Sony A7 II Hands-on Review
Sony A7 MK II

Sony A7 II Hands-on Review

I appreciate your patience in waiting for my Sony A7 II hands-on review. I will give a quick view and impression about the new Sony A7 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

We get a larger grip on the Sony A7 II than its predecessor.

Sony A7 ii - Larger Grip
Larger Grip

The shutter button and front dial are reallocated to the front of the grip. The new shutter button, front dial, and larger grip give a more natural and more comfortable experience overall. The Sony A7 II replaces the first-generation Sony A7original shutter location with two customizable buttons (C1 and C2).

Sony A7 ii - Reallocation of Shutter Button and Front Dial
Reallocation of Shutter Button and Front Dial

There are four customizable buttons now, which provides more flexibility to set the camera functions to suit our needs.

Sony A7 ii - 1 More Customizable Button (C4)
1 More Customizable Button (C4)

The Sony A7 II body is fully built with alloy magnesium which gives a more solid feel. When you mount the lens, you feel significantly tighter as the lens mount’s build is improved; hence, it is more robust than its predecessor Sony A7.

Sony A7 ii - Better Lens Mount
Better Lens Mount

The mini-HDMI and micro USB ports are located side-by-side with the microphone and mini-jack ports.

Sony A7 ii - Reallocation of Ports
Reallocation of Ports

Key Specification

The image sensor is the same as the first-generation Sony A7. However, the new autofocus and tracking algorithm improves the autofocus speed and tracking accuracy. It is not as blazing fast as the Sony a6000, but it is pretty fast and accurate enough for daily essentials.

The new Sony A7 II still uses the same battery as the A7 series and NEX series. It is good that we can share the batteries as a backup. However, 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). We can purchase a vertical grip that allows two batteries to double the shooting time.

Sample Shots with SEL55F18Z

I picked some Sony A7 II out-of-camera JPEG images, which I shot at a slow shutter speed as the sample shots below. (None of the RAW converters could convert it yet at the writing time). I cropped the focus point at 100% using DxO Optics Pro 10. I used the Zeiss SEL55F18Z and SEL2870 kit lens for the test shots.

Sample 1

Sony A7 ii sample shot - 1/15s, 55mm
1/15s, 55mm
100% Cropped
100% Cropped

Sample 2

Sony A7 ii sample shot - 1/15s, 55mm
1/15s, 55mm
100% Cropped
100% Cropped

Sample 3

Sony A7 ii sample shot - 1/6s, 55mm
1/6s, 55mm
100% Cropped
100% Cropped

Sample 4

Sony A7 ii sample shot - 1/6s, 55mm
1/6s, 55mm
100% Cropped
100% Cropped

Sample 5

Sony A7 ii sample shot - 1/13s, 55mm
1/13s, 55mm
100% Cropped
100% Cropped

The new Sony A7 II can produce blur-free results at 1/6s, about 3.5 stops slower than the safe shutter speed (I considered 1/60s as the safe shutter speed for 55mm). I used the “snap and shot” type rather than properly nailed the focusing and shoot because I wanted to test the accuracy of A7 MK II’s autofocus and how well it compensates for handshaking.

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 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 a longer focal length.

Sample Shots with SEL2870 Kit Lens

Sample 1

Sony A7 ii sample shot - 1/8s, 70mm
1/8s, 70mm
100% Cropped
100% Cropped

Sample 2

Sony A7 ii sample shot - 1/10s, 70mm
1/10s, 70mm
100% Cropped
100% Cropped

Sample 3

Sony A7 ii sample shot - 1/8s, 70mm
1/8s, 70mm
100% Cropped
100% Cropped

Well, I’m impressed again by the efficiency of the Sony A7 II 5-axis IS. When I held the camera with both hands properly (we are supposed 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).

Sony A7 II Hands-On Impression

I like the more solid built of the new Sony A7 II, thanks to the alloy-magnesium body that we have seen on the Sony A7R and A7S. The larger grip and reallocation of the shutter button and front wheel are the welcome changes. They provide a more comfortable holding and more natural shutter pressing position.

The selling point of the Sony A7 II – the 5-axis in-camera body image stabilizer shines in the handshaking compensation. I can easily get blur-free results at 3 stops slower shutter speed with a single hand shot. When using two hands to hold the camera properly, I manage to get blur-free results at 4 stops slower shutter speed.

Well, that’s all about the 30 minutes Sony A7 Mk II hands-on session. The A7 Mk II body only and A7 Mk II with SEL2870 kit lens are selling at SGD 2,149 and SGD 2,549 in Singapore.

I 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 😉

James Tan

James Tan is a Singapore-based professional photographer who shoots products, nature, and cityscapes. Learn more about his works on his galleries. He shares his perspective on cameras, gadgets, and photography tips & tricks in his blog. You can follow him on his YouTube channel and Instagram.

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