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Sony A7II (ILCE 7M2) detailed and extensive field test and hands on review

Sony A7II (ILCE 7M2) detailed and extensive field test and hands on review

| On 10, Jun 2015

The Sony A7II arrived with all of the lenses and accessories I’d asked for. Although this started as a single video, as I worked through the edit, it seemed best to divide it into three parts. As a result, there are a few short duplicated segments between the parts.

The first part details the camera, the lenses and the still features.

The second part covers the video capabilities, including picture profiles.

The third part provides an overview of a few Sony accessories: VG-C2EM battery grip, HVLF60M flash, XLR-K2M audio adapter and the CLM-V55 external monitor.

My grateful thanks to all those who assisted and contributed to this review. Doug, Kim, Calla, Tom, Alexandra and Gino. And all those whose images are used in the review. The review period coincided with lots of activities – the Dutch Liberation Festival (yes, that’s a Sherman Tank on Yonge Street) and parade in Toronto, Ottawa’s Tulip Festival, Cycle Toronto’s Ride into the Lake event as well as several product launches including a trip to NYC for the Asus ZenFone2. My thanks to Asus Canada and Apex PR for that trip, which included some free time in New York, so I was able to get to Strawberry Fields in Central Park and enjoy the Strawberry Fields sundae at Serendipity3.

I botched recording the Soul Motivators at Supermarket, as I wasn’t yet familiar with the audio adapter. Juice and The Boom Booms appeared at Dstrct in Guelph. Sarah Factor sang at BigBayFest in Brooklyn.

I could have gone on at length about picture profiles, thanks to Thom Varey for a clear recommendation on making effective use of this feature. Although I did shoot some scenes in Slog2, I need more time to understand how to grade the footage effectively. Just using the Slog2 LUT (look up table) in Final Cut isn’t enough.

The on-camera scenes are recorded at Queen Juliana Park in Ottawa, in Graffiti Alley and at Sugar Beach in Toronto as well as at home.

Photos, with their EXIF data are available on flickr. Please ask if you have any questions. I took over 6,000 pictures and really felt the A7II produced outstanding images – I’ve posted more on flickr than I used in the review. There is one spot on the sensor which resisted attempts to clean it. I didn’t change lenses that often, particularly while outside, and there were many spots on the sensor which seemed to come and go, sometimes even without a cleaning or lens change.

While working with the A7II, I produced the following videos, which represent the use of the camera and accessories in a real world environment.
Dutch Liberation Festival (posted on Facebook)
Asus Zenfone launch (for The Canadian Reviewer)
Sennheiser AVX wireless mic system
Panasonic G7 launch
It’s a very capable workhorse. I’ve started scheming to add one to my collection to replace the NEXVG20.

As always, screen captures have been edited, speeded up (or slowed down) to fit and don’t always represent the real time it takes for the procedures demonstrated.

On camera segments recorded using a Sony NEXVG20, beauty shots with a Sony A6000 with the SEL30M35 macro lens, screen captures using an Atomos Ninja Star. I record my VO using the RODE NT-USB, on camera I use the Sennheiser ew100 G2 kit. I edit using Final Cut 10.2 on an iMac. I use the onetakeonly iPad prompter. Yes, everything is scripted.

I do read and reply to all questions and comments.


  1. Adrian

    Hi maarten

    I mostly take pictures of my children/family and a little bit of travel photography,I currently own a rx100m3 which I plan to keep for my travel photography but Im thinking of getting a full frame camera for better IQ and everyday use and I have been looking at the sony A7ii or rx1r,and at the moment I’m thinking more of the rx1r just because of size, and built in flash for the little bit of fill flash for portraits without having to own a huge flash to carry around if I went for the A7ii, do you think that the rx1r is a better camera for me or would you still choose the A7ii with a SEL55F18Z Carl Zeiss

    Many thanks

    • Maarten

      Adrian: If improving your IQ is the goal, unless size is an issue, I’d certainly prefer the A7II – a true quality star and a photo/video workhorse. For portraits, although pricey, that’s a stunning lens – high ratings everywhere. In my mind the RX1R is best suited for grab and go work, much like the RX100 series. Hope this helps.

      • Adrian

        Thank you for your reply, yes that does help thank you, for daytime indoor/outdoor portraits would I need a flash straight away on the A7ii or are the low light capabilites of this camera good enough not to require fill flash like on the rx100m3 can do at times

        Many thanks

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