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Sony A7R SEL35F28Z Gear & Apps

Sony a7 & a7R: The World’s First Full Frame Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Auto-Focus Camera

By fotosiamo on October 15th 2013

It has been a long time coming, but here we are. The rumors are true and we finally get to see what many people have been asking for ever since mirrorless interchangeable lens camera (MILC) started becoming popular. Sony was the first to offer an APS-C sensor mirrorless camera in the diminutive NEX cameras, and now they will be the first to offer a full-frame mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Scratch that. Make that TWO full-frame mirrorless cameras.

And yes, to be more accurate, Leica is technically the first with their M rangefinders, but the new Sony A7 and Sony a7R cameras are the first full-frame mirrorless cameras to have auto-focus and thankfully, a more down-to-earth price tag.

The 24.3MP Sony A7 is priced at $1,698.00 at B&H and Amazon, while its 36.4MP big brother, the a7R, is priced at $2,298 at B&H and Amazon.The α7 can also be bundled with a 24-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Lens for $1,998 at B&H and Amazon.

Both cameras are expected to be available in early December just in time for the holidays!



Sony A7: The World’s Smallest 24MP Full-Frame Interchangeable Lens Camera

Sony α7

The Sony A7 (Also known as ILCE-7) and its a7R sibling are really not that much larger than the acclaimed full-framed fixed-lens Sony RX-1 camera, which is an engineering marvel in itself.

To put into perspective on how small this camera is, at approximately 5″ wide, 3.75″ tall, and less than 2″ deep (without protrusion) and weighing in at a scant 0.92 lbs, the A7 is actually smaller and lighter than the recently announced Olympus OMD E-M1 flagship (5.1″x3.7″x2.5″ and 1.1lbs))!

Given the size of the sensor, it is simply incredible that Sony can cram so much technological goodness into such a diminutive magnesium alloy package that is also dust and moisture resistant. Kudos Sony!

Speaking of the sensor, the all-new 24.3MP Sony Exmor CMOS sensor captures 14-bit RAW images and has a fast Hybrid AF system that combines 117 on-sensor phase-detect AF points with alongside the 25 contrast AF points. Coupled with the new and powerful BIONZ X processor, the α7 can shoot up to 5fps continuously with non-stop AF tracking. The BIONZ X processor also has localized area noise reduction and diffraction reduction technology that is specific to each lens.

The Specs

  • Sensor: 24.3 Megapixel Exmor CMOS sensor (35.8 x23.9mm)
  • Processor: BIONZ X image processor
  • Shutter Speed: 1/8000 to 30 seconds, bulb
  • ISO: 100-25,600 (Expendable to ISO 50)
  • Video Resolution: AVCHD up to 1080p60 @28Mbps
  • Focus System: Fast Hybrid AF (117 on-sensor phase-detection AF points/25 contrast-detection AF points)
  • Focus Sensitivity: 0EV to 20EV (at ISO100 equivalent and f/2.8 lens attached)
  • Focus Peaking: High/Mid/Low/Off. Color: White/Red/Yellow
  • Metering: 1200-zone evaluative metering
  • Continuous Shooting Speed: Max continuous shooting at 2.5fps; Max speed priority continuous shooting at 5.0fps
  • LCD: 3.0″ TFT LCD (1.23 million dots) with tiltable design
  • Viewfinder: 1/2-inch XGA OLED with 2.4 million dot resolution, 100% field of view, and 0.71x magnification
  • Body Material: Magnesium Alloy
  • Dimensions (approx): 5″ x 3-3/4″ x 1-15/16″ (126.9 x 94.4 x 48.2mm) (W/HD) excluding protrusions
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC
  • Weight (approx): 14.7 oz (416g) body only. 1lb 0.7 oz (474g) with battery
  • Battery: InfoLITHIUM NP-FW50 1080mAh – Good for approximately 340 images
  • Availability and Price: Early December for $1,698.00 or $1,998 bundled with 24-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Lens

Sony a7R: Goliath 36.4MP Full-Frame Sensor in a David-Sized Mirrorless Camera

ILCE-7R_wSEL35F28Z_right

The major difference between the A7 and the a7R (ILCE-7R) is the sensor resolution. With 36.4 Megapixels, a7R has a full-frame resolution sensor that beats the 36.3MP Nikon D800/D800E in megapixel count. Additionally, the a7R lacks a low-pass optical filter, which means that it should produce extremely sharp detailed images comparable to the D800E and lower-end medium format cameras.

As much as I am excited with the A7, I really believe that the a7R is the bigger game changer out of the two. Medium format quality images in a camera that can fit in your jacket pocket!

Unlike the A7, the a7R only has contrast-detection AF dubbed the Fast Intelligent AF. Optimized for full-frame lenses, it should still provide quick focusing speed. Additionally, the burst speed drops to a maximum 4.0 fps.

Finally, the a7R entire front plate is made from magnesium alloy, whereas the A7 only has magnesium alloy surrounding the lens mount.

The Specs

  • Sensor: 36.4 Megapixel Exmor CMOS sensor (35.9 x24.0mm) without low-pass optical filter
  • Processor: BIONZ X image processor
  • Shutter Speed: 1/8000 to 30 seconds, bulb
  • ISO: 100-25,600 (Expendable to ISO 50)
  • Video Resolution: AVCHD up to 1080p60 @28Mbps
  • Focus System: Fast Intelligent AF (25 contrast-detection AF points)
  • Focus Sensitivity: 0EV to 20EV (at ISO100 equivalent and f/2.8 lens attached)
  • Focus Peaking: High/Mid/Low/Off. Color: White/Red/Yellow
  • Metering: 1200-zone evaluative metering
  • Continuous Shooting Speed: Max continuous shooting at 2.5fps; Max speed priority continuous shooting at 5.0fps
  • LCD: 3.0″ TFT LCD (1.23 million dots) with tiltable design
  • Viewfinder: 1/2-inch XGA OLED with 2.4 million dot resolution, 100% field of view, and 0.71x magnification
  • Body Material: Magnesium Alloy
  • Dimensions (approx): 5″ x 3-3/4″ x 1-15/16″ (126.9 x 94.4 x 48.2mm) (W/HD) excluding protrusions
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC
  • Weight (approx): 14.7 oz (407g) body only. 1lb 0.7 oz (465g) with battery
  • Battery: InfoLITHIUM NP-FW50 1080mAh – Good for approximately 340 images
  • Availability and Price: Early December for $2,298

The A7 and a7R Walkaround

Sony α7R

The family connection between the A7/a7R and the RX1 is immediately apparent. With clean lines that eschews the trendy retro styling of other mirrorless cameras, as well as the NEX design language, the A7/a7R is pretty modern. The front side sports a sizeable grip with the front command dial at the top of it, as well as the lens release button. There is no quick RX1-style Auto-Manual focus dial on the side opposite the lens release button.

α7R SEL35F28Z

The top side also mimics the layout of the RX1, with a Mode Dial, the shutter button sitting inside the power lever, the custom function button, and an EV compensation dial. Unlike the RX1, there is no pop-up flash on the left side of the top plate.

Sony α7

The rear of the A7/a7R is where most of the controls reside. Starting from the left side, there is a Menu button to the left of the EVF. On the other side of the EVF is the second custom function button and the rear command dial. Along the right edge of the tiltable LCD there is the AEL button with the AF/MF switch, Fn button that displays quick-access shortcuts on screen, and the scroll wheel that also doubles for the Display, Drive, and White Balance button. Below that scroll wheel is Play and the Trash/custom function button. Finally, on the right corner of the thumb indentation is the Record button. The A7/a7R can record up to 1080p60p AVCHD at 28Mbps.

Here is a video sample from Sony as recorded on the a7R

All in all, there are 9 different customizable buttons and 46 assignable functions “that can be adjusted based on shooting preferences, including fully customizable front and back dials, a rear control wheel and an exposure compensation dial.”

Sony α7 tilt screen

The tiltable screen is a 3.0″ TFT LCD with 1.23 million dot resolution, while the 1/2 inch XGA OLED Tru-Finder electronic viewfinder boasts a 2.4 million dot resolution, 100% field of view, and 0.71x magnification. It should be similar to the Sony A99 EVF.

Sony α7R

The right side sports the grip and houses the Wi-Fi and NFC antenna. The left side has two flaps that houses inputs for microphone, headphones, HDMI for uncompressed HDMI output, and USB 2.0.

Unfortunately, there is no in-body stabilization (Sony SteadyShot), so you’ll have to depend on the lenses for stabilization. The mount for the A7 is the same E-mount found in Sony’s NEX-system, which meant that you can actually use those NEX E-lenses on the A7 in either APS-C mode or in full-frame mode (with heavy vignetting, of course). Sony has developed 5 brand new full-frame E-mount lenses in both Sony and Zeiss flavors. You can read more about the new lenses in our Sony Lens announcement article.

Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8Z

α7R SEL55F18Z

Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 35mm f/2.8Z

α7R SEL35F28Z

Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70 mm f/4.0 ZA with OSS (image stabilization)

A7R SEL2470Z

Takeaways of the Sony A7/a7R

As I mentioned earlier, the A7 and the a7R are going to be game changers. There is no reason to that the image quality should not match or surpass the RX1 and the competitors’ full-frame offerings, especially with the a7R’s extreme 36.4MP resolution count. There are also a lot of customizable options to satisfy both professional and high end hobbyists alike.

And seriously, the A7/a7R can fit in your jacket pocket!

Sony also pulled a smart move by offering the 24.3 MP A7 for those looking for a more balanced full-frame camera in the spirit of the Canon 5D Mark III, as well as the 36.4MP a7R for those looking for a camera like the Nikon D800E or a medium format camera that maximizes image quality above everything else.

Finally, because of the short flange distance from the mirrorless setup, you can use one of the new Sony A-Mount to E-Mount adapters (LA-EA3 and LA-EA4 with translucent mirror technology) to attach any Sony/Minolta A-Mount lenses, as well as any other manufacturers’ full-frame/medium format lenses using existing E-mount adapters. This mean that if you want to use a Canon 100mm F/2.8L Macro lens or a Nikon 50mm F/1.4G lens, all you need is the appropriate adapter. The possibility is big!

We are excited with the αa7 and the a7R and we can’t wait to get our hands on it!

Sony a7R Full-Resolution Sample Images

a7r ap_0_modal

Lens: Distagon T* 24 mm F2 ZA SSM (SAL24F20Z)
Mount Adaptor: LA-EA4
Mode: A mode
Shutter speed: 0.8 sec.
Aperture: F11
EV Comp.: -1.0 EV
ISO: 400
WB: Daylight white balance

a7r ap_1_modal

Lens: Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70 mm F4 ZA OSS (SEL2470Z)
Mode: M mode
Shutter speed: 1/125 sec.
Aperture: F5.6
ISO: 100
WB: Manual white balance

a7r photo_sample2

Lens: Sonnar T* FE 55 mm F1.8 ZA (SEL55F18Z)
Mode: M mode
Shutter speed: 1/500 sec.
Aperture: F2
ISO: 100
WB: Auto white balance

More Sony a7R samples images here

Brian Smith’s Sony a7R Field Test with photo samples

Sony A7 Full-Resolution Sample Images

a7 photo_sample0

Lens: FE 28-70 mm F3.5-5.6 OSS (SEL2870)
Mode: M mode
Shutter speed: 1/125 sec.
Aperture: F5.6
ISO: 100
WB: Manual white balance

a7 photo_sample1

Lens: Sonnar T* FE 55 mm F1.8 ZA (SEL55F18Z)
Mode: M mode
Shutter speed: 1/250 sec.
Aperture: F2.2
ISO: 400
WB: Manual white balance

a7 photo_sample2

Lens: Sonnar T* FE 35 mm F2.8 ZA (SEL35F28Z)
Mode: P mode
Shutter speed: 1/100 sec.
Aperture: F5
EV Comp.: +0.7 EV
ISO: 400
WB: Auto white balance

More Sony a7 samples images here

Sony A7/a7R Accessories

VG-C1EM Vertical Grip
$298 at B&H
VG-C1EM Vertical Grip α7R SEL35F28Z

VG-C1EM Vertical Grip

VG-C1EM Vertical Grip

LA-EA4 Alpha to E-Mount Adapter with translucent mirror technology
$348 at B&H
LA-EA4 A Mount Adapter

LA-EA4 A Mount Adapter

LA-EA3 Alpha to E-Mount Adapter
$198 at B&H
LA-EA3 A Mount Adapter

LA-EA3 A Mount Adapter

Hands-On Field Test with TheCameraStoreTV

Sony In-Depth Walkthrough

Sony Unveils World’s First Full-Frame Mirrorless Cameras

New Sony α7 Series Are World’s Smallest, Lightest Full-Frame Interchangeable Lens Cameras
SAN DIEGO, Oct. 15, 2013 – Sony’s new α7 and α7R digital cameras are the world’s smallest full-frame interchangeable lens models*2. Highly anticipated by professional photographers and imaging enthusiasts alike, the two new cameras offer an unmatched combination of creativity, customizability and portability.

The α7R model features a 36.4 effective megapixel 35mm Exmor® CMOS sensor – the highest resolution sensor in the history of Sony’s α line – with no optical low pass filter for added resolving power and increased image detail. The α7 model boasts an impressive 24.3 effective megapixel 35mm Exmor® CMOS sensor and an innovative fast Hybrid AF system.

Each camera is equipped with advanced imaging features including a powerful new BIONZ® X processor; fast AF capabilities; a clear, bright XGA OLED Tru-finder, full HD 60p video recording, Wi-Fi® and NFC connection, dust-and moisture- resistance and more.

“With these new α7 camera systems, Sony has completely redefined the look and feel of a professional-grade digital camera,” said Mike Kahn, director of the interchangeable lens camera business at Sony Electronics. “The α7 and α7R cameras are significantly smaller, lighter and more portable than any other full-frame interchange lens camera yet deliver image quality, power and performance that professionals and enthusiasts crave.”

Both cameras feature full customization and control to meet the needs of the most demanding photographers. There are 9 different customizable buttons and 46 assignable functions that can be adjusted based on shooting preferences, including fully customizable front and back dials, a rear control wheel and an exposure compensation dial. Users can preview all changes to photographic settings in real-time on the high-contrast, 2.4 million dot XGA OLED Tru-Finder or the high-resolution tiltable 3” LCD screen.

The new cameras share a powerful new BIONZ X processor that accurately reproduces details in textures in real-time via extra high-speed processing capabilities, and allows for exceptional low noise performance in all types of lighting conditions. Additionally, the powerful processor combined with the advanced, high resolution sensors allow both cameras to shoot pro-quality Full HD video (AVCHD progressive, 1920x1080p @ 60p) with richly detailed colors and ultra-low noise.

Clear Image Zoom has been enhanced for video recording as well, allowing for powerful close-up shots without sacrificing pixel count. Other pro-style movie features include an audio recording level control and display plus a “live” HDMI® output for passing through video to an external monitor or recording device.

The new cameras both have on-board Wi-Fi and NFC capabilities for instant image sharing and transfer to compatible smartphones and tablets. The α7R and α7 models can access Sony’s platform of PlayMemories™ Camera Apps, allowing users to add new effects, filters, utilities and more. This platform includes new ‘Multiple Exposure’ app, which automatically combines sequential exposures into one creative shot, and ‘Smart Remote Control’*4, which allows for direct control of exposure and shutter speed from a connected smartphone and is particularly useful for self-portraits or group shots*5. Find out more at www.playmemoriescameraapps.com.

The new α7 and α7R cameras each have a tough, magnesium alloy build and are dust and moisture resistant for standing up to some of the toughest weather conditions.

α7R Camera
Designed for professional photographers and highly advanced enthusiasts, the new α7R model is the world’s smallest and lightest full-frame interchangeable lens camera*2.

It has an impressive 36.4 effective megapixel full frame sensor and no optical low pass filter, ensuring that the extraordinary resolving power is fully realized and resulting in an unprecedented level of detail and clarity in images.

The camera features a new Fast Intelligent AF technology that delivers blazingly quick, accurate autofocus. Additionally, there are a total of three selectable sizes for the Flexible Spot AF frame, minimizing the risk of accidentally focusing on the wrong target.

α7 Camera
Offering an exciting entry into the world of full-frame photography, the α7 camera features an advanced 24.3 effective megapixel full-frame Exmor CMOS sensor paired with the powerful new BIONZ X processor.

The exciting new camera has an innovative Fast Hybrid AF system that combines phase- and contrast-detect AF methods to ensure speedy, accurate autofocus. It can also shoot at up to 5 fps continuously with non-stop AF tracking, allowing it to keep pace with fast-moving athletes, wildlife or energetic children.

New Sony α Lenses and Accessories
There are a total of 5 new full-frame E-mount lenses designed to take full advantage of the powerful imaging capabilities of the α7R and α7 cameras, including mid-range zoom lenses from Sony and Carl Zeiss, two bright Zeiss Sonnar T*™ prime lenses and a premium-quality G Lens™ telephoto zoom. Sony’s growing E-mount interchangeable lens lineup now consists of 21 different lenses including the new full-frame models.

In addition to the new lenses, there are also two new-generation mount adaptors that give photographers the ability to utilize full-frame Sony A-mount optics on the α7 and α7R cameras. The LA-EA3 adapter simply adds compatibility for existing A-mount lenses the new cameras, while the LA-EA4 model adds the ultra-fast focusing and shooting capabilities of Sony’s innovative Translucent Mirror Technology.

There is also a new vertical grip (VG-C1EM) that offers greater comfort during vertical shooting and can accommodate two separate NP-FW50 batteries for extended battery life and shooting time. A new BC-TRW compact external battery charger that quickly charges batteries and is great for travel, and FA-CS1M off camera shoe allows the use of external flashes (HVL-43M, 20M) in off-camera wired applications. Additionally, the new LCS-ELCA premium soft leather carry case protects the α7 and α7R cameras from scuffs and marks while being carried.

Pricing and Availability
The Sony α7R and α7 full-frame interchangeable lens cameras will be available for purchase this December.

The α7R camera will be offered as a body-only for about $2300.

The Sony α7 compact system camera will be offered with a 28-70mm F3.5 – F5.6 full-frame lens (model SEL2870) for about $2000. It will also be offered as a body-only for about $1700.

The versatile new LA-EA3 and LA-EA4 mount adapters will be available in December for about $200 and $350, respectively.

The new VG-C1EM vertical grip and LCS-ELCA premium case will also be available in December for about $300 and $ 140, respectively.

The new camera and all compatible accessories will be available at Sony retail stores (www.store.sony.com) and other authorized dealers nationwide.

Please visit www.blog.sony.com for a full video preview of the new Sony α7R and α7 full-frame cameras and follow #SonyAlpha on twitter for the latest α camera news.

*1 According to survey conducted by Sony as of October 2013, for non-reflex interchangeable lens digital camera equipped with auto focus function.
*2 According to Sony’s internal research as of October 2013
*3 Some functions can only be assigned to certain buttons
*4 ‘Direct Upload’ available at launch. ‘Multiple Exposure’, ‘Smart remote control V2.10’, ‘Picture Effect+’, ‘Photo Retouch’ and ‘Lens Compensation’ will be available for the α7 / α7R by the end of 2013
*5 α7 series will become compatible with “Camera Remote API beta”(http://camera.developer.sony.com) , API (Application Program Interface) for remote operation of Sony camera with Wi-Fi-equipped smartphones and electronic tablets, after installation of the most recent Smart Remote Control that is distributed from countries providing PlayMemories Camera Apps.

About

Joe is a rising fashion and commercial photographer based in Los Angeles, CA. He blends creativity and edge with a strong style of lighting and emotion in his photographs. Be sure to check out his work at www.fotosiamo.com and connect with him on Google Plus and on Facebook

Q&A Discussions

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  1. JC Johnson

    Hi Joe,

    Thank you for your video intro of “Hands-On Field Test with TheCameraStoreTV (SONY A7/A7R)”. I am current a Canon camera user and my Canon 5D Mark3 is too heavy to carry around but I have invested a few Canon L lens already. As you mentioned in your video and on text intro that Canon users can use the appropriate Lens adapter to connect existing Canon lens to Sony a7/a7r.

    Could you please introduce/refer “the appropriate Lens for Canon L Lens” for me? I understood this is for reference only with no guarantee. I will buy and try the Lens adapter to save my Canon Lens investments with Sony A7/A7r. In your video, I heard the lens call “Marlone”?? Thank you in advance.

    “any other manufacturers’ full-frame/medium format lenses using existing E-mount adapters. This mean that if you want to use a Canon 100mm F/2.8L Macro lens or a Nikon 50mm F/1.4G lens, all you need is the appropriate adapter. The possibility is big!”

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