Sony A7 Mark II - Initial Thoughts & Impressions

Today Sony announced the first ever full-frame mirrorless camera with 5 axis on sensor stabilization. Improving on an already solid camera, the Sony A7 Mark II also features an improved and enlarged grip for better ergonomics, 30% faster hybrid AF, XAVC-S video recording and more.

Sony A7II A7 Mark II Full Frame 5 axis stabilization E Mount

A look at the previous year clearly shows us that there is large demand for these compact full frame cameras that Sony has been working on. They are quickly adding support and developing lenses to back up professionals, such as myself, who are either looking to move over entirely as I have or simply as a second camera for travel. 

All this innovation into such a portable camera body forces the question - What are Canon and Nikon even working on and will it be too long to wait for many of their users?  Read more about camera innovation and the Sony A7 series. 

Sony A7II A7 Mark II Full Frame 5 axis stabilization E Mount

Read the full specs and Sony's take on their new A7 Mark II on their website here.

The Sony A7 Mark II literally allows you to get more out of your Canon lenses than Canon DSLR's will. You can actually take old Canon FD lenses from the 80's that won't even connect to modern DSLR's and not only adapt them to the Sony but also gain image stabilization. The ability to mix and match lenses Nikon, Canon, Sony, Zeiss, Leica, and more allows you to grab the best value lenses that each have to offer and custom design your bag for quality like we never could before. Every brand has lenses that are coveted by others and the Sony A7 Mark II removes that as a concern.  Nikon doesn't have a 17mm Tilt-Shift and Canon doesn't have the older AF-D lenses that are available at better prices - take advantage of both with Sony in addition to their own native Zeiss lenses.   

Sony A7II Mark II 5 Axis On Sensor Stabilization Sony E Mount Full Frame Grip
Sony A&II Mark II 5 Axis On Sensor Stabilization Sony E Mount Full Frame Grip

The improved grip looks awesome. The largest complaints I've heard about the Sony A7 series is the ergonomics and AF.  They have improved both by what looks like quite a bit.  The grip is now much larger which also allows the shutter button's placement to be more practical and comfortable. Evidence of the thicker design can clearly be seen in that they stacked the audio jacks and USB/HDMI ports laterally rather than vertically.

I have also heard complaints regarding the sturdiness of the E Mount with heavier lenses and just as Fotodiox comes out with a tougher E Mount replacement, Sony comes along and just fixes the issue.  It is this listening to the professional users and implementing what they're looking for that is pushing Sony forward so quickly in my opinion. 

Sony A7II Mark II 5 Axis On Sensor Stabilization Sony E Mount Full Frame Grip
Sony A7II Mark II 5 Axis On Sensor Stabilization Sony E Mount Full Frame Grip

In body image stabilization is also a game changer for video shooters. Anyone who is a run 'n gun shooter can take advantage of stabilization on ANY of your lenses, even old vintage primes. It is extremely rare to find stabilization on fast lenses and this allows you to turn you nifty fifty into so much more than just a low light tool. 

You can see the incredible 5 axis on sensor stabilization at work in the video below.

5-axis image stabilization (5-axis SteadyShot INSIDE) The remarkable new 5-axis image stabilization system dramatically expands your range of expression by compensating for five types of camera shake during handheld shooting of still images and movies. So you can confidently zoom in faraway subjects, snap detailed close-ups and capture night scenes with minimal camera shake blur.


Below is a size comparison provided by CameraSize between the Sony A7 and A7II

 
Sony A7II Mark II 5 Axis On Sensor Stabilization Sony E Mount Full Frame Grip
 

Conclusion

Really looking forward to getting my hands on the Sony A7 Mark II and seeing how it performs in real world situations.  Looks like another incredible leap forward for Sony! Considering that I've shot weddings with my Sony A7r, maybe this is a strong enough performer that I wouldn't need a DSLR for backup in AF situations?  Can't wait to find out!  

Update, June 10th 2015:  Today Sony announced the A7r MARK II at 42.4 MP with the same 5 axis in body stabilization as well as 4k video. Read More.