Sony A7R vs A7S II
The Sony Alpha A7R and the Sony Alpha 7S II are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in October 2013 and September 2015. Both the A7R and the A7S II are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The A7R has a resolution of 36.2 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.
|Sony A7R||Sony A7S II|
|Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Sony E mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|36.2 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)|
|4 shutter flaps per second||5 shutter flaps per second|
|Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|340 shots per battery charge||370 shots per battery charge|
|127 x 94 x 48 mm, 465 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 A7R 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.
The physical size and weight of the Sony A7R and the Sony A7S II are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A7S II is somewhat larger (2 percent) than the Sony A7R. Moreover, the A7S II is substantially heavier (35 percent) than the A7R. 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 adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Sony A7R»||5.0 in||3.7 in||1.9 in||16.4 oz||340||Y||Oct 2013||2,299||Sony A7R|
|Sony A7S II«||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.4 in||22.1 oz||370||Y||Sep 2015||2,999||Sony A7S II|
|Nikon D810« »||5.7 in||4.8 in||3.2 in||34.6 oz||1200||Y||Jun 2014||3,299||Nikon D810|
|Sony A7 III« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.9 in||22.9 oz||610||Y||Feb 2018||1,999||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A7R III« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.9 in||22.9 oz||650||Y||Oct 2017||3,199||Sony A7R III|
|Sony A7R II« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.4 in||22.0 oz||290||Y||Jun 2015||3,199||Sony A7R II|
|Sony RX1R II« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||2.8 in||17.9 oz||220||n||Oct 2015||3,299||Sony RX1R II|
|Sony A7 II« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.4 in||21.1 oz||350||Y||Nov 2014||1,999||Sony A7 II|
|Sony A7S« »||5.0 in||3.7 in||1.9 in||17.2 oz||380||Y||Apr 2014||2,499||Sony A7S|
|Sony A7« »||5.0 in||3.7 in||1.9 in||16.7 oz||340||Y||Oct 2013||1,699||Sony A7|
|Sony RX1R« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||2.8 in||17.0 oz||270||n||Jun 2013||2,799||Sony RX1R|
|Sony RX1« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||2.8 in||17.0 oz||270||n||Sep 2012||2,799||Sony RX1|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The A7R was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 23 percent) than the A7S II, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors 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. 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 2 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.
With 36.2MP, the A7R offers a higher resolution than the A7S II (12MP), but the A7R has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.88μm versus 8.40μm for the A7S II). Moreover, the A7S II is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 10 months) than the A7R, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the A7R has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Sony A7R implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A7R for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 36.8 x 24.6 inch or 93.5 x 62.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 29.4 x 19.6 inch or 74.8 x 49.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 24.5 x 16.4 inch or 62.3 x 41.6 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 Sony Alpha A7R 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.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. Of the two cameras under review, the A7R has a notably higher overall DXO score than the A7S II (overall score 10 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 2 bits higher color depth, 0.8 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.1 stops of reduced low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Sony A7R||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.6||14.1||2746||95||Sony A7R|
|Sony A7S II||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||4K/30p||23.6||13.3||2993||85||Sony A7S II|
|Nikon D810||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.7||14.8||2853||97||Nikon D810|
|Sony A7 III||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.7||3730||96||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A7R III||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||14.7||3523||100||Sony A7R III|
|Sony A7R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||13.9||3434||98||Sony A7R II|
|Sony RX1R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||1080/60p||25.8||13.9||3204||97||Sony RX1R II|
|Sony A7 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.9||13.6||2449||90||Sony A7 II|
|Sony A7S||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||1080/60p||23.9||13.2||3702||87||Sony A7S|
|Sony A7||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.8||14.2||2248||90||Sony A7|
|Sony RX1R||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||13.6||2537||91||Sony RX1R|
|Sony RX1||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.1||14.3||2534||93||Sony RX1|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the A7S II provides a better video resolution than the A7R. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the A7R is limited to 1080/60p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The A7R 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Sony A7R, the Sony A7S II, and comparable cameras.
|Sony A7R||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||4.0||n||n||Sony A7R|
|Sony A7S II||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y||Sony A7S II|
|Nikon D810||optical||Y||3.2||1229||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D810|
|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 A7R II||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y||Sony A7R II|
|Sony RX1R II||2360||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.0||n||n||Sony RX1R II|
|Sony A7 II||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y||Sony A7 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 RX1R||optional||n||3.0||1229||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Sony RX1R|
|Sony RX1||optional||n||3.0||1229||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Sony RX1|
One feature that differentiates the A7S II and the A7R is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The A7S II reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the A7R has to rely on optical image stabilization in OIS-equipped lenses to achieve the same effect.
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 A7R 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.
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 A7R and Sony Alpha 7S II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Sony A7R||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7R|
|Sony A7S II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7S II|
|Nikon D810||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||-||-||Nikon D810|
|Sony A7 III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A7R III||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y||Sony A7R III|
|Sony A7R II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7R II|
|Sony RX1R II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX1R II|
|Sony A7 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7 II|
|Sony A7S||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7S|
|Sony A7||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7|
|Sony RX1R||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony RX1R|
|Sony RX1||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony RX1|
The A7S II is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the A7R has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the A7R was succeeded by the Sony A7R II. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Sony website.
So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Sony A7R 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 A7R:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (36.2 vs 12MP) with a 74% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (10 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (2 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.8 EV of extra DR).
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 162g or 26 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (23 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in October 2013).
Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha 7S II:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- 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).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 10 months) more recently.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A7R comes out slightly ahead of the A7S II (8 : 7 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. 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Sony A7R 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 comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the A7R or the A7S II. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular 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.
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
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.
- Canon 1Ds Mark III vs Sony A7R IV
- Canon 6D Mark II vs Sony A7R III
- Canon SX70 vs Sony A7R IV
- Canon XS vs Sony A7R II
- Fujifilm X100V vs Sony A7R IV
- Leica M8 vs Sony A7R II
- Olympus E-M1X vs Sony A7R III
- Olympus E-M5 vs Sony A7R IV
- Olympus XZ-1 vs Sony A7R III
- Panasonic GF5 vs Sony A7R II
- Pentax 645Z vs Sony A7S II
- Sony A7R III vs Sony RX0
Specifications: Sony A7R 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 Model||Sony A7R||Sony A7S II|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Sony E mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||October 2013||September 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 2299||USD 2999|
|Sensor Specs||Sony A7R||Sony A7S II|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||35.9 x 24.0 mm||35.6 x 23.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||861.6 mm2||847.28 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.2 mm||42.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||36.2 Megapixels||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||7360 x 4912 pixels||4240 x 2832 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.88 μm||8.40 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.20 MP/cm2||1.42 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA 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)||95||85|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||25.6||23.6|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||14.1||13.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||2746||2993|
|Screen Specs||Sony A7R||Sony A7S II|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|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 A7R||Sony A7S II|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000/s||1/8000/s|
|Continuous Shooting||4 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||250 000 actuations||200 000 actuations|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||YES|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-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 A7R||Sony A7S II|
|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 A7R||Sony A7S II|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||340 shots per charge||370 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||USB charging|
127 x 94 x 48 mm
(5.0 x 3.7 x 1.9 in)
127 x 96 x 60 mm
(5.0 x 3.8 x 2.4 in)
|Camera Weight||465 g (16.4 oz)||627 g (22.1 oz)|
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