After months of rumors and speculation, Sony has finally announced the A7 and A7R, the smallest and lightest full frame interchangeable lens cameras in the world.
Two of the most expected cameras of late 2013 are now official. The Sony A7 and A7R have been introduced to the public as the smallest and lightest cameras with support for an interchangeable lens system.
They have been rumored for a very long time, with some people claiming that they might not be real. Yet, here they are along with support for E-mount lenses.
Current NEX optics will work but only in crop-mode. Thankfully, Sony has also revealed five new E-mount lenses, specially designed to work with full frame sensors.
Finally official: Sony A7 and A7R E-mount mirrorless cameras with full frame sensors
The two cameras come packed in a similar design. The bodies include a large built-in XGA OLED Tru-finder with a 2.4-million-dot resolution, which is an electronic viewfinder that looks like a pentaprism.
Nevertheless, there are several important differences at the internal level, beginning with the sensor.
Although they are both 35mm Exmor ones, the A7 features a 24.3-megapixel sensor with Hybrid AF technology. The Contrast and Phase combination should allow the camera to provide very quick autofocus speeds.
On the other hand, the A7R comes with a 36.4-megapixel sensor without an anti-aliasing filter and only with Contrast Detection AF. The lack of an AA filter will preserve image sharpness, though photos will be prone to moiré patterns.
Weathersealed bodies, the perfect fit for outdoor photography
Sony A7 and A7R specs are worthy of high-end devices. There is a new BIONZ X image processor along with built-in WiFi and NFC, and 3-inch tilting LCD screen.
Both cameras are weathersealed therefore photographers will not have to worry about dust and moisture during outdoor photo shoots.
The video capabilities are pretty extensive and they begin with full HD recording at 60 frames per second. Videographers will be allowed to control the audio recording levels, as well as to connect the camera to an external recorder or even show live video output via HDMI.
Clear Image Zoom has been added, too. It is a technology that gives users the possibility to capture amazing close-up footage, without decreasing the pixel levels.
A7 has more AF points and captures more FPS than the A7R
The new Sony E-mount full frame cameras have an ISO sensitivity range between 100 and 25,600. They shoot RAW images, but do not come packed with in-body image stabilization, therefore users will have to rely on the lenses to provide such feat.
Both have an autofocus assist lamp, but the A7 comes with significantly more AF points. Sony says that the 24.3MP camera offers 117 AF points, while the A7R has merely 25.
Shutter speed will range between 1/8000 and 30 seconds and there is no built-in flash, so if it gets dark outside, you will need an external flash.
The A7R will do up to 4fps in continuous mode, which is rather disappointing, but the A7 reaches a decent amount of 5fps.
World’s tiniest and lightest full frame interchangeable lens cameras
Both measure 5 x 3.7 x 1.89-inch, though the A7 weighs 16.72 ounces and the A7R “only” 16.4 ounces. They are the world’s smallest and lightest interchangeable lens cameras with full frame image sensors.
Photographers will be able to add a single SD / SDHC / SDXC card to store multimedia content. It is worth noting that the viewfinder will cover 100% of the frame and provide a 0.71x magnification rate.
If the manual modes do you no good, then you will be able to choose between multiple scene modes, such as portrait, landscape, macro, sports, sunset, and night.
Sony’s new NEX-FF pair will support an exposure compensation range between -5 and +5.
Release date and price information
Sony has scheduled the A7 and A7R release date for December 2013. The latter will be offered as a body-only package for $2,299.99.
The retail situation is different with the A7. The camera will also be released in a body-only version for $1,699.99, but a 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 lens kit will be available for the users at $1,999.99.
The Japan-based company will sell the LA-EA3 adapter as of this December, allowing users to attach A-mount lenses on the E-mount full frame cameras for only $199.99.
The LA-EA4 adapter is also official and provides the ability to mount “A” lenses on A7 and A7R, but comes packed with SLT autofocus support. As a result, it shall cost $349.99.