Sony α7 II

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sony a7 IISony has now given a release date here for the alpha 7 II mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera, announced a week ago in Japan. The camera, with 5-axis image stabilization designed for a full-frame image sensor, will be available mid-December.

Image stabilization works across the full range of alpha mount lenses. In-camera image stabilization also offers sharper images for those using A-mount lenses on an optional lens adapter.

Building upon the features in the alpha 7 series, the 7 II’s 5-axis image stabilization is said to compensate for five types of camera shake during handheld shooting of still images and movies: angular shake (pitch and yaw) that tends to occur when shooting with a telephoto lens; shift shake (along the X and Y axes) that becomes noticeable as magnification increases; and rotational shake (roll) that often affects shots at night or when recording video.

For still images, says Sony, stabilization is equivalent to up to 4.5 steps faster shutter speed of correction.

The camera’s in-body image stabilization automatically optimizes for every alpha lens, including E-mount lenses without Optical SteadyShot (OSS). For A-mount lenses (using an optional mount adapter), camera shake is compensated for along five axes within the camera body. No need for replacement lenses.

The improved Fast Hybrid AF with 117-point focal plane phase-detection AF sensor and 25 contrast detection AF points placed over a wide area of the screen, make use of the tracking capabilities of the phase detection AF. With a more advanced algorithm to detect the subject position, allowing for optimal lens drive, the 7 II has a very responsive autofocus and is up to 30 percent faster than in previous models, notes the company. It also includes an improved motion-prediction algorithm with 1.5 times the performance of previous models in tracking a subject and predicting its next movement. With advances in image analysis technology, the camera keeps moving subjects in focus with enhanced Lock-on AF, a feature that optimizes focusing on the subject in accordance with its size.

The full-frame Exmor CMOS sensor delivers 24.3-megapixel resolution, delivering enhanced sensitivity and reduced image noise.

With an improved BIONZ X image processing engine, accelerated processing enhances images in several ways including: detail reproduction technology which recreates natural-looking textures with a more natural sense of dimension; and diffraction-reducing technology which supresses the effects of diffraction to faithfully reproduce fine details even when shooting at small aperture settings. Area-specific noise reduction selectively divides the image into areas based on patterns (such as edges, textures and flat areas like blue skies), then applies the most appropriate noise reduction for each area to markedly reduce noise and achieve a new level of clarity, even under low light conditions such as night time and indoors, Sony claims.

As for moviemaking, the camera records in the high-bit-rate XAVC S format, based on the pro XAVC 4K/HD format. This offers Full HD (1920×1080) image recording at 50Mbps (60p/50p, 30p/25p, 24p) and employs linear PCM sound for high quality sound recording.

The proprietary S-Log2 Sony gamma setting, featured in pro camcorders, creates a 1,300 percent wider dynamic range for smooth expression of graduation with reduced whiteout and blackout, says Sony. Other features include Time Code/User Bit (useful in editing), Rec Control (for synced recording with compatible external recorders), marker display/settings, and dual video recording.

Ergonomically, the grip is refined in shape and height to support a more secure grasp even when a large lens is mounted. The shutter button has been reshaped and shifted toward the front. This, along with the button’s increased size, helps reduce camera shake, Sony suggests.

Ten customizable buttons can be assigned to any of 56 functions.

Sony says the tilting LCD offers exceptional visibility even under bright sunlight as it nearly doubles the brightness of the display through a unique RGBW pixel structure.

The camera also sports a high resolution XGA OLED Tru-Finder high contrast viewfinder.

The camera body’s top cover, front cover and internal structure are constructed of rigid magnesium alloy.

Main buttons and dials are sealed to help keep out moisture and dust, and an interlocking double layered construction of media and port covers as well as body seams ensures greater moisture and dust resistance.

The camera also is ready to shoot 40 percent faster than current models.

Connect to smartphones and tablets with one touch. Transfer a photo or MP4 movie to Android smartphone or tablet by simply touching it with the 7 II, due to the built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity options. Users can add new applications through PlayMemories Camera Apps, to add new functions to the camera’s existing feature-set.

By installing the new Lens Compensation app, users manually select correction values for lens peripheral shading, chromatic aberration and distortion.  This app also allows the model, focal length and f/number of the lens to be written to Exif data even from lenses that do not ordinarily allow it.

There’s also an accessory vertical battery grip holding two rechargeable battery packs (not included). It also features highly reliable water and dust resistant construction.

The alpha 7 II will be available mid-December for a suggested retail price of $1999.99; camera with 28-70 mm lens will have a suggested retail price of $2299.99.

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