Sony A7 II Review
There are many reasons people are wanting to switch to mirrorless, whether you're a seasoned pro looking for a small secondary body that can squeeze into your current bag, or perhaps an enthusiastic amateur wanting a camera that works in a familiar way to your compact while giving you the flexibility to explore your creativity a little bit further. There is as wide a range of mirrorless options as there are reasons to want one, so let's take a look at a few of the more recent models and see if we can make the decision a little easier.
From the very beginnings of mirrorless cameras, professional photographers had been dreaming of the day they could get high-end Full Frame image sensors in a body that aren't going to leave them with a sore neck, and it was only a couple of years ago that Sony answered the call with the original A7. The A7 Mark II rides on the success of the original, maintaining the same 24 Megapixel Full Frame sensor and processor, while adding in-body stabilisation and now matching the magnesium alloy build quality of it's higher end siblings.
Being the entry into Sony's full frame series, the A7 II doesn't have the 4K Ultra High Definition video recording sported by the more upmarket S and R models, but videographers needn't be worried that they've cut corners. Sony's highly efficient X AVC S compression is still being used to record Full HD video at 60 frames per second with a 50 Mbps bitrate along with S-Log picture profiles, a standard 3.5mm mic input will allow you to attach higher end mics as required along with a headphone output for audio monitoring.
The original A7 was a game changer, and a fairly complete camera in terms of features, so most of the changes with the Mark II come in the form of what I would describe as "quality of life" improvements. We get a much more comfortable hand grip, which is a nice improvement as it also gained some weight with the extra magnesium alloy in the body construction. The addition of a 5-Axis image stabiliser built into the body will help keep your shots steady for stills, even when you're using those non-stabilised prime lenses, and does a pretty decent job during video as well. Back on the photo side of things, the hybrid autofocus system utilises a combination of 25 contrast-detect points and 117 phase-detect points and while those numbers were the same in the original, there have been improvements made to the focusing algorithm which certainly makes the Mark II feel quicker.
So with these refinements, the A7 Mark II really cements itself as a safe, well-rounded option for anyone looking for full frame image quality. Sony's lens range continues to expand, so if you're just starting out and looking to invest in some high-quality glass, there are plenty of Zeiss primes to cover whatever style shooting you enjoy. For those who want nothing less than the very best, you can find the 'holy trinity' of lenses, as well as a couple of others including an 85mm portrait lens, in the G-Master series. Older Sony A series lenses are fully compatible via the Sony LA-EA4 lens adapter if you're stepping up from an older mirror-based model, or alternatively should you already have a bunch of pro lenses from Canon and not be too keen to re-buy lenses for the Sony, switching over is easy with the help of a Metabones adapter.
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