In Practice, is the mk2's IBIS Worth the money?

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Cameras' started by tjdean01, Mar 1, 2015.

  1. tjdean01

    tjdean01 TalkEmount Regular

    Jan 14, 2015
    As of today on Ebay, an A7 body can be had for just over $1000. The A7 mkII is would be nearly $1600.

    I'm coming from Olympus where the 2-axis IBIS actually ruins images; but the 3-axis is nearly as good as the 5-axis on the OMD series. Now, from what I've seen, the mkII doesn't actually have physical 5-axis stabilization--unless if a stabilized lens is attached (whereas I prefer adapted glass anyway). So, I'm guessing that this "5-axis" IBIS on the Sony is NOT as good as the 5-axis on the Olympus EM1. However, perhaps it's as good as the Olympus 3-axis IBIS? Also, I'm hoping I don't experience any of the blur I get with 2-axis on every single shot? (Everything here is based only on what I've read and assumed, so correct me where I'm wrong).

    With the good Olympus high ISO performance and owning 3-axis stabilized camera, buying an A7 mkII with great ISO performance, in all honesty, hand-held in low light, I'd be gaining....1 stop?

    So, I'm not bashing here. I'm just asking for input from anyone who has more experience with the actual cameras than I do. Is the dynamic range, ISO performance, artful shallow DOF, etc., of a FF sensor worth the price and size? Sure it is. Is the 5-axis IBIS on the A7 mkII worth $600 over the original A7? I'm not sure. Hmmm.

  2. robbie36

    robbie36 TalkEmount Veteran

    Nov 21, 2014
    I own an EPL5 (gathering dust), an EM1, an A7r and an A7ii.

    First on IBIS. I imagine the EPL5 has 2 axis stabilisation. That stabilisation is pretty poor and unusable for video (gello effect). The EM1 has 5 axis stabilisation which is very good (certainly as good as Panasonic OIS). The 5 axis stbilisation on the A7ii is very good too - doesnt quite match the EM1 but as good as the EM5. Supposedly (according to Tony Northrup) it even adds 1 stop stabilisation to lens with OSS (it uses 3 axis of the sensor + 2 from the lens). On the 55 f1.8 (no stabilisation) it adds a good 3 stops. I dont have legacy MF lenses, so I cant comment but I believe the results are very good.

    Next noise performance. I hear what you are saying about ibis + fast lens on an EM1 giving you near performance to an A7. I have an A7r + 55 f1.8 and would always pic the EM1 + Nocticron for shooting my kid - stabilisation + faster lens + better and faster eye focus. The A7ii helps the A7 system a lot with its IBIS (it also has pdaf focusing) and now I tend to grab the A7ii + 55 1.8. But low light performance isnt anything better than you would expect it to be. In fact the most significant gain in noise performance is cleaner images at base iso with the A7ii (imho).

    Related to noise, the other big advantage is the ability to push shadows. Here the A7ii is in a different class to the M43 sensor. The additional dynamic range is extremely noticeable (I live in Thailand). With the EM1 I pretty much bracketed everything (which is very easy to do). I dont bracket much with the A7ii (more difficult/less necessary).

    So to answer your question. Is the A7ii worth the extra bucks. Definitely in my book. It turns the camera into a much more user friendly camera and much more like an EM1 for hand held. If you value the IBIS with the Oly, you will certainly value it with the A7ii. And if you think the extra US$600 is too much to spend on a camera - well you wont be buying many native lenses.

    I will conclude with 2 comments. First when I bought an A7 in addition to my EM1 I had fairly 'realistic' expectations - I was more expecting incremental rather than dramatic image quality improvements. I have been more than pleasantly surprised how much extra IQ I can get from the FF sensor (that being said I do push my files pretty hard). Secondly take a look at my 'flickr'. Most of the pictures over the last 6 months are (A7r/ii). Miost of the photos before EM1/EM5. I can see the difference even at Flickr resolution. But if you cant, then perhaps it isnt worth the upgrade.
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  3. pbizarro

    pbizarro TalkEmount Veteran

    Nov 24, 2014
    For me, yes. For you, I don't know, in fact, nobody knows.
  4. riskinstrument

    riskinstrument TalkEmount Regular

    Nov 20, 2014
    Dallas, Texas.
    I bought my A7ii for the five axis more than anything else. It is a full five axis in body, with the axis not needed when using a stabilized lens turned off, but all other axis are stabilized.
    In manual mode, the stabilization can be set to the focal length of the lens, which works great on older legacy lenses.
    As for bracketing, on board 3 shot noise reduction hdr with up to five full stops of exposure above and below center value.
  5. TedG954

    TedG954 TalkEmount All-Pro

    Nov 29, 2014
    South Florida and NE Ohio
    Real Name:
    Ted Gersdorf
    Yes. Yes, it is worth the money.
  6. tomO2013

    tomO2013 TalkEmount Veteran

    Dec 11, 2014
    To echo what others have said - yes, yes and yes.

    Like Robbie, I've also come from and use m43. As a system it's a fantastic imaging making system and all around speed, usability, flexibility of the entire package is fantastic. One of the best cameras out there.
    Sony's A7ii, to me spiritually feels like a Full Frame OM-D E-M1. Better is some handling and speed areas, focus tracking but lacking in others such as eye AF.
    It's 5-axis implementation is very very good. As others have said, probably as good as the EM5 mk 1 , but not quite as good as the EM1. Where I feel it does better than the EM1 is with longer focal lengths (200mm). Where I feel it does worse is with wider angles... say up to 100mm. But again worse is relative.
    As already mentioned I miss Olympus' eye detect functionality - Sony's is not bad (you wait to get the green square lock and then have to press the center 'Ok' button to tell it to now lock onto specific eyes, press 'Ok' again to lock onto the other eye). At super shallow DOF it's not as fast as the EM1 getting eye focus - then again you are typically working at much shallower DOF than the EM1 anyway. Stopped down to an 'equivalent' DOF the eye detect is very similar in terms of focus speed/accuracy. My problem is the usability - Olympus provide the option to specify to target left eye, right eye or nearest eye automatically. It's just a little nicer implementation and doesn't require the photographer to tell the camera to use eye detect when taking the shot.
    The Em1 focus tracking speed has improved fairly modestly with current firmware 3 implementation. Current tracking speed is great and it's continuous burst rate is better than the A7ii's. The EM1 single AF speed is fantastic and fastest camera I've ever used. A7ii is nearly as fast all round depending on lens..
    In terms of AF tracking performance, I'm genuinely impressed...
    I'm in the process of writing up A7ii + 70-400 + LAEA4 report from shooting downhill skiing and wildlife over the last two weekends. Bottom line, it was the fastest focusing, most accurate and capable mirrorless setup I've ever tried for sports shooting. Performance wise, using the LAEA 4 and center flexible spot autofocus + continuous setting (bit of a mouthful) I got a massive keeper rate.
    When shooting in pure mirrorless mode with FE70-200 F4 and center lockon , flexible expandable spot + continuous I got a very high keeper rate too and was very happy with the performance. The best mirrorless that I have experienced (EM1, XT1, etc...). Performance wise I'd place it like a middle of the pack DSLR for the types of scenes that I was shooting. Downhill skiiing may be somewhat easier on the camera as there is lots of contrast for it to work with.

    I'd also agree with Robbie's comment on latitude availability in PP. I'd add to his comment that I've found some RAW converters to be more flexible than others... Definitely Capture One (free for Sony users) gave the widest latitude and significantly more detail, accuracy than what I can pull from LR. YMMV.

  7. Bill

    Bill TalkEmount Veteran

    Oct 22, 2012
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    For someone who uses already stabilized zooms, the difference narrows. But I usually use primes, and the A7II is a Godsend. Having said that, a full frame body for a thousand bucks is a heck of a deal.

    The A7II system works very well. The stabilization in the A7II, however, doesn't appear to be as effective as that in the latest Olympus M4/3s. But the Sony is shifting a full-frame sensor that 4-times the size.

    So, how steady are you?
  8. unlo

    unlo Sony ******

    Jan 19, 2014
    Real Name:
    I rented one, shows up Thursday next week. I'll let you know how I get along with it.
  9. tomO2013

    tomO2013 TalkEmount Veteran

    Dec 11, 2014
    Bill just checked out your blog. You have some really beautiful photo's. You have a great writing style too. Please keep up the good work - I've book marked your blog :)