2013: Sony a7/R
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2013: Sony a7/R

Sony may have just been pipped to the post by Samsung when it came to APS-C mirrorless, but it was first with full-frame. As commenters on DPReview like to point out (both at the time and still today) the original a7 and a7R had their fair share of issues, and it also took quite a while before Sony caught up in terms of lenses. But they were first-generation products, and no new system has ever been launched in a finished state.

Quirky they may have been, but the original a7-series cameras were technically innovative and competitive full-frame options released at a time when the industry desperately needed shaking up.

We said (about the a7R): 'When it comes down to it, the Sony a7R's image quality, created by a combination of its high-resolution sensor and premium quality optics, make it an impressive image-maker. That fact trumps most quibbles we have about operation, JPEG processing, and even pre-processing in Raws. Its autofocus system nails focus most of the time and is fast enough for all but action photography.'

February 2014

DSLRs were the only game in town in 2013, and the a7 and a7R caught Canon and Nikon napping. It would be a full five years before either of the traditional 'big two' came out with their own full-frame offerings and Sony spent the intervening time releasing seven more full-frame ILCs and in the process securing a major share of the full-frame market. With the a7S / II and later a7-series models the company also made major inroads with amateur and enthusiast / independent filmmakers too - a market that Canon is sometimes credited with inventing when it released the video-capable EOS 5D Mark II.

So yes - despite their flaws, the a7 and a7R really were important. Compact full-frame was a big deal back in 2013, and they were the first in a line of cameras from a manufacturer which would go on to turn the enthusiast full-frame market on its head.

Have your say

Most important cameras of the 2010s
  • Apple iPhone 410.8%
  • Canon EOS R2.5%
  • Canon EOS 6D3.2%
  • Fujifilm GFX 50S3.0%
  • Fujifilm GFX 1005.3%
  • Fujifilm FinePix X1006.1%
  • Leica Q (Typ 116)1.7%
  • Leica T0.4%
  • Nikon D85011.0%
  • Nikon D7505.0%
  • Nikon Z6/75.0%
  • Nikon 1 J/V10.8%
  • Olympus OM-D E-M56.4%
  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GH55.2%
  • Pentax K-12.4%
  • Samsung Galaxy NX0.2%
  • Samsung NX12.6%
  • Samsung NX100.4%
  • Sony a7/R16.0%
  • Sony a96.5%
  • Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 5.3%
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