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