First Impressions: Sony A7r Mk II

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A7r Mk II first impressions (1 of 8)ISO 8001-60 sec at f - 6.3

The Sony A7r Mk II has been talked about now for a while on the rumor sites, but today the company is officially announcing the camera. The Sony A7r Mk II features a brand new 42.3 MP full frame sensor, can shoot up to ISO 102,400, and boasts 399 focal plane phase detection autofocus points that Sony states covers 49% of the imaging sensor. Beyond this, the company claims that the camera will have a much faster responsiveness rate: up to 3.5x faster which is up to 40%.

We had some hands on time with the camera during Sony’s press briefing.

Update; we’ve added in an autofocus test video, and a video with the Canon 24-105mm f4 L IS

Update II: Now available for pre-order from B&H Photo, Adorama and Amazon.

Update III: Now including image samples

Tech Specs

– 42.3MP full frame sensor

– 4K video with XAC-S full pixel readout, plus a Super 35mm movie mode.

– 399 focal plane phase detection points, claims of DSLR equivalent focusing speeds

– 5 axis image stabilization with 4.5 stops of stabilization

– Sony made the shutter unit vibrate less to not emphasize problems that occur with high megapixels and taking images where camera shake occurs

– 5fps shooting

– ISO 102,400

– 0.78x magnification in the EVF

– New grip and mode dial lock

Ergonomics

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A7r Mk II first impressions (7 of 8)ISO 4001-500 sec at f - 6.3

The Sony A7e Mk II is very much like the new Sony A7 MK II, but most of its differences are internal with the exception of the locking mode dial on top. The front of the camera looks very minimalist like many of the company’s other cameras. What you’ll see here is the hand grip, shutter release and lens mount.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A7r Mk II first impressions (6 of 8)ISO 4001-500 sec at f - 6.3

Move to the top of the camera and you begin to get a hold of many more controls. We’ve got shutter control, aperture control, exposure compensation, the mode dial, custom function buttons and the hot shoe. The A7r Mk II also has a flipping LCD screen.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A7r Mk II first impressions (5 of 8)ISO 4001-500 sec at f - 6.3

The back of the camera is where you’ll find lots of the buttons with most of them being on the right side. This is where you’ll control the camera for the most part when it comes to not taking pictures.

Build Quality

In the hand, the Sony A7r Mk II feels every bit as solid as its sibling the A7 Mk II. Overall, it boasts some things that make it feel like an upgrade over the original but for what it’s worth Sony did a great job with the original versions.

The company states that the camera is dust and moisture proof.

Shutter sound of the Sony A7 and the Sony A7r Mk II compared

A video posted by The Phoblographer (@phoblographer) on

Here is a comparison of the shutter sound of the original Sony A7 and the new Sony A7r Mk II. The original A7 was very similar to the A7r.

Update We realize that we handled a pre-production model but now that we’ve got a production version in hand, we’re even more impressed–in most ways. While we’re not as big a fan of the dials as we were with the first version, the overall verdict is looking positive.

These dials are a bit more soft and cushy than the previous ones on the A7r which had more of a satisfying click. The camera’s shutter is also significantly quieter. To be honest, the loud shutter of the original version reminded me of a solid medium format camera. This one is much more stealthy.

The overall feel of the camera is much more solid and feels more like a fusion between a DSLR and a mirrorless camera than a retro camera feel that both Olympus and Fujifilm go for. If you’re a Sony user, it will all be familiar.

Autofocus

The original Sony A7 has terribly slow autofocus performance–slower than molasses. But from what we’re seeing so far, the Sony A7r Mk II is incredibly fast. In fact, it’s faster than the Sony A7 Mk II and about as fast as the Leica Q.

 

The Sony A7R Mk II with a Canon 24-105mm f4 L IS autofocusing.

 

A video posted by The Phoblographer (@phoblographer) on

Here you can see the autofocus tracking with a Canon 24-105mm f4 L IS and a Metabones adapter attached.

Ease of Use

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A7r Mk II first impressions (2 of 8)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 5.6

The A7r Mk II doesn’t seem to have many differences from the Sony A7 Mk II and also very little in terms of menus and such. What you’ll appreciate now is a new locking mode dial.

Image Quality

We didn’t get the chance to put an SD card in because we handled pre-production models, but we’re bound to get a review unit it in soon.

Update

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A7r Mk II first sample images (6 of 17)ISO 2001-160 sec at f - 5.6

These images were shot in RAW and given the Sony Vivid color profile that the camera has built in via Adobe Lightroom. I’m personally not a fan of it and would have edited the images in a different way; but judging from what I’m seeing so far, they’re highly capable files. The colors have so much latitude that I’m really eager to test this camera for the toughest color test of all: concerts! Concert photographers would absolutely know what we’re talking about.

The sharpness of the images in combination with the Sony 16-35mm f4 is also spectacular. Overall, this sensor seems to be like the Nikon D810’s but a step up–and we’re only even more eager to test it at high ISO settings.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A7r Mk II first sample images (9 of 17)ISO 2001-1250 sec at f - 4.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A7r Mk II first sample images (8 of 17)ISO 2001-400 sec at f - 4.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A7r Mk II first sample images (7 of 17)ISO 2001-160 sec at f - 9.0

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A7r Mk II first sample images (3 of 17)ISO 2001-160 sec at f - 9.0

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A7r Mk II first sample images (17 of 17)ISO 4001-1000 sec at f - 4.0

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony A7r Mk II first sample images (15 of 17)ISO 4001-800 sec at f - 4.0

First Impressions

So far, the Sony A7r Mk II doesn’t seem like a game changer like Sony was saying in its presentation, but it surely has great features. Extremely fast autofocusing abilities, high ISO abilities that seem promising despite lots of resolution, and much faster responsiveness rate. It seems like Sony didn’t want to change their cameras very much since they already had a great formula.

We’ll have to save our final thoughts for the review though.