Sony has been steadily ratcheting up its full-frame mirrorless-camera game over the last few years, to the point that many pro shooters started jumping from DSLRs over to its compact and powerful Alpha series cameras — the entry-level a7, the low-light a7S and full-featured a7R. But if heads were already turning toward those cameras, necks snapped when the a7R II came out in August.

The camera has the most advanced image sensor on the market — a 42MP, back-illuminated array with 5-axis image stabilization and up to 102,400 ISO. The resulting images have brilliant colors and seemingly infinite sharpness — you can extract any part of the shot as your focus while editing the final product. It also shoots full 4K video, and as a result is now a darling of the videography crowd.

Sony-A7rii-GP100-Gear-Patrol-Ambiance

For a pro rig, the a7R II is user-friendly. You can easily upload images to your smartphone or tablet for quick editing and sharing, and the display previews how your shots will look based on your settings, so you don’t lose as much time experimenting. This works whether you’re using the rear screen or the OLED electronic viewfinder. You can download additional apps for customizable shooting (time lapse, night shooting) and even to have the rear sensor serve as a shutter trigger. In this mode, you wave your hand at the back of the camera, and the shutter will fire (and even stay open in bulb mode until you wave your hand again). In short, this is a camera that uses every modern trick at its disposal to not only maximize image quality, but make the process of shooting as fun as possible as well. It’s compact, lightweight, durable and capable, and once you start shooting with it, it’s hard to stop.

$3,198


Sensor: 42MP, 35mm full-frame (35.9 x 24mm) Exmor R CMOS sensor
Size: 5 x 3 7/8 x 2 3/8 inches
Weight: 1 pound 6 ounces (body only)
Lens compatibility: E-mount
Battery life: Up to 340 still images (W/ LCD SCREEN); 29 minutes of continuous video recording (50-55 MIN CIPA STANDARD)
Other features: Manual focus confirmation; 399-point autofocus, up to 5 fps shooting; silent shooting mode