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October 3, 2015
Posted in reviews

(Guest Post) Professional 4K Stabilization for Sony A7RII

The following is a Guest Post on courtesy of


Professional 4K Stabilization for Sony A7RII

In order to get an idea what this article is about, let us first take a look behind the scenes of the final result shown at the end:

Producing stabilized handheld videos
Pic. 1: Producing stable content with a handheld gimbal

Producing stabilized aerial videos
Pic 2: Recording stabilized aerial footage

For those considering ambitious 4K videos with compact equipment, so far the Lumix GH4 or the Sony A7S have been the cameras of choice during the last year. Both had their downsides: The A7S could deliver 4K UHD only through HDMI for external recorders like the Atomos Shogun which made the combination unhandy for agile applications and too heavy for most multi rotor aerial platforms. The GH4 was able to record 4K internally but the low light performance is quite questionable and due to its 2.6 crop when recording 4K, even a 12 mm lens becomes already 31.2 mm equivalent. The Samsung NX1 was already too bulky for most aerial platforms and suffers from a strong rolling shutter, the NX500 has a crop factor of 2.4 when recording 4K and switches down to 1080p when you connect a device to the HDMI port, which makes it unsuitable for most 4K aerial applications as well. Some users with a higher threshold for pain decided to go with the BMPCC but this has a high crop factor as well and can be used for video solely. All of them did not contain an in body stabilization.

Due to all these shortcomings, I decided to go ahead with the Sony A7S for a while. On the ground, it delivered excellent 4K footage in combination with a Shogun and in the air, it was able to deliver at least quite decent 1080p footage. Due to its light body and some light lenses available like the Zeiss FE 2.8/35 or the Voigtlander Skopar 21/4, it was possible to use it even on multi rotor platforms with a total take-off weight below 5 KG. This is the magic limit in several European countries (e.g. Germany), when you want to fly without particular request for authorization for each single flight.

The major challenge is the unit which is responsible for 3-axis camera stabilization, called “brushless gimbal”. Think of it as an electronic steadycam, using three brushless motors, one or two gyroscopic IMUs (inertial measurement unit) and a controller, driving the motors in order to balance every movement of the camera. We are talking about large amplitude, low frequency movements, which no OIS or IBIS can compensate. You may have heard from MoVI or Ronin M, but those are usually too heavy for aerial applications.

I spent about eight months in several gimbals, controllers and many tuning sessions but even then the results were not completely satisfying. There was still some micro-vibration and shake in the videos and with certain shutter speeds you could notice jello in the pictures. In order to get stable footage with these cameras, most of the users ended up in larger aerial platforms like the DJI S900 with a Zenmuse Z15 gimbal dedicated for that particular camera – breaking the 5 kg limit and getting unflexible regarding choice of camera and lense.

In the meantime the Sony A7RII entered the arena and I decided to put together all my experiences collected about damping and stabilization so far and give it a try. I bought a new gimbal body and applied several modifications to it as well as to the controller in order to make it compatible with the Sony A7RII. I also designed some 3D printable parts for optimized component attachments and also the mount to the aerial platform required several modifications in order to get it stable and minimize vibrations. After all this grief, the first test flight was breathtaking for me, as I did not expect such a big improvement. The video was already embedded earlier at SonyAlphaRumors, so I only recap the link here:

Now, after a lot of paperwork for permissions and some further technical optimizations, the deadline for my next project was approaching. It was titled “Hafencity Runner”, telling a story about a girl regularly in the early dawn running a round in the seaport of Hamburg. It was planned to record some scenes on the ground with handheld gimbal as well as aerial footage – all in 4K with the Sony A7RII:

After publishing these two videos, I got a lot of questions regarding the aerial platform and the gimbal.

  • Regarding the multi rotor, I can say that it is based on a foldable Tarot 680pro hexa copter frame. I decided for a hexa because of its advanced safety and redundancy (you usually can safely return and land it even when one of the motors drops out). When you plan to build it close to the 5 kg limit, you should consider a propulsion that is capable to produce enough thrust like the DJI E600 or E800 motor set. It is very important to choose well balanced props.
  • Regarding the gimbal, at the moment I do not know any manufacturer providing a ready-to-use lightweight gimbal particularly designed and fine-tuned for the Sony A7RII. I also cannot provide a simple parts list that you can easily shop and assemble. In my case it was a composition of many components from different manufactures and some self-designed constructions created over the last months so that I would call it highly customized, A7RII fine-tuned “KopterKraft” gimbal. It can be easily mounted to a headheld grip as well.
  • Finally also the in-body stabilization settings in the A7RII should be set according to the focal length of the attached lens in order to reduce remaining micro vibrations that cannot be eliminated by the gimbal. I recomend the 4K full frame mode of the A7RII because of its significantly lower rolling shutter compared to the Super35 4K mode. The price may be some minor moiré that will disappear when using a proper downscaling algorithm to 1440p or 1080p.

For further information please feel free to contact me at and visit my website at .

October 2, 2015
Posted in reviews

Sony A7R II Hands-On Review Part 2 by TheCameraStoreTV.

Jordan and Chris posted their second part of the Sony A7rII review. And that’s the only review where I do agree to 100% to everything they say positive and negative about the camera. The A7rII is definitely a great camera but it has some inconsistencies and quirks that still will make Canon/Nikon PRO’s not jump over to the Sony system. I do hope Sony listen to those two guys to fix all these annoying limitations for their next generation A7 and the first generation A9 cameras!

A7rII store list:
In USA: at Amazon, BHphoto, AdoramaSonyStore US, FocusCamera, Uniquephoto.
In Europe at Amazon DE, Amazon UK, Wex UK and ParkCameras.
In Asia at Digitalrev, CameraPro.

September 30, 2015
Posted in reviews

A7RII vs a99 real life comparison by Jack Devant.

Bildschirmfoto 2015-09-29 um 08.35.34

We really need a new A-mount camera and Jack Devant explained on SonyAlphaForum why the A7rII is “not there” with the A99:

I shot with borrowed a7r2 whole day, ca 1400 frames. My main camera is a99 for last 2.5 years (i got two bodies), shooting them in average 70 000 shots per year. Now I used LA-EA3 and my a-mount lenses, 24-70 mm ZA, 70-200 G2 and 300 mm f2.8 G. All of my work was in-doors and stage photography. So, here are my quick observations.


  • IQ is absolutely superior to a99. Biggest difference in low light, for example at ISO 6400. Subjectively 2 stops at least.
  • new focusing system works pretty well. Very low rate of out-of focus shots, most are tack sharp.
  • despite of rumors, 300mm f2.8 G focuses fast and accurately
  • EV compensation control is great! Tactile and accessible. Much better that a99 button plus wheel combination.
  • Live highlight zebra is very useful in combination with fast EV compensation


  • Body size is ridiculously small. My fingers got heavy toll, operating such a small body with bigger lens. Not comfortable at all. Shutter button still in unnatural location.
  • back-plane buttons (review, function, etc) small, hard to find without looking to camera.
  • Battery life is super short. Almost unusably short. Thats because body is small and battery is sooo tiiinyy. Exactly the same battery what is found in my a5100.
  • Shutter lag. I shoot ballet and timing is essential. There is definitely something wrong with that. Missed 5x more jumps and fast moving positions etc what usually with my a99. I used front e-shuter mode.
  • Image review slow. Usually I switch auto-review off, because I have effects-on on the EVF. Still, during the shoot I tried to check photos, abt 50% times, camera was busy, writing files, not able to preview, This was really slowing my work down. Magnification is also painfully slow.
  • a7r2 + la-ea3 does not support my favourite 50 mm prime, Sigma 50 mm f1.4 Art.
  • new focus area modes like expand flexible spot not available, using a-mount lenses
  • can’t move flexible AF spot around during the shoot
  • charger is slow and flimsy. Dual-battery charger with quick-charge capabilities with this camera is needed.

a7-family body is not there in usability and UX scale. Most of the technology is sorted out ina7r2, sensor is superior, but body too small. Waiting for a9 or a99II. If Sony builds mirror-less a99II, I would consider it.

A7rII store list:
In USA: at Amazon, BHphoto, AdoramaSonyStore US, FocusCamera, Uniquephoto.
In Europe at Amazon DE, Amazon UK, Wex UK and ParkCameras.
In Asia at Digitalrev, CameraPro.

September 30, 2015
Posted in reviews

Sony A7rII: Commlite vs Fotodiox adapter autofocus test.

Sony A7RII. Autofocus Test 2. Fotodiox Pro & Sigma 35 1,4 Art
from PDR Photoblog – P De Rubertis on Vimeo.

Metabones adapter are very good and also expensive. So if you are on budget this test is for you: Pdrphoto posted an interesting Commlite vs Fotodiox adapter autofocus comparison on SonyAlphaForum. What adapter works best on the new Sony A7rII?

eBay links to the adapters:
Commlite E-mount (Click here).
Fotodiox E-mount (Click here).

Sony A7RII Autofocus Test 3 – Commlite & Canon 24-70 & Sigma 35 1,4 Art
from PDR Photoblog – P De Rubertis on Vimeo.

September 30, 2015
Posted in reviews

New A7rII reviews (Dave Dugdale, long zoom with LL and Canon 5ds battle).

On top you can watch the A7rII review video from Dave Dugdale. He is a known GH4 user and loves the A7rII features (with a few missing exceptions).

Photographyblog posted the full A7rIi review and concludes:

The Sony A7R II certainly succeeds in its attempt to turn the heads of DSLR owners. It won’t satisfy the needs of professional sports shooters, the menu system isn’t as refined as the competition, and some people will still put their trust (however blindly) in a more conventional DSLR, but the A7R II is a undoubtedly a break-through camera for Sony, both in terms of the promises that it makes, and the realisation of those promises…

Luminous Landscape tells you what long lens suits best for the A7rII.

Bildschirmfoto 2015-09-28 um 19.34.06

The French site Focus Numerique compared the A7rII against the Canon 5DsR. And the A7rII is the winner with the Canon 5Dsr beating the A7rII only when it comes to sports photography.

Alexandre:I shot beautiful pictures in Thailand with my new Sony A7RII and 3 different lenses, you can share if you like them:

A7r2 – A7r – D810 – 5Ds – 5Dm3  Sharpness / dynamic range / noise comparison by
Sharpness –
Noise –
DR –

A7rII store list:
In USA: at Amazon, BHphoto, AdoramaSonyStore US, FocusCamera, Uniquephoto.
In Europe at Amazon DE, Amazon UK, Wex UK and ParkCameras.
In Asia at Digitalrev, CameraPro.

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