Sony launches a7 II with 5-axis image stabliser

Full-frame cameras

Sony's A7II
Stable pictures: Sony’s A7II. Image: Sony

Sony has released a new model in its line of full-frame cameras, the a7 series. The a7 II (or α7 II) features a 24.3 megapixel sensor, a 117-point AF system, and a new image stablisation system which Sony claims is a first on a full-frame camera.

The a7 II/ α7 II is said to have 30 per cent better autofocus response, by combining 117 pase-detection and 25 contrast detection points; the phase detection AF points are used to improve subject tracking. Sony has also improved its motion tracking algorithm to further improve subject tracking. This, the company says, allows the camera to track a subject at 5fps in stills mode.

Sony has equipped the camera with a new image processing engine, which should produce lower levels of noise than on previous α7 models. Although the new camera doesn’t support 4K video, which is an external recording option on the a7s, it does support high bit rate HD video, with recording either in AVCHD, or XAVC-S.

This latter mode records at up to 50mbps, potentially making footage suitable for broadcast. Audio recording is uncompressed, linear PCM. For video recording, the α7 II supports S-Gamut and S-Log2 recording as well as timecode, and recording control for external recorders.

The α7 II, Sony says, also has better usability through a redesigned grip, and repositioned buttons. The camera, which has an LCD screen and OLED viewfinder, can work with either full-frame or APS-C lenses. The α7 II features WiFi and NFC control for use with smartphones and tablets.

The main attraction for film-makers, though, is likely to be the new image stablisation system. The system is based around fix-axis technology, compensating for pitch and yaw, shift shake, and rotational shake. For stills pictures, Sony claims this allows handholding at 4.5 stops lower shutter speed than without stabilisation. Although specifics of the video stablisation aren’t specified, Sony says that the new technology should allow handhelds shots where previously, the operator would have needed a tripod.