SONY α7R II, SEL35F28Z Sonnar T* FE 35mm F2.8 ZA, 1/640, F8, ISO 100, Photo by NB


Pop Quiz. Do more pixels mean better image quality? It's an easy quiz for people who know much about digital cameras and their answers will be "theoretically yes, but realistically not always yes." This means they can have adverse effects. However, all technological innovations in history were achieved by overcoming the problems. This new model has approximately 42.4 megapixels. So, we want to know how SONY overcame the issues with this incredible number of pixels to show us a new world, and the best way is seeing the images.

( Photography & Text : NB )

SONY α7R II, SEL35F28Z Sonnar T* FE 35mm F2.8 ZA, 1/60, F2.8, ISO 125, Photo by NB

Here's the product summary. It shares the body shape with "no name" Alpha 7II, but it's all made of magnesium alloy. When the first generations of the Alpha7 and the Alpha7R were released, some people were concerned about the ruggedness of the build quality. SONY has cleared this issue with the new Alpha7RII with this extra-rigid body. Other features include the 5-axis image stabilization just like the Alpha 7II and the improved fast hybrid AF. Plus, it supports 4K movie recording with full pixel readout. And as I already mentioned, the sensor, which is back-illuminated CMOS, has massive 42.4 effective megapixels. Furthermore, the EVF offers 0.78X magnification (with the dazzling red "T" engraving!), which I found truly helpful.

SONY α7R II, SEL35F28Z Sonnar T* FE 35mm F2.8 ZA, 1/125, F8, ISO 100, Photo by NB

This image shows the benefits of having more pixels. The illuminated dense bamboo forest is so-called "high frequency" image. Click it and you can view the 100% crop (you can go back to the original sample by clicking it again). I'm sure you said, "wow!" I did because there was nothing else I could say. It just captures all information I see no matter what. It resolves perfectly, but the images never look unnaturally bitingly sharp. In other words, they look exactly like what we see with the naked eye.

SONY α7R II, ZEISS Loxia 2/50, 1/5000, F2.5, ISO 100, Photo by NB

The next image is the crest of a wave hitting the tetrapod. It shows the minuteness of the time and definition beyond human vision. You can view the 100% crop by clicking. I think I heard your "wow!" again.

SONY α7R II, ZEISS Loxia 2/50, 1/60, F2.8, ISO 400, Photo by NB

Calm down and take a look at this indoor shot. It's hard to talk about the sensor performance just by looking at the images because they are always produced by the collaboration between a lens and a sensor. But at least, I can say that good image quality cannot be achieved just by the lens. Look at the color tones and the vinyl texture of the old chairs. Didn't you feel a "presence" of something in the deep shadow?

SONY α7R II, ZEISS Loxia 2/50, 1/60, F2.0, ISO 400, Photo by NB

Shooting the outdoor patio from the indoor room. I took advantage of the slightly overcast sky, but it reproduced the great detail of the indoor even though I determined the exposure by the luminance of the outside flowers. And, even defocused subjects express the atmosphere of the room. Without the tonal gradation of the shadow and the solid color reproduction, this rendition is impossible.

SONY α7R II, ZEISS Loxia 2/50, 1/60, F2.8, ISO 500, Photo by NB

I often go to the Mito Art Museum in Mito, Ibaragi Prefecture because it's a great place to enjoy viewing paintings and listening to music. And, the older I get, the more I appreciate the time spent for art. I often stop by at cafe RIN in Izumicho, Mito and I wanted to take some photography there.

SONY α7R II, SEL35F28Z Sonnar T* FE 35mm F2.8 ZA, 1/160, F2.8, ISO 102400, Photo by NB

This rough image of the show window after hours was shot with the maximum sensitivity, ISO102400. The substantial amount of noise is due to the complete darkness of the location, which is inside and outside of the shop. I don't think people would always be shooting in an adverse condition like this, but I shot for your reference. And, I was actually quite impressed by the image quality. Incidentally, if you monochromize the images shot with this sensitivity, you get sweet images. :)

SONY α7R II, ZEISS Loxia 2/50, 1/60, F5.6, ISO 5000, Photo by NB

Another shot with a high sensitivity ISO5000, which is far "lower" than the previous image. On this image size, there's no practical problem.

SONY α7R II, Leitz Hektor 13.5cm f4.5, 1/400, F11, ISO 100, Photo by NB

Enjoy the greatest compatibility of the E-mount that accepts almost all mounts out there via adapters. With the full frame Alpha 7 series, you can fully enjoy the taste of these lenses and you can take advantage of the image stabilization. I love old lenses and I shot this image with the Hektor 135mm for Leica. This is the image quality of the Hektor 135mm made in nearly 80 years ago. The world of lenses is deep, indeed.

SONY α7R II, SEL55F18Z Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA, 1/2000, F5, ISO 100, Photo by NB

By the time I finished testing, I was thoroughly absorbed into shooting and had forgotten about the negative effects of having more pixels. Of course, if we look meticulously, we may find some issues and I'm sure SONY acknowledges that there're still many issues to overcome. At least, I didn't find any issues at all and I can say that this is such a well-made camera with confidence. It's so good that I felt disarmed.


This 42.2-megapixel full frame E-mount camera is irreplaceable.

I was quite surprised when the Alpha 7/Alpha 7R cameras were released because they had a full-frame sensor with large number of pixels. I bought it because it was what I wanted. And, they released this dramatically improved new model after such a short interval. Cameras are always evolving, but I truly felt so by testing this camera. The only thing I didn't like about the series was the projected design of the viewfinder section, but now it even looks cute when I think it's an identity of the series. Honestly, it's a bit expensive. However, value of a product isn't determined by the numbers on the price tag or the comparison with other products. If you want something and you know it's irreplaceable, you must buy it. Perhaps, it sounds reasonable if you think it compensates for your happiness... maybe...

( 09.08.2015 )