Photography News issue 27

Camera test 36

Photography News Issue 27

Sony A7RMark II Boasting 42.4 megapixels, built-in stabilisation, a wide ISO range and 4K video, this Sony is a high-resolution camera to watch out for


Price £2599.99 Sensor

42.4-megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor with anti-dust system, no optical low-pass filter Sensor format 35.9x24mm full-frame, 7952x5304 pixels ISO range 100 to 25,600, expandable to 50 and 102,400 Shutter range 30secs to 1/8000sec, flash sync at 1/250sec, plus Bulb Drivemodes Up to 5fps in continuous high, 2.5 in continuous low Metering system 1200-zone evaluative metering with Exmor R CMOS sensor. Centre-weighted and spot available Exposuremodes PASM, scene selection, sweep panorama Exposure compensation +/-5EV in 0.3 or 0.5EV steps. Auto bracketing available, with 3, 5 or 9 frames Monitor 3in, 1228k dots, adjustable angle Focusing Fast hybrid AF/phase-detection/ contrast-detection AF with wide, zone, centre, flexible spot, expand flexible spot Focus points Full-frame 399 phase-detection AF points, APS-C 357 phase-detection points/25 contrast-detection points Video XAVC.S/AVCHD format v2.0, 4K 3840x2160 pixels plus many options Connectivity HD output via HDMI (type D) with 4K movie output and 4K still image playback, PC interface, NFC, micro USB Storagemedia Multimedia slot for SD memory

manual, and more time fine-tuning after my first trip out.With 12 buttons or controls in theCustomKeySettings menuthat canbe customised toagreat many functions, you can appreciate why correct set-up takes time. The camera has 399phase-contrast AF points – the most found on any full-frame camera – that you can use in various configurations. The system works very well and speedily, too, but it has moments of randomness and uncertainty. With face-detection on, photographing a close-up of a child whose head was close to a food bowl, the camera delivered a lovely sharp picture of the bowl. The Zone focus option was more consistent than the Wide setting and this can be moved around the image area. I usually prefer centre-point AF, and this camera has that but it’s fixed in place so there is also the option of Flexible Spot S or Expand Flexible Spot with which you can navigate around the image. Have the central button of the command dial set to standard and one push takes you into that mode, then use the dial tomove the AF point around – it’s not direct access but close enough. One option I’d like is being able to magnify into the image during single-shot AF to make sure that focushas beencorrectlyachieved. It’s available in manual and direct manual focusing (DMF) but not AF. Unlike theAFsystem, theexposure system was much more dependable

Review by Will Cheung

At 42.4 megapixels the Sony A7R II is the highest-resolution mirrorless cameraon themarket andonlysecond to the Canon EOS 5DS/R duo if you include 35mmDSLRs, too. Resolution is the camera’s headline-grabbing feature but it is not a one-trick pony. This £2,600 camera has a long list of features that includes an ISO range from 50 to 102,400, five–axis image stabilisation and silent shooting. Every camera needs some time dedicatedtoitduringinitialset-upand experience then tells us what changes you need to make. However, I find the Sony menu system not very good to use. Thereare somanyoptions– inthe cameramenuwe have nine tabs and a total of 50 possible choices, and in the cog menu there are eight tabs and 42 options. Nothing wrong with having plenty of choice, but the menu seems random and could be much better organised. So in camera menu four, of the six items there are four focus options and two exposure options, yet in menu three there are two focus options that could be inmenu four. Of course, menus and how they work is verymuch an individual matter, but a more logical approach from Sony and a future firmware update wouldn’t do any harm. I spent some time on setting up with the ‘help’ of the instruction

It acquitted itself perfectly capably, it coped with a wide variety of situations with aplomb

card/Memory Stick Duo Dimensions (wxhxd) 126.9x95.7x60.3mm Weight 625g with battery Contact

and it acquitted itself perfectly capably, it coped with a wide variety of situations with aplomb and rarely was the exposure compensation control needed. For the test I shot Raws and Extra- Fine JPEGs simultaneously, and the Raws were processed in Lightroom CC or Capture Pro 8.3. I shot with the Sony FE 24-240mm superzoom and the Zeiss FE 55mm f/1.8 lenses, the latter I especially enjoyed for its optical quality and portability. Benro and Gitzo carbon-fibre tripods fitted with Benro andArca Swiss ball heads were also used for the test, and prints were outputted using an Epson Pro Stylus 3880 printer. One annoyinghandlingpoint came outwith the camera on the tripod. The eye sensor has a range of five or six inches so auto switchover between the EVF and monitor happened too readily. On a tripod, I selected the monitor only and had to remember to reset autowhen shooting handheld. Full-size files from the Sony are large, measuring 241MB when open

and measure 67x44.9cm at 300ppi without any interpolation, so that means resizing downwards for A2 prints. I challenge anyone not to be impressed with the image quality you can get out of this camera. Images are detail packed and I made several prints up to A2 size, all with default sharpening and they look fabulous. I did some comparison shots with my usual full-frame DSLR and my CSC (both cameras of lower resolution) and again made A2 prints (with interpolation where needed) and yes, the Sony images looked better. To be fair, the differences were not night and day and were only apparent with careful inspection and direct comparison – viewed in isolation, you wouldn’t complain about any of the results. It is also true thatwith smaller prints–evenA3– thedifferenceswere less noticeable. Nevertheless, there is no denying that if your aim is for the ultimate picture quality and output image at this sort of size the Sony has clear benefits.

Powered by