Sony A7 II Review

March 4, 2015 | Mark Goldstein | |

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 24 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 6Mb.

The Sony A7 II produced images of outstanding quality during the review period. The Sony A7 II has an extensive and very usable ISO range of 50-25,600. ISO 50-1600 is noise-free, while ISO 3200 and 6400 produce more than acceptable results, and even ISO 12800 and 25600 are OK for emergency use. The RAW samples illustrate just how much processing the camera does by default, though, as they're much noisier at all ISO values than their JPEG counterparts.

The 24 megapixel images are a little soft straight out of the camera using the default creative style and ideally require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you can change the in-camera sharpening level. The night photograph was excellent, with the maximum shutter speed of 30 seconds and the Bulb mode offering lots of scope for creative night photography.

The effective Dynamic Range Optimizer function extracts more detail from the shadow and highlight areas in an image, without introducing any unwanted noise or other artifacts. The High Dynamic Range mode combines two shots taken at different exposures to produce one image with greater dynamic range than a single image would produce. It only works for JPEGs and for still subjects, but does produce some very effective results. Sony's now tried-and-trusted Sweep Panorama is still a joy to use. The various Picture Effects quickly produce special looks that would otherwise require you to spend a lot of time in the digital darkroom, while the Creative Styles provide a quick and easy way to tweak the camera's JPEG images.


There are 10 ISO settings available on the Sony A7 II. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting for both JPEG and RAW formats:


ISO 50 (100% Crop)

ISO 50 (100% Crop)

iso50.jpg iso50raw.jpg

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

iso100.jpg iso100raw.jpg

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

iso200.jpg iso200raw.jpg

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

iso400.jpg iso400raw.jpg

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

iso800.jpg iso800raw.jpg

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

iso1600.jpg iso1600raw.jpg

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

iso3200.jpg iso3200raw.jpg

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

iso6400.jpg iso6400raw.jpg

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

iso12800.jpg iso12800raw.jpg

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

iso25600.jpg iso25600raw.jpg


Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default sharpening setting. You can change the in-camera sharpening level if you don't like the default look.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

sharpen1.jpg sharpen1a.jpg
sharpen2.jpg sharpen2a.jpg

File Quality

The Sony A7 II has 3 different image quality settings available, with Extra Fine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

24M Extra Fine (13.1Mb) (100% Crop) 24M Fine (6.12Mb) (100% Crop)
quality_extra_fine.jpg quality_fine.jpg
24M Standard (4.12Mb) (100% Crop) 24M RAW (23.9Mb) (100% Crop)
quality_standard.jpg quality_raw.jpg


The Sony A7 II's maximum shutter speed is 30 seconds and there's also a Bulb mode for even longer exposures, which is excellent news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 30 seconds at ISO 100.


Night (100% Crop)

night1.jpg night1a.jpg

Image Stabilisation

The Sony A7 II is the world’s first full-frame camera with an optical 5-axis image stabilization. Using the FE 55mm f/1.8 lens, we were able to obtain sharp results shooting handheld down to 1/8th second, about 4 stops below the "recommended" shutter speed of 1/50th second.

1/30th Sec

1/15th Sec

antishake1.jpg antishake2.jpg

1/8th Sec

1/4th Sec

antishake3.jpg antishake4.jpg

Dynamic Range Optimizer

D-Range Optimiser (DRO) is Sony's solution to improve shadow detail in photos taken in contrasty light. There are 5 different levels and an Auto option.


drange_01.jpg drange_02.jpg
Level 1 Level 2
drange_03.jpg drange_04.jpg
Level 3 Level 4
drange_05.jpg drange_06.jpg
Level 5  

High Dynamic Range

High Dynamic Range Optimiser (HDR) is Sony's solution for capturing more contrast than a single exposure can handle by combining two exposures into one image. There are 6 different EV settings and an Auto option.


hdr_01.jpg hdr_02.jpg
hdr_03.jpg hdr_04.jpg
hdr_05.jpg hdr_06.jpg
hdr_07.jpg hdr_08.jpg

Creative Styles

There are 13 Creative Style preset effects that you can use to change the look of your images.



creative_style_01.jpg creative_style_02.jpg



creative_style_03.jpg creative_style_04.jpg



creative_style_05.jpg creative_style_06.jpg



creative_style_07.jpg creative_style_08.jpg


Night Scene

creative_style_09.jpg creative_style_10.jpg

Autumn Leaves

Black & White

creative_style_11.jpg creative_style_12.jpg



Picture Effects

The Sony A7 II offers a range of thirteen creative Picture Effects.


Toy Camera

picture_effect_01.jpg picture_effect_02.jpg

Pop Color


picture_effect_03.jpg picture_effect_04.jpg

Retro Photo

Soft High-key

picture_effect_05.jpg picture_effect_06.jpg

Partial Color (Red)

High Contrast Mono

picture_effect_07.jpg picture_effect_08.jpg

Soft Focus

HDR Painting

picture_effect_09.jpg picture_effect_10.jpg

Rich-tone Mono


picture_effect_11.jpg picture_effect_12.jpg



picture_effect_13.jpg picture_effect_14.jpg

Sweep Panorama Mode

The Sony A7 II allows you to take panoramic images very easily, by 'sweeping' with the camera while keeping the shutter release depressed. The camera does all the processing and stitching and even successfully compensates for moving subjects. The main catch is that the resulting image is of fairly low resolution.