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Body & Design

The photos in this review are of the a7, which is nearly identical to the a7R in terms of design.

The a7 and a7R are the world's smallest and lightest full-frame interchangeable lens cameras, by a considerable margin. The design is a mix of the Olympus OM-D E-M5, Sony RX1 and NEX-7, and it feels extremely solid. The a7R's body is made entirely of metal, unlike the a7 which has a plastic front plate and slightly cheaper-feeling dials. The body and FE lenses are sealed against dust and moisture.

Ergonomics are generally good, though some may not care for the relatively 'shallow' grip. The front, rear, and exposure compensation dials are all within easy reach of your fingers, though the menu button (on the top-left of the back plate) seems oddly placed. Sony's had issues on their RX-series cameras with the placement of the movie record button, which was easy to bump. On the a7R, the button is essentially on the right side of the camera, so it'll take some work to accidentally press it.

Top of camera

The a7R has a good selection of dials, though Sony is a bit limited for space here. On the far left you'll see one half of the stereo microphone. At the center is the hot shoe, which Sony calls the Multi-Interface Shoe. What this means is that the shoe can handle external mics, video lights, and an XLR adapter, thanks to a set of contacts concealed under the front lip of the shoe. Modern Sony external flashes can take advantage of the interface, and Sony offers an adapter to use with the company's older flashes and third party flashes made to take advantage of the old proprietary mount (Model number ADP-MAA). No accessory flash is included with the a7R.

Continuing to the right, we have a mode dial that has the usual P/A/S/M modes, as well as two custom spots. There are also positions for movies (which can be taken in any mode), Sweep Panorama, scene mode, and Intelligent Auto.

At the far right you'll find the shutter release (with power switch underneath), exposure compensation dial, a customizable button, and the front dial.

Size compared to Canon EOS 6D

The Canon 6D - one of the smallest full-frame cameras - still towers over the a7/a7R.

Until the a7R, the smallest full-frame interchangeable lens cameras were the Canon EOS 6D and Nikon D600/D610 (which are about the same size), unless you consider the very pricey Leica M9. As you can see from the above photo, the a7R is much smaller and lighter, due to the fact that it has no mirror to deal with. The camera isn't pocketable by any means, but it's much easier to carry around.

In your hand

The a7R has a sizable grip that makes it easy to hold (at least with standard-sized lenses). There's enough room on the back for your thumb to rest comfortably without pressing any buttons.

LCD and Viewfinder

Sony certainly hasn't skimped on the LCD or electronic viewfinder on the a7 twins. The tilting 3-inch LCD has 1.23 million dots and a 4:3 aspect ratio. As you'd expect, the screen is sharp, and outdoor visibility is decent at default settings. The LCD can tilt upward by 84 degrees, or downward by 45 degrees. One negative is that when the LCD is tilted down, the camera does not sit flat.

The a7R's OLED XGA electronic viewfinder (which Sony calls the TruFinder) will be very familiar to anyone who has used the NEX-6/7 or a99 cameras. The viewfinder is large with a magnification of 0.71x, and extremely sharp, with nearly 2.4 million dots. The OLED technology means that there's no 'rainbow effect' that can plague EVFs that use a field sequential system. The viewfinder eyepiece is large and is far away enough from the camera for glasses-wearers. It also does a good job of keeping incident light from leaking in.

One thing that we didn't care for is the sensitivity of the eye sensor which automatically switches between the LCD and EVF. If you're doing waist-level shooting with the LCD tilted up, the sensor will switch to the EVF while the camera is still 6 inches away.

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Comments

Total comments: 809
2345
Zoron

Sony:"Winning."

6 upvotes
Zerg2905

That's for sure for Sony. What about the customer? Cheers! :)

1 upvote
Zerg2905

Only Gold? This camera deserves a rare element not yet found on Earth. This is The First and (probably not) The Last, The Alpha and Omega of all cameras. Ever. And ever. A-men! Hallelujah! Cheers, and cheers again! :) :) :)

19 upvotes
kadardr

UNOBTAINIUM

17 upvotes
Zerg2905

Right. Cheers! :D :D :D

0 upvotes
PaulDavis

Bionztaniumx make? Which name made sense to some chemist.

2 upvotes
itsmeavi

Kryptonite :P

0 upvotes
bobbarber

OK. I'm convinced. Time to save up.

8 upvotes
petemod

Only Gold? This camera deserves Platinum!

33 upvotes
thx1138

A list of cons as long as the pros and not all of them are minor, it got a fair result. Now combine an A7r with say a good AF system like in a m4/3 camera, triple the battery life and improve several other annoyances and then it might warrant a 90%. At the moment it's a superb sensor wrapped in an ok body. If only Olympus could fit this sensor to an E-M1.

15 upvotes
Juck

m43 lol

16 upvotes
thx1138

Sorry what's the point of your comment ???

2 upvotes
Jabba23

@thx1138 with all of the things you want it to be, it becomes a dslr again. The compromises are there because not all of the technology is available yet or it is but it would put it out of the price range of far too many people to make it viable.

0 upvotes
Stu 5

Or being held back for the replacement camera or because the camera was rushed to market.

0 upvotes
thx1138

@jabba23

That's a ridiculously long bow to draw and completely incorrect. Yes tripling battery life would be tough, but they have to do better, getting 200 shots if you are conservative is just not good enough. Other than that there's no excuse for the AF given how good Olympus and Fuji are on that front, there's no excuse for the lack of electronic first curtain shutter, given the A7 has it and there's no excuse for the cumbersome menu system. None of these require the camera to magically grow in dimensions.

1 upvote
Yxa

thx1138
You mean the Nikon D800?

0 upvotes
fabio riccardi

I have a question about lenses for full frame mirrorless cameras.
I notice that pretty much all the Sony lenses for these cameras have relatively small maximum aperture. The 55mm normal lens is 1.8, vs the 1.4 we are accustomed to for normal full frames. Similarly for the rest of the line. I guess that bright lenses also mean heavier, larger, lenses, which don't quite make sense on smaller camera bodies.
This kind of defeats the purpose of a full frame sensor, where you can benefit from the shallow depth of field it allows.
On APS sized sensors, brighter lenses can still be fairly compact. Fuji, Panasonic, and Olympus lenses are all much brighter than the new FF mirrorless Sony.
Brighter lenses on APS sensors deliver equivalent DOF and look than the dimmer lenses on FF. At the end what is gained with the full frame is lost with the smaller maximum practical aperture.
What do you guys think?
- Fabio

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
1 upvote
joao 43

I think you should consider the A-mount lenses, like Zeiss 1.4's and Sigma's 1.4. If that is not enough you still have Voigtlander 35mm 1.2, 50mm 1.1 and 1.5, 75mm 1.8 and Leica's 0.9, 1.4. Do you have any lens on Fuji or Olympus that gives you the same DOF and same light gathering? I don't think so....
I don't think Fuji or Olympus offered anything better on the first year.

Regards.

Comment edited 34 seconds after posting
5 upvotes
Max Savin

All sorts of fast lenses can be used on this camera and are available now. Various adapters allow me to use my Nikon, Canon, and Leica lenses. I would get a Sony adapter if I owned any Sony Alpha lenses. This camera is a dream come true.

3 upvotes
fabio riccardi

My point is that large aperture lenses are impractical on these bodies.
Sony is making small aperture lenses because they fit better the size of the A7.
On smaller sensors, large aperture lenses are still small enough to fit the size of the body.
I guess that my question then is: if small body/lens size is an important factor, does FF still make sense?
- Fabio

2 upvotes
HFLM

However most need adaptors and use manual focus. This is not for everybody. A landscape shooter may however be o.k. with it.
A-mount lenses are larger together with adaptor, as would be fast lenses. Even 2.8 zooms would be very large and heavy.
For me the A7s make sense only with smaller primes.

2 upvotes
Dennis

I think there are already FF cameras with faster lenses available. If you make bigger lenses, then what's the selling point versus those cameras ? Personally, when I had f/1.4 lenses on APS-C, I shot them at f/1.8 or f/2 for shallow DOF - f/1.4 on FF is too shallow for my tastes. Anyway, when you why people would choose this camera over a FF DSLR, I don't think the omission of f/1.4 primes is significant.

0 upvotes
Erik Magnuson

To be fair, the Zeiss is also T-1.8 while the other brands 1.4's are often darker than spec at T-1.6 or T-1.7. The real difference is much less than the f-numbers imply.

0 upvotes
TrojMacReady

Actual measured transmission values of the 55mm lens are similar to those of most f/1.4 lenses.

Also, the theory that FF offers no benefit when apertures are smaller, is limited to situations where the shutterspeed is the limiting factor. Which isn't always the case. Reminds me of the Sony R1, when people were making a similar argument about its smaller apertures compared to its smaller sensor predecessors.
Until the output made them realize that the R1 still showed clear benefits in many situations.

2 upvotes
ihv

While sometimes it might feel like gambling, Sony has to be congratulated for pushing new ideas.

23 upvotes
joao 43

It's such a shame a site like this one with so many mistakes.
I'll clear one, the kit lens is sold apart. Please Dpreview correct because your wrong.

"although because it's a kit lens only available for the a7 - and not currently available separately"

It's sold by Amazon and several stores. The current price is 549€ on Amazon.de.
You guys should really get the story right, specially after the A7 flop review.

http://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B00HSHFPD0/ref=s9_psimh_gw_p23_d0_i2?pf_rd_m=A3JWKAKR8XB7XF&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1Z67CK07AP7NMBT3ZK0D&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=455353807&pf_rd_i=301128

Regards

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
Richard Butler

It's not so much a case of being wrong, it's a case of not knowing enough about other markets - it's not sold separately in the US and Sony US don't necessarily know what Sony Europe is doing.

I'll clarify the text.

16 upvotes
joao 43

It was a mistake. Error. Like many things in A7's review.... you should take advantage of A7's users here on Dpreview that might know more a thing or two... A simple quick search would do trick on this matter, since you took the trouble to write on the conclusion. It's been available quiet some time now, even US customers can buy things abroad. The US are not the world when you write to all other countries.

Regards

3 upvotes
Juck

You need a hobby mate

17 upvotes
RFC1925

I hear cameras and photography are good.

5 upvotes
ric63

Yes.
I have heard the same thing.
Mr Fox Talbot would be amused.

1 upvote
joao 43

Juck. :D I'm not the one reviewing cameras for a living, I use them for a living. The remark "not currently available separately" has been widely used before, and does consumers no good. It's available and a quick search over google shows it. Best wishes.

1 upvote
Ben O Connor

Conculution page; Mic jack-headphone jack/port written twice... Or are these two different thing ?

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
D1N0

Depriving people of their opportunity to complain about "only silver". How can you!

21 upvotes
MustangJoe

Don't worry. They'll find something to complain about.

3 upvotes
Ryan_Valiente

only gold?

what the hell DPR!

1 upvote
Kwick1

Interesting that, in the summary, there's no mention of high ISO capabilities - good, bad or otherwise.

0 upvotes
thx1138

Same as D800(E), so pretty good especially when downsampled.

0 upvotes
BobYIL

A well deserved Gold rating..

14 upvotes
Bervilat

Look at the tiny text on the studio image. Veeery nice IQ.

1 upvote
Total comments: 809
2345