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Sony A7 II vs A7S II

The Sony Alpha A7 II and the Sony Alpha 7S II are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in November 2014 and September 2015. Both the A7 II and the A7S II are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The A7 II has a resolution of 24 megapixels, whereas the A7S II provides 12 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Sony A7 II   Sony A7S II
Sony A7 II Sony A7S II
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Sony E mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
24 MP, Full Frame Sensor 12 MP, Full Frame Sensor
1080/60p Video 4K/30p Video
ISO 100-25600 (50-51200) ISO 100-102400 (50-409600)
Electronic viewfinder (2400k dots) Electronic viewfinder (2400k dots)
3.0" LCD, 1230k dots 3.0" LCD, 1229k dots
Tilting screen (no touchscreen) Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
350 shots per battery charge370 shots per battery charge
127 x 96 x 60 mm, 599 g 127 x 96 x 60 mm, 627 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Sony Alpha A7 II and the Sony Alpha 7S II? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Sony A7 II vs A7S II

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Sony A7 II and the Sony A7S II is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Sony A7 II vs Sony A7S II
Compare A7 II versus A7S II top
Comparison A7 II or A7S II rear

In this particular case, the Sony A7 II and the Sony A7S II have exactly the same width and height, and, thus, have identically-sized bodies. However, the A7S II is markedly heavier (5 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 compare the optics available 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 battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, which can be very convenient when travelling.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

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)
Camera
Model
 
Sony A7 II» 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.4 in 21.1 oz 350 Y Nov 2014 1,999- i Sony A7 II
 
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 II
 
Nikon Z6« » 5.3 in 4.0 in 2.6 in 23.8 oz 310 Y Aug 2018 1,999 i i Nikon Z6
 
Sony A7 III« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.9 in 22.9 oz 610 Y Feb 2018 1,999 i i Sony A7 III
 
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 III
 
Sony A9« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.5 in 23.7 oz 650 Y Apr 2017 4,499 i i Sony A9
 
Sony A7R II« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.4 in 22.0 oz 290 Y Jun 2015 3,199- i Sony A7R II
 
Sony A7S« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 17.2 oz 380 Y Apr 2014 2,499- i Sony A7S
 
Sony A7« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 16.7 oz 340 Y Oct 2013 1,699- i Sony A7
 
Sony A7R« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 16.4 oz 340 Y Oct 2013 2,299- i Sony A7R
 
Sony A77« » 5.6 in 4.1 in 3.2 in 25.8 oz 470 Y Aug 2011 1,399- i Sony A77
 
Sony A850« » 6.1 in 4.6 in 3.2 in 31.6 oz 880 Y Aug 2009 1,999- i Sony A850
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The A7 II was launched at a markedly lower price (by 33 percent) than the A7S II, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Sony A7 II vs A7S II

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its 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, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the A7S II is 1 percent smaller. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Sony A7 II and Sony A7S II sensor measures

With 24MP, the A7 II offers a higher resolution than the A7S II (12MP), but the A7 II has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.97μm versus 8.40μm for the A7S II). Moreover, the A7S II is a somewhat more recent model (by 9 months) than the A7 II, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

The resolution advantage of the Sony A7 II implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A7 II for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inch or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inch or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inch or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Sony A7S II are 21.2 x 14.2 inch or 53.8 x 36 cm for good quality, 17 x 11.3 inch or 43.1 x 28.8 cm for very good quality, and 14.1 x 9.4 inch or 35.9 x 24 cm for excellent quality prints.

The A7 II has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.

The Sony Alpha A7 II has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 50-51200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha 7S II are ISO 100 to ISO 102400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-409600.

A7 II versus A7S II MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under review, the A7 II has a notably higher overall DXO score than the A7S II (overall score 5 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 1.3 bits higher color depth, 0.3 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.3 stops of reduced low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Sony A7 II» Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.913.6244990Sony A7 II
 
Sony A7S II« Full Frame 12.0 4240 28324K/30p23.613.3299385Sony A7S II
 
Nikon Z6« » Full Frame 24.3 6048 40244K/30p25.314.3329995Nikon Z6
 
Sony A7 III« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.7373096Sony A7 III
 
Sony A7R III« » Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p26.014.73523100Sony A7R III
 
Sony A9« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.913.3351792Sony A9
 
Sony A7R II« » Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p26.013.9343498Sony A7R II
 
Sony A7S« » Full Frame 12.0 4240 28321080/60p23.913.2370287Sony A7S
 
Sony A7« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.814.2224890Sony A7
 
Sony A7R« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.614.1274695Sony A7R
 
Sony A77« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.280178Sony A77
 
Sony A850« » Full Frame 24.4 6048 4032-23.812.2141579Sony A850

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the A7S II provides a better video resolution than the A7 II. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the A7 II is limited to 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Sony A7 II vs A7S II

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The A7 II and the A7S II 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Sony A7 II and Sony A7S II in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Sony A7 II»2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y Sony A7 II
 
Sony A7S II«2400 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y Sony A7S II
 
Nikon Z6« »3690 Y 3.2 2100 tilting Y 1/8000s 12.0 n Y Nikon Z6
 
Sony A7 III« »2359 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y Sony A7 III
 
Sony A7R III« »3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y Sony A7R III
 
Sony A9« »3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 20.0 n Y Sony A9
 
Sony A7R II« »2400 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y Sony A7R II
 
Sony A7S« »2400 n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n n Sony A7S
 
Sony A7« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n n Sony A7
 
Sony A7R« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 4.0 n n Sony A7R
 
Sony A77« »2359 Y 3.0 921 full-flex n 1/8000s 12.0 Y Y Sony A77
 
Sony A850« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 n Y Sony A850

The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the A7S II is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the A7 II and the A7S II write their files to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.

 

Connectivity comparison: Sony A7 II vs A7S II

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Sony Alpha A7 II and Sony Alpha 7S II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Sony A7 II»YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7 II
 
Sony A7S II«YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7S II
 
Nikon Z6« »YstereomonoYYmicro3.1Y-YNikon Z6
 
Sony A7 III« »YstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYYSony A7 III
 
Sony A7R III« »YstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYYSony A7R III
 
Sony A9« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YYYSony A9
 
Sony A7R II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7R II
 
Sony A7S« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7S
 
Sony A7« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7
 
Sony A7R« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7R
 
Sony A77« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Sony A77
 
Sony A850« »Y----mini2.0---Sony A850

The A7S II is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the A7 II has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the A7 II was succeeded by the Sony A7 III. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Sony website.


Review summary: Sony A7 II vs A7S II

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Sony A7 II and the Sony A7S II? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A7 II:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 12MP) with a 41% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (5 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.3 bits more color depth).
  • Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for quicker and more confident autofocus.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (33 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in November 2014).


Advantages of the Sony Alpha 7S II:

  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.78x vs 0.71x).
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (9 months) more recently.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A7 II emerges as the winner of the contest (6 : 4 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

A7 II 06:04 A7S II

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Sony A7 II and the Sony A7S II place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the A7 II or the A7S II. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews: Sony A7 II vs A7S II

This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Sony A7 II»+82/1004.5/55/55/5 Nov 2014 1,999- i Sony A7 II
 
Sony A7S II«+-4.5/55/55/5 Sep 2015 2,999 i i Sony A7S II
 
Nikon Z6« »--4.5/5-5/5 Aug 2018 1,999 i i Nikon Z6
 
Sony A7 III« »+ +89/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2018 1,999 i i Sony A7 III
 
Sony A7R III« »+ +90/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2017 3,199 i i Sony A7R III
 
Sony A9« »+ +89/1005/55/55/5 Apr 2017 4,499 i i Sony A9
 
Sony A7R II« »+ +90/1005/54.5/55/5 Jun 2015 3,199- i Sony A7R II
 
Sony A7S« »-86/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Apr 2014 2,499- i Sony A7S
 
Sony A7« »+ +80/1005/54.5/55/5 Oct 2013 1,699- i Sony A7
 
Sony A7R« »+ +82/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2013 2,299- i Sony A7R
 
Sony A77« »91/10081/100-4.5/55/5 Aug 2011 1,399- i Sony A77
 
Sony A850« »-75/100-4/54.5/5 Aug 2009 1,999- i Sony A850
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Sony A7 II:
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Sony A7S II:
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Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Sony A7 II vs Sony A7S II

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Sony A7 II Sony A7S II
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Sony E mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
    Launch Date November 2014 September 2015
    Launch Price USD 1999 USD 2999
    Sensor Specs Sony A7 II Sony A7S II
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 35.8 x 23.9 mm 35.6 x 23.8 mm
    Sensor Area 855.62 mm2 847.28 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43 mm 42.8 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 24 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6000 x 4000 pixels 4240 x 2832 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.97 μm 8.40 μm
    Pixel Density 2.80 MP/cm2 1.42 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video 4K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100-25600 ISO 100-102400 ISO
    ISO Boost 50-51200 ISO 50-409600 ISO
    Image Processor BIONZ X BIONZ X
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 90 85
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 24.9 23.6
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 13.6 13.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 2449 2993
    Screen Specs Sony A7 II Sony A7S II
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.71x 0.78x
    Viewfinder Resolution 2400k dots 2400k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 1230k dots 1229k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs Sony A7 II Sony A7S II
    Autofocus System On-Sensor Phase-detect Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/8000/s 1/8000/s
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy200 000 actuations200 000 actuations
    Electronic Shutterno E-ShutterYES
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium MS or SDXC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Sony A7 II Sony A7S II
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI micro HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port External MIC port
    Headphone Socket Headphone port Headphone port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in NFC built-in
    Body Specs Sony A7 II Sony A7S II
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type NP-FW50 power pack NP-FW50 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)350 shots per charge370 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 127 x 96 x 60 mm
    (5.0 x 3.8 x 2.4 in)
    127 x 96 x 60 mm
    (5.0 x 3.8 x 2.4 in)
    Camera Weight 599 g (21.1 oz) 627 g (22.1 oz)

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