By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
Sony is making the α7 II platform even more of a video beast thanks to a recent firmware update which not only improves its autofocus capability, but gives it uncompressed 14-bit Raw recording. That puts it on par with Sony’s other full-framed members of the α7 family.
“Sony today announced that it will release a free firmware update for a7 II cameras on November 18th, 2015 that will add uncompressed 14-Bit RAW image capture and activates phase detection autofocus for faster and more precise autofocus with lenses designed for interchangeable lens cameras such as Sony’s A-mount lenses.” – Sony’s Press Release
By adding uncompressed 14 bit Raw, the Sony α7 II can now avoid compression artifacts, which degrade an otherwise great 4K image. Additionally, shooters will be able to expand the use of the movie record button with assigned customized features, making the camera even more comfortable for users who would prefer greater flexibility.
Sony’s Phase detection autofocus with adapted lenses also comes to the update which will quicken autofocus beyond FE mount lenses to Sony’s own A mount lenses. This will give users the ability use deploy over 64 A mount lenses, as well 13 full-frame FE mount lenses, and a host of as third party lenses as well. Users will need to enable phase detection for adapted lenses in the menu settings after updating the firmware so that third party lenses can take advantage of the feature.
After which, users will be able to harness the 117 point focal plan autofocus sensor and choose between the faster focusing phase detection option, or contrast detection which will take it’s time, but provide a more accurate and sharper focus.
Additionally, DPreview says that the new autofocus features will even be deployed with mount adapters, so users can throw on an EF lens with an A mount to EF adapter and still get phase detection autofocus. That’s sweet.
Next on the update list is Advanced Subject Tracking, against through adapted lenses. This feature isn’t as wide spread, meaning that users won’t be able to perform functions like Eye AF or Lock on AF, since no α7 model can deploy these features through a third party adapted lens. However, Advanced Subject Tracking will enable users will be able to calculate and follow a subject based on depth based subject tracking. This feature will have it’s limitations though, in that users won’t be able to shoot burst shots of more than 3fps. But the Face detection autofocus will.
The update will be available at no charge, and users will be able to update their α7 Mk. II after November 18th, by going to Sony’s Support site here, and inputting model “ILCE-7M2” to download firmware 2.0. Users are also reminded to disable sleep mode on their computer and to have a fully charged NP-FW50 battery or AC Adapter plugged into the camera before upgrading. Also remove your SD card to keep the computer from enabling export functions. The update should take about 15 minutes to complete, and keep in mind, this is irreversible.