Choosing between A7 and A7R, need help please!!

Started Jan 26, 2014 | Discussions thread
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slpianoproject Forum Member • Posts: 83
Choosing between A7 and A7R, need help please!!

I know this post can be a little long but you might have to read it all if you want to help me properly choose between the two! I'll try to put a TLDR at the end. BTW english isnt my main language so i'll do my best

Hi everyone,

On monday I'm going to my local camera store to pick up an A7 (or an A7R). I am currently using a sony a57 so it'll be a big step up. I have read and watched all the reviews I could have found I am really confident I will be happy with this camera. Even tho I know i'll buy one of the two, i'm still thorn between them. This is where I need help because the camera dealers near me don't seem to sell alot of sony gear and from past experiences they are not very knowledgeable about sony products.

About me:

First of all I am an amateur / hobbyist photographer and videographer. The a57 was actually a Christmas gift for my GF and I ended up using it 20x times more than her and developing an interest for photography (always had interest for video).  My work is mostly portraits/family, landscapes and night photography/long exposures. I don't shoot events and I don't plan to, neither I'm planing to shoot sports or wildlife etc... Even tho I'm just an amateur, I'm heavily critical of my work and careful about my compositions/focus/expositions etc. For example, I would never share a picture that is slightly out of focus or that shows some minor flaws that photographers would see but other people won't lol. My GF thinks I'm a freak but I bet you all understand me

The reason I want an A7 or A7R is purely for image quality. For various reasons the a57 doesn't cut it. Just to cite an example 4 months ago I went on top of a mountain 1 hour from home to shoot photos of the milky way. With my tokina 11-16 f2.8 on the a57 I had to go like f2.8/15-25 secs/ISO 1600 if i remember correctly and the images were completely unusable due to noise even tho I tried alot of different settings, lower the ISO to 800, long exposure NR on/off to fix in post etc... Pictures could have been great... some of em really good but due to the limitations of my camera I wasted 3-4 hours of my time and now I know for a fact I wont be able to get decent milky way images out of this camera. I could cite tons of examples like that but this post already is getting long so:

On to the subject :

Considering I am after optimal image quality and great low light performance you'ld say A7R is the best choice for me. Between A7 and A7R high ISO performance is surprisingly close and the A7R with its 36 mpx w/o AA filter shows way more detailed pictures than the A7. Personally I could care less if the A7 focuses 0.2 secs faster and has phase-detect AF because I don't tend to shoot fast moving subjects and when AF doesn't work properly it doesn't bother me at all to switch to MF (thanks to sony's wonderfull focus peaking). That being said, the A7R has some drawbacks for me that makes me lean towards the A7 here's why:

- I read in alot of reviews that shooting on a 36 mpx sensor requires a way steadier technique than smaller mpx sensors and its better to use a tripod. Since the A7's are lightweight and I usually just bring my subject outside for some kinda candid handheld photoshoot, I'm kinda scared I might waste some potentially good shots due to poor technique. I know technique can be learned but...

-Me and my GF are having a baby coming in 2-3 weeks and my office is now our baby's room. Consequently I work on a 15inch Macbook Pro wich has very limited hard drive space. 36mpx Raws vs 24mpx raws are bigger to store and manage. On top of that, my MBP tend to be on the slow side when it comes to editing the 16mpx raws from the a57, can't imagine 36 ones. No budget to upgrade the MBP for now.

-I don't plan to print larger than 16 by 20 and both cameras can handle it. Most of my work is published on the web so if its not heavily cropped the difference between 36 and 24 mpx shouldn't be visible (might be wrong on that one)

-For video, while they have the same exact extremely sexy features, IQwise the A7R outperforms the A7 by a margin when it comes to sharpness, moire and aliasing. While the A7R is better, both completely destroy my a57 for video so....

-The price difference. On my a57 the 50mm f1.8 from Sony is the lens I use the most . Therefore I plan to buy the A7 or A7R body only with adapter for alpha lenses and the Zeiss 55mm f1.8 and build from that. This sets me at 4080$ for A7R and 3300$ for A7. I'm not on a tight tight budget but with the baby coming I could use that 780$ elsewhere.

Finally I lean more towards the A7 since its almost 800$(with taxes) cheaper where I live and while I'm after great IQ, the A7R might just be overkill. My question is are my concerns valid or I'll end up regretting not putting the 800$ extra to get one of the best IQ camera on the market right now. What do you think?

Thanks in advance!!!!!

TLDR: I want A7/A7R for better image quality from my a57 and I'm thorn between saving 800$ by getting A7 for great IQ, easier files to manage and more forgiving sensor mpx count or getting A7R for best of the best IQ with the chores that comes with it. Picky Amateur/hobbyist here.

 slpianoproject's gear list:slpianoproject's gear list
Sony Alpha 7S Sony FE 55mm F1.8 Sony FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS Sony FE 90mm F2.8 macro
Sony Alpha 7 Sony Alpha 7R Sony SLT-A57
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