Back in early August I made a video review (see below) that predicted this camera would be Camera of the Year for 2015. Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com) agreed with me and the game-changing A7RII was announced as their product of the year 2015.
Winner: Sony Alpha 7R II
“The Sony’s combination of image quality, video capability and autofocus performance come together to make it our camera of the year. The camera’s sheer capability: a 42MP sensor that performs well in high contrast or low light situations, built-in image stabilization, 4K video with internal recording, is hugely impressive. But add to this the ability to sensibly use other brands’ lenses and the a7R II becomes a significant camera far beyond the market for this particular high-end model: it could be the sign of things to come.”
A7RII Key Features
- Back-Illuminated Full-frame Sensor
- 42.4 Megapixels
- XVAC-S Movie Codec
- Internal 4K Recording and S-Log2 Gamma
- Electronic Front Curtain Shutter + Silent Shooting
- 5-Axis In-Body Image Stabilisation (IBIS)
- Fast Hybrid AF with 399 Phase Detect AF Points
- Bracketed images with self-timer
- Choose the Minimum Shutter Speed with AUTO ISO
- Start movie recording by pressing a Custom Button
The Sony a7R II wins this group for many reasons: it is arguably the most innovative, most improved, and houses the most features of any camera in this category. 399 PDAF points offer the largest frame coverage and truly challenge full-frame DSLR AF. We were in disbelief at the incredibly high AF hit rates we observed across multiple shoots, so we baselined the system against DSLRs in a slew of continuous AF tests to find that, sure enough, the a7R II challenges some of the best DSLRs, even in low light. Continuous Eye AF is a boon for candids of even moving subjects, and better-than-DSLR AF accuracy ensures critical focus for shallow depth-of-field applications. Many of these AF benefits disruptively carry over to 3rd party lenses when using electronic adapters, an industry first.
In-body stabilization and electronic shutters allow you to worry less about handheld and mirror or shutter-induced shake, a clear benefit over high-resolution DSLRs. Internal 4K recording is a first for this segment, as well as BSI technology on a full-frame camera, which gives the a7R II class-leading low light image quality and continues Sony’s tradition of high dynamic range Raw imaging. The a7R II overcomes inherent issues of many DSLRs and especially the shortcomings of its predecessor, and the sum total of innovations and features help get the camera out of the way, allowing you to focus on image-making. Switch back to a DSLR and you may find yourself searching for that Eye AF button or wondering if you should microadjust that prime or why your video looks so soft or jittery (no IBIS). While we still have concerns over ergonomics, and mirrorless cameras still have shortcomings for sports photography, one cannot deny the sheer photography-accelerating technical prowess of the a7R II. When we say “Sony wins at cameras,” for 2015, we really mean it.