Caffeine Priority: First impressions of Sony A7S II are positive as the low light specialist brings its A-game!


posted Wednesday, November 25, 2015 at 6:37 AM EDT


I've been shooting with the new Sony A7S II for a week now and it has thus far impressed me a lot. This is my first experience with a Sony interchangeable lens camera (ILC) after field testing the Sony RX100 IV just a few months ago. 

The A7S II retains the same 12.2-megapixel full-frame sensor from the original A7S, which produces excellent results at very high ISOs. This is an absolute low-light monster, and in a market where megapixel counts continue to climb, it stands as a reminder that there is still an important place for lower megapixel sensors. The A7S II may not change the sensor from the original A7S, but it does introduce new processing algorithms that aim to provide better still and video results at the higher end of the ISO range.

Sony 70-200mm f/4 at 200mm, f/4, 1/250s, ISO 12800. Even at ISO 12800, the A7S II produces images with good detail, contrast, and color.

The A7S II features improved ergonomics, such as a repositioned front dial and an improved front grip. My first impression of the A7S II body is that it's really small for having a full-frame sensor. While small, it never feels hampered in any way, as it has plenty of controls and the camera is really comfortable to use. With a dual command dial design and an easy to reach exposure compensation dial on the top deck of the camera, the A7S II gives the user quick access to the most critical camera settings. I wish that the mode dial wasn't locking, however, as it means that I have to use two hands to operate it.

Sony 24-70mm f/4 at 70mm, f/6.3, 1/50s, ISO 400. The new 5-axis image stabilization works well. Even in cold, dark conditions with shaky hands, the A7S II allowed me to capture sharp images.

The A7S II brings other new features to the table, such as 5-axis sensor shift image stabilization, internal 4K video recording, improved EVF magnification, and a massive 169 total autofocus points (the original A7S had only 25). I will discuss all of these features and much more in my upcoming A7S II field test. For now, it's safe to say that Sony has crafted another winner with the A7S II.