Sony has released the a7 II, a full-frame camera with an Exmor CMOS sensor which moves along five axes to compensate for camera shake, allowing users to shoot handheld stills and video that would normally require a tripod.
The camera, available here in mid-January next year for $1999, provides optical image stabilisation equivalent to up to 4.5 steps faster shutter speed of correction for still images. Carrying on the traditions of the a7 series, it gives users images from the full-frame sensor with the convenience of image stabilisation.
The a7 II detects and corrects all the types of camera shake including: angular shake that tends to occur when shooting with a telephoto lens; shift shake that becomes noticeable as photographing magnification increases; and rotational shake that often affects shots at night or when recording video.
Handheld low-light shooting at slower shutter speeds becomes possible with a camera like the a7 II because of these features.
Other features include autofocus with the use of a 117-point focal plane phase-detection AF sensor (in combination with a 25-point contrast detection AF points). This enables the capture of moving subjects in clearer focus which might otherwise become blurred.
The a7 II has an advanced algorithm which it used to detect the subject position, enabling optimal lens drive. According to Sony, the camera’s autofocus is very responsive – 30 per cent faster than in previous models.
Sony claims the camera will provide high image quality and better video recording functionalities because of its full-frame sensor and its BIONZ X image processing engine. In addition to recording in AVCHD Ver. 2.0 Full HD (1920?1080) 60p (50p)/60i (50i)/24p, the camera records in XAVC-S, a consumer format derived from the professional XAVC format. This offers Full HD video quality at the bit rate of 50 Mbps. Long GOP compression is used, targeting differences between frames, along with the MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 codec for video. Audio is recorded in linear PCM, and files are saved in the MP4 format.
The grip shape keeps the camera steady, even when using a large telephoto lens. The shutter button has been shifted toward the front and this, along with the button’s increased size, helps reduce camera shake. The tilting display features a White Magic LCD screen for better visibility even under bright sunlight.
The camera body is made of magnesium alloy construction and its robust mounting structure handles large telephoto lenses and video lenses.
The main buttons and dials are sealed to keep out moisture and dust, and an interlocking double layered construction of media and port covers ensures greater moisture and dust resistance. Overall, the camera is designed to be used by photographers in any number of situations without having to worry about the safety of their cameras.