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.
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.
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.
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, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Sony A7S||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||489 g||380||Y||Apr 2014||2,499|
|2.||Sony A7S II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||627 g||370||Y||Sep 2015||2,999|
|3.||Nikon Df||144 mm||110 mm||67 mm||760 g||1400||Y||Nov 2013||2,749|
|4.||Nikon D700||147 mm||123 mm||77 mm||1074 g||1000||Y||Jul 2008||2,999|
|5.||Sony A7S III||127 mm||97 mm||81 mm||699 g||600||Y||Jul 2020||3,499|
|6.||Sony A99 II||143 mm||104 mm||76 mm||849 g||490||Y||Sep 2016||3,199|
|7.||Sony A7R II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||625 g||290||Y||Jun 2015||3,199|
|8.||Sony RX1R II||113 mm||65 mm||72 mm||507 g||220||n||Oct 2015||3,299|
|9.||Sony A7 II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||599 g||350||Y||Nov 2014||1,999|
|10.||Sony A7||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||474 g||340||Y||Oct 2013||1,699|
|11.||Sony A7R||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||465 g||340||Y||Oct 2013||2,299|
|12.||Sony RX1R||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Jun 2013||2,799|
|13.||Sony RX1||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Sep 2012||2,799|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or 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.
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.
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.
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.
|1.||Sony A7S||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||1080/60p||23.9||13.2||3702||87|
|2.||Sony A7S II||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||4K/30p||23.6||13.3||2993||85|
|3.||Nikon Df||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||none||24.6||13.1||3279||89|
|4.||Nikon D700||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2303||80|
|5.||Sony A7S III||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||4K/120p||23.7||13.9||2520||86|
|6.||Sony A99 II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||25.4||13.4||2317||92|
|7.||Sony A7R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||13.9||3434||98|
|8.||Sony RX1R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||1080/60p||25.8||13.9||3204||97|
|9.||Sony A7 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.9||13.6||2449||90|
|10.||Sony A7||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.8||14.2||2248||90|
|11.||Sony A7R||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.6||14.1||2746||95|
|12.||Sony RX1R||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||13.6||2537||91|
|13.||Sony RX1||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.1||14.3||2534||93|
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.
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.
|1.||Sony A7S||2400||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|2.||Sony A7S II||2400||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
|3.||Nikon Df||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.5||n||n|
|4.||Nikon D700||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.0||Y||n|
|5.||Sony A7S III||9440||n||3.0 / 1440||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|6.||Sony A99 II||2400||Y||3.0 / 1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0||n||Y|
|7.||Sony A7R II||2400||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
|8.||Sony RX1R II||2360||n||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/4000s||5.0||n||n|
|9.||Sony A7 II||2400||n||3.0 / 1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
|10.||Sony A7||2400||n||3.0 / 1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|11.||Sony A7R||2400||n||3.0 / 1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||4.0||n||n|
|12.||Sony RX1R||optional||n||3.0 / 1229||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|13.||Sony RX1||optional||n||3.0 / 1229||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
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 offers no blur reduction with lenses that themselves do not provide optical image stabilization.
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.
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.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Sony A7S||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|2.||Sony A7S II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Nikon Df||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Nikon D700||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Sony A7S III||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||full||3.2||Y||-||Y|
|6.||Sony A99 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|7.||Sony A7R II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|8.||Sony RX1R II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|9.||Sony A7 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|10.||Sony A7||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|11.||Sony A7R||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Sony RX1R||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Sony RX1||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
Both the A7S and the A7S II have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The A7S was replaced by the Sony A7S II, while the A7S II was followed by the Sony A7S 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.
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.
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.
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 (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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.
|1.||Sony A7S||4/5||..||..||86/100||4.5/5||5/5||Apr 2014||2,499|
|2.||Sony A7S II||5/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2015||2,999|
|3.||Nikon Df||4/5||..||..||81/100||4/5||4/5||Nov 2013||2,749|
|4.||Nikon D700||..||89/100||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2008||2,999|
|5.||Sony A7S III||..||+ +||5/5||91/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2020||3,499|
|6.||Sony A99 II||..||..||4.5/5||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||3,199|
|7.||Sony A7R II||5/5||+ +||5/5||90/100||5/5||5/5||Jun 2015||3,199|
|8.||Sony RX1R II||5/5||..||..||82/100||..||4.5/5||Oct 2015||3,299|
|9.||Sony A7 II||5/5||+||4/5||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||Nov 2014||1,999|
|10.||Sony A7||5/5||+ +||..||80/100||5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||1,699|
|11.||Sony A7R||5/5||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||2,299|
|12.||Sony RX1R||5/5||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||2,799|
|13.||Sony RX1||5/5||..||..||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799|
|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.
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.
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 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 2,499||USD 2,999|
|Sensor Specs||Sony A7S||Sony A7S II|
|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|
|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 - 102,400 ISO||100 - 102,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 409,600 ISO||50 - 409,600 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 Resolution||2400k dots||2400k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Sony A7S||Sony A7S II|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|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 A7S||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 A7S||Sony A7S II|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||380 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||489 g (17.2 oz)||627 g (22.1 oz)|
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