Sony A7R II Performance


Timing and Performance

Generally faster than the A7R, but startup and buffer clearing are still slow.

Startup/Play to Record

Power on
to first shot

~1.5 seconds

Time it takes to turn on and capture a shot.

Play to Record,
first shot

~0.9 second

Time until first shot is captured.

Powerup to first shot was still sluggish compared to DSLRs, but improved over the ~2.0 seconds we measured for the A7R. Switching from Play to Record mode and taking a shot was identical to the A7R.


Shutter Response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus,
Single-area AF mode

0.212 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting. (AF timing performed with the Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 lens.)

Manual Focus

0.107 second

For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused".

Prefocused

0.020 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

Looking at the Sony A7R II's ability to determine that it's properly focused when shooting the same, static target multiple times without defocusing between shots (our standard test), its autofocus speeds were good for a mirrorless ILC, and competitive with many DSLRs. The Sony A7R II's full-autofocus shutter lag (with the subject at a fixed distance) was 0.212 second in Single-area (center) AF mode. This is a noticeable improvement over the 0.359 second result we measured for the A7R.

When manually focused, the Sony A7R II's lag time dropped to 0.107 second, which is good, and again noticeably better than the 0.261 second we measured for the A7R.

The Sony A7R II's prefocused shutter lag was only 0.020 second which is excellent, much better than the A7R's 0.163 second. We can thank the A7R II's electronic first-curtain shutter which is enabled by default for the much lower shutter lag (the A7R did not have an electronic first-curtain shutter option).

To minimize the effect of different lens' focusing speed, we test AF-active shutter lag with the lens already set to the correct focal distance.


Cycle Time (shot to shot)

Single Shot mode
Large/Extra Fine JPEG

1.02 second

Time per shot, averaged over a few frames (we no longer test for buffer depths in single-shot mode).

Single Shot mode
RAW + L/F JPEG

0.99 second

Time per shot, averaged over a few frames (we no longer test for buffer depths in single-shot mode).

Early shutter
penalty?

No

Some cameras refuse to snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous Hi mode
Large/Extra Fine JPEG

0.20 second
(5.01 fps);
23 frames total;
27 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 23 frames, then slows to an average of 1.29s or 0.77fps when buffer is full.

Continuous Hi mode
RAW

0.20 second
(4.99 fps);
23 frames total;
24 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 23 frames, then slows to an average of 1.18s or 0.85fps when buffer is full.

Continuous Hi mode
RAW + L/F JPEG

0.20 second
(5.00 fps);
22 frames total;
32 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 22 frames, then slows to an average of 1.58s or 0.63fps when buffer is full.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/sec UHS-I SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Single-shot cycle time was about one second when shooting Large/Extra Fine JPEGs or RAW+ Large/Fine JPEG files. This is sluggish compared to most DSLRs and a bit slower than the ~0.8 second we got from the A7R, but keep in mind the larger 42-megapixel files.

The Sony A7R II's Continuous Hi burst mode is rated at 5 fps, and our lab results agree. Note that continuous AF is supported in burst mode, and Sony no longer calls it Speed Priority Continuous mode so there shouldn't be any aperture limitations. While not quite as fast as most full-frame DSLRs this is pretty good considering the 42-megapixel resolution, and an improvement over the A7R's 4 fps top rate. There's also a Continuous Lo mode rated at 2.5 fps, but we didn't test that mode.

Buffer depths were good in Continuous Hi mode, at 23 frames for Large/Extra Fine JPEGs, 23 for RAW and 22 for RAW+Large/Fine JPEGs (like many Sonys, the A7R Mark II does not support RAW + Extra Fine JPEGs), and improved over the A7R's 14-15 frame buffer. In Continuous Lo mode, buffer depths are likely even better. Note that our target for this test was designed to be difficult to compress, so maximum JPEG burst lengths should be even longer with typical subjects. Also be aware that the test results above were performed with firmware v1.0, so RAW files were compressed. See below for some uncompressed RAW results after upgrading to v2.0 firmware.

Buffer clearing times were slow even with our fast UHS-I card, but perhaps not unreasonable given the fairly deep buffers and file sizes, ranging from 24 seconds after 23 RAW files to 32 seconds after 22 RAW+ Large/Fine JPEG files.

To see how much of a penalty shooting with the new uncompressed RAW option added to firmware v2.0 is in terms of buffer size and clearing time, we retested RAW mode after upgrading the firmware and here are our results side-by-side:

Compressed vs Uncompressed RAW

Firmware v2.0

Compressed RAW
Uncompressed RAW

Continuous Hi mode

0.20 second
(4.99 fps);
23 frames;
24 seconds to clear
0.20 second
(5.00 fps);
9 frames;
22 seconds to clear

As you can see in the table above, switching from compressed to uncompressed RAW files in Continuous Hi mode had no significant effect on frame rate, however it drastically decreased buffer depth from 23 frames to only 9 frames, and it also reduced clearing time slightly from 24 to 22 seconds due to the shallower buffer.



Bottom line, the Sony A7R II's overall performance is good and generally improved over the A7R with faster AF, lower shutter lag, faster burst speed and deeper buffers, however while startup time is better than its predecessor it's still a bit slow, as is buffer clearing.

Battery Life

Fair battery life for a mirrorless camera.

Operating Mode Battery Life
Still Capture,
(CIPA standard, LCD Monitor)
340 shots
Still Capture,
(CIPA standard, EVF)
290 shots

The Sony A7R II uses a custom NP-FW50 rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack for power, and normally comes with two batteries, an AC adapter for in-camera charging via USB, and a dedicated charger. The battery is rated for 340 shots per charge when using the LCD monitor and 290 shots when using the electronic viewfinder, tested according to the CIPA standard. Battery life is fair compared to mirrorless cameras but poor compared to most DSLRs. We definitely recommend getting a second battery for your A7R II if you plan any extended outings or shoot a lot of video. An optional VG-C2EM vertical grip is available which doubles battery life with two batteries.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on a fully-charged rechargeable battery), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

 



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