I purchased one.

Please use this link to support me if you are buying the Sony a7RM2.

I asked my B&H sales rep how the a7rii was selling, while he didn’t give me any numbers, he did say it is one of the best pre-ordered cameras in years. Does it live up to the hype? Depends on your perspective, for me it did live up to the hype. This is one hell of a camera. Price is high, but judging from the pre-orders, most seem OK with the price for the features they are getting.

Sony’s Colors (Getting Better)

First up I want to talk about color. I don’t think I’m the only one that thinks Canon has great colors while Sony’s a7s colors are not as good. Well with with the new a7rii the colors are definitely getting better. Let me show you a piece with Halley O’Brien, now since I am not David Hussey (one of the most booked colorist) I did not shoot this in s-log2 because if I did you would be wondering if my grading skills are good enough show what this camera can do, so I shot it with neutral profile with the contrast all the way down. So you can see the natural colors and not my color grading skills.

Please use this link to support me if you are buying the Sony a7RM2.

If you noticed a Shogun in a couple of the shots, that of course wasn’t me, I would know better to look around the frame, I mean who does that. Good thing it has 4k so I could cover that mistake.

When you compare the colors to the a7s, the colors are different, and when you use this chart (one shot) you can actually see the colors line up better in the vectorscope on the a7rii.

A7RII is more saturated than a7s with the same settings. The opposite is true with slog2, the a7rii seems less saturated than the a7s. I white balanced them using the scopes in the Shogun in the neutral profile but when I switched over to slog for both, the a7s had a green cast while the a7rii had the same correct white balance. So clearly Sony has been working on their colors which is really encouraging because that was one of the weakest points to the a7s.

Less banding on the a7rii perhaps it is the 4k with a high bitrate, definitely better than the a7s.

Full frame camera?

Not a full frame camera, it is for stills but not for video. If you do shoot full frame video on this camera you will be hit with two penalties, noise and also aliasing. If you are shooting at ISO 100 and you have nothing in the frame to cause aliasing artifacts then it works fine. If you need a full frame camera for video you might want to get the a7sii which will come out soon.

Image Quality

The 4k image looks so good even when pixel peeping, not overly sharp like the GH4. I compared it to James Drake‘s Red Epic, we didn’t do a super scientific tests like using the same lens, I just wanted to know roughly how close they are, the a7rii holds it’s own to the much older and much more expensive Epic, and I really like the way the image feels, so I decided to buy it. Of course the Epic shoots raw and the a7rii does not have 10 bit, but with the 4k image for the stuff I do having the increased dynamic range of slog and the level of detail is stunning. Perhaps these little toy cameras are catching up image quality wise.

Overheating

Does IBIS with 4k make it over heat, yes it does. To me the IBIS might be more important than the 4k, I like 4k but using IBIS on my gimbal can get me shots I never had before. Some might be mad about this, but the way I think about it is I would rather have Sony push the envelope a little and get 4k recording times of less than 15 minutes than waiting years from now for Canon to release a full frame 4k camera.

Focus

The new auto focus works pretty well with face detection at f2.8, you can use it in a interview, you will get a little focus breathing but it works pretty well.

Auto focus works pretty well, but not with Canon glass in the dark.

Stills

Stills – eye detection works great with Sony glass, here are so photos of some senior portraits I did. The focus on the closest eye success rate was very high.

ISO

I’m blown away how good this 42MP sensor works at high ISO’s in the crop mode. I would have no problem going to 12800 if I need to. At 25600 it gets bad fast.

Review Conclusion

I really like this camera, I’ve already created stunning images with it already. There is a lot to like from the now usable slog, IBIS, more accurate colors, better auto focus and more detailed 4K images.

This review is not super long like some of my others which have run for about 50 minutes, so if I missed a topic you wanted to hear I am sorry but I am working on a course for this camera which will be around 5 hours long so if you are looking for a much more detailed look you might want to check that out when I am done with it.

Other

  • 4k vs 1080: in FF mode there is a difference, but there seems to be an even bigger difference in crop mode. For interviews having it always in focus at 1080 using face detection might be more important than a slightly sharper 4k image.
  • The a7s ff looks slightly sharper than a7rii crop both from shogun. The GH4 and a7rii tie.

Red Epic Comparison

  • With WB both set a 5600k both look very different, perhaps the Sony looks more natural
  • When adding contrast back in to the log files the Epic seems to have noisier shadows
  • After I balanced for white and gray on the chart for both, the Epic has warmer skin tones.
  • The Sony appears to be more detailed, perhaps focus was off on the Epic, but this happened on each shot
  • The Sony has moire in my shirt collar which was a surprise since I was shooting in 4k crop mode which is full pixel read out.
  • The Epic seems to hold the highlights better, but the gray chart was about 5 IRE higher for the Sony.

File Sizes for 10 Seconds of Video

  • 125MB 4K at 100MB/s XAVCS
  • 74MB 4k at 60MB/s XAVCS
  • 64MB 1080 at 50MB/s XAVCS
  • 21MB 1080 at 16MB/s MP4

Please use this link to support me if you are buying the Sony a7RM2.

 

13 comments

  • Great video Dave! Quick question – what’s it like cutting and editing the codec (at the different bit rates) coming out of this camera, compared to the 5D3? That is, is it noticeably taxing your editing rig much more, or is it about the same? Looking forward to future A7RII / A7SII comparison – thanks again!

  • Good review but I disagree with one thing. I have always thought Sony’s colors are much better than Canon’s. My a700 has beautiful colors with a film-like quality. That’s one of the reasons I switched from Canon several years ago.

  • Hi Dave,

    Great review and very inspiring as always.
    Just a thought, these new cameras have moved up to a different price level, semi-pro territory so a few of us cannot keep up anymore. But the educational value is absolutely the best on this video site!

  • Great review Dave. It was a pleasure shooting with you! The footage looks great. I’m with Chris – looking forward to the a7s ii comparison!

  • @Chris thanks! if you are editing 4k footage you will need a powerful computer if you have the viewer set to full quality.

    @Paul I should have said the a7s colors and not all Sony colors, sorry.

    @Peter thanks.

    @Halley let’s do some more shooting!

  • Great review as always 🙂 I would have bought this camera in a second until I heard of the over heating issues. We just shoot longer shoots and havent shot 1080p since the gh4 came out with 4k. Maybe they will fix the over heating with the A7s II.

  • Great review Dave.

    Two questions:
    1) Does the eye detection AF happen to work in video mode? I’m guessing no, but I had to ask.

    2) Center tracking AF…is it better on this camera than your A7s? Actually, I’m probably more interested in seeing how the A7sII center-tracking AF works compared to the orginial A7s. But figured I’d ask about the A7rII as well while I’m here.

    Thanks Dave!

  • Much awaited review! Thank you!

    Why do you think you don’t use GH4 as much as before? I bought GH4 after watching your video and was happy with it except the low light. I just bought Sigma 18-35mm with speedbooster XL. Should I return them and sell my GH4 and move to a7r2?

  • @Johnathan I can’t answer that question because I don’t know your shooting style and I am still trying to figure it out myself if I am going to sell my GH4.

  • No need to worry I think. There will always be a newer and better camera on teh way. I personally find that the GH4 with VLOG and very detailed 4K video satisfies all our needs. The Sony A7R-II is really nice, (except for overheating) but most of our viewers would never see the difference, except when we would need to shoot really low light. The GH4 is still the most cost effective, high quality 4K video camera. Sony A7R-II is more than double the price. GH4 prices are now decling towards 1200 USD and less. So, it depends on your budget too.

  • dave, have you had a chance to try the Sony Rx-10ii yet? For primary video shooters, this may be the one to beat. Slog2, fixed Zeiss 2.8 lens all the way, means no more sensor dirt. 1″ sensor you say? How many great super 16mm films have you seen.
    If you subscribe to the thought that the best camera is the one you have with you, it might be the rx-10ii

    I would love to see a comparison with your a7rii

  • Dave, thank you for your videos, they have been awesome. I’m a dentist and I do a lot of teaching. Currently I use Canon DSLR with 100mm macro and ring flash to shoot my photos. I have a 10D that has been a work horse for years..I also have a T4i. I would like to start shooting videos of some of my procedures. Keep in mind I usually prefer to shoot at higher apertures. So that I have a greater depth of field. What’s your thoughts on a video set up I could use that is portable and could be used to produce some awesome video…I currently have a great comouter and am pretty good with premiere. My CPU core i7 4790k 32gb RAM and SSD for scratch and Geforce 780ti…love to know your thoughts on some gear