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Sony A7 II versus Sony A7

The Sony Alpha A7 II and the Sony Alpha A7 are two enthusiast cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in November 2014 and October 2013. Both the A7 II and the A7 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 24 megapixel. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Sony A7 II vs Sony A7

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Sony A7 II and the Sony A7 is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the A7 II – represents the basis or 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Sony A7 II vs Sony A7
Compare A7 II versus A7 top
Compare A7 II and A7 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A7 is somewhat smaller (2 percent) than the Sony A7 II. Moreover, the A7 is markedly lighter (21 percent) than the A7 II. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can find an overview of suitable optics in the Sony FE Lens Catalog. Mirrorless cameras, such as the two under consideration, have the additional advantage of having a short flange to focal plane distance, which makes it possible to mount many lenses from other systems onto the camera via adapters.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Sony A7 II» 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.4 in 21.1 oz 350 Y Nov 2014 1,999- i
Sony A7« 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 16.7 oz 340 Y Oct 2013 1,699- i
Nikon D610« » 5.6 in 4.4 in 3.2 in 30.0 oz 900 Y Oct 2013 1,999 i i
Olympus E-M1 II« » 5.3 in 3.6 in 2.6 in 20.2 oz 440 Y Sep 2016 1,999 i i
Panasonic GH4« » 5.2 in 3.7 in 3.3 in 19.8 oz 500 Y Feb 2014 1,499- i
Sony A7 III« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.9 in 22.9 oz 610 Y Feb 2018 1,999 i i
Sony A9« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.5 in 23.7 oz 650 Y Apr 2017 4,499 i i
Sony A7R III« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.9 in 22.9 oz 650 Y Oct 2017 3,199 i i
Sony A7R II« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.4 in 22.0 oz 290 Y Jun 2015 3,199- i
Sony A7S II« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.4 in 22.1 oz 370 Y Sep 2015 2,999 i i
Sony A7S« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 17.2 oz 380 Y Apr 2014 2,499- i
Sony A77 II« » 5.6 in 4.1 in 3.2 in 22.8 oz 480 Y May 2014 1,199 i i
Sony A7R« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 16.4 oz 340 Y Oct 2013 2,299- i
Sony A77« » 5.6 in 4.1 in 3.2 in 25.8 oz 470 Y Aug 2011 1,999- i

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The A7 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 15 percent) than the A7 II, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Sony A7 II vs Sony A7

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the large-sensor cameras that aim for top notch image quality. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Sony A7 II and Sony A7 sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 24 megapixel. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the A7 II and the A7 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the A7 II is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 1 month) than the A7, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

A7 II versus A7 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar image quality. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Sony A7 II» Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.913.6244990
Sony A7« Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.814.2224890
Nikon D610« » Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.4292594
Olympus E-M1 II« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.712.8131280
Panasonic GH4« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p23.212.879174
Sony A7 III« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.7373096
Sony A9« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.913.3351792
Sony A7R III« » Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p26.014.73523100
Sony A7R II« » Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p26.013.9343498
Sony A7S II« » Full Frame 12.0 4240 28324K/30p23.613.3299385
Sony A7S« » Full Frame 12.0 4240 28321080/60p23.913.2370287
Sony A77 II« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p----
Sony A7R« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.614.1274695
Sony A77« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.280178

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60p).

 

Feature comparison: Sony A7 II vs Sony A7

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The A7 II and the A7 are similar in the sense that both feature an electronic viewfinder, which is helpful when framing images in bright sunlight. Moreover, their viewfinders offer an identical resolution of 2400k dots. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Sony A7 II and Sony A7 along with similar information for a selection of comparators. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Sony A7 II»2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 8000 5.0 n Y
Sony A7«2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 8000 5.0 n n
Nikon D610« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 4000 6.0 Y n
Olympus E-M1 II« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 18.0 n Y
Panasonic GH4« »2359 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 8000 12.0 Y n
Sony A7 III« »2359 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 8000 10.0 n Y
Sony A9« »3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 8000 20.0 n Y
Sony A7R III« »3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 8000 10.0 n Y
Sony A7R II« »2400 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 8000 5.0 n Y
Sony A7S II« »2400 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 8000 5.0 n Y
Sony A7S« »2400 n 3.0 921 tilting n 8000 5.0 n n
Sony A77 II« »2359 Y 3.0 1229 full-flex n 8000 12.0 Y Y
Sony A7R« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 8000 4.0 n n
Sony A77« »2359 Y 3.0 921 full-flex n 8000 12.0 Y Y

Both the A7 II and the A7 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The A7 was replaced by the Sony A7 II, while the A7 II was followed by the Sony A7 III.

Review summary: Sony A7 II vs Sony A7

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Sony A7 II or the Sony A7 – has the upper hand? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A7 II:

  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization build-in.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 1 month after the A7).


Advantages of the Sony Alpha A7:

  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.6 EV of extra DR).
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 125g or 21 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (15 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in October 2013).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A7 emerges as the winner of the match-up (4 : 2 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision.

A7 II 02:04 A7

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the A7 II and the A7 in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable. This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Sony A7 II»Rec82/1004.5/55/55/5 Nov 2014 1,999- i
Sony A7«HiRec80/1005/54.5/55/5 Oct 2013 1,699- i
Nikon D610« »HiRec87/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,999 i i
Olympus E-M1 II« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2016 1,999 i i
Panasonic GH4« »HiRec85/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2014 1,499- i
Sony A7 III« »HiRec89/1005/5-5/5 Feb 2018 1,999 i i
Sony A9« »HiRec89/1005/55/55/5 Apr 2017 4,499 i i
Sony A7R III« »HiRec90/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2017 3,199 i i
Sony A7R II« »HiRec90/1005/54.5/55/5 Jun 2015 3,199- i
Sony A7S II« »Rec-4.5/55/55/5 Sep 2015 2,999 i i
Sony A7S« »-86/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Apr 2014 2,499- i
Sony A77 II« »-80/1004.5/54/55/5 May 2014 1,199 i i
Sony A7R« »HiRec82/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2013 2,299- i
Sony A77« »91/10081/100-4.5/55/5 Aug 2011 1,999- i

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

 

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, kindly get in touch, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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