November 20, 2014

Sony's New a7II is the First Full-Frame Camera with 5-Axis Sensor Stabilization

Sony A7II 5-Axis Stabilization
In Japan today, Sony announced the a7II, an interesting new addition to their line of Alpha 7 mirrorless full-frame cameras.

Not only does this new model add the XAVC-S codec, 1080p 60fps, and S-Log2, but it features a unique 5-axis in-camera stabilization system, a first for any full-frame camera. First up, here is the launch video from Sony Japan:

And here's a brief video explanation of this camera's primary new feature, the internal 5-axis sensor stabilization:

I'm not entirely sure yet what the requisites are for taking advantage of the 5-axis internal stabilization, although it looks like the camera needs to be fitted with an optically-stabilized Sony lens in order for it to work. If that's the case, this feature may not have have any noticeable impact on filmmakers who are looking to use a wider variety of glass than what is offered by Sony. However, if the 5-axis stabilization can be activated with any lens — even ones that are adapted to the E-mount — then the a7II might overcome one of the inherent issues with shooting video on small cameras, ugly shake and micro vibrations caused by the camera's lack of weight. Actual handheld shooting — without the use of a weighted rig — would be an aesthetically viable choice.

Here are the specs for the Sony a7II, as well as some photos:

Sony A7II
  • Sony E-Mount (Full Frame)
  • Image Sensor Exmor CMOS; 35.8 x 23.9 mm
  • Effective Pixels: 24.3MP, Total Pixels: 24.7MP
  • Still Image File Format: JPEG, RAW
  • Storage Media: SD/SDHC/SDXC, Memory Stick PRO Duo/PRO-HG Duo/XC-HG Duo
  • Viewfinder Type: XGA OLED Tru-Finder electronic viewfinder
  • Shutter Type: Electronic first curtain shutter available
  • Image Stabilization: 5-axis in-body image stabilization equivalent to 4.5 stops
  • Top Continuous Shooting Rate: Up to 5 fps in continuous high; 2.5 fps in continuous low
  • ISO Sensitivity: ISO 100-25600 (expandable to ISO 50-51200 with multi-shot NR)
  • Autofocus System: Fast Hybrid AF
  • Number of Focus Points Phase detection: 117 / contrast-detection: 25
  • Autofocus Sensitivity: -1 - +20 EV
  • Movie Recording: 1920 x 1080; 60p, 60i, 24p
  • File Format: XAVC S, AVCHD Ver. 2.0, MP4 (YCbCr 4:2:2 8-bit, RGB 8-bit)
  • Video Data Rate XAVC S: 50 Mbps
  • AVCHD: 28 Mbps (60p, PS), 24 Mbps (60i & 24p, FX), 17 Mbps (60i & 24p, FH)
  • MP4: 12 Mbps (1440 x 1080, 30 fps), 3 Mbps (640 x 480, 30 fps)
  • Audio Recording Built-in stereo microphone, optional external stereo microphone
  • Audio File Format XAVC S: Linear PCM, 2 channel
  • AVCHD: Dolby Digital AC3 2 channel
  • MP4: MPEG-4 AAC-LC 2 channel
  • Maximum Recording Time: 29 min.
  • Interface: HDMI micro (type D), multi/micro USB, Multi-interface Shoe, 3.5mm stereo microphone jack, 3.5mm stereo headphone jack
  • Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity: (IEEE 802.11b/g/n, 2.4GHz band); NFC Forum Type 3 Tag
  • Operating Environment: 32-104 °F / 0-40 °C
  • Dimensions: 5.0 x 3.8 x 2.4" / 126.9 x 95.7 x 59.7mm
  • Weight: 1.3lb / 599g (with battery and memory card)
  • Availability: Japan in December, Europe in January, TBA for the United States
  • Price: $1,600
Sony A7II
Sony A7II

Other than the in-camera stabilization, the a7II doesn't necessarily bring anything new to the table that wasn't already available on one of the other a7 cameras. We finally have S-Log2, XAVC-S recording, and 1080/60p on the flagship model in this line, even though those features were already available on the a7S. Where the a7II might really shine is for the hybrid photographers/videographers who need higher quality stills than the a7S can offer, but also some of the more advanced video features. At roughly $1600, the a7II might also make for a less expensive alternative to the a7S, although it won't feature the insane low-light ability and 4K HDMI output of the a7S, so there's definitely a tradeoff.

The a7II has only been announced in Japan for the time being, where it's expected to begin shipping in December. There is no word yet on when the a7II will make its way to the US.     

Your Comment

13 Comments

$1600 and no 4K?

November 20, 2014 at 10:50PM

5
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Tom Holton
UAS Specialist
279

$1600 makes it cheapest FF camera (launch prices, not street prices) in history. This is still camera, not A7s that was optimized for video quality.

November 21, 2014 at 1:27AM

4
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Imnusg
83

I'd imagine this has the ASP-C crop mode as well.

This camera seems to be a strong reason to forget that Canon ever tried to make a 7D Mk2.

November 21, 2014 at 11:16AM

3
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Josh Paul
Most often DP, Direct or Gaff
1092

This is cheaper still camera first, and video quality obviously won't match A7s that does full sensor readout without line skipping.

Second, as for inbody image stabilization, it works with every lens, as long as the camera knows the focal length. If you have a dumb adapter that can't communicate the focal length to the camera., you have to add the focal length manually from the menu.

So yes it should work with all lenses, one way or another.

November 21, 2014 at 1:26AM

12
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Imnusg
83

That's awesome news. Thanks for sharing!

November 21, 2014 at 3:30AM

12
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Rob Hardy
Founder of Filmmaker Freedom
4498

So instead of getting a camera + some type of DJI Ronin, you just need to get that A7II !
That's a lot of money saving!

November 21, 2014 at 5:41AM, Edited November 21, 5:41AM

4
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Great sign of things to come! If Sony releases an A7s MKII with the same 5 axis stabilization, colour me interested!

November 21, 2014 at 6:11AM

0
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Lucas Ferreira
Cinematographer
441

OK no 4K, I don't care... but, which other video features the A7s have over A7II for real world production? no for blog testing a super high ISO level...

November 21, 2014 at 7:13AM

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Luiz Aguiar
Cinematographer / Director
74

High Dynamic Range ??

November 21, 2014 at 9:00AM

0
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Abhilash
DOP
74

Seriously some of your first thoughts are "No 4k No way"??!!?!

What has the world come tooooooo NOOOOOOO!!!

November 21, 2014 at 5:55PM, Edited November 21, 5:55PM

14
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Seth Evans
Editor
330

You have to hand it to Sony, they have seriously come back fighting in terms of innovation. I've never been a fan of their cameras in the past but they have been offering some really great reasons for them to be considered a major contender again as of late. Imagine this combined with the specs of the a7s, that would be a seriously competitive run and gun solution by anyone's standards.

November 22, 2014 at 4:53AM

0
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Okay, my question is does it still output in 4K?

November 26, 2014 at 12:35PM

0
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Steven Michael Zack
Writer/Director/Cinematographer/Singer/Actor
74

After seeing this I thought how cool it would be to have an internal gimbal. Maybe that could be the next major innovation in cameras.

November 26, 2014 at 10:13PM

5
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Ryan Gudmunson
Recreational Filmmaker
633