Sony Alpha a7S II
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
Fantastic Camera for video. The best in low light.
Pros: Light weight. Great low light capture
Item # 158ILCE7SM | MFR # ILCE7SM2/B
The Sony Alpha a7S II has a 3" monitor that tilts up or down to help you compose shots from different angles.
If you're into shooting twilight scenes, nightscapes, or theater performances, you might want to take a good, long look at the Sony a7S II. This camera shares its acclaimed predecessor's reputation for incredible low-light performance. Fewer megapixels on the generously sized full-frame sensor allow each pixel to be larger and work more efficiently. Large pixels are light-gathering beasts, compared to the smaller-sized pixels of high-megapixel count sensors. Extended sensitivity, low noise levels and high dynamic range ensure fine detail rendering from the darkest shadows to the brightest highlights, for beautiful photos in all lighting conditions. The a7S II also supports 14-bit uncompressed RAW images for the highest quality tonal gradation, so you can fully capitalize on the camera's wide dynamic range.
The a7S II's Fast Intelligent autofocus system gives you accurate contrast detection and quick focus even when light and visibility are low. And when it comes to video, the a7S II is a solid performer with an impressive array of features for videographers on all levels.
The a7S II produces stunning, low-noise, Full HD video which, at 120 frames per second, blows most of its competition right out of the water. In Super 35mm format, data is processed from every pixel for sharp, finely detailed footage. This camera also records in 4K in full-frame format. A multi-interface shoe lets you connect professional microphone kits for balanced audio to match the video quality. The a7S II's enhanced Zebra function tells you which parts of a scene are overexposed so you can easily make adjustments, and Gamma Display Assist allows you to view the scene with natural contrast on the LCD or in the viewfinder.
Advanced features like Picture Profile and the new S-Log3 Gamma setting let you adjust color, gradation, and dynamic range for richly detailed movies in any light. A clean HDMI output sends uncompressed movie data to an external recorder or monitor. You can keep recording with the camera even when using this function.
Sony has taken plenty of steps to ensure the a7S II produces crystal-clear photos and shake-free videos. Five-axis image stabilization optimized for high-resolution sensors compensates for camera shake from five different directions, giving you freedom to shoot handheld, zoom in on distant subjects, and capture sharp night scenes. You can monitor the effects of camera shake compensation in the viewfinder or LCD screen while shooting and adjust framing and focusing if needed for steady results. The a7S II's reduced-vibration shutter has a braking mechanism that cuts down on vibration, and Silent Shooting Mode uses an electronic shutter that cuts out shake caused by mechanical shutter movement.
Built-in Wi-Fi means you can instantly transfer photos and videos from the a7S II directly to your phone or tablet for easy uploading and sharing. NFC touch pairing is also available for compatible Android™ devices. Sony's PlayMemories Camera Apps include free and paid apps that complement your photographic style and interests. There's the indispensable free Smart Remote Control app that lets you use your mobile device to control shooting on the a7S II, along with specialized apps for things like light painting, time-lapse, stop motion, and multiple exposure, plus plenty of editing effects to fine-tune your photos and add your own personal touches.
Fantastic Camera for video. The best in low light.
Tony, College Point
Average Customer Review(s):
Fantastic Camera for video. The best in low light.
Pros: Light weight. Great low light capture
I don't know that a more capable videography/photography device exists in this size. The a7S is back with everything the first generation was missing (I had one). This is the ultimate low-light shooter for video and photography. The addition of LOG3 and a compatible REC709 internal LUT make shooting video absolutely outstanding. The resulting 4K and cropped 1080P are absolutely stunning even when recorded compressed to an internal memory card. Just drop-dead gorgeous video. 1080p120? 720p240? Yes, please! 12MP is not a lot for photography by today's standards, but they are 12 million of the biggest and most capable pixels you will find. They give Nikon's 16MP sensor (my other camera) a run for its money, especially as the lights go down. 12MP is a perfect size for full view on a 4K display. Most people don't even view photos on these types of screens yet and the human eye is becoming a limiting factor. This may not be the perfect camera for large-form art installations, but let's be real. The only downside of the 12MP is it doesn't offer much space to work in when post processing. Doing fine-detail work is a little harder because you cannot magnify as much to get in and manipulate with masking and other tools. It won't fit everyone's needs in this respect, but its very good. In short, if you want a lot of pixels, look elsewhere, if you want pretty pixels, get the a7S. The attached youtube video is the first thing I shot with the a7SII + Loxia 35
Pros: Now with Internal 4K, LUTs and IBIS! Low light monster Gorgeous video and photo Small and light package Adapt lenses from almost any system ever
Cons: Internal recording codec could be better Menus still mostly suck Limited system lenses 12MP limits post-processing options
|LCD Screen Size||3"|
|Lens 35mm Equivalent||N/A|
Memory Stick PRO Duo + PRO-HG Duo |
|Image Stabilization||Sensor Shift|
|Highest Resolution||4240 x 2832|
|Video Resolution||3840 x 2160|
|Weight With Battery (ounces)||22.1|
|Parts Warranty||1 Year|
|Labor Warranty||1 Year|
Overview: The Sony α7SII (ILCE-7SM2) Interchangeable-lens digital camera kit contains the α7SII camera body, along with two rechargeable batteries, battery charger, adjustable neck strap, and USB cable. The α7SII has a full-frame 35mm image sensor, and is compatible with Sony E-mount lenses. With the LA-EA4 Mount Adapter, the camera can also use Sony A-mount lenses.
3" Tiltable LCD Screen: The α7SII uses a 3" LCD screen with 1,228,800 dots. You can tilt the LCD up approximately 107° for low angle shots or tilt it down approximately 41° for high angle photography. The brightness of the LCD monitor can be adjusted in 5 steps from -2 to +2, plus a Sunny Weather mode.
0.51" OLED Electronic Viewfinder: The 0.51" high contrast Tru-Finder OLED electronic color viewfinder has 2,359,296 dots, and provides approximately 100% field of view. The viewfinder has a Zeiss T* (T-star) coating to reduce surface reflection, and features the world's highest viewfinder magnification of 0.78x. You can adjust the brightness in 5 steps. The built-in diopter lets you adjust the viewfinder image to your individual eyesight. You can set the camera to switch between the LCD screen and viewfinder automatically when you look into the EVF, or choose one or the other in the camera's menu.
Display Modes: In the viewfinder and monitor, you can choose from the following display types: Graphic Display, Display All Info, Display No Info, Histogram, and Digital Level Gauge.
Live View: The α7SII's Live View lets you use the LCD screen and Electronic Viewfinder to frame your photos as you shoot. When the Live View display is set to "Setting Effect On", the LCD or viewfinder will provide an accurate preview of your photo, including the white balance, exposure compensation, creative style or picture effect. With the "Setting Effect Off", you can check the image composition without the effects of the exposure settings.
Image Sensor: The α7SII features a back-illuminated, full-frame 35mm Exmor CMOS image sensor (35.6 x 23.8mm) with a 3:2 aspect ratio. It has approximately 12.4-million total pixels and 12.2-million effective pixels.
Still Image Recording Formats: The α7SII can shoot 35mm full-size image sensor photos in Large, Medium, and Small sizes. It can also shoot APS-C size equivalent pictures in L, M, and S. Still images are recorded in JPEG file format in Standard, Fine, and Extra Fine compression rates. You can choose to shoot in 3:2 or 16:9 aspect ratio, and in large, medium, and small image sizes. With a firmware update, you can record still images using the 14-bit RAW format (Large size only), which is uncompressed with no processing performed in the camera. RAW images must be transferred to a computer for processing, editing, and printing using the downloadable Image Data Converter software. You can select the following image sizes:
|Aspect Ratio/Size||35mm Full-Frame||APS-C Size|
|3:2 Large||4240 x 2832 (12M)||2768 x 1848 (5.1M)|
|3:2 Medium||2768 x 1848 (5.1M)||2128 x 1416 (3.0M)|
|3:2 Small||2128 x 1416 (3.0M)||1376 x 920 (1.3M)|
|16:9 Large||4240 x 2384 (10M)||2768 x 1560 (4.3M)|
|16:9 Medium||2768 x 1560 (4.3M)||2128 x 1200 (2.6M)|
|16:9 Small||2128 x 1200 (2.6M)||1376 x 776 (1.1M)|
|3:2 RAW (L)||4240 x 2832 (12M)||2768 x 1848 (5.1M)|
|16:9 RAW (L)||4240 x 2384 (10M)||2768 x 1560 (4.3M)|
Panorama Photos: The Panorama mode lets you record panoramic images by holding down the shutter button as you pan across the scene. Panoramic photos can be taken in several different resolution settings:
Movie Recording Formats: The α7SII can record 16:9 4K in XAVC S format and a maximum 100Mbps bit rate, as well as Full High Definition movies at 50 Mbps. You can also record movies in AVCHD and MP4 formats. All of the formats use MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 video compression. Audio is recorded in 2-channel LPCM (XAVC S), 2-channel Dolby Digital (AVCHD), and 2-channel AAC (MP4). Movies can be recorded in either NTSC or PAL. You can select from the following bit rates/image quality (NTSC):
|File Format||Resolution||Average Bit Rate|| Recording Time |
(64 GB SDXC)
|XAVC S 4K||3840 x 2160||
30p / 100 Mbps |
30p / 60 Mbps
24p / 100 Mbps
24p / 60 Mbps
1h 15m |
|XAVC S HD||1920 x 1080||
60p / 50 Mbps |
30p / 50 Mbps
24p / 50 Mbps
120p / 100 Mbps
120p / 60 Mbps
2h 35m |
|AVCHD||1920 x 1080||
60p / 28 Mbps / PS |
60i / 24 Mbps / FX
60i / 17 Mbps / FH
24p / 24 Mbps / FX
24p / 17 Mbps / FH
5h 05m |
|MP4||1920 x 1080||
60p / 28 Mbps |
30p / 16 Mbps
5h 20m |
|1280 x 720||30p / 6 Mbps||22h 00m|
Dual Media Options: The α7SII camera has a single slot for recording media, and will accept the following types of memory cards:
|Memory Card||Still Images||Movie Formats|
|MP4 and AVCHD||XAVC S|
|Memory Stick PRO Duo||All||Mark2 only||Not compatible|
|Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo||All||All||Not compatible|
|SD Memory Card||All||SD Speed Class 4 or UHS Speed Class U1 or faster||Not compatible|
|SDHC Memory Card||All||SD Speed Class 4 or UHS Speed Class U1 or faster||Not compatible|
|SDXC Memory Card||All||SD Speed Class 4 or UHS Speed Class U1 or faster||SD Speed Class 10 or UHS Speed Class U1 or faster |
When recording at 100 Mbps or more, UHS Speed Class U3 is required.
Clear Image Zoom: Clear Image Zoom, powered by Sony's By Pixel Super Resolution Technology, increases the effective focal length of the lens by up to 1.5x (Medium images) or 2x (Small images) by digitally magnifying the center of the image with no image degradation. A separate Digital Zoom of approximately 4x is also available.
Focus Modes: The α7SII's Fast Intelligent auto focus system combines the high-speed BIONZ X image processor and improved algorithms with optimized image sensor read-out speed to provide ultra-fast auto focusing. You can choose from the following Auto/Manual Focus Modes:
AF (Auto focus) Area: The α7SII 169 focus points for contrast-detection AF. You can select between 6 settings:
Eye AF: The new Eye AF function can be assigned to a customizable button. When Eye AF is selected, the camera focuses on a person's eyes for extremely sharp focusing of the face.
Face Detection/Smile Shutter: The camera can detect human faces, and adjusts the focus, exposure, performs image processing and adjusts flash settings for best results. Faces can be registered, and priority given to those faces over others in the frame. Up to 8 faces can be detected and/or registered. When the Smile Shutter feature is enabled, the camera will automatically release the shutter when a slight, normal, or big smile is detected.
Auto Object Framing: When the camera detects and shoots faces, subjects shot with macro or subjects captured using Tracking Focus, the captured image is automatically trimmed into a suitable composition. Both the original and the trimmed images are saved. The trimmed image is recorded in the same size as the original image size. This feature can be turned on or off in the menu.
Focus Lock: If a subject is off-center and outside of the AF area, you can lock the focus of the camera.
AF Illuminator: When you press the shutter button halfway down a red illuminator is emitted until the focus is locked. Under dark lighting conditions or when you shoot a low contrast subject, the AF illuminator allows the camera to focus more easily on the subject. The AF illuminator has a range of 0.99' to 9.8'.
SteadyShot Inside: The α7SII is equipped with sensor-shift-type SteadyShot image stabilization system to reduce the effect of camera shake. This system allows you to photograph faraway objects without the blur of camera shake. SteadyShot INSIDE features 5-axis compensation with an effect equivalent to 4.5 stops faster shutter speed. It can compensate for camera shake in the following ways: Horizontal, Vertical, Pitch, Yaw, and Roll.
Drive Modes: The camera offers the following shooting modes: Single shooting, Continuous Shooting, Speed Priority Continuous shooting, Self-timer, Self-timer Continuous, and Bracketing (continuous, single, white balance, and DRO).
Continuous Shooting: The camera can record still images continuously while the shutter release button is held down. In Continuous Shooting mode, the camera can record at up to 2.5 fps. In Speed Priority Continuous mode, the camera can record at up to 5 frames per second. The maximum number of recordable frames depends upon the image quality setting:
|Image Size||Continuous (2.5 fps)||Speed Priority Continuous (5 fps)|
|Extra Fine Large||100 frames||64 frames|
|Fine L||200 frames||200 frames|
|Standard L||200 frames||200 frames|
|RAW||59 frames |
(29 frames uncompressed RAW)
|31 frames |
(24 frames uncompressed RAW)
|RAW+JPEG||34 frames |
(28 frames uncompressed RAW)
|26 frames |
(24 frames uncompressed RAW)
Self-Timer: You can set the camera to several self-timer settings:
Bracket Shooting: Bracket shooting allows you to shoot 3, 5, or 9 images, each with different degrees of exposure, white balance, flash intensity, and dynamic range. You can select the increment steps for each frame of the bracket.
Exposure Modes: The top-mounted Mode Dial lets you select from the following exposure modes:
Picture Effect: In Intelligent Auto or Superior Auto mode, you can select Picture Effect to get one the following effect filters to achieve more impressive and artistic expression: Toy Camera, Pop Color, Posterization (color), Posterization (B/W), Retro Photo, Soft High-key, Partial Color (Red, Green, Blue, or Yellow), High Contrast Mono, Soft Focus, HDR Painting, Rich-tone Mono, Miniature, Watercolor, and Illustration.
Creative Style: The Creative Style function lets you select the desired image processing. You can adjust exposure (shutter speed and aperture) as you like with Creative Style. You can choose from: Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Clear, Deep, Light, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset, Night Scene, Autumn Leaves, Black & White, or Sepia. You can also adjust Contrast, Saturation, and Sharpness.
Exposure Compensation: Exposure compensation is used to alter the camera's standard exposure setting. You can make the image look lighter (increased exposure) or darker (decreased exposure) The exposure compensation amount can be set up to +/-3.0 EV in 1/3-step increments by turning the dial on the top of the camera or +/-5.0 EV in 1/3-step or 1/2-step increments in the menu.
AE Lock: You can fix the exposure before deciding on the composition when taking a picture. This is effective when the metering object and focusing object are different or when you want to shoot continuously while keep the same exposure value.
Metering Mode: A 1200-zone evaluative sensing system provides multi-pattern measuring for superior exposure control accuracy in a wide range of lighting conditions. You can select the method for measuring the brightness of a subject from the following three methods:
White Balance: You can adjust the color tones according to the lighting conditions. You can choose from the following WB options, and adjust the +/- 3 to fine tune the colors: Auto WB, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent (Warm White), Fluorescent (Cool White), Fluorescent (Day White), Fluorescent (Daylight), Flash, Color Temperature, Color Filter, Underwater, and Custom.
Color Temperature/Color Filter: You can adjust the white balance further by selecting Color Temperature or Color Filter in the Custom White Balance option. With Color Temperature, the higher the number, the more reddish the image, and the lower the number, the more bluish the image. Color Filter achieves the effect of Color Compensation filters for photography. Based on the set color temperature as the standard, the color can be compensated to Green (G) or Magenta (M).
ISO Settings: ISO is a unit of measurement of sensitivity to light. The larger the number, the higher the sensitivity. The camera's ISO can be set manually or automatically, depending upon the exposure mode. For still images, the sensitivity can be set to ISO 100 to 102,400, with extension to ISO 50 minimum and ISO 409,600 maximum. ISO Auto will set the sensitivity between ISO 100 and 12,800. For movies, the sensitivity is ISO 100 to 409,600 equivalent manually, or ISO 100 to 12,800 automatic.
Multi-Interface Shoe: The α7SII does not have a built-in flash, but is equipped with the Multi-Interface Shoe, allowing you to use an external flash, such as the HVL-F20M, HVL-F32M, HVL-F43M, or HVL-F60M. The ECM-XYST1M stereo microphone is also compatible.
Flash Features: When an optional external flash is attached, the camera offers several Flash Modes: Autoflash, Fill-flash, Slow Sync, Rear Sync, and Wireless. You can adjust the amount of flash light in a range of -3.0 EV to +3.0 EV with the Flash Compensation feature.
Wi-Fi Overview: The Sony α7SII has built-in Wi-Fi so you can interface the camera with your smartphone or Wi-Fi-enabled laptop computer and wirelessly perform various shooting and playback functions. The camera also supports NFC (near field communication).
PlayMemories Mobile: To interface with the Sony α7SII, your smartphone must have the PlayMemories Mobile application. The app is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, and requires iOS 7.0 or later. It is also compatible with Android smartphones and tablets with the Android 4.0-5.1 operating environment.
NFC (Near Field Communication): By touching an NFC-enabled Android smartphone or tablet to the "N" mark on the right side of the camera, the smartphone will be connected automatically via Wi-Fi, and the PlayMemories Mobile app will be launched. The two devices must touch for approximately 1-2 seconds to make the connection.
Wi-Fi Functions: The following wireless functions can be performed with the α7SII:
Playback Screen: You can view your photos back as a single image on the LCD monitor, as an Index or as a Slide Show. During Index View mode, you can view 9 (3 x 3) or 25 (5 x 5) images at once.
Enlarged Display: You can enlarge an image during playback to view details of your photos. The maximum magnification depends upon the size of the original image: Large: 13.3x, Medium: 8.7x, Small: 6.7x.
Auto Review: After an image is recorded, you can have the camera automatically display it on the LCD monitor for two, five or 10 seconds. You can also turn off auto review.
Image Rotation: Vertical shots can be rotated automatically so that they are displayed upright during playback. This can be done manually or automatically.
Slide Show: You can automatically play back still images continuously in a slide show. You can set the interval to 1, 3, 5, 10, or 30 seconds.
View Mode: Recorded images are divided into folders, allowing you to view only those images in that folder. You can select from the following folders: Still, Date, MP4, AVCHD, XAVC S HD, and XAVC S 4K.
D-Range Optimizer/Auto HDR: The camera allows you to correct the brightness and contrast of an image automatically, using the D-Range Optimizer (DRO) and Auto High Dynamic Range functions. The DRO optimizes the gradations of a recorded image in each area of the image; you select the optimal level from Lv1 (weak) and Lv5 (strong). When Auto HDR is selected, the camera shoots three images with different exposures, then overlays them to create one image with the correct exposure and an overlaid image.
4K Still Image Playback: The α7SII can output images in 4K resolution to an HDMI-connected TV that supports 4K. The 4K playback function can be selected in the Playback Menu only when the camera is connected to a 4K-compatible TV via HDMI or Wi-Fi.
Protect Images: You can protect all images on your memory card or select only certain images to be protected from accidental erasure.
Printing Options: The camera offers the following printing options.
InfoLithium Battery: The α7SII is powered by the NP-FW50 InfoLithium battery (supplied). The battery communicates data to the camera, so that the percentage of battery power remaining can be displayed.
Charging: The camera comes with the BC-VW1 battery charger and the AC-UUD11 AC adapter, allowing you to charge the NP-FW50 battery outside the camera or inside. Using the battery charger, the battery is charged in approximately 4 hours 10 minutes. Charging the battery inside the camera, with the included USB cable and AC adapter, takes approximately 2 hours 30 minutes.
Battery Life: The battery life when using the LCD monitor will differ from the battery life when using the viewfinder. The estimated battery life is as follows:
|Activity||Monitor or Viewfinder||Battery Life||Number of Images|
|Shooting Still Images||Monitor||N/A||Approx. 370 images|
|Viewfinder||N/A||Approx. 310 images|
|Typical Movie Recording||Monitor||Approx. 60 min||N/A|
|Viewfinder||Approx. 55 min||N/A|
|Continuous Movie Recording||Monitor||Approx. 100 min||N/A|
|Viewfinder||Approx. 95 min||N/A|
|Viewing Still Images||Monitor||Approx. 280 min||Approx. 5600 images|
Optional Battery Grip: With the optional VG-C2EM Vertical Grip, and an additional NP-FW50 battery, you can double the battery life of the camera.
Power Save: You can set different time intervals for the camera to switch to Power Save mode. You can set the interval to 10 seconds, 1 minute, 2 minutes, 5 minutes, or 30 minutes. Once the camera goes into Power Save mode, you can return to the shooting mode by pressing the shutter button halfway.
HDMI: The camera has a Micro HDMI (Type D) connector that allows 4K movie and 4K still image playback. It is also compatible with BRAVIA Sync, which allows you to control the camera with the TV remote, when connected to a BRAVIA Sync TV. No HDMI cable is included.
Digital Terminal (USB): The camera's Micro USB port lets you connect the camera to your home computer for transferring photos and movies. The digital interface is compatible with Hi-Speed USB (USB 2.0). Connecting the camera to your PC via USB also provides power to the camera to save battery life during extended use (camera on), or to charge the battery (camera off).
Microphone: A 3.5mm stereo minijack is provided for connecting a microphone.
Headphone: The 3.5mm stereo headphone jack lets you listen to audio through headphones during movie recording or playback.
Downloadable Software: The α7SII does not include software in the box. Instead, Sony offers software for Windows- and Mac-compatible computers for importing still images and movies recorded with the camera to your computer. The software is compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems. You can download the software to your computer using the appropriate URL provided in the supplied Instruction Manual. The following downloadable software is compatible with the camera:
PlayMemories Camera Apps: The α7SII is compatible with PlayMemories Camera Apps, which enables you to add new features to the camera by downloading a new app and installing it in the camera. Apps are available to fit your shooting style, including portraits, close-up photography, sports, time lapse, angle shift add-on, etc. Many apps are available via a free download, while more advanced apps require a fee of $4.99 or $9.99.
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