Sony has outed its latest full frame mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, the A7 II. The new camera builds on the success of the orignial A7 cameras, but features a couple of important upgrades including 5-axis image stabilization – which is a world's first in a full frame camera – and improved autofocus responsiveness.
Many of the core specifications of the A7 II (or α7 II, or Alpha 7 II, depending on how you like to refer to your Sony cameras) remain unchanged from original Sony A7. As such, it features a full frame (35.8 x 23.9 mm) 24.3-megapixel CMOS sensor paired with a BIONZ X image processor, and still has a maximum ISO range of 50 to 25,600 along with a top continuous shooting speed of 5 fps.
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The headline upgrade is the inclusion of 5-axis image stabilization, which is a first for a full frame camera. It works whether shooting stills or video, and detects camera shake including angular shake (pitch and yaw), shift shake (along the X and Y axes) and rotational shake (roll) and then corrects it by moving the sensor to reduce blur. This gives up to 4.5 stops of shake reduction, and means that users aren't dependent on lens stabilization.
Another improvement, which addresses one of the few criticisms leveled at the original A7 cameras, comes in the form of autofocus enhancement. While the camera still uses a 117-point phase-detection AF sensor and 25 contrast detection AF points, responsiveness is said to have received a boost. A new algorithm is used to detect the subject position, making the autofocus 30 percent faster in some scenarios.
While video resolutions peak at Full HD 1080p 60/50 fps, there's now the option to record in XAVC-S format in addition to AVCHD. This improves video quality with high bit rate recording at 50 Mbps. Because the A7 II also supports picture profiles including S-Log2 and S-Gamut, users are better able to preserve a wide dynamic range when shooting video.
Design-wise, the Sony A7 II looks similar to its predecessors, but there are a number of differences. The 126.9 x 95.7 x 59.7 mm (5 x 3.8 x 2.4 inch) camera is slightly taller and deeper than previous models. Its chunkier grip, which should make the camera more comfortable to use with larger lenses, has also allowed the shutter button to be moved forward, and there are now 10 customizable buttons which can be assigned to any of 56 functions.
The E-mount Sony A7 II features a sturdy construction, with a magnesium alloy internal structure and top and front covers. Around back there's an XGA OLED viewfinder with a 2,359k dot equivalent resolution and a three-inch White Magic LCD monitor with 1,229k dots, which can be tilted for easier shooting in awkward positions. Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC mean it should be easy to wirelessly connect to mobile devices.
The Sony A7 II is due to hit store shelves from early December in Japan and then roll out in Europe from January. There's no word yet on a US release date. It will cost an estimated 190,000 Yen (that's around US$1,612).
You can check out the official Sony A7 II release video below.