Review: Sony a7S II Image Perfection Incarnate



There was a time during the good old days when physical film was king, the professional SLR market was split between Nikon, Canon, Ricoh and few minor players like Hasselblad. Despite their sizeable presence in the CRT TV and consumer electronics market, Sony at that time was not a heavy weight contender in cameras.

Today, after the acquisition of Konica Minolta in 2006, Sony’s presence in the professional DSLR market has increased considerably due to the well-received a-series of cameras.


Sony’s latest entry in the premium DSLR market is the a7S II. Revolving around a full-frame 12.2MP Exmor CMOS sensor, the a7S II is capable of 4K recording at 30 fps with full pixel readout as well as 1080p recording at up to 120 fps. Full pixel readout voids the need for pixel binning and resultant aliasing.

The DSLR camera also boasts an expanded sensitivity to a ridiculously high ISO 409600 and intelligent autofocus. It also includes a 5-axis SteadyShot INSIDE image stabilisation feature that compensates for vertical, horizontal, pitch, yaw and roll camera movements for sharper, smoother handheld recording.


The a7S II is made out of a compact, yet robust, magnesium alloy body. The camera incorporates a high 0.78x-magnification Tru-Finder OLED electronic viewfinder. With a resolution of 2.36 million dots and an anti-reflective coating, this viewfinder is useful for working in a variety of lighting conditions and is capable of previewing exposure and settings adjustments prior to recording.

A rear 3.0-inch 1,228,800-dot LCD screen is also available and features a tilting design to support working from high and low angles. Additionally, built-in Wi-Fi connectivity with NFC allows you to pair mobile devices to the camera for wireless sharing and remote camera control.

The a7S II’s full-frame sensor comes into its own in low light conditions. Even in autofocus mode, the quality of the image produced by this camera has to be seen to be believed. This is particularly true when compared against smartphone cameras, even Sony’s own excellent Xperia Z5 Premium.

According to Sony, the sensor’s design also features a new generation RGB color filter array as well as a gapless on-chip lens design. Together, these two technologies enhance low light photography and video recording capabilities. Furthermore, an anti-reflective coating has been applied to the glass of the image sensor to minimise surface reflections, glare, and ghosting.

The camera has a number of preset shooting modes including a Speed Priority continuous shooting rate of 5 fps or a 2.5 fps shooting rate with continuous autofocus.


Recording of 4K movies is possible in multiple frame rates up to 30 fps. Full HD 1080p recording is also supported in frame rates up to 120 fps and both resolutions utilise the 100 Mbps XAVC S format contained within an MP4 wrapper. The high speed, 120 fps recording also enables 4x and 5x slow motion movie recording with the frame rate set to either 30p or 24p.

In addition to high resolution internal recording, uncompressed HDMI output also enables the use of an optional external recorder for 4K recording.


Despite the autofocus features, keep in mind that the a7S II is well and truly a professional DSLR camera. Therefore, support is available for the S-Gamut3.Cine/S-Log-3 and S-Gamut3/S-Log3 profiles that enable up to a 1300% wider dynamic range for smoother tonal and color gradations. These profiles also lend themselves to greater compatibility within a professional workflow.

An enhanced Zebra function is best for working with S-Log gamma profiles and is useful for monitoring exposure values in high-contrast scenes. A Gamma Display Assist function is also available that displays scenes with natural contrast when recording with S-Log settings.

The a7S II has multiple timecode recording options to meet different workflows. It has the standard ‘Record Run” mode that only advances the timecode when recording as well as “Free Run” timecode that advances the timecode even when not recording, which can be great for syncing multiple cameras at live events. When recording internally, the a7S II is also able to output timecode via HDMI.


Built-in Wi-Fi enables the a7S II to instantly share imagery to mobile devices for direct sharing online to social networking, via email and to cloud storage sites. NFC (Near Field Communication) is also supported, which allows for one-touch connection between the camera and compatible mobile devices; no complex set-up is required. Once connected, the linked mobile device can also display a live view image on its screen and remotely control the camera’s shutter.

Also, the camera supports PlayMemories Camera Apps which can help you to personalise the camera’s features depending on specific shooting styles. Apps are available to create portraits, close-ups, sports, time lapse, motion shot and other specific types of images


Sony claims the a7S II cuts down on mechanical vibrations by 50%. An electronic front curtain can be used to reduce vibrations further. Also, a Silent Shutter mode can be used to mute the sound of the shutter for working in quiet environments. In addition to the included battery charger, the battery can also be charged inside the camera via USB.



Price: RM TBA

Value: 8/10

Features: 10/10

Performance: 10/10

Design: 9/10

Usability: 8/10

Verdict: Look no further if all you crave is the perfect image. The king of DSLRs has arrived

Total Score: 9.0


Lens Mount: Sony E-Mount

Camera Format: Full-Frame

Pixels Actual: 12.4MP

Effective: 12.2MP

Max Resolution:      4240 x 2832

Aspect Ratio: 3:2, 16:9

Still Image File Formats: JPEG, RAW

Video Recording: Full HD and 4K



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