Sony A7R / Sony A7 Review: the Sony Alpha 7 took everyone by surprise, offering full-frame resolution in a smaller body than its competitors. But is it as good as all the hype? Find out in our testing team’s Sony A7 and Sony A7R review video.
The Sony A7 comes in two varieties, one with a 24.3-million-pixel sensor and one (the Sony A7R) with a higher resolution, 36.4-million-pixel sensor and no anti-aliasing filter.
As you might expect, the A7 is slightly cheaper than its AA filter-less sibling.
However, when you compare both to other full-frame cameras on the market, they suddenly appear to be pretty good value for money.
Here Amy Davies of our testing team takes a look at what both cameras have to offer in her Sony A7R and Sony A7 review video.
Sony A7R / Sony A7 Review Video Transcript
Hello, I’m Amy Davies from Future Publishing’s Photography Portfolio and I’m here today to take a look at the Sony Alpha 7 and the Sony Alpha 7R.
These cameras are the world’s smallest and lightest interchangeable lens cameras to feature a full-frame sensor.
The A7 features a 24 million pixel sensor, while the more expensive A7R features a whopping 36 million pixel device and has had the anti-aliasing filter removed for better detail resolution.
Outwardly, the two cameras are pretty much identical, however the A7R is marginally lighter as this front plate is made from magnesium alloy, compared to the plastic front of the A7.
Here we find a chunky grip, which feels nice and solid and is very comfortable to use for a long time. The camera is impressively small, especially when you consider this camera competes with the likes of the Nikon D600 and Canon 6D, both of which are much larger.
There is a good number of dials and buttons on the camera, making enthusiast photographers feel at home. On the top here is a mode dial for choosing the exposure mode, such as full manual, aperture priority or sweep panorama.
This handy dial here is easily reached by the thumb when you want to alter exposure compensation, while this dial on the back of the camera is used for altering aperture or shutter speed, depending on the mode you’re in.
The back of the camera has a four way control pad around a scrolling dial and each of these directional keys controls something by default but, like other Sony cameras, they can also be customised depending on what you want to access the most. The same can be said of this small c button on the top plate of the camera.
This function button here is used to access the quick menu for accessing your most commonly used settings, Again, there is a default layout, but every single option can be swapped out for something else if you want it to – Sony has really thought about how enthusiast photographers might want to get the most from their cameras.
The screen on the cameras tilts upwards and downwards, which is useful for shooting at some awkward angles, or angling the screen away from glare, but because it’s not fully articulated, it’s no help when shooting portrait format images or self-portraits. It’s also not a touchscreen, which means that you’ll need to change the AF point using the buttons on the back of the camera. It’s not too tricky a task, but it’s a bit slower than using a touchscreen.
Along with the LCD screen is a viewfinder. As there’s no reflex mirror in either the A7 and the A7R, this is an electronic device. Although EVFs have had a bit of a bad reputation in the past, technology has improved significantly over the last couple of years and the finder found in both of these cameras is very good, giving a number of advantages over using a traditional optical finder.
For now there isn’t a huge range of full frame E-mount lenses for the A7 and A7R. Any of Sony’s current E-mount lenses for APS-cameras can be used, with the camera automatically cropping to remove any vignetting. You can also purchase separately an official Sony adapter for converting A-mount lenses, and perhaps most interestingly for existing full-frame camera users, a third party converter for using Nikon or Canon full frame lenses.
One big problem with both the A7 and A7R is battery life. Because the camera is always shooting in live view mode, and there’s a full frame sensor, the drain on the battery is significant, and it can’t compete with the life of cameras such as the Nikon D600. Therefore, it’s almost a given that you will need to purchase an additional battery.
We had very high hopes for Sony’s innovative mirror less full-frame camera, and, for the most part, we haven’t been disappointed. Images are superb, with excellent colours and great detail reproduction – the A7R particularly of course.
32 things photographers say… and what they actually mean
Banish bad pictures: 9 quick fixes for common camera complaints
44 essential digital camera tips and tricks
10 ways to drive a photography snob mad
10 common exposure problems every photographer faces (and how to overcome them)