We Tested the Sony A7RII AGAIN for All the Sony Fanboys

UPDATE:  Results from our reader's poll can be found here! Last week we released our head to head competition review between the Sony A7RII, the Nikon D810, and the Canon 5DsR ultra high megapixel cameras. Our test put all three cameras up against each other and compared their performance in terms of ergonomics, HD video, auto focus, ISO performance, Dynamic range, and overall image quality when used in the studio. Unfortunately a bunch of Sony users complained that our final studio test wasn't up to snuff, so we did what any respectable review site would do and brought back baby turtle. The new results might shock you.

Here is the original video that caused such an uproar among Sony A7RII users.


The main point we were trying to get across with this video was that all three cameras of these cameras are unbelievable in image quality. In our opinion, anyone who switches camera systems that they are heavily invested in, is ultimately making a very poor financial decision for a very small difference in image quality. If you like the Sony sensor then simply wait 6 months and that same sensor will be in the next Nikon camera. If you want more megapixels, hold out because both the Nikon and Sony systems will catch up with Canon very soon. Want better video quality? Yep, I have do doubt all cameras in the near future will probably take 4k video as well. Switching brands 10 years ago might have made sense but with image quality reaching near perfection in the current crop of cameras, it seems a bit foolish to think that your photography will greatly improve after switching to any one of these three cameras. 

Our Readers' Results

Of course that is OUR opinion but we wanted to to hear from our readers concerning the image quality from these three ultra high megapixel studio and landscape workhorses. In the camera comparison article, we posted three near identical images from the Sony, Nikon, and Canon cameras and asked you our readers if you could accurately tell the difference between the three files (all exported at 36 megapixels for fairness and anonymity). Below our the finds from our 3 poll questions and our 1 quiz.

Which Camera Took Each Photo Poll Results

As you can see from the poll above, statistically no one could accurately guess which camera took which image. It was almost 33% across the board and you might have even scored higher if you had blindly guessed which camera took which image. In fact, considering most readers thought both images 2 and 3 were taken by the Sony, you would have actually done better guessing.

The results from our Quiz "Which Image Looks the Best" is even more shocking. Again all three images almost split the votes evenly with the Nikon D810 actually receiving the most votes. So not only did more people find that the camera with the lowest megapixel count (Nikon D810) did in fact produce the best looking file, the massively impressive (and expensive) Canon 5DsR didn't really look that much different from the Nikon and Sony cameras both sporting Sony sensor technology.  

Which Image Do You Think Looks the Best Results

With a sample size of 4,000 participants, I think it is safe to say "Who Cares?!? The mass majority of people cannot tell the difference between the images these cameras produce!"

But Wait, Sony Wasn't Given A Fair Opportunity!

Many Sony users were quick to point out that because we used the Sony 24 - 70 f/4.0 lens instead of the Tamron 24 - 70 f/2.8 VC lens that we used on the other two cameras, the A7RII actually had a disadvantage in our high resolution studio test. Honestly, Lee and I thought the native Sony E Mount lens would have actually given Sony the upper hand but depending on who you ask online, their 24 - 70 lens is either the worst lens we could have picked or one of the best lenses you can buy for the A7RII (yeah, go figure).  

So in an effort to be absolutely transparent and fair with our testing, we ordered the Flagship Sony A Mount to E Mount adapter (The LA-EA4) so that we could run the test again with all three cameras having the exact same lens. Many people argued that we should have used this zoom or this prime on each camera but the truth of matter is, if you want to test the actual image quality out of each of these three cameras fairly, you really need to use the same lens across the board. This isn't a lens test, this is a relative sensor quality test.

Reader Test Take 2!

Below are the three files once again resized to 36 megapixels and uploaded in their full glory. We invite all of you to download the three images, compare them closely, and give us your opinion on which image looks the best. As we mentioned in the video above, the Tamron lens was significantly better than the Sony f/4.0 lens so this should help raise the A7RII image up quite a bit from the previous test.

Camera 1

Camera 2

Camera 3

Which Image Looks the Best?


Which Camera Took Which Photo?






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Previous comments
Steven Muncy's picture

It isn't about finding a great camera, but finding the right camera. I think the answer is that we have better gear available than most people's ability to use it. I don't print that big or often. None of my photos deserve 40+MP. Not many others do either. It has come to be a matter of features, convenience, and workflow.

Bert McLendon's picture

Sigma makes their 35 and 50mm lenses for Nikon Canon and Sony right? Why can't you rent those lenses so that there isn't an adapter being used? I'm a canon fan, if that matters. =)

Norbert Tukora's picture

Sigma lenses are not for the Sony E mount, they are for the A mount.
And for this test you have to use the exact same lens! One lens, three camera. :)

Bert McLendon's picture

Ahhhhh, another little "thing" that would confuse the crap outta me if I switched to Sony! =)

René Hildebrand's picture

Now the same with the Sony 55mm 1.8 ... what i think is that the tamron is limiting all the cameras in sharpness. i don´t want to fanboy something (i got a A7 and a Nikon D800) but if a resolution-test is the goal, choose the sharpest lens you can get for each camera-system. i know thats also unfair because the lens decides at the end which is sharper ... at the end its unpossible.

Miguel Quiles's picture

Here's a shot I did a few months back with the Sony A7II and the Tamron 24-70 2.8 (A-mount). I'd say it does a pretty excellent job and that was only 24mp. Imagine with the A7RII ;)

Roger Jones's picture

Who gives a crap??? They are all ok. I won't use adapters and I have about 10 Minolta G glass lenses from when I was a Minolta shooter. Sony doesn't do it for me. I'm pretty much retired now and shoot more film with my Minolta 9000 that Minolta gave me years ago. As for the images, well they all look the same. I mean Hoo Hum. Why do these "photographers" get off on comparing? Aren't photographers suppose to be out recording events of today??? Call me old and yes I am but this comparing is wierd. My megapixels are bigger than your megapixels and my camera is better than yours boo hoo hoo cry me a river. I mean get real.
Ok I'm done. Back to the darkroom.
Have fun and enjoy your comparing.

Lewis Gettier's picture

Shouldn't you resize the photos to 50MP instead of shrinking them to 36MP to give a fair test of sharpness? Seems potentially unfair to the Canon.

Shrinking them to 36MP is the correct test for noise though.

Norbert Tukora's picture

No! Down sampling is the fair test. Slight edge for the higher native MP sensor in theory this way, but the fair method is this.

Anonymous's picture

I'll be shocked if the Canon isn't #1. More shadow noise, less dynamic range, but slightly more detail (evident even web sized). #2 & #3 are close (which they should be, they're both Sony sensors). #3 seems to have slightly more detail and darker shadows so I'm saying that's the Sony but #2 has the more vibrant greens which is also a Sony hallmark/flaw so it could be either based on how they were processed. I didn't agree with a lot of the review but I thought it was funny and I do agree that in the end all three cameras have reached IQ sufficiency.

Mark Davidson's picture

Thanks! Now I know that my cat photos will be the best 640x480 images FB has ever seen!

Patrick Natividad's picture

Hi Lee and Patrick,

Are these straight exports (except for resizing of course) from RAW, or have there been colour corrections done? I've used Canon, Nikon, and Sony before and they all seem to have different default colour casts or characteristics that make it somewhat easier to determine which took what. Canon always seemed to have a more reddish tint and Nikon seem to be more on the green side. The last D800 I had really had a "too green" cast which drove me crazy. I know everything can be fixed in post but you know, it would have been nice to just have nice colours SOOC.

By the way, just became a fan of Baby Turtle. She's so cute! :-) You should have her appear on more of your videos. :-)

Patrick Natividad's picture

Oops.. never mind. Just watched the other video again, and you did say that you tweaked the colors a bit to match all photos.

I M's picture

If there is one thing we can all agree on it is that no matter how well thought out the test, no-one will ever agree on the results.

Detailed lab tests covering all possible parameters = not a good reflection of 'real world' performance
Sample of 'real world' examples = non-exhaustive/biased/unfair test which does not take account of x y and z

I think the majority of people here would take any of them and I would be immensely happy with whichever they ended up with. At this level it seems to be more a case of which works better for you in practice - so basically these results were useful in just removing any major doubts over general image quality - making the choice much much easier!

Mika Leinonen's picture

"So in an effort to be absolutely transparent and fair with our testing, we ordered the Flagship Sony A Mount to E Mount adapter (The LA-EA4) so that we could run the test again with all three cameras having the exact same lens."

You don't seem to get it right? Instead of being professional's you just seem like amateurs. First you don't learn to use the cameras you are testing and then you use most of the time of your orginal "review" video to bash Sony. Real professionals! Then you do retest baecause of rightful complaints about your biased "review". And what do you do? You do the retest also wrong, but what can you expect from amateurs? Instead of using LA-EA4, which adds semitransparent mirror to system, you should have used LA-EA3 adapter. Thats without semitransparent mirror. I suggest that next time you try to learn to use cameras before you do testing. Otherwise you may end up looking like idiots, like you did this time.

Lee Morris's picture

Did you even watch the video? The final test didn't use that adapter.

I'm going to contact Sony on your behalf and tell them that "Mika" from the Internet says that your flagship adapter should be discontinued immediately.

Amrr Kh's picture

It's flagship adapter because of the PDAF ability it gives to cameras. That doesn't change the fact that it has semi-transparent mirror which should not be used if we are doing silly pixel peeping tests.

T Dillon's picture

Completely right. Flagship adapter.... that funny. What makes an adapter a "flagship?" A bigger number? The 3 is the one to get. It has been well known since the a55 days (over 5 years now) that Sony's SLT mirror reduces resolution. How do we know this?A noted member on Dyxum removed the mirror. Look, you guys are trying hard, but you just don't know the tech. These aren't happy mirror slapping dslr's. Reach out, and ask some experts. Lots of them out there.

Lee Morris's picture

Once again... We didn't use that adapter for this test.

T Dillon's picture

Then what am I not reading correctly? This seems pretty unequivocal.

So in an effort to be absolutely transparent and fair with our testing, we ordered the Flagship Sony A Mount to E Mount adapter (The LA-EA4) so that we could run the test again with all three cameras having the exact same lens. Many people argued that we should have used this zoom or this prime on each camera but the truth of matter is, if you want to test the actual image quality out of each of these three cameras fairly, you really need to use the same lens across the board. This isn't a lens test, this is a relative sensor quality test.

Patrick Hall's picture

We used the LA-EA4 adapter to test all three lenses on the Sony camera alone. We found that the Sony 24-70 2.8 lens was the best of all three (it might have been even better with the EA3 as you suggest).

However, once we tested all three lenses on the Sony ALONE, we then switched the adapter to the Metabonez with no element and used the Tamron 24-70 2.8 VC (Canon version). This allowed us to compare all three cameras with the same model lens and for the Sony and Canon it was the actual same exact lens.

So yes the Sony A series glass was the best, but to keep everything fair, we compared all three cameras with the same Tamron lens. The results show that few could tell the difference in cameras but the Nikon was found to be the best looking image by number of votes cast.

T Dillon's picture

Then you have a very misleading sentence in your article. In the paragraph I referenced, it reads that the la-ea4 is responsible for the use of the Tamron lens. No reference at all to Metabones.

Anton Blinkenberg Zeuthen's picture

Wow, you girls just don't get it.. It might have been unfair, if the test had actually been performed using the LA-EA4 adapter, but it wasn't. The pixel peeper test was with the Tamron lens and Metabones adapter, which to my knowledge does NOT have any mirror in it. It is just a metal adapter ring with slow AF and no glass.
I suggest you watch the video properly next time before you give one of the founders of FS shit for something they put a lot of work and thought into.
Oh, and I guess you owe Mr. Morris an apology your little brain fart.

Babar Asghar's picture

so u did this re-test on my birthday :p
but honestly who r these pixel peepers? im sure half of these complaining or arguing dont even own a dslr ... like someone said, real photographers r busy doing photography and spammers, fanboys wanabeeez n keyboard warriors are fighting this war for their brands
im a canon user and everytime i see such reviews one half of my brain curses me to switch to nikon but then other half says, "ur dumb, ur pic sucks not because of camera its because u suck n u dont know how to use that camera which is in ur hands and u think that the one ur not having will make ur photography better"
so in short, who really cares? these pictures look stunningly similar and amazingly sharp and without metadata its really an impossible guess to make.
im so excited that sony is giving tough time to nikon n canon DSLRs with a mirrorless camera. 3 means more competition and better features for lesser cost. In few years Pentax might also join the race but in the end its us consumers who r getting better value for our money.
So i totally agree to ur ist review conclusion, stick to what one has or else buy all three systems and find out urself who is best. For me these pictures look similar, i just want to know one thing though, high ISO test hints that sony pics r still not 14bit raw? is it the case or it really lacks that much dynamic range

Ian McCann's picture

Number 2 seems to have warmer skin tone. Number one has more detail. Number 3 is cooler with more detail than 2 and seems to have most contast. Of course, the rescaling will have messed with much of these subtle differences. Bottom line they are all very good and perfectly usable. I would have thought the test should be re-done with a top flight prime, such as an OTUS 85/1.4. That would be the nearest thing to eliminating the lens from the test and let us see the detail the sensor can record rather than the lens being the limiting factor. I would love to see the photos in their full size, without the size matching, to eliminate the effects of the rescaling. I know this would have given the game away but I have cast my vote now and partly I was assuming the sharpest was the Nikon becasue I know the smallest image would not be rescaled, so it did not really work for me, even if I got it wrong I was guided by what I knew as much as what I could see.

Anton Blinkenberg Zeuthen's picture

I'm gonna feel like such a douchebag now, but i guess there's no way around it ;)
I know for a fact that the list is as follows:
Image 1: Canon
Image 2: Nikon
Image 3: Sony

It hurts me to say, because I am a Sony shooter, and image 3 was the only one I didn't consider before I went with image 2 and the Nikon.

Has anybody other than me found the glitch in the test that shows which camera took which image? ;)

Jonathan Soffa's picture

Does the glitch have anything to do with the filesize?

Tammie Lam's picture

All 3 images are "meh". If you guys are trying to figure out the sensor quality you need a lens that outresolves all those sensors, something like the Otus 85.

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