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Sony a7R II review – Full frame and 4K in one

Sony a7R II front
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £2599
inc VAT

With a full-frame sensor and 4K video, the Sony a7R II delivers in spades for both photo and video.


Sensor resolution: 42.2 megapixels, Sensor size: 36.9x24mm (Full frame), Focal length multiplier: 1x, Viewfinder: Electronic (2.4 million dots), LCD screen: 3in (1.228 million dots), Lens mount: Sony E mount, Weight: 625g, Dimensions (HxWxD): 97x139x76mm

Wex Photographic

Image quality

There’s less to report from my photo quality tests. The sensor excelled for both sharp details and low noise, and the metering took tricky lighting conditions in its stride. The occasional autofocus errors were the only issue I noticed, but taking a couple of shots of each subject – which is always worth doing – provided an effective solution.

Compared to its full-frame rivals, there isn’t much to choose between the a7R II and the Canon EOS 5Ds for details, noise levels or dynamic range, but the Sony nudged into the lead for noise levels in JPEGs at ISO 12800 and above. The Canon’s ISO speed doesn’t go any higher but the Sony continues all the way up to 102,400. ISO 25,600 is probably a sensible limit in practice. The Nikon D750 and Sony a7 exhibited less noise at ISO 12800 and above, but that’s not surprising considering their relatively modest 24-megapixel resolutions.

Ultimately, there’s not much to choose between the current generation of full-frame cameras for image quality, but the a7R II is comfortably up there with the best.

^ Sharp focus, carefully controlled highlights and plenty of definition to the dense background – a great result. (1/200s, f/8, ISO 100, 39mm)

^ Another well-judged automatic exposure, but this high-contrast scene reveals some slight chromatic aberrations. They’re undetectable at normal viewing sizes, though. (1/500s, f/8, ISO 100, 53mm)

^ An f/1.4 lens on a full-frame camera gives a fantastically shallow depth of field. Automatic metering has kept highlights on the subject just short of clipping. (1/640s, f/1.4, ISO 100, 35mm)

^ Program mode doesn’t like to venture beyond f/2, but I can’t fault this shot on automatic settings. (1/60s, f/2, ISO 160, 55mm)

^ ISO 1600 and there’s barely any hint of noise even when viewed up close. (1/60s, f/2, ISO 1600, +1 EV, 35mm)

^ Noise reduction is giving fine details a featureless sheen at ISO 6400, but there’s still barely any evidence of noise. (1/50s, f/2, ISO 6400, -1.3EV, 55mm)

^ It’s starting to get grainy at ISO 10,000 but it’s not intrusive. (1/60s, f/3.5, ISO 10,000, 24mm)


It’s hard to rate the a7R II because there’s not much to compare it with. It’s one of only two cameras to offer 4K video from a full-frame sensor – the other one is the Canon EOS 1D C, and it costs £5,650. As such, the Sony is a superb choice for people who want the best quality available for both photography and video. £2,599 is still expensive, though, and I suspect that many people would be satisfied by either the Nikon D750, the Samsung NX1 or the Panasonic GH4, which cost around £1,500, £1,150 and £1,000 respectively. The Sony a7 is still available for £800 body-only – a phenomenal price for a full-frame camera. Those who are happy to spend more may be better off investing in lenses.

Still, there’s no denying the allure of a full-frame camera, and 4K video is a big draw, too. If you don’t want to compromise on either, the A7R II is the obvious choice.

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Sensor resolution42.2 megapixels
Sensor size36.9x24mm (Full frame)
Focal length multiplier1x
Optical stabilisationSensor shift
ViewfinderElectronic (2.4 million dots)
Viewfinder magnification (35mm-equivalent), coverage0.78x, 100%
LCD screen3in (1.228 million dots)
ArticulatedYes (tilting)
Orientation sensorYes
Photo file formatsJPEG, RAW (ARW)
Maximum photo resolution7,952×5,304
Photo aspect ratios3:2, 16:9
Video compression formatMP4 (AVC) at up to 28Mbit/s, AVCHD at up to 28Mbit/s, XAVC S at up to 100Mbit/s
Video resolutions4K at 24/25/30fps, 1080p at 24/25/30/50/60/100/120fps, 1080i at 25f/30ps, 720p at 25/30fps
Slow motion video modesN/A
Maximum video clip length (at highest quality)29m 59s
Exposure modesProgram, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed range30 to 1/8,000 seconds
ISO speed range50 to 102,400
Exposure compensationEV +/-3
White balanceAuto, 10 presets with fine tuning, manual, Kelvin
Auto-focus modesMulti, flexible spot, face detect, tracking
Metering modesMulti, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flash modesNo integrated flash (supported modes: auto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, rear curtain, red-eye reduction)
Drive modesSingle, continuous, self-timer, AE bracket, WB bracket, dynamic range bracket, HDR, panorama
Lens mountSony E mount
Card slotSDXC, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo
Memory suppliedNone
Battery typeLi-ion
ConnectivityUSB, micro HDMI, 3.5mm microphone, 3.5mm headphone
WirelessWi-Fi, NFC
HotshoeMulti Interface Shoe
Body materialMagnesium alloy
AccessoriesUSB cable, neck strap
Dimensions (HxWxD)97x139x76mm
Buying information
WarrantyOne year RTB
Price including VAT£2,599
Part codeILCE-7RM2

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