Sony A7R II and A7 II ISO Series Comparison

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Cameras' started by Amin Sabet, Aug 15, 2015.

  1. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Aug 6, 2011
    Many Sony E-Mount users will be choosing between a Sony A7RII and a Sony A7II as these are presently the only two models featuring in-body image stabilization. The A7RII features a newly-designed, back-illuminated sensor and offers a higher nominal ISO maximum (102,400 vs 25,600) than the A7II. Let's see how they stack up.

    I converted all files from RAW in Capture One 8.3.2 (all sharpening and noise reduction settings at default) using a matched output width dimension of 6000px, which is the native width of the A7II files. To counter the softening introduced by resizing, I slightly sharpened the resulting A7RII files.

    Suggested method for viewing comparison photos: Maximize browser window, and then click each photo of interest to open the full-resolution version on a new browser tab. Toggle between tabs to compare full-resolution shots at matched sizes.

    ISO 3200 A7II:

    ISO 3200 A7RII:


    ISO 6400 A7II:


    ISO 6400 A7RII:


    ISO 12,800 A7II:


    ISO 12,800 A7RII:


    ISO 25,600 A7II:


    ISO 25,600 A7RII:


    ISO 51,200-e (25,600 + 1EV push) A7II:


    ISO 51,200 A7RII:


    ISO 102,400-e (25,600 + 2EV push) A7II:


    ISO 102,400 A7RII:


    I would say the A7RII has an slightly less than one-stop advantage over the A7II (ie, ISO 12,800 on A7RII looks close to ISO 6400 on A7II). This was a greater difference than I had expected.

    RAW files for download:
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2016
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  2. serhan

    serhan TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2011
    Thanks for the tests again. I never directly compared the A7R with A7 II/RX1, but it looked to me like A7R might be a little better when I processed them. From tests I saw that A7R II gain from new back lit sensor is above ISO 800, so your results show that...

    Fred Miranda has also a high ISO dynamic range comparison of A7R and A7R II that shows some improvement also:
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  3. robbie36

    robbie36 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Nov 21, 2014
    One other point worth considering when comparing the A7r2 and A7ii at higher isos is this...

    I took the following stunning photo at iso12800 with both cameras....

    tetest (1 of 1).jpg

    I then added 25 points of noise reduction to both shots in Lightroom. I resized the A7r2 to 24MP (without any additional sharpening) and below I have posted not so identical 100% crops....

    First the A7r2.....

    And now the A7ii.....

    Now to me the A7r2 ends up with slightly less noise than the A7ii BUT, more importantly, it retains a lot more detail. Just look at the wood grain and even the writing on the remote.

    Now of course I can bring back more detail in the A7ii if I added less noise reduction. Or alternatively I could add more noise reduction to the A7r2 image and end up with 'far less' noise than the A7ii image but the same amount of detail. The bottom line is that there is always a trade off between noise and detail at high isos and because the A7r2 renders so much more detail (which one often dont really use at is100) you can use that detail to increase noise reduction compared to the A7ii.
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  4. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Aug 6, 2011
    I was really surprised by the results of the test series, though on further inspection, I'd put the difference at slightly less than 1 stop and revised the text accordingly. According to DxOmark, not even the A7S has a one-stop SNR advantage over the A7II in this ISO range.
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  5. Deadbear77

    Deadbear77 TalkEmount Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 14, 2012
    Northeast Ohio
    So is it worth upgrading from an A7ii in your eyes? I'm talking about IQ alone not any of the bells and whistles like the silent shutter.
  6. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Aug 6, 2011
    I'm not sure yet!
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  7. jeffmurray

    jeffmurray TalkEmount Veteran

    Dec 18, 2014
    Hobart, Australia
    These are both very helpful tests - thanks guys.

    My earlier thoughts are there was more noise in the shadows at high ISOs. I am pushing the camera more because I thought it would be much better and shot higher ISOs than was doing with the A7R.

    I also looked for really high contrast situations like the one below. The good news is that since the 5D2 we have improved 2 stops of dynamic range and we're approaching a time where we can shoot without HDR - which will be good news for many people.

    In terms of whether to upgrade one litmus test I use is a friend of mine (a trained photographer with a degree in the subject- a Canon fan) only comments when I make a step increase. He commented when I went from Canon to Sony A7R about the detail. And he just did again - on an image I took at this location with the A7Rii and SEL55F18Z.

    Straight out of A7Rii


    100% shadow recovery - Noiseworks and LR sharpening (+77).

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  8. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    I dont have either, but from what I've read I think if video (internal 4K) and fast(er) AF isn't a prority, then no its not worth it.
  9. storyteller

    storyteller TalkEmount Veteran

    Sep 25, 2011
    Not only that but the color seems much better on the A7RII. Shooting at high ISO is not only about the noise but the color and dynamic range. IMHO that is what really sets the A7S apart and it looks like the A7RII as well.
  10. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Aug 6, 2011
    I think if you often shoot at higher than ISO 6400, it may well be worth it. Otherwise, probably not worth it from an IQ standpoint.
  11. GabrielPhoto

    GabrielPhoto TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Jul 3, 2013
    Based on a quick analysis of those images (which btw thanks a ton for those!!!!!), I can certainly see less that one stop advantage for sure, just a bit better up to 12800. To my eyes, in my quick review of the photos, at 25,600 the difference become more pronounced.
    I will check them back when I get home.
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  12. jeffmurray

    jeffmurray TalkEmount Veteran

    Dec 18, 2014
    Hobart, Australia
    SAR has an interesting post based on a Dpreview article:

    5) The Sony RAW compression can limit dynamic range: The posterization artifacts are due to Sony’s lossy compression, which you can read more about in Iliah Borg’s excellent study here. You’ll also see in Iliah’s article that this can particularly be an issue with star(trail) shots, which tend to have sharp, high contrast transitions.

    . . . Really a very interesting contribute from the Dpreview team! And again, a big statement in favour of real lossless 14 bit RAW. I will keep annoying Sony until they will deliver it to us via firmware upgrade :)

    Sent from my LG-H815 using TalkEmount mobile app
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