2017 Roundup: Semi-Pro Interchangeable Lens Cameras $2000+
Sony Alpha a7R II
42.2MP BSI CMOS full-frame sensor | 399-point Hybrid AF | Internal 4K recording
What we like:
- Nearly class-leading low light and dynamic range performance
- Internal 4K video
- Incredible AF precision and speed
- Very effective sensor stabilization
- Phase-detect continuous AF with 3rd party lenses
What we don't:
- Stop-motion playback makes it hard to follow action in continuous bursts
- Buffer takes too long to clear
- Frustrating menu organization
- Small, finicky dials
The Sony a7R II is the world's first camera to use a full-frame backside-illuminated (BSI) CMOS sensor. This flagship sensor rests in a 5-axis stabilizing mechanism optimized for the high-resolution 42.2MP sensor.
New ground is also broken in terms of AF technology. The new sensor boasts 399 phase detect AF (PDAF) points, offering the most coverage of any full-frame camera. AF performance is exceptional in both stills and video, and unlike high-resolution DSLRs, there is no need to microadjust lenses for accuracy. Our continuous AF tests found the a7R II to challenge capable DSLRs, even in low light when paired with fast primes. Features like continuous Eye AF help ensure shots of people are always focused on the eye, even if subjects are moving.
Image quality from the a7R II is in many respects class-leading. It offers a much improved JPEG engine over its predecessor, which offers excellent detail retention, even in low light, thanks to very well balanced noise reduction and sharpening. BSI architecture allows for incredible low light noise performance despite the high resolution, rivaling even the a7S II at all but the highest ISOs. Raw dynamic range is second to only the Nikon D810, offering incredible exposure latitude and ability to lift shadows to deal with high contrast scenes. Uncompressed raw allows as much detail as possible to be recovered from shadows and high contrast edges, without odd compression artifacts.
Electronic first curtain and fully electronic (silent) shutter modes ensure wonderfully detailed files with no risk of the shutter shock issues that plagued the original a7R. Combined with the lack of a mirror, you'll have to worry less about mirror and shutter-induced shake than you might with a comparable DSLR. Meanwhile, in-body image stabilization ensures flexibility of use handheld.
Internal 4K/30p recording is available in both full sensor and APS-C (Super35) modes, while 1080p maxes out at 60 fps (120 fps is available in 720p, though). You'll get sharper and better low light footage in full-frame 4K from the a7S II, but 4K Super35 on the a7R II is incredibly detailed thanks to oversampling and every pixel being read. On-sensor phase detection enables fast and decisive AF in video with very little hunting. Combined with face detection, it's getting so good that one could even imagine using AF in video for professional use. Meanwhile, the S-Log2 profile helps the camera cram as much dynamic range in to the footage as possible, allowing videographers to shoot in challenging, high contrast light.
The a7R II pushes the boundaries of not just mirrorless cameras, but also cameras in general. It has many new features that photographers of the future will wonder how they ever lived without. And they're not just there to round out a spec list; IBIS, E-shutter, AF without the inaccuracies of DSLR phase-detect systems, and Eye AF all get the camera out of the way and allow you to focus on image making. If you're a landscape, event, photojournalist, or portrait photographer, you're likely to experience a higher keeper rate with the a7R II than most DSLRs. So while we have our reservations regarding the ergonomics and menu system, it's hard to argue that the a7R II isn't disruptive for its sheer photography-accelerating technical prowess.
Aug 13, 2017
Jun 23, 2017
Jun 16, 2017
Jun 9, 2017
|Patrick Finds Inner Peace by ecastellon|
from Your best photo of the week!
|Forks by Kukla|
from Arranged everyday objects
From landscapes to motocross and white water kayaking to a wedding, exactly what can't the D850 do?
Calumet UK and Wex Photographic, two of the biggest photography retailers in the United Kingdom, are going to officially merge tomorrow.
macOS High Sierra came out today, but if you use a Wacom tablet you need to wait a few weeks before you upgrade. According to Wacom, they won't have a compatible driver ready for you until "late October."
Do you think a $3,000 Canon 80D video rig can compete with an $80,000+ Arri Alexa setup? Well it can't, but check out this video anyway to see how the rigs compare.
Seven simple rules to make sure you get the most out of your next photography outing.
Vitec, the company that owns popular accessory maker Manfrotto, has just acquired JOBY and Lowepro for a cool $10.3 million in cash. The acquisition adds JOBY and Lowepro to Vitec's already sizable collection of camera gear brands.
A master drone pilot has captured one of the most incredible (and highly illegal) drone videos we've ever seen by flying around, inside, onto, and under a moving train.
Intel just debuted their 8th generation desktop CPUs, and the lineup packs a performance boost for 'content creators' that photo and video editors might be intrigued by.
Canon is developing a 'Free Viewpoint Video System' that will turn real life sports games and events into immersive 3D interactive experiences. It's video game-like camera control IRL.
A veteran photojournalist, Rick Wilking secured a spot in the path of totality for the August solar eclipse. While things didn't quite pan out as predicted, an unexpected subject in the sky and a quick reaction made for a once-in-a-lifetime shot.
The new iZugar 3.25mm F2.5 super fisheye lens offers an insane 220-degree angle of view. That means it can basically see behind itself... good luck keeping your feet out of the shot.
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll remember that time you took a picture of the frozen pizza baking directions.
A Craigslist poster has discovered the worst possible way to photograph a car: taking pictures of pictures displayed on a cracked and scratched up smartphone screen.
With the iPhone X coming out soon, the title probably won't last, but the iPhone 8 Plus is officially the best smartphone camera DxOMark has ever tested, and the iPhone 8 is second.
Kodak's new Facebook Messenger chatbot is trying to bring back the 'Kodak Moment' by digging up your old social media photos and trying to sell you prints and custom coffee mugs.
Affinity Photo for iPad was touted as "the first full blown, truly professional photo editing tool to make its way onto the Apple tablet." This update makes it that much more convenient.
Yashica has released a new teaser video, and this one claims they'll be releasing an "unprecedented camera" in October on Kickstarter. Ready... set... speculate!
Storage solutions company Synology has just released its very first 6-bay NAS tower. Combined with the DX1215 expansion units, it can hold and control up to thirty drives.
We're always expanding our collection of product overview content, and we've just added videos for the Canon EOS 6D Mark II, the EOS Rebel SL2 and EOS M6.
The venerable Canon PowerShot G1 was announced seventeen years ago this week, marking the start of a line of enthusiast-focused compacts that's still alive and kicking.
Super macro photographer Can Tuncer captured these incredible close-ups of a single peacock feather using a special setup and three different microscope lenses.
After successfully crowdfunding the Biotar 75mm F1.5, Oprema Jena is at it again. This time they're bringing back the Biotar 58mm F2: the world's only lens with a 17-blade aperture.
Adobe's move to a subscription model is treating it very well indeed. The company has posted record revenue for the second quarter in a row, hauling in a mind-boggling $1.84 billion.
More details have emerged about the potential sale of Blackstone's 45% stake in iconic camera brand Leica.
Popular mobile editing app Snapseed just got a major update that includes a new interface and 11 new presets for both Android and iOS, as well as adding the Perspective tool to the iOS version.
It might sound like a strange idea, but taking macro photos of boiling water can actually result in some really cool photographs. A good photo experiment for a rainy day.
The database was created to "break with the narrow lens through which history… has been recorded" by equipping those who commission photography with "the resources to discover photographers of color available for assignments.
Lensbaby has released two new optics for their special "optic swap system." The Lensbaby Sweet 80 Optic gives you that trademark sweet spot of focus, while the Creative Bokeh optic gives you 9 different drop in aperture plate options to play with.
TechCrunch has already posted their review of the upcoming iPhone 8 (not yet the iPhone X), and they're calling it "a look into the augmented future of photography."
Affinity Photo is a $50 photo editing software with no subscriptions. That's it – pay for it once and you're done. And we think it's actually pretty darn good.