SONY α7 II / SHOOTING REPORT
Mighty SONY released the new Alpha 7II, which is an update to the full frame E mount Alpha 7 body released 1 year ago. The top feature is the new optical 5-axis image stabilizer, and this means you can take advantage of it with a wide array of lenses including but not limited to E and A mount lenses. And, even if the lens doesn't have electric contact points (e.g. lenses used via mount adapters), you can still use it by setting the focal length manually. So, this body is definitely the most envied camera for lens gourmets. Another update is the new body shape and we will check it along with the image quality.
( Photography : Z II / Text : 48 )
Minor changes of user interface for higher usability
Because of the new mechanism, the body became a little larger than the predecessor. The most salient difference is the grip stretched to the front. Even though it became thicker, but it's only thicker than the compact original model and still smart enough. The shutter button has moved to the top of the grip and one dial has moved to the front of the grip. This must be a welcome change for experts. In addition, the lens mount and the viewfinder have moved closer to the sensor, so the overall appearance has become more like the typical SLR camera like the A mount bodies. And, I'm sure serious shooters will like it better.
A top view best explains the difference between the new and the old models. The left one is the Alpha 7II and the right one is the Alpha 7. The shape of the grip has changed completely. The projection on the rear side, or where the thumb touches, has become a little larger and it contributes to the better holding. The transfer of the shutter button gave a space for an additional custom button. And, the minor parts including the flash shoe and the shutter button are now in black, giving more unified look.
The basic buttons on the rear side look the same, but the dial near the zoom sigh has a different shape. Together with the new front dial, I think the user interface has become more practical.
While it has the new body shape and the image stabilizer, I felt the image quality is all Alpha 7 series. Isn't it because of the rich but not exaggerated color reproduction that we like the Alpha 7 series?
Of course, as always, resolution is high and it has great 3D quality. Each leaf is clearly separated even under the low light condition.
It depicted the wet red fruits and the green leaves realistically and I can even feel that the temperature is becoming lower day by day.
Just like the predecessor, it's highly resistant to direct sunlight. Of course, it's also because of the ZEISS lens. Even in the shadowed trunks and branches of the trees, I can still see the tonal gradation. And, even if I raised the tone of the JPEG images that were generated in-camera, the tonal gradation doesn't look unnatural and the resolution remains high. Because of this richness in tonal gradation, I even doubted if they were 16-bit outputs.
Cats know where to take a nap. It gazed at me with one eye, as if it were saying, "don't interrupt my nap." This minute depiction of the hair must be credited to the Sonnar T* 135mm F1.8 ZA. Become a SONY user and enjoy the privilege of using the top-class combination of the bodies and lenses.
Another wonderful example of the combination wit the Sonnar 135mm. The texture of the hat, the jacket, and the pants is so minute that I can even imagine their rustling. And, the gradation of the black color of the jacket is outstanding.
Because of the rich tonal gradation, I can see the repeated permeations and reflections. The glass reflects the sky blue and it is depicted by the rich gradation of blue tone without becoming flat.
The rich tonal gradation also enables depiction of the soft scene like this one. The green-tinted light reflecting on the dish and the cutlery reproduced the gentle mood of the store as it was.
Now, let's try the main new feature "in body 5-axis image stabilizer." I set the sensitivity low and shot in a dark bar handheld. I couldn't freeze the subject 100% and maybe I need to learn the trick. But, I was able to shoot this image with 1/8 second without shaking. They say the stabilization is effective up to 4.5 stops and this works with any lenses. How sweet!
The gradation of the sky including the intense evening sunlight is wonderfully smooth. And, this is possible with JPEG. So, you don't always have to start from RAW data. Another sweetness.
Evolved Alpha 7II for serious shooters
While the top feature is the image stabilization, other updates facilitated shooting drastically even though they are minor. Right after grabbing the grip, I noticed the body has become more rigid and the grip gives better holding. And, I could judge which dial I was using just by touching. SONY's thoughtfulness doesn't stop here and they also updated the design including the paint. Plus, I also felt the shutter noise is a little quieter and the shutter shock is reduced. And, I like the position of the shutter button and I think this is an important thing. I'm sure SLR users will like this body design and they will think seriously about starting the Alpha 7 system. The E-mount takes a variety of lenses via mount adapters, and this is great news for people who have old lenses for film cameras.
With the expansion of the SONY genuine and Carl Zeiss lenses, the Alpha 7 series has become a fully professional system. And, the future roadmap for the FE lenses (PDF) is also quite exciting and encouraging. Now, don't you think it's time to make "the decision"?
( 07.12.2014 )