Hands On Review: Sony A7 Mk II

Thank you for your patience to wait for my Sony A7 Mk II hands-on review. I will give a quick view and impression about the new A7 Mk II that I was trying with the Zeiss Sonnar SEL55F18Z  and the SEL2870 kit lens during the 30 minutes hands-on session 😉

Sony A7 MK II
Sony A7 MK II with Zeiss SEL55F18Z

The Sony A7 Mk II body design has been refined, the grip is larger than its predecessor.

Larger Grip
Larger Grip

The shutter button and front dial are

reallocated to the front of the grip instead of on top of the camera body. The new shutter button and front dial location, and the larger grip gives a more natural and more comfortable experience in overall. The original shutter location on the first generation A7 is replaced with two customizable buttons (C1 and C2) on the new A7 Mk II.

Reallocation of Shutter Button and Front Dial
Reallocation of Shutter Button and Front Dial

There are 4 customizable buttons now rather than 3 which provides more flexibility to set the camera functions to suit our needs.

1 More Customizable Button (C4)
1 More Customizable Button (C4)

The A7 Mk II body is fully built with alloy-magnesium which gives a more solid feel. When you mount the lens you can feel that it is significantly tighter as the lens-mount’s build has been improved as well hence it is more robust than its predecessor A7.

Better Lens Mount
Better Lens Mount

The mini-HDMI and micro USB port are shift up and located together with the microphone and mini jack ports.

Reallocation of Ports
Reallocation of Ports

The image sensor is still remained the same as the first generation A7, but the auto-focus speed and tracking accuracy are improved with new auto-focus and tracking algorithm. It is not as blazing fast as the Sony a6000 but it is pretty fast and accurate enough for daily essential.

The new A7 Mk II still uses the same battery as the A7 series and NEX series, it is good that we can share the batteries as backup but it also means that the battery life will still be the shortfall of this new camera (approximately 270 images using viewfinder and 350 images using LCD screen). However, we also can purchase the vertical grip that allows to use two batteries in order to double the shooting time.

I picked some A7 II’s out-of-camera JPEG images which were shot at slow shutter speed as the sample shots below (not using RAW because none of the RAW converter manage to convert it yet at the writing time), and cropped the focus point at 100% using DxO Optics Pro 10 . The Zeiss SEL55F18Z and SEL2870 kit lens were used in the test shots with the A7 MK II.

Sample Shots with SEL55F18Z

Sample 1

1/15s, 55mm
1/15s, 55mm
100% Cropped
100% Cropped

Sample 2

1/15s, 55mm
1/15s, 55mm
100% Cropped
100% Cropped

Sample 3

1/6s, 55mm
1/6s, 55mm
100% Cropped
100% Cropped

Sample 4

1/6s, 55mm
1/6s, 55mm
100% Cropped
100% Cropped

Sample 5

1/13s, 55mm
1/13s, 55mm
100% Cropped
100% Cropped

The new A7 Mk II able to give blur-free results at 1/6s which is about 3.5 stops slower than the safe shutter speed (I considered 1/60s as the safe shutter speed for 55mm). I was using “snap and shot” type rather than properly nailed the focusing and shoot it because I want to test the accuracy of A7 MK II’s auto-focusing and how well does it compensate the hand-shaking.

Throughout the hands-on session with the SEL55F18Z, the autofocus accuracy is good but not great while the performance of the 5-axis in-camera body image stabilizer is excellent. Despite of using the Zeiss SEL55F18Z, I also used the SEL2870 kit lens and shot at 70mm to try the A7 MK II’s 5-axis in-camera body IS efficiency at longer focus length (although 70mm not much longer than 55mm but I don’t want to carry the SEL70200GF4 when I was already carrying two bags in total 4 – 5 kg).

Sample Shots with SEL2870 Kit Lens

Sample 1

1/8s, 70mm
1/8s, 70mm
100% Cropped
100% Cropped

Sample 2

1/10s, 70mm
1/10s, 70mm
100% Cropped
100% Cropped

Sample 3

1/8s, 70mm
1/8s, 70mm
100% Cropped
100% Cropped

Well, I’m impressed again by the efficient of the A7 Mk II’s 5-axis IS. When I hold the camera with both hands properly (we are supposedly to do so), it was pretty easy to get blur-free shots at 1/8 second which is about 3.5 stops slower than the safe shutter speed (I considered 1/80s as the safe shutter speed for 70mm).

Hands-On Impression

I like the more solid built of the new A7 MK II, thanks to the alloy-magnesium body that we have seen on the A7R and A7S. The larger grip and reallocation of shutter button and front wheel are the welcome changes as it provides more comfortable holding and more nature shutter pressing position. The selling point of the A7 MK II – the 5-axis in-camera body image stabilizer really shines in the handshaking compensation as I can easily get blur free results at 3 stops slower shutter speed with free-style single hand shot (again, we shall shoot with both hands and hold the camera firmly), and manage to get blur free results at 4 stops slower shutter speed when using two hands to hold the camera properly.

Well, that’s all about the 30 minutes A7 Mk II hands-on session. Want to know more about the A7 Mk II?  Follow me at the links below as I will give the full review for A7 Mk II soon. The A7 Mk II body only and A7 Mk II with SEL2870 kit lens are selling at SGD 2,149 and SGD 2,549 respectively in Singapore.

Hope you enjoyed the reading and let me know if you are tempted to grab the new A7 Mk II as your new gear. Cheers 😉

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Contact me by email: jamesphotography2013@gmail.com

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