HANDS ON! Sony A7RII 1st Thoughts, Images & Video!
By Steve Huff
Woohoo! THIS IS GOING TO BE “NEW SONY WEEK”! Meaning, I am going to be posting quite a few updates on my use with the new Sony cameras, the A7RII and the RX10II!!
Below is an OOC JPEG from the A7RII and Zeiss 25 Batis at f/2. Just a random guy through a window! Click it for larger!
So here I am in Beautiful Portland, Oregon with Sony and loads of other bloggers and media outlets as we get to test and shoot the new Sony line up over the next few days. This includes, for me, the Sony A7RII and Sony RX10II, as I already reviewed the RX100 IV (see that here).
I am SO SO EXCITED as I just came back from a 5 mile walk with just me, myself and the A7RII. I had the Zeiss 25 Batis attached and also shot a few with the Sony/Zeiss 24-70. I am happy to announce that the new resolution MONSTER, the A7RII focuses pretty damn fast. In fact, it appears the spotty and slow focus of the original A7 and A7r is GONE. The A7RII feels just as fast if not faster than my A7II and A7s when it comes to AF! (single shot mode is all I have tested so far)
The two shots below are from the Sony/Zeiss 24-70, which somehow I have never reviewed! All JPEGS!
Now, keep in mind that the camera has been in my hands for about 3 hours and I have only shot stationary objects so far. Over the next few days I will be shooting all kinds of things from landscape, to low light, to portraits (shooting RAW as well) and more. I will give this camera a massive workout so YOU GUYS can see what it is all about and if it is something that may be for you.
These two are OOC JPEGs and color with the A7RII and Batis 25
FOR NOW, this is just a 1st hand on report, and my 1st thoughts and images after shooting with the camera.
Below, check out the video I made about the A7RII which says much more than I can write here to convert my feelings on this gorgeous very “finished feeling and mature” camera.
The camera feels amazing in the hand, looks very “finished” and handsome. It feels like the A7II in the hand. It is much faster to AF than I expected and the IQ, even from standard OOC JPEGS is VERY VERY good and sharp. I can not wait to process some RAW files. The ISO performance from the quick and dirty tests I did in my hotel room look great, and this camera, I feel will be THE camera to get for 2015.
It just has everything one would ever need.
- Resolution? CHECK – 42MP!
- Speed? CHECK! Just as fast to AF, if not faster than my A7II! (so far I have not tested continuous AF, but will)
- Build? CHECK! This camera feels SOLID and very nice.
- VIDEO? AMAZING 4K video specs on this camera!
- An enhanced 5 AXIS STEADSHOT INSIDE! Enough said!
- 2.36 Million dot EVF? CHECK!
- Silent Shutter? CHECK!
- High ISO? Check, up to 102k!
This camera does it ALL. OH, and it even seems to play well with wide angle Leica M mount lenses. Take a look at a shot, with crop, from the Voigtlander 15 4.5 at 4.5:
CLICK FOR LARGER and 100% CROP! OOC JPEG HERE!
So far, just a few hours in, I am LOVING the A7RII and have no regrets for selling my A7II to fund this new camera. So far, I see the A7RII as a camera that can last for the long haul, finally!
PLENTY of MP, fast enough for my uses without question, low light ability is great, video abilities is more than I’d ever need, 5 Axis IS is GREAT to have and the fact that I can use hundreds of lenses is icing on the cake.
The cool thing? The A7RII is staring to ship THIS week to all of those who pre-ordered! IF YOU DID NOT PRE-ORDER, you can do so HERE at the recommended dealers below:
B&H PHOTO – CLICK HERE FOR THE A7RII page!
AMAZON – CLICK HERE FOR THE A7RII page!
I will be testing and posting about the A7RII ALL WEEK! This is just the beginning and the start of what will be a very thorough look at the camera with various lenses.
Images below are all OOC JPEGS! CLICK THEM FOR LARGER!
Be sure to check back to this website every day for new A7RII and RX10II coverage! I will also be posting to my Facebook with images as well as videos to YouTube!
OH, HIGH ISO SAMPLES TO COME, BUT THEY LOOK AWESOME SO FAR!
ALL NOISE REDUCTION WAS OFF, AND THESE ARE OOC JPEGS.
…and a couple B&W OOC JEGS at higher ISO for fun…
Is there any way to use Nikon lens with the A7Rii? Thinking of making the switch from Nikon to the new Sony but have so much Nikon equipment I would like to be able to use a few of the lens with it instead of selling them at a steep discount.
You could, there are adapters to do just that. Many use Nikon and Canon and even Leica glass with their Sony’s. I will always say that Native mount is best, but if you have the lenses they can be used.
first of all – thanks for your great and inspirational review. I always enjoy reading! I think you are totally right that Sony has currently the most advanced cameras in their arsenal – especially this new little toy! However – at the end of the day I feel, and this is my subjective opinion, the pictures out of this camera look too much artificial for me. My be because I am shooting, thanks to you, a LEICA M 240 with 35mm2.0 Leica glass on it. In my opinion, nothing can compete a Leica with a LEICA glass.
A7II, A7RII beats the M 240 IQ, color and DR as well as ISO, easily. Wait for the review with raw files, not OOC JPEGS. If you shoot OOC JPEGS on your M you will see they are very artificial and way off color wise. The M 240 sensor can not compete and most Leica glass will perform bette on the A7RII than the M. This is coming from a “Leica Fanboy”.
Here are links for Camera Raw plug-in for LR6, CS6, CC, CC 2014-2015 Adobe applications offline installation. The latest update fully supports Sony ILCE-7RM2.
Camera Raw 9.1 Win & Mac:
Adobe CC 2015 and LR6 Product Updates/Downloads for Windows:
Adobe CC 2015 and LR6 Product Updates/Downloads for Macintosh:
Supported camera models:
So, any new, definitive info on RAW converters for PS CS or LR? Don’t really want to jump to the Cloud, but I’m ready to dump Nikon for A7RII, as I’ve been watching this system grow for some time, and I think (hope) the time is now! But, how can there not be a pro RAW workflow!!
I rented the A7ii for two weeks and loved the images and performance but ended up being a little bummed about the size and weight. It’s basically the same as hauling around a smallish DSLR. The A7Rii looks identical. I guess we have to suck it up, but geez, wan’t the point of these cameras to be small? Any hope on that frontier? The interchangeable lens RX1R?
The A7II and A7RII are no where near the size of a DSLR. An A7II and 50 Loxia is half the size of a DSLR. The A7II with a 35 1.4 is larger but still not as large as a Canon DSLR with 35 1.4. They are much thinner, lighter and not all fat and bulky. The lenses, most are much smaller, some are equal in size but the cool thing is I can use Leica M mount glass, Voigtander glass, Zeiss glass or whatever I want on the sony and it has a better sensor than any Canon or Nikon on the market today. The A7IIR that is.
Steve – did you use the image magnification to aid in focusing your manual lenses? If so how was the image in the EVF? There is are now reports of really poor image quality in the EVF image when trying to use legacy glass with the image magnified for focusing. Have you seen any of this with your camera?
Looked fine to me, did not notice any issues and my focus was always spot on, but we are working in a fast paced way so I was not studying the EVF. All I know is that it worked for me but I will compare it to other A7 cameras to see what is up.
Too good to be true!
Can’t believe how great the 102,000 ISO looks, just like TRI-X. Thanks for all the images! Mine ships tomorrow.
Hey Steve, I absolutely love the silent shutter!! Is there any “performance” reason why I would need to hear it? Does it make better pictures in any technical way? I experience enough visual confirmation, to not need sound when pushing the button. So if there’s no IQ difference, I think I’ll always shoot without sound. I can’t see any difference in the pictures anyway, but maybe it’s only in extreme circumstances… Is it?
You couldn’t hear it as it is silent. Most like it as it is stealthy, so for street shooting or sea shots (that many seem to do these days) no one would ever know you took a shot. It also can help reduce vibrations but that is not really an issue.
Using the silent shutter on my A7S would produce horizontal banding under some artificial lighting conditions. This doesn’t occur with the regular shutter. I don’t think I’ve seen other reports of this Any signs of it on the A7RII?
According to a thread in Fred Miranda, silent mode (apparently this is in the user help manual) reduces resolution to 12 bits. How visible this is and whether it would bother you is a different issue. Here is link to thread: http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1379163
Thanks for the link, John. I will study this later. But what I’m gonna do is: try shooting with shutter sound, and see how the environment reacts. Maybe it will be not so bad, because the shutter is A LOT quieter than the A7R. If it’s correct about the reduction to 12 bits, putting the silent mode off seems the wise thing to do, IMO. A full stop difference in noise and DR is too much to ignore.
Hey Steve, how’s the AF with the Batis lenses compared to the A7s or A7II?
The same or better than the S
the same or better? what kind of comment is that
I have had it for hours… it takes me 2-3 weeks to compare and evaluate for review so this info will be in y full review, not the 1st look posts.
Please give us your impression of the Dynamic Range on this camera
Hi Steve, i’ve been really enjoying this camera for the last week. Your review is really spot on. I hope you arrange a Photowalk soon, i’m just down the road near Brighton. Thanks for the great review.
How long does a battery? How many rounds of shooting allows you to do than previous sony A.
Seems to be doing BETTER than my A7II in the battery dept and for the life of me can’t figure out how this is possible. Still nit the best battery life in the industry but been shooting ALL day for the past 6 hours (8 more to go) and still have 60% on battery #1. With that said, I never machine gun shoot and I do not chimp. 🙂 Im sure its about the same as the A7II as my battery at home may be near the end of life.
Hi Steve, I was just about to ask ‘the battery’ question as I’m finding it THE worst thing about my A7II, it’s driving me nuts. I’ve even bought the Vert Grip to try to help, which makes the whole rig a bit less portable. I only have one Sony lens for the camera, the 24-240, the rest are all Leica M lenses. I find that when the Sony lens is attached I can only walk around for two hours (snapping maybe a couple of dozen shots) before I’m down to the low battery warning! That’s with Flight mode enabled, Pre-AF off, Standby after 1 min, the rear screen disabled, no image review and genuine Sony batteries. It’s still not great with a M lens attached but I can easily double the time on a battery. Have you or anyone else noticed the same ‘phenomenon’?
I am getting 300-400 shots on this A7RII, and about 250-300 on my A7II. On day three and just killed the 1st battery on the A7RII. All depends on how much you use the LCD, chimping, video use, leaving it on while walking, etc.
What lens would you recommend buying for a first time sony A7rii user? I am looking to do mostly stills and occasional film. want something I can use most of the time. thanks!
The second B&W, is that Gordon from cameralabs?
If you get a chance, please try some canon lenses. I have been waiting for canon to do something and it would be interesting if Sony made a move that helped out canon lens owners sooner than Canon themselves.
Welcome to Portland! Camera looks fantastic and your images back that up. Curious to see what the noise level is like in shadows at base ISO 100 if you are trying to recover a RAW underexposed image. Also, skip Voodoo and head to Blue Star. 😉
Please keep the videos coming on this Sony a7rii would also like to see a comparison to the old a7r In every aspect, low light, noise level, image quality. You Da Man Steve!
Quick question about the operation – if the viewfinder only option is selected, is it still possible to playback the pictures on the LCD without switching away from the viewfinder only option??
This is something that has always irked me with the EVF.
Hello Kevin, I just tried it for you and no, when you select “Viewfinder(Manual)” mode, you can only use the viewfinder for any of the following functions: framing new pictures, checking earlier shot pictures, checking the menu. Makes sence to me. Is that a deal breaker for you?…
But there is a function, “Deactivate Monitor”, that takes away the image from the monitor. You still can have some settings on it if you want (in one line at the bottom), but you can also have it black. Still it continues working (illuminated with a black color, so to speak), so it doesn’t save battery. In this mode you can show the pictures, that you shot earlier, on it. If you engage the menu, the monitor is reactivated.
Thanks so much Dirk – really appreciate you looking into it for me. I essentially want the evf to act like an ovf, with the LCD for viewing pics.
A7s vs A7RII ISO battle please. 🙂
Yes, please, I second the idea
What is your impression about the dynamic range of this camera ?
Steve – Camera looks/sounds amazing but I plan to use it more for video than shooting photos. I heard it only does AF using Sony lenses and most are f4.0?.. Adapters are great and fast for AF for photos, but they don’t work for videos. Would love to hear what you feel is a great video lens for this. I currently shoot micro 4/3 with a GH4 using a M Zuiko 12mm and LOVE the lens.. any suggestions for A7r II?
The Batis 25/2 would be a close match to the GH4/12mm. Its looking like a pretty special lens.
Funny to see a Tokyo Police Club sign in Portland. One of my former classmates is in that band!
Thank you Steve for the 15mm shot. That is all I needed to see to go for my purchase. I will be picking up mine on the 7th, and see if the Zeiss ZM15 works well with it as well. Reserved the Batis 25mm too. Would be great if you could do some tests with several glass including leica and see if they can withstand the high resolution.
Steve, how about the sensor flare? Does it still exist?
Don#t forget the promised Panasonic GX8 review please…………..
I picked my A7rII up last Friday. It`s scary good and produces unmatched files. I will sell all my other gear, including Leica M and lenses, and focus on the A7IIr & RX100IV. Sorry Leica to abandon you after 10+ years, but the RF experience alone ain`t good enough anymore. What is truly impressive is Sony`s learning curve from the first A7 to the A7rII.
What? you’re gonna sell the M lenses too? Is it cause it doesn’t work that well with the sensor in the Sony?
Long time reader, first time poster. First & most important – many thanks for the site, it is invaluable in helping to form an opinion about equipment. I have a couple of questions ;
1 Photo of random guy – the beard highlights (left side of his face) seem over sharpened – is that a jpeg settings or lens?
2 Photo of random guy – his right arm – there seems to be fringing in transition from sleeve to background – is that a jpeg settings or lens?
3 Photo 2 (the first photo of leaves) – the leaf in focus seems to have an unreal sharpness, the edges are fringed – is that a jpeg settings or lens?
4 Photo 3 of “B&W OOC JEGS at higher ISO for fun…” – above the glasses to the left – is that smoke?
5 Photo 4 of “B&W OOC JEGS at higher ISO for fun…” – level with waitress’ eyes to the left – what is the (for me distracting) ‘splodge’? An ‘Exit’ sign?
6 Last photo – left of camera lens – what is the (for me distracting) green ‘splodge’? Also an ‘Exit’ sign?
I’d like to say something about Adobe. Untill now, I worked with CS, and Photoshop within CS for my pictures. I’m told there will be no A7RII RAW converter for CS. so I bought the photographers CC, or should I say I rented it. 🙁 I regret that I can’t go for only Photoshop, since I don’t use Lightroom. Still I tried LR, which worked fine, but on the second day, my LR didn’t recognize the RAW files anymore. Oops. Well, I don’t mind, since, as I said, I’m using Photoshop. But since many are using LR, I thought I needed to tell.
BTW Photoshop CC 2015 has some interesting devellopments, in regard to CS. But I feel a bit like a hostage with Adobe’s renting policy. If their was a worthwhile alternative, I’d switch over!
I just attempted to import RAW files, from my new Sony a7rII, and both LR 6.0 and 5.7 tell me that LR doesn’t recognize the RAW files. I see that Adobe released an update for the CC version but I can’t find an update for LR 6.0 itself. Have you heard anything about this issue or about a fix?
The only thing I heared was that there will be no update.
There’s an upgrade – LR 6.1.1. I installed it and Import is working fine now.
Hi Steve, thanks for this first look. I was thinking about your review just last night and here it is.
Could you tell me what the raw file sizes come to?
Also is that Gordon from cameralabs website in one of your b&w pictures? 🙂
There are a few RAW images from the A7Rii on line. The sizes I observed were 41.0 to 41.3 MB.
Please answer these questions when you can:
1) How does the AF speed and accuracy compare to Olympus OMD’s? (I use an EM5II.)
2) Is this camera weather resistant? I keep hearing different things. I love my OMD’s weather resistance because I don’t ever worry about a little spray or mist in the field with it (using sealed lenses with it of course).
Thank you!!! Looking forward to your continued coverage of the A7rII.
You seem sort of ho-hum on AF with comments like its as good as A7II; however, since this camera has phase detect points and other reviewers are raving about the AF performance I am left confused. Is it significantly better than the A7II and equal to or better than Panasonic G7 or GX8 or GH4 or is it slower?
I only used the camera for two hours, on its own, not side by side with anything. Going by memory for now, it is a tad but faster than the A7II, which is fast. This is the ultimate A7 camera, period. It is nothing like the 1st gen A7 and A7r, it is not like the A7s. It is the same body style as the A7II but has an amazing feature set that no other camera can boast. It’s fantastic so far and no bigs, no quirks, no slowness, no low light problems, none of that. High ISO is fantastic, very close to A7S at many higher ISO’s.
Great first thoughts and images! Thanks. And, welcome to Oregon.
Steve in Salem
Were you using VM 15 4.5 version II or the newest version III?
Yes, we want to know which version to buy – why would you not tell us which version you shot with?
III – Thanks!
+1 – Which version of the 15/4.5 did you use?
Thanks! This confirms my eventual purchase pf the -III version . . .
I was wondering the same thing. If you’re shooting V3 of the lens then the fact it plays well with the Sony is a function of the lens design as opposed to the new Sony sensor. I use the 15mm V3 on my M240 and X-Pro and it works great on both.
I’m curious to know how M mount lenses in the 21-35mm range work on the Sony as those are the focal lengths that typically suffered.
The Sony 24-70 seems to do very well on the A7Rii. I’m surprised since it doesn’t have the best reputation elsewhere. Perhaps not many of the reviewers actually put their hands on one. The high-ISO performance of the new Sony leaves me with my jaw dropping. I hardly dare to hope I’m high enough on the pre-order list to get one this week.
Thanks, Steve. I’m looking forward to your continued posts on this camera and lenses.
Have to say it looks pretty impressive. I never loved Sonys because of the image handling but just looking at that first photo it seems they have put tons of work into upgrading each iteration of the A7. This has more pixels then the medium format S, it’s crazy! I’m married to the M for the process but I can’t deny this camera is a sledgehammer.
It’s an incredible camera, I can tell that just after a few hours with it. I am SO excited to shoot these next few days with some amazing scenery and locations..
Welcome to Portland Steve!
Hope you enjoy this beautiful and quirky city!
Can’t wait for the full review on this camera!
Steve, the first high ISO shot says ISO 64,000. Did you really mean 64,000 or 6400?
No, 64,000 🙂
One possible downside I’ve read about is the lossy RAW compression, which is not true 14-bit, or so some people are writing. I have no idea whether this is a real problem, or something to forget about, so any advice on this point would be much appreciated.
Awesome, Steve! Happy shooting. I’m being as patient as I can be for mine. I’m thrilled to hear that it performs well, though I had little doubt about that. I’m more interested in hearing about its quirks, those funky things I’ll have to work around when using it. The A7R has a few and I’m sure that I’ll see something with this new one. Either way, I’ll stay tuned.
I have found NO quirks at all yet. Just fast, smooth, amazing performance. This is a whole different beast from an A7R, complete different camera.
Same feeling. I think it’s really matured. Apparently, Sony listend very well to all remarks of A7r users, which is still a great camera, for €1500 less!
How smooth is the zooming and AF with the Sony 24-70mm f4 on the AR711?
Anxious to hear how this matches up with Leica glass, hopefully you will have a chance to try. The wide angle lens used making the video made the camera look so tiny compared to the Zeis zoom on it, reminded me why I really disliked the A7R when I had one.
I have an a7s. This camera is tempting but I want to wait an see what an a7s2 consists of.
I’m interested a new tests with leica lenses, to see if smearing the edges are actually decreased. You can perform a test to infinity and maximum aperture?
That has been improved due to the new backlit sensor design.
I tried my Zeiss ZM 28mm. The magenta vignetting is absolutely gone. But I was disappointed in regard to the smearing, which was still clearly present at the side and not even just in the corners. Too bad. It looks pretty OK stoppen down though. But I only did a few shots. I definitally will buy the wide angle Loxia(s), when they are releasedatum, since they’re such a joy to use and the Loxia IQ is fabulous.
Dirk De Paepe thanks for the reply! I read on other sites, the BSI helps a lot but does not completely solve the problem of smudging. I think the problem is the resolution 42mpx. If you ever make a A7SII with BSI sensor and 18mpx the problem will get even better than the A7RII.
The issue isn’t with the resolution, it’s that the a7 series cameras lens mount is too close to the sensor and they use a relatively think IR filter, the two don’t play well with rangefinder lenses. Which is why the native lenses are so big relative to the camera. All the a7s does is hide it by showing less detail.
Hi Steve, picked up my A7R 11 yesterday. I am equally impressed. It has every feature you could wish for in 1 camera. I am using a canon FD 50mm 1.8 manual focus lens. Great results. And the 10mm to 18mm E lens. In full frame mode zoomed to 14mm so there is no vignette. Which lens would you suggest for the camera? I am thinking 35mm? Going on a travel/work trip to China next month. Thanks in advance. Loving your work.
Thanks for the 1st look! I’m loving what I’m seeing here. I CAN’T WAIT to get mine! But of course I’ll have to. With any luck I’ll have it by the weekend.
Thank you for your information for A7r II.
Here is already finished pre-order for A7r II in Korea Rep.. I’m waiting to receive my A7r II. 🙂
I think I get my A7r this Wednesday.
I wonder camera setting of high ISO samples.
Thanks, Steve! My preorder will be arriving soon and you’ve whetted my appetite! In return, be sure you try my daughter’s favorite sushi spot, Shigezo Izakaya. She’s in college nearby and we try to eat there whenever we visit. Eat well, and report back often — can’t wait to hear more about this camera!
Hey Steve, if you get a chance, you have to make it out to the Columbia River Gorge. Would love to see some landscape shots from Vista House or down in Oneonta gorge using the Batis 25.
Man o man o man!!!
That ISO performance looks amazing
How’s the shutter sound compared the A7r Steve, is it as quiet as anticipated?
It’s not even close to the old A7R, a but more subdued than the A7II it seems.
High ISO looks incredible for a 42MP camera. Can’t wait to get mine . . . hopefully this week.
I’ve been considering this camera as an upgrade of my X100S. Next year I’ll be deciding between this and the A7II. I really can’t wait for the comparisons.
Traded my X100s for sony A6000 last year. Got my A7R 11 yesterday. Focus is amazing. Images are so so nice. And I am using a 30 year old Canon FD 50mm 1.8 lens (auto focus) and 10mm to 18mm E lens. Cant wait to get a FE prime.