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Sony A7R II: 5X Live View Magnification in EVF is Fugly, with Pixellation, Jagged Edges, and Obvious Subsampling degradation

Get Sony A7R II at B&H Photo.

The Sony A7R II ships with Display Quality = Normal by default. Setting the A7R II to Display Quality = High seems advisable, but this does not improve the 5X magnification for manual focus.

For manual focus, the A7R II offers 1X, 5X and 12.5X magnification.

The 5X setting is fugly, whether Display Quality is set to Standard or High; both show jagged and smeared pixels just as were seen with the mangled Live View of the Nikon D800/D800E; there is clearly some subsampling going on that is not done well. The poor quality can be seen on any subject, but it is particularly noticeable on straight lines, such as a sloping roof, the tube of a bicycle, a board,the branches of a tree, grass, etc. Sony and Nikon aren’t stupid, so this must have a real engineering basis. But one wonders why the high-quality of the 12.5X vierw cannot be shown at 6.25X, which is a nice 2:1 reduction.

While 5X magnification is viable for quick focus, it’s just no good for critical focus, so zoom in to 12.5X and the quality improves dramatically. Your author went back and forth numerous times on the Standard or High settings; there can be no doubt that 5X is just screwed.

Those readers claiming that Display Quality=High looks good at 5X either (a) have some other camera than the A7R II or (b) some magic A7R II firmware, or, quite seriously—need their eyes examined! I mean that well—just a purely factual matter—if this 5X crap-display cannot be seen, then see an ophthalmologist or optometrist ASAP. It is just as bad as the mangled Live View on the D800/D800E (at 5X with the EVF). Nikon cured that with the D810.

On the rear LCD, the same jaggies can be seen using a good loupe, but the image looks reasonable, perhaps because the resolution of the rear LCD is much lower than the EVF. But the rear LCD so far does not look anywhere near as bad as the Nikon D800/D800E. Moreover the D800E issue was at 10X or so, and the Sony A7R II looks excellent at 12.5X on the rear LCD, vastly better than the D800/D800E.

The good news is that 12.5X is excellent.

UPDATE: Some users state that a difference is seen with different settings and/or that 5X quality is fine (but as this was written none described in their email what settings they are using, not even raw or JPEG!). So the above should be read understanding that there seem to be factors at play that make the perceived (and perhaps actual) quality vary widely. This coudl explain why some users assert that 5X is just fine. My own eyes have seen results that are badly mangled to perfectly acceptable (poison and water don’t make a beverage fit to drink; I need reliable consistent operation all the time for what I do). The perceived quality varies by subject matter, and brightness and (perhaps) aperture and lens performance and sharpening settings and so on. It’s a complex nut to crack.

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