Sony unveils Alpha 7 SII compact system camera (UK price update)
September 11, 2015
The Alpha 7 SII is a 4K, full-frame camera with an ISO of up to ‘409,600’. It also has enhanced AF and 5-axis image stabilisation. The 12.2-million-pixel Alpha 7S II is designed to shoot 4K video with full-pixel readout and ‘no pixel binning in full-frame format’. This should mean better image clarity. Sony has also upgraded the AF to offer 169 AF-points – for ‘fast, precise focusing with greater accuracy’. The firm claims: ‘When shooting video, the AF performance is twice as fast as the predecessor.’ The EVF has also been improved, to deliver 0.78x magnification. The camera, which boasts a shutter cycle of 500k, was announced at the IBC broadcast technology show in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Amateur Photographer deputy editor Richard Sibley, who also edits The Video Mode, attended the Sony press conference this morning. Richard said: ‘The body is all-magnesium alloy. It has a stronger lens-mount for larger, heavier lenses.’ The Alpha 7S II is due out in November, priced around £2,500. Meanwhile, sales of the original Alpha 7S will continue. The Alpha 7S was launched last year, featuring an extended sensitivity of ISO 100-102,400 in movie mode.
• Ultra High sensitivity ISO 409600
• XAVC S 4K 30/25/24fps MP4 Wrapper 4:2:0 sampling 100 and 60 Mbps Bit-Rate
• Wide Dynamic Range
• 4K video with internal recording and full pixel readout with no binning
• 5 axis image stabilisation for stills and moves
• Low light high speed AF with enhanced accuracy
• 4.5EV image stabilsaition
• Silent shutter is 50% quieter than the A7S
• Clean 4K HDMI output
• S-Log3 gamma offers better tonal reproduction from shadow to midtone (18% grey) compared to S-Log2.
• S-Log2 is also available
• AF in Video shooting is 2x faster than the previous A7S
• 169 point AF
• EVF XGA OLED Tru-Finder
• Full magnesium alloy body
• Stronger lens mount for larger lenses
• 500k shutter cycles
Sony expands range of compact full-frame mirrorless cameras with the launch of the ultra-sensitive α7S II
Out of darkness cometh light
· Ultra-high sensitivity up to 409600i with low noise across the whole range
· Wide dynamic range across entire ISO range delivering smooth tonal gradation from dark to bright conditions
· In-camera 5-axis optical image stabilisation for expanded shooting possibilities
· Internal 4K movie recording featuring full pixel readout without pixel binning in full-frame format
· Wide range of professional movie functionality including S-Gamut3.Cine/S-Log3, new Gamma Assist Display, enhanced Zebra Function, Full HD 120fps recording and 4x/5x slow motion recording and full pixel readout without pixel binning in full-frame format
· High-speed AF with enhanced accuracy in wide ranging scenes and advanced shooting functions
Sony today announced the latest addition to its award winning series of compact, full-frame α7 cameras with the introduction of the α7S II. Offering ultra-high sensitivity and wide dynamic range across the entire ISO range and 5-axis image stabilisation for greater shooting control, the α7S II delivers stunning image quality for photographers who shoot in the most challenging light conditions. Be it the brightest of mornings or darkest of nights, the α7S II enables new levels of photographic expression at whatever shutter speed you wish to deploy. The α7S II also incorporates a host of pro-style movie functions including the ability to shoot 4K video with full pixel readout and no pixel binning in full-frame format, making it an extremely appealing proposition for photographers and videographers alike.
The α7S II delivers an awe-inspiring sensitivity range of ISO 50-409600[i], thanks to the combination of its 35mm full-frame 12.2 megapixel[ii] image sensor and BIONZ X image processing engine. The sensor optimises the dynamic range across the entire ISO range and broadens the range of tonal gradation in bright environments and minimises noise in dark scenes meaning that it delivers impressive results even in the most extreme conditions. The upgraded image processing algorithm of BIONZ X maximises the sensor’s capabilities and improves depiction throughout the full sensitivity range with particular emphasis on the mid-to-high range. This means that the resulting stills and movies demonstrate extra-fine detail with minimal noise.
The α7S II can record 4K[iii] movies internally in the XAVC S format[iv] meaning that content is wonderfully detailed. Because information from all pixels is utilised without line skipping or pixel binning, the camera can maximise the expanded power of the full-frame image sensor and produce 4K movies with higher image clarity and negligible moiré. Full pixel readout without pixel binning is also employed when shooting Full HD[v] movies which means that it collects information from approximately five times as many pixels that are required to generate Full HD[vi] and condenses the information to produce extremely high quality movies.
In a first for the α7 series, the α7S II can record 120fps at 100Mbps[vii] with full pixel readout without pixel binning in full frame format which can be edited into wonderful 4x/5x slow motion footage[viii] in Full HD. The α7S II also has the ability to shoot 4x/5x slow motion footage internally which can be immediately reviewed on the camera screen.
Video functionality has been further enhanced with new profiles; S-Gamut3.Cine/S-Log3 and S-Gamut3/S-Log3. These new profiles deliver wide dynamic range and colour correction is easier to perform. The α7S ll even offers impressive 14-stop latitude in the S-Log3 gamma setting. The camera also supports S-Gamut/S-Log2 which is very popular among cinematographers and videographers. Gamma Display Assist is a new function that allows users to monitor images or check focus when recording S-Log movies and the Zebra function has been improved for even greater control.
5-Axis Image Stabilisation
The new α7S II is equipped with the innovative 5-axis image stabilisation system that is proving extremely popular in the α7 II and α7R II cameras. The system corrects camera shake along five axes during shooting, including angular shake (pitch and yaw) which has the greatest impact on image quality and tends to occur with a telephoto lens, shift shake (X and Y axes) which becomes noticeable as magnification increases, and rotational shake (roll) that often affects night shooting or video recording.
The autofocus system on the α7S II has been upgraded and now offers 169 AF points for fast, precise focusing with greater accuracy.[ix] The power of the image sensor means that the absence of noise in images generated, enables the Fast Intelligent AF to detect contrast more easily and react speedily even in low-light situations (as low as EV-4), when it’s even tough to check with the naked eye. When shooting video, the AF performance is twice as fast as the predecessor model.[x]
The XGA OLED Tru-Finder in the α7S II has been upgraded and offers the world’s highest viewfinder magnification[xi] of 0.78x (roughly 38.5 degrees in diagonal field of view) and shows clear images across the entire display area. The use of ZEISS T* Coating ensures sharp reduction of reflections on the viewfinder and unlike an optical viewfinder, the OLED Tru-Finder can be used to instantly show how exposure compensation, white balance and other selected settings are affecting the displayed image.
A number of enhancements have been made to the look and feel of the α7S II to make it more user friendly, reliable and intuitive. Its magnesium-alloy body is both light and highly robust and the grip and shutter buttons have been re-designed so that the camera feels more natural in the hand. For situations when you just want to blend into the background, silent shooting mode can be activated for 5fps continuous shooting[xii] and reliability has been enhanced with reduced-vibration shutter movement.[xiii] The lens mount has been further reinforced to ensure greater resilience, particularly when attaching third party lenses and users can now charge the camera via a USB power supply whilst the camera is in operation, thus extending battery life. For greater comfort and safety, Sony is also launching the LCS-EBF; a new premium leather body case for the α7S II which is also compatible with the α7R II and α7 II.
The α7S II is also Wi-Fi® and NFC compatible and fully functional with Sony’s PlayMemories Mobile application available for Android™ and iOS™ platforms, as well as Sony’s growing range of PlayMemories Camera Apps, which add a range of fun creative capabilities to the camera. Learn more at www.sony.net/pmca.
The new α7S II full-frame interchangeable lens digital camera from Sony will be available in Europe in November 2015.
[i] Standard ISO 100 – 102400, Expandable to ISO 50-409600
[ii] Approximate effective megapixels
[iii] QFHD: 3840 x 2160. Internal recording and HDMI output, both at 4K resolution, are available in full-frame
[iv] SDXC memory card higher than Class 10 is required for movie recording in XAVC S format
[v] In 24p/30p
[vi] 1920 x 1080
[vii] UHS Class 3 memory card is required for recording at 100Mbps
[viii] 30p (25p) or 24p
[ix] Compared to α7S
[x] Compared to the α7S, when shooting Full HD movies.
[xi] Amongst digital cameras. The viewfinder magnification is approx. 0.78x (with 50mm lens at infinity, -1m-1). As of date of press release, based on Sony research.
[xii] Speed Priority Continuous mode. Focus and exposure settings fixed at first shot.
[xiii] 500,000-cycle durability. According to Sony internal testing, with the electronic front curtain shutter activated.
[xiv] Approximate. May vary depending on shooting conditions and media.
[xv] Configuration method/Access method: WPS or manually/infrastructure mode. When connecting to smartphones, the camera can always work as a base without a wireless access point. (Security: WEP/WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK)