First Look: Sony Introduces the a7 Full-Frame Mirrorless System

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Sony has just introduced two new revolutionary cameras—the a7 and the a7R—and with them have entered a new arena of digital cameras that has, until recently, only been alluded to: full-frame mirrorless digital cameras. Stemming from several past cameras, the new a7 and a7R mesh a wealth of technology from Sony's line of Alpha SLTs and their NEX mirrorless cameras, and present two mirrorless cameras that feature full-frame sensors along with a host of connectivity-related assets and performance-enhancing tools to render a truly professional-grade camera that is equally as portable as it is powerful. Complementing the two new bodies are three Zeiss-designed lenses: two primes and a versatile wide-angle-to-portrait length zoom, which mark the beginning of full-frame-compatible Sony E-mount lenses.

The Differences: the a7 versus the a7R

While both of these camera revolve around a similar set of core features, they differ from each other in several ways in order to satisfy photographers who inhabit differing imaging realms. The a7 features a 24.3MP full-frame Exmor CMOS sensor and integrates Fast Hybrid AF technology, which uses both phase- and contrast-detection focusing methods to accurately acquire focus in an expedient manner. This camera is also able shoot up to 5 fps in Speed Priority mode, or 2.5 fps in normal continuous mode, while reaping the subject-tracking and predictive-focusing benefits of Fast Hybrid AF.

The a7R, contrastingly, features a 36.4MP full-frame Exmor CMOS sensor and utilizes contrast-detection focusing, which is highly precise and more detail oriented. In Speed Priority mode, up to 4 fps continuous shooting is possible, or 1.5 fps in normal continuous mode. With these principal differences noted, Sony has created both a camera that should appeal to those working in fast-paced situations with moving subjects—the a7, as well as a camera that is more geared towards those who tend to photograph more stationary subjects and are looking to extract the utmost detail possible from a scene—the a7R.

This is not to say that either camera will underperform in either situation, but with the ability to specifically dedicate a camera to one's most frequently applied shooting technique and style, photographers have the ability to prioritize the most desirable features that typically stand to alienate or force compromises to those who simply do not need them. Photographers who work with faster-moving subjects and purely for web-based and editorial shooting will champion the lower resolution, dual focusing abilities, and faster shooting rate of the a7, while those looking to produce large prints and seeking to gain the greatest amount of detail from a subject for commercial or retouching-oriented shooting will greatly benefit from the large, high-resolution sensor and detail-oriented focusing performance.

The Sensors

The a7 utilizes a 24.3 megapixel full-frame, 35.8 x 23.9mm CMOS sensor in order to produce high-resolution imagery with notable low-light quality and sensitivity to ISO 25600. The a7R features a 36.4 megapixel full-frame, 35.9 x 24mm CMOS sensor, which integrates a newly developed gapless sensor lens design. This concept incorporates small lenses in between neighboring pixels in order to increase light-gathering efficiency and promote greater image quality across the entirety of the sensor plane. The optimization of placement of on-chip lenses (OCL), especially toward the edges of the sensor, also helps to accommodate the sharper angle of light striking the sensor that is caused by the larger sensor size and short flange distance of the Sony E-mount, which, again, helps to promote even and consistent illumination across the entire imaging plane. The a7R also lacks an optical low-pass filter, which is incorporated into the a7's design, in order to gain maximum sharpness and resolution from a scene. By removing this anti-aliasing filter, though, there is an increased chance of moiré when photographing certain subjects and patterns.

The Focusing

As part of the sensor, but affecting the focusing performance, the a7 combines both 117 densely grouped phase-detection points with a highly accurate contrast-detection focusing method to render the Fast Hybrid system. The phase-detection method enables DSLR-like autofocus speeds while the wide-area contrast-detection method, which is enhanced with the new Spatial Object Detection algorithm, refines the focus for ensured subject sharpness. The a7R differs from the a7 in that it only utilizes a contrast-detection method for focusing, and thus is more geared toward critical focus than it is to overall focusing speed and subject tracking.

Additionally, a new common focusing method shared by both cameras is Eye AF. This highly detail-oriented focusing function can prioritize a subject's pupil and dedicate focusing performance on that for sharply-rendered portraits. When working with Eye AF, a green confirmation frame will be displayed over the selected eye when focus has been acquired, ensuring critical focus on the most important subject within the frame. This function, also, can be assigned to a customizable button for selective use when the need arises.

The Similarities

The differences between the two cameras are slight, albeit marked, and besides the focusing, speed, resolution, and sensor design, the two cameras share all other imaging and functional assets.

BIONZ X Image Processor

While the resolution of the two cameras is different, they both feature a full-frame-sized Exmor CMOS sensor and newly developed BIONZ X image processor, which work together to produce notable image quality with smooth color gradations and rich tonality and detail as well as an impressive native sensitivity range of ISO 100-25600. 14-bit RAW image data recording is supported and preserves the high amount of detail gathered from either sensor during the 14-bit A/D conversion process, which, in turn, gives imagery a smooth, life-like quality with fluid color and tonal qualities. The image processor makes use of front-end, large-scale integration (LSI), which accelerates the image processing in the earliest stages of image capture in order to attain greater detail and reduced noise levels.

Body Design

Since the a7 and a7R cameras are mirrorless in design, one of their strongest benefits, compared to a full-frame DSLR, is their compact form factor. By alleviating the need for a reflex mirror and optical viewfinder, the camera body is approximately half the size and weight of a traditional full-frame camera. Also helping to reduce the overall size is the implementation of Sony's short-flange distance E-mount; which provides compatibility to a wide range of existing E-mount lenses, but requires working in a cropped APS-C format, or the newly designed full-frame compatible E-mount lenses. Additionally, a shorter flange distance opens up numerous possibilities for mounting third-party lenses via a range of lens adapters.

Complementing the relatively small form factor of these cameras is the inclusion of both an EVF and large rear LCD monitor. The 0.5" XGA OLED Tru-Finder EVF features 2.4m-dot resolution for rich detail, high contrast, and fluid motion rendering and employs the same three-lens optical system and 100% frame coverage found in the SLT-A99. The main added benefit of working with an electronic viewfinder is the ability to preview the effects of exposure adjustment, white balance settings and other camera modes prior to shooting, for more effective monitoring capabilities.

Balancing out the eye-level viewing means of the Tru-Finder is a 3.0" 1,229k-dot Xtra Fine LCD monitor, which employs an 84-degree upward, 45-degree downward tilting design to support use from both high and low working angles. WhiteMagic technology is also used in the monitor to dramatically increase its brightness and use in sunny conditions. When using the LCD screen as the main means for shooting, the Quick Navi Pro interface is available to display all pertinent camera settings on the LCD to aid in expedited selection of desired controls without needing to navigate through more intensive menu structures.

Extending the functionality of both cameras, too, is the incorporation of a Multi Interface Shoe. This intelligent accessory shoe enables the attachment of an external flash as well as other accessories like external microphones, an XLR adapter kit, LED video lights, or other photo and video-related accessories.

Connectivity

Both cameras incorporate a wealth of connectivity-related features that help to expand the way imagery is shared and even how the cameras function. Built-in Wi-Fi support with NFC (Near Field Connectivity) provides a seamless method for linking mobile devices to the a7 or a7R for direct image transferring for instant uploading and sharing online. The Wi-Fi connectivity also allows the use of Smart Remote Control, a feature that permits linked mobile devices to release the shutter from a distance. Also enhanced by the integrated Wi-Fi is the use of PlayMemories Camera Apps, which can be downloaded based on personal preference, to optimize the sharing abilities of the camera or even provide new camera features that complement a specific shooting style, such as portraiture, detailed close-ups, sports, time lapse, and motion shots, among others.

Straying from the wireless abilities, and more geared toward studio and site-specific use, is the Remote Camera Control function, which allows for USB tethering of the cameras to a PC for computer-based control over the camera when recording both still images and video. Also enhancing control and quality when recording video is the ability to utilize an optional external recorder for uncompressed, clean-screen 1920 x 1080 video files at either 60i or 60p frame rates via an HDMI connection. If recording video onboard, full HD recording is supported at 60i, 60p, or 24p frame rates in the high-quality AVCHD codec or, for more Internet-ready files, recording in the MP4 format is also supported.

Just prior to exporting or sharing images from the camera, a set of advanced features is available to help adjust and convert RAW files in-camera. Exposure, white balance, tonal curves, saturation, contrast, hue, and sharpness can all be adjusted and fine-tuned and DRO (Dynamic Range Optimizer) and vignetting compensation can also be applied. Ultra HD slide shows can be generated in-camera, too, for fluid playback on 4K TVs when connected via Wi-Fi or HDMI and support for TRILUMINOS Color Technology produces rich, vibrant, and naturally appearing colors when images are seen on a TRILUMINOS Display.

Lenses

Since the a7 and a7R are the first Sony E-mount cameras to feature a full-frame sensor, as opposed to APS-C-sized sensors found in NEX mirrorless digital cameras, a line of new full-frame-compatible E-mount lenses has been developed. In collaboration with Zeiss, three prime lenses have been designed specifically for this new system: the wide-angle Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA, the normal-length Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA, and the wide-angle-to-portrait length zoom Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS. Additionally, the a7 mirrorless camera will be available in a kit with a Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS lens. This wide-to-portrait zoom incorporates three aspherical elements and one extra-low dispersion element into its design to minimize chromatic aberrations and enhance overall image clarity. An Optical SteadyShot image stabilization system has also been added to minimize the appearance of camera shake for working in dim light and with slow shutter speeds.

Of the Zeiss lenses, the Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA is the widest and features a bright f/2.8 maximum aperture to suit working in low light and for greater control over depth of field. It incorporates three double-sided aspherical elements into its construction, for a total of six aspherical surfaces, to greatly reduce spherical aberrations and distortions.

Slightly narrower, the Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA is a normal-length lens that features a nine-blade circular diaphragm and a fast f/1.8 maximum aperture for highly aesthetic shallow depth of field and selective-focus imagery.

Finally, the versatile Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS integrates Optical SteadyShot image stabilization into its design to minimize the appearance of camera shake to better support working in difficult lighting conditions and with longer zoom magnifications. Additionally, the constant f/4 maximum aperture ensures consistency during shooting regardless of the selected focal-length position, and five aspherical elements and one extra-low dispersion element have been integrated into this lens's design to control chromatic aberrations and contribute to high overall image sharpness and clarity.

Each of these lenses employ a Zeiss T* anti-reflective coating to significantly reduce lens flare and ghosting for more contrast-rich imagery with greater color neutrality, and all three lenses also feature a dust- and weather-resistant design to support use in inclement conditions.

  Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8 ZA Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Vario-Tessar T* 24-70mm f/4
ZA OSS
28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 Standard Zoom
Lens Mount Sony Full-Frame E-Mount Sony Full-Frame E-Mount Sony Full-Frame E-Mount Sony Full-Frame E-Mount
Focal Length 35mm 55mm 24-70mm 28-70mm
Maximum Aperture f/2.8 f/1.8 f/4 f/3.5-5.6
Lens Construction 7 elements in 5 groups 7 elements in 5 groups 12 elements in 10 groups 9 elements in 8 groups
Maximum Magnification 0.12x 0.14x 0.2x 0.19x
Minimum Focusing Distance 1.1' / 35cm 1.6' / 50cm 1.3' / 40cm 11.8" / 30cm
Image Stabilization No No Yes Yes
Filter Ring Diameter 49mm 49mm 67mm 55mm
Dimensions 2.4 x 1.4" / 61.5 x 36.5mm 2.5 x 2.8" / 64.4 x 70.5mm 2.9 x 3.7" / 73 x 94.5mm 2.9 x 3.3" / 72.5 x 83mm
Weight 4.2 oz / 120 g Not specified by manufacturer 15.2 oz / 430 g 10.4 oz / 295 g

If upgrading or adding to an existing Sony A-mount camera system, two lens converters have also been designed in order to adapt any Sony A-mount lens for use on either the a7 or a7R cameras. The LA-EA3 adapter is an optics-less adapter that maintains auto exposure settings between the camera and lens along with an electronic aperture-selecting mechanism and a detachable tripod mount. The LA-EA4 adapter differs from the LA-EA3 through its inclusion of Translucent Mirror Technology, an intelligent focusing aid that has been utilized prominently in recent Sony SLTs. This incorporation of a translucent mirror design enables high-speed, full-time phase-detection autofocusing with A-mount lenses that is well-suited to both video and still photo applications. This phase-detection system uses a 15-point AF system with three cross-type sensors to provide focusing that adapts to subjects across the image plane with noted precision and speed for centrally located subjects. The LA-EA4 adapter also maintains auto exposure capabilities as well as electronic control over the aperture settings.

Accessories

Rounding out this new system of mirrorless cameras is a handful of accessories that are suited for use with both cameras. The Vertical Grip, which is dust and moisture resistant, provides a more comfortable handling scheme for shooting in the vertical orientation and accepts two NP-FW50 batteries for longer shooting times.

A new W-Series Battery Charger can also be used for greater out-of-camera battery-charging efficiency, which is ideal when more than one battery is frequently used.

Additionally, a Semi-Hard Screen Protector provides reinforced durability to the 3.0" LCD monitors while still permitting use of their tilting design.

The Genuine Leather Case accentuates the look of the a7 or a7R and offers protection and full camera functionality when attached.

Lastly, a Multi Interface Shoe-enabled Off-Camera Shoe has been designed to allow use of an external flash off-camera, which is connected via a dedicated cable.

For more information on these new Sony cameras, lenses, and accessories, stop by the B&H SuperStore in New York, speak with a sales professional on the telephone at 1-800-606-6969 or contact us online via Live Chat.

  Sony a7 Mirrorless Digital Camera Sony a7R Mirrorless Digital Camera
Camera Type Interchangeable-lens mirrorless
digital camera
Interchangeable-lens mirrorless
digital camera
Lens Mount Type Sony E-mount full-frame Sony E-mount full-frame
Lens Compatibility Sony E-mount full-frame lenses (A-mount lenses compatible via optional LA-EA3/LA-EA4 adapter) Sony E-mount full-frame lenses (A-mount lenses compatible via optional LA-EA3/LA-EA4 adapter)
Imaging Sensor Exmor CMOS Sensor Exmor CMOS Sensor
Sensor Size Full-frame; 35.8 x 23.9mm Full-frame; 35.9 x 24mm
Image Processor BIONZ X image processor BIONZ X image processor
Dust Reduction System Charge protection coating on optical filter and ultrasonic vibration mechanism Charge protection coating on optical filter and ultrasonic vibration mechanism
Total Pixels 24.7MP 36.8MP
Effective Pixels 24.3MP 36.4MP
Color Filter System RGB primary color filters RGB primary color filters
Recording Media Type Memory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo, Memory Stick XC-HG Duo, SD, SDHC, SDXC Memory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo, Memory Stick XC-HG Duo, SD, SDHC, SDXC
Color Space Still: sRGB standard (with sYCC gamut) and Adobe RGB standard compatible with TRILUMINOS Color
Movie: xvYCC standard (x.v.Color when connected via HDMI cable) compatible with TRILUMINOS color
Still: sRGB standard (with sYCC gamut) and Adobe RGB standard compatible with TRILUMINOS Color
Movie: xvYCC standard (x.v.Color when connected via HDMI cable) compatible with TRILUMINOS color
Still Image File Format JPEG (DCF Ver. 2.0, Exif Ver.2.3, MPF Baseline compliant), RAW (Sony ARW 2.3 format) JPEG (DCF Ver. 2.0, Exif Ver.2.3, MPF Baseline compliant), RAW (Sony ARW 2.3 format)
Still Image Mode RAW, RAW+JPEG, JPEG Extra Fine, JPEG Fine, JPEG Standard RAW, RAW+JPEG, JPEG Extra Fine, JPEG Fine, JPEG Standard
Still Image Size 3:2
35mm Full-Frame:
L: 6000 x 4000 (24M)
M: 3936 x 2624 (10M)
S: 3008 x 2000 (6M)
APS-C:
L: 3936 x 2624 (10M)
M: 3008 x 2000 (6M)
S: 1968 x 1312 (2.6M)
16:9
35mm Full-Frame:
L: 6000 x 3376 (20M)
M: 3936 x 2216 (8.7M)
S: 3008 x 1688 (5.1M)
APS-C:
L: 3936 x 2216 (8.7M)
M: 3008 x 1688 (5.1M)
S: 1968 x 1112 (2.2M)
Panoramic
Horizontal Wide: 12,416 x 1856 (23M)
Horizontal Std.: 8192 x 1856 (15M)
Vertical Wide: 2160 x 5536 (12M)
Vertical Std.: 2160 x 3872 (8.4M)
3:2
35mm Full-Frame:
L: 7360 x 4912 (36M)
M: 4800 x 3200 (15M)
S: 3680 x 2456 (9M)
APS-C:
L: 4800 x 3200 (15M)
M: 3680 x 2456 (9M)
S: 2400 x 1600 (3.8M)
16:9
35mm Full-Frame:
L: 7360 x 4144 (30M)
M: 4800 x 2704 (13M)
S: 3680 x 2072 (7.6M)
APS-C:
L: 4800 x 2704 (13M)
M: 3680 x 2072 (7.6M)
S: 2400 x 1350 (3.2M)
Panoramic
Horizontal Wide: 12,416 x 1856 (23M)
Horizontal Std.: 8192 x 1856 (15M)
Vertical Wide: 2160 x 5536 (12M)
Vertical Std.: 2160 x 3872 (8.4M)
Video Mode AVCHD format Ver. 2.0 compliant, MP4 AVCHD format Ver. 2.0 compliant, MP4
Video Resolution AVCHD
PS: 1920 x 1080/60p (28Mbps)
FX: 1920 x 1080/60i or 24p (24Mbps)
FH: 1920 x 1080/60i or 24p (17Mbps)
MP4
HD: 1440 x 1080/30p (12Mbps)
VGA: 640 x 480/30p (3Mbps)
AVCHD
PS: 1920 x 1080/60p (28Mbps)
FX: 1920 x 1080/60i or 24p (24Mbps)
FH: 1920 x 1080/60i or 24p (17Mbps)
MP4
HD: 1440 x 1080/30p (12Mbps)
VGA: 640 x 480/30p (3Mbps)
Video Signal NTSC color, EIA standards NTSC color, EIA standards
Audio Format Dolby Digital (AC-3), MPEG-4 AAC-LC Dolby Digital (AC-3), MPEG-4 AAC-LC
Microphone/Speaker Built-in stereo microphone and monaural speaker Built-in stereo microphone and monaural speaker
Continuous Video Recording Time Records in up to 29-min. segments Records in up to 29-min. segments
Digital Zoom Approx. 4x Approx. 4x
Viewfinder Type 0.5" / 1.3cm XGA OLED color electronic viewfinder 0.5" / 1.3cm XGA OLED color electronic viewfinder
Viewfinder Resolution 2.4 million-dot 2.4 million-dot
Diopter Adjustment -4.0m-1 to +3.0m-1 -4.0m-1 to +3.0m-1
Field of View 100% 100%
Magnification Approx. 0.71x with 50mm lens at infinity, -1m-1 Approx. 0.71x with 50mm lens at infinity, -1m-1
LCD Monitor Type 3.0" / 7.5cm 1,229k-dot tilting TFT LCD 3.0" / 7.5cm 1,229k-dot tilting TFT LCD
Monitor Positioning 84° upward, 45° downward   84° upward, 45° downward  
Monitor Coverage 100% 100%
Focus System Fast Hybrid AF; phase- and contrast-detection AF Contrast-detection AF
Focus Points 117 points (phase-detection AF); 25 points (contrast-detection AF) 25 points (contrast-detection AF)
AF Modes Single-shot AF (AF-S), Continuous AF (AF-C), Direct Manual Focus (DMF), Manual Focus Single-shot AF (AF-S), Continuous AF (AF-C), Direct Manual Focus (DMF), Manual Focus
Focus Area Multi Point (25 points), Center-weighted, Flexible Spot (S/M/L), Zone Multi Point (25 points), Center-weighted, Flexible Spot (S/M/L), Zone
Focus Sensitivity EV 0 to EV 20 (at ISO 100 with
f/2.8 lens)
EV 0 to EV 20 (at ISO 100 with
f/2.8 lens)
Manual Focus Assist 35mm full frame: 7.2x, 14.4x
APS-C: 4.7x, 9.4x
35mm full frame: 7.2x, 14.4x
APS-C: 4.7x, 9.4x
AF Illuminator Yes; built-in LED type Yes; built-in LED type
Picture Effects Posterization (Color, B/W), Pop Color, Retro Photo, Partial Color (R, G, B, Y), High Contrast Monochrome, Toy Camera, Soft High-key, Soft Focus, HDR Painting, Rich-tone Monochrome, Miniature, Watercolor, Illustration Posterization (Color, B/W), Pop Color, Retro Photo, Partial Color (R, G, B, Y), High Contrast Monochrome, Toy Camera, Soft High-key, Soft Focus, HDR Painting, Rich-tone Monochrome, Miniature, Watercolor, Illustration
Color Temperature 2500–9900K with 15-step each Magenta/Green compensation (G7 to M7), Amber/Blue (A7 to B7), Custom 2500–9900K with 15-step each Magenta/Green compensation (G7 to M7), Amber/Blue (A7 to B7), Custom
Creative Style Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Clear, Deep, Light, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset, Night Scene, Autumn Leaves, Black White, Sepia (Contrast, Saturation, and Sharpness: +/- 3 steps) Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Clear, Deep, Light, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset, Night Scene, Autumn Leaves, Black White, Sepia (Contrast, Saturation, and Sharpness: +/- 3 steps)
Exposure Compensation +/-5 EV (in 0.3 or 0.5 EV steps), with exposure compensation dial: +/-3 EV (in 0.3 EV steps) +/-5 EV (in 0.3 or 0.5 EV steps), with exposure compensation dial: +/-3 EV (in 0.3 EV steps)
Exposure Settings AUTO (iAUTO, Superior Auto), Programmed AE (P), Aperture priority (A), Shutter-speed priority (S), Manual (M), Scene Selection, Sweep Panorama, Movie AUTO (iAUTO, Superior Auto), Programmed AE (P), Aperture priority (A), Shutter-speed priority (S), Manual (M), Scene Selection, Sweep Panorama, Movie
Sensitivity Still: ISO 100-25600 (ISO numbers up from ISO 50 can be set as expanded range)
Auto: ISO 100-6400 (selectable lower and upper limit)
Video: ISO 200-25600 equivalent; Auto ISO 200-6400 equivalent
Still: ISO 100-25600 (ISO numbers up from ISO 50 can be set as expanded range)
Auto: ISO 100-6400 (selectable lower and upper limit)
Video: ISO 200-25600 equivalent; Auto ISO 200-6400 equivalent
Exposure Metering Advanced 1200-zone evaluative metering Advanced 1200-zone evaluative metering
Exposure Metering Modes Multi-segment, Center-weighted, Spot Multi-segment, Center-weighted, Spot
Exposure Metering Sensitivity EV 0 to EV 20 (at ISO 100 with f/2.8 lens) EV 0 to EV 20 (at ISO 100 with f/2.8 lens)
Scene Modes Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sports Action, Sunset, Night Portrait, Night Scene, Hand-held Twilight, Anti Motion Blur Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sports Action, Sunset, Night Portrait, Night Scene, Hand-held Twilight, Anti Motion Blur
White Balance Modes Auto WB, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent (Warm White, Cool White, Day White, Daylight), Flash, Color Temperature (2500 to 9900K), Color Filter (G7 to M7: 15 steps, A7 to B7: 15 steps), Custom, Underwater Auto WB, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent (Warm White, Cool White, Day White, Daylight), Flash, Color Temperature (2500 to 9900K), Color Filter (G7 to M7: 15 steps, A7 to B7: 15 steps), Custom, Underwater
Continuous Shooting Speed Up to 5 fps in Speed Priority mode;
2.5 fps
Up to 4 fps in Speed Priority mode;
1.5 fps
Drive Mode Single shooting, Continuous shooting, Speed Priority Continuous shooting, Self-timer, Bracketing (Cont., Single, White Balance, DRO) Single shooting, Continuous shooting, Speed Priority Continuous shooting, Self-timer, Bracketing (Cont., Single, White Balance, DRO)
Self-Timer 10 or 2 sec. delay 10 or 2 sec. delay
Shutter Speeds 1/8000 to 30 sec., bulb 1/8000 to 30 sec., bulb
Shutter Type Electronically controlled, vertical-traverse, focal-plane shutter Electronically controlled, vertical-traverse, focal-plane shutter
Flash Bracketing With optional external flash: 0.3, 0.5, 0.6, 1, 2, 3 EV steps, 3/5 frames (1, 2, 3 EV: only 3 frames) With optional external flash: 0.3, 0.5, 0.6, 1, 2, 3 EV steps, 3/5 frames (1, 2, 3 EV: only 3 frames)
Flash Compensation With optional external flash: +/- 3 EV in 0.3 or 0.5 EV steps With optional external flash: +/- 3 EV in 0.3 or 0.5 EV steps
Flash Coverage 16mm 16mm
Flash Metering System Pre-flash TTL Pre-flash TTL
Flash Modes With optional external flash: Flash off, Auto flash, Fill-flash, Rear Sync., Slow Sync., Red-eye reduction (On/Off selectable), Hi-speed sync, Wireless With optional external flash: Flash off, Auto flash, Fill-flash, Rear Sync., Slow Sync., Red-eye reduction (On/Off selectable), Hi-speed sync, Wireless
Flash Type Optional external flash Optional external flash
Interface Headphone jack, microphone input, remote commander (via optional RM-VPR1), Multi Interface Shoe, Multi Terminal interface, DC in (via optional AC-PW20AM), HDMI Micro (Type D), USB 2.0 Headphone jack, microphone input, remote commander (via optional RM-VPR1), Multi Interface Shoe, Multi Terminal interface, DC in (via optional AC-PW20AM), HDMI Micro (Type D), USB 2.0
Wireless Connectivity Wi-Fi connectivity with NFC connection support Wi-Fi connectivity with NFC connection support
Tripod Mount 1/4"-20 1/4"-20
Power Source InfoLITHIUM NP-FW50 (7.2V, 1080mAh) InfoLITHIUM NP-FW50 (7.2V, 1080mAh)
Battery Life Approx. 340 images with LCD monitor (CIPA standard) Approx. 340 images with LCD monitor (CIPA standard)
Dimensions 5 x 3.7 x 1.9" / 126.9 x 94.4 x 48.2mm (excluding protrusions) 5 x 3.7 x 1.9" / 126.9 x 94.4 x 48.2mm (excluding protrusions)
Weight 1 lb / 474 g (with battery and
memory card)
1 lb / 465 g (with battery and
memory card)


 

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Principal differences Bjorn, not 'principle'

Corrected. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

Interesting camera. Count down for Mirrored DSLR's.

Finally, some body listened. If it is not hype then time to get rid of my 5d II.

I am leaving my old workhorse 5D MkII intact. I will not buy the MkIII as planned anymore, this will be my second system.

The new camera bodies are very impressive. I like my NEX-7, mainly because I use a cane, but can one-hand the camera. I just hope that Sony will continue to bring out higher grade lenses for the NEX line. I haven't been greatly impressed with the lens I bought with the camera, and indeed the rating from others has dropped here at B&H. I do count on those ratings, since only a few seem unduly critical. Most seem to have been writen by people who just want to take decent photos. The fact that B&H includes them is a genuine service.

What about image stabilization.....did I miss thet or was it omitted?

The 2 zoom lenses have image stabilization on board---looks like the primes do not....Look above on the table of lenses

It seems with this new system Sony has opted for stabilization to be lens-based. As pointed out by another user 2 of the newly announced lenses have IS built into them (the 24-70mm and 28-70mm zoom lenses). Presumably as more lenses are offered for the system they too will incorporate the same stabilization option into them.

I've been thinking about upgrading my Canon MarkII ever since the Nikon D800 released. This new Sony camera may be it. And you can use your existing Canon lenses? Awesome! Will the lens adapter be available upon release?

Sony themselves will not offer any adapters to adapt a Canon EOS lens to the cameras, but the current Metabones EF to NEX adapter (in this case NEX being the same as the new E standard) will do the job. It has the proper sized rear exit pupil to allow the Canon EF lenses to be used effectively. It is possible other manufacturers will offer similar adapters in the future.

I'm confused. Can I use my old E Mount lenses on these 2 new bodies?

Yes but even though the mount is the same, the nex lenses are made for smaller sensor cameras. If you use them on the a7 or a7r it will crop the image and you won't get all the use of the full frame sensor. So it would be worth getting the new lenses that are made for that larger sensor.

will the zeiss 18-70 work?

If you are referring to the Zeiss 16-70mm f4 lens yes, it would be compatible with the camera, however the camera would crop its sensor down to an APS-C size to compliment the format of the lens, and there would be a loss in the total pixel count.

You can use existing Sony E mount lenses, but they generally will not cover the full frame -
However they will work fine in APS-C crop mode.
All E mount adapters should work fine, but you will need to check if there is any vignetting on full frame.

Your "old" e-mount APS-C lenses work on the new A7/A7r...the new camera automatically crops the ff image to APS-C size, BUT, your cropped image will NOT be 36 mp, more in the neighborhood of 16mp...so, if you have recently bought a Zeiss Touit APS-C lens and if you have a NEX-7, you'd better hang on to your NEX-7 if you want 24mp images from the two Touit lenses...and by the way, the 12mm Touit f2.8 with the NEX-7 delivers STUNNING images

Yes you can, and as others have commented the current E series lenses for the NEX cameras are all APS-C type format, so you would be shooting the new camera in crop-down mode with a loss in the pixel count.

Will my A lenses have a crop factor as well?

Basically the camera gives the option of shooting with a full frame or cropping the sensor to match the APS-C lenses that may be used. If your A series lenses are full-frame, then the camera will capture full-frame. If they are APS-C then you have the option of capturing at full-frame but with a vignetted effect, or you have the option to crop the sensor to match the format of the lens.

This confusion is caused by the fact that for some obscure reason, Sony has elected to name the latest NEX camera upgrade "Alpha!" That might be OK except that Sony already has a line of cameras that is named "Alpha" that use alpha mount lenses. Are they going to call the Alpha camera upgrades due out in 2014 "NEX?" That would seal the confusion deal permanently! I am currently an alpha owner and like having optical stabilization built into the camera body.

How's the Audio sound?

The camera has a built-in stereo mic, and records in MPEG-4 audio format. The audio quality was not discussed in this article and we cannot comment on it until they start to become available.

Concerning audio. Will the only audio-in be thru the hot shoe (xlr option) or does camera have a separate mini (1/8")-port? What are my audio connection options--dedicated or independent?

The camera has microphone and headphone jack inputs, and also allows you to use the XLR connection on the top for other external mic options. The camera also features built-in audio control to it. Check out our youtube Introduction to these two cameras and it will demonstrate and showcase the inputs.

Will there be a possibility to use Leica M mount lenses? If so, are there micro lenses or other ways to deal with ray angle issues?

There are several adapters available to adapt a Leica M series lens to the the Sony E (currently listed in our system as NEX) system. As far as micro lenses go, there are not many micro/macro lens options made for the Leica M series due to the fact that it is a rangefinder.
There is no way to know as of yet how well they will work together until the camera becomes available to conduct a test.

See the links below, the first is for the M to NEX adapters, and the second is for the Leica 90mm M series macro kit.

http://bhpho.to/1cu7bWI

http://bhpho.to/Jzets0

In the second sentence in the "Differences" section, I believe CMOR should be CMOS: "The a7 features a 24.3MP full-frame Exmor CMOR sensor and integrates..."

Corrected. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

Regarding developping applications for this camera, the comment made towards the end of the video, will Sony publish the API? Is the API already available for this camera? Can I assume iOS and Android support?

Regarding development of applications for the camera.
I found the website: camera.developer.sony.com
The API is published as well as documentation and example code.

So the flash capabilities are not TTL?

I run 10-14,000 images a month through my D700. Is this built to take professional, volume use?

The flash shoe does support TTL flashes for Sony. As far as the shutter life/count goes, that is yet to be determined. I've not been able to find the information published anywhere as of yet. My gut feeling is that it would have to be comparable to a D800/5D series camera based on how they are building this series up.

What is the shutter life expectancy? I shoot time lapse and it would be great to someday get a full-frame sensor camera with no mechanical shutter, but this might be a step in the right direction...

They have not published the expected shutter life count as of yet. With the way they are touting this camera my gut would guess that its got to be comparable with a D800/5D series camera. Hopefully in the next few days/weeks Sony will post more data.

There is NO mechanical shutter on these per se ... or at least no mirror ...

What's the maximum flash sync speed?

With Sony flash units or those compatible with the Sony TTL system the camera has high speed sync option and can fire at any speed. As far as the highest manual shutter sync speed goes Sony is yet to publish that. Once they do I will update this posting to reflect it.

Will you be able to manually control everything for exposure during video? On my Sony a58, the only way to do that is switch to manual focus, which cancels one of the main reason I bought the camera in the first place. On that note, is the autofocus as fast and smooth as the other Sony cameras?

As far as the full manual control option during video recording goes, I've not been able to find this information published yet. Hopefully Sony will post the instruction manual to the camera soon so we can refer to it and confirm. In the meantime if I find that out I will follow up on this thread.

The autofocus is touted on the A7 as being of the fastest yet. It incorporates a hybrid AF system that combines phase and contrast detection to give you the fastest most precise/decisive autofocus. The A7r is also very quick but does not feature that Hybrid focusing system, that is one of the differentiating features between the two models.

What about HDR (High Dinamic Range), to get three shots (under, correct and over exposed) and combining then in camera to get a contrasty scene under control? Is it included?
And what about still shots with no movements in low light, always talking about a burst of shots to add the amount of light in the final picture (accumulative shots).
Seems these both features are included in "Scene Modes"...

But what happened with the GPS receiver ? (Built-in, any other optional gadget is offensive to the customer in this price-level.
And finally, what happened with the built-in flash, and don´t tell me that you can put an external flash, it is a pity the designers left out what is today a de facto standard in all cameras, even in high level (e.g. Nikon D-600)

They have not mentioned traditional type of HDR anywhere in the press releases or other published specifications that I have come across. In the picture effects modes they do list an "HDR Painting" mode however that is not nearly the same. You could still manually take the shots using exposure bracketing and exposure compensation, and then use various software programs to combine the shots for you in post production.

As far as the burst shot mode you described, Sony calls that Superior Auto Mode (takes a burst of images and then creates a composite of overlaid images). Unfortunately neither of these cameras have that feature offered in them.

In regards to the GPS, they opted not to build one in, possibly to keep the compact form factor.

And as for the flash shoe on the camera, the intelligent flash shoe allows for the camera to add many various accessories both for video and still photo usage, one of which is external flashes.

The owner's manual indicates normal HDR, next to DRO, similarly to how it is for previous Sony models.

Steve Huff's review video shows the HDR configuration, which, unlike the NEX models, does not appear to require disabling RAW first.

Hotshoe is multifunctional...GPS add on will be avail. Built in flash are junk anyway...if you're looking at this camera seriously you wouldn't want a builtin one anyway. All kinds of cool tools (external mics, GPS, etc.) you can use with the multi hotshoe.

Dear Photographers!

GPS, image stabilization and higher flash sync speed is being saved for the NEXt years model. So A7r camera is "almost" perfect, but so you have a reason to buy another one next year, some features were held back at the request of our marketing department.

Thanks for your continuing support, Sony ;)

I am purchasing either an A7r or A7 but I'm having a hard time understanding which one is better for video. I do short films and shoot mostly in manual focus mode. I'm only interested in image quality. Any thoughts on which one would give me better video results and why?

For the most part the video features between the two are the same, both have audio inputs and headphone jacks and the option of an XLR adapter for the Sony XLR microphone. Based on your criteria the A7R would be the better quality option in the long run, it having the 36mp (larger pixel count between the two)will arguably capture more detail. If autofocusing is a concern however, the A7 has a better focusing system and would be the better of the two to work with in that respect, however you mentioned mostly working in manual focus.

Unless I missed it, appears that using new/updated 70/200 F2.8 on either of the full frame mirrorless cannot be utilized with stabilization reduction feature, as the lenses made for both mirrorless have this feature built into the lens, not as an in body feature? Specs on the 70-200 show available adapter which maintains AF but no mention of stabilization, that I found?
D.

From my research thus far your own findings are correct. There is no means of stabilizing previous A mount lenses on the two new A7 series cameras. Stabilization will be incorporated in future lenses for these cameras.

Please correct me if I've got this wrong. As I understand these new bodies are smaller and lighter then comparable Nikon models with the same sensor They also offer an elf, but it only has 70% magnification? Could I use my existing Nikon ff lenses and retain auto focus? Would they only work in crop mode? Could I use Minolta mount lenses for full frame? What about the existing full frame Zeiss lenses? What if any limitations would apply? These cameras appear to have a very square shape? How are the ergonomics? They remind me of the Topcon Super D, which I found very uncomfortable?
Thanks,
Jim

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