The A7R II fol­lows af­ter the orig­i­nal A7R with a newer high-res­o­lu­tion 42.4MP sen­sor, and a 5-axis im­age sta­bi­liza­tion built into the cam­era body. That new sen­sor makes the A7R II the high­est-res­o­lu­tion mir­ror­less sys­tem cam­era on the mar­ket and ef­fec­tively lets it leapfrog over the D810 for sec­ond place in the res­o­lu­tion race.

But that’s miss­ing the point. Hav­ing prob­a­bly the largest back­side il­lu­mi­nated (BSI) CMOS sen­sor in the mar­ket, the A7R II gains much im­proved high ISO per­for­mance that sim­ply goes be­yond the com­pe­ti­tion. Where the A7R could only go up to ISO 25,600, the A7R II now boasts the abil­ity to go up to ISO 102,400 (af­ter boost).

Com­pare this to the Nikon D810A and the Canon EOS 5DS which only go up to 51,200 and 12,800 (af­ter boost) re­spec­tively, and you cer­tainly have to ad­mit that Sony has prob­a­bly made a smart de­ci­sion in not try­ing to push the num­bers as far as res­o­lu­tion goes. That’s be­cause in­creas­ing the pixel pitch for higher res­o­lu­tion would prob­a­bly mean a trade-off in terms of noise at higher ISOs.

The A7R II gains the same han­dling im­prove­ments as the A7 II, with a deeper hand­grip and the slight change to the con­trol dial lay­out al­low­ing for bet­ter place­ment of the shut­ter but­ton and the in­clu­sion of more cus­tom func­tion but­tons. Th­ese seem­ingly small changes re­ally made a dif­fer­ence to the over­all han­dling as we were able to get the cam­era more sta­ble with­out hav­ing to fum­ble for the shut­ter but­ton. An­other wel­come change would be the new elec­tronic viewfinder, which gives a mag­ni­fi­ca­tion of 0.78x – the high­est of any full-frame cam­era in the mar­ket at present.

On the video front, the A7R II also gets an up­grade, now be­ing able to record 4K (3,840 x 2,160 pixel res­o­lu­tion) video in­ter­nally – no ex­ter­nal recorder needed this time. No ISO lim­its have been placed on video record­ing either, so you can go up to the cam­era’s max ISO 102,400 and still have the ben­e­fit of 5-axis sta­bi­liza­tion with any lens. Match that with the im­proved aut­o­fo­cus sys­tem that’s sen­si­tive from EV-2 to EV20 and you have a highly ver­sa­tile cam­era for both stills and video.

There’s a lock but­ton on the mode dial that you have to de­press to change modes.

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