Sony a7S II vs. a7R II Test – Which One Is Right for You?


The Sony a7S II is shipping and many filmmakers rejoice as it is one of the best low cost video cameras out there right now. Last week we took a really close look at the differences between the Sony a7S II and the old Sony a7S. But how does this new camera compare to the Sony a7R II that was introduced just a few months ago? Here is the ultimate Sony a7S II vs. a7R II Test.

Just like in our a7S II vs. a7S test we went to the test lab and compared all the camera’s capabilities in detail. In this review I’m going to give you all the unbiased results as quickly and to the point as possible and conclude with our recommendation.


On the Outside

Unlike the original a7S, the two cameras on the test bench share the same body design. The major difference here is the sensor itself. Both have a full-frame sensor, but the a7S II uses Sony’s 12.2MP Exmor CMOS Sensor while the a7R II houses the 42MP Exmor R BSI CMOS Sensor.

Obviously this makes the Sony a7R II the better choice for photographers who need lots of megapixels. But let’s look at the video test results now, shall we?

Sony a7S II dynamic range tested with a XYLA-21 transmissive chart.

Sony a7S II dynamic range tested with a XYLA-21 transmissive chart.

Dynamic Range

Dynamic range is important for us filmmakers, it gives us the ability to capture high contrast scenes without over or underexposure, highlights and shadows are saved resulting in an organic, filmic look and in theory gives us more leeway in post production.

In theory:

The dynamic range on a7S and a7S II was identical in Slog2. The a7R II could surprise us though as it has a different sensor.

In reality:

At 4K resolution in Slog2 gamma mode the Sony a7R II (ISO 800) had half a stop more dynamic range than the Sony a7S II (ISO 1600). This is interesting. However the Sony a7S II now also features Slog3 gamma which wins back that half stop. We determined a maximum usable dynamic of slightly above 12 stops on both cameras.

We use a a DSC labs XYLA-21 transmissive chart and IMATEST evaluation software with a crisp Zeiss 50mm CP2 T/2.1 makro lens.

Dynamic Range Conclusion:

Set your Sony a7S II to Slog3Cine (PP8 under Picture Profile Settings) in order to match the a7R II dynamic range. However Slog3 is not an ideal gamma mode as the camera is limited to 8-bit color, resulting in banding issues, so Slog2 (PP7) is the preferred gamma setting. The a7R II wins this first point, but not by much.

Rolling Shutter

a7s-vs-a7s-rolling-shutterThe so called “rolling shutter” is a phenomenon that skews a camera image when fast moving objects are recorded or during fast pans and handheld camera movement.

In theory:

Users have reported severe rolling shutter on the a7R II, but then again the a7S II doesn’t hold up too well also. Let’s see how they compare.

In reality:

In 4K the Sony a7S II had the same rolling shutter performance as the original a7S. Using the best image quality mode on the a7R II (4K super35mm crop mode) we can indeed see that the rolling shutter effect is about 12% more severe on the Sony a7R II.

However in 4K full-frame mode, which is slightly softer, the a7R II has about 50% better rolling shutter performance.

Rolling Shutter Conclusion:

Both cameras have a strong rolling shutter effect in their best quality modes, just like most other cameras that use a large CMOS sensor. The a7S II performs slightly better here. To improve rolling shutter you can use full-frame mode on the Sony a7R II.

Resolution / Quality

The resolution comparison between the Sony a7S II vs. a7R II is quite interesting. Both cameras can record a beautiful 4K image internally with a variety of different crop and HD modes. Let’s see how this one turns out.

In theory:

The cameras share a lot of similar specs in video mode, like the 100Mbps XAVC-S codec, 4K (UHD) internal recording, but the recording and crop modes differ as follows:

The Sony a7S II records:

  • 4K Full Frame: up to 30 fps
  • HD 1.6 crop: up to 60fps
  • HD 2.2 crop: up to 120fps

The Sony a7R II records:

  • 4K Full Frame & 1.6 crop: up to 30 fps
  • HD Full Frame & 1.6 crop: up to 60 fps
  • 720p: up to 120fps

In reality:

Left: a7R II (crop mode) | Right: a7S II (full frame)

Left: a7R II (crop) 4K | Right: a7S II (FF) 4K

On the left you can see a comparison (100% crop images) between the Sony a7S II vs. a7R II in their best 4K modes. Overall the image looks really really similar. But I can see two things:

1. There is some slight sharpening happening in-camera on the Sony a7R II. If I add slight sharepning in post to the a7S II image it looks pretty identical.

Left: a7R II (crop) | Right: a7S II (FF)

Left: a7R II (crop) 4K | Right: a7S II (FF) 4K

2. The a7R II seems to resolve a tiny bit more detail, but it is not affecting most regions of the image as they get washed out by some internal processing. This is only apparent in the danes-picta sector star chart and the actual difference is minimal.


Left: a7R II (FF) 4K | Right: a7S II (FF) 4K

When we switch the Sony a7R II to full frame mode, the image gets a little bit worse, but is still beautiful. It resolves a bit less detail and there is some more aliasing / moiré introduced than on the crop mode. Still very usable.

HD Modes:

We found out that the a7S II’s HD modes pretty much match the quality of the original a7S. What about the a7R II?

In crop mode the a7R II is softer with some aliasing and not really recommendable.

In full frame mode however the Sony a7R II gives us acceptable results that are comparable to the quality of the original a7S and are very similar to the image of the Sony a7S II.

We took the following shot comparing the a7R II crop mode to the original a7S in crop mode:

Left: Sony a7R II (crop mode HD) | Right: Sony a7S (crop mode)

Left: Sony a7R II (crop mode HD) | Right: Sony a7S (crop mode)

As we’re currently in Japan for InterBEE (tradeshow next week) the large Japanese symbols reveal how strong the aliasing in HD mode really is.

Resolution / Quality Concsluion:

The images on both cameras look remarkably similar in terms of quality and resolution. Especially a7R II crop mode vs. a7S II full frame mode are hard to differentiate. The a7R II in full frame is slightly worse, but still very usable. In HD only the full-frame mode is usable on the a7R II.


Here’s an interesting part. Can the a7R II match the lowlight capabilities of the a7S II? The short answer is: No.

In theory:

The a7R II has more pixels on its sensor than the a7S II, hence the a7S II pixels can be larger and capture more light resulting in better lowlight performance.

Let’s see the results:

I compared ISO speeds of both cameras up to ISO 25,600.
Surprisingly the a7R II doesn’t hold up so bad in lowlight at all. It can almost match the a7S II detail in low ISO modes. What I can always see is the a7S II having better noise performance. The image is cleaner. Anyway, with a little bit of noise the a7R II looks ok up until ISO 12,800 and does resolve details in the shadow areas.

When we switch to full frame mode on the Sony a7R II though, the results are quite unusable. Even at very low ISO’s it is not nice. ISO 6400 is already quite noisy.

Lowlight difference between Sony a7S II (top) and Sony a7R II (bottom) at ISO 25,600. Shot brightness was matched.

Lowlight difference between Sony a7S II (top) and Sony a7R II (bottom) at ISO 25,600. Shot brightness was matched.

Lowlight Conclusion:

In lowlight and noise the Sony a7S II is clearly the winner with an edge of about 2 stops. However the Sony a7R II in crop mode is a pretty good performer. It can retain good shadow detail up until ISO 25,600, but there is clearly more noise than on the a7S II. If you want the best and cleanest lowlight camera go for the a7S II.

Which One Is Right for You?

Each of the two cameras has some strengths and weaknesses. Let’s summarise this now:

The Sony a7R II has the following advantages:

  • It can produce 42MP still images, a resolution almost 4x higher than the a7S II.
  • The option of a great crop mode in 4K besides the full frame (FF usable if you have sufficient light).
  • Good lowlight in crop mode.

Note: Many readers commented on the overheating issues they experienced with this camera. Apparently some units are shutting down during long takes in warm environments. Keep that in mind when you make your buying decision.

Price: $3,198 (LINK)


The Sony a7S II has the following advantages:

  • Slog3 Gamma Mode (not always recommended) & gamma assist feature.
  • Slightly better quality full frame mode in 4K.
  • Slightly better rolling shutter performance.
  • Better lowlight, cleaner image.
  • 120fps slow motion mode in Full HD.
  • According to user reports less prone to overheating on long recordings.
  • $200 more affordable.

Price: $2,998 (LINK)


There’s really not a big difference between the two cameras, both on the outside as well as on the inside. The video colors are very balanced on both cameras and they produce a good internal 4K video. There’s no way you could tell the images apart without deep analysis and even in lowlight the cameras are not so far apart.

If you would like to use your camera for high resolution photography the Sony a7R II is clearly your preferred choice. It is also more versatile as it offers crop mode which can be used with APS-C lenses or a SpeedBooster to get an extra stop of light out of full frame EF lenses.

On the other hand the Sony a7S II could be your choice if you’re only doing video and lowlight and a clean image is important to you. You’re restricted to full frame lenses for best quality, but you get Slog3 (if you need that) and somewhat usable 120fps slow motion.

Which is your camera of choice? Let us know your arguments in the comment section.

I hope this comparison answered all your questions. If it helped why not get your gear through the links to our sponsor. Thank you and good light for your shoots.

€2,864.13 exc. VATIn stock for immediate dispatch

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Rama Dolman Reply
Rama Dolman November 13, 2015

S for mainly video
R for video and photo

Michal Gajdoš Reply
Michal Gajdoš November 13, 2015

I was defending that the a7s release was a good choice for sony. Now i am clerly dissapointed, there’s sucha small difference between video settings which is dissapointing. The a7s ii should have had the 10bit, and set the two cameras apart, now the a7s is crippled with old sensor and only a bit better lowlight performance, the a7rii is clear winner , and the only thing giving the proper difference between is the 120fps 1080pp. Nothing else. Bummer, i am dissapointed

 Andrew Ray Reply
Andrew Ray November 14, 2015

Couldn’t agree more!
I was waiting for the A7sii too, hoping for 10bit.
Not only it’s still the old 8 unusable bit (unusable if you want to push CC pretty hard, so, unusable for me), but also the new features don’t justify the new A7s to me.
I’ll just wait, there’s so much going on right now. It seems even Sony might come up with a “revolutionary” camera. The new Fuji might have 4k, 1080@120fps too, just not sure about video quality though.
Anyway, no rush for me.

James Cook December 15, 2015

Bravo.. You have made some excellent points. If Sony would have given the a7sii 10-bit, it would have undermined the Sony pxw fs5 which they charge almost 6000 dollars for body only. The so called wannabe pro’s and Sony fanboys have fallen for the marketing hype, while the corporate Sony executives slowly milk people out of there money by making products slightly better than the next.

Olaf von Voss Reply
Olaf von Voss November 13, 2015

Thanks Sebastian, that’s exactly what I was looking for. Actually I already had the feeling that these two cameras look almost identically for a good reason :)


 Ash Tailor Reply
Ash Tailor November 13, 2015

Thanks for taking our comments onboard. We really needed a thorough comparison between these two cameras.

I’ve read that the SLOG3 really isn’t that useful in an 8-bit container which essentially makes one of the biggest USPs of the A7SII redundant.

A7rII definitely seems to be the winner here.

BrunoSlam Compte A Rebours Reply
BrunoSlam Compte A Rebours November 13, 2015

What about focus tracking ? According to some reviews it is twice better on the A7RII which is a big advantage when you’re a single operator. Gamma display assist is a big advantage on the A7SII.
So i still cannot make up my mind. I think i’m gonna go for the cheaper one…

 Ash Tailor Reply
Ash Tailor November 13, 2015

Gamma display is massive and one of the main reasons I was thinking about the A7SII but if you have an external monitor/recorder that is something that you can get.

Focus tracking is indeed a lot better on the A7RII due to PDAF where as on the A7SII is done via contrast. So, this should mean better for my canon lenses.

Alex Leith Reply
Alex Leith November 13, 2015

Face focus tracking with native lenses on my A7Rii is awesome… I use it for relatively shallow DoF presenter to camera-on-a-gimbal, and it’s nearly perfect for that… Better than I could focus manually. Contrast detection face tracking focus on my older A7S was rubbish… haven’t tried the A7Sii, but I wonder whether it’s the same?

Gamma display assist would be nice on the A7Rii, but I got a monitor for that :-)

James H November 13, 2015

I would also love to see an in depth focus tracking comparison but no reviews seem to wanna touch that topic. :(

Ashley Bernes November 13, 2015

A nice comparison, well done guys.

Bottom line I would say someone with either camera should be happy with their purchase. I have the S2, its awesome. If I had the R2 I might read this review and take some relief that my camera is also awesome but honestly guys you knew that already.

One thing you should consider is that you will need to shoot crop mode on the r2 as the review points out to get the same kind of quality, the s2 doesn’t need this. Point being you can’t get a speed booster for your lovely leica or voigtlander lenses to get the same field of view, do you only have Canon Lenses and plan to stick with them? Ok then. Equally theres a difference between getting closer to something and pulling focus vs shooting in crop mode and working at a greater focus distance for the same framing, think about it.

To the people who don’t own either who are on the fence, the s2 is an amazing camera for video and takes great stills, the r2 is an amazing stills camera that takes great video. They both do their craft very well and each are good at both

Pick yours.

Chris Gibbs Reply
Chris Gibbs November 13, 2015

Speaking as stills (hybrid) shooter, I’d love to see that electronic Sony ND implemented in the next incarnation. It’d be great if as soon as you hit “Movie Record” that the electronic ND could be programmed to kick in and drop the shutter to a 180 degree setting. Sounds simple, but probably isn’t. :-)

 KC Bassett Reply
KC Bassett January 2, 2016

That sounds amazing it would be worth paying an extra $700 for a feature like that.

 Tommi Kivimäki Reply
Tommi Kivimäki November 13, 2015

Thanks Sebastian,

This is a great summary of the differencies between these two models.

James H November 13, 2015

Can I ask when it comes to your lowlight tests, are the results in 4k mode? Assuming the answer is yes, can you tell me how they compare in HD modes (FF and crop)? The same chart would be nice to see. Thank you so much!

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 15, 2015

Sorry I haven’t done and won’t do the tests in HD mode. It’s just too much work to shoot and compare each single ISO setting on all cameras and too little interest in that particular mode.

James H November 15, 2015

Thanks for replying Sebastian. Makes sense, however could you tell me at least how they compare at the same 25k ISO in HD?

I think showing that chart or at least knowing how it compares to the same ISO and same FF/Crop settings in 4k would be valuable for some.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 15, 2015

I’m sorry I can’t as I don’t have the camera in office right now. Maybe one of the readers can check and comment on this. Thanks

Darek Os Reply
Darek Os November 13, 2015

I have both but A7R II is better, more detailed image and better colors. Low light capabilities can be resolved with speedbooster on A7RII.

Emil H November 13, 2015

Nice review, however the a7r ii has the edge on autofocus and its minimum iso for slog2 is 800 compared to 1600 on the a7s ii

 Mark Blum Reply
Mark Blum November 13, 2015

I am interested in whether the higher sensor resolution of the 7R has more diffraction blur at narrower apertures than the 7S.

Ed Hecht November 13, 2015

This is invaluable, guys. Thanks.

Mel Feliciano November 14, 2015

This is the best “No-BS” comparison of these two cameras ever posted. Other sites (Blogs) should watch and learn.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 15, 2015

Thanks Mel,
Such comments keep us going…

 Franc Peret Reply
Franc Peret January 2, 2016

You did a great job on this one. Truly straightforward and informative. Thanks a lot for this!

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber January 3, 2016

Thanks Franc,
Will try to do the next one in the same way.
All the best

Alexander Manton April 17, 2016

This is really, really helpful to me. Thanks so much. I just got the a6300 and was looking to buy another Sony (in addition to the FS5 soon) and was trying to decide between R and S. As a photographer/videographer this has helped me to buy the R. Very informative. Thank you so much.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber April 17, 2016

Hi Alexander, Appreciate your comment. Glad this was helpful for you!

Mel Feliciano November 14, 2015

My favorite part is the Theory vs. Reality format.

 Emile Modesitt Reply
Emile Modesitt November 14, 2015

You said slog2 is the better choice on the a7s ii because slog3 is limited to 8 bit color. I’m confused, because it’s not like slog2 has 10 bit color, so how is slog2 the better choice?

Einar Davíðsson November 14, 2015

I believe they mean that as Slog3 is designed for a particularily wide dynamic range and color gamut (on the higher end Sony cameras), it doesn’t handle being truncated to 8 bits very well (at least under certain conditions) – where as Slog2 is more rounded (less “stretched”).

Philip Braun November 15, 2015

When recording in 8 bit on the a7SII and aiming for the best image quality, is it always preferable to shoot in Slog2 as opposed to Slog3? Is there ever a case in which recording in Slog3 would be preferable when shooting in 8 bit on the a7SII?

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 15, 2015

Hi Philip,
Slog 3 is flatter, so that means that more information is packed into less space within the color range. When you have fine gradations (like the sky, or a flat single-colored wall) in your image you would want to shoot Slog2. If your image is full of contrast and different colors Slog3 can works very well. It gives you a bit more dynamic range, so whenever you’re on the edge and risk having overblown highlights Slog3 is an option. Overall I always shoot Slog2, even on the FS7, because I think Slog3 is just “too much”. Especially on an 8bit color codec I think that is true.

Philip B November 17, 2015

Thanks so much Sebastian!

Ernie Linarez Reply
Ernie Linarez November 14, 2015

a7Rll for photo 40 mp , a7Sll better for video Max ISO 400k i prefer a7Sll

Eno Popescu November 14, 2015

You forgot to mention which camera overheats less in 4K mode, one of the most important aspects when shooting for longer then a couple of minutes sessions.

Ashley Bernes November 14, 2015

Im wondering if the overheating is exclusive to long takes vs multiple short takes. Example, people shooting takes longer than 15 minutes vs people shooting takes around 1 minute in succession?

Chris Gibbs Reply
Chris Gibbs November 15, 2015

Battery temperature possibly a factor? I’ll drop them from the A7Rll & RX10ll when shooting long clips (handheld in 4K with the XLR adapter) and they’re like hot rocks in my shirt pocket.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 15, 2015

Hi Eno, actually that was one of the points in my conclusion.

Eno Popescu November 17, 2015

Hi Sebastian, I’ve seen that you did write the A7sII is less prone to overheating, but I think this subject is very important for may and it wold have been nice to have a proper test made in both room temperature and a sunny day (30+ C).

Don’t get me wrong, you wrote a great comparison article for which I thank you.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 18, 2015

Hi Eno,
Unfortunately it’s already autumn/winter here, so we cannot conduct these tests. I hear the comments though, overheating really seems to be a problem with the camera…

David Anderegg Reply
David Anderegg November 15, 2015

So…I’m torn guys. I’ve been holding out for the a7s ii, but I’m also a hybrid shooter (70% video/30% photo). Sounds like low light performance is the only real big ticket item for the A7s ii (and maybe s-log 3). If that’s the case, and low light performance is only needed on occasion for me, is the A7r ii the better choice? More options, internal 4K, slightly more expensive? I’m torn…

 Tyrone Barthelemy Reply
Tyrone Barthelemy November 15, 2015

I’ve found there’s a growing consensus towards the A7R2 being the better hybrid and the R2 auto focus capabilities seems to be the factor which nudges the decision towards it. My concern about the R2 is whether or not the low light capabilities are good enough do deliver clean images in low light (not no light) situations such as a wedding reception or a night club.

joakim poromaa November 17, 2015

“In crop mode the a7R II is softer with some aliasing and not really recommendable.
In full frame mode however the Sony a7R II gives us acceptable results that are comparable to the quality of the original a7S”
– error
from the rest of the article this seem to be the opposite

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 17, 2015

Please elaborate, I don’t see the error. Thanks

joakim poromaa November 17, 2015

Oh, sorry, I might have misunderstood (?)

According to images above, the A7RII seems sharper in crop mode, not softer as text states.
Also, FF has aliasing, whereas Crop seem to be a lot better. I argue that the words “FF” and “crop” are mixed in this paragraph.

joakim poromaa November 17, 2015

Ok – Now, I understand. There seem to be an additional HD-mode. Whereas the chart-pictures are not from the HD-mode. The HD-mode pictures are below the text (some japanese (?) signs).

Then I understand.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 17, 2015

Yes exactly. I guess it is partly my fault the way I designed the article. Unfortunately there are not so many options how to do it. I added 4K to the image captions. Thanks for commenting. All the best

joakim poromaa November 17, 2015

Great article (the best I found so far on the subject) so thanks!

James H November 17, 2015

All of this great information (and comments) and yet the one thing that will keep myself and many others from going with the A7Rii for video is touched on only with one sentence near the end: overheating.

Overheating in 4k mode on the A7rii is a huge issue for any documentary or event/wedding shooters who would easily shoot long takes outdoors in 4k and would be worried about the camera sitting down on them constantly. There is no solution and that’s AWFUL. Pulling the LCD away from the body is recommended to get a bit more life bit still, the camera will apparently shut down on you (especially in warm environments) almost certainly.

We shoot with mostly crop lenses so we’re stuck waiting to upgrade because you can’t shoot 4k in crop mode on the A7sii, and while 4k crop mode on the A7rii looks the best, the camera would shut down on us during Weddings in the California summer heat.

Because we shoot exclusively in crop mode I guess we’ll have to wait to upgrade our 3 A7s cameras until Sony either fixes the terrible overheating issue, or changes the A7s to a 16 or 18mp camera so people can shoot in crop mode in 4k. Bummer.

 Ash Tailor Reply
Ash Tailor November 17, 2015

Hey James,

Just reading your comment and although some units have been prone to overheating, there are multiple instances out there (on other video related sites) where there have been no overheating at all.

I agree, it’s fairly annoying but I personally know a few people with it and it hasn’t happened yet. Not sure if it was just the initial batch but considering my GH4 can run solid all day without a hitch, this is annoying.

Ashley Bernes November 18, 2015

Im interested to know if there are any reports of overheating on short takes <1 or 2 mins rather than the 20 minute wedding sagas?

James H November 18, 2015

I haven’t read of issues with short 4k takes having overheating issues. It’s persistent recording of longer takes especially in outdoor/warm environments. Like for example, I’m editing an outdoor wedding right now that’s an hour and 14 minutes long. While that’s not typical for outdoor weddings, it happens a few times a year and it’d be great to know my cameras won’t shut down on me and require me to wait while they cool down. Imagine that one…”wait, hold up on that first kiss guys…just 2 more minutes while my camera cools down!”

Regarding the previous comment about some units not overheating at all, that’s interesting. I’d love to see if that’s true or not and if “newer batches” don’t have that issue. That’s certainly not widely reported as more people seem to report it having the issue than not. Sony seems to have blown off the issue as if it weren’t an issue, or it was due to using the wrong card, etc. and that’s just frustrating.

 Noah Yuan-Vogel Reply
Noah Yuan-Vogel November 21, 2015

I have read extensively about the A7RII overheating issues and was very concerned about it, but I have used my A7RII on several jobs now and run it in crop mode as a static camera doing several 1-2hr takes throughout the day (rolling again immediately at the 30min limit) and have yet to see any overheating warning. I’ve used it enough that I feel I can safely say I have no overheating problem at all, even for long takes. I just got off a job where I was also feeding a 4k monitor from the camera for the entire day sometimes for 4hrs straight and still never saw any overheating warning, and this was in the crop mode where overheating is supposedly the worst.

Also I should mention that in this article it says the A7RII is sharpened more than the A7SII in FF but I would say more likely it is actually just sharper. The A7RII is amazingly sharp in crop mode since it captures a ~5k image and downscales it to 4k for a highly detailed oversampled 4k image, whereas the A7SII only scans half as many pixels for its 4k so it is destined to be a bit softer displayed at 4k.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 22, 2015

Hi Noah,
Thanks for the comment on overheating.
Regarding sharpening, while I mentioned it is slightly sharper I could also definitely identify sharpening.

 Andy Carrasco Reply
Andy Carrasco November 18, 2015

Is it just me but why is the in camera stabilization not even a consideration? I feel like that is a big plus for the a7s2. I didn’t see it mentioned once in the article or in comments… Is it really not a big deal?

 Ash Tailor Reply
Ash Tailor November 18, 2015

Hey Andy,

Both cameras have the exact same 5 axis stabilisation :)

 Andy Carrasco Reply
Andy Carrasco November 18, 2015

Oh shoot, Ash, I thought it was only in the a7s2 and why I was considering that over the a7r2. Good to know! Thanks.

Chris Gibbs Reply
Chris Gibbs November 18, 2015

Hey Andy, speaking as a stills photog I’d say IBIS is HUGE, rather have it than large complicated (compromised) stabilized lens designs. Its like ABS brakes on your car, its there, but its not a sexy talking point, and goes unnoticed. Its a super feature, and it saves your butt without you realizing it!

 Kai Brethouwer Reply
Kai Brethouwer November 19, 2015

Great review. Two observations:

1. Contrast detection en phase detection sensors: The a7rii seems to be better
> Haven’t seen a comparison test on focus tracking but others state that the a7rii is awesome in this respect. One point for the a7rii.

2. 2 stops more performance in low light. One point for a7rs

3. 60fps in HD full frame. One more point for a7rs

So for video it’s 2 – 1 for the a7rs, but only if points 2 AND 3 are more important than focus tracking. No wonder many people find it hard to choose!

 Giorgio Milone Reply
Giorgio Milone November 22, 2015

In this part of the article it seems A7s2 can’t record in HD FF:

The Sony a7S II records:

4K Full Frame: up to 30 fps
HD 1.6 crop: up to 60fps
HD 2.2 crop: up to 120fps

The Sony a7R II records:

4K Full Frame & 1.6 crop: up to 30 fps
HD Full Frame & 1.6 crop: up to 60 fps
720p: up to 120fps

 Caspar Diederik Reply
Caspar Diederik December 19, 2015

“The Sony a7S II records:
HD 1.6 crop: up to 60fps ”
seems an error to me.
Shouldn’t it be FF and 1.6 crop?

 Steve Brunton Reply
Steve Brunton November 28, 2015

I must say, the A7RII looks like the better all-round camera, BUT there is a price for that…

I think the overheating issues are due to the 42MP sensor which has to work harder to convert the information into a 4K image.

The 12MP sensor, however, would literally pour the 4K information into an SD card with minimal effort.

I am interested in taking stills, but video is my bread and butter. My brain is telling me to go for the A7SII, but my heart wants the A7RII

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 28, 2015

If lowlight and full frame is a thing for you, then you might want to consider the a7S II. This week I shot this test with the Sigma lens ( and even though we had an a7R II in house, I knew this only makes sense with the a7S II, so I had one rented. I realized in that moment that the a7R II would not be an option for my shoots, but rather the a7S II and I’m still happy with the results I got that night.

Ryan Cline January 8, 2016

My question would have to be can the a7r ii really get near the a7sii in low light for photos or video? We all have seen the clean high ISO images from the s all over the place but I really havnt seen a good side to side comparison of the low light capabilities. I feel that both are to expensive for what they offer and don’t offer I’m ready to get either and I’ve been told a7s becuase of its lowlight and awesome video the r seems to be for those who want really clean low ISO photos and good video also if anyone can help me decide that would be awesome! Also if the a7s ii hasn’t changed in lowlight performance from previous a7s how close in the a7 ii to the rest of them for someone who just wants HD and good 24mpxl photos?

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber January 10, 2016

If you want to know the difference in lowlight between a7s and a7s II check out this one:
As I mention in the review, the a7S II gives you about 2 stops better performance than the a7R II.
The old a7 cameras cannot be compared in terms of video, that is a different world and I’m not just talking HD here.

Ed Hecht January 10, 2016

Thanks for the A7S vs A7S II comparison link! I have been on the fence about upgrading my own A7S. This seals it for me: I’m keeping the A7S. Maybe version 3 will be more appealling.

Rocco Forte January 19, 2016

Question about crop modes:

I’m considering either of these cameras for video using CROP MODE ONLY at at “normal” ISOs under 12,000.

Given crop mode only, and no low light needs am I better off with the A7Rii shooting 4K or does the A7Sii still beat the Rii in video even though it only captures 1080 in crop mode.

 KC Bassett Reply
KC Bassett January 19, 2016

You definitely want the a7rii. The only reason you should go for a7sii is if you NEED 4k in full frame. For example using a canon 11-24 or the like that really only shines on a full frame sensor.

 Kenneth Harris Reply
Kenneth Harris January 29, 2016

You seem like the guy to ask my question with out all the BS. I’m a photographer at heart. Yes the 42mp looks good to me. I had to be honest with myself will I print anything over a 20×30 print and the was No. I getting into video. Want to recordi music video/yes we know lowlight is key and still do photography as well. Senior pictures as well as models. So I went and got myself the a7sii but mind is really telling me to go get the a7rii. Would love your feedback. I got 30days to return.

Ed Hecht January 29, 2016

Hey Kenneth,
I was a happy owner of an A7S for a year who recently upgraded to the A7S II. I was also on the fence for several months as to which one to get: A7R II or A7S II. On the rare occasion that I do print, they’re no larger than tabloid size (11x17in at 300 dpi). One thing I discovered: Enlarging your 12 MP A7S II photos by 25% using the Lanczcos3 algorithm (free in Gimp image editor) will give you just over a 17×11 print with no discernible quality loss! I am VERY happy with my decision: Great tabloid prints, stellar low light (for stills and video), internal 4K, and VERY usable 120 fps at 1080p. Good luck!

Rocco Forte January 30, 2016

It’s not an easy decision that’s for sure. I ended up buying the A7Sii. It basically comes down to the (obvious) choice that you have to make: more pixels or better lower light. That’s it. That’s the decision you have to make. The good news is that in either case, it’s not like you get poor images at 12MP or bad low light with the Rii. They’re both excellent cameras, they simply have an edge in their respective directions. Good luck.

 Kenneth Harris Reply
Kenneth Harris January 30, 2016

Mind me asking do you do more photography work or video work ? If it’s photographer mind telling me what you shot the most. With the a7sii biggest print. This Tuesday, I’m going to go out and take lots of photos Print the best one, starting off with a 5×7 up to 20×30. If I like what I see I’ll be happy. I don’t do commercial work “I WISH” lol

 Kenneth Harris Reply
Kenneth Harris January 29, 2016

Sent my message with my iPhone rushing before a flight. Sorry for the type-O in my comment

 Tim Sassoon Reply
Tim Sassoon February 11, 2016

Be nice if the A7r2 (I have one) got Slog3.

 Michael Ma Reply
Michael Ma May 27, 2016

I’ll wait for the A7S III I guess and hope for 10 bit. But really, the deal breaker has been the flip out screen that doesn’t really flip out. I need it to flip out like the GH4/70D. That is the only reason I don’t own a Sony A7S camera yet.

Stanley Law June 6, 2016

“It can retain good shadow detail up until ISO 25,600, but there is clearly more noise than on the a7S II. If you want the best and cleanest lowlight camera go for the a7S II.”

This sentence has me scratching my head. Does this mean I should buy the A7R II for better lowlight performance than the A7S II?

Jason Hylan August 26, 2016

Sebastian, would you take either the A7Rii or A7Sii over a Canon 5D Mark IV? I currently use a Nikon D610 for photos and a simple Canon70D for video. I want to combine and use only 1 camera. Looking at Sony and Canon 5d Mark iv. thoughts?

Kaushal Shah November 23, 2016

Excellent question. I’m in a similar dilemma. Did you find your answer?

Noah W October 29, 2016

Hi, I was planning on buying my first camera soon and was really looking into the Sony A7S II, I love all it’s features, but recently I’ve seen the rolling shutter. I was planning on possibly filming action films with it, would the rolling shutter be too much? Because I really want a 4K DSLR for a reasonable price, but I do really want the frame rates that the A7S II films at.