It's all about the lenses

Started Jan 15, 2014 | User reviews thread
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ProfHankD Veteran Member • Posts: 5,856
It's all about the lenses

People get upset that Sony has not made too many lenses for FF E-mount yet. However, this is a top notch FF camera that can take more lenses than any other FF camera ever made. That includes not only nearly every manual lens ever made, but also more autofocus lenses than any other FF camera -- you can autofocus native Sony E/FE, Canon EF/EF-S, Contax G, and most importantly Minolta AF/Sony A. The A-mount lenses even autofocus with DSLR-like speed... because the LA-EA4 adapter is basically the PDAF portion of a DSLR without the rest of the body. Manual lenses with focus peaking using the A7's excellent EVF are a joy.

Image quality is outstanding. Sony is way ahead on sensor quality, and this is one of the best sensors they make... second only to the older 36MP one in the A7R/Nikon D800. The 24MP sensor in the A7 does have the advantage of being capable of electronic first curtain, which is something you'd miss on the 36MP version.

So, is this the ultimate camera? No, not even close. The UI is arguably better than on the NEX line, but not really better than a customized NEX-7 or NEX-6. The body design is also a bit hacked-together, looking and feeling rather like stuff was stuck-onto an RX1. The NEX-7 placement of things like the shutter button is way better. Overall, the A7 is ergonomically quite good, but the NEX-7 feels better in use. Also, the A7 doesn't have a built-in flash, whereas the NEX-7 has one that you can even nudge backwards for bouncing off the ceiling.

The A7's wifi support is nice, but not particularly robust. Connections get dropped easily. Overall, wifi is a nice feature, but not quite what it should be. The same is true for PlayMemories apps. Perhaps this will improve over time...?

In summary, the A7 is an excellent workhorse of a camera in a quite compact package. Especially if you want to use myriad lenses that are in various mounts and in many cases manual focus, the only real competition is the pricier A7R. Against other low-cost FF competitors, the A7 build and image quality is higher despite pricing being very competitive. Adding the cost of an LA-EA4 to give DSLR-like autofocus performance with a large family of lenses removes much of the A7's price advantage, as does purchasing any of Sony's native FE lenses (which are outstanding optics, but with fairly high prices).

Explanation of ratings: This camera produces beautiful images and can autofocus pretty fast with an LA-EA4. For "Flash photography (social)" you'd have to be nuts to pick this camera; there's no flash and adding one to the camera would result in a pretty awkward package.

 ProfHankD's gear list:ProfHankD's gear list
Canon PowerShot SX530 Olympus TG-860 Sony Alpha a7R II Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Sony a6500 +30 more
Sony Alpha a7R
36 megapixels • 3 screen • Full frame sensor
Announced: Oct 16, 2013
ProfHankD's score
Average community score
bad for good for
Kids / pets
Action / sports
Landscapes / scenery
Low light (without flash)
Flash photography (social)
Studio / still life
= community average
Nikon D800 Sony Alpha a7 Sony Alpha a7R Sony Alpha NEX-6 Sony Alpha NEX-7 Sony RX1
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