Sony Alpha 7 II
Sony currently offers three models within its full-frame Alpha 7 range, each of which is built to serve a different purpose: the 12.2-million-pixel Alpha 7S II with its expansive dynamic range and extended ISO capabilities is primarily targeted at photojournalists, while the 42.4-million-pixel Alpha 7R III is geared more towards studio and commercial photographers, whose chief priority is billboard-sized resolution. Meanwhile the 24.3-million-pixel Alpha 7 II is best thought of as an impressive all-rounder that sits somewhere between the two, delivering an outstanding balance of resolution, flexibility, handling and customisation.
Released in 2015, the Alpha 7 II essentially takes everything that was good about the original ground-breaking Alpha 7 from 2014 and builds on it to produce a better all-round user experience. Ergonomics and handling have been greatly improved with the addition of a deeper handgrip that allows the camera to sit more comfortably in the hand, while a redesigned button configuration also makes the Alpha 7 II much easier to operate, with the camera’s physical controls falling more easily within reach of your fingers.
Unlike its predecessor, the Alpha 7 II benefits from the addition of 5-axis in-camera image stabilisation technology that provides up to 4.5 stops of compensation when shooting handheld at slower shutter speeds. Elsewhere, the Alpha 7 II retains the 2.36M dot electronic viewfinder and tiltable 3-inch/1.22M dot LCD display of its predecessor. And while 4K video capture isn’t supported, the Alpha 7 II is nonetheless very well served with an impressive array of 1080p Full HD and 720p HD video capture options.
In terms of build quality the Alpha 7 II is encased in a solid weather-sealed magnesium alloy shell and feels every inch the premium camera it’s positioned as. Despite the addition of a larger handgrip, it also remains impressively compact. Image quality impressed us hugely, especially the Alpha 7 II’s dynamic range capability that, at 13.37EV at ISO 100, is one of the widest we’ve encountered, and certainly the best we’ve seen from a full-frame sensor.
Price: £1,199 (body only)