Sony A7 vs. A7II – comparison & stabilizer test

Only a year after Sony released the A7, they already replaced the model with the A7II. Let’s have a quick look at the differences, as usual focusing on the video functionalities of the cameras.

sony_a7_vs_a7II_sizes

There are three major differences between the two cameras:

Sensor Stabilization

First and foremost, there’s the new built-in 5 axis sensor-shift stabilization which is an industry-first for a full frame 35mm camera. Usually stabilization is built into some photo lenses, but here it’s built into the A7II body. That means for the first time, even manual lenses like cinema lenses can make use of stabilization, which is an industry first.

Pitch, Yaw, X/Y and roll are compensated within the camera. For Pitch & Yaw compensation, the camera needs to be aware of the focal length. If there is no communication between camera and the lens, you can input that information manually in the menu. That can be cumbersome with manual or third-party zoom lenses but it’s worth it.

Sony_A7II_focal_length_stabilizer

It has to be said that stabilization built into the lens is generally better – it’s after all optimized for that lens and it generally gets rid of more heavy shake. However, the stabilization built into the A7II is good enough to get rid of the typical “micro vibrations” that you can see on countless DSLR videos on Vimeo, when somebody without a rig or steady hand shoots with a DSLR on a longer manual lens.

Looking at the bodies side-by-side, it’s obvious that the sensor stabilizer made the A7II noticeably bigger in size. It’s better in your hand now, however there’s an advantage in having a smaller camera for many projects.

Fast auto focus

The second biggest difference between the A7 and A7II is the fact that it now has the super-fast focus system that is already used on the A6000 camera. I wasn’t able to test this due to a lack of Sony E-Mount lenses. That focus system is especially relevant for photographers, but it also makes auto focusing for filmmakers more usable. According to Sony, auto focusing is 30% faster than before.

Sony_A7II_image

XAVC S codec

The third and final biggest difference between the old and the new A7 is the introduction of the XAVC S codec. This is a very robust 8-bit 50MBit MPEG-4 based codec that was first introduced with the A7s. It’s clear now that Sony sees XAVC in all its flavors as the future in all their cameras and that’s really great.

However, image quality in the A7II is the same as in the original A7 as it uses the same high-resolution sensor that is really optimized for photos rather than video, resulting in some aliasing and moiré. The A7s still delivers the most impressive video quality from Sony’s A7 line-up, even when not using its insane low-light capabilities.

I think we can expect an A7r Mark II and A7s Mark II at some point in 2015, if Sony keeps up with the rapid succesion of recent camera introductions.

Watch it on Vimeo

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Gudsen Moza Reply
Gudsen Moza December 31, 2014

Great review!

Cinema5D Reply
Cinema5D December 31, 2014

Thanks!

Tomi Varela Reply
Tomi Varela December 31, 2014

Javier Galeano

Reply
John January 1, 2015

My 5D Mark ll looks better. Just sayin.

Gavin McGregor Reply
Gavin McGregor January 1, 2015

The A7II doesn’t have the A6000 AF system. It is an upgraded A7 AF system. It is still very impressive though. Definitely has been worth the upgrade. Everything is a bit better in the camera including image quality (which was excellent on The A7 already)

Reply
Sebastian January 2, 2015

Thanks for the review. Do you have any thoughts with regards to the video quality compared to the d750? Detail, colours, artifacts, etc?

 Kalogeris George Reply
Kalogeris George May 9, 2015

is there a quality comparison in video (s-Log2) between a7s and a7II ?
I ‘d like to use both of them and mix stabilised footage with Low-Light footage

Andrew Noël Reply
Andrew Noël May 18, 2015

Excellent review, I value your honest opinion. I am deciding between an a7ii and the a6000 camera, which would you suggest? Is the full frame worth the price increase? They make nice glass for the E mount now a days….