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Performance

The a7R is a strong performer in most respects, with responsive autofocus and reasonable continuous shooting speeds (for its resolution). On the other hand, it's quite slow to start up, and battery life is comparatively low.

Operational Speed

While most mirrorless cameras start up in under a second, the a7R isn't ready to shoot for a little over two. We've also noticed that if the power is quickly cycled, the delay can be twice that. Interestingly enough, the camera is ready to shoot in nearly half a second with no lens attached, so the delay may have something to do with initializing the lens.

As one would expect, there's no noticeable shutter lag on the a7R. In terms of shot-to-shot speeds, you'll wait around 0.8 seconds between Raw+JPEG shots, and slightly less if you're sticking to JPEG.

AF System & Performance

Unlike the a7, which has a 'hybrid' autofocus system, the a7R sticks with a more conventional contrast detect setup. The camera has a total of 25 focus points to work with, and from our experiences, its focusing performance is on-par with DSLRs in good light, and a bit slower than the best mirrorless models.

In low light, however, the camera can struggle to focus - unless you are mindful to set the AF point over a contrasty area. If you do so, we've been very pleased by the camera's autofocus accuracy in shot after shot.

Continuous Shooting

The a7R offers two different continuous shooting modes: standard (1.5 fps) and speed priority (4 fps). As its name suggests, speed priority mode shoots faster than regular continuous, but for a much shorter duration.

Here's what kind of performance you can expect from the two burst modes on the a7R. We used a SanDisk Extreme Pro (95Mb/sec) SDHC card to measure the speed.

Continuous mode

Timing
Large/Xtra Fine JPEG
Raw
Raw+JPEG Fine
Frame rate 1.6 fps 1.6 fps 1.6 fps
Number of frames 37 shots 35 shots 22 shots
Buffer full rate 1.0 fps 1.0 fps 0.8 fps
Write complete 15 secs 8 secs 14 secs

The a7R hits its advertised speeds in its standard continuous mode, and its large buffer size allows you to shoot at full speed for quite a while. Clearing the buffer can take some time, during which time you cannot enter the menus or playback mode. For JPEG shooting, this delay depends on the number of photos you've taken. For example, the a7R is locked up for 15 seconds when forty-three JPEGs are taken. This gets worse or better depending on the speed of the card. We recommend using the fastest card you can find, as the a7R's files are understandably large.

The view on the LCD/EVF is in real-time when shooting in standard continuous mode.

Speed Priority mode

The speed priority continuous mode lets you shoot at rates of 4 fps according to Sony. By default, the camera locks focus on the first shot, but on the a7R you can turn on continuous AF, if you wish. Here's how the Alpha 7R performed at its faster speeds:

Timing
Large/Xtra Fine JPEG
Raw
Raw+JPEG Fine
Frame rate 4.3 fps 4.1 fps 4.3 fps
Number of frames 15 shots 16 shots 14 shots
Buffer full rate 1.1 fps 1.0 fps 0.9 secs
Write complete 14 secs 8 secs 14 secs

The a7R also beat Sony's estimates in Speed Priority mode. The number of shots per burst is about half that of in regular continuous mode, but the buffer-full rate and 'locked up' times are the same. The a7R does not provide live view in Speed Priority mode.

Battery Life

The a7R uses the same NP-FW50 InfoLithium battery found on many other Sony cameras. The NP-FW50 has 7.7Wh of energy, which Sony claims will provide 340 shots per charge. That's very low, considering the a7R has no built-in flash, which is normally included in the CIPA battery life numbers. Do note that using Wi-Fi frequently will put extra strain on the battery.

Despite the cost of the a7R, Sony does not provide an external charger. Rather, you use an AC-to-USB cable (or just your PC) to fill up the FW50 battery. Charging via the USB adapter takes a whopping 310 minutes, so it makes a lot of sense to pick up one of the BC-TRW or BC-VW1 external chargers, which are both considerably faster (especially the latter).

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Comments

Total comments: 813
2345
neil holmes

Seems fair.
I do think the A7 is a better camera in many ways though.

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
gerard boulanger

I am surprised the "cons" in the conclusion does not mention the shutter noise. The A7r is even noisier than the A7.
I guess pro won't like the noisy shutter?

5 upvotes
samhain

Loud shutter should definitely be a con a 'pro' level camera (if that's what this is)

1 upvote
Max Savin

I have an A7 and A7r. They are both much quieter than my D800 or 1DSmk3. They are noisier than an NX7.

2 upvotes
Fredy Ross

very difficult to understand why there is no mention of e-mount lenses losing the OSS when used in cropped mode. After all this time you should be well aware of this and not say only that all e-mount are compatible.

2 upvotes
Cheng Bao

1. Not all aps-c e-mount lens lose OSS
2. mounting aps-c e-mount lens on A7r is never the intended use of it

3 upvotes
Photato

"Solving the corner vignetting problem"
Way before Sony A7, there was Leica M8 and M9.
Back them the main topic was Vignetting and Shifted Microlenses.
It is pretty odd that this topic has not been raised around these Sony Digital Rangefinders.

3 upvotes
Stu 5

If you are shooting 3200 iso it means the edges are over 12,800 iso because of the vignetting problem.

0 upvotes
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: 813
2345