethora of lenses that can be adapted to this wonderful innovative camera.

  159. Sounds wonderful. Which reasonably priced adapter you recommend for M6 Leica lenses? Am using one to adapt to my OMD 1, paid $17.

    • I have bought many M to E adapters and at the end of the day I bought two of the best, but they are not cheap (though will last forever and allow close focusing) – if you want a cheap adapter check Amazon as there are a few there for under $20. They are average and usually have loose fits though.

  160. Hi Steve. I’m not married to any system at the moment, but I have been toying with idea of getting either the Nikon Df or D750. The Df due to its size and looks, but am now quite taken with the A7ii. I’m interested in family, travel, and “light” wildlife photography (zoo and local wildlife). Do you think the A7ii focus tracking would be up to it. Thanks

  161. Hello Steve, great review as always !!
    In the A7II – is there a way to set the minimum shutter speed ?
    as I can remember, this is typically not something included in Sony cameras – I am interested to see whether they finally changed it for the a7II.

    if it is missing – do you find this an issue in using it?
    thanks !!

  162. Awesome review. I have been going back and forth between the X-T1 and the A7II since it was introduced. One day I’ve decided, the next not. I cut my teeth on a Nikon F2 and have always wanted to go back to full frame, but that extra $500 has kept me rocking back and forth between the two. I was a Nikon boy using crop sensors, then went to X-E2, which I “like” but do not “love”. I just can’t get used to the ergonomics and menus. I was wondering how you feel the two EVF’s stack up to each other. And how you feel the systems compare in their usability?

    • The X-T1 EVF is HUGE! It’s prob the best one out there. But I would never buy an X-T1 over an A7II for so many reasons. IQ, APS-C vs Full Frame, DR, X-Trans sensor (not a fan), cheap feeling body and lenses, missed focus due to inaccuracies, etc. The X-T1 is a great camera but when side by side with a full frame A7II, it doesn’t hold up.

    • I think the PRO/CONS mentioned in the comparison above summon things up pretty well.
      I have not used the A7II (just handled it), but having recently moved from Fuji bodies to FF I think that with the A7 system the Fuji line looses it’s major selling points. Size and even weight wise, there is not much difference between the Sony and Fuji bodies, and new Fuji primes have a tendency to become increasingly expensive (and large) – so the original size advantage you had with the 18mm and 35mm disappeared.
      If I want a light, reliable and small system, my Olympus Pen with the 12mm and 17mm gives me great IQ under normal conditions and is really fun to use and inspiring. The Fujis I owned were never really fun (fiddling aperture rings on the lenses among other flaws), and though the XT1 is a much better conceived body, the lenses still are cheaply built, almost as expensive as FF lenses while offering poor protection against dust (even when handled very carefully).
      IQ wise, the Fuji Trans sensor, even with a stellar prime (14mm, e.g.) can not match FF, and what I see from these pictures, the gap is growing.

  163. Never have I seen anyone so passionate and crazy about their job as you are Steve. I have been following your website since you reviewed the now old Sony HX1. The website developed enormously and you truly deserve this. As someone who loves photographing and photography I just feel blessed to be able to witness your reviews. The Sony A7II your have jut reviewed is for sure one of THE BEST I have ever read. Thank you very much. Now I know what my next Camera will be.

    • Thank you so much! Yes, I love what I do and feel blessed and lucky to be able to do something I love, therefore I would never take it for granted. I will be doing this for as long as I can see, shoot, write and most importantly, as long as I enjoy it.

  164. Hey Steve! I loved the review. Very thorough and meticulous. Although I will say I was too impatient to wait for it and bought one for myself : ). I totally agree with everything you said though.

  165. Steve, I have the A7s (thanks to you). How does the AF of the A7ii compare to the A7s?

    Is there any upgrade in the performance overall? (Besides 5axis)

  166. Wonderful, detailed review, I will reread it several times:) I’d like to ask your opinion about a good 35mm lens (f2.0 would be nice) with a budget of cca. 500 USD.

  167. great review steve. can you talk little bit more of the color distortions with lenses less than 28mm? i wasnt aware of that, and if its a real issue (difficult to correct post-processing), why would one get the new 16-35 zeiss? (i have been considering that wide angle zoom to add to my zeiss 35/2.8 and 55/1.8). thanks rfh

    • Oh no, the issues with wide angle lenses are strictly limited to Leica M mount lenses wider than 28mm, usually 21mm and wider. The Sony Zeiss 16-35 is perfect as it was made for the A7 series.

  168. Steve, the A7II looks a bit bulky to me. How does it compare in size with the Leica M? Could you maybe add a side-by-side photo?

    • I do not own an M anymore but the A7II is smaller. The M is a larger camera in the world of “mirrorless” and the fact that it has no grip makes it appear smaller. The A7II appears larger due to the grip but it is shorter, same thickness of the body. Grip sticks out more of course but it is not large.

      • So you got rid of the Ms? Didn’t you just buy the MM and MP not that long ago? I know you do this for a living, but now I’m curious. I have the the A7 and the M240, but after traveling with both on a few trips now, I’m thinking more and more about buying into the A7 system. I’ve been using M lens up until this point which don’t always produce the best results for longer exposures. I’m thinking to sell the M240 (I really like this camera) because there is little it can do better than the A7. The M for me is about the optical view finder, the shutter sound and the overall feeling of working with it. Tough one. Can you give some insight as to why you’ve gotten rid of your M’s if its not just for business purposes?

        Thanks

        • Read what is said on the “My Gear” page:

          “But remember, I run a review site and my gear changes often as I have to keep up with the times, it is what I do. If I did not run this blog I would probably still only be shooting my M9 and 50 Lux. :) But just because I buy a camera and add it to this list does not mean it will be with me for years. Cameras are always rotated in and out after 6-12 months as this is how it has to be done when running a review site such as this.”

          So I can not afford to keep ALL cameras, and because I do this 60 hours per week, its basically my life, my job, my career. I review cameras. When new models come out I review them. If they are so good that it beats whatever my personal camera is at the time, then I replace my personal camera. I have had the M8 for 3 years. M9 for 3 years and the M for about 2. Would have been 3 if the Sony A7s and A7II were not released. The A7 and A7r did not cut it, not even close (to replace my M) but the A7s and A7II did and does.

          The A7II is amazing IMO and beat my M’s in every way BESIDES of course the RF experience and battery life. IQ and usability are top notch with the Sony, and I kept my Leica lenses, just realized that I would not use the body anymore with the Sony’s around. Many others feel the same and have done what I did.

          Leica needs a really amazing new M in 2016 (which is when the next one will be out as the M is on a 3 year cycle) – it has to have a new sensor, better color performance, some kind of hybrid built in EVF/RF that is usable (instead of the slow and clunky $500 external EVF), etc. They should ditch the video and concentrate on making the M as good as it can be in 2016. If they do not do this they will be in trouble and in the same place they were just before the M8.

          • Thanks for the quick response on this Steve, thanks for the honest review…always. Happy New Year!

          • “They should ditch the video and concentrate on making the M as good as it can be in 2016。“ – agreed.

            “some kind of hybrid built in EVF/RF” – I am not really that hot on any EVF. Just the RF seems good enough for how I shoot. I can see why Live view can be very helpful in some situations, but I tend not to use it and rarely run into situations when I have to use it.

            Is it set in stone that the next M will for sure come out within 2016?

          • Leica NEEDS an EVF / RF hybrid. They still have way too many issues with RF’s going out of alignment from the slightest bump or shake. This causes people to not realize their camera is off yet their images are. It has happened on every M I have owned since the M8, more than once, and gets frustrating. They need this tech to survive. If they release another M 240 with the same RF, no real innovation, then their sales will plummet more in 2015 than they already have in 2014. They NEED to be innovative while keeping it simple and without fluff. A Hybrid EVF/RF would make things so much easier. USE the RF if you want, or the EVF – also, the EVF has to be a fast user experience, not a laggy one.

  169. Steve, the A7II looks a bit bulky to me. How does it compare with the Leica M?

  170. What a great review. Thank you. Sony is really going to shake the camera market, unless Canon and Nikon jump on the wagon (late).

    You have tested so many third party lenses, I believe we don’t have to wait for sonys native lenses. I really ask myself to abandon my old equipment.

    There is only one thing left, which confuses me. I’m also doing landscape, architectural fotography. It seems you mostly shoot wide open aperture. But how do all your tested lenses perform stopped down at the corners and edges? Could you post some pictures? Or simply place the main subject on the corner, edge when you shoot wide open.

    I read some comments about every third party adapter performing bad on the edges and corners (roger cicala from lensrentals.com), I also saw pictures where the same lens mounted on an leica m got sharp edges, but on the a7 was mushy.

    http://photographicwanderings.com/2013/12/04/leica-m-lenses-on-the-sony-a7-a7r-confusion-galore/

    http://www.leicaplace.com/showthread.php?t=435

  171. I have been wanting to try digital out for a while but haven’t been willing too just yet. I shoot with leica m3 and the minolta cle. I don’t really focus traditionally I just mostly zone focus. I was wondering if I can have that same experience with the sony a7ii?

  172. Steve

    What is your current feeling about the Speedmaster .95 lens – did not see it mentioned in any of your recent reviews.

    Thanks

    Chris

    • It’s a nice lens for the money. Big, heavy, and not up to the Noctilux in color, contrast or sharpness (or Bokeh) but its a unique lens that is very good for the price you pay. At 11X less expensive than the Noct you get the speed and shallow DOF but not the same separation and pop. The color from the Noct is also world class (same as the 50 APO)

  173. I have a Df… with the best nikkor prime and zoom.. I’m interest for something smaller but with the same quality. But I’m scared for manual focus… It is easy and fast?? I’m not a pro… but travel with a big backpack it’s a problem.. also when I am with friends it’s a problem to shoot with a big camera…

    • Manual focusing for me, is very easy. I have a few friends who use manual lenses on an A7 body as well and they love it. If you are new to MF, it may take a couple of hours to get the swing of it, but for me it is my fave way to shoot these cameras.

      • I don’t find manual focusing difficult, but it isn’t as fast as AF and there are times I just don’t want to do it. From Steve’s review the A7II sounds like exactly the camera I want, but its downfall is that the AF lenses I need just aren’t there yet. Sony has gone through four generations of A7 camera, but they can’t manage to push an 85mm lens out the door?!? Maybe NEXT year the A7II will be MY camera of the year…

  174. I just wonder how the big boys in the room, canikon, will respond with future product releases. They have to be worried and I would think (I could be wrong), their R&D expertise has to be better or on-par with Sony. I really think Sony took them all by surprise.

  175. Steve is right about the battery issue. I got a chance to try A7II and the battery life is NOT acceptable by any means. I don’t know what Sony were thinking designing this camera but with power hungry built-in sensor stabilizer it drains the battery in the blink of an eye.
    I’m not sure what solution is, carrying a powerpack in your pocket?

    • Buy 2-3 batteries. I have four batteries (extras) that cost me $50 and came with two rocket blowers, lens cloths and two chargers. I throw the extra batteries in my bag and if I need one, I swap them. Battery will last me a day but should last a week :)

  176. Dear Mr. Huff ,
    I’m an RX1owner and am satisfied to shoot exclusively in 35mm focal length .
    Should I buy the a7II ?

    • If you are happy with the RX1R (which is a special camera) then no, no need. You will not get BETTER results with the A7II, just more versatility and the IS. You would lose out on the 35 f.2 lens, unless you purchased the new Loxia.

  177. Steve,
    an excellent review, honest and differentiating carefully. I’d like to get a feel on the BULB capabilities of this sensor, maybe you could add a paragraph checking for the time-limits on bulb at f4 iso200/800/1600/6400/12800… taking a shot at the moon/stars or anything you like at dark context.
    The manuals are not giving any indication, same with Nikon, clearly with Leica (60/8s). Can it do 30/60/120/240s, frequently (during 30m)? It’ll be a great star, milkyway, aurora borealis camera, where the M just falls 2 stops short.

  178. For years I thought that the size and weight of full frame was too high a price to pay for switching from my NEX-7. Then the A7 came along and changed all that.

    I loved my A7. And, now I have the A7II and it’s changed everything again.

    In 2009, when the Panasonic GF1 came out, I remember the dpreview review saying that the GF1, “becomes a sublime thing….” That’s how I feel about my A7II: It becomes a sublime thing. It just does it — it just gets out of the way of the lenses that I put on it.

  179. Thanks Steve! I’d like more of your perspective on the 24-70 f4 lens on this camera…..also the 70-200

  180. So the real upgrade here is the image stabilization? Other than that the image quality should be near identical to the A7 correct? I keep searching for more info on the upgraded sensor with better color and ISO range but keep seeing that it’s the same from the A7. Is this correct?

    • Upgrades:

      New body design, more pro build, better ergonomics
      Better/inproved weather sealing
      Better/Beefier lens mount
      5 Axis IS
      Tweaked processing for improved IQ and Color
      Better Pro style battery grip accessory

      a few more but these are the main things..

  181. Thank you so much for your review Steve. Sometimes I’m thinking that reading good articles about photography is much more fun that using a camera itself… As far as I know you didn’t mention a word about your favorite exposure mode. What mode did you use most often with the A7II?

  182. Hey, Steve. Which color profile(Creative style) do you love or used most on A7-II?

    • Well these only come into play when shooting JPEG but I prefer Standard with some tweaks (+1 contrast, +1 sharpness and +1 color) – also “clear” can be interesting as well.

  183. It is surprising and disappointing that they are still limiting the A7 Series to compressed raw files. Once they provide uncompressed raw files and a full set of high-quality fast primes the A7 Series will be a good option, despite the poor design. Until then, they are interesting but not great, in my opinion.

    They should remove the AA filter as well.

  184. The A7 II seems to be very nice, thanks for the real life test with lots of samples, steve. I do own the A7 Mark I, and being way happy with that, and a bunch of old C/Y Mount Contax Zeiss, Yashica ML & Minolta MC&MD Rokkor Primes and also Zoom lenses – it does make much fun, especially for the price.

    Greetings from germany,
    Marc

  185. Steve, looking into the future (yes, we know you can…); what will the A9 bring? I had the a7r but sold it as I knew something even more mature would soon come. For me I think real weather sealing would be top of my list…

    • I have no idea at all on the A9. None. If the rumors are correct we will see something in Feb. I expect if this is real, and a “pro A9” is released it will come in at $2799, maybe more, and be on the level of a D810 style of camera without being a DSLR.

      • Steve it is just me again with a question: As you may recall I have ton of (prime, zoom, etc. glass for Kaf/kaf2 Pentax mount. If I were purchase the new A77II could I somehow be able to use any of lenses on the A77II. Also should I hold of until Feb 2015 and see what Sony will offer then? Thanks

  186. Hi steve, fantastic review, thanks. Have you used it with the 50 cron asph? I got an M that cannot live without the cron and i am considering to buy a second body (hesitating between a7ii or a7s)

  187. YES, I am reading all these test reports too! But, I close my eyes and take a new camera in my hands, and feel the haptic and functions, and if the camera doesn’t speak to me, I put the camera back onto the counter top! The other technical and image bla bla bla, is at least for me only marginal!

    • Here, here! I use the haptic test. The Nikon Df failed miserably. All the Sony cameras except the RX1R failed too. What passed? The Nikon D4, all Leica M cameras and the Fuji X-T1. They can all output great files and have lots of lenses to choose from. If they don’t feel right in the hand they don’t get bought because they won’t get used. Period. Steve will say that’s personal choice, which it is.

      • So you tested the A7II? For me it feels so much nicer than a Nikon D4 and a Fuji X-T1 (no contest there). The A7II is one of the best feeling cameras I have. Leica M is my fave for “feel”, Sony A7II is #2, E-M1 is #3. Near my last place would be cameras like the Nikon D810, D4, Canon 5D. I loved the Df controls and layout so we may be on opposite ends of the spectrum here, lol. The A7II feels nicer than the RX1 as well (to me). Much easier to handle and use with the better grip and placement, but yes, personal pref. What one likes, someone else may hate and vice versa. There is no replacement for actual personal experience. Thanks and always glad to hear from you.

        • Steve, I like dedicated, labeled knobs for shutter speed and ISO at a minimum so I can pick up the camera and know before I turn it on. All the Sonys fail there. It’s a go/no go for me the same way that a viewfinder is for you. Happy holidays and keep the great stuff coming!

          • M doesn’t have an ISO dial :) Nikon D4 doesn’t have an ISO dial :) The A7II, any button can be assigned to ISO, but I leave mine on auto 100% of the time with just about every camera I use so I am not a stickler for the ISO dial. The Df has one, but you dislike that camera. The A7II has a shutter speed dial – works like a Nikon. ;)

  188. Steve,
    I wish you all the best for 2015. I do think that all of your reviews tell the most of all the points of importance regarding the camera or the lens reviewed and this is a nice thing.
    Personally after my experience with the a7r, my time spent with the a7 and a7s I cannot share your enthusiasm. Sony a7 system has many serious drawbacks for a pro or an advanced photographer. It is still immature and the lack of native lenses is a disadvantage. The AF adapter does not perform at par with the AF on most DSLRs and the nature of Sony’s RAW files leave many things to be desired in the rendition of colour detail especially in nature photography. I cannot speak about a7II as I have not ever touched it, but I do believe that an extraordinary EVF and compact size and the feature of super high ISO do not suffice to make a great camera. The adapters are not a always a solution and to use huge lenses on this tiny body without the battery grip presents some serious problems.
    In other words Sony is great to play around but it is neither a tool of the trade nor a tool of art photography. Regarding the image quality Sony is impressive but it is not a Leica, for sure. Regarding the build quality and potential it is not a Nikon or a Canon either.
    Best regards,
    Dimitris V. Georgopoulos
    Photographer at Large
    Athens, Greece

    • There are quite a few native lenses for the E mount. Of course, nothing like Nikon or Canon who have been developing lenses for 20X longer than Sony but in the short couple of years we have some fantastic full frame lenses that are up there with the best Nikon and Canon offer, and more on the way this year and next. I would never use a DSLR lens on a A7 body, never. DSLR lenses are huge, fat, heavy and take away from the beauty of a mirrorless camera. Native lenses and old RF lenses (and new RF lenses) shine on the A7s and A7II. What make the A7Ii a superb camera is the entire package – pro body/build, superb EVF (beats any optical DSLR finder I have used), snappy Af, excellent MF abilities (that beat any DSLR), great low light, great size, gorgeous IQ that stands tow to toe with any full frame made today, what is not to like? It’s just as much a pro tool as a Nikon D810 is a pro tool. In fact, I much prefer a Sony A7II to a Nikon D810 which for me was huge, slower to AF, missed AF a few times and was just so large and heavy it was uninspiring. The cool thing about the A7II? It inspires. Once you use it, and see the beautiful IQ that is obtainable…there is no going back. Pros can use it, amateurs can use it and enthusiasts can use it. The IQ beats the Leica M 240, that is not even a question. It has better color, a tad sharper and quite a but more pop. Also much better in low light. No, the body is not a Leica M, but the IQ beats the Leica M and this is coming from what most consider a ‘Leica Fanboy”.

      • I have used both DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. I agree with you that apart from a few niches, mirroless systems are the smarter buy. What is a DSLR but something half way between a 35mm SLR and a mirrorless body? It took a while for ‘pure’ digital cameras to appear, but they did.

        Needless to say, if you happen to have a DSLR right now, then use it. It’s not going to perform worse than it did yesterday!

  189. Thanks very much for the comprehensive review!

    I wondered if I could ask for some friendly advice? Up til now, we’ve just been using a point & shoot camera, and we’re now wanting to get something better for our family and vacation photos (and actually learn how to use the functions instead of just setting the camera to auto all the time).

    I love the feel of the EM-1 and was going to buy one of these, but do you think I would be better off going with a Sony full frame for the extra detail? Our main requirements are quick autofocus, good performance in low-light situations and decent tracking for sports (I’m talking kids athletics not professional level shots). I really like the colours produced by the Sony – the pictures really seem to pop.

    Can you (or anyone else) please help steer me in the right direction? Could you also please advise on what would be a good all-round lens for everyday shooting?

    Thank you so much for your help and keep up the great work!

    • I think coming from a P&S that the E-M1 may be the better bet for you. It is quick, snappy, small, has fantastic lenses and has a pro body as well. Love that little guy. If you want a zoom, the 12-40 rocks. The primes are where it is at though. The 17 1.8, 25 1.8, and 45 1.8 are stellar.

  190. Thanks for mentioning battery life. I own a A7 and the one big complain I have is the battery. Hearing that it got even worse is a deal breaker for upgrading for me, This, and the fact that I’m really happy with the A7 :) It has some great image quality and i wonder if they will bring the better color rendition to the A7 with a firmware upgrade. Should be feasable as Image processor and sensor are the same.

    We’ll see :)

  191. Ok, IQ kicks that of M240, you wrote. Steve, weird question: I know that the Experience of shooting is something personal, and the “zen” of using a rangefinder camera is something really different than using a “normal” camera.
    Knowing that, I’d like to know if you, yes, you in person :) had to choose between your silver Monochrom and this great A7II, what would you do?

    • The MM is so much different as that camera is B&W only, and when using it you go into a B&W state of mind. The B&W from the MM is different than anything out there that can be converted, but only slightly so. In use, I will always prefer a Leica M, but I just can not deny the facts, and that is that the A7II can put out a better looking image and is just about as well made for so much less.

      • Marcosartoriphoto
        I certainly agreed with Steve on using the M and there is nothing can compare with that joy. Hence, I will keep going back to the M even though I will continue to use the Sony A7S and A7II with the leica, zeiss, and voigtlander M mounted glasses.

  192. Hi Steve, thanks for your review. I’m a long-exposure seascape photographer currently using an E-M5 plus 12-40 at 12mm for my work but am frustrated at there currently being no UWA lenses (16-20mm) that take filters.
    The 12-40 is a really superb lens – in your opinion, does the Zeiss 16-35 on the A7II match the E-M5 with the 12-40?
    Many thanks,
    Mike

    • The 16-35 is fantastic, but with an f/4 aperture. It’s not an f/2.8 lens yet its pretty large. Image quality wise, its up there with the best I have used for wide angle and yea, meets the 12-40 in that regard.

  193. Great review Steve! Thanks for putting the time an effort into it. I am spending a few days with the family up in San Fransisco and have been shooting the A7II with the Mitakon Dark Knight 0.95. You are correct about the ease of manual focus with this camera and the low light performance rocks.

    Enjoy your holiday with the family.

  194. Thanks for an excellent review and a great Christmas present to me and several others I am sure, or what ever others may celebrate. I returned my A7r due to the noise of the shutter and some “tint” issues when using my 28m 2.8 M. Already have delivery of the A7II (B&H does such a great job….always from your link) and getting some beautiful results with my 35cron R and Cameraquest R adaptor. Fast focusing is a skill I am trying to learn. 20 years worth of R and M lenses to try on my new A7II…..which, I would have never bought if not for your heart felt passionate initial impression. Hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas. Happy New Year.

  195. Just wanted to put one more thing out there. I’m not sure you should have used the Noctilux in this review. I think it clouds people’s judgement concerning the camera. They come and view pictures that seemingly show off the A7II but are really showing off the lens itself. It’s not the same thing. The Nocti is a dream lens because it’s giving you three critical aspects of high end performance at a focal length seldom seen all in one. Shallow DOF, sharpness and micro contrast. All three, all there and wide open. Totally appreciate the awesome photo’s…but as a gear addict, just sayin.

    Also, for those who mentioned jumping from an EM1 to the A7II. I would state the biggest difference is DR. Then again, it doesn’t always matter depending on your shooting style. I own the EP5 and the A7 now along with a myriad of other cameras. I think I bought 7 cameras this year. I sold off half my Olympus glass after buying pretty much all of the primes minus the Nocticron. Why? Rendering. I like the way Zeiss renders it’s bokeh better. I like the colors better as well for out door type work which I mostly do. I also realized I could care less about body size. In terms of sharpness though, sorry…Oly has that covered in spades. It’s just personal preference, but don’t expect the differences to blow you away. They won’t. If you are enamored with the Noctilux I suggest looking at the Nocticron on the EM1….pretty rediculous. It makes that 16MP sensor sing like there is no tomorrow.

    • I used the Noctilux as well as the Sony 16-35, Sony 35 2.8 and even some with the 55 1.8. I used ALL lenses to paint a thorough picture of the abilities of this camera. 99% of reviews will be based on the 16-35, 35 2.8, 55 1.8, etc. No harm in ADDING to those lenses with an option that many here will be using or considering. There are probably over 1000 readers here who own the Noctilux, so for them, this was very useful. For those that do not own one, they can see what the lens can do. I clearly labeled what lens was used for the images, so there are plenty examples here from ALL lenses. To leave out lenses like the Noctilux would have been silly since I have one here.

  196. Why did you shoot your video ”Video test of the 5 Axis IS and A7II along with a side by side with the A7s” in 720p (on youtube) ? Perhaps there would some jitter at 1080p as seen on the video EOSHD.

    Nice review anyway !

    • I didn’t, I shot it in 1080 and converted it to 720 for ease of uploading in YT. Besides it was a 5 Axis test not a video quality test. 1080 was not needed. When I watch the 1080 version full screen I see no jitter, looks the same as my 720 sample.

  197. There is no magic in that Noctilux…it’s called rediculous shallow DOF and razor sharp corners. Look at those pics man. The corners are so sharp it hurts my eyes. You don’t see pics often like that where the freaking corners attract just as much attention as the center.

    I will say this though. I could post a dozen pics from pretty much any camera and wiz bang anyone into believing it’s the best. What makes this camera special is the sum total of it’s strengths. The price, 5 axis, build, size..ability to use any lens, decent AF. It’s a dream camera…it really is. This is what people I think just a few years could only dream of and here it is. Except you can actually afford it. What more do you want? That freaking Noctilux is what…..

  198. Steve, thanks a lot for an excellent review! Further, I’m going through you product recommendations and they’re really value for money. The link to Batteries + Charger bundle is the best I’ve seen, too bad I have already purchased less for a higher price. :( Anyway, will recommend this to everyone I know who’ll be interested so they could click through here. Keep the reviews and pics coming and all the best! :)

  199. Thanks for all this info. Since so much of the review (deservedly) emphasized the use of adapted lenses, I have a couple of questions about that:

    — Can image stabilization be set to stay active when focusing magnification is in use, as it can on the Olympus E-M 1? I find on my Olympus that a stabilized finder image makes critical manual focusing much easier, so I’m hoping Sony can do the same trick.

    — When changing adapted lenses, I assume you need to enter the focal length so the image stabilization system will know how much compensation to apply. How hard is it to get to the focal length setting in themenus? (Of the cameras I use now, the Olympus is pretty easy and the Fuji seems unnecessarily difficult.)

  200. I wish my initial impressions were as positive as yours:

    1. I hate the speckled finish. I much prefer the black paint. It feels like a cheap firearm to me, sorry.
    2. The new grip adds an indent for the middle finger, but makes it too small for my pinkie to cradle it.
    My pinkie ends up under the camera, where the additional weight adds strain, because only two fingers are gripping the camera now.
    3. The new dial buttons are plastic and cheap compared to the A7s. They real don’t look or feel good at all.
    4. The front aperture dial is too easy to knock loose. On my first day of shooting on the streets it was off by 1 – 4 stops every time I checked.
    5. The mount lugs are now higher up the body. This means that most 3rd party strap rings will foul the body at the top, necessitating o ring bumpers to be installed. My Art Di Mano Laccio strap wouldn’t cover it with it’s supplied bumpers!
    6. The shutter is too loud for the street. Rather than the damped thud of the Leica M, it is a high pitcher whirr and click and was noticed by everyone I shot today. This is useless as a street camera IMHO. It needs the A7s silent shutter.
    7. Battery life is reduced compared to the A7s. While the A7s would give me around 5 hours of street shooting, the A7 II was down to 35% remaining after only a little over an hour (and this with the display off).
    8. The additional weight is noticeable. It stretches straps taught and with the 55 1.8 is very front heavy.
    9. Steady Shot is less than perfect. I was shooting at 1/250s and actually had a couple of shots that were soft and not focussed – something I’ve never had with the A7s.

    The IQ is fantastic and there are minor improvements, such as a new command button and the ability to turn the screen off, but after a continuing love affair with the A7s, this feels like a step backwards to me.
    Having the ability to get close and not seen or heard is something every street photographer needs.
    Good luck getting candid shots with the A7 II.
    Good luck getting any shots if the aperture doesn’t stay where you set it…

    • 1. It’s all personal pref. Some will prefer the shiny coating of the A7, some will prefer the more rugged finish of the II.
      2. The A7 also has no place for your pinky. Adding a JB grip or other bottom plate grip (picked one up for my A7s for $22 on Amazon, amazing difference) will fix this. Many cameras do not offer a place for the pinky.
      3. Not true. They look and feel great on my A7II. I have the A7s and A7II, the dials and buttons feel identical. I am twisting them right now and feel no difference.
      4. I have zero issues with the front dial. It has never moved in use unless I moved it.
      5. I have mounted 3 straps without one issue. Not sure what you issue here is exactly? Hmmm.
      6. The shutter is more subdued than my A7s which is more subdued than the A7 and A7r. Slight but it’s the most subdued A7 shutter sound yet. I have had NO issues shooting ANYTHING with the A7II. Many DSLRs are just as loud.
      7. True.
      8. The 55 1.7 is a light lens, VERY light. The camera is in no way front heavy with it (are we handling the same camera)? One of the things I dislike about the 55 is how featherweight it is.
      9. 5 Axis is AMAZING. Never do I get a blurred shot as long as I am within reason and not trying to handhold at 1 second. At 250th there had to be user error or your steady shot was off.

      Only one of your issues was shared by me, that is the battery life. Which again, is no big deal. I can shoot all day with one battery (as I do not shoot in machine gun style) and having 4 more at a cost of $40 was not a big deal. Still, I hope Sony creates a new battery for the next one.

      • 2. I prefer the RRS lens plate, but they aren’t available yet for the A7 II.
        3. Do you have gloves on? :)
        4. But it is exposed to the elements now. On the A7s it is where the shutter button has now been relocated to, completely enclosed by the surrounding grip and unlikely to get nudged off.
        Sooner or later you will hit it and then you’ll see what I’m complaining about…
        5. Look at the strap lug position from the front of the camera. The right lug has been lifted higher than the left, allowing a ring to bend over towards the EVF housing and foul the body. Simple to test and verify this. My Art Di Mano Laccio straps fouled it even with their supplied bumpers. Only a 15mm silicon O ring fixed it.
        6. It’s high pitched and whiny rather than damped. I was recognized at every shot with it on the street.
        8. Hold the camera up by the strap and see if the lens dips forward. If it does, it is front heavy.
        On mine the 55 dips until it cannot go further, pulling the strap tight. If the lens is indeed so light, this means the body is front heavy and unbalanced.
        9. It happened on a couple of occasions.
        10. I tested it in lowish natural daylight today with the F2.8 wide open and it refused to gain focus with it set to flexible spot S. I had to go to M before it would lock. The A7s would do this all night in the dark with ease.

        So, in conclusion, I know you love it, but I honestly think that it is a step backwards on a few fronts.

        I may grow to love it and use it for travel or portrait shots of the family, but as a street photographer, the best camera for me is still the A7s.
        The IQ may not be as detailed, but it works, it’s light, it doesn’t eat the battery and it’s silent and it will work in all light conditions flawlessly.

        • 2. Either way, something is available or will be.
          3. No.
          4. Nope, don’t think so. Hasn’t happened in a solid 2-3 weeks of use, daily use.
          5. I attached a Luigi Strap, a Street Strap, A Wrist strap, and a braided leather. No issues. At all.
          6. Not high pitched at all. Did you see my video? No whiny, no high pitch. Odd.
          8. ANY camera with a lens as long as the 55 will dip forward when holding it up by the strap. The A7s does this as well. My E-M1 does this with the 12-40, the Leica will do this with the Noctilux or 75 or 90 cron. It’s a physics thing.
          10. You either have a defect somewhere or are using it improperly. I have shot with the 35 2.8 AT NIGHT and never missed one shot.

          Its a huge step forward in all areas besides battery life. Thats the fact. The A7s and A7II eat batteries BTW. The A7II is a little more power hungry so eats them a little faster.

  201. Hi Steve – thanks so much for serving all of us via your reviews – they must take a lot of work and we’re very grateful. I was wondering if you have a perspective on the A7II vs the A99? Many Sony pros and enthusiasts bought the A99 when it came out and like me have not have not switched yet to mirrorless. Do you see any improvement in IQ or otherwise from the A99? Thanks.

    • I was not a huge A99 fan as it was SO LARGE! It was and is a beast. I am allergic to these kinds of cameras :) So for me, A7II all the way. With that said, I find the IQ to be better from the A7II.

  202. Good read. Your portrait use of the Noct is magic. The Noct is the single most difficult lens to use and use properly (that I have ever owned). You did it justice. Thanks!

    • Steve
      I have used the MITAKON f0.95 with the A7S and I think it is also difficult to focus at wide open just like the Noc t since that is a lens that I can afford for now

  203. Great review Steve, I really enjoy the images you capture with your brilliant lens collection. This new A7II really hits the sweet spot by doing so many things so well. The versatility of this camera is unmatched, the Sony FF 24 megapixel sensor is truly fantastic.

  204. I agree the A7ii is a fantastic camera. My main wish is for faster autofocus because I shoot a lot of action. Yes, I can make it work but I’m glad to hear Sony saying that they are aware that faster autofocus is number 1 on user’s wish list. Battery life is no problem since it’s easy to carry a few spares in a pocket. Thanks for getting your review out. It just confirms I made a good decision in moving to the A7s and A7ii. The A9 should be very interesting but I hope it is not too big and heavy.

  205. Steve – thank you merrily for the A7II review! I have the Leica M – 0.95 Noctilux combo, among other lens, and continue to stand in amazement (like yourself) every time new images are downloaded. In fact, I never want to take the Noctilux off of the M. It’s that good, upgrading from the Summilux 50. I have on order the Sony A7II, and cannot wait to experience the rendering, especially considering the stabilization. Your reviews are much appreciated, on target, and I plan on donating to your site direct. It’s not only worth it to me, but should be valuable for any serious photographer. Thank you for working during the holiday season to make your fans informed (again)!

    Happy New Year!

    • Steve
      I own both M240 and Sony A7S. Every time I take pictures with the M with the Leica glass, I still have tremendous joy that is even beyond what I can get from the A7S even though the IQ may be the same or better than the M at times. The rangefinder experience plus the simplicity of the menu that is something the A7S doesn’t have. After your review of the A7II, I will order that to see if the IQ is better with the Sony 55mm f1.8 is indeed better with this body than the A7S. I will not wait until some time next year to get the updated version of A7S.

  206. Great review. Thanks.

  207. How does the 35mm f2.8 compare with the 55mm f1.8 ? I know that they are completely different focal lengths but f2.8 seems quite low for its price so which one would you choose for a “one lens setup” ?

  208. Thanks, sounds like a very nice box.

    I’ll look forward to the III. At this point, I just refuse to tolerate iffy autofocus. DSLRs nailed that a long lonh time ago, it seems with so many mirrorless we make excuses, concluding that it is ‘good enough.’ Additionally, battery life of DSLRs just give so much more security.

    I say this with some disappointment, since I would prefer to switch, and hopefully in another year when Sony announces the follow-on it will be overcome.

    What I don’t see possible to overcome is the lens issue. Whether its own lenses or third party, once a bag is filled up with lenses & accessories, most of the advantage of carrying around the Sony vs a DSLR seem to evaporate, bulk and volume and weight becoming very similar.

    What is not at all disappointing is the price. Good for Sony for being the price leader.

    • Just to chip in (having used both Canon high-end DSLR and now Sony’s A7 and A6000):

      1. Autofocus on the Sony’s is not bad. It’s only when you are a professional sports shooter, regularly going at 5fps or 10fps, then Canon and Nikon shine. I consider this a “specialty” issue.

      2. On the other hand, MANUAL FOCUS is unbelievably much better on the mirrorless cameras. With Sony’s peaking, or automatic image magnifier (that switches on as soon as you touch the lens focus ring) manual focus is a great joy!

      To me, the advantage of having great manual focus completely outweighs the slight autofocus advantage of the “big boys”. But then I am not a professional sports shooter.

      3. Battery life is a non-issue, buy 2 spares and you are fine. $25 well spend.

      4. If you routinely carry a BIG BAG with many lenses, accessories etc., then you are right, the difference between DSLR and Sony’s fullframe cameras diminishes. On the other hand, many people like to travel light, one camera, one or two lenses at the most, and then it makes a BIG DIFFERENCE. For that reason I still love my A6000, and it’s image quality is not all that far behind A7.

      In Summary, Sony is more than just the “price leader”, and as more time passes the more difficult it will be for Canon and Nikon to catch up. They face the same initial problem as Sony did: as soon as they come out with a mirrorless model, non of their current lenses (which they built their reputation on) will fit, unless using some cumbersome adapter. By that time Sony and Zeiss will already have 20+ native lenses for their e-mount.

      THANKS STEVE FOR YOUR WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS PRESENT CAMERA REVIEW!

      • I wasn’t comparing DSLR vs Mirrorless, because I don’t have a dog. I was comparing state of the art for cameras. It happens that DSLR still has real advantages that I expect mirrorless to step up to to. Battery life is one. While I know there are work arounds, such as carrying a bunch of extra batteries, each battery and each lens adapter adds weight to the whole package. The added weight of each battery and each adapter detracts from the overall comparable utility.

        I’m not comparing this in a vacuum; for example, there is the Nikon Df; 1000 shots with the battery. Set the camera down for 3 or 4 months and pick it up, the battery still shows almost a full charge. And this camera, too is great with legacy Nikon lenses without an adapter.

        I guess I’m waiting for Sony semi-equivalence to what we know is possible today in the camera world, in total weight (say camera and three lenses), without compromise and without excuse. It seems like they are nearly there, and I’m hopeful in next year’s release of the new generation to grab an A7III, or else this A7II at its end of year price and give it a shot anyway.

      • Responses from a Sony RX100 and Canon 6D owner:
        1. Try taking photos of your kids in a dark room. Or shooting a wedding reception with hardly any light. It’s funny how people rationalize mirrorless as “good enough,” but then tout when the same cameras make improvements that make them equal to DSLR’s. You can get a Canon SL1 and fast 50mm for less than a mirrorless kit that would be equal in focusing and image quality, and to the average consumer, price is a big factor because they really won’t be able to tell the difference in image quality.

        2. Depends on what style of shooting you’re talking about. Landscapes or still subjects, yes, I can see the advantage mirrorless has with manual focus. Then again, if you’re putting your camera on a tripod, you can use live view on a DSLR. But if you’re doing street photography and are doing zone focusing, any camera can be fast as long as you know how hyper focal lengths and apertures work. Henri Cartier Bresson did pretty well without focusing aids. But everyone seems to go crazy nowadays about f/-0.009 lenses and thin as paper depth of field, so whatever floats your boat, just don’t let the camera and lens dictate your artistic style when it should be you making the camera do what you want.

        3. Sure, spare batteries are fine as long as you aren’t worried about missing shots. But if you’re shooting your kid’s special occasion or a wedding where you only have 1 chance to get the shots, you don’t want to be worrying about the battery running out.

        4. If you want to really travel light, go for a pocket camera like the Sony RX100 or the Ricoh GR. Personally, I think if you have to carry a camera on your shoulder, then arguing about size and weight differences between cameras is just nitpicking. Maybe if you’re hiking all day and you need to save all the weight you can, then I can see weight being a big issue. Otherwise, just carry what you want and if you get tired, take a rest and leave extra equipment in your car. You can always walk back to swap equipment, the extra exercise will be good for you.

        • 1. I do this all the time with my A7s and it is the best AF camera I have ever used in low light, beating even a D4s and obliterating a Nikon Df.

          3. Batteries last a long time, just not for weeks. They are no issues for a day shoot.

          4. There are huge differences between carrying a Sony A7II or A7s on your shoulder over a Canon 6D and an L lens. The Canon will be 2X bigger, 2X heavier and that makes a HUGE difference. I have an RX100 (stellar) and a Sony A7s, A7II, Oly E-1. These for me represent “as good as it gets” in 2015 for ANY camera, DSLR’s included. I weigh in everything from design, weight, size, lenses and versatility. These are, for me, the best I can get today for my uses. Including AF in complete darkness WITHOUT an AF assist light with the A7s. :)

          • It’s always interesting to express my opinion and get a reply from Steve! Here are my replies to the replies:

            1. Maybe I should clarify, I was talking about moving subjects (my small kids) in a dark environment. My Sony RX100 does find in low light as long as the subject isn’t moving much. The Canon 6D actually has one of the lowest metering sensitivity (-3 EV) specs in Canon’s DSLR’s and the Sony A7s also goes down to -3EV, so I would expect them to have roughly the same performance. I can’t speak to the Nikon’s, I’ll leave that to a Nikon owner.

            3. As I said before, I don’t want to worry about the battery, and any camera that uses an EVF of some sort with a smallish battery will always use batteries more quickly than a DSLR with a OVF and a largish battery. It’s just physics. Not saying current battery technology isn’t good enough for a day shoot, just saying I trust a DSLR more to last for an all day wedding shoot where I need the camera to be able to take 4000 photos, trigger a flash, power the IS in my lenses, etc.

            4. I only have 1 L lens (the fantastic 24-105 f/1), all my other lenses are primes (28mm f/1.8, 50mm f/1.4, 40mm f/2.8 pancake). I mostly use the primes, so size and weight aren’t an issue for me. And I’m not the type of photographer that feels the need to always have the best glass, I’d rather spend my time and money getting photography books and studying the masters. I had an assistant who had much better equipment than me, had all f/2.8 lenses, better body, etc., and I was still able to out shoot her with my modest equipment. As Scott Bourne used to say, equipment is great, but vision is better.

          • If you’re shooting 4000 photos at a wedding you’re doing it wrong. Learn to get the correct shots and what is needed instead of taking so many. It will save you hours of culling.

          • Greg, I wholeheartedly agree. I’m looking at the 7II to replace my Canon system. The 7II will supplement my Leica M for the 20-25 weddings I shoot/year, in addition to my corporate work. IF I shoot an 8-hour wedding, I deliver on-average 900 images, and I shoot maybe 950. I don’t subscribe to the “spray-and-pray” mindset of shooting for any of my assignments and I don’t miss “the shot”. Ya gotta try it Jonathan; will make your life much simpler!

          • Oops, in comment #4, I meant the 24-105 f/4L. Sorry for the confusion!

    • For the record, the A7II will Af better than the D800 I tested, as well as the Canon 6D. Nothing lacking there at all.

      • This. And the focus is spot on. When I was shooting the 5d3 with L glass, so many inaccurate missed focus shots. So while it focused quickly, there were too many missed focused shots so in the end the speed didn’t matter. The speed of the A7ii is just fine with almost 100% accuracy (for me anyway) which is better than any DSLR I’ve shot with. So quit whinning and make the plunge to mirror less full frame glory ;p

      • How is the low light auto focus?

        As fast as the A6000 is in the daylight, I found it to hunt and stutter in a room worse than point and shoot AF cameras in the 80s. I compared it side to side with similar lenses with a Nikon V1 and an EM-5, and the A6000 could not stand up; I ended up returning it.

        Autofocusing in the A6000 was like Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde depending if it was daylight or dark. How does Mr. A7ii compare?

  209. Steve, would you consider the compactness and lighter weight of the original A7 generation over the II to be worth discussing, or is it more or less the same at the end of the day?

    Still tortured between A7II and A7s. If there was an A7sII at the $2,500 price, I’d know what to do, if only for the grip and button placement. I’m guessing with some of the trade-in deals at B&H, and the offer of original A7 grips for $100 with camera, that the A7r and A7s are due for updating very soon as well.

    • More or less its the same at the end of the day. I was shooting both and by the end of the night I couldn’t tell a difference size wise. Its there but its minor in the grand scheme of things.

  210. Steve, thanks for taking time over Christmas to finish this review. I’m sure it was no chore, though!

    I also thank you for refusing to drown your videos in music. Seriously, I don’t need to be subjected to the producer’s music choices du jour. It’s disrespectful to the audience. Lots of folks think they’re the next Spielberg. They are not.

    I agree with your comments on the battery, but it’s the price one pays for compatibility which goes all the way back to the NEX. Changing batteries is actually quite annoying. Someone will eventually release a smaller battery grip which can hold two Sony batteries.

    You are also right to buy an extra charger – it’s better IMHO to have two chargers and three batteries than one charger and ten batteries.

    I’m curious about how these modern Sony bodies (and the M 240) handle strong, pure light sources such as stars, traffic lights, Christmas lights and tail lights. Small sensors like the one in the iPhone are hopeless at handling these challenging situations. The M9 and lots of DSLRs are not that great, either.

    I will agree that DSLRs (only high end ones) are better for some niche uses. But for most photographers, the mirrorless systems will be more rewarding and will offer net benefits in every area. They are not merely 35mm cameras with a sensor placed where the film used to go: they are true digital cameras.

    Of course nobody likes to see their $5,000 DSLR made redundant not long after buying it, but technology is like that at the moment. As with cars, things will one day settle down and progress won’t be so shocking.

  211. thanks Steve, and well done to sony on another gem of a camera.

  212. Great review! I enjoy reading all your reviews. Just curious: I own a Panasonic GX7, which I enjoy. I have a ton of M4/3 glass (from 7-14 wide to 100-300 zoom). How would you compare the Sony A7II to the GX7?

    I like to take a lot of wide landscape shots with the Panasonic 7-14mm. Looks like this camera has some issues with wide lenses. Thoughts?

    • Would buying a Sony A7II be an upgrade to a GX7?? Maybe I could keep both!! I would probably have to sell it and my lenses though to afford the new body and some new glass..

      • Yes it would be an upgrade in nearly all areas from build quality to EVF to color to DR to detail to high ISO to video, etc. But it will be a bit larger than the GX7 and of course adding in a lens or two is not cheap. It is an upgrade but worth the cost of selling off a body and buying an all new one with lenses? Only you can decide. AF may be a tad quicker on the GX7. Modern day smaller sensor cameras always have faster AF.

  213. Can’t wait to read this and thank you for doing all this work. Here is a link to some Christmas Eve shots I took with my A7 ii w/ the 35mm Nokton 1.2 (latest)… really my first try with the camera.

    http://50lux.com/2014/12/25/more-happy-christmas-eve-2014/

  214. I really like the Sony A7 series of cameras, but I don’t ‘Need’ a FF camera, thought I’d certainly say I ‘Want’ one, which as may may well know isn’t the same thing. I’d just like to be able to compose and get the exposure right in the shots I take, a lot better than I do,

  215. really informative Steve, just so helpful!

  216. Hi Steve. Thanks for the review. I am noticing high noise coming from the A7-ii in you sample photos, with ISO’s over 8000. In some cases like the building night photo (ISO 12800) noise-wise, things are pretty bad. Isn’t this an issue ? Aren’t there entry level DSLRs at the same price point that can perform better at these ISO levels?

    • Noise is the same as the A7. Same sensor. Remember, (I post it several times in the review). I use NO, ZERO, NADA, NOTHING in regards to noise reduction, so what you see in that night time 12,800 shot is basically a torture test, No NR, Night time shooting, and ISO 12,800. For those circumstances the only camera that beats this is the A7s. I never ever use NR. Always have it off or at zero for JPEG and for RAW I use none at all. I hate NR, feels it mottles up the images. So for 12,800, that is not bad at all, and again, same ISO performance as the original A7. No, there are NO entry level DSLR’s that can beat that night time ISO 12,800 shot without NR being on. :)

  217. Now I have just to wait for the A7s II :-)

  218. And, if you want to have even more fun, try the A7II’s stabilization feature with the Tamron 150-600mm. I’ve never purchased a “serious” third party lens until this one but I’m impressed. I can hand-hold at full tele and nail tack sharp shots. I’ve never before owned a 600mm lens but after just a few days, this one seems a bargain at a grand (I already had the $350 Sony LA-EA4 adapter). Now, no squirrel in my neighborhood is safe.

  219. Hello Steve, I understand your thoughts on the battery life. Still I must say, I really love the fact that the battery of my original NEX 5 and the aftermarket secondary battery for the same camera still work in my A6000. I think that has been a good decision from Sony, not to break compitablility here. But maybe there is the day to change that, and then keep the form factor of the battery the same again for some years to come.

  220. Hi Steve! I just went through your review and I echo everything you said! I just bought the A7ii with the 55mm 1.8 and it is light years away from my Canon 5D Mkii with the 50mm 1.4. I used the camera in our holiday parties and everybody was blown away by the quality of the images. The stabilization has a huge impact on those kind of shots. Thanks for the review and have great holidays!

  221. My Pentax K-3 will blow away the Sony A77II in every way. Its just that reviewers refuse to look into one seriously..

    • No, not true. I shot with and used a K3 after loving the previous Pentax models. Great camera that had some issues for many but IQ does not match the Sony A7II for many reasons. It’s a great APS-C DSLR but the Sony is a full frame mirrorless – so FF vs APS-C, Mirrorless vs DSLR, much different system. The Sony can use thousands of full frame classic lenses or Leica M mount glass, taking full advantage of the character. The Pentax can not. APS-C cameras do not replicate a full frame look in any way. There is a depth and richness that full frame offers that I have not seen in any APS-C. But if someone wants a nice DSLR, I often will steer them to the K3. This was posted to this site a while back on the K3:

      http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2014/04/15/a-review-of-the-pentax-k3-and-the-crazy-acting-mirror-sickness-by-amy-medina/

      Unless you have extensively used both, you are not qualified to say anything about a comparison, let alone use terms as “blow away”. Nothing about the K3 blows away the Sony A7II.

    • No, sorry, I won’t ever like Sony. More, I wouldn’t ever buy any Sony since only a few months later it’s old stuff – investment gone, worth a few bucks on the second hands market. Sony doesn’t ever care enough when it comes to ergonomics – this has never been their strength – and it isn’t really different now, OK, a bit better, it’s maybe acceptable for camera-nerds that like this kind of over-iconized screens full of a secret complexity. But they are spot on it when it comes to making technology available. What all the others are currently missing is on on board of that A7mkII, a perfect, modern 35mm stabilized sensor. Nikon with the D7 and Fuji with the X-T1 cut it much better when it comes to the real world use of the camera. A camera is a tool, not just a sensor. The perfect MLIC-camera is still not existing. Until than I’ll continue with my Nikon DSLR and Fuji gear.

  222. I’m so excited that Sony made these cameras. They were stuck losing the DSLR battle…said “screw it” lets try to do something new, did it and it’s changing the camera hardware landscape for ALL of us.

    So when Nikon or Cannon step up to the plate and offer, no doubt, great full frame mirrorless cameras…just remember who gave them the kick in the ass.

    So no matter if you love/hate/don’t care about Sony….thank GOD for them…really!

  223. Excellent review Steve, as always :) I handled this camera today and did love the feel. It feels great in the hand. I own the EM-1 and a Leica M9-p and its right up there with build quality for sure. I think after reading your enthusiastic review I will be purchasing the A7II. I might have to sell the Olympus and the 12-40 2.8 but I do love the full frame look. I will probably miss the lil EM-1 but I’m wanting another full frame and this will most likely be it. Cheers Steve hope you had a great Christmas.

    • Thanks! You have two of the great ones already but you will see a pretty big IQ jump from the E-M1 to A7II. I feel the E-M1 can stand toe to toe with any APS-C but FF, not so much.

  224. Steve
    The Van Gogh beard look rocks.
    Banner photo with you deep into your photography is a keeper.

    Anyone remember the price of camera memory cards 15 years ago.
    Compared to that A7II is a steal.
    Insane darkness litup with fast lens.

    Original A7 with kit lens is now approx $1k.

    Much as I like m43 (em1, 5,10) , apsc (Fuji x100, xpro, XE, xt)
    Once A7II hits $1k it’s gonna be awfully difficult for me to look beyond FF.

    • Too funny but true; the Van Gogh beard rocks. I love the B&W and the quality in your eye is very piercing. I would love to see this photo as your banner photo with, perhaps, Photoshopping out the Sony logo.

  225. Hi Steve, great review and it seems like Sony really nailed it with this one. You mentioned the improved AF speed of the A7mkII, but how does it compare to modern mirrorless like the Olympus E-M1, Panasonic GX7 and the likes? Take a ballet show with fast movements and dim lights for example.

    • I have not shot a scenario as you describe but I would say in general the AF is snappy. I have used faster but it’s snappy for a Sony A7 body. Faster than the A7, A7R, RX1, RX1r… faster than a GX7 in my experience. Not quite as snappy as an E-M1 but this thing is accurate, which I will take any day over blazing and one that locks but misses on occasion. Very accurate AF, which is good. I had no issues with AF, never caused me to miss a shot, even at night.

      • Interesting, many thanks.
        And how would you say it compares with the A6000, from these three viewpoints (speed/accuracy/low light)?
        Thanks again, a great review as always!

        • Totally different cameras. The A6000, which I have here, is nice. It’s one of the nicer APS-C mirrorless cameras for speed, IQ and all around general use. But the Full Frame sensor takes it up a notch with better color, depth, DR and better high ISO performance. Speed wise, the A6000 is quicker by a bit (due to the smaller sensor) but the A7II is no slouch.

      • Have you tested the FF A mount lenses (inexpensive compared to FE) on the a7ii? Worth looking into the SONY A TO E adapter? – Also these Loxia 2/35+2/50 look interesting. Thank you for you wonderful review BTW….

        • I have no interest in A mount lenses on the A7 series because they make the whole setup HUGE. With the large thick adapter and the large lenses, might as well be using a DSLR. if I owned a few A lenses I would but would not buy any A lenses for use on the camera. Just my personal opinion. Eventually most lenses you see on A mount will be for FE mount.

          • I have rented the FE 70-200 for my A7ii. It is a little heavier than i thought. Is it ok to use this lens handheld on the A7 series without a tripod attached to the collar?
            Thanks!!!!

  226. This review of the Sony A7ll is Steve’s Christmas present to us all! Thank you so much!

    • Hi Steve! I just went through your review and I echo everything you said! I just bought the A7ii with the 55mm 1.8 and it is light years away from my Canon 5D Mkii with the 50mm 1.4. I used the camera in our holiday parties and everybody was blown away by the quality of the images. The stabilization has a huge impact on those kind of shots. Thanks for the review and have great holidays!

      • Could you please send a few examples of both cameras , i’d really like to see the difference … I own a 5d mark II and am pretty close to get the sony … thanks in advance

        And thank you Steve for the review !

    • Thanks for a terrific review, as usual. I WILL donate. In your opinion what is the best fast lens (aside from the Leica 0.95) for the Sony A7 II? 45-60mm range.

      • Well, the Sony 55 1.8 is amazing and is a Native mount with AF. That would be my 2nd pic probably. It’s rendering is a little sterile when compared to lenses like the Leica 50 Summiulux or Summicron APO but its still fantastic.

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