Tools Featured in this Teardown

Introduction

The a7R II is Sony's second shot at a professional-grade mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera, but this time, Sony claims it can keep up with any Canikon DSLR. While trial by fire may be the best way to judge a camera, trial by teardown is our specialty. With a $3,199 price tag and no reflex system, we hope this mostly-solid-state camera comes with an equally hefty repairability score.

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This teardown is not a repair guide. To repair your Sony a7R II, use our service manual.

Image 1/2: 42.4 MP Exmor R CMOS back-illuminated sensor Image 2/2: BIONZ X image processor
  • The a7R II has landed! Sony's much-ballyhooed second go at a pro-grade, mirrorless, interchangeable-lens camera has our full attention. Let's see what new tech makes this camera shine:

    • 42.4 MP Exmor R CMOS back-illuminated sensor

    • BIONZ X image processor

    • 5-axis in-body optical image stabilization

    • 4K video recording

    • Fast hybrid AF system with 399 focus points

    • NFC and Wi-Fi connectivity

  • The specs alone are enough to give us itchy shutter fingers—but, first things first. It's teardown time.

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Image 1/2: Since nobody lists a measurement other than 3 inches for this display, we busted out the calipers and calculator. At 2.5 " x 1.75", and converting from dots to pixels, we came up with around 270 ppi. Image 2/2: In short, less than an iPhone (326 for the iPhone 6), but certainly high-density. And that's good, considering that no mirror means no optical viewfinding.
  • The rear of the camera is adorned with an articulating 3 inch LCD. This is a TFT LCD display with 1,228,800 dots. Dots? What are dots? TIL a dot is (usually) a third of a pixel.

    • Since nobody lists a measurement other than 3 inches for this display, we busted out the calipers and calculator. At 2.5 " x 1.75", and converting from dots to pixels, we came up with around 270 ppi.

    • In short, less than an iPhone (326 for the iPhone 6), but certainly high-density. And that's good, considering that no mirror means no optical viewfinding.

  • The left side of the camera body houses plenty of I/O options—an HDMI micro connector, 3.5 mm stereo microphone and headphone terminals, and a micro-USB connector.

Does anyone make a replacement cover for the HDMI micro connector port? Does Sony fix this? Mine was torn off the camera completely.

quinnps14 - Reply

Image 1/2: Smile for the lensless camera! We got the basic package, which unfortunately meant no lens included. Image 2/2: Despite being a part of the "Alpha" series, the a7R II uses an E-mount system.
  • With the body cap off, we catch our first glimpse of the world's first full-frame back-illuminated sensor (BIS) and noiseless shutter.

    • Smile for the lensless camera! We got the basic package, which unfortunately meant no lens included.

  • Despite being a part of the "Alpha" series, the a7R II uses an E-mount system.

    • With an adapter, this alpha can stay true to its alliterative A-mount lenses.

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Image 1/2: Sony advertises a 290-photo battery life (up to 340 without the electronic viewfinder), a minor increase from the 270-photo limit of last year's model. Image 2/2: Sony kindly included not one but two batteries. You can also charge the battery ''[http://i.imgur.com/H7lKcMG.gif|inside]'' the camera (USB adapter included), and even power the camera entirely via USB.
  • We find the same NP-FW50 7.2 V, 1020 mAh swappable battery pack as the original a7R and the rest of the Sony Alpha lineup—good news for anyone building a fleet of flagship mirrorless cams.

    • Sony advertises a 290-photo battery life (up to 340 without the electronic viewfinder), a minor increase from the 270-photo limit of last year's model.

  • Sony kindly included not one but two batteries. You can also charge the battery inside the camera (USB adapter included), and even power the camera entirely via USB.

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Image 1/3: ...And find the tripod mount plate. Image 2/3: It may not be glamorous, but the tripod mount slides out with ease,  great news repairability. Tripod-happy owners can rest easy. Image 3/3: For those of you who were wondering, yes, the a7R II is FCC compliant.
  • We turn our attention to the JIS screws securing the bottom plate, mouths watering in anticipation of the smörgåsbord of tech beneath...

    • ...And find the tripod mount plate.

  • It may not be glamorous, but the tripod mount slides out with ease, great news repairability. Tripod-happy owners can rest easy.

  • For those of you who were wondering, yes, the a7R II is FCC compliant.

Where can I find the tripod mount part? Mine was scratched by a stabilizer, I would just like to replace that part

anakalia - Reply

Image 1/2: The rear LCD panel is connected by a thin ribbon cable that disappears into the back of the camera body. We'll probably have to deal with that before we can crack open this camera... Image 2/2: Luckily, a small door on the back of the display assembly opens the way to a tiny ZIF securing the cable.
  • The bottom panel was a bit of a red herring so we investigate the LCD arm for weak spots.

  • The rear LCD panel is connected by a thin ribbon cable that disappears into the back of the camera body. We'll probably have to deal with that before we can crack open this camera...

  • Luckily, a small door on the back of the display assembly opens the way to a tiny ZIF securing the cable.

  • We allow ourselves a brief detour to investigate the display before delving into the camera body.

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Image 1/3: This little circuit board is probably a breakout board for the LCD, allowing for a thinner cable from the camera. Image 2/3: The capacitors probably reduce noise in the display; they're clearly visible as a little cluster of dark spots in this X-ray image, courtesy of our buds at [http://www.creativeelectron.com|Creative Electron|new_window=true]. Image 3/3: Display technology is finally close to passing its Turing test: being indistinguishable from the mirror views in high-end cameras. This leap in tech has allowed for the viability of mirrorless cameras like the A7 series.
  • Peeling the LCD from the articulating bracket reveals a PCB packed with passives.

  • This little circuit board is probably a breakout board for the LCD, allowing for a thinner cable from the camera.

    • The capacitors probably reduce noise in the display; they're clearly visible as a little cluster of dark spots in this X-ray image, courtesy of our buds at Creative Electron.

  • Display technology is finally close to passing its Turing test: being indistinguishable from the mirror views in high-end cameras. This leap in tech has allowed for the viability of mirrorless cameras like the A7 series.

    • Apple bills these as Retina displays, but since a camera's display has to be much closer to your eye, the pixels have to be that much smaller to seem invisible.

how do you get the LCD/ribbon cable off?

michaeljensen22 - Reply

Image 1/3: First up are the eyepiece and viewfinder frame. The eyepiece slides off for easy swaps; the viewfinder frame is held in place with a few screws. Image 2/3: As a mirrorless camera, the a7R II doesn’t have an optical viewfinder. Instead, the viewfinder uses an XGA (1024 x 768 pixels) OLED screen to provide the user with accurate previews of images. Image 3/3: With some careful hunting, we find a few remaining screws hiding in the battery cavity. We're pretty stoked for a chance to use the telescoping driver handle in our [https://www.ifixit.com/Store/Tools/Universal-Bit-Kit/IF145-260-1|Universal Bit Kit|new_window=true].
  • Once we extricate the LCD and its delicate flex cable, the parts start flying.

  • First up are the eyepiece and viewfinder frame. The eyepiece slides off for easy swaps; the viewfinder frame is held in place with a few screws.

    • As a mirrorless camera, the a7R II doesn’t have an optical viewfinder. Instead, the viewfinder uses an XGA (1024 x 768 pixels) OLED screen to provide the user with accurate previews of images.

  • With some careful hunting, we find a few remaining screws hiding in the battery cavity. We're pretty stoked for a chance to use the telescoping driver handle in our Universal Bit Kit.

I am looking for a viewfinder frame. I dropped my a7sii and broke mine.

Malbert Einstein - Reply

Image 1/3: All of the button's switches are  mounted to internal components instead of the frame—so there aren't any delicate cables to worry about. Image 2/3: After disconnecting a single cable, we tease out that very mounting frame and the rear button assembly attached to it. Image 3/3: Next off is the multi-format card reader. It comes quietly.
  • Now that the viewfinder frame and LCD panel have been removed, the rear housing pops right off.

    • All of the button's switches are mounted to internal components instead of the frame—so there aren't any delicate cables to worry about.

  • After disconnecting a single cable, we tease out that very mounting frame and the rear button assembly attached to it.

  • Next off is the multi-format card reader. It comes quietly.

    • We're secretly hoping this camera plays Nintendo DS games.

Is there any secret to removing the "single cable" (assuming this is the blue ribbon from the ISO dial that inserts into the grey piece. I'm finding this super tight.

Also once removed how do you re-insert it?

adam - Reply

Image 1/3: Getting our first clear view of the motherboard, we set to work  disconnecting ''every ribbon cable created since the [http://i.imgur.com/JOfliPy.gif|dawn of time|new_window=true]''. Image 2/3: Process note: We managed to get the motherboard out at this point, but we're pretty sure that's not as Sony intended. Had they deigned to give us a manual we would have known to skip ahead a few steps. Image 3/3: Process note: We managed to get the motherboard out at this point, but we're pretty sure that's not as Sony intended. Had they deigned to give us a manual we would have known to skip ahead a few steps.
  • With the rear housing and button assembly removed, the motherboard shield comes out with very little resistance.

  • Getting our first clear view of the motherboard, we set to work disconnecting every ribbon cable created since the dawn of time.

  • Process note: We managed to get the motherboard out at this point, but we're pretty sure that's not as Sony intended. Had they deigned to give us a manual we would have known to skip ahead a few steps.

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Image 1/3: Sony CXD90027GF SoC Image 2/3: Micron Technology [link|http://www.micron.com/support/fbga?fbga=JWB39|5FA98 JWB39|new_window=true] eMCP Image 3/3: SK Hynix [https://www.skhynix.com/products/consumer/view.jsp?info.ramKind=19&info.serialNo=H5TC4G63CFR|H5TC4G63CFR|new_window=true] 4 Gb DDR3L SDRAM
  • We hoist the motherboard out for inspection, finding:

  • And on the reverse side:

    • Sony CXD4236-1GG, likely a newer version of the CXD4236GG image processor

    • Fujitsu MB9AF004 32-bit ARM Cortex-M3 processor

    • Murata KM5601002

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Image 1/3: An access port allows us to remove the final screw securing the front grip to the body. Image 2/3: Camera brand-fans live and die by their adjustment wheels. The grip features the forward spinner and  shutter button, as well as the Wi-Fi antenna. Image 3/3: Camera brand-fans live and die by their adjustment wheels. The grip features the forward spinner and  shutter button, as well as the Wi-Fi antenna.
  • This is the part where we get a grip, a camera grip that is.

  • An access port allows us to remove the final screw securing the front grip to the body.

  • Camera brand-fans live and die by their adjustment wheels. The grip features the forward spinner and shutter button, as well as the Wi-Fi antenna.

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Image 1/3: Perfect for Sony's Playmemories Mobile application, the NFC chip will allow interactions between smartphones the a7R II when Wi-Fi is not an option. Image 2/3: Funny how our smartphones are becoming more like cameras and our cameras are becoming more like smartphones, huh? Image 3/3: Funny how our smartphones are becoming more like cameras and our cameras are becoming more like smartphones, huh?
  • We find a trio of boards hiding behind the grip, supporting a couple of chips and what looks like an NFC antenna.

  • Perfect for Sony's Playmemories Mobile application, the NFC chip will allow interactions between smartphones the a7R II when Wi-Fi is not an option.

  • Funny how our smartphones are becoming more like cameras and our cameras are becoming more like smartphones, huh?

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Image 1/3: Why the thermal pad? Might have something to do with the 1.3 cm XGA OLED. With 1024 x 768 pixels in half an inch, that's 2,560 ppi. Wowza. Image 2/3: After removing the OLED, we take a peek through the lens assembly. A set of [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FZW09bD0m4|four optical lenses|new_window=true] improve the field of view while minimizing distortion. Image 3/3: The lens assembly even works as a standalone upside-down-maker!  Aren't [https://youtu.be/MvUIsetjVck?t=1m51s|optics|new_window=true] cool? That logo sure is.
  • Back to the viewfinder—turns out we can pull it straight out of its cavity. With its frame previously dispatched, it was only held in place by a gummy thermal pad.

    • Why the thermal pad? Might have something to do with the 1.3 cm XGA OLED. With 1024 x 768 pixels in half an inch, that's 2,560 ppi. Wowza.

  • After removing the OLED, we take a peek through the lens assembly. A set of four optical lenses improve the field of view while minimizing distortion.

  • The lens assembly even works as a standalone upside-down-maker! Aren't optics cool? That logo sure is.

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Image 1/3: Eager to get our first look at the new [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exmor#List_of_Exmor_R_sensors|Exmor R|new_window=true] CMOS   sensor, we extricate the entire sensor assembly from the camera. The rest of the body feels like an empty husk without the hulking sensor and stabilization cradle. Image 2/3: For more information on the a7R II's [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image_stabilization#Sensor-shift|sensor-shift|new_window=true] stabilization mechanism, continue scrolling. Image 3/3: For more information on the a7R II's [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image_stabilization#Sensor-shift|sensor-shift|new_window=true] stabilization mechanism, continue scrolling.
  • Hats off to you Sony! You've got our teardown engineer tired, but not beat. The upper case assembly pops off and steps aside for a glimpse at the goods.

  • Eager to get our first look at the new Exmor R CMOS sensor, we extricate the entire sensor assembly from the camera. The rest of the body feels like an empty husk without the hulking sensor and stabilization cradle.

    • For more information on the a7R II's sensor-shift stabilization mechanism, continue scrolling.

How did you detach the covers on the audio and video ports on the left side?

Daniel von Seckendorff - Reply

  • In today's episode of iFixit Teardown Cinema, we see the sensor-shift stabilization mechanism in action.

    • That's a pretty smooth action there. Probably powered by magnets. Or miracles. Most likely magic. Or unicorns. Most definitely unicorn magic.

  • The CMOS sensor rests on a light tray, floating between two hefty plates.

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Image 1/3: With the CMOS sensor in the wild, we get a clearer view of what's been touted as the [http://www.sony.com/en_us/SCA/company-news/press-releases/sony-electronics/2015/sonys-new-a7r-ii-camera-delivers-innovative-imagin.html?icid=pr-newswire-feed|world's first back-illuminated 35 mm full-frame sensor|new_window=true]. Image 2/3: According to Sony, the photodiodes on this [http://www.sony.net/Products/di/en-us/products/dkw5/index.html?contentsTop=1#chapter-sec_7/0|new sensor|new_window=true] are much closer to the on-chip lens than in previous designs, allowing it to collect light more efficiently. Image 3/3: The square hole in the sensor's PCB also hints at a tricky assembly process—it's likely a cutout used to accommodate the vacuum nozzle that holds the sensor during assembly, as evidenced by the small patch of scratches at the center of the cutout. [https://d3nevzfk7ii3be.cloudfront.net/igi/6Yrhec2DKklvvXa1|A peek with the X-ray|new_window=true] reveals the array of solder balls that sandwiches the whole thing together when it's done.
  • A quick detour before we proceed to the magnets: we pluck the a7R II's 42.4 MP image sensor from the stabilization system.

  • With the CMOS sensor in the wild, we get a clearer view of what's been touted as the world's first back-illuminated 35 mm full-frame sensor.

    • According to Sony, the photodiodes on this new sensor are much closer to the on-chip lens than in previous designs, allowing it to collect light more efficiently.

  • The square hole in the sensor's PCB also hints at a tricky assembly process—it's likely a cutout used to accommodate the vacuum nozzle that holds the sensor during assembly, as evidenced by the small patch of scratches at the center of the cutout. A peek with the X-ray reveals the array of solder balls that sandwiches the whole thing together when it's done.

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Image 1/3: The central tray of the stabilizer holds the image sensor, and is home to three electromagnets, each a component of a [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voice_coil|voice coil|new_window=true], an electromechanical device used for incredibly fine positioning. Image 2/3: Voice coils are also found in [http://rack1.ul.cs.cmu.edu/rotaryvoicecoil/|platter hard drives|new_window=true], controlling the read/write arm. Image 3/3: These coils live in the magnetic fields of their permanent magnet buddies—which means slight variations in power to the three coils generates forces in a variety of directions. Enough variety to adjust the sensor on [http://www.techradar.com/us/news/photography-video-capture/cameras/sony-a7-ii-5-axis-stabilisation-how-it-works-1274668|five distinct axes|new_window=true]. Not a small feat for a full-frame camera.
  • Is that a Force Touch trackpad? No, it's an exposed view of the a7R II's sensor-shift stabilization hardware. Sony's marketing team named this the 5-axis SteadyShot. Fancy.

  • The central tray of the stabilizer holds the image sensor, and is home to three electromagnets, each a component of a voice coil, an electromechanical device used for incredibly fine positioning.

  • These coils live in the magnetic fields of their permanent magnet buddies—which means slight variations in power to the three coils generates forces in a variety of directions. Enough variety to adjust the sensor on five distinct axes. Not a small feat for a full-frame camera.

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Image 1/3: After removing the battery cavity, not much remains—the noiseless shutter mechanism, a few stray cables, and on the front of the body a spring contact leading to that Wi-Fi antenna we found earlier. Image 2/3: Gazing at this once mighty feat of modern engineering, we can't help but wonder one thing: how the heck are we gonna put this thing back together? Answer: most likely unicorn magic. Image 3/3: Gazing at this once mighty feat of modern engineering, we can't help but wonder one thing: how the heck are we gonna put this thing back together? Answer: most likely unicorn magic.
  • We've struck our sensor and magnet gold, and now it's time to clean up and let the teardown team get some sleep. It's been a long day!

  • After removing the battery cavity, not much remains—the noiseless shutter mechanism, a few stray cables, and on the front of the body a spring contact leading to that Wi-Fi antenna we found earlier.

  • Gazing at this once mighty feat of modern engineering, we can't help but wonder one thing: how the heck are we gonna put this thing back together? Answer: most likely unicorn magic.

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Image 1/3: The battery can be easily replaced without tools. Image 2/3: The tripod mount and viewfinder can be replaced without disassembling the camera body. Image 3/3: While very difficult, the rear LCD panel can also be removed without disassembling the camera body.
  • A7R II Repairability Score: 4 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair).

    • The battery can be easily replaced without tools.

    • The tripod mount and viewfinder can be replaced without disassembling the camera body.

    • While very difficult, the rear LCD panel can also be removed without disassembling the camera body.

    • Accessing anything inside the camera requires removing the complex rear LCD panel first.

    • Internal components are very intricately organized; repair without a service manual would be very difficult.

  • Lastly, a hearty shout-out to our friends at Creative Electron for their X-ray imaging wizardry. Thanks guys!

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17 Comments

Did you find any seals for weather proofing?

jtorral - Reply

Looks like the extra weight over A7 goes to the SR mechanism and the resulting bulkier hull. Looks like a lot copper cooling stuffs also involved, must due to processing pressure from the high pixel count. Wondering if Canon 5Ds has even heat pipes built-in...

Azure - Reply

Yeah, Wondering also about weather sealing.

Tarek Ahmad - Reply

+1 to knowing more about the weather sealing

Sean Oh - Reply

+1 about weather sealing

harleycin - Reply

I took mine apart after I dropped it in a waterfall. Zero weather sealing.

rowdytxn2000 - Reply

Wow! Thanks so much for this! Much appreciated!

Am hoping somebody may be able to provide me with some information regarding adding a 5:4 masking frame to the EVF of the Sony A7 series of cameras?

I currently have the Sony A7R and am potentially going to purchase the newer A7RII.. I come from a large format and medium format background and have never quite got my head around the 3:2 format found in most digital cameras..

I much prefer the 5:4 aspect ratio (or 67 or similar). With my A7R, I have been able to get around this by taping off the rear LCD and then attaching a "video style" viewer to the rear LCD (like a LCDVF or Zacto). This works absolutely fine except that it adds unwanted additional bulk (one of the advantages of shooting with the A7 series) and I hear that in the new A7RII that the EVF is of better quality than the rear LCD (this may be the case also for the original A7R).

wallpaperviking - Reply

Am just wondering if there was anyway that you could see of somehow attaching a 5:4 "cropping frame" to the EVF on the A7RII?

I hopefully see this as a short term solution and am hoping that Sony introduce different cropping modes to the 3:2 and 16:9 ratios in the future..

Nearly every other camera manufacturer has this now.. Ideally 1:1, 4:3 and 5:4. Ever better would be the ability to shoot in these ratios (through a blacked out area in the EVF) but actually retain the whole sensor (3:2) image area. That way there is room for additional cropping in post

O.K, thanks so much, if you had the time to reply back to me, it would be greatly appreciated!

wallpaperviking - Reply

Could you guys do A7II teardown?

NASA - Reply

Really interesting to see it dissembled, but what was the point of taking it apart? What was fixed? Is this just to sort of help out those who want to try fixing their cameras themselves, like how to access certain parts and stuff?

thechristophershow - Reply

Do you know how to replace the battery cover? I lost mine- contact me! maryfaith497@gmail.com

maryfaith497 - Reply

Same thing! I lost my battery door to the A7ii and can't find anyting specific online. The closest thing I found was this: https://sony.encompass.com/item/10237844...

rscottcarter -

Nothing is sealed as you can see from the tear-down. Water got into the LCD panel of my camera leaving some corrosion on the little circuit board and make the display unit dead. Water also got behind the bottom panel and the view finder. I got splashed from a boat. I will have to replace both the circuit board (see Step 7) and hope it works because water damage is covered by the warranty. Once corrosion is found in the camera, all warranty got nullified. This tear-down will be very useful for me. Thanks.

Thien Vodai - Reply

A flicker user, is reporting, that the copper heatshield, being used as viewfinder bracket, allows for condensation spots and thous corrosion could anyone confirm https://www.flickr.com/photos/125233350@...

federicolite - Reply

Great guide, sadly it is for the A7R2 and I have to repair A7R. I can see from the guide that they are rather different to take apart. Never the less your guide helped me a bit on the way. What I am missing from guide it is not explained if the flex band cable connectors have a slide lock or if cables are just pull out and squeezed in. I give plus point to Sony for making all screws same simple Phillips type. But very complex interlocking of parts that have to be disassembled in specific order, and many flex band cables makes camera difficult to service.

Foersom - Reply

Hi ,

i've bought a A7R2 about a year ago, now suddenly its just won't stay on, it goes on and off even if the switch is set to off.

can anybody tell me what might be causing that.

mervynmarie - Reply

I'm looking for a new SD Card door for my A7II. Anyone know the part number? Of the part number of the whole front assembly?

bento - Reply

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