Review – Sony RX100 V

Introduction

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The RX100 series are well known for its 1 inch image sensor, high quality fixed Zeiss zoom lens, and numerous features packed in a well built compact body since it was first introduced in 2012. In 2016, the fifth generation RX100V was being introduced with incredible AF and buffer size, and some improvement over the predecessors. Let’s have a look at it now!

Camera Features

  • 1 inch 20MP BSI CMOS sensor
  • F 1.8 – F 2.8 24mm – 70mm equivalent zoom lens
  • High Speed LSI chip
  • Optical Steady Shot (OSS)
  • 24 fps continuous shooting with AF/AE tracking
  • 315 phase detection AF points with 25 contrast detection AF points
  • 0.05 second AF lock-on speed
  • 1/2000 second mechanical shutter, and upto 1/32000 second electronic shutter
  • Silent Shutter
  • Built-in 3 stops ND filter
  • Zeiss T* Coating 2.3m OLED pop up EVF
  • 180 degree tiltable 3.0 inches LCD screen
  • Eye-AF in AF-C mode (continuous autofocusing)
  • Dual Recording (capture 17 MP still image while doing video recording)
  • XVACS or AVCHD 4K video recording (limited to 5 minutes)
  • Double length of HFR (high frame rate at 1000 fps, 40x slow motion at 25fps playback rate) recording (8 seconds compare to RX100 IV’s 4 seconds)

Body and Design

Visually, the RX100V does not have any different than its predecessor RX100 IV.

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The micro USB port and one micro HDMI port are still at the right of the camera;

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NFC point and the EVF trigger at the left; ‘

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A 3 inches LCD and same layout of buttons at the back;

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On/off button, flash trigger button, shutter button and zoom trigger, and the mode dial at the top.

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RX100 V still features the same 2.36m Zeiss T* coating pop up EVF as seen on the RX100 IV.

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Yes, same EVF. You still have to manually pull out the EVF (follow the white arrow indicator) when you pop it up, and push it back manually before you can push the EVF back into the camera body. It is a bit disappointed that the RX100 V still does not have the same auto-popup mechanisim as we had seen on the RX1R II. In RX100V menu, you have the option to choose to keep the camera on when you push the EVF back to RX100V body.

The control ring in front of the camera can be customized into selected functions e.g. standard, exposure compensation, ISO, white balance, creative style, picture effect, zoom, shutter speed, aperture, or not set. The control ring is smooth, I set it to standard mode as I like how the RX100V smartly choose the function to be controlled according to the shooting mode you’re using now.

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The 3 inches LCD can be flipped upward 180 degrees and downward 45 degrees, but it still lacked of touch screen feature.

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The Sony RX100 V controls and buttons layout, and the body design are same as its predecessor RX100 IV. It is compact, lightweight without sacrified the premium body build and feel. The ergonomic of RX100V is same as it predecessors – slippery, an additional grip accessory like the Sony AG-R2 or any 3rd party grip accessory could greatly improved the handling of the camera.

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Camera Performance

ISO Performance

The RX100V base ISO starts from ISO 125 to ISO 12800, and it can be further extended to ISO 80. ISO 25600 is possible if you use the multi-frame noise reduction and willing to shoot JPEG only.

The auto ISO setting allows you to set the range from ISO 125 to ISO 12800, and the auto minimum shutter speed is available at either ‘slower’, ‘slow’, ‘standard’, ‘fast’, or ‘faster’. For example you shoot at 70mm, you will get ‘1/20’, ‘1/40’, ‘1/80’, ‘1/160’, and ‘1/200’ respectively.

ISO (JPEG) 

ISO (RAW)

The outputs from ISO 80 to ISO 1600 are clean and clear, ISO 3200 is getting more noises but the result is still acceptable for small printout. Significant color noises and loss of details spotted at ISO 6400 and ISO 12800 but it isn’t that bad for an 1 inch sensor.

Let’s check out some real life samples with high ISO.

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And give the ISO 12800 a try!

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The high ISO shots results were quite impressive, and don’t forget that they were captured by an 1 inch sensor. When shooting with RX100V, I was quite comfortable to left the maximum ISO at ISO 6400 but the  ISO 12800 is the very last option I will look for.

AF Performance

RX100V is the first compact camera with the phase detection AF among its compact camera competitors. It offers 315 phase detection AF points that covers 65% of the image sensor, and the 25 contrast detection AF points.

There are 5 focusing modes available – AF-S (single AF), AF-C (continuous AF), AF-A (automatic AF), DMF (direct manual focus), and MF (manual focus). AF-A is an automatic mode that switch between AF-S and AF-C according to subject you are shooting at. DMF allows you to focus using AF first and then manually fine tune the focusing.

Thanks to the newly developed LSI in RX100V, you can shoot at 24 fps up to 150 jpeg before the camera slowing down! I picked every 11th frame from the burst shoot, that means there are 9 more shots in between (about 50 shots in total), and all of them were in-focused.

Well, tracking slow moving bus seems to be an easy task for the RX100V, let’s give it some challenges!

I tested the RX100V in the rubgy match, it was a night match, I fixed the settings at 1/125 second at F 2.8 at 70mm, with auto ISO. All the shots were posted as cropped shots as below.

The RX100V didn’t nail all the shots this time, there were about 40 shots out of 54 shots that the guy was in-focused but the results were still quite impressive for such a compact camera.

If you did pay attention to the ISO values at the bottom left, you will realize that the ISO was keep changing! This is one of the main differences between the RX100IV and RX100V – The Sony RX100V not only simply increase the continuous shooting speed from 16fps to 24fps, it is also capable to perform auto-focus and auto-exposure for all the 24 frames individually where the RX100 IV fix the focus and exposure settings at its first frame and apply the same AF and AE to all the remaing 15 frames.

The RX100V is very responsive for images playback, even after a series of burst shots. There is an buffer indicator at the top left to show that the number of images to be written into the memory card.

Some more shots to show off the RX100V AF and continuous shooting capability.

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The AF locked on the subject pretty fast, tracking is accurate but not 100%, and the 70 mm focal length is really limited to match the capability of RX100V AF. I was standing pretty close to the field and I had to crop a lot to get the shots above.

Optical Steady Shot (OSS)

The RX100V comes with the optical steady shot to reduce the camera shake effect. The OSS seems effectively provided 3 steps faster shutter speed when shooting at 70mm at 1/10 second.

Without OSS

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With OSS

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Dynamic Range

DXO mark rated the RX100V dynamic range as 12.4 EV, how does it look like in real life?

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The dynamic range from Sony RX100V raw files are really impressive, especially for an 1 inch sensor camera. The shots above were captured in RAW and adjusted with highlight and shadow, some sharpening, contrast, saturation, and color tone in Capture One Pro 10.

Shooting Experiences

I love the small and compact size of RX100V with the flexibility to customize the buttons. The built-in pop-up EVF is brilliant when using the RX100V under strong sunlight; the AF is fast and accurate, it gives me the confident that my shots will always in-focused; with good lighting, the image quality is comparable to the APS-C camera; at night, the high ISO performance does not shy at all, for small printout like 4R photo or web sharing, you can get decent result at ISO 3200 or even at ISO 6400. The 4K video recording and 40x slow motion video recording are the highlight of the RX100V too but you have to look for other websites for the video recording part review as I am a still photographer and not really interested in video recording.

There was a Bangkok Artbox night market in Singapore recently. From the shot below, you can see that it was pretty crowded and I was carrying the RX100V in the night market.

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The compact form of RX100V, powerful fast AF, and high ISO capability gave me the flexibility to compose and take the shots with one hand while drinking a bottle of ice beer using another hand (oops~)

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The large aperture of F1.8 at 24mm or F 2.8 at 70mm also gives the close up shots some nice bokeh as well eventhough it is only an 1 inch sensor.

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Taking food photos in cafe, restaurant, or even dark environment like bar with RX100V are pretty handy and convenience.

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RX100V smallest aperture is opened at F11. There is no issue to get some nice star-shape light shots.

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With the 3 stops built-in ND filter helps, the RX100V manage to capture some nice slightly longer exposure shots during daytime (like 1 to 2 seconds before everything overexposed).

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The RX100V comes with the embedded smart remote app that allows you to use the PlayMemories app in your smartphone to control the RX100V. You can control your RX100V for its aperture, shutter speed, ISO, exposure compensation, and even the touch to focus from your smartphone!

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If you are using Android phone with NFC, simply tap your phone at RX100V NFC point to start the Smart Remote app. If you are using iphone, you have to manually open the Smart Remote app in RX100V, and use your iphone to scan the QR code in the Smart Remote app before you can use it.

I am really impressed by the image quality and AF performance of Sony RX100V but there are some functionalities can be further improved.

Firstly, the AF behavior that not optimized for recomposed selfie. When you flip the screen into selfie mode and press the shutter button, the AF will lock the focus on the subject regardless of your selected camera AF mode (even AF-C) and start the timer countdown, it works perfectly if you already position your camera steadily and press the shutter button. However, if you use a selfie stick, you most likely will press the shutter button and recompose the frame, then be expected out-of-focus selfie shots. I wish that the RX100V can continue to track the faces during the selfie timer countdown, or the shutter can be triggered via a palm detection.

Second, there is still no touchscreen on the RX100V. If you prefer to manually select the focus point frequently, you would appreciate to do that using a touchscreen with a simple tap. On RX100V, you have to customize the C button to ‘Focus Area’ first, then press it to enter the focus area selection, then select the flexible focus mode, and then use the rear control wheel to change the focus point.

Third, the longest 70mm focal length. It isn’t really a fault, the focal length from 24mm to 70mm basically covers the needs of daily shooting but the powerful AF made me desire for longer focal length (and that is why the RX10 series exists!). Besides of that, I also wish that the EVF can use the same mechanism as what we had seen in the Sony RX1R II.

One issue that not only happen to RX100V but also happen in other Sony cameras is the ‘partially unlocked’ embedded Smart Remote app. The default embedded Smart Remote app is not fully unlocked, you need a one time setup to update the app through Sony PlayMemories website to unlock all the features, like the touch to focus.

Last but not least, the RX100V battery life is rated at 220 shots using LCD, it is worse than its predecessor RX100 IV’s 280 shots. Use powerbank to power your RX100V is a workaround but a longer lasting battery is still a better solution.

Some more shots before the review ended!

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There is no perfect camera, so does the RX100V. I enjoyed shooting with Sony RX100V. It is a compact body packed with tons of features and capable to output stunning results. Of course, the RX100V will not replace your professional full frame gears or even rival any APS-C camera but it is definitely a great travel camera.

The Sony RX100V is available at SGD 1,499. The price tag is high but you will get a powerful compact camera with stunning output results as return.

That’s all for the Sony RX100V review. Hope you enjoyed the review and happy shooting!

Review – Sony RX 1 R II

In 2012, Sony announced the original RX 1 and RX 1 R- a surprisingly small form compact full frame camera. Technically, RX1R is a RX 1 but without AA (anti alias) filter. Both of them come with an outstanding Zeiss Sonnar F2 fixed lens and output impressive images from the 24 MP sensor. (You may read my review for the original RX1R here).

Although the original RX1R gives impressive output but it still has a lot of room for improvement. After 3 years of waiting, Sony finally announced the successor of the RX1 and RX1R – the RX1R II.

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Body Build and Design
Opened the box, you got a battery, a pouch, a power adapter, micro USB cable, a portable battery charger (finally!), an eye cap, a metal lens cap, a box of user manual in different languages, and of course the RX1R II.

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The new RX1R II looks Continue reading

Review: SEL1670Z

The SEL1670Z has been introduced to the market for some time, it is one of the few Sony native APS-C standard zoom lenses. The little Zeiss blue badge indicates that this lens is designed to give high quality optical performance with the Zeiss T* coating, one Advanced Aspherical element, and one Extra-low Dispersion element.

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The lens filter diameter is 55 mm. It is smaller than the SELP18105 72mm (APS-C E-mount lens) and the SEL2470Z  67mm (full frame E-mount lens, you may read the review of SEL2470Z here) but larger than the standard compact kit lens SELP1650 40mm (you may read the review of SELP1650 here).

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The front narrower ring is the focus ring and the wider ring is the zoom ring. The lens zoom in/out without Continue reading

Review: Sony A7S II

Forewords

This is the first post in 2016, I have been working hard to bring a new and fresh look for this website. Started from this review onward, the camera/lens review will be focused on ‘more shots, less words’.  Hope you like the new changes 😉

Introduction

When the original Sony A7S came out, it impressed many of us with its amazing low light capability. Sony had introduced the 2nd generation of the A7 series which are well known with the powerful 5-axis image stabilizer, let’s move on to see how does the Sony A7S II perform with the combination of powerful 5-axis image stabilizer and the amazing low light capability.

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Sony A7S II

Pros & Cons

+ Improved autofocus algorithm with 169 contrast-detection AF points

+ Long Battery Life

+ Reduced-vibration shutter (50% less vibration compared to original A7S)

+ Full alloy-magnesium built body

+ Dust and moisture resistance

+ Better ergonomic, larger and more comfortable grip

+ Up to 12 customizable buttons

+ Powerful and smart 5-axis in-body image stabilizer

+ Wired and wireless remote control

+ 100% coverage and excellent quality of EVF with world highest viewfinder magnification 0.78x

+ NFC and Wifi capability

– Heavier and bulkier (compare to first generation A7 series)

– Same image sensor as original A7S

– Expensive

Continue reading

Review – Sony A7R II

Introduction

Sony A7 II was a hot stuff when it was announced and launched. So how about A7R II? Is it an A7 II with more megapixels count or an original A7R with 5-axis in camera body image stabilizer only? No. Sony A7R II has packed more than enough features to distinguish itself than the A7 II and the original A7R. Let’s have a quick look at what excited features it has come along.

The Sony A7R II uses world first 35mm back-illuminated CMOS sensor. Although the megapixels count is boosted to 42.4 MP from its predecessor 36 MP, Sony A7R II has better low light performance and lesser noise than the A7R thanks to the new back-illuminated sensor.

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New BSI Sensor Illustration

The new sensor in A7R II is capable to output the captured data 3.5 times faster than A7R, with the combination of the 399 AF points and Fast Hybrid AF system, Sony A7R II’s AF speed is 40% faster than A7R as well. A new Zeiss T* coating EVF which features world highest viewfinder magnification at 0.78x is also equipped on the Sony A7R II.

Many owners of the original A7R feedback that its shutter has too much vibration that caused the blurriness of the images. The Sony A7R II now comes with a new shutter which has 50% lesser vibration than its predecessor. Besides, Sony A7R II allows you to do the in-camera 4K video recording in XAVC S format at maximum 100 Mbps now (You will need a SDXC memory card with UHS Speed Class 3 to do so).

Sony A7R II also features the 5-axis in camera body image stabilizer we have seen in its brother A7 II and it will support all native E-mount lenses and almost every non-native lenses up to 4.5 stops slower shutter speed. The other features are similar/same as what we had seen on the Sony A7 II.

Pros & Cons

+ 399 AF points, faster and more accurate

+ Better low light performance

+ Durable reduce-vibration shutter

+ Full alloy-magnesium built body

+ Dust and moisture resistance

+ Better ergonomic, larger and more comfortable grip

+ Up to 12 customizable buttons

+ Powerful and smart 5-axis in-body image stabilizer

+ Wired and wireless remote control

+ 100% coverage and excellent quality of EVF with world highest viewfinder magnification 0.78x

+ NFC and Wifi capability

– Heavier and bulkier (compare to first generation A7 series)

– Expensive

Body and Design

The Sony A7R II does not have much difference than the A7 II. The Sony A7R II’s body is fully built by alloy-magnesium and it is dust and moisture resistance. Sony A7R II body weight 582g/1 lbs 4.5 oz.

The Sony A7R II has the same design as A7 II, a larger grip and better shutter button position than the original A7R.

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Better Handgrip

There are 2 customizable buttons c1 and c2,1 mode dial, 1 exposure compensation dial on the top of the body. The Sony A7R II introduce a new lock button for the mode dial where you will need to press the button before you switch the mode. This prevent your camera’s mode to be changed accidentally.

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Sony A7R II Top View

The front and rear dials are well built, their can be easily reached by single hand during shooting.

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Sony A7R II Rear View

The rear of camera body contains the rest of the buttons. The buttons on the left and right of the EVF on the rear body are the menu button (on the left) and C3 button (on the right, works as zoom in display mode as well). You will need some time to familiar with their positions if you are moved from the Sony APS-C E-mount camera.

The LCD screen can be tilted upward about 107 degrees and downward about 41 degrees.

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Screen Tilted Upward

The Sony A7R II allows you to pull the screen out a bit to avoid the blockage by the EVF’s eye cap.

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Screen Tilted Downward

The micro HDMI port, micro USB port and minijack ports are all located at the top-left side of the body.

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Multimedia Ports

The battery slot is remained at the bottom of the body.

The memory card slot is located at the bottom-right side of the body. The movie recording button is located at the right hand side of the camera body to prevent accidentally touch, but it also causes little inconvenience if you do the movie recording frequently.

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Memory Card Slot

Features

Speedy AF System

Sony A7R II features 399 phase-detection AF points that cover 45% of image area and 25 contrast-detection AF points.

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399 Points Phase Detection AF Area Coverage

Thanks to the new BSI sensor, the Sony A7R II is capable to shoot continuously at 5 fps, and the camera buffer will hold 23 frames (RAW) or 9 frames (uncompressed RAW) before slow down.

The focus sensitivity range from -EV 2 to EV 20 at ISO 100 equivalent with F 2.0 lens attached. There will be an autofocus lock-on notification sound in AF-A and AF-S mode. The AF-A is a new focusing mode that will switch itself between AF-S and AF-C automatically according to the subject status (still/moving).

I included 2 sets of continuous shots at below with scaled original shots and follow by 100% cropped shots.

Test Set 1

Test Set 1 (100% Cropped at 1200px Long Edge)

Test set 1 focused on my friend’s face and the Sony A7R II did tracking the face accurately.

Test Set 2

Test Set 2 (100% Cropped at 1200px Long Edge)

Test set 2 focused on the bowling ball, again the tracking the bowling ball accurately.

Throughout the review period, the initial lock-on on Sony A7R II is not always accurate (it might lock-on to other subject but it will be tracking the wrong subject accurately). The initial AF accuracy dropped and even hunting when the light condition becomes dimmer (like indoor Karaoke room). However, the lock-on speed is pretty fast and the tracking accuracy (in AF-C) is very high once it locked-on the subject.

The Sony A7R II’s focus-peaking function does some pretty job to assist the manual focusing. You may set the focus-peaking color into red, white, or yellow, and the area that is being focused will be surrounded by the color dots.

Silent Shooting

Sony A7R II allows you to shoot completely silent as the A7S does. The continuous shooting mode will be disabled when the silent shooting mode is turned on, you can only activate the silent mode in single shooting and other bracketing mode.

You can turn on the silent shooting from the menu second tab at page 5 -> Silent Shooting. You can also assign this function to one of the custom button so that you can switch between silent shooting and continuous shooting (you have to turn the silent shooting mode off) easier.

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Silent Shooting Mode

Reduced-vibration Shutter

The shutter on the original A7 series is loud and even “shake” your hand. The old shutter always caused the blurriness in the image especially when the camera is being used on a tripod for long exposure. The Sony A7R II features a newly-design shutter which greatly reduced the “shaking” feel and noise. The shutter vibration and noise can be further reduced if the e-front-shutter is turned on.

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Reduced-Vibration Shutter

Large EVF

The electronic viewfinder (EVF) on the Sony A7R II has the world’s highest magnification at 0.78x. It is coated with Zeiss T* Coating to minimize the surface reflection, and it is joy to use the EVF on the A7R II.

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5-Axis In Camera Image Stabilizer

As expected, the A7R II also features the 5-axis in camera image stabilizer as we had seen on the A7 II. The 5-axis image stabilizer provides up to 4.5 stops efficiency, and it is compatible with all the native E-mount lenses (without adapter) and other lenses (with appropriate adapter, and you will need to set the lens’ focal length in the A7R II manually in order to enjoy the 5-axis image stabilization).

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As what we have seen in Sony A7II, you do not have to turn off the 5 axis image stabilzer when using the Sony A7R II on a tripod. Yes, the Sony A7R II’s 5 axis image stabilizer will not cause any blurriness when it is being used on a tripod.

The 5 axis image stabilizer did excellent job, the shot below was shot at 35 mm at 1 second handheld (It is almost 5 stops slower than the 1/40 s safe minimum shutter speed).

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Original Shot
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100% Cropped

Customizable Controls

You can customize almost every buttons on the Sony A7RII, but some specific functions can be only assigned to specific buttons.

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Remote Control

You may control your Sony A7R II either by USB wired remote control or by a wireless remote control.

Uncompressed 14 bit RAW

Sony had finally supported uncompressed 14 bit RAW capture to ensure finest and greatest dynamic range. Unfortunately, it hadn’t supported the uncompressed format at the time I reviewed the unit so I can’t compare the difference between the new uncompressed format and the original compressed 14 bit format.

Professional Video Recording

The Sony A7R II is capable to do movie recording in 4K XAVC-S format, and it uses the advanced S-log2 gamma to capture wide dynamic range which provides more flexible tone adjustment in your video. You need a minimum UHS Speed Class 3 SDXC memory card in order to do the recording in XAVC-S format at 100 Mbps.

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ISO Performance

Sony A7R II’s ISO range from ISO 50 to ISO 102400. Yes, ISO 102400. When packed with 42 MP on the full frame sensor, it is interesting to know how does the Sony A7R II performs in the low-light situation with the new back-illuminated sensor.

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Creative Sound Blaster Roar for ISO Test

The center of the shot above is cropped for ISO comparison as below. We will see how well the Sony A7II controls the noise level while retains the details (look at the pattern in the alphabets) in high ISO.

The RAW does not apply any noise reduction while the JPEG is applied the default noise reduction settings in Capture One Pro 9. You may click the image below for 100% cropped view.

RAW (No Noise Reduction)

Without any noise reduction, the RAW file still quite clean up to ISO 3200, there are some noticeable color noises appear at ISO 6400 but the shot is still clean. The color noises at ISO 12800 and ISO 25600 are more significant but the details still retain greatly. The color noises after ISO 25600 increase terribly and beyond usable without any noise reduction.

JPEG (Noise Reduction in COP 9)

With noise reduction in COP 9, the shots are clean and retain great details until ISO 12800. Details are lost noticeable from ISO 25600 and lost greatly from ISO 51200 onward.

In-Camera Multi-frame Noise Reduction

There are “Auto” icon and “Auto ISO” icon in the ISO adjustment options. “Auto” is normal auto ISO while the “Auto ISO” is actually multi-frame noise reduction. In multi-frame noise reduction mode, the Sony A7R II captured multiple shots at once and merge all the shots in order to maximize the details and minimize the noise. The test shots below were shot from ISO 12800 onward.

The multi frame noise reduction get the shots done nicely up to ISO 25600. The color noises are lesser than the RAW (no noise reduction) but it didn’t outshine the post-processing noise reduction at ISO 51200 and ISO 102400.

Auto ISO Minimum Shutter Speed

Finally, you’re allowed to set the minimum shutter speed in Sony A7RII when using Auto ISO mode. It is in the menu first tab page 5, under ISO AUTO Min.SS.

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When you had set the maximum ISO and minimum shutter speed, the camera will always raise the ISO to the maximum ISO before it slower down the shutter speed. In another words, the shutter speed might slower than your desired minimum shutter speed if the light condition is too bad.

Battery Life

The Sony A7R II has similar battery life as other mirrorless camera, nothing surprise here. With mix-usage of EVF and LCD screen, a fully-charged battery can last for 290 – 340 shots. It uses the same battery model (NP-FW50) as other E-mount series camera. Therefore, you may already own few extra batteries as backup.

Sample Shots

The following shots are taken by the Sony A7R II and post-processed by Capture One Pro 9 with little adjustment.

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Bottom Line

The less-vibration/silent shutter, faster AF performance, and better high ISO performance of the Sony A7R II give the more pleasant shooting experiences than using the A7 II. The battery life is on average with average 300+ shots, the more annoying issue is the memory card was filled up much faster by shooting raw with the 42 MP sensor (it would be much faster if shooting in uncompressed RAW). 200 shots of compressed RAW files will take up 9+ GB of spaces so that you will need extra memory cards (16GB) or use larger capacity cards (64 GB or 128 GB).

That’s all for the Sony A7R II review, hope you enjoy it and happy shooting. Cheers!

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Contact me by email: jamesphotography2013@gmail.com

Hands On Preview: Sony RX100 IV

Sony Singapore had introduced two new exciting cameras in its Cybershot RX series on Thursday 2 Jul 2015, the RX 100 IV and the RX 10 II.

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Sony RX100 IV

Despite of the size difference, both of the cameras boast the world’s first stacked 1.0″ CMOS sensor with DRAM memory chip, 40x super slow motion capture, 4K in-camera video shooting, high-speed anti-distortion shutter and more. In this preview, we’ll focus on the RX100 IV.

You can say that the RX100 IV is essentially the RX100 III equipped with the new stacked 1.0″ CMOS sensor with DRAM memory chip because they use the same Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens, same retractable XGA OLED Zeiss T* coated Tru-Finder, same 180-degree tillable LCD monitor, and etc. The RX100 IV’s appearance is same as its predecessor the RX100 III, except the focus ring is now decorated with diamond shape.

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Diamond Shape Focus Ring

Let’s see what does the new image sensor brings to the RX100 IV and RX10 II, and some feature highlights sample shots from the RX100 IV. Continue reading

Review: Sony RX1R Compact Full Frame Camera

Introduction

Sony RX1R
Sony RX1R

Sony RX1 and RX1R are the full frame compact digital camera that were introduced in 2012. The Sony RX1 and RX1R came together with a fixed (non-interchangeable) Zeiss F2 prime lens, a 24MP full frame camera sensor, and  a premium price tag that similar to the professional full frame DSLR camera that could easily overwhelm many of us.

It is 2015 when I’m writing this review, Sony had introduced the A7 full frame interchangeable lens mirrorless camera series, why would I still review a 3 year-old camera now? Well, the Sony RX1R is very compact and lightweight (480g with Zeiss F2 lens and with battery) vs Sony A7II (600g body only and with battery, 1.23 kg when attached with Zeiss SEL35F14Z), the Zeiss F2 fixed prime lens is one of the best lens in the current market, and none of other camera manufacturers introduces similar full-frame compact camera even though  the Sony RX1R had been introduced to the market for 3 years.

The most important reason is, the Sony Singapore is having mid-year sale for its camera, the Sony RX1 and RX1R are being sold at SGD 2,949 (USD 2,194), and the excellent external EVF that worth SGD 629 (USD 468) is free of charge as well when you purchase the Sony RX1/RX1R.

Pros & Cons

+ Lightweight and small form factor

+ Great full-frame image sensor

+ Great low light performance

+ Premium body build

+ A great Zeiss F2 prime lens

+ Creamy smooth bokeh

+ Buttons are customizable

+ Great LCD screen

+ Leaf shutter (nearly perfect silent)

+ 14mm of shortest focus range

+ Dedicated exposure dial

+ Manual aperture control ring

+ Almost instant processing for long exposure (almost no need to wait for the processing)

+ Wired tethering capability

– No dust and moisture resistant

– Pop up flash is not tillable as the NEX-6’s

– No tiltable LCD screen

– Less than desirable battery life

– The back dial is not much useful and not customisable

– No continuous focus mode

– No image stabilization for still image shooting

– No wireless remote tethering capability Continue reading

Review: Sony SEL2470Z

Introduction

In short, the Sony SEL2470Z is a Zeiss constant aperture zoom lens with dust and moisture resistance for the Sony E-mount full-frame cameras. Well, the short sentence more or less tells you that what is this lens is, and it is sure that the lens comes with a “matched” price tag (it is sold at SGD 1,599).

SEL2470Z
SEL2470Z

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Review: Sony A7II

The Sony A7II is a hot stuff since Sony had introduced the Sony A7II in December 2014. I did a brief hands-on review on the Sony A7II which covers some hands-on impression of the Sony A7II. If you have not heard about the Sony A7II or you do want to know more about it, this is the full review for the Sony A7II.

Introduction

The Sony A7II is the first full-frame interchangeable-lens camera with 5-axis in-body image stabilizer. This is the most desired feature that we have seen on the Olympus OM-D E-M5, and Sony had managed to get this technology into its own camera. The main different between the Olympus EM-D 5 and the Sony A7II is their image sensor size, the Olympus OM-D E-M5 is a micro 4/3 camera while the Sony A7II is a full-frame camera.

Sony A7 Mark II
Sony A7 Mark II

The Sony A7II uses a 24.3 MP full frame “Exmor” CMOS sensor, and features the same BIONZ X™ image processing engine as the first generation A7 which delivers stunning details and very low noise. The lens mount is Continue reading