First Thoughts: the brand new Sony Alpha 7 and 7R Full-Frame Mirrorless System

by joshua orozcoLeave a Comment

 A few years ago Sony changed the game when they introduced the first mirrorless, interchangeable lens camera with an APS-C sized sensor. Today via B&H, Sony announces the A7 and A7r, the world’s first mirrorless, interchangeable lens camera with a full-frame sensor.

From this B&H story on the new Sony a7 and a7R

Sony has just introduced two new revolutionary cameras—the a7 and the a7R—and with them have entered a new arena of digital cameras that has, until recently, only been alluded to: full-frame mirrorless digital cameras. Stemming from several past cameras, the new a7 and a7R mesh a wealth of technology from Sony's line of Alpha SLTs and their NEX mirrorless cameras, and present two mirrorless cameras that feature full-frame sensors along with a host of connectivity-related assets and performance-enhancing tools to render a truly professional-grade camera that is equally as portable as it is powerful. Complementing the two new bodies are three Zeiss-designed lenses: two primes and a versatile wide-angle-to-portrait length zoom, which mark the beginning of full-frame-compatible Sony E-mount lenses.

Sony a7 Full-Frame Mirrorless

Sony a7

 Also included in the announcement are several accessories such as an A mount to E mount adapter, a revamped Sony 70-200 2.8, 2 new E-mount Zeiss Primes (Sonnar T* 35mm 2.8, Sonnar T* 55mm 1.8) and new Vario – Tessar T* 70-200 F4 as well.

Sony a7 Accessories

First things first: Cost. The a7 is 1699 USD for the body, with a 24mp sensor and the a7r comes in at 1999 USD for the body with a 36mp sensor. Woah. D800 and 5DmIII capability for HALF PRICE? AND backed up with Zeiss glass (third party support is always very critical for new product lines in my opinion) and a new lineup of quality E mount lenses! This is a fantastic price point for consumers to get into a full frame sensor for under 2000 USD if they are willing to change lens/camera systems.

Impressions: This is a WIN for Sony, who is leading the charge in mirrorless camera systems. Nikon and Canon seems miles behind in the mirrorless market and seem content to follow Sony's lead while dominating Sony in the DSLR market.

This is also a huge win for anyone that wants a full frame B camera (both models are capable of 1080p at 60fps) and a studio ready still camera as well. Additionally, the WIFI capability make it an excellent choice for remote work as well.

Sony a7 top

The question is: “Will this replace the Nikon D800 or Canon EOS 5D Mark III?”, to which I say “No”. While a great value, these cameras are still no comparison to speedy processors in DSLR's. And even though the list is growing, the E mount lens lineup is still pale in comparison to Canon and Nikon offerings, even before factoring in third party options. The EOS 6D however, now faces serious competition. The stripped down full frame DSLR still has the advantage of a native EF mount, but falls short to the a7 and a7r in almost every other category.

In summary, Sony has done it again. They are offering a game-changing camera body that gives consumers the features they want, in a small, affordable form-factor. [tentblogger-youtube Pkp6dNHDdDM]

(cover photo credit: snap from the engadget article)

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