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Sony A7S vs A7S II

The Sony Alpha A7S and the Sony Alpha 7S II are two professional cameras that were announced, respectively, in April 2014 and September 2015. Both the A7S and the A7S II are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 12 megapixels.

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

Headline Specifications
Sony A7S   Sony A7S II
Sony A7S Sony A7S II
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Sony E mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
12 MP, Full Frame Sensor 12 MP, Full Frame Sensor
1080/60p Video 4K/30p Video
ISO 100-102400 (50-409600) ISO 100-102400 (50-409600)
Electronic viewfinder (2400k dots) Electronic viewfinder (2400k dots)
3.0" LCD, 921k 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
Lens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
380 shots per battery charge370 shots per battery charge
127 x 94 x 48 mm, 489 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 A7S 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 A7S vs A7S II

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Sony A7S 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 perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

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

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 A7S. Moreover, the A7S II is markedly heavier (28 percent) than the A7S. 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 table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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 A7S» 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 17.2 oz 380 Y Apr 2014 2,499- i Sony A7S
 
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 Df« » 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.6 in 26.8 oz 1400 Y Nov 2013 2,749 i i Nikon Df
 
Nikon D700« » 5.8 in 4.8 in 3.0 in 37.9 oz 1000 Y Jul 2008 2,999- i Nikon D700
 
Sony A7R IV« » 5.1 in 3.8 in 3.1 in 23.5 oz 670 Y Jul 2019 3,499 i i Sony A7R IV
 
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 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 RX1R II« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.9 oz 220 n Oct 2015 3,299 i i Sony RX1R II
 
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 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 RX1R« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.0 oz 270 n Jun 2013 2,799- i Sony RX1R
 
Sony RX1« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.0 oz 270 n Sep 2012 2,799- i Sony RX1
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The A7S was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 17 percent) than the A7S 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 A7S vs A7S II

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to 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 A7S and Sony A7S II sensor measures

Even though the A7S has a slightly larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 12 megapixels. This implies that the A7S has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 8.45μm versus 8.40μm for the A7S II), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. It should, however, be noted that the A7S II is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 5 months) than the A7S, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.

The Sony Alpha A7S has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 102400, which can be extended to ISO 50-409600. The Sony Alpha 7S II offers exactly the same ISO settings.

A7S versus A7S II MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many 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 imaging performance. 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
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Sony A7S» Full Frame 12.0 4240 28321080/60p23.913.2370287Sony A7S
 
Sony A7S II« Full Frame 12.0 4240 28324K/30p23.613.3299385Sony A7S II
 
Nikon Df« » Full Frame 16.2 4928 3280-24.613.1327989Nikon Df
 
Nikon D700« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832-23.512.2230380Nikon D700
 
Sony A7R IV« » Full Frame 60.2 9504 63364K/30p----Sony A7R IV
 
Sony A7R III« » Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p26.014.73523100Sony A7R III
 
Sony A7R II« » Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p26.013.9343498Sony A7R II
 
Sony RX1R II« » Full Frame 42.2 7952 53041080/60p25.813.9320497Sony RX1R II
 
Sony A7 II« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.913.6244990Sony A7 II
 
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 RX1R« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.013.6253791Sony RX1R
 
Sony RX1« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.114.3253493Sony RX1

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the A7S II provides a better video resolution than the A7S. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the A7S is limited to 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Sony A7S vs A7S II

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The A7S 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 adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Sony A7S and Sony A7S II along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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 A7S»2400 n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n n Sony A7S
 
Sony A7S II«2400 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y Sony A7S II
 
Nikon Df« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5 n n Nikon Df
 
Nikon D700« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0 Y n Nikon D700
 
Sony A7R IV« »5760 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y Sony A7R IV
 
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 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 RX1R« »- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Sony RX1R
 
Sony RX1« »- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Sony RX1

One feature that differentiates the A7S II and the A7S is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The A7S II reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the A7S 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, both cameras under consideration feature an 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 A7S 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 A7S 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 A7S 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 A7S»YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7S
 
Sony A7S II«YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7S II
 
Nikon Df« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon Df
 
Nikon D700« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D700
 
Sony A7R IV« »YstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYYSony A7R IV
 
Sony A7R III« »YstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYYSony A7R III
 
Sony A7R II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7R II
 
Sony RX1R II« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-Sony RX1R II
 
Sony A7 II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7 II
 
Sony A7« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7
 
Sony A7R« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7R
 
Sony RX1R« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Sony RX1R
 
Sony RX1« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Sony RX1

The A7S II is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the A7S has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the A7S was succeeded by the Sony A7S 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.


Review summary: Sony A7S vs A7S II

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Sony A7S and the Sony A7S II? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Advantages of the Sony Alpha A7S:

  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 138g or 22 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (17 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in April 2014).


Arguments in favor 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).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 921k dots).
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 5 months) more recently.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A7S II emerges as the winner of the match-up (5 : 3 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

A7S 03:05 A7S II

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Sony A7S 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 A7S 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 A7S vs A7S II

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear 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 A7S»-86/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Apr 2014 2,499- i Sony A7S
 
Sony A7S II«+-4.5/55/55/5 Sep 2015 2,999 i i Sony A7S II
 
Nikon Df« »-81/1004/54/54/5 Nov 2013 2,749 i i Nikon Df
 
Nikon D700« »89/100+ +4.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2008 2,999- i Nikon D700
 
Sony A7R IV« »----- Jul 2019 3,499 i i Sony A7R IV
 
Sony A7R III« »+ +90/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2017 3,199 i i Sony A7R III
 
Sony A7R II« »+ +90/1005/54.5/55/5 Jun 2015 3,199- i Sony A7R II
 
Sony RX1R II« »-82/100-o4.5/5 Oct 2015 3,299 i i Sony RX1R II
 
Sony A7 II« »+82/1004.5/55/55/5 Nov 2014 1,999- i Sony A7 II
 
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 RX1R« »--4/5o4.5/5 Jun 2013 2,799- i Sony RX1R
 
Sony RX1« »-79/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,799- i Sony RX1
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Sony A7S:
Check Ebay offers
Sony A7S II:
Check Amazon price

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.

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    Specifications: Sony A7S 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 A7S Sony A7S II
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Sony E mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
    Launch Date April 2014 September 2015
    Launch Price USD 2499 USD 2999
    Sensor Specs Sony A7S 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 12 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4240 x 2832 pixels 4240 x 2832 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 8.45 μm 8.40 μm
    Pixel Density 1.40 MP/cm2 1.42 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video 4K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100-102400 ISO 100-102400 ISO
    ISO Boost 50-409600 ISO 50-409600 ISO
    Image Processor BIONZ X BIONZ X
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 87 85
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 23.9 23.6
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 13.2 13.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 3702 2993
    Screen Specs Sony A7S 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 921k dots 1229k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs Sony A7S Sony A7S II
    Autofocus System Contrast-detect AF 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
    Electronic ShutterYESYES
    Image StabilizationLens stabilization onlyIn-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 A7S 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 A7S Sony A7S II
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type NP-FW50 power pack NP-FW50 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)380 shots per charge370 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 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 489 g (17.2 oz) 627 g (22.1 oz)

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