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Sony Alpha 7R Review

February 2014 | By Jeff Keller
Buy on GearShop$2,298.00


Review based on a production Sony a7R running firmware v1.0

If you're looking for our review of the Sony A7, please click here.

If there's one thing you can say about Sony's digital camera business, it's that they've experimented with many different concepts. From SLRs with dual autofocus systems and Translucent Mirror Technology to its NEX mirrorless line-up, Sony has gone down virtually every avenue in digital imaging. Its latest products - the Alpha 7 and Alpha 7R - may be the most exciting products to come out of the Sony labs in some time. The company has managed to create full-frame cameras which are about the same size as the Olympus OM-D E-M1. In other words, the Alpha 7s are much smaller than their full-frame interchangeable lens peers (such as Nikon's D610 and the Canon EOS 6D), an achievement made possible primarily because they're not SLRs.

In addition, Sony is also unifying the Alpha and NEX brands, so all future interchangeable lens cameras will now fall under the Alpha umbrella. Being mirrorless, the a7 would have otherwise likely been prefixed with the letters NEX.

The a7 and a7R are identical in terms of physical design, with the main differences being the sensor and autofocus system. The a7 features a full-frame 24 megapixel CMOS, while the a7R has a 36 megapixel CMOS sensor with no optical low-pass filter. The a7 uses a Hybrid AF system (with on-chip phase detection) similar to the one found on the NEX-6, while the a7R has traditional contrast detection. The a7 is also capable of electronic first curtain mode, which allows for a quieter shutter, and reduces the potential for 'shutter shock' vibration; this is absent from the a7R. Both cameras use Sony's latest Bionz X processor and also have XGA electronic viewfinders, tilting LCDs, Wi-Fi, and weatherproof bodies that resemble that of the Olympus E-M1.

Here's a quick summary of the differences between the a7 and a7R:

  a7 a7R
MSRP (body only) $1699 / € 1499 / £1299 $2299 / € 2099 / £1699
Sensor 24.3 megapixel 36.3 megapixel
Optical low-pass filter Yes No
AF system Hybrid AF Contrast detect
Front panel construction Composite Magnesium alloy
Electronic first curtain Yes No
Continuous shooting 5 fps 4 fps
Flash x-sync 1/250 sec 1/160 sec
Weight (loaded) 474 g 465 g

As you'd expect, Sony had to come up with new lenses to take advantage of the full-frame sensors, and they'll be known as 'FE-series'. Five lenses were announced to start with (listed below), with ten more promised by 2015. Existing E-mount lenses will work, though the image will (necessarily) be cropped. If you have A-mount lenses laying around, those too will work, as long as you pick up either of Sony's full-frame-ready adapters (the LA-EA3 or LA-EA4).

Sony a7R key features

  • 36.3 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor with no OLPF
  • E-mount with support for FE, E, and A-mount lenses (with adapter)
  • Bionz X image processor
  • Sealed alloy and composite body
  • Built-in Multi-Interface hot shoe
  • 3-inch tilting LCD with 1.23 million dots (640x480, RGBW)
  • XGA (1024x768) electronic viewfinder
  • Diffraction correction technology
  • Continuous shooting up to 4 fps
  • Full HD video recording at 1080/60p and 24p; uncompressed HDMI output
  • Wi-Fi with NFC capability and downloadable apps

While the a7R is really focused on still image quality - due to its high resolution sensor without an AA filter - it's also quite adept at video recording. It records at 1080/60p and 24p, with manual exposure control, headphone and mic ports, an audio meter, zebra pattern, XLR support (via adapter), and live, uncompressed HDMI output.

Bionz X Processor

The company's latest processor, dubbed Bionz X for reasons that presumably made sense to someone, is considerably more powerful than the previous generation, allowing what the company says is more sophisticated processing.

Sony is being a little vague on specifics but is touting the new processor as offering 'Detail Reproduction Technology' which appears to be a more subtle and sophisticated sharpening system. The company promises less apparent emphasis on edges, giving a more convincing representation of fine detail'.

Another function promised by the Bionz X processor is 'Diffraction Reduction', in which the camera's processing attempts to correct for the softness caused by diffraction as you stop a lens' aperture down. This processing is presumably aperture-dependent and sounds similar to an element of Fujifilm's Lens Modulation Optimization system (introduced on the X100S), suggesting it's something we should expect to see become more common across brands in the coming months.

Finally, Sony says the Bionz X chip offers a more advanced version of its context-sensitive, 'area-specific noise reduction', which attempts to identify whether each area of an image represents smooth tone, textured detail or subject edges and apply different amounts of noise reduction accordingly. Later in the review, we'll show you just how well this system works, and also the problems it can create.

Lenses

While the a7R has an E-mount, you'll need to use Sony's new FE-series lenses to take advantage of its full-frame sensor. Existing E-mount lenses will still physically fit, but as they're only designed for use with APS-C sensors, their image circles won't cover the entire frame properly (just like using Sony's DT lenses on full-frame Alpha mount cameras). While five FE lenses were announced at launch, the 70-200mm F4 lens wasn't available to test alongside the camera. The 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS will only be sold as a kit lens for the a7. All of the lenses are weather-sealed, but while the zooms include optical stabilization, the primes do not.

Here are the five FE lenses that have been officially announced:

Model MSRP Availability
24-70mm F4 Carl Zeiss OSS $1199/£1049 Now
28-70mm F3.5-5.6 Sony OSS Kit only Now
70-200mm F4 Sony G OSS $1499 Mid-April
35mm F2.8 Carl Zeiss $799/£699 Now
55mm F1.8 Carl Zeiss $999/£849 Now

Sony plans to have a total of fifteen FE lenses by 2015, including macro and ultra-wide models.

The first five Sony FE lenses include two standard zooms, two primes, and a tele zoom

We're slightly surprised by Sony's strategy here: it seems a bit odd to be making two different standard zooms to start with, rather than adding a wide-angle zoom. And while it's great to see a couple of primes, both look somewhat slow given their prices. The 55mm F1.8 is a bit long for a 'normal' lens too. We'd have loved to see a fast 'portrait' lens in the 85-135mm range early on, but hopefully Sony will offer one soon.

The two cameras are perfectly capable of using existing E-mount and A-mount lenses, and you have the choice as to whether the image is cropped. If you choose to crop, the resolution will drop to 10 megapixels on the a7, and the equivalent focal length will increase by 1.5X. Sony also gives you the option to not crop and use the entire sensor, though this is likely to lead to strong vignetting.

Image 1
24mm full-frame lens - APS-C Crop Off
Image 2
24mm APS-C lens - APS-C Crop Off
Image 3
24mm APS-C lens - APS-C Crop On

The camera offers three options for its APS-C crop mode - Off, Auto and On. With it switched Off, you'll see Image 1 with a full-frame lens and Image 2 if you're using an APS-C lens. With it switched to Auto mode, you'll get Image 1 or Image 3, depending on whether you're using a full-frame or an APS-C lens. And finally, with it On, you'll see Image 3, regardless of which lens type you put on the camera.

The a7R with LA-E4 A-mount adapter and 50mm F1.4 Zeiss lens

Sony's A-Mount lenses will require the use of an A- to E-mount adapter. Somewhat confusingly Sony now offers no fewer than four such adapters, which differ in their autofocus capabilities and format coverage. The LA-E1 and LA-EA3 offer contrast detect autofocus for lenses that have built-in focus motors (i.e. SAM and SSD), but only manual focus with other lenses, while the LA-EA2 and the new LA-EA4 use Sony's Translucent Mirror Technology to offer autofocus with all lenses. The LA-EA1 and LA-EA2, however, were designed for APS-C NEX cameras and will vignette strongly when used on the a7(R); the LA-EA3 and LA-EA4 are needed to give complete sensor coverage with full-frame lenses.

Adapter Full autofocus? Full-frame ready?
LA-EA1
No
No
LA-EA2
Yes
No
LA-EA3
No
Yes
LA-EA4
Yes
Yes

It's well worth noting that the a7 and a7R are able to accept a huge range of other lenses via readily-available third-party adapters, including old manual focus lenses from long-dead systems such as Minolta MD, Olympus OM, and Canon FD, as well as those from current systems such as Nikon F, Pentax K and Leica M. What's more, in principle these lenses should offer the angle of view they were originally designed to give - so a 24mm will be a true wide-angle again, for example. So if you have a cherished collection of old manual focus primes sitting a closet, the a7/a7R may be just the camera to bring them back to life. More on that later in the review.

Kit options and pricing

The a7R is sold in a body only configuration, for a price of $2299/£1699/€2099.

The most notable accessory for both cameras is an optional battery grip (VG-C1EM) - a first for an E-mount camera. This grip adds controls for vertical shooting and holds an additional battery, and will set you back around $300/£259.

The a7R does NOT come with an external battery charger, instead relying on internal charging over USB. USB charging is quite slow (and it makes having a spare button on hand more difficult), so picking up the BC-VW1 or BC-TRW external chargers is probably a smart move.

Other accessories include camera cases, an off-shoe flash adapter, wireless remote, and screen protector. One accessory that's surprisingly absent is a wired remote shutter cable (though the camera can be controlled via infrared remote or Wi-Fi).



If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

Images which can be viewed at a larger size have a small magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner of the image, clicking on the image will display a larger (typically VGA) image in a new window.

To navigate the review simply use the next / previous page buttons, to jump to a particular section either pick the section from the drop down or select it from the navigation bar at the top.

DPReview calibrate their monitors using Color Vision OptiCal at the (fairly well accepted) PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the (computer generated) grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.

This article is Copyright 2014 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.

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Comments

Total comments: 803
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ronguo
By ronguo (16 hours ago)

Though I can appreciate the objective of this review is to include as many factors as possible, most of the factors are entirely subjective and really off base for what I consider to be valid for any camera. My criteria are simple: image quality, ability to manually control all aspects of the camera as and when I want, and flexibility to use legacy lenses. The A7R meets this 100%.

The A7R has the world's best sensor. period. To take advantage of this, you will need the world's best lenses. period. Combined with a good photographer, you will get the world's best images. period.

Its the image that counts.

0 upvotes
Sdaniella
By Sdaniella (2 days ago)

Can the a7r allow full manual exposure (speed/iso/aperture/wb) creative adjustment control DURING video capture (not just set at beginning of video)? I can't seem to find it listed specifically on DPR's comparison specs database, or in it's review, where am I to find it (url, page location/section). Search function isn't friendly if exact wording is needed to isolate it.
thx

what other models by other mfrs have full manual creative adjustment control DURING VIDEO capture listed?

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
ronguo
By ronguo (16 hours ago)

yes, you can make adjustments during video.
example: if you use a manual lens, you can change f-stop during video and the live view on lcd will show you the effect.
normally, I set the other parameters before shooting, so I have greater control over blur, noise, etc. always I let the camera set the wb to auto.

0 upvotes
Sdaniella
By Sdaniella (16 hours ago)

I'm talking about adjusting Manual ISO, shutter speeds, for video, not just aperture (which is lense related only obviously)

I ask, because, this is a given, on EOS FF dSLR video
no sense getting something with less control.

manual or flybywire control lenses control: zoom, focus, and aperture being a given (lens dependent)

speed, ISO, frame-rates being camera dependent

(obviously, manual lens can change lens related settings)

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Anastigmat
By Anastigmat (4 weeks ago)

If only this camera can say "mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the ugliest camera of them all?" LOL

2 upvotes
rednec
By rednec (2 months ago)

I disagree with the statement that : '' At ISO 3200 you'll see that the a7R is neck-and-neck with the much larger Canon 5D III ''. Unfortunately sony produces significantly more noise in raw mode. Otherwise a nice camera

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Average User
By Average User (3 months ago)

As a new purchaser of this camera I want to thank the reviewer for a careful, thorough and well balanced review. Especially I appreciated the organized discussion of the menus. I printed your discussion as a little booklet to carry in my camera bag.
As natural successor to the Nex 7 the camera adds much needed low light capability when used with fast lenses. I have the Zeiss FE mount 55mm 1.8 and Zeiss Emount 24 mm 1.8. The images are also much better at higher ISO's. The preset ISO top auto ISO limit is 6400, but it's better to use it at 3200. Top auto ISO on the Nex 7 is 1600 and for good reason.
With the Zeiss 55 mm and care in holding this camera steady, the images can be stunningly clear and great bokeh. Except in low light, the Nex 7 is capable of nearly the same quality using the new Zeiss 16-70mm f4. But the colors and dark and light are just a little better handled in higher contrast outdoor shooting with the 7r.

1 upvote
Galbertson
By Galbertson (3 months ago)

Has anyone, reviewer or photographer with A7R, test IQ from various prime lenses from Nikon, Canon, Leica, Voightlander, of course with apprpriate adapter? It would be a fabulously interesting comparison. Especially curious how truly sharp the older preAF lenses.
Thanks, gary

0 upvotes
ST205
By ST205 (3 months ago)

Gary,

I've only ever shot with Zeiss and Voigtlander lenses (ZM25/2.8, ZM50/2, ZM85/2 and Voigtlander 35/1.2II) on my A7R.

The only lens that is a bit iffy is the ZM25 as there's a lot of colour shift on the edges of the frame. The rest produce fantastic sharp images.

Some example shots:

ZM50/2 - http://wrc.smugmug.com/Family/Family/i-gK2Tsxg/0/X2/millie%20%287%20of%201%29-X2.jpg

ZM85/2 - http://wrc.smugmug.com/Family/Family/i-27tt736/0/X2/untitled-101-X2.jpg

Voigtlander 35/1.2 - http://wrc.smugmug.com/Family/Family/i-mzbvwPv/0/X2/DSC07119-X2.jpg

Cheers
Ben

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Galbertson
By Galbertson (3 months ago)

Ben,
Thanks for response.
Not sure if iPad issue, but clicking on your links do not work. I thought they turn yellow when link offered, yours are white, same as reading copy.???

Gary

0 upvotes
ronguo
By ronguo (16 hours ago)

to see photos from legacy lenses, go to Flickr (lots there). in general, the A7R sensor is extremely sensitive to lens quality and will show faults very easily. as a rule, I have found only the Zeiss Planar design comes up to the level of the sensor without postpro or apps. Distagon is another excellent lens. Leica has colour shift on the A7R and requires postpro or the add-on lens app. I have seen excellent results with Minolta 50. All others are hit or miss, so you need to experiment.

0 upvotes
Robin Ducker
By Robin Ducker (3 months ago)

I am a Nikon FX and DX user. I bought a Oly EM-1 as my back can no longer take rigorous hiking carrying 10KG of Nikon gear. So, now my pack is down to 3KG. But here is the killer: 1. the DR is not really + there as is a gritty feel to the images even using ETTR. 2. this is the biggie: the magic of a full frame image isn't there. I would back the Olympus 75 1.8 against ANY lens for sharpness and contrast. Particularly so in the case of my Nikkor 135 F2 DC. But guess what? The Nikkor kills it for Bokeh and I mean KILLS.
I and many others don't NEED 5/6/8/12 FPS -I have other tools that do that. FPS is simply a "my dick is bigger!" argument. Go and get a D4S then - just don't expect the D4S to make an A1 image. I don't take "test shots" at high frame rates to boost my manhood.

The A7 is a real camera for people who take photographs, and yes, my EM-1 is going. The Nikon 135 F2 DC stays on the Nikon and I am going to buy an A7R because it works for the type of photography I do.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
gLOWx
By gLOWx (3 months ago)

Another "concept camera" ?
Too expansive for "amateurs".
Not performing enough for professionals. They will get a DSLR over it.
May be ppl with too much money to spend ?
Sure it is a good camera...if you just take account of sensor...

1 upvote
munro harrap
By munro harrap (4 months ago)

No, you have to be able to get the shot right first time. On this camera you cannot as they have a dreadfully long lag between the half-press and exposure. The A7 has not, so why? what is the point? Are they refusing to compete with the D800E (which has a Sony sensor too) on equal ground? Why? So much Sony do is brilliant and so much makes no sense!!

2 upvotes
brownie314
By brownie314 (4 months ago)

you gotta be kidding right? 2.5 fps - on the FAST model. 1.5 fps on the high MP model. I get it - these were not built for speed - but still - this is 2014! I would expect no less than 5 fps w/autofocus on the A7r and at least 8 fps on the A7 w/ autofocus. For me - this camera is a non-started just based on this. I can't justify $2k for a camera that is by far slower than my D7000. I have been looking at going FF - and was considering this camera - but no way - not at those speeds. D610 will have to do.

0 upvotes
ChapelThrill23
By ChapelThrill23 (2 months ago)

I'm a Nikon user but I really understand the appeal of this. To me the weight is a number that matters far more than the FPS. I almost never do anything but single shot.

0 upvotes
Galbertson
By Galbertson (2 months ago)

Hi Chapel,
Are you using nikkor glass on your A7R? I have some nikkor AI lenses, wondering IQ on A7R.
Thanks

0 upvotes
Galbertson
By Galbertson (4 months ago)

Sorry for so many questions, but camera shop idiots...

When shuttering with 2 second timer, will bracketing still operate.

Is it true, though a7/a7r has e mount, you have to use adapter to use sony aps-c lenses?

0 upvotes
Galbertson
By Galbertson (4 months ago)

On A7R, with metabones adapter, how would nikon 35mm f1.4 compare in IQ to carl zeiss FE 35mm f1.8?

Ps, nikon is older manual F lens

Thanks!

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
ronguo
By ronguo (16 hours ago)

the CZ has superior IQ.

0 upvotes
Galbertson
By Galbertson (4 months ago)

Eastwestphoto...if one has polarizer constantly on lens to improve focusing, they would constantly polarize each and every image. They would constantly have to turn front glass on polarizer depending on changing value of light. Polarizers only effective at certain angles to sun or light source.you are adding many, many restrictions in your shooting to perhaps improve focus speed.there are a great number of subjects that should not be polarized, and you will lose 2.5 stops of light.

0 upvotes
eastwestphoto
By eastwestphoto (4 months ago)

DT 18~70mm lens, Kit lenses are significantly improved on Sony Contrast focusing AF system by the SIMPLE addition of a 49mm Polarizer filter. Focus is faster and more accurate. At least on the NEX system DSLM cameras and the New Alpha A7 series! If you think about it it makes sense, polarized light is MUCH easier for the AF Contrast system to read! 18mm on APS-C chip sized = 27mm. I tested the DT 18~70mm kit lens on my LA-EA4 adapter and at full frame it covered a 24x36mm digital chip on the A7r from 70-21, then vignetted. I didn't expect it to work that well. The image was sharp, contrasty and Highly usable! This is a trade secret,I am revealing. I seriously doubt that Sony would want this info revealed? Remember a A200 series and A300 series Sony cameras are Sony A mount and have mirrors, therefore the back focal length of the lens is Longer by far than Nex APS-C lenses , which are for DSLM cameras. So on the LA-EA4 adapter, the lens works well! Regards, Don@Eastwestphoto

0 upvotes
straylightrun
By straylightrun (3 months ago)

I'm not sure what you're on about. I just tested my old KM 18-70 DT and it only covered 28mm FF with no vignetting. Anything less and there was too much vignetting and the corners were very soft. The standard FE kit 28-75 performs better than this lens.

0 upvotes
Shelley Sargent
By Shelley Sargent (4 months ago)

I bought this just 4 days after it was released after lots of thought and research. I was originally thinking of upgrading from my Rebel XTI to a Canon 6D, I very much felt I was ready for a full frame model of camera, crop sensor was making my Nifty Fifty (50mm f/1.8) very difficult to shoot in smaller places which I found to be a common situation I landed in (abandoned buildings).
A friend highly suggested this model and I am absolutely loving it! I didn't purchase a sony lens to go along, instead opting to purchase an adapter and use Canon FD lenses and managed to get my hands on a fabulous 50mm f/1.4 for FIFTY BUCKS!
I do highly recommend this to all who are also considering the "Big Switch" or just looking for a more compact way to carry their camera with them. But I also suggest the adaptor and use of FD glass! Super cheap!

1 upvote
eastwestphoto
By eastwestphoto (5 months ago)

the old Beer Can 70~210mm minolta A works very fast and very sharp on a LA-EA4 adapter to Sony A7r.

0 upvotes
eastwestphoto
By eastwestphoto (5 months ago)

Anyone know why a Tamron AF Aspherical XR IF 28~300mm F:3.5-6.3 macro on a La-EA4 mounted to Sony A7r, will not work? The 1.4 AF telecoverter worked Okay? Same amount of pin? Lens looks newish to me?

0 upvotes
eastwestphoto
By eastwestphoto (5 months ago)

Why does my SAL1870 Sony Kit Zoom A350 camera work so well on the LA-EA4 to my Sony A7r? full frame coverage to 24, then the vignetting appears? I didnt expect it to be so sharp! very good image, Why?

0 upvotes
JaimeA
By JaimeA (5 months ago)

After all the waiting and the bustling excitement how is it possible that Sony released the Zeiss 24-70 Vario-Tessar for the a7r/a7 when there are so many issues with it? Didn’t the people at Sony ever take a shot or test the lens? Bad distortions; very sharp at the center but the image degrading into real softness and blur at the corners make this lens unusable. After many tries the softness remains even stopped down. Zoom lenses are useful for their versatility on the field (some of them are outstanding) especially at this zoom range. What to do? It really is disappointing, and a big tarnish on the Sony name and particularly the Zeiss. A marvelous camera, yet few primes that go with it. Certainly not enough. And unfortunately, there are no signs of an apology or a worthy lens replacement.

0 upvotes
Galbertson
By Galbertson (5 months ago)

Some serious blogs regarding shutter shake on A7R. My intent is to find light system, certainly not dependent upon sandbags and added weight to pack. I will be on strong tripod, shooting mostly in multiple to 1/15th second, rarely hand held. I could solve shake issue with A7, but need better IQ of A7R.

Have any of you face this issue, and what was your results?

To add, will be shooting mostly manual lenses 24-150mm. I believe this shake is diminished with this range of lenses, but the word diminish scares me. What can i expect? Would certainly not want to buy entire system only to realize images not ideal for sensor and needing to return...if i am permited.

Comment edited 14 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
slpianoproject
By slpianoproject (5 months ago)

People are over reacting with this shutter shake issue. To get the most out of the A7R you need :

1. The best of the best glass available.
2. EXTREMELY accurate focus
3. No camera movement whatsoever (in your case a strong tripod should do)

and THEN you can factor in image degradation due to shutter shake which is close to none (I have yet to see it even tho I shoot at those "dreaded" shutter speeds).

The fact is even if you get to actually see some shutter shake it'll only show up if you do an insane crop (might as well consider you missed the shot at that point) or print extremely large and examine it with a loupe!

I don't know what kind of work you are looking to do but to even consider shutter shake on an A7R as an issue you have to be part of that 1% elite photographers out there for whom every freakin detail matter because they're paid thousands upon thousands for their work.

cont.....

0 upvotes
slpianoproject
By slpianoproject (5 months ago)

Continued :
That kind of photographer prolly have access to way better cameras and doesn't bother for the 2000$ price tag on the A7R body anyway.

What I'm trying to get to here is outside of pixel peeping, there is no way shutter shake on the A7R will be and issue. Even if it does show up, you can always manipulate your ISO just slightly (A7R goes from iso 50--320+ in small increments) and get out of the supposed "danger zone". Yet again, outside of pixel peeping, with that quality of sensor there is NO WAY you will see a difference between ISO 100 and 200, yet you doubled your shutter speed.

In conclusion the A7R has numerous flaws and quirks and while shutter shake might be real, its not what you should consider as an issue. The lack of available lens is something to consider. Lackluster focus speed and accuracy (in low light) is another. The fact that you need flawless technique to get the best out of it is a factor to consider too.

cont...

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
slpianoproject
By slpianoproject (5 months ago)

Continued :

Just go out there and take a picture with an A7R and the FE 55mm f1.8 Zeiss and you'll see how awesome that camera really is. (try f5.6, it is just insanely sharp!). Shutter shake or not, you'll like what you see.

1 upvote
Galbertson
By Galbertson (5 months ago)

In many ways i am the type of photographer you speak of. My main work is shot 4x5, selling in my gallery in average 30"x40" for around $1,000. The a7r is to be light backup camera for scenarios film cannot capture. Also for macro, high def video. The a7r seems to fit ideally. Planned on adapting my old nikkor glass.

Lots on the line when i purchase gear. Yes, i sell my work, but often struggle to keep lights on, must make best researched decision, not much room to just try a system on.

I did not write all those shuttered shake articles, but certainly did listen. The sonys are only full frame mirrorless though.

0 upvotes
Galbertson
By Galbertson (5 months ago)

Has DPR ever taken on this shake issue? I don't think Imaging Resourse has, of yet. I can easily understand how most photographers would not see it as an issue, but the many websites and blogs regarding shake requires in depth study if this camera can be considered a ideal pro camera. Believe me, i have been looking at sony a7r since it arrived, sooo many features, functions, even buttons, i like. I just want to read an unbiased review about shake under specific slow shutter /adapted lens issue.

Please, just asking for constructive help, not destructive just because i make a living with my camera. If i could afford, i would wait for pentax 645Z. That camera just might replace my 4x5.

Comment edited 14 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
l_d_allan
By l_d_allan (4 months ago)

Jim Kasson has a lengthy series of blog articles on the A7r from late 2013 and early 2014. He addressed the "shutter shake" issue at length, and wasn't able to resolve all that well, IIRC.
http://blog.kasson.com

1 upvote
ronguo
By ronguo (16 hours ago)

Using an OSS lens, the shake is not an issue. Shake becomes an issue when 2 factors are combined: the photographer and legacy lens. Shake has always been a problem for SLR days, with the flipping mirrors: we simply learned to compensate. If you can't adjust yourself, you may experience shake. For the A7R specifically, the bulkier the lens and the longer the length, the more apparent the shake may become. This is why I do not use SLR lenses longer than say 75mm, but do use RF lenses up to 135mm, hand held without much problem from shake. After 135, SLR lenses must be used, and these are heavy and bulky, and thus must be tripod mounted on the lens. A monopod helps at all times, and I use this for 90mm RF lenses to obtain perfectly sharp photos when the job is critical. True, the shake is the one aspect of the camera I would like to see resolved entirely; but as it is now, it is mostly overblown by people who cannot adjust to the camera.

0 upvotes
brownie314
By brownie314 (5 months ago)

No FF cam is going to "shake up the market" until you can buy body and lens as a kit for less than $1000. I know this is possible, it just isn't being done yet.

0 upvotes
Galbertson
By Galbertson (5 months ago)

Does A7R have mirror lock up?

1 upvote
Afn
By Afn (5 months ago)

It has permanent mirror lock up :)

4 upvotes
Galbertson
By Galbertson (4 months ago)

Sorry, i meant first curtain, not mirror. Too bad there is no way of mechanically or somewhere in menu to put a timer, lets say 2-5 second to pre lock up or shutter the first curtain.

Why did sony have electronic first curtain on a7, but not on a7r???

0 upvotes
bawbaw
By bawbaw (5 months ago)

Great camera, but I wish Sony would hold off releasing bodies without comprehensive lenses that perform. The 50mm is good (although any manufacturer who cannot make a good fast 50 should make lenses full stop!) The zoom is OK ish... The Zeiss 35 is a good lens, but is not as good as the rx1 in comparison? How same lens same sensors etc...

If they had held fire for 6 months and had a wide to tell set of Zeiss nex lenses this would have been a major contender to people who need system cameras, not sensor platforms.

I know you can adapt lenses.. But full AF matched glass designed with the correct sensor requirements are what is needed here.

As Fuji proved with the xpro. Waiting and having a full system from the start has cemented success. Sony have done this over and over again now. Yes we can get the Minolta/Sony AF adapter, but it's a bodge.

Camera makers take note... There is a large population of users who would and will switch systems if you make systems.

0 upvotes
Jonath
By Jonath (5 months ago)

While theoretically a great idea, I'd guess Sony's decision has more to do with commercial reality than anything else. Fuji is a case in point, despite its success the last time its imaging division reported it was loss making, we'll have to wait till mid 2014 to see if this is still true..

As for Sony, their strategy isn't perfect, but given this reality it is kind of understandable. 35 and 50 are two very popular focal lengths, for tele, there are already several high quality e-mount lenses available and with the crop-ability of the A7R's 36Mp, I'd argue that you really don't need FF glass (and it's bulk) for tele shooting.

For ultra-wide situations then MF is also OK. I own the Samyang 14mm for example, never once have I thought it could do with AF.

For me the best thing about the A7R is that it can be small if you want it to be (think Zeiss 35 or e-mount) and if you want class leading FF quality then it can also do that with aplomb, albeit with the inevitable size pay off.

0 upvotes
Camley
By Camley (5 months ago)

I don't have a problem with Sony's approach. Instead of waiting for months, I had the camera in December with an excellent 35 f/2.8 lens.
I bought a Metabones Smart Adapter so I could use my Canon lenses as well. So immediately I had the Zeiss 35, a 100 f/2.8 macro, a 70-200 f/4 zoom, a 400 f/5.6 and several more lenses.
I bought the superb Zeiss 55 f/1.8 when it was released.
Now I will take my time selecting additional native lenses.

2 upvotes
KAllen
By KAllen (6 months ago)

GPS or lack of is stopping me on this. I've done the software add data thing in post and it's hit and miss for what I do.
Having gps position and height is a good plus for me and much better when added at the taking stage.
Still a possibility for my Canon L lenses when pixel count matters.

0 upvotes
hippo84
By hippo84 (6 months ago)

Dear Dpreview. You used CZ85/1.4 for picture quality comparison. What adapter did You use, with SLT or without it?

0 upvotes
Diobono
By Diobono (6 months ago)

Any thoughts about connecting the A7r with the new series of Sigma lenses?

0 upvotes
Jonath
By Jonath (5 months ago)

I've already done this and have the Sigma 35 f/1.4 DG art with the LA-EA4 adapter. OK its not as petite as the Zeiss, but the picture quality is truly outstanding and AF is snappy. Will find it difficult not to buy the 50mm when its available.

0 upvotes
Average User
By Average User (6 months ago)

I have been right on the edge of purchasing this camera, but after reading this review in detail, maybe not. I went back to the review of the Nex 7 which was nearly 3 years ago and the reason I purchased that camera. I also purchased good E-mount glass for it, and I have not been disappointed.
But this review is not like that. That review was full of enthusiasm for the Nex 7, even concluding: "in terms of out-and-out image quality it's probably the best APS-C camera yet, regardless of size." A far cry from this review, full of cautions and quibbles.
The only reason to purchase ff instead of APS-c is better low light performance. But with high quality much less expensive fast glass, and a number of problems in jpegs etc., it seems like the reviewers are telling me the real life results with my old Nex 7 is going to equal or beat the performance of this camera.

0 upvotes
l_d_allan
By l_d_allan (4 months ago)

> The only reason to purchase ff instead of APS-c is better low light performance.

Also, more shallow DOF. And premium UWA lenses.

0 upvotes
Galbertson
By Galbertson (6 months ago)

With Metabones for nikon f mount to e mount, i had read in blogs, there is no apeture control. I an only assume this incorrect, my older nikkor manual lenses certainly have apeture dial/apeture control. Anything i am not understanding? This would be on a7r.

0 upvotes
AnDon
By AnDon (6 months ago)

I think it means "adapter ring itself does not have aparture control ring "
Some adapter rings has control ring for Nikon "G" lenses which have no aperture ring.

0 upvotes
olddog99
By olddog99 (5 months ago)

If you are dealing with older lenses,you should be fine just setting the aperture that way -- assuming you don't plan to open wide then stop down, I.e. It's manual.

Newer lenses usually are missing both f stop on lens setting as well as DOF marks,. I use Leica lenses, vintage and modern lenses, on my NEX-7, because it's relatively easy.

It was a factor in my buying the 7R - not yet here. It might be more difficult if you use the Metabones Speed Increase. I haven't tried it yet.

Comment edited 42 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Wang Man
By Wang Man (6 months ago)

Holy mackerel, my Leica APO-Macro-Elmarit-R 1:2.8 / 100mm has risen from the grave. I use the Novoflex NEX/LER adapter to attach this big bad lens to my A7r, and by golly the pictures are GORGEOUS.

One thing though, the A7r with this heavy lens is a bit unwieldy, a tripod is a good idea.

I intent to resurrect all my old Leicaflex R lens (28mm, 50mm, 135mm) with this A7r. Thank you Sony, the Leica M240 half baked "R solution" is no where close to the pleasure of using all my old Leica R glass with the A7r.

1 upvote
Mike FL
By Mike FL (6 months ago)

Sony 7 is NO longer a "Weather sealed camera" due to LIGHT LEAK issue.

Too bad.

0 upvotes
Overmars
By Overmars (6 months ago)

Hmmm... if anyone wants to get rid of their A7r because of this issue. Please, think of me. I don't know what I'll do with it (can it still take pictures? No matter). Rest assured, it will be in a caring, loving home. :)

2 upvotes
Galbertson
By Galbertson (6 months ago)

Will LCD at horizontal hold up hoodman hood 3x loupe? Just called camera shop, they said LCD mechanism weak, lightweight, not strong enough to hold loupe. Can it be tightened, or will it only get weaker and weaker with continual use?

0 upvotes
Maaku
By Maaku (6 months ago)

$2300 and no charger?

0 upvotes
Overmars
By Overmars (6 months ago)

On Amazon you can get a charger and two batteries for $27.

2 upvotes
PaulDavis
By PaulDavis (6 months ago)

I felt felt you Dame way but find I like being able able plus it into any USB charger everywhere I go. I even charge it in my car. I bought a charger and extra battery on ebay for $19.00 so I found it to be a good set up.

0 upvotes
olddog99
By olddog99 (5 months ago)

I already have the charger, actually 2, but it's the same damned battery as the NEX-7 which is otherwise a great camera. People bitch about the Canon 5D2 and 3. They're good for roughly twice th frames. But most cameras or lenses have some shortcoming of little consequence. One thing that mattered to me was size and weight. The NEX-7 served well as a travel sub for the 5D3 and the 7R should make a good sub and more.

0 upvotes
eastwestphoto
By eastwestphoto (6 months ago)

Here is a trade secret; On the NEW Sony A7r 36Meg full frame DSLM, this teleconverter Panasonic Lumix DMV-LT52 1.4x can be mounted to the Kit lens 28~70 FE series SEL2870 and now at 1.4x its 28~100mm. OSS still works, Fine focus at 7x works, the image quality is excellent. Mounting is via step up ring 52>55mm, weight increases too 24ozs for the lens package and the lens is 80mm wide. Thats a big hunk of beautiful glass, does the F:stop increase? Hum, piece of cake! Don@eastwestphoto

1 upvote
yuri sieradzki
By yuri sieradzki (6 months ago)

Is there a pssibility to connect sony7r on hotshoe a GPS to locate the place tahat it was taken/

1 upvote
Galbertson
By Galbertson (6 months ago)

Are all Voightlander lenses adaptable to sony a7/a7r? I read somewhere some are sharp, some are not. Hoping to be in 35-65mm range.

0 upvotes
PaulDavis
By PaulDavis (6 months ago)

Yes they are adaptable. The range yiu are considering would been good. If you go too wide then you start running into issues.

0 upvotes
Galbertson
By Galbertson (6 months ago)

In comparison to 1970's nikkor glass, which might be sharper, obviously both requiring adapter?

0 upvotes
eastwestphoto
By eastwestphoto (6 months ago)

Zeiss voigtlander m42 thread ULTRON 50mm F:1.8 is a amazing lens on the A7r. manual focus 7x set for 5 sec. duration, par excellence. Don@eastwestphoto

0 upvotes
Nijuc
By Nijuc (6 months ago)

I m using フォクトレンダー(Voigtländer ) 20mm 1.4F and 40mm 3.5f . mage my hand shake, it comes out OK

0 upvotes
Dr Panos G Adamopoulos
By Dr Panos G Adamopoulos (6 months ago)

I am not a Pro, but I have been taking p'graphs passionately for more than 30 years and my collection of cameras & lenses is quite extensive; predominantly Canon, Nikon & Leica, in a chronological order.
I found the marriage of Alpha 7R & 24-70mm f/4 w/h Leica Lenses an Unbeatable combination with Unlimited possibilities, at a very reasonable price; assuming one has the M Lenses.....!!!!
Imagine Alpha 7R Full Frame 37MP Focusing through a Noctilux 50mm f/0.95..... BeautiFul.....!!!

1 upvote
twfsir
By twfsir (6 months ago)

One point everyone seems to miss, is that Sony was smart enough to have Zeiss make the lenses for the camera. Next to Leica, Zeiss makes the best glass in my opinion. I agree the sony name in cameras is not near as great as many others, but I do think they did build a unique camera with the Zeisss lens.

2 upvotes
Revenant
By Revenant (6 months ago)

Sony Zeiss lenses are not made by Zeiss, but by Sony, just as the Panasonic Leica lenses are made by Panasonic, not by Leica. I suppose that Zeiss has approved the designs and/or manufacturing methods, but they aren't involved in the makiing of the lenses.

1 upvote
twfsir
By twfsir (6 months ago)

The Sony a7R has some nice features for my purposes. I was looking for a lighter small camera than my Leica, but I wanted to be able to take decent photographs. I feel the Sony has that ability except sony needs to develope more lenses in the near future. The three lenses they currenty have are not fast enough, and I would like to see some wider angle lenses. I have used some of my Leica lenses on the Sony, and they do work well, but it sort of defeats the purpose, because it adds weight and size, and you can no longer use the auto focusing.

The reason I am writing is that I hope I can get someother owners to put pressure on Sony to develope those lenses.

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Overmars
By Overmars (6 months ago)

"The three lenses they currenty have are not fast enough, "

The Sony FE 55mm F1.8 ZA is fast.

2 upvotes
Gymstar
By Gymstar (6 months ago)

I really tried to buy one. Both the Sony Store at Dubai Mall and the airport tried to sell me a body. However, neither had ANY lenses in stock to fit the body. This for me gave off warning signals. Not a single lens that fit! Shame, but I'll stick to Canon for now at least.

0 upvotes
Galbertson
By Galbertson (6 months ago)

Are there any reasonably priced, smallish, above average resolution medium zooms for a7? My primes will be old nikkor. And it would be fortunate if zoom had image stablization, no need on primes.

I am solely landscape shooter, 95% on tripod, desiring gallery quality 16x20 and 20x24 prints, mostly b&w...should i get the a7r instead?

0 upvotes
yoyokal
By yoyokal (6 months ago)

I think the kill of fullframe ILC still the lens. When the big lens, say 70-300mm, attached to this camera, the benefit of mirrorless already gone. I hope in the future they make a jump to create small lenses like used on automatic focus glasses using liquid (http://www.superfocus.com/) electronically.

1 upvote
Camley
By Camley (6 months ago)

Yoyokal, the major advantage of a full frame mirrorless camera is amazing image quality in a small package, that is well suited to the wide angle to short telephoto range. This covers nearly all my photographic needs.
My Canon telephotos (up to 800mm) don't get a lot of use. I have a Metabones Adapter so I can fit these lenses on my a7, but I prefer my 7D DSLR for its better handling, tracking etc..
Certainly I wouldn't travel with any serious telephoto lenses unless I go on safari!
The Zeiss 35 f/2.8 and 55 f/1.8 make a good pair of travel lenses or you could just take a 24-70 f/4 zoom.
I think that mirrorless cameras in general (not just full frame) are not well suited to the use of medium to long telephoto lenses. You can pick up a relatively cheap DSLR to handle these lenses so much better. If you are a serious bird or aircraft photographer, you would naturally chose a DSLR. You could do it using a mirrorless camera but why would you?

3 upvotes
Bhima78
By Bhima78 (6 months ago)

I think Yoyokal already showed that the advantage of such a great compact body with excellent image quality (such as this Sony) is made moot by the fact that the good lenses are big and heavy, making the camera less like a small mirrorless and more like a DSLR in size and weight.

1 upvote
tlacerda
By tlacerda (6 months ago)

I find that my A7's shutter release button is quite "mushy". There is no clear stop point for locking focus, and it never seems to click. Can someone who owns the camera chime in here? Is this defective or do u also get this?

Thanks!

0 upvotes
barry reid
By barry reid (6 months ago)

Shutter button feel is pretty good IMHO, while there's no step where the focus locks there is a good level of resistance and reasonable length of travel. I find it quite easy to work with, to focus without actually tripping the shutter, certainly no worse than my 5DII or the 1Dx i used to have.

0 upvotes
siggo
By siggo (6 months ago)

Can someone please point me to some full resolution raw shots using the 55mm and 35mm lens and software to try converting them?

0 upvotes
Galbertson
By Galbertson (6 months ago)

Is anyone so fortunate to have purchased and objectively used both a7 or a7r and fuji x-t1. I love fuji glass and their film on my toyo 4c5. Have only owned sony TVs and recorders, not their cameras. I have had both in my hands. The fuji rear button stupidly small, but maybe could acclimate. The sony buttons nicly tactile.i am mostly blind and i must overly research. Some camera functions can be total roadblocks to advancing. A honest comparison would greatly be appreciated.
Thanks,

1 upvote
Galbertson
By Galbertson (6 months ago)

Curious why "reply" button not on all statements

1 upvote
l_d_allan
By l_d_allan (4 months ago)

Just the "top" of a thread, like yours. I don't think there will be a "Reply" option on my post.
Or not?

0 upvotes
Tom in VB
By Tom in VB (6 months ago)

As a working pro with over 40 years shooting for the worlds major mags I am beset with the following regarding the new Sony A7r

How any major camera company that is so innovative could have possibly
produced such a fine camera with a DEPLORABLY LOUD SHUTTER NOISE. This knocks it out of the potential catagory for me after I had waited so long for :
1- full frame.
2-nice glass
3- small and light cuz I'm old and weak:>

My thoughts are simple: why so close but so far?
We put 12 people on the moon and brought them all back = tech is in place.
My Leica M3 (circa 1960's) had the most beautiful soft shutter "tish" sound in the world .... it was mirrorless ... the Sony is mirrorless!?!?!

Maybe Sony should adapt the Leica shutter:> How about a Leica cloth shutter sound in the apps tabs :>:>

BTW: I'm a shooter not a gear head so I like solid basics not bells and ....

1 upvote
Glina
By Glina (6 months ago)

Leica M3 had a 1/1000 shutter. Sony has 1/8000.
Even though the A7 is loud-ish, I love that sound. Still considerably smoother and quieter than on a Sony A850.
For stealth use RX1 is still the king, but it uses a leaf shutter.

0 upvotes
Camley
By Camley (6 months ago)

Tom what digital camera(s) do you use?

When I evaluate a camera, I look at a list of features and don't get so bent out of shape over one minor issue. I certainly would not mention landing men on the moon!!

What is the top speed of a Leica cloth shutter? I believe that lens caps make almost no sound but they only have a few seconds maximum shutter speed.

1 upvote
jagatai
By jagatai (6 months ago)

Remember that what this camera is doing is a bit more like what a Hasselblad does when you fire the shutter. It first has to close the shutter to prepare to take the image. It then opens and closes the shutter to take the exposure and then reopens the shutter to go back to live view mode.

I suspect the shutter could be made quieter, but there may be trade offs in terms of price or maximum speed.

0 upvotes
barry reid
By barry reid (6 months ago)

I like the shutter sound. Businesslike and not a million miles from that of the Canon 5D

0 upvotes
TomUW
By TomUW (6 months ago)

I find the Canon 5D on the loud side, and the A7R on the extremely loud side, plus it produces 2 loud sounds for every shot.
I was shooting a model with it and then pulled out my Canon 6D on quiet shutter mode, she couldn't tell when I was taking the image with the 6D, and the Sony reps around me were really surprised at the difference in sound levels. Cuts the A7R out of several applications for me, like anywhere someone else is recording sound.

0 upvotes
probert500
By probert500 (6 months ago)

If they're recording sound get a blimp.
Either get less jumpy models or use deaf ones. How many fashion shots were done with a hasselblad - now there's some mirror slap.

0 upvotes
siggo
By siggo (6 months ago)

Apologies if I missed it, but you mentioned the diffraction reduction feature, but I can't find any evaluation if it. Assume it would be evident in, say, f16 or higher when comparing jpeg to raw?

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Galbertson
By Galbertson (6 months ago)

One other question...i have great nikkor glass gor 70's. Can they adapt to a7r? Is old manual lenses be good glass on digital ff camera. Do only late lenses specific to digital bodies be best for image quality.?

0 upvotes
nzmacro
By nzmacro (6 months ago)

Yes you can very easily with an adaptor. A major plus with most mirrorless cameras. MF of course and no stabilisation. I only use Canon FD lenses on E mount, so Nikon is also very easy to adapt to E mount. The oldest I use is a 1969 Canon FL-F 500 F5.6 fluorite. Works well on NEX and will do on the A7r as well.

Danny.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
PLAMBERT
By PLAMBERT (6 months ago)

I use 1970s and 1980s Leica film camera lenses on my digital M9 and no problems arise. I also use slr lenses on adapters to fit the M9, Nikon 20mm AF and Olympus-mount Tokina 17mm manual. These work well stopped down a little to maximise definition. I sometimes use a 12mm Voigtlander f5.6 on the full-frame M9. The results are amazing but I need to use Cornerfix to deal with cyan-tinted vignetted edges to the image (or crop a little). I don't think I have any digital-age lenses to use on the M9. At Leica prices I can't imagine buying one.
Philip

0 upvotes
Galbertson
By Galbertson (6 months ago)

Has anyone tested results in detailed mannrr the results from old manual lenses on mirrorless cameras. ..as in comparing 35mm zeiss(or other quality late model prime) compared to , lestsay, mid70s nikkor 35mm manual lenses? Of course, i could just try it myself. Just can't afford to experiment right now.

0 upvotes
Galbertson
By Galbertson (6 months ago)

Though mostly blind, still figure visual tools to keep me selling works in my art gallery. Seeking small aps-c or fFF camera to pack for macro, night, and 60 hd video. Need art. Lcs. Down to canon 70d, fuji x-t1(oh how i like fuji glass), and the sweet sony a7/a7r. Fujis rear buttons suck. Canon musht buttons and only 30 p @ hd. But a7 buttons wonderfully tactile.

Now does anyone menu would be roadblock? I had heard that difficult errors pop up. I use hood an viewer constantly, cannot read words, but recognise their shape.

Almost forgot, my main camera is toyo 4x5 field camera.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
janiblue
By janiblue (6 months ago)

I have always been waiting for a full frame mirrorless .For weight and carrying convenience -BUT WHY they do not make a FULLY articulated LCD for perfecting convenience for user ?
If I was given this option I would most probably switch to Sony .

1 upvote
photohounds
By photohounds (6 months ago)

Nice, but the lenses are BAZOOKAS ..

0 upvotes
Overmars
By Overmars (6 months ago)

Yes. When I saw the FE 35mm F2.8 I cried "By Odin's beard! That's BIG!!".
It was a shock.

5 upvotes
Camley
By Camley (6 months ago)

Spoken like a m4/3 fan! The lenses aren't bazookas but the sensor is.

4 upvotes
Old Baldy
By Old Baldy (6 months ago)

Really? Are there any smaller AF (and even OSS option) full frame lenses that are significantly smaller, from anyone else?

0 upvotes
Total comments: 803
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