Sony's product announcements are typically filled with brags like “first ever,” “smallest,” “fastest” and the like, but they really impressed with the first full frame mirrorless in 2013. The Sony a7II is the predecessor to that initial model and looks to make some exciting boasts itself.
The Sony a7II is the first full frame camera to offer five-axis image stabilization, which helps to steady not just up and down motion, but pitch, yaw and roll too. Sony is claiming the stabilization is good to 4.5 stops—that means you should be able to slow the shutter speed down 4.5 stops without blur.
Sony has also improved the processor a bit over the original a7, saying the autofocus is about 30 percent faster. The body also looks a bit different with a larger grip and new front dial.
The improvements look to be excellent changes to an already good camera. Potential consumers should be aware though that there's some trade-offs to using a mirrorless full frame over a DSLR (take a look at our hands-on a7 review to get an idea). The battery life is just a frightening 270 shots—so using this camera for a wedding or all-day event would require keeping more than one extra battery on hand. The autofocus also doesn't seem quite up to par yet, though that updated processor may have helped out a bit. And while mirrorless models tend to have faster burst speeds, the a7II sits at a very unexciting 5 fps.
There are still plenty of reasons to consider the a7II—the size and portability for one. It also has an electronic viewfinder with focus peaking to guide shots taken using manual focus. Image quality on the predecessor was solid, and with the same sensor, the a7II should have solid images as well.
The Sony a7II is available for about $1,700 USD.