Today, Sony announced their newest and most ambitious mirrorless digital camera yet. When Sony launched their NEX system, they originally said that image-stabilization could not be implemented in-body due to size constraints. At the time, the system was restricted to APS-C (1.5X FLM) sensors. They later introduced Sony E-mount full-frame mirrorless models, also without stabilization.
Now, after a collaboration with Olympus which took sensor-shift stabilization to 5-axis for use in their OM-D E-M5 reviewed here, Sony did it. The new Sony Alpha A7 II is a full-frame E-mount mirrorless digital camera with built-in 5-axis image-stabilization, yet it is not much larger than the original A7. This alone is an incredible technological achievement which unleashed a huge potential for full-frame mirrorless cameras.
The A7 II features a 24 megapixels CMOS sensor with 5-axis in-body image-stabilization and on-sensor 117-point Phase-Detect AF. Although not confirmed by Sony, the A7 II most likely uses an anti-alias filter, just like the original A7. Dare we expect an A7R II soon? And even A7S II? Both are highly likely. The Sony A7S, being one of the most capable low-light cameras on the market, would take an incredible leap forward with 5-axis stabilization.
A refined body which includes triple control-dials, a deeper hang-grip and 5 customizable buttons takes the A7-series to a new level. As its siblings, the A7 II features an incredibly sharp 2.8 megapixels EVF with 100% coverage and 0.71X magnification. The EVF has an Eye-Start sensor and is Exposure-Priority which Sony calls Tru-Finder, making it much more usable than most electronic viewfinders on the market.
This new mirrorless retains the main features of its predecessor, including an ISO 100 – 25600 sensitivity range, expandable to ISO 50 – 51200. The shutter-speed remains at 1/8000s – 30s using a front-curtain electronic-shutter to achieve an extremely short shutter-lag. There is a multi-interface hot-shoe with a flash-sync speed of 1/250s.
The Alpha A7 II is aimed at professional photographers with its large full-frame sensor in a weather-sealed body with a huge number of direct controls, not counting the triple control-dials already mentioned. A traditional mode-dial and dedicated EC dial, marked in 1/3 EV increments, leave all major camera controls within easy reach.
The Sony Alpha A7 II is scheduled to ship next month for a retail price of $1700 USD. This is an impressively low-price for any full-frame digital camera, even more so when considering its 5-axis stabilization which is unique in its class. Adorama and B&H Photo are already accepting pre-orders. Get yours quickly as we expect this model to fly off the shelves!
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