July 29th 2015, Sentosa Island, Singapore. On a balmy Wednesday on the southern resort island of Sentosa, famed for sun-bathed beaches, sea fronting super bungalows and renowned resorts, Sony Singapore launches it’s A7RM2, the highly anticipated sequel to the A7R full frame mirrorless camera line. Hundreds of fans, professionals and invited media were treated to one spectacular, mother of all camera launches of recent history. As exclusive as Sentosa luxury goes, it was a by-invitation event open only to the select few in the Sony-interest community. It was so restricted that for the event RSVP, each participant was asked a short paragraph why he or she deserves to attend. No kidding. The camera market is alive and kicking well. The Day of Launch As the day approaches, participants realize the anticipation is going to be worth it. From the well designed invitations to social media priming and the vast preparations at the Shangri-la Rasa Sentosa Hotel, it was apparent how serious Sony views this segment of its vast offerings.
The A7RM2 So what makes the A7RM2 so desirable commanding such high level attention? Priced at S$4099 with a special gift of an Artisan and Artist strap and a 64GB SD Card for early birds (6 to 9 August 2015) and a generous purchase with purchase lens program, it is well positioned in the high-end full frame camera market. In fact, Singapore may just be the ideal place to buy Sony A7 cameras as it is selling more expensively in Amazon (US$3199 or S$4399). This game changing product line of defines how Sony has reemerged as the champion of consumer electronics. Sony now controls over 50% of the market share for sensors worldwide. It is the most “selected” brand for sensors, as the President of Sony Singapore Marketing Centre, Mr Atsushi Endo, said. It has beaten its old school competitors who still rely on DSLRs in that fast dwindling market. Sony has led full steam in producing quality mirrorless cameras targeting professionals and serious hobbyists that it is now the king that others manufacturers have to beat. At S$4099 at launch, it is a flagship proposition in the same price bracket as Canon’s 5DSR and Nikon’s D810. Of course, just like a Sentosa bungalow, this is not your usual compact takeaway though you may be tempted to carry it everywhere due to its small size. Its state of the art specifications are summarised here:
- World’s first 42.4-megapixel back-illuminated 35mm with full-frame EXMOR R™ CMOS sensor delivers crisp resolution, high sensitivity and fast response
- Fast Hybrid AF system with 399-point wide focal plane phase-detection AF coverage for sharp focus
- 5-axis image stabilisation reduces blur for stills and movies – making every shot crystal clear
- Experience high sensitivity of up to ISO 102400 with low-noise performance and wide dynamic range
- The world’s first digital camera to offer higher-resolution 4K (QFHD: 3840 x 2160) movie reading featuring full pixel readout without pixel binning in Super 35mm format
- The XGA OLED Tru-Finder™ with ZEISS® T* Coating is the world’s largest*4 viewfinder, delivering a magnification of 0.78x for crystal clear image preview and playback across the entire display area
Key Highlights of the Sony A7RM2 The key feature is its 5-axis built-in stabilisation and a 42MP full frame sensor that captures amazing details even in low light. This makes it the only high-resolution camera which can take both stills and videos on the run, literally. It works well with both native FE lenses and also third-party non-stabilised lenses. It also features great AF speed with its own native FE lenses as well as Canon lenses. Surely it is going to capture even more Canon users in the near future. Sony has again put real innovation into play. Users’ feedback over the last few A7 offerings were taken seriously into consideration. For example, the camera has improved weather-sealing, faster burst speeds and a silent electronic shutter mode. You will be truly impressed with the silent function (totally silent) as previous A7 series cameras are famed for indiscreet shutter noise while DSLRs traditionally have to grapple with slapping mirrors. As electronic revolution heads towards zero moving parts, the future of mirrorless and even shutterless cameras are assured. Of particular importance, beyond its high-resolution, this camera does not suffer from hot pixels in long exposure photography. This is one remarkable achievement as even more expensive professional cameras are affected by this. For the relative positioning of the A7RM2 compared to its siblings, please refer to this photo chart.
Summary The A7RM2 proves to be yet another cult offering from Sony. It will be a huge global success and of course in Singapore, even improving on the original A7, A7R and A7S blockbusters launched in 2013. It has many unmatched strengths. The built quality addresses past lingering problems such as shutter noise, weak mount, AF speed, robustness, 4K video and low light/high ISO performance. Pros
- Highest mirrorless full frame sensor resolution. Sony calls it #A7RM2ResolutionRevolution.
- Reliable image and video stabilisation via 5-axis sensor stabilisation
- In-camera 4K QFHD video
- Inspiring low light performance at high ISO
- Eye tracking feature
- Total silent shutter function (single shot)
- Attention to details such as jerk-proof tethering, placement of buttons etc.
- Big EVF with excellent clarity (Zeiss T* Coating)
- Solid jpeg output with solid dynamic range in raw
Cons There aren’t many.
- Still only one SD Card. A let down for professionals who depend on memory redundancy
- Price on high side at launch
- Limited but improving lens choices. Zooms with F2.8 will be much welcomed.
- No lossless raw output
All pictures in this post are taken with our own CSC camera and not with the A7RM2 due to image embargo. Lastly, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask anything. More pictures from the event below: