Review: Sony A7 II/Sony ILCE-7M2

Product category: Camera
Manufacturer: Sony
Model: ILCE-7M2/a7 II Full-frame Mirrorless camera
Web site:
Price: EUR 1559,00 (Body only)
Rating: 5 out of 5

What a beast!

I received the Sony A7 Mark II with Sony SEL 55 mm f/1.8 Zeiss labeled. Awesome combination! Before you keep reading this review just be aware I am writing out of the point of view as a photographer not only the specification. I am interested in usability of the available specifications. Sony released the following front picture of the Sony A7 II. The Alpha 7 II is a heavy full frame camera. What?! No! It is not, it’s very light with just 556g without lens. The Sony mirrorless System is not brand new. With the Alpha 7 Mark I they collected expiriences already and improved a few things already. You will read about what Sony improved and make better with the Mark II.


© Sony

Just to keep in mind. The following pictures shows the Sony NEX 5 R with an APS-C sensor compared to the A7 II full frame sensor. Nothing can be more clear than a comparison of the sensors next to each other.


© Photo Waldes: Sony A7 II (full-frame) vs. Sony Nex 5R (APS-C)

What’s new?

There is a fantastic 5-axis in-body image stabilization. If there is a non-native lens it down-grades to 3-axis. The AF is improved but not as fast as the Sony a6000, Sony says the Autofocus is up to 30% faster than before. Video features got improved but unfortunately no 4K recording, maybe with a firmware update soon? Also there are some menu changes compared to the A7 – nothing crazy and the body size increased. Ouhthe A7 II is using basicalley the same 24 MP sensor. Are there big differences between the A7 and the A7 II? Sounds like just a few things but even these few changes make a big difference. Read further to get a better picture of the changes and improvements.

What about your friend and envier?

Pretty good question! Indeed my friends where looking at the camera and asked many questions about the size, the type of camera and all this stuff.  I was using the camera for some work pictures as well, which means events and nature photography. I can tell you I was able to do my work without any problems! Sure for sport photography I am pretty sure I need an even faster Autofocus but for the kind of work I did I had no problems and got great pictures at the end. What I like on this full-frame camera  is the low light ability.


© Photo Waldes: Low Light ability

But also as a photographer at an event people where asking me about my camera and telling me „you look like a professional“. Thanks guys! Luckily Sony made the battery grip bigger and the camera itself got heavier as well. These are also reasons why the camera made me look more professional 😉 Awesome!

What I really can say: I love this camera and I had it also on many private events with me. Just you know, it’s not heavy and awesome pictures! Here are more interesting facts about the improvements and stuff…

Camera construction and handling

Pressing the Shutter button feels spongy compared to a DSLR. But nevertheless you get used to it anyway. The more pictures you shoot the more you like the feeling and also the sound of the Shutter. Also the electronic shutter is nice to have even if it is not super silent it is more silent than the normal shutter sound 😉 To be honest I like the normal shutter sound more and I won’t change it to the electronic shutter 😉

The grip has been improved a lot. The larger and more comfortable grip and the shutter release have been changed and moved to a more ergonomic places on the new full magnesium alloy body. Also the Sony A7S and A7R cameras have this magnesium alloy body already.

Carl Benz

© Photo Waldes: Sony ILCE-7M2 and SEL5518Z

Battery Life

The first time I was using the camera was for an event. I took about 550 pictures . The most annoying thing was after 2 hours the camera stopped working and the battery (1020mAh) died. Sadly I had no extra battery with me but earlier I started with 90% of battery. I was really annoyed at that time so I sprinted home and got the DSLR and charged the A7 II. With charging I had to connect a micro usb to the camera and not taking out the battery. This is ridicules – come on Sony, an extra charger for the battery instead of the micro usb charger.
Luckily I had to take only about 50 pictures with the DSLR and I had enough time to charge the A7 II up to 50% of battery. Which was enough to take the rest of the 550 pictures 😉 Luckily! My first impression was dang, where is the f***ing battery symbol and dang the battery has to give power to the electric view finder. That’s a lot of power which the camera needs! So make sure you always have at least one extra battery with you, cause charging takes also a while. It’s definitley not done within 1 hour! It took almost 2 hours to charge the battery capacity up to 100%. That was the first sad moment with the camera I had 🙁


© Photo Waldes: Sony ILCE-7M2 and SEL5518Z

Sony FE mount Lenses

The Sony FE-mount full-frame system is a very young system. The first Sony FE full-frame camera came out in 2013. Since this time the followers are hoping  for more and more lenses. And there are some very good lenses available now! Sony is still working on more FE-mount lenses. Some rumor on where telling Tamron and/or Sigma are working on FE-mount lenses, too. There are certainly coming more and more lenses out. Here is a list about the available, not only native  lenses right now:

  • Sony FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA
  • Sony FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA
  • Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS
  • Sony FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS
  • Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS
  • Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS
  • Sony FE PZ 28-135mm f/4 G OSS
  • Mitakon Zhongi 50mm f/0.95
  • Samyang 8mm f/2.8 UMC
  • Samyang 12mm f/2.8 ED AS IF NCS UMC
  • Samyang 14mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC
  • Samyang 24mm f/1.4 ED AS IF UMCSamyang 35mm f/1.4 AS UMC
  • Samyang 50mm f/1.4 AS IF UMC
  • Samyang 135mm f/2 ED UMC
  • Vogtlander VM 40mm f/2.8
  • Zeiss Loxia 35mm f/2
  • Zeiss Loxia 50mm f/2
  • Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8
  • Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2

What’s pretty cool about the FE-mount is the ability to use adapters for older lenses like Canon FD, Minolta MD, Zeiss, etc.

Autofocus / Manual Focus

Yes, the A7 II hybrid autofocus got imrpoved up to 30%. It is a combination of phase and contrast detect Autofocus, which is responsible for much quicker AF acquisition. Especially when shooting in low light the A7 II got a damn better AF than the A7. Glad to hear this 😉 Insane are the numbers of autofocus points with 117 phase detection AF points and 25 contrast detection points.



© Photo Waldes: Sony ILCE-7M2 and SEL5518Z

It’s so easy manual focusing with the electronic Viewfinder (EVF). Since EVF offers such instant zooming in and focus peaking, you will have a lot of fun working with manual lenses. „Wow so easy“, one of my first thoughts when I tried the manual focus on the SEL5518Z. It’s absolutley different in terms of usability and compared to a DSLR whereas manual focussing is hard to tell if everthing is focused or sharp. Peaking makes it so easy for you to get sharp what you want to be sharp! This is an incredible feature and I haven’t seen it in a DSLR so far ;\


First, the EVF shows you exactly what you will get. This is great.  While I am focusing I can adjust the settings and shoot whenever I think I have the right settings. So easy.

Sure the A7 II is underpowered with its battery. Sony you still have to work on that. But also sure Sony made an awesome job with all this extras like a solid magnesium alloy construction, ultra lightweight for a 24 MP full-frame camera, 5-axis in-body image stabilization, compact design, high-resolution electronic viewfinder, tilting LCD screen and Wi-Fi/NFC.

Sony made the more ergonomic grip better but also the weight increased compared to the A7 but still less heavy than a full-frame DSLR – which means it’s not a shame. The pictures look awesome on the tilting LCD and look also awesome on your computer. It means at least a semi-professional can work with this camera! The improved AF is in fact way better but it should still be faster 😉 Anyway, the camera itself is light, easy to take with you on a hike or just walking trough the city. It is for sure depending on the lens you put on the camera. Is it just a Sony SEL5518Z like I had for the review, you won’t have the flexibility but you learn to adjust and use the walking zoom (your feet). I can highly recommend this camera for those of you who want to get a full-frame camera and also for those who want to have incredible picture quality but don’t want to take the heavy camera equipment on their trips. Also as a second camera for semi-professionals this camera is strongly advisable.



  • Camera Type : Interchangeable lens digital camera
  • Lens Compatibility : Sony E-mount lenses
  • Sensor: 24.3 MP Sony Exmor™ Full-Frame CMOS image sensor
  • Autofocus System: Fast Hybrid AF (phase-detection AF/contrast-detection AF)
  • Focus Points (35mm full frame): 117 points (phase-detection AF) / 25 points (conotrast-detection AF)
  • ISO : Still images: ISO 100-25600
  • Autofocus Points (APS-C): 99 points (phase-detection AF) / 25 points (contrast-detection AF)
  • Flash Sync Speed : 1/250 sec.
  • Continuous shooting: Hi: max. 5 fps, Lo: max. 2.5 fps
  • Electronic Viewfinder: XGA OLED with 2,359K dots, 100% field coverage
  • Viewfinder Magnification: Approx. 0.71x
  • Movie: Full HD movie shooting 60p/60i/50p/50i/25p/24pPicture Effects: 13 modes
  • HDR Capability: Yes
  • Battery Life: Up to 270 images (Viewfinder) and 350 images (LCD)
  • LCD: Tiltable 3″ LCD with 1,228K dots
  • Image Stabilization: SteadyShot INSIDE Image Stabilization with 5-axis compensation
  • Shutter: Electronically controlled, vertical-traverse, focal-plane type
  • Electronic Front Curtain Shutter: Yes, On/Off
  • Wi-Fi Capability: Built-in
  • Eye-Fi ready : Yes
  • Weight: 556g body-only

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