Sony A7 II First Shots: How does this full-frame beauty stack up against its much-loved predecessor?


posted Wednesday, December 3, 2014 at 6:13 PM EST


A fortnight ago, Sony got everyone talking with the launch of the full-frame Sony A7 II, an update to one of last year's most exciting cameras. The big change in the A7 Mark II is its five-axis image stabilization system, a world's first for a full-frame, interchangeable-lens camera. It also sports quite a few other changes: a re-styled body and handgrip, sturdier lens mount, better LCD monitor and tilt mechanism, and support for a new battery grip.

Notably unchanged, though, was its well-received imaging pipeline. The Sony A7 II is still based around the same 24.3-megapixel full-frame Exmor CMOS image sensor and BIONZ X image processor as its predecessor. But many are the times in the past when we've seen newer versions of cameras that share the same pipeline as an earlier model, yet there turns out to be a noticeable difference in image quality due to processing tweaks and other differences in the physical design of the camera.

When the brand-new Sony A7 II hit our lab, then, we were keen to see how things had developed since last year's extremely popular A7. We're sure you're just as excited, so we've gotten our Sony A7 II First Shots posted in record time, and you can now judge for yourself side-by-side in our comparometer how old and new cameras compare with each other (and their rivals, of course).

Sony A7                     ISO 3200                       Sony A7 II

To whet your appetite, the crop above shows the earlier Sony A7 on the left, and the Sony A7 II on the right, with both cameras set to ISO 3200 equivalent. It's a close thing, but to our eye the A7 II image has just a very slight edge in sharpness. See more from the A7 II in our First Shots lab samples, and if you're not familiar with this new model, you'll also find our Sony A7 II preview to be enlightening.

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