Sony released the specifications and prices of the new full frame cameras Alpha A7 and Alpha A7r
You can see my Review of the A7R with the Zeiss lens 55mmF1.8 here : https://traveljournalist.com/sony-a7r-zeiss-fe55mmf18-review-unboxing/
The 7 Body only costs USD $1,698
The 7 will cost USD $1,999 with a kit lens 24-70 mm
the 7r body only is at USD $2,298
Previously, Sony had 2 full frame compact cameras, RX1 and RX1r, and a classic DSLR interchangeable lens Alpha 99 .
The RX1 and RX1r (no Anti-Aliasing filter) have a fixed 35mm lens.
The big news with the A7 and A7r is that they are compact and you can choose between many different lenses. they are much lighter and easy to carry around than the competitors, and less expensive. the main competitors are :
Canon 5D Mark III, Nikon 800 & 800E (no Anti-Aliasing filter)), the Canon 6D (entry level full frame) and the very prestigious and expensive Leica M9, a rangefinder (no autofocus).
Many Canon and Nikon users would not buy a Sony because they say that the choice of lenses is limited. I would rather say that there is obviously less choice, but for most of the users, the lenses available for the Alpha 99 is good enough.if you have a macro, a zoom, a superzoom, a 50mm for portrait, a 35mm for street photography, and a fisheyes, it will be good enough for most of the users.
However, for the new A7 and A7r, the choice will be indeed limited in the beginning, which make sense because it is a new format, the FE mount. But I would not worry about that ; considering that these camera will sell like hot cakes, the usual lens makers will hurry to offer a lot of models for this format. a lot of models are already announced.
You can still use your actual E-mount but the image will be cropped and be close to the size you had when it was working with your APS-C sensor. or there might be heavy vignetting.
Besides, there will be many adaptors for the actual alpha Sony lenses, and for the Nikon and Canon lenses. in some cases, using an adaptor will slower the autofocus, or even make you loose the autofocus function.
So what are the differences between the A7 and A7r ?
– the dimension of the sensor is the same, but the A7 has 24 MP and the A7r has 36 MP
– Maximun Resolution : A7 6000 x 4000 / A7r 7360 x 4144
– Weight : A7 474 g (1.04 lb 16.72 oz) / A7r 465 g (1.03 lb 16.40 oz)
the A7r is lighter because it’s made entirely with magnesium alloy, whereas the A7 has plastic on the front.
– the A7 has an Anti-Aliasing filter, but not the A7r that will give sharper images.
– the A7 has a phase detection autofocus system, the A7r doesn’t have the phase dectection.
– the price is different
– A7 5 fps / A7r 4 fps
– you can buy on Amazon the A7 with the zoom lens, it’s an offer, and they call it the A7K .
– the A7r is so far sold as the body only.
– the focusing is quicker on the A7 and there is less noise with a high ISO , probably because it is easier to manage less pixels. that’s how we realize that having too much pixels has sometime some drawbacks .
–No touchscreen for the A7, no touchscreen for the A7r. it is not a difference, it’s a shame! how could they miss that!
which one should you buy ?
Well, this is a dilemma, especially if you have a big budget. usually, you would think, I will buy the high-end one, the one which has the highest number of pixels. but here, it is more complicated then that : the fact that the focusing of the A7r is slower and a bigger noise at high ISO can be a problem. do you really need 36 MP ? very few users will need that. do you really need a sensor without the Anti-Aliasing filter ? all the tests made with the Nikon E800 Vs 800 show that the difference of sharpness is really tiny, almost invisible.
The continuos drive is better for the A7 with 5 fps versus 4 fps for the A7r…
That makes the A7 very attractive, especially if you buy the package with the kit zoom lens, it will make a full frame camera for a cheap price!
But if you make mainly professional pictures, you need to take landscapes, big images, and your costumers need of lot of pixels, then the A7r is for you.
Personally and despite all I said above, I might fall for the A7r because it’s difficult to resist a 36 MP Full Frame Sensor !
I might change my mind though, and I’ll update this article consequently…
You can pre-order the Sony 24.3 MP a7K Full-Frame Interchangeable Digital Lens Camera with 28-70mm Lens on Amazon
Sony 24.3 MP a7K Full-Frame Interchangeable Digital Lens Camera with 28-70mm Lens
You can pre-order now the A7r on amazon.com !
Sony 36.3 MP a7R Full-Frame Interchangeable Digital Lens Camera – Body Only
You can pre-order now the A7 on amazon.com !
Sony 24.3 MP a7 Full-Frame Interchangeable Digital Lens Camera – Body Only
Sensor 35mm full-frame: 24 MP for the 7 and 36 MP for the 7r
14 bit raw images
ISO 100-25 600
Video 1080p at 60 or 24 frames/s
LCD tilting 3-inch, 1.23 million-dot
Viewfinder OLED 2.4 million-dot
25 points contrast AF
4 FPS for 7r and 5 FPS for 7
Shutter sped up to 1/8000
weight 465 Kg with battery and card
Dimensions: 5.9 x 6.2 x 8.9 inches ; 2.6 pounds
Available in December 2013
Lenses will be called FE : F for Full Frame and E like E-Mount
Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 USD $999
Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 35mm F2.8 USD $799
Sony FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 IS
Zeiis Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70 mm F4 OSS USD $1199
The A7 and A7r might not be ideal for street photography, expect for the compact body, which is a plus in this field.
there are 2 problems :
1- the shutter sound is loud, not discreet at all!
2- for street photography, you would like to have a prime lens 35mm or 55mm. but the ones that will be released by Zeiss don’t have image stabilization. maybe you don’t need IS when you shoot landscape, but when you are on the streets and you want to capture this “decisive moment”, you are in a rush, you don’t have time to get your body or your hands stable and your image will not be sharp without IS. you could use the 28-70 which has IS, but it’s too big, you will look like a paparazzi! and anyways, if you choose the A7r, you can’t buy this zoom lens separately.
UPDATE 2nd JANUARY 2014 : finaly, I tried the A7r for Street Photography with the 35mmF2.8 and it’s very good! you can see the video and the pictures here : https://traveljournalist.com/sony-a7r-street-photography-bangkok-chinatown-zeiss-fe-35mmf28/
if you want a full frame compact camera for Street Photography, you might prefer the very compact Sony RX1 (with Anti-Aliasing filter) or RX1r (without Anti-Aliasing filter for more sharpness). very discreet, great design, awesome Carl Zeiss® Vario-Sonnar T* lens F2. but no tilt screen and no wifi. if this is your choice, you don’t need to wait for December to get it, you can buy it now on Amazon!
Sony DSC-RX1/B Cyber-shot Full-frame Digital Camera
Sony DSCRX1R/B 24MP Compact System Cyber-Shot Digital Still Camera with 3-Inch LCD Screen (Black)
these video samples were taken with an A7r with different lenses :