Sony Alpha A7 II review

Firmware update adds better quality raw files and phase detection AF for Alpha-mount lenses

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As it sits mid-way between the 36MP Alpha 7R and the 12MP Alpha 7S, the 24Mp Alpha 7 II is the all-rounder, generalists' model. It's likely to find favour amongst those who don't need the huge file sizes that the A7R generates and who want faster autofocusing, but who aren't primarily concerned with low-light and video performance.

That's not to say that the A7 II a "Jack of all trades and master of none". It's capable of resolving a heck of a lot of detail and noise is controlled very well from ISO 50 to 6400. The autofocus system is also very fast and accurate in decent lighting conditions and it's capable of getting moving subjects sharp. Nevertheless, it probably still wouldn't be the first choice of camera for a sports photographer.

We love the feel of the A7 II and how it sits very comfortably in the hand. Photographers with larger hands sometimes find the Sony A7-series of cameras more comfortable to hold and the controls less fiddly to use than those on the Olympus OM-D E-M10 and even the OM-D E-M5 and OM-D E-M1.

Having image stabilisation built in to a camera body is a huge plus point because it means that just about any lens you mount on it becomes stabilized. We may not quite have matched the claimed compensation figures for the A7 II's system, but it enabled us to take sharp images at much slower shutter speeds than would normally be possible.

The Sony A7 II produces images with an impressive level of detail and lovely color. Although I found that you need to keep an eye on exposure and use the compensation dial to occasionally vary it by 1/3 or 2/3EV from the recommended settings, with an EVF to show you the impact of such changes and a dedicated dial on the top-plate, getting the correct exposure is easy.

The in-camera stabilisation system is also useful and enables sharp images to be taken at shutter speeds that would not normally be possible when hand-holding a camera. It gives extra creative potential with the ability to use shutter speeds that blur moving subjects while the stabilisation produces a sharp background.

It all adds up to make the Sony A7 II a very attractive camera.