Four Days of 4K: Hands on with the Sony a7RII


Just when I thought I was going to have a relaxing weekend at home watching Netflix and catching up on some reading, one of the hottest new items in town was dropped onto my desk: the Sony a7RII. Ever since it was first announced, the a7RII is a camera that I couldn't wait to get my hands on, as it is the first in the a7 family to record 4K (UHD) video internally; a feature that many a7S owners—myself included—would love to have. The camera seemed almost too good to be true, offering internal 4K (3840 x 2160) recording in full-frame and Super 35 modes, S-Log2 gamma, 5-axis in-camera stabilization, and the promise of good low-light performance despite its 42MP sensor.

While on paper, the a7RII has most of the boxes checked off with the features I’m looking for in a compact cinema camera, I was eager to see how it performed out in the real world, to see if it truly lives up to the hype. In my opinion, it absolutely does. But alas, no camera is perfect, and neither is a7RII. It is not without it quirks and caveats, including the familiar foe that the a7S and DSLR/mirrorless shooters oft fight against: rolling shutter. The camera also runs very hot when shooting 4K internally, to the point where overheating could be an issue in certain environments or shooting styles.

In this review, I’ll take a closer look at the video capabilities of the camera and see how it performs compared to the a7S. For an article covering the camera’s photographic abilities, I encourage you to read this article from my fellow writer, Shawn Steiner. Let’s dive right in!

Music: "Acoustic Breezes" -

42MP Exmor R CMOS Sensor

At 42.4 megapixels, the sensor in the a7RII offers the highest resolution yet in an a7 camera—or any mirrorless camera to date, for that matter. The concern many video shooters had when they heard this was that the high pixel density would mean poor low-light performance. This is not the case. The a7R II features the world’s first full-frame Exmor R back side illuminated (BSI) sensor, which uses a gapless on-chip lens design and positions the copper wiring layer behind the photodiode substrate, rather than in front of it to improve light-capturing capabilities. This means that, despite the high pixel density, the A7RII’s sensor still performs remarkably well at high ISOs, even compared to the a7S, the undisputed low-light champion.


Physical / Handling

One of the most immediately noticeable differences between the a7RII and the previous-generation a7 models is the updated body. Gone is the glossy black surface in favor of a matte-black, speckled finish. I’m still rather partial to the glossy black finish myself, but they each have their aesthetic value. Ergonomically, the new design is much improved. An extended grip and relocated shutter button makes the camera a lot more comfortable to hold. The camera is also noticeably thicker and heavier, making it feel a bit more solid in the hand.

I’m also glad to say that camera has a larger 0.5", 2.36M-dot OLED EVF that is a joy a shoot with. More often than not, I’m shooting with an external monitor, but when going handheld or when using the camera to take photos (and gorgeous 42MP photos they are!), a good EVF is definitely appreciated. The eye cup is also re-designed and is a bit more comfortable than the one found on the a7s.


The layout of the side connection ports is different from the a7S and the previous-generation a7R, as well, as you can see in the photo, below. However, the biggest change related to connectivity is that the camera can now be powered from the USB port. This is great, because the batteries that come with the camera don’t last long—and even less when you’re recording 4K. It also means that you can use external batteries plugged into the USB port on the side of the camera, rather than the far more cumbersome dummy battery. You can even use common USB phone chargers to keep your camera powered on a shoot. Regardless of which you choose, an external power source is pretty much mandatory for serious video work.

Menu and Function Buttons

The movie record button is still, unfortunately, located in that awkward place on the side of the grip. While you still can’t re-map the record Start/Stop function to the shutter button, you can re-map it to any of the custom function buttons found on the camera. I assigned it to the C1 button and never looked back. It’s a simple thing, but makes a world of difference.

One feature that you still can’t assign to a function button is APS-C/Super 35 crop mode selection, so you’ll have to go digging through the menu to get to it. It’s usually what my menu is on, so the menu button effectively takes me right to it, but any time I need to adjust anything else, it is annoying to fumble through the menu back to it. Let me simply say that the menu system of the Sony Alpha leaves a lot to be desired, and I’ll leave it at that. Please, Sony, give us Alpha shooters an easy-to-navigate menu.

Internal Full Frame and Super 35 4K Recording

The a7R II records 8-bit 4:2:0 4K (UHD) video at 24/25 fps internally to SD cards using Sony’s XAVC S codec, which is available at bitrates of 50 Mbps or 100 Mbps. To record 4K video at 100 Mbps, a UHS-I U3-compatible card is required, so make sure you have a few handy. You can also output 4:2:2 4K video to an external recorder, but the HDMI output is still only 8-bit. While 10-bit would have been nice, Sony seems to be reserving that for their professional camcorders and cinema cameras, at least for now.

In addition to UHD-resolution video, you can record 1080p up to 60 fps and 720p up to 120 fps. I usually shoot at 24 fps, so I didn’t play around with any of the lower resolutions or slow-motion frame rates very much for this review. For this review, my focus was on 4K.

The a7RII offers both full-frame and APS-C crop (Super 35) internal 4K recording modes. Super 35 mode gives you the best image quality, as it takes an 18MP crop of the sensor and then down-scales it to 4K without any line skipping or pixel binning, resulting in sharp images that are relatively free from moiré and aliasing. The full-frame mode uses the whole resolution of the sensor and thus uses pixel binning to down-sample it to 4K. While full frame isn’t quite as sharp as Super 35 and can pick up a small amount of moiré and aliasing in some shots, you’d really have to pixel peep to notice much difference, especially when the footage is down-scaled to 1080p. That is, unless you’re shooting in low light.


Low Light / High ISO Performance

I mentioned previously that the camera performs surprisingly well in low light, despite its 42MP sensor. I decided to do a direct comparison between the a7RII’s low-light performance in both full frame and Super 35 modes, and the Sony a7S (See the video below).

For the test, both the a7R II and the a7S cameras were set to record the same scene using the same lens (the FE 55mm f/1.8), white balance, and S-Log2 gamma. To better make out some of the noise, I added a simple luma curve adjustment layer to all of the footage in Adobe Premiere Pro. The resulting video clearly shows that, while not as clean as the a7S at the same ISO, the a7RII in Super 35 mode is a valiant low-light performer. In real-world shooting, I would feel comfortable shooting with the a7RII up to ISO 6400 in Super 35 mode. For non-paid work or content that is going to be delivered on the Web, you could easily get away with going higher, but how high comes down to personal preference, how much noise is acceptable to you, and how good your noise reduction software is.

Perhaps the most obvious thing I noticed from the test is just how drastically different the high ISO performances of 4K Super 35 and 4K full-frame modes are. Whatever the camera is doing behind the scenes, it’s clearly working for the Super 35 mode, and not so much for full frame. For any sort of low-light shooting, I would always choose to shoot in Super 35. I would expect that you could even pair the camera with a Metabones speed booster to gain an additional couple of stops of performance, bring it even closer to the performance of the a7S while giving you that the full-frame look.

S-Log2 Gamma

Like the a7S, the a7RII features Sony’s S-Log2 gamma setting, allowing you to record a flat, “log” image that preserves more highlight and shadow information and can be color-graded later during post production. One of the biggest downsides to shooting with the a7S is that the base/minimum ISO you need to set for shooting in S-Log2 is 3200, which often requires up to 10 stops of neutral density to shoot outdoors, during the day. With the a7RII, you can shoot in S-Log2 starting at ISO 800. It may only be two stops, but to me it made a world of difference. Aside from internal 4K recording, this may be my favorite thing about the camera.

It is worth mentioning that S-Log2 can get a bit noisy in the shadows, compared to other gamma profiles. Common practice among those who often shoot in S-Log2 is to overexpose the scene by one or two stops for cleaner images. I highly recommend doing just that if you’re going to shoot in S-Log2. I should also mention that color-grading S-Log2 footage can be tricky for non-colorists. A good place to start is to apply a pre-made S-Log2 specific LUT. You can use a default one from Sony or use one that creates a specific “look” and even emulate a film stock. I’m a personal fan of VisionColor’s ImpulZ LUT package, but there are a lot of solid options available.

For cleaner video, albeit without the expanded dynamic range that log recording offers, you can choose from any of the other gamma modes found of the a7S, including Cine2 and Cine4 modes. These modes still give you flatter images, but with the added benefit of shooting at ISO 100 and 200, respectively.

Rolling Shutter

Rolling shutter plagues many DSLR and mirrorless shooters, and is one of the biggest complaints heard about the a7S. Its rolling shutter is pretty pronounced, and for the kind of shooting some people do, this could be a deal-breaker. It isn’t as big of an issue for what I shoot, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t cause me frustration. Rolling shutter on the a7RII is a mixed bag. In 4K full-frame mode, there is a noticeable improvement from what you get on the a7S. Switching to the 1080p full frame improves it even more. Unfortunately, the mode that gives you the best image quality and low-light performance—Super 35—has the worst rolling-shutter effect. In fact, it looks to be as bad as or worse than the a7S in full frame (see the video below).

So 4K full-frame mode offers better rolling-shutter performance, while Super 35 mode gives you the best image quality and low-light performance. This could create a conundrum, at times, as to which mode is right for you. If there is fast-moving action and good lighting, maybe you’d want to shoot in full frame, while shooting everything else in Super 35. I don’t like switching back and forth between modes during a project, but it is certainly something you could consider.

5-Axis Stabilization

One of the exciting new features of the a7RII is its 5-axis in-body image stabilization system. While I didn’t get the chance to explore the feature as much as I would have liked, I foresee giving the feature a closer examination in the future. Basically, the sensor moves independently inside the body to counteract unwanted movement. It will automatically adjust to the focal length of the lens you’re using, so long as it transmits imaging data to the camera. For manual or adapter lenses you can set the focal length yourself, in the menu, to ensure proper stabilization.

In the time that I did spend using the feature, I was pretty impressed and it did a good job at minimizing the jitters and wobble of handheld footage. Documentary or run-and-gun-type shooters, I think, will benefit from this feature the most. One thing to note is that it can sometimes cause some weird side effects if the feature is left on while the camera is mounted on a tripod. Make sure to turn it off when you’re not shooting handheld.


The autofocusing capabilities of the camera, in both photo and video modes, have been revamped in the a7RII. In my tests, I found that the continuous autofocus feature was, in many cases, able to track a subject moving toward and away from the camera. When a subject quickly enters the frame, the camera was able to “rack” from the background to the subject pretty quickly, but the focus does tend to pulsate a bit before locking on the new subject, and the same goes for when the subject is removed and the camera focuses on the background again. I found that the “slow” speed setting gave me the best results in such situations.

Would I shoot a whole piece using autofocus? No, but it definitely has it place. For example, you can use it for multi-camera event work and cut between cameras when the focusing gets a bit wonky, or for documentary use. I only scratched the surface with the autofocus capabilities of the camera, so I’d like to play around with the feature more in the future.



Given the right circumstances, any camera can overheat, but some cameras are more prone to this potential than others. Digital cinema cameras that shoot 4K avoid this problem by using passive heat sinks or, in most cases, fan-assisted cooling. The small form factor of the a7RII precludes a large heat sink or active fan cooling and, with all the processing required to record 4K internally—from a full-sized sensor, no less—overheating in certain conditions is to be expected. Having heard reports of other users dealing with overheating issues, I was definitely curious to see under what conditions the camera would overheat. The amount of time it took for the camera to overheat varied widely. Let me explain the situation, to give you a better idea.  

It was a blistering day in New York City, around 91 degrees Fahrenheit. By the time I started setting up the camera, I had already been walking around in the sun for close to an hour, with the camera toasting away inside my camera bag. What followed was another 20 minutes or so of the camera sitting in the heat before I started shooting. The camera lasted about 10 minutes before a message popped up on the screen telling me that the camera was too hot and had to shut down. My footage saved before it did, but I can’t guarantee that will always be the case. Not to mention the shots you’re missing by your camera going down. The camera did cool down quickly, and within a few minutes I was up an shooting again.

In a more controlled indoor test, free of direct sunlight or high temperatures, the camera did overheat after 40 minutes of continuous 4K recording (30-minute clip followed by a 10-minute clip). It’s important to note that I had the LCD screen closed against the body in this test. In a subsequent test outdoors in direct sunlight and with the LCD screen pulled away from the camera, I was able to record for 45 minutes straight without the camera giving me any warning, despite the fact that the body was significantly hotter to the touch than it was during the indoor test. I would have recorded longer, had my battery not died.

While more testing would be needed, I do believe that having the LCD extended away from the body does help keep the camera from overheating. It helps with air flow, and prevents monitor-generated heat from contributing to the problem. I suspect that Sony is aware of this, as in 4K recording modes the monitor and viewfinder brightness default to a lower setting, and the camera won’t let you adjust it.

An alternative solution would be to use an external recorder for 4K video, as this should reduce the work the camera’s processor has to do, resulting in cooler running. I should also note that during a four-hour shoot of on-and-off recording in Battery Park, in Manhattan, I didn’t have a single overheating issue. My monitor was almost always extended away from the camera body during the shoot. Take that for what you will.

We spoke with a Sony rep and, at the moment, there is no official statement from Sony regarding the camera's potential to overheat during 4K recording.

Overall Impression

The Sony a7RII is a powerhouse of a camera that can deliver some of the best Super 35mm 4K video outside of professional cinema cameras—and even then, it can hold its own. Sony didn’t hold back when designing this camera, packing a full-frame BSI sensor, internal 4K recording, 5-axis in-body stabilization, and 42MP still images, to boot. For hybrid photographers/videographers, the camera is a no-brainer. Would I recommend the camera for a video shooter? Absolutely, but you’ll have to weigh the rolling shutter and heat issues into your consideration.

Should an a7S owner sell their camera to buy this one? That’s a tougher question, but if money isn’t an issue—the a7RII currently costs more than the a7S—then I would be inclined to say yes. The camera simply offers more than the a7S, can shoot S-Log2 at ISO 800, and the tests show it still holds its own in terms of low-light performance. And most importantly, it doesn’t need an external recorder to harness its 4K imaging power. You may want to start checking the re-sale market, because the a7RII is here—and it means business.


To read more about the a7RII’s still photo capabilities, read Shawn Steiner’s review to get the whole picture.

To learn more about the Sony a7RII, watch​ the B&H live panel discussion, by clicking here.


I have a solution to the A7r II and a6000 serious overheating. It's an active cooling system that fits behind the back LCD panel.

I have it selling on eBay under Sony Mirrorless cooling system. For more answers I am on yahoo. stephenbar2001 at yahoo dot com

Setup requirements to keep the Sony A7r II from switching off after 29 minutes? I am using an Assassin recorder and to get the 4k recording to be recognized I have to push the record button on the camera, and then on the recorder. Camera shuts system down after 29m.

Thanks for a nice review. How is overheating issue nowdays since there´s been a couple of firmware upgrades? Thanks

How come I cant change shutter and aperture in video mode (the shutter and aperture number just blinks on the screen). What mode is best to film in?

It depends on what mode you are in, if shooting video in Auto, it will not allow for adjustments to be made. I would recommend making sure camera is set to Manual (M) to allow full control over your settings.

why is the 4k video compressed to (.mp4) on the Sony A7RII? how can I get the 4k original footage?? Thanks

You need to use an SDXC SD card and swap the file format to XAVC S 4k in the camera settings menu!

Hi, thanks for this review.

So... do you know about underwater photographers, who work with a7RII.

 my questions is  about the overheating on a sporthousing, and battery life

Thank you.


Hi Rodrigo - 

I know a number of professional photographers that use the a7RII in both Aquatica and Ikelite housings. I have not heard about any over-heating issues but everyone I know uses it mostly for stills. At least for stills, the battery life has not been a problem.

Good little review. Thank you for that. I ended up purchasing the Rii and have definitely used it primarily for still photos, but it's really great video quality let's me be flexible to shoot vidography projects. Would love to see an updated review with some cinema lens examples and maybe some more 'cinema-style' images. The examples you provided look just like basic videography tests (IE: subject-less)

Such and awesome review! I've been looking around for a new camera and this looks like it could definitely be the one! 

Hi Justin,

Fantastic review, I'm just starting with video so I don't understand everything yet.

Can you tell me what is meant by the 'rolling shutter' problem?
Also, why is S-Log2 at ISO 800 important?

many thanks!

Rolling shutter, or jello effect, is a common issue with mirrorless and DSLR cameras.  If you look at the video under the section headed ‘Rolling Shutter’, you can see how all of the straight lines appear to swaying or waving.  This happens when moving the camera extremely fast as the shutter is exposing different parts of the sensor at different times.  In some cameras the effect is more pronounced than in others, and this is what he is comparing in that section. 

As for S-Log2, it is a flat picture profile that enables achieving the greatest possible dynamic range.  It also allows for more latitude in post process when it comes to color grading.  In the a7S, the minimum ISO that could be used when shooting S-Log2 was 3200.  Even while ND filters are a staple of shooting video, that minimum ISO is prohibitive.  The a7R II also has S-Log2, but unlike the a7S, the minimum ISO is 800.  If you have any additional questions about any of this, you might consider sending us an email:  [email protected]

Re the 4k video.(full frame)

Can I download straight from the camera into Final Cut Pro.

If not where. (without any pre processing).



 You wouldn’t be able to import the 4K video directly from the a7R II into Final Cut Pro.  You would need to convert the 4K XAVC S to ProRes before being able to work with it in FCP.  If you are married to FCP, and don’t want to convert the files, you could use an external recorder such as the Atomos Shogun.  It would enable you to record directly from the camera’s sensor to your choice of Apple ProRes or DNxHD/DNxHR.  You could then dump the recorded ProRes files directly into FCP.  Otherwise, you would need to look at using something other than FCP.  Of course, the software options will depend on your computer.  That being said, you might look at Sony Vegas Pro 13.  It’s interface is fairly intuitive, and you could import 4K XAVC-S directly into it without needing to convert first.  If you are shopping around for editing software, I would suggest contacting our Post Production Department.  You could send us an email, in which you would want to let us know what computer you are using and any specific features you might be looking for.  [email protected]

Can you clarify this statement

" I would expect that you could even pair the camera with a Metabones speed booster to gain an additional couple of stops of performance, bring it even closer to the performance of the a7S while giving you that the full-frame look."

I  have used a speedbooster before on mu old NEX6 but the way you drop this comment just does not make sense to me.
Please explain more.

Hi Gabriel,

While the a7R II is a full-frame camera, it performs best (for video) in its Super 35/APS-C 4K crop mode. If you want optimum video quality but want to maintain the full-frame look, you can pair the camera with a Metabones Speed Booster, thus allowing you to capture the full image circle from select full-frame lenses. Beyond just the full-frame aesthetic, a speed booster increases the brightness of the image by about one stop or so (the result of concentrating the image circle from the full-frame lens to fit the smaller APS-C-sized area). What this means that the a7R II with a speed booster can capture an image with a full-frame aesthetic while at the same time gaining a 1-stop boost in low-light performance, which helps close the gap when compared to the low-light performance of the a7S (and now a7S II).

I hope this helps!


Thanks for one of the most informative reviews I've seen to date:)  Nice job!

One issue I've scoured the web for is external power via usb.  You mentioned, " can use external batteries plugged into the USB port on the side of the camera, rather than the far more cumbersome dummy battery. You can even use common USB phone chargers to keep your camera powered on a shoot."  I believe this is true yet have not found any 'official' documentation.  Could you point me to where Sony sanctions this? Naturally, I don't want to turn my a7rII into a brick!  I too, have the Switronix solution and as you aptly point out, it's great for sticks but handheld, can be cumbersome.  I'm looking for a compact solution to mount on a cage while hand holding.  This looks like a good option:

XP18000A Rechargeable Power Pack with 18000 mAh capacity:…

Any thoughts are much appreciated.  Thanks again for a great review!

Hi Bill,

I hear your points about the Switronix Battery. It's definitely not ideal for handheld use. Regarding USB, I can tell you that it is definitely supported and a standard USB battery pack can be used to charge the internal battery while you shoot. This features does need to be activated within the menu system, otherwise the USB port will be in data transfer mode. I hope this helps!

can you tell me what accessories you are using? and what they do? thank you!

Hi Johnny,

Please see my reply to Mortimer above, where I list and provide links to the accessories I used during this review.

Awesome review! I have owned mine for about a month and I am loving it! Just ordered the Zeiss Batis 85mm from B&H to pair with it and I am so stoked. I have run into 1 small problem though:
While shooting in 4k and using an external moniter, the display screen on the a7rii turns black while the other screen still works. How do I fix this issue? It still shows that it is recording, and audio levels, but there is no picture.


When using an external monitor, the image will only display on that external monitor during video recording: the LCD will go dark.  This is not unusual, and happens with many mirrorless and DSLR cameras when using external monitors.  

Would it be possible to add DCI 4k capabilities to this camera with just a firmware update? Do you think the DCI vs UHD argument is really that relevant? Should I sell my rig (A7s+Ninja Samuari) for a DCI 4K compatable set up?


Please let me know your thoughts.



Adding DCI 4k capabilities is something that Sony's engineers would have to develop.  Whether or not they are going to or what the story is at this point is unknown.  With that said, there is not a huge difference between DCI and UHD for it to make a huge difference for most.  The resolution from UHD could always be upped in post production should your client require DCI in the final cut.

Thanks for the informative review Justin. I'm a video shooter myself and am looking to move into the 4K world, and really appreciate being able to get good info before buying.

You mention that the HDMI output only supports 8-bit color depth. Is see that on Sony's site with the specs for the camera. However I'm seeing in multiple places, including on Atomos' website - on a page pairing the Shogun with the ASRII (link below) - that the ASRII's HDMI is capable of outputing 10-bit.

I just wanted to get clarification here since you're definitely writing from hands on experience, although you don't mention physically testing an external recorder. Do you happen to know the answer?


The a7RII will have a native 8-bit output.  Though, when using the Atomos Shogun, that will be in a 10-bit wrapper.

Potential upsides would be that you can now work in a 10-bit environment, which is useful if you are editing with 10-bit footage from other cameras, or incorporating the video into a 10-bit environment for motion graphics or animation for example.  I believe this is what Atomos is referring to, the advantages of the 10-bit wrapper when they mention ‘the freedom’ to integrate 10-bit effects and overlays.  I think confusion might be derived by the aside about the Native codec for NLEs (non-linear editing systems), and the fact that they don’t directly state that it will be 8-bit in a 10-bit wrapper. 

Christina S, thank you for that!  I too was confused by the fact that Atmos seems to claim you can get 10-bit 422 out of the A7R ii, but if the HDMI is only 8-bit I wasn't sure how that worked.  So it puts the 8-bit into a 10-bit wrapper...  I guess that helps in workflow but doesn't truly offer 10-bit to play with in post.  I'm assuming this is an HDMI limitation, so firmware updates won't be able to add 10-bit external recording capabilities in the future.  Is that correct?

This appears to be a hardware/mechanical limitation with the camera.  I doubt this would be something that they could change with a firmware update.  If it were possible, I would think Sony would have already released a firmware upgrade for this.  They tend to be fairly responsive to customer feedback with their firmware updates.  

This is by far the best article I've seen on the A7RII and A7S. Great work!

What would it make even better if you made a chart showing the A7S and A7RII, and showed when to use Full Frame video vs Super 35 vs 1080p vs 4K downscaled to 1080 - I know that you have the answers. It'd be a nice little check list to keep in the camera bag. Like you said, it's a conudrum to try to remember it all.

I own a Sony a6000, I used it to shot a documentary about the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone.I have to say that Sony amazed me with the clarity, the depth of color, the full color palette and low light performance of that camera. I'm very tempted to buy the a7mark two, I have been waiting for it in order to take advantage of the full size sensor.
Unfortunately, your very well written review left me dubtful. Why? Because the overheating problem is still there...In Sierra Leone I had a reccurrent problem with overheating...and I wasn't there in the hottest months of the is a big problem because it harms your productivity. I tried to face it, changing batteries after every overheating warning message. I tried to keep the camera covered with a white shirt, I did every trick and I have to say that was hard...especially when it stopped working during a long interview under the sun.
Not withstanding this, I have to say that the a6000 gave me an amazing time and an amazing footage! If you don't have extreme enviromen assignment...It is the best you can have and the a7 sounds like it is even better!

Do you have any thoughts on the audio recording features ? Can you see and monitor the sound levels?

Great question. As is the case with pretty much all DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, I would only use the onboard microphone as a scratch track to sync with an external audio recorder. For situations where you want to record audio in camera, there is a 3.5mm input jack shown in one of the photos in this article.

The camera’s Multi Interface Shoe also supports audio input signals from Sony’s XLR-K1M or XLR-K2M adapter boxes which give you XLR inputs, more extensive audio controls, and includes a compact shotgun mic. For run-and-gun and documentary work, I highly recommend either of these adapters for in-camera audio capture.

Regarding monitoring, you’re the audio level for the left and right stereo tracks can be displayed on the camera’s monitor and in the viewfinder. There is also a 3.5mm output jack so you can plug in a pair of headphones to listen to what you're recording.

Hi Justin,
Thank you again for your review...I have another audio question for you. How would you accessorize this camera for interviews?
I mean...with my a6000 (which misses any audio-in port) I had big problem in finding a solution to connect a lavalier and I had to use an external recorder but  when you have to travel light this can be a problem. I saw Sony pushing for its new multi function hot shoe, it susggests to use this bluetooth lavallier
Really I don't feel confortable with bluetooh instead than radiocom and this kind of I wrong? What do you suggest to use for interviews?

Thank you

I can't wait until everyone buys even more hard drives to store all that wonderful 4k (4-2-0) video... that almost NO ONE has a monitor capable of viewing.  I really luv Youtube's "4k" playback setting... for iphones, laptops, et al.  Vimeo is just as good!

I understand that 6k and 8k are not too far behind!  With enough money I could actually get one of those $100k, 8k monitors from Japan.  Then I could twitter Sony and  challege them to a new mirroless camera to shoot 8k!  

Just cause I can't see 4k on my laptop or iphone or ipad doesn't matter as long as I KNOW its 4k!  Luv being part of the masses that luv what is not visable!  I can sneer at all those 1080p videos!  Ha, you guys are so. so... primitive!





Shooting in 4K gives more room to compensate for losses in post. I think most videographers/cinematographers just want to start with the highest IQ they can reasonably afford.

Your point that most peopIe can't watch 4k is true, but your overall criticism is uninformed.  And, for the reocrd, I have a very cost effective $199 27" 1440 monitor, and make use of YouTube's 1440p option whenever posssible. 

I also have an a7s that I use with the Shogun for external 4k recording, and I'm very happy with the results.  I'm thinking of upgrading to the a7rII for the IBIS and internal 4k.  The option of reframing or stabilizing 4k for 1080 output is very handy, and (although I haven't used 4k for green screen footage yet) my understanding is that downscaling 4k 4:2:0 to 1080 will yield results similar to 4:4:4 for keying.  Just like a RAW photogoraph is never the product the end user recieves, RAW photos are critical to high quality end results.  4K video and RAW photography are tools that are truly useful to many photographers and videographers. 

At the end of the article above, there is a section entitled "Items Discussed in Article" where you will see an image of the camera.  If you click on the image it will take you to the product link for the camera on our website, where we feature the price and availablity and other relevant product details. Please click there to view the current price.



So, I have shot Leica cameras for years: R-series, M-6 and have had the digital M9 for a couple of years. I love it and am a bit of a Leica snob, but this Sony sounds fabulous. I know it is blasphemy, but should I think about changing and using my Leica lenses? I am not really interested in video, etc - just damned good photography.

Any thoughts?

I do own the Sony a7II which has many of the features of the a7RII but is only 24MP instead of 42MP. LOL  I have used Leica, and other lenses via Metabones adapters. If you do not mind the lack of AF on those lenses you will be very pleased. Although the 5-axis in-body stabilization of the a7II is not as “magical” as the one found in the Olympus E-M1, it still gives you several stops of stabilization and makes handling of manual lens focusing a joy. And of course you have the great Sony sensor color. 

I have the A7r and VG900 but use the GH4 and NX1 for 4K video and was looking at the A7r II but will wait for something like a VG900 full frame camcorder upgrade with the 12mp A7s sensor. The full frame FE PZ 28-135 f/4 zoom on a 4K VG900 with 12mp A7s sensor makes much more senses than on the small A7 series bodies IMHO. The VG900 takes extra large batteries, has a zoom rocker switch and adjustable angled OLED EVF that would not get hot shooting 4K videos like the A7r II.

There are rumors that the A7s II will be in a camcorder body so we will see.



Perhaps a noob question, but what additional gear are you using there? I'm interested in what type of monitor and battery pack, specifically.

Hi Mortimer.

The battery pack you see in some of the photos is a Switronix PowerBase 70 Battery for Sony a7S. I'm a fan of this battery because of its versatility. Not only is it a 14.8V, 77Wh V-Mount battery, but it also has a quick-release plate system that lets you mount a camera directly on top of if, effectively serving as a large battery grip/base. In order to power camera, this particular version includes an 8V adapter with a dummy battery cable for the Sony a7 series cameras. It also provides D-Tap power outputs to power additional accessories and features additional 1/4"-20 threads for accessory mounting. Shooting handheld with it can be a little cumbersome, but for tripod or rig-based shooting, you may want to check it out.

The monitor I used was a SmallHD DP4. It's an older model from SmallHD, but it has served me well over the years. If you're interested in a compact monitor that offers intuitive touchscreen controls and supports custom display LUTs, I would suggests looking into the SmallHD 501.

Attached to the front of the lens you'll see a LEE Filters Seven5 Filter Holder system, which I borrowed from a fellow writer. It supports up to two 75 x 90mm sized filters and uses a clamping mechanism to quickly attach or remove from lenses equipped with a Seven5 adapter ring. It also rotates to accommodate polarizing filters. The system is designed more for still photography, but it did prove quite useful when I wanted to switch lenses and not have to worry about constantly screwing ND filters on and off. I mostly shot using the LEE Filter's 6-stop Seven5 Little Stopper ND Filter.

Hey there! I was wondering with the dp4 monitor are you having to down convert the 4k signal to that monitor or were you using it in 1080 mode for monitoring only? I am as well looking into the dp4 as an option. Nothing too bulky like the atomos because I want a lightweight monitor for gimbal work at the cheap. 

Hi Dezi -

This monitor accepts a 1080p input signal (native 1920 x 1080 resolution). The camera output to the monitor was set to 1080p.  The SmallHD DP4 4.3" monitor is one of smallest, lightest, and slimmest available with a professional feature set at a very reasonable price.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  [email protected]

You probably meant to say Lee Filter's 0.6 -stop?

Actually "6-stop" was intentional.  The filter Justin was referring to offers 6 stops of density to it.  You can view it at this link:

What an amazing review thank you. I have a question which may seem a bit crazy but would you still get a7Rii even if it had no 4K and the megapixel was same as on a7II. 

Hi Julian. Thanks for reading the article. Let me try to answer your question as best I can.

Each person's needs are unique. I'm mostly a video shooter, so for me 4K recording is one of the biggest selling points of the camera. Likewise, I imagine that the high megapixel count is an important part of what would draw many photographers to the camera. To hypothesize about this camera without either of these two features is hard, because they are part of the essence of what makes the camera so appealing. If you don't need 4K recording or 42MP images, then a camera like an a7II may serve your needs better. Again, this all comes down to your needs and what you're looking for in a camera. I hope that helps.

Show older comments