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Sony A7 II review - 5 axis stabilisation in video mode


Andrew Reid

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

Hi Ebrahim, all the aliasing tests for the 750 I've seen were not shot in a way that I feel suitably tests it. Are you using a 750 and can you, have you, shot bright thin lines in hard light? I'd love to be wrong, but I'm not convinced .


No Maxotics I still haven't got my hands on a D750 at all, but I am shooting with the D810 very fine landscape scene and I can't induce any aliasing or moire. It must be there somewhere on a test chart if you went looking or it, but certainly not in a car grill or a building like the one Andrew is showing here.

I am still waiting tests between the D750 and D810. I would love it to be just as good.
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This worries me, Im the proud owner of the A7S and Im very happy with it, however, I was really hoping to see some firmware updates in the future that fix the most stupid things like no programmable s

The Sony A7 II is the first full frame mirrorless camera with 5 axis stabilisation inside (sensor shift based). It also gets some ergonomic and video upgrades such as XAVC-S at 50Mbit/s,

What a bummer...

This worries me, Im the proud owner of the A7S and Im very happy with it, however, I was really hoping to see some firmware updates in the future that fix the most stupid things like no programmable shortcut for aps-c or direct link to framerate settings. Simple things like that make the camera a joy to use and should be addressed if you want your customers to be happy.

 

 

This worries me, Im the proud owner of the A7S and Im very happy with it, however, I was really hoping to see some firmware updates in the future that fix the most stupid things like no programmable shortcut for aps-c or direct link to framerate settings. Simple things like that make the camera a joy to use and should be addressed if you want your customers to be happy.

Gerbert I am with you....I own an  a7s,  I put all my eggs with sony ,   I like it a lot, but will be very disappointed if Sony decided to release a new sony a7s II before fixing a lot of issues with the a7s menu...they shall make us already sony customers happy. The A7s is not a year old, and a new a7s II will put the value of our camera to a low one in a short period of time.

If Sony do that I will reconsider my choice and will go with another company who take care of their  customers instead of trying to get new ones all the time, don't get me wrong I am glad about sony innovation, but this has to be done in a schedule and with some kind of order, fixing before any new one issues with the models already in the market....something like tick-tock development with intel processors, you know already how the development cycle is going and when to expect new products, I know is a different market with more competition ...but they need to know that we are not going to be buying new cameras every single year, too much money, they have to do it right and if not fix them in the fly...or will lose  many of us!!

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Wow, I was going to hold out for the A7SII but now I think I want the original, if it's just going to be bigger, thicker, and have the moving part complexities of an IBIS that isn't particularly awesome.

 

The whole point is to get full frame down to a size that resembles the greatest camera of all time, the Nikon FM/FM2.

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Oh man, this is such a bummer. It seemed like we were so close to the perfect camera (of the moment) by getting stabilization taken care of. I'm back to looking seriously at the Movi M5, but like you I like to just be out and discover shots, so I'm looking for the most portable carry everywhere solution. And I would love great stabilized video for when I'm traveling around Asia, so an M5 isn't really realistic for that kind of extended backpacking work. Hopefully they can get it sorted for the A7s II video implementation.

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I think to fully damp high frequency jitter you have to move the sensor extremely quickly and nimbly, maybe it just isn't possible yet with such a big one. Another issue is that maybe the sensor is too close to the edge of the lens mount so it doesn't move enough? The E-M1 has more room around the sensor, more margin. Anyway I'm not an engineer, but Sony need to fix it. Let's not write it off completely - it might do a hybrid IS when a Sony OIS lens is attached, using OIS for the high frequencies and IBIS for the larger ones on all 5 axis.

 

I just wish at the minimum they'd match the competition... Minimal moire like D750, nice and clean... And IBIS up to E-M1 standards. Oh well.

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

If you watch the video showing the IBIS in action, the sensor seems to move very abruptly and sharp angles, it's too aggresive in movement to produce smooth video, it seems to be giving this robotic motion. If you watch the Olympus sensor, or the IS in Canon lenses when in effect, they move in a way that identically resembles the fluid hand motion, with no sharp/edgy jumping.

I am also surprised by how big the sensor is in relation to the mount diameter, it definitely maxing it out with almost no room to move. I am actually surprised it moves this large distances without leaving the lens image circle. So perhaps it will have a problem with lenses that have an exact coverage of full frame as opposed to generous lenses in image circle size. An A7000 sensor would have more room and be easier to desugn the stabilization limits.

Andrew when you use a lens with a little viggetting, do you see it getting any kind of alteration in the corners? And if not, can you do a quick test to see if there is absolutely no crop with the IBIS active as opposed to the A7s?

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I always thought the D750 had a Sony chip therefore expected the A7 II to get the same one naturally without any aliasing or moire, so a bit disappointed. I don't think cameras should be aliasing from now on.

Either sensors (full readout) or processing (throughput and compression), modern Sonys just don't have it yet.

 

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If Sony do that I will reconsider my choice and will go with another company who take care of their customers instead of trying to get new ones all the time...

SayÅnara! I don't think Sony cares. Where ya gonna go? Nikon, Canon? They aren't listening to their customers either. Fuji, Panasonic and Olympus are about the only companies who listen to their customers.

Fuji has a history of improving upon cameras they've already sold. It's their philosophy of Kaizen.

Panasonic and Olympus are innovating in our niche independent film making market. They've both saw a need and filled the gap. Panasonic to a higher degree for video and Olympus for photos. The only issue I see is that when the lights get low, IQ on the Pannys and Olympus drop like a rock.

Sony doesn't seem to have theaten Kaizen philosophy, they are a profits FIRST company. That drives their decisions, not happy niche market customers (You and I). If it'll make them more money (A7II) or stop them from loosing money (RX10), they'll implement a change (firmware for example).

I own an A7s and I think it's an absolutely awesome camera. Sure their are small issues with ergonomics, button placement and customization but NONE are deal breakers. If shooting video is your primary goal, you realize the awesome tool the A7s is. The ergonomic and button placement/customization issues are minor. Not ideal for you, but minor nonetheless.

NO camera is going to give you everything you want. You may as well change manufactures every couple of years if you expect this.

I do hope for an A7sII someday, but I hope it isn't within this year. That would tank the resale value of my current A7s.
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Wow, I was going to hold out for the A7SII but now I think I want the original, if it's just going to be bigger, thicker, and have the moving part complexities of an IBIS that isn't particularly awesome.

 

The whole point is to get full frame down to a size that resembles the greatest camera of all time, the Nikon FM/FM2.

 

There was this one test on youtube that I saw (I cannot recall by who). In that test a important prospect was that aprently the A7S is bit too thin for follow focus work. The bottom part of the camera is too thin and that leasds to bending vertically. So in that sense a wider base of a camera is not a bad thing.

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Andrew, I take it there was no silent shutter feature on the A7II?

 

Any opinion on D750 vs A7s for general hybrid shooting -- almost exactly 50% stills/50% video.  I currently own a D700 and like it fine except it's heavy as all heck and doesn't have video.  Rented the A7S for a weekend an fell in love with the small size and actual manual focusing aids for freaks like me who don't trust AF and prefer to manually focus in situations that allow.  I'm fine with 12mp resolution for stills.  Maybe I just answered my own question.  Just hard to leave Nikon after two decades.  But I just don't want to lug that big heavy DSLR form factor around.  And I prefer not to buy a clunky add-on loupe to see what the video is recording when I could just look through a viewfinder of the A7S.

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Andrew, I take it there was no silent shutter feature on the A7II?

 

Any opinion on D750 vs A7s for general hybrid shooting -- almost exactly 50% stills/50% video.  I currently own a D700 and like it fine except it's heavy as all heck and doesn't have video.  Rented the A7S for a weekend an fell in love with the small size and actual manual focusing aids for freaks like me who don't trust AF and prefer to manually focus in situations that allow.  I'm fine with 12mp resolution for stills.  Maybe I just answered my own question.  Just hard to leave Nikon after two decades.  But I just don't want to lug that big heavy DSLR form factor around.  And I prefer not to buy a clunky add-on loupe to see what the video is recording when I could just look through a viewfinder of the A7S.

Wow, 50-50 is a difficult split. I really don't like using the Sonys for stills, and while the D750 is pretty good there are still a few stupid design decisions (no focusing aid of any kind once recording starts) so using it for video isn't as good, but it's a Nikon DSLR, so stills will be excellent.

 

Bit disappointing on the IBIS from the A7II. Wonder if it can be fixed via a firmware update.

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Hi Andrew,
This is more of a stills question -- but any improvement over the very loud shutter of the first gen A7? The silent shooting and the ISO performance have me leaning towards the A7S for my day-to-day stills shooting, but the low megapixel count is a bummer for crop flexibility.

Thanks for your thoughtful reviews,
Joe

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Let's not write it off completely - it might do a hybrid IS when a Sony OIS lens is attached, using OIS for the high frequencies and IBIS for the larger ones on all 5 axis.

 

Thank you for this thought.

 

This is potentially a critically important point.  I can easily imagine a scenario where the IBIS is optimized to work in concert with the stabilization available in OIS lenses.

 

And where that superior performance is not fully available with 3rd party lenses.

 

I wish we could see a test using Sony's FE 16-35, FE 24-70 or FE 70-200.

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Andrew, I take it there was no silent shutter feature on the A7II?

 

Any opinion on D750 vs A7s for general hybrid shooting -- almost exactly 50% stills/50% video.  I currently own a D700 and like it fine except it's heavy as all heck and doesn't have video.  Rented the A7S for a weekend an fell in love with the small size and actual manual focusing aids for freaks like me who don't trust AF and prefer to manually focus in situations that allow.  I'm fine with 12mp resolution for stills.  Maybe I just answered my own question.  Just hard to leave Nikon after two decades.  But I just don't want to lug that big heavy DSLR form factor around.  And I prefer not to buy a clunky add-on loupe to see what the video is recording when I could just look through a viewfinder of the A7S.

I'm curious too about the silent shutter.  

 

When Ebrahim said the 750 had no moire I was tempted back to Nikon again, but I know I'd miss the EVF.  One thing I didn't like about the a7 was the startup time, but the latest firmware seems to improve that quite a bit.  I love the weight/build of the Nikons, but I'm not a professional so favor the smaller/lighter cameras.  Anyway, you can use all your NIkon glass on the Sony cameras, so it's only a question of your d700 body.  Don't know if you used any old Nikon, or manual glass, with the a7s.  If you haven't, think that would probably put your over the edge. 

 

Every old lens you see at a flea market will bring you lots of fun with the Sony, at least they do me

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Maxotics, yes, I actually ordered a cheapo "dumb" Nikon adapter for my AIS manual focus lenses before I rented the A7S and they worked fine.  The adapter was a bit of a kludge, though -- making the lens longer, of course. 

 

I'm looking forward to playing around with thrift store lenses.  I have a few Meyer Optic screw mount lenses from my late grandfather's East German Practika that I can't wait to try out.

 

The thing that is really selling me on the A7S is the ability to get manual focus aids when you want them -- even while recording. 

 

If you're a sports or action photographer, DSLRs are the way to go.  But if you don't want attention as "the camera guy" with a big phallus of a camera in someone's face, then I really believe mirrorless systems are the future of photography.   Full Frame DSLR primes and lenses keep getting bigger and bigger.   I can also use Leica or Voigtlander lenses to keep things small.

 

The A7s, once I got used to its quirks, was a joy to use for a weekend.  It made me want to use it, to walk around the city with it.  Unlike a DSLR with a big honking 24-70 2.8 lens.   I actually liked the Zeiss 24-70 F4. 

 

I would like the bigger grip on the A7II, but I can live with the A7s as is.  Based on Andrew's report, the IBIS doesn't seem to be the killer app, and may even add unneeded complexity and moving parts.

 

For me -- as a street shooter, sometime film maker, and general hobbyist, the A7s is the  perfect balance of versatility, quality, full frame, and actual LIGHTNESS that makes me want to take it around.  

 

I hear D700s have become cult items, so it should be easy to sell.  I will keep most of my AIS primes, though and sell the big heavy glass.

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It's unsurprising really. Sony have had the Steadyshot feature in many of their pro/sumer lineups for over 10 years. My old Z1 had it.

 

And guess what - the old Z1 had the exact same jitteriness issue!

 

It's a nice feature for stills, but for video it can often be useless. It's meant to minimize hand jitter when shooting totally handheld and that's it - it's no Movi or Steadicam.

Most people would complain about the Steadyshot feature when doing pans and tilts and stuff - which was never what it was really designed for. It was designed to smooth out still, handheld shot. I can only assume this IBIS is the same. Back in those days, however, features just came with a camera - Steadyshot wasn't even really a big selling point. These days though, every little feature that one-ups the competition is touted as the next greatest thing and used to sell a whole bunch of units.

 

 

Sony do tend to have aggressive release strategies. They're also notorious for not releasing much wanted features at all, at least in their consumer division. The pro video and pro audio division tends to listen very closely to what their customers want, but the consumer division is much less attentive.

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