Is the Alpha 7S II the best choice for those specialising in video and low-light photography? Michael Topham finds out how well it performs in these two key areas

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Sony Alpha 7S II

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Sony Alpha 7S II Review

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£2,500.00 (Body Only)

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Sony Alpha 7S II Review – Image Quality: Detail and Noise

The big appeal for still photographers is the Sony Alpha 7S II’s extensive ISO range. Those curious of how well the 7S II performs at its high sensitivity settings will be astonished by the sensor’s capabilities and by how far the sensitivity can be pushed. As the opening shot to this review shows, it’s possible to achieve acceptable results right up to ISO 25,600. There are signs of luminance noise and colour noise when you push the sensor to its extremes by entering its expanded settings, but provided you’re vigilant and apply noise reduction carefully in post-production, it’s possible to shoot at the ‘mid-range’ of ISO 6,400, 12,800 and 25,600 comfortably. Although the Alpha 7S II’s sensor has nothing on that of the 7R II when it comes to the level of detail it resolves, our resolution results reveal the amount of detail that is resolved remains fairly consistent throughout the ISO range.

Detail

Unlike the Alpha 7R II, the 7S II employs an optical low-pass filter. Inspecting raw files under close scrutiny indicates the 12MP chip resolves a maximum of 2,400l/ph at ISO 100. While this is a long way from the level of detail we’re used to seeing high-resolution full-frame sensors resolve, it’s on a par with the original Alpha 7S. It attains the 2,400l/ph figure up to ISO 3,200, dropping only slightly to 2,200l/ph at ISO 6,400. The sensor maintains an impressive level of detail right up to ISO 25,600, ending up at 1,800l/ph at its ISO ceiling.

Sony_A7s II_res_normj_50

Sony Alpha 7S II ISO 50

Sony_A7s II_res_normj_100

Sony Alpha 7S II ISO 100

Sony_A7s II_res_normj_200

Sony Alpha 7S II ISO 200

Sony_A7s II_res_normj_400

Sony Alpha 7S II ISO 400

Sony_A7s II_res_normj_800

Sony Alpha 7S II ISO 800

Sony_A7s II_res_normj_1600

Sony Alpha 7S II ISO 1600

Sony_A7s II_res_normj_3200

Sony Alpha 7S II ISO 3200

Sony_A7s II_res_normj_6400

Sony Alpha 7S II ISO 6400

Sony_A7s II_res_normj_12800

Sony Alpha 7S II ISO 12800

Sony_A7s II_res_normj_25600

Sony Alpha 7S II ISO 25600

Sony_A7s II_res_normj_51200

Sony Alpha 7S II ISO 51200

Sony_A7s II_res_normj_102400

Sony Alpha 7S II ISO 102400

Sony_A7s II_res_normj_204800

Sony Alpha 7S II ISO 204800

Sony_A7s II_res_normj_409600

Sony Alpha 7S II ISO 409600

Noise

Converting our raw files using Adobe DNG Converter v9.2 and inspecting them closely at 100% enabled us to establish how well the camera performs through its ISO range. Images are very clean from ISO 100-1,600 and it’s only when you push up to ISO 3,200 that luminance noise creeps in. You’ll be hard pushed to notice this luminance noise at ISO 3,200 and ISO 6,400 unless you inspect the shadows in your images incredibly closely, and I found it possible to create clean results at these settings by increasing the luminance-noise-reduction slider to a value of 30 in Lightroom. Pushing up to ISO 12,800 and ISO 25,600 introduces more luminance noise, yet detail and texture remain high at both these settings. Users could turn to ISO 51,200 if needs must, but fine texture and detail do get lost. ISO 102,400, 204,800 and 409,600 sound impressive but they’re best avoided.

Sony Alpha 7S II Noise, Raw ISO 50

Sony Alpha 7S II Noise, Raw ISO 50

Sony Alpha 7S II Noise, Raw ISO 100

Sony Alpha 7S II Noise, Raw ISO 100

Sony Alpha 7S II Noise, Raw ISO 200

Sony Alpha 7S II Noise, Raw ISO 200

Sony Alpha 7S II Noise, Raw ISO 400

Sony Alpha 7S II Noise, Raw ISO 400

Sony Alpha 7S II Noise, Raw ISO 800

Sony Alpha 7S II Noise, Raw ISO 800

Sony Alpha 7S II Noise, Raw ISO 1600

Sony Alpha 7S II Noise, Raw ISO 1600

Sony Alpha 7S II Noise, Raw ISO 3200

Sony Alpha 7S II Noise, Raw ISO 3200

Sony Alpha 7S II Noise, Raw ISO 6400

Sony Alpha 7S II Noise, Raw ISO 6400

Sony Alpha 7S II Noise, Raw ISO 12800

Sony Alpha 7S II Noise, Raw ISO 12800

Sony Alpha 7S II Noise, Raw ISO 25600

Sony Alpha 7S II Noise, Raw ISO 25600

Sony Alpha 7S II Noise, Raw ISO 51200

Sony Alpha 7S II Noise, Raw ISO 51200

Sony Alpha 7S II Noise, Raw ISO 102400

Sony Alpha 7S II Noise, Raw ISO 102400

Sony Alpha 7S II Noise, Raw ISO 204800

Sony Alpha 7S II Noise, Raw ISO 204800

ISO 409600

Sony Alpha 7S II Noise, Raw ISO 409600

  1. 1. Sony Alpha 7S II Review: Introduction
  2. 2. Sony Alpha 7S II Review - Video Functionality
  3. 3. Sony Alpha 7S II Review - Build & Handling
  4. 4. Sony Alpha 7S II Review - Performance
  5. 5. Sony Alpha 7S II Review - Image Quality: Dynamic Range
  6. 6. Sony Alpha 7S II Review - Image Quality: Detail and Noise
  7. 7. Sony Alpha 7S II Review - Verdict
  8. 8. Sony Alpha 7R II Review - Full Specification
Page 6 of 8 - Show Full List
  • entoman

    Fabulous camera. It still needs a few more tweaks to the ergonomics, improved battery performance, a better EVF, more intuitive menu system and a significantly expanded lens system. Right now, I’m extremely happy with my DSLRs, but one more iteration from Sony MIGHT just persuade me to switch to mirrorless!