New Sony A7II Full Frame Mirrorless Camera Breakdown

Sony A7 II

Hello everybody and thanks for checking in once again! Today I wanted to breakdown the New Sony A7II (ILCE7M2), so you have a good understanding of what is new and just how awesome it is or is not 😉

The major breakthrough that Sony has come out with is the New 5-Axis Sensor stabilization technology and we really need to go over this first! This is flat out amazing technology the Olympus has had for some time on their killer M4/3 sensor sized range finder style cameras. Well, Sony figured out a way to use this technology and scale it up to the much larger full frame sensor found in the A7II. Clearly Sony worked with Olympus on this, so I gather they will get some sensor technology from Sony in return. I could be wrong, but that would make sense to me.

So, in order to fit this 5-axis IBIS technology inside the small mirrorless camera body it had to get a bit larger. I personally don’t mind this at all, because I did complain a bit about the ergonomics of the original A7-series bodies and pointed out several areas that could be improved in the next generation body. It really needed to be refined and that is exactly what Sony did!

5-axis Image Stabilization

The a7 II dramatically expands your range of expression by compensating for five types of camera shake during handheld shooting of still images and movies. The highly effective 4.5-step* compensation lets you confidently zoom in on faraway subjects, snap detailed close-ups, capture night scenes and more — all with minimal camera shake blur.

* Based on CIPA standard. Pitch/yaw shake only. With Sonnar T* FE 55 mm F1.8 ZA lens mounted. Long exposure NR off.

5-axis image stabilization
5-axis image stabilization

Automatic optimization for every Alpha lens

Confidently use your favorite E-mount and A-mount lenses, knowing the a7 II will analyze information from the lens to optimize depiction performance and 5-axis image stabilization for the particular lens you mount. When using E-mount lenses with optical stabilization (OSS), the a7 II combines the best of in-lens and in-camera image stabilization.

First, take a quick look at the camera size comparison courtesy of

Sony A7 vs A7II Size Comparison
Sony A7 vs A7II Size Comparison
Sony A7 vs A7II Size Comparison
Sony A7 vs A7II Size Comparison

Sony A7II VS A7

Now lets take a look at some High Resolution photos for a much closer look at the goods!

A7M2 WxHxD = 5.0 x 3.8 x 2.4″ / 126.9 x 95.7 x 59.7 mm

A7 WxHxD = 5.0 x 3.7 x 1.9″ / 126.9 x 94.4 x 48.2 mm

Click Photos for ~1000px High Res Versions!

Sony a7II vs a7 - Front
Sony a7II vs a7 – Front

From the top side we can see huge improvements in the grip design, shutter positioning, and custom buttons! The original Sony A7 was a modified RX1 camera body and it really showed in my opinion, especially when compared to this well refined model.

The shutter button includes the ON\Off toggle just like the original A7 design. The Hot Shoe and Shutter Release Button are also black in color which I prefer 😉 You can also see the new and improved angled back from the top now which holds the Menu Button and C3/ Magnify.

The remarkably compact and lightweight body is solidly built to withstand the rigors of shooting in the field. It’s the ideal blend of light weight, solid reliability and steady handling, thanks to a top cover, front cover and internal structure constructed of rigid magnesium alloy.

Sony a7II vs a7 - Top
Sony a7II vs a7 – Top

From the back side we can see several improvements and overall differences. First, note that angled lip where the Menu and C3 buttons are located. This used to be a chunky flat notch design and it was harder than it needed to be for sure! Sony also made the top rear adjustment wheel much thinner, and it has a more aggressive grove pattern for the thumb. The memory card door is also refined and is no longer part of the thumb resting support area. I think this will resolve any accidental memory card door openings users have complained about.

Really well done Sony on all accounts, and thanks for addressing all of our ergonomic complaints!

Sony a7II vs a7 - Back
Sony a7II vs a7 – Back

The A7II has a Higher Resolution TFT (1,228,800) w/ WhiteMagic Technology! This allows for much better viewing in daylight conditions and a more accurate representations of the whites in various scenes.
[quote]The LCD screen tilts upward approx. 107 degrees and downward approx. 41 degrees to accommodate wide-ranging shooting angles. This flexibility combines with compact mobility to greatly expand your shooting options. Viewing is also clear under direct sunlight thanks to WhiteMagic™ technology that nearly doubles the brightness of the display.[/quote]

Sony a7II vs a7 - Back w/ Articulating Screen
Sony a7II vs a7 – Back w/ Articulating Screen

The grip on the New Sony A7II has been improved leaps and bounds in my opinion. Much deeper which was critical, but even more important was the re positioning of the shutter button and adjustment wheel. This design is way more efficient, ergonomic, and user friendly in my opinion. Not eh much smaller memory card door as well!

Sony A7II Grip
Sony A7II Grip
Original Sony A7 Grip
Original Sony A7 Grip

You can really see just how far the grip sticks out past the e-mount flange from this left side view in particular. Note the new HDMI and USB port locations and improved door design. They now open downward and

Sony A7II Port Side - Open
Sony A7II Port Side – Open
Sony A7 Port Side - Open
Sony A7 Port Side – Open

New Specs and Features

Well, the 24mp sensor is the same, but Sony claims a 30% speed improvement in AF, so this is great in my opinion. Clearly not as good as the new A6000 second generation hybrid AF, but still good enough for most photography that we would encounter. High speed sports photography will obviously not be the best with this camera, but you certainly get some good shots regardless in my opinion if you know how to use the camera to it’s potential.
A new higher resolution touch LCD screen is a welcomed improvement and upgrade for sure.

5 fps AF/AE shooting with accurate tracking

When your subject is moving fast, you can beautifully capture the decisive moment with sharp, well-exposed results via 5fps continuous AF/AE shooting. A dramatically improved algorithm accurately predicts subject movement so you can steadfastly track the subject even when shooting continuously.

Robust magnesium alloy body

The remarkably compact and lightweight body is solidly built to withstand the rigors of shooting in the field. It’s the ideal blend of light weight, solid reliability and steady handling, thanks to a top cover, front cover and internal structure constructed of rigid magnesium alloy.

Video Capabilities

Like the powerful Sony A7s which I recently reviewed here, the New A7II features very powerful video recording and clean HDMI output capabilities!

Pro-quality XAVC S format

For extremely high image quality and minimal noise, record movies in the high-bit-rate XAVC S format, which was developed based on the professional XAVC 4K/HD format. It enables Full HD (1920 x 1080) image recording at 50Mbps (60p/50p, 30p/25p, 24p)* and employs linear PCM sound for high-quality sound recording.


S-Log2 gamma setting

This proprietary Sony gamma setting, featured in professional camcorders, creates a 1300% wider dynamic range for smooth expression of gradation with reduced whiteout and blackout. Through color grading in post-production, you can make the most of the low-noise image and super-rich detail to achieve various types of image expression.

Clean HDMI output

An HDMI terminal makes it easy to transfer Full HD movie signals in real-time to an external monitor for accurate, large-screen viewing and listening. This feature supports uncompressed movie recording on external recording equipment and lets you output uncompressed movies with the shooting info display function off.

Time code/User bit

This function provides a “Record Run” setting that only advances the time code while recording, a “Free Run” setting that advances the time code whether recording or not, a drop frame method and a non-drop frame method. The ?7 II can also output an embedded time code when the clean HDMI output setting is in use.

Initial Reviews and Breakdowns

Tony Northrup and What Digital Camera, did some nice video style breakdowns that are worth checking out in my opinion 😉

Sony A7 II SteadyShot In Action:
Courtesy of Sean Ellwood


New A7II Conclusions

This next generation full frame mirrorless camera from Sony is awesome and I highly recommend it based on the initial reports and killer specs/ features. The 5-Axis Sensor Stabilization will work with ALL third party lenses as reported on SonyAlphaRumors (Click Here) Oh yeah, that is awesome and amazing to say the least guys!! What we have all been waiting for and dreaming about since the very first e-mount camera that was capable of using old school lenses via lens adapters. Remember back when that first happened?

Only a few short years later, and now we have a 5-axis stabilized full frame sensor e-mount camera!
Sony continues to push the limits of technology and is clearly leading this mirrorless evolution on several fronts. Sensor technology, camera features and power, plus value for the dollar can not be beat in my opinion. Even more A7 info on the Sony Global Website (Click Here)

The New Sony A7II is expected to start shipping as early as December 9th I have heard, and is going for only $1698 US!! Pre-ordrs now being accepted @ BHPhoto (Click Here)

That is about it for now guys, but please feel free to ask questions and chime in with your thoughts on this new mirrorless monster 😉


  1. Great overall review of this awesome new camera … exactly what I’ve wanted Sony to do for a couple of years.
    One thing … I’m pretty sure it doesn’t have a “touchscreen” … sure wish it did, though. And hoping you’re right. 🙂

    1. Thanks Mike and I did not think it had a touchscreen either, but it says it on BHPhoto and I was not 100% sure 😉 Clearly to good to be true and BHPhoto is mistaken. The Sony Global site does not say touchscreen anywhere from what I can tell.
      Thanks again for the comments,

    2. you might want a touch screen as I know when I use the EVF my nose touches the screen. My nose might do something that I’m not aware of. If they did offer a touch screen I would hope that one would beable to disable it. JMHO.

  2. Can you please quit being so thorough and informative. My brain can only store so much data~ 🙂 Another great and informative review.
    BTW: I’ve been passing links to your articles and reviews along to people at Sony.

    1. Sorry bud 😉 Thanks for sharing the links with Sony as they refuse to acknowledge I exist due to the Sony being in the website name apparently! Great marketing on Sony’s part eh?? You would think they would just send equipment to me so I could easily do highly detailed reviews faster than anybody else, but no. I have to wait weeks after all the mainstream reviews get them and then do a review. It’s fine, but does not make much sense from my perspective? Clearly I am missing something I guess.
      Thanks again for the comments,

    1. Hi AudLiut,
      No, it does not have the Phase Detection Auto focus system or the AF-D option that the A99 has. The translucent mirror is waht allows for this on the A99, and the Mirrorless cameras do not have this feature due to the much smaller camera body and “mirrorless” design 😉

  3. Well done, Sony!
    Now, I think there is no silent shooting option. Will be nice to have little b/w LCD screen on the top of the body as there is free area on the left.
    Sony, please make now the model with EVF on the left corner,
    anyway for aps-c sensor as NEX7 replacement – EVF can be tiltable too.
    What ever great ISO perfomance, nice little internal flash is missing on A7II (like on NEX7/6 and a6000), so don’t cut it from aps-c model.
    Add to aps-c model grip with dial like on A7II now – so 4-navy.
    And of course – SSS and silent shooting mode.

    1. Hello Aavo and really excellent points you raised!!
      I agree the Silent shooting option and LCD screen on the left would be awesome and should be there on the next generation I would imagine. Perhaps the A9 will have this “pro” feature??
      EVF on the left corner is much easier on the nose for sure! Sony tried to address this by pushing the EVF eye hood back as much as possible, but it still is not good enough for the nose issue!
      Built in basic on camera flash would be a nice feature. Again, room on the left for this!
      4-Navi would be nice and Steadyshot on the APS-C models will certainly be welcomed by many, but I honestly don’t know if it will just yet? The Nex-7 replacement would certainly sell better if it had the SteadyShot, but would it take potential sales away from the more expensive A7II? I never know what the cooperate mentality is for this type of thing. Profit margins and competing models within Sony etc..
      Thanks again for the great comments and input for Sony to consider,

  4. Sony have addressed most of the issues already highlighted in reviews both here and elsewhere, which is very welcome, now I wonder how long it will be before we have an a7R II and a7S II, also with these recent improvements.
    The integration of IBIS is a significant development, while the re-designed grip appears to be ergonomically improved – but I still want that Menu button on the right hand side please, for single-handed operation of the main menu functions. An alternative might be to substitute the new C4 control as a ‘back’ button during menu operation, rather than the Menu button itself. Also, I hope 1) that the ISO control doesn’t require an initial right-click to start rotational control and 2) that WB can be re-assigned to the right-click position as before.
    I doubt that the seemingly random positioning of menu options has been rationalized or customization of the Fn menu has been extended but, here’s hoping…

    1. Oops! Your form parsing routine clearly doesn’t like the ‘alpha’ character that I inserted into my post. BTW, the character I used appears OK in posts on Google+, so I thought that I would try it here – but there’s no edit option to change the ‘?’ in my comment. 🙁

    2. Hi Ian and thanks for the comments! I don’t think it will be that long for the next generation units to come out. Perhaps in the early spring we will get the R model, and then summer the S model? Just speculating based on how the last models came out. Except the A7 and A7r came out at the same time last year. One at a time most likely from now on I believe. Of course could always be wrong though 😉
      I also want the menu button on the right hand side and should have mentioned that. Great point! Why so far on the left like that? plenty of room on the right side for that button. I wonder if it had to do with the internal circuit board design and how hard it would be to modify that button? Who knows…
      Back button would also be great!
      Not sure about your other issues, but ISO does work with just a turn on my A7r. I don’t have to click it first?
      Thanks again,

      1. But the WB control on my a7R only works after a right-click, which is where the ISO control seems to have been re-positioned on the a7II, if the photos are accurate. It would be a retrograde step were ISO control to require a right-click as does WB control on the a7R. If, however, ISO adjustment on the a7II were also a simple rotation of the wheel, as with the a7R, then why paint ISO on the a7II where it reads WB on the a7R?
        Sorry to be pedantic!

  5. Hi Jay, great preview of a great camera 😀
    I tried a bit the camera last weekend, and I can say the a7II feels much more a pro camera than the original a7. Actually it feels so different, it could be called a8 😀
    The first thing you are going to notice is how the build quality is better, it feels much more solid. The new grip and the texture is a great improvement. The only thing feels a bit strange is the front dial,I like the huge front dial of the a7.This one is more an DLSR like front dial.
    Another improvement is how much better the camera feels with an A mount lens, thanks to the new grip.
    The LCD screen is different too, its thinner now, and moves a bit different.
    But even with all the improvements theres one thing to consider: the a7II is definitely bigger and heavier than the a7. And it’s very noticeable. Because of that, some people may still consider the original a7 cameras, specially with the price dropping.

    1. Thanks for the comments and sharing your hands-on experience Flavio! Greatly appreciated and I’m glad it feels more solid. The grip looks like it will address all the issues you mentioned for sure. The rear screen I did not notice was thinner or moved different and that is good to know as well!
      How much heavier would you say it is? I know the actual numbers, but my A7r with the 50mm f/1.4 Minolta lens is pretty darn heavy honestly. I don’t think this will make much of a difference for most people. It’s still a lot les weight and size compared to a DSLR. If you really want the light weight, then the original A7 or A6000 would be a better way to go for sure. I think Sony will eventually come out with a stripped down full frame unit that is super affordable. Like the A5000, but full frame for example. That would fill the “nitch of folks” you are thinking of I believe?
      Thanks again,

      1. Hello Pgoata,
        IQ and low light focusing will probably be about the same as the a7 since the sensor is the same. The AF may be slightly faster in low light, but I’m not sure. The tracking of moving subjects was supposedly greatly improved on testing, but I did not hear about low light sensitivity.

  6. My very deep feeling has been from the very beginning of e-mount models, that the biggest mistake Sony has done, was no SSS on NEX7. Now this period is probably over and both FF and APS-C models can have series with SSS and of course, without SSS too, if there is market (probably is because of native e-mount OSS lenses). The heavier models with SSS can probably not be much bigger, if EVF is at the left corner of the body. If body is high, then body + lens combo is big. I think it can be more suitable for lot of users, even for most oh users. There is on different, where the EVF is located, if one’s right eye can’t be used for shooting with EVF. Tilting EVF can help lot here.
    Sorry I pointed out issue already written here before, but this design can rock on FF bodies too.

    1. Great points, but Sony did not have the technology at the time. They had to trade with Olympus to get it. The Nex-7 was so awesome the way it was, that it really did not matter that much in my opinion, although was certainly a Want for many. The IQ, build quality, and overall power of the Nex-7 sold itself for the most part and really put Sony on the map for mirrorless “pro” solutions. Clearly the new full frame models are more geared towards pro’s, but a really high quality APS-C sensor unit is still wanted by many photographers. The arguable better depth of field that the full frame cameras provide also causes some issues for users wanting everything sharp front to back. Having to use f/22 is not ideal with diffraction, and the smaller sensor does make this easier. That is one reason the M4/3 cameras are still selling so good. You don’t “need” a bigger sensor to get killer photographs clearly. It just makes it easier to separate subjects from the backgrounds and provides much better low light performance. It’s a give and take as far as the depth of field debate. I see both sides!
      Good call on the tilting EVF as a feature for those in need or a weak right eye for example.
      Thanks again for the comments,

      1. Oly has nothing to do with this 5 axis stabilization. Sony has already stated that this system is own development and has nothing in common with Oly’s IBIS system. Tests have given that this system is less efficient on video than Oly M1 system, but this is comparing apples and oranges, the size of the sensor is much different and those who think Oly Ibis is better, can buy an M1 losing the FF sensor capability. Now, if we want to compare another unfair state between A7-2 and Oly M1, just let us compare IQ, and then Oly fans will scream, yes, but it has a FF sensor. Both cameras are using same principles, but both stabilization systems differ totally from each other, so all one can compare is A7 to A7-2, all other comparing of cameras would be useless.

        1. Interesting info Shamael 😉 DO you have a source for that? I definitely read years ago on SontAlphaRumors, that Sony and Oly were meeting. It was a confirmed company meeting I remember. What were they discussing?? Hopefully this would result in the 5-axis technology in a few years the article said, now it’s a few years later and we have it. It’s also the same exact 5-axis sensor stabilization? Cleary it is different because of the sensor size and camera body, but is it really a completely different design? I highly doubt it and think it’s got to be based off the same exact design. If Sony developed this “new” 5-axis on their own, I bet it would have three directions at first, or maybe 4. Not 5 first try? Then again I could be totally wrong as well! Remember Nikon saying they were not using Sony sensors a while back? They were lying also 😉
          Once we see the actual engineering design compared, then we will know for sure I suppose… A7II Tear down video yet anybody?? lol

      2. Great to feel over years, that Sony is going on now and one can hope that the next generation brings something wanted again.
        Thank you Jay for comments!

  7. Jay,
    Digital Camera Japan has published an article on new Sony A7-2 and it was clearly marked in there that the 5 axis anti shake is Sony proprietary development.
    The google translation gives you something like Bible text story, but, you will find it in there, it’s a nutcracker job to find it, so good luck, hahaha.

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