Sony a7R II Brief Review



  • 42.4 megapixel full frame backlit sensor
  • Maximum shutter speed 1/8000
  • 5-axis image stabilization
  • 5 fps burst shooting (24 image buffer)
  • Manual modes
  • RAW
  • 4k video at 30 fps and 100 Mbps
  • 399 point phase-detection AF
  • Electronic viewfinder
  • 3” LCD screen
  • Wi-fi and NFC
  • Li-ion battery rated at 290 shots with viewfinder, 340 with LCD screen
  • Weighs 1 lb. 6 oz (625g)
  • Release Date: 2015-06-10
  • Final Grade: 96 4.8 Star Rating: Recommended

Sony impresses with a new sensor design in the a7R II
Sony went big when they incorporated a full frame sensor into their mirrorless cameras--now they're going even bigger.
By Hillary Grigonis, Last updated on: 10/31/2017

Hey! You should know that Sony has released a newer version of this product: the Sony a7R III.

Sony's full frame mirrorless lineup just got a new update--and the Sony a7R II looks to even more promising then the original.

Of course, there's still a high resolution full frame sensor, but that's now backlit. With all of the circuitry behind the sensor instead of in front, the camera is a bit more capable when it comes to low light, though the big sensor already helped with that. The new sensor design also means data is processed a bit faster, though if the 5 fps burst speed compared to the previous one of 4 fps is any indication, not by a whole lot.

That sensor is also now paired with the widest AF system on a full frame sensor to date--with 399 points, phase detection style, paired with 25 contrast-detection points. The manufacturer says that new system produces a focus lock 40 percent faster then the previous model.

4K video is also made possible on that big sensor--with two different recording modes. A crop mode records in high resolution without pixel binning, while a full frame mode uses the entire sensor for more expressive power.

Of course, all that resolution is going to need a lot of support--a five-axis image stabilization system will help prevent blur from camera shake. The Sony a7R II also includes an upgraded electronic viewfinder as well as a more refined grip within the magnesium alloy body.

Sony's a7R II looks pretty impressive--so what's the downside? For starters, don't expect a DSLR-like battery life. You'll get less than 300 shots using the electronic viewfinder, and about 340 using just the LCD screen. If you plan to use the a7R II like a DSLR for all day shoots (to actually take advantage of the smaller size), you'll need to pack a few extra batteries.

We'd also like to see more speed here--while 5 fps is average for a DSLR, mirrorless cameras are typically able to produce faster burst speeds. Without the mirror to move up and down, mirrorless cameras are typically faster then DSLRs, but that's not the case here. Of course, there's a lot more data to process from that larger sensor, but we certainly wouldn't mind seeing a higher burst speed on Sony's next update.

Users will also be paying a bit more for that small size--the Sony a7R II is listed at $3,200. Other full frame cameras are available for around $2k, though it's worth noting they don't yet have 4K or reach such a high megapixel count.

Sony a7R II vs Sony a7II

That R in the name might as well stand for resolution--the Sony a7R II has nearly twice the megapixels over the a7II. The a7II also doesn't feature 4K video. The a7II also has fewer autofocus points. But, the a7II comes in at half the cost--so if you don't need all that resolution or 4K video, you'll save quite a bit with the less luxurious model.

Sony is making exciting moves in imaging technology. The a7R II looks to be a good buy, albeit an expensive one.

The Sony a7R II is expected out in August 2015 with a list price of $3,200.

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Sony Reviews

Sony has been at the forefront of the market for consumer electronics for the past 30 years by offering innovative imaging products in response to changes in the market. Sony has made cameras that are ideal for casual users, hobbyists, and professional photographers through their dedication to implementing the most current technology with a sleek and minimal style, resulting in an end result of the highest quality.

Sony was the first to put a full-frame sensor inside of a mirrorless camera, the A7 and A7R, and a little later, the A7S. While the first-of-its-kind cameras aren't without flaws, Sony executed their ideas fairly well and made some pretty solid cameras to start the new line.

Speaking of first-of-its kind, Sony also designed a “camera-without-a-camera,” the QX10 and QX100. These cameras have a sensor and lens, but no operating system—instead, consumers use their smartphone via wi-fi or NFC to operate the camera. While the cameras certainly have flaws (mainly in the slow response due to operating through wi-fi), we still have to applaud Sony for the way they've responded to the rise in smartphone photography (plus the cameras have actually sold remarkably well).

Sony has also been highly successful with the RX compact camera line that began with the RX100, a compact camera with a 1” sensor, excellent image quality and full manual modes. The camera has since seen some solid updates, and remains a good option. Sony also added the RX10, a camera with a 1” sensor but instead of focusing on compact size, adds a much bigger zoom.

While their focus is on more advanced models, it’s usually a pretty safe bet to pick up a Sony compact, even a budget priced one, and still get a lot of bang for your buck. We're also big fans of Sony's designs, making their cameras easy to use and adjust, like the HX400 that has an automatic sensor on the electronic viewfinder as well as a control ring around the lens.

We here at Digital Camera HQ offer unbiased, informative reviews and recommendations to guide you to the right camera. We're not an actual store; we're just here to help you find the perfect camera at the best price possible by using our camera grades. Let us know if you have any problems or questions, we're happy to help.