Sony A7 and A7R Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera Announcement

Sony has just announced two cameras, which happen to be world’s first full-frame interchangeable lens mirrorless cameras with autofocus capabilities and also world’s lightest full-frame cameras – the Sony Alpha 7 (A7) and the Sony Alpha 7R (A7R). Featuring high resolution 24 MP and 36 MP sensors, a fast hybrid autofocus system with phase-detection AF, a high contrast 2.4 million dot OLED electronic viewfinder, Wi-Fi connectivity, Full HD movie recording with uncompressed HDMI output, weather sealing and a low price of $1699 (A7) and $2299 (A7R), the two cameras are meant to shake up the photography industry.

Sony A7

While we have saved our commentary on what we think of this full-frame system in a separate article, we are very excited about Sony’s future in the mirrorless market and its potential impact on the DSLR market.

Sony A7 Overview and Key Specifications

Here is the list of key features for the Sony A7 camera:

  1. Mount: Sony E Full-Frame
  2. Sensor Resolution: 24.7 MP
  3. Sensor Size: 35.8 x 23.9mm
  4. Image Resolution: 6000 x 4000
  5. Native ISO Sensitivity: 100-6,400
  6. Boost Low ISO Sensitivity: 50
  7. Boost High ISO Sensitivity: 12,800-25,600
  8. Processor: BIONZ X
  9. Metering System: Advanced 1200-zone evaluative metering
  10. Dust Reduction: Yes
  11. Weather Sealing/Protection: Yes
  12. Body Build: Magnesium Alloy
  13. Shutter: Up to 1/8000 and 30 sec bulb exposure
  14. Storage: 1x SD slot
  15. Viewfinder Type: OLED EVF, 2.4 million dots
  16. Viewfinder Coverage: 100%
  17. Speed: 5 FPS
  18. Built-in Flash: No
  19. Autofocus System: Fast Hybrid AF (phase-detection AF/contrast-detection AF)
  20. LCD Screen: 3″ TFT LCD with 921,600 dots
  21. Movie Modes: Full 1080p HD @ 60 fps max
  22. Movie Exposure Control: Full
  23. Movie Output: MOV, Uncompressed via HDMI
  24. In-Camera HDR Capability: Yes
  25. GPS: No
  26. WiFi: Yes
  27. Remote Control: Yes, PC control w/ remote video capture control
  28. Battery Type: InfoLITHIUM® NP-FW50 (7.2V)
  29. Battery Life: 340 images
  30. USB Standard: 2.0
  31. Weight: 416g (body only)
  32. Price: $1,699 MSRP

Sony A7R Overview and Key Specifications

And here is the list for the Sony A7R:

  1. Mount: Sony E Full-Frame
  2. Sensor Resolution: 36.4 MP
  3. Sensor Size: 35.9 x 24mm
  4. Image Resolution: 7360 x 4912
  5. Native ISO Sensitivity: 100-6,400
  6. Boost Low ISO Sensitivity: 50
  7. Boost High ISO Sensitivity: 12,800-25,600
  8. Processor: BIONZ X
  9. Metering System: Advanced 1200-zone evaluative metering
  10. Dust Reduction: Yes
  11. Weather Sealing/Protection: Yes
  12. Body Build: Magnesium Alloy
  13. Shutter: Up to 1/8000 and 30 sec bulb exposure
  14. Storage: 1x SD slot
  15. Viewfinder Type: OLED EVF, 2.4 million dots
  16. Viewfinder Coverage: 100%
  17. Speed: 4 FPS
  18. Built-in Flash: No
  19. Autofocus System: Fast Hybrid AF (phase-detection AF/contrast-detection AF)
  20. LCD Screen: 3″ TFT LCD with 921,600 dots
  21. Movie Modes: Full 1080p HD @ 60 fps max
  22. Movie Exposure Control: Full
  23. Movie Output: MOV, Uncompressed via HDMI
  24. In-Camera HDR Capability: Yes
  25. GPS: No
  26. WiFi: Yes
  27. Remote Control: Yes, PC control w/ remote video capture control
  28. Battery Type: InfoLITHIUM® NP-FW50 (7.2V)
  29. Battery Life: 340 images
  30. USB Standard: 2.0
  31. Weight: 407g (body only)
  32. Price: $2,299 MSRP

Press Release

Here is the full press release:

SAN DIEGO, Oct. 15, 2013 – Sony’s new A7 and A7R digital cameras are the world’s smallest full-frame interchangeable lens models 2. Highly anticipated by professional photographers and imaging enthusiasts alike, the two new cameras offer an unmatched combination of creativity, customizability and portability.

The A7R model features a 36.4 effective megapixel 35mm Exmor® CMOS sensor – the highest resolution sensor in the history of Sony’s A line – with no optical low pass filter for added resolving power and increased image detail. The A7 model boasts an impressive 24.3 effective megapixel 35mm Exmor® CMOS sensor and an innovative fast Hybrid AF system.

Each camera is equipped with advanced imaging features including a powerful new BIONZ® X processor; fast AF capabilities; a clear, bright XGA OLED Tru-finder, full HD 60p video recording, Wi-Fi® and NFC connection, dust-and moisture- resistance and more.

“With these new A7 camera systems, Sony has completely redefined the look and feel of a professional-grade digital camera,” said Mike Kahn, director of the interchangeable lens camera business at Sony Electronics. “The A7 and A7R cameras are significantly smaller, lighter and more portable than any other full-frame interchange lens camera yet deliver image quality, power and performance that professionals and enthusiasts crave.”

Both cameras feature full customization and control to meet the needs of the most demanding photographers. There are 9 different customizable buttons and 46 assignable functions that can be adjusted based on shooting preferences, including fully customizable front and back dials, a rear control wheel and an exposure compensation dial 3. Users can preview all changes to photographic settings in real-time on the high-contrast, 2.4 million dot XGA OLED Tru-Finder or the high-resolution tiltable 3” LCD screen.

The new cameras share a powerful new BIONZ X processor that accurately reproduces details in textures in real-time via extra high-speed processing capabilities, and allows for exceptional low noise performance in all types of lighting conditions. Additionally, the powerful processor combined with the advanced, high resolution sensors allow both cameras to shoot pro-quality Full HD video (AVCHD progressive, 1920x1080p @ 60p) with richly detailed colors and ultra-low noise.

Clear Image Zoom has been enhanced for video recording as well, allowing for powerful close-up shots without sacrificing pixel count. Other pro-style movie features include an audio recording level control and display plus a “live” HDMI® output for passing through video to an external monitor or recording device.

The new cameras both have on-board Wi-Fi and NFC capabilities for instant image sharing and transfer to compatible smartphones and tablets. The A7R and A7 models can access Sony’s platform of PlayMemories™ Camera Apps, allowing users to add new effects, filters, utilities and more. This platform includes new ‘Multiple Exposure’ app, which automatically combines sequential exposures into one creative shot, and ‘Smart Remote Control’ 4, which allows for direct control of exposure and shutter speed from a connected smartphone and is particularly useful for self-portraits or group shots 5. Find out more at www.playmemoriescameraapps.com .

The new A7 and A7R cameras each have a tough, magnesium alloy build and are dust and moisture resistant for standing up to some of the toughest weather conditions.

A7R Camera

Designed for professional photographers and highly advanced enthusiasts, the new A7R model is the world’s smallest and lightest full-frame interchangeable lens camera2.

It has an impressive 36.4 effective megapixel full frame sensor and no optical low pass filter, ensuring that the extraordinary resolving power is fully realized and resulting in an unprecedented level of detail and clarity in images.

The camera features a new Fast Intelligent AF technology that delivers blazingly quick, accurate autofocus. Additionally, there are a total of three selectable sizes for the Flexible Spot AF frame, minimizing the risk of accidentally focusing on the wrong target.

A7 Camera

Offering an exciting entry into the world of full-frame photography, the A7 camera features an advanced 24.3 effective megapixel full-frame Exmor CMOS sensor paired with the powerful new BIONZ X processor.

The exciting new camera has an innovative Fast Hybrid AF system that combines phase- and contrast-detect AF methods to ensure speedy, accurate autofocus. It can also shoot at up to 5 fps continuously with non-stop AF tracking, allowing it to keep pace with fast-moving athletes, wildlife or energetic children.

New Sony A Lenses and Accessories

There are a total of 5 new full-frame E-mount lenses designed to take full advantage of the powerful imaging capabilities of the A7R and A7 cameras, including mid-range zoom lenses from Sony and Carl Zeiss, two bright Zeiss Sonnar T*™ prime lenses and a premium-quality G Lens™ telephoto zoom. Sony’s growing E-mount interchangeable lens lineup now consists of 21 different lenses including the new full-frame models.

In addition to the new lenses, there are also two new-generation mount adaptors that give photographers the ability to utilize full-frame Sony A-mount optics on the A7 and A7R cameras. The LA-EA3 adapter simply adds compatibility for existing A-mount lenses the new cameras, while the LA-EA4 model adds the ultra-fast focusing and shooting capabilities of Sony’s innovative Translucent Mirror Technology.

There is also a new vertical grip (VG-C1EM) that offers greater comfort during vertical shooting and can accommodate two separate NP-FW50 batteries for extended battery life and shooting time. A new BC-TRW compact external battery charger that quickly charges batteries and is great for travel, and FA-CS1M off camera shoe allows the use of external flashes (HVL-43M, 20M) in off-camera wired applications. Additionally, the new LCS-ELCA premium soft leather carry case protects the A7 and A7R cameras from scuffs and marks while being carried.

Pricing and Availability

The Sony A7R and A7 full-frame interchangeable lens cameras will be available for purchase this December.

The A7R camera will be offered as a body-only for about $2300.

The Sony A7 compact system camera will be offered with a 28-70mm F3.5 – F5.6 full-frame lens (model SEL2870) for about $2000. It will also be offered as a body-only for about $1700.

The versatile new LA-EA3 and LA-EA4 mount adapters will be available in December for about $200 and $350, respectively.

The new VG-C1EM vertical grip and LCS-ELCA premium case will also be available in December for about $300 and $ 140, respectively.

Pre-Order Links

You can pre-order your copy of the Sony A7 and A7R and accessories through our trusted resellers, B&H Photo Video and Adorama:

  1. Sony A7 Camera – $1,698 at B&H and Adorama
  2. Sony A7 with 28-70mm lens – $1,998 at B&H and Adorama
  3. Sony A7R – $2,298 at B&H and Adorama

Accessories:

  1. Genuine Leather Case for A7 and A7R – $138 at B&H and Adorama
  2. Sony VG-C1EM vertical grip for A7 and A7R – $298 at B&H and Adorama

Comments

  1. 1
    ) Carmelo
    October 16, 2013 at 2:33 am

    WOW! Great Sony! And why not Nikon?

    • October 16, 2013 at 2:46 am

      That’s a great question! :)

    • 18
      ) FranslST
      November 25, 2013 at 6:23 pm

      Don’t worry Sony will do something to screw it up , their stuff always looks awesome on paper , in real life use not so much lol

  2. 3
    ) karlchesterlee
    October 16, 2013 at 3:40 am

    I feel like selling my Nikon D800 ;(

  3. 4
    ) Tim
    October 16, 2013 at 3:51 am

    After I struggled and purchased my DSLR last year…why did this have to happen now!!!! I feel like the guy who buys something he has been saving money for over a year on, and then to see that it suddenly went on sale two days later at half price!!

  4. 5
    ) Emad
    October 16, 2013 at 4:28 am

    Beautiful, i have a filling that Fuji is gonna come up with the full frame too, i guess this the beginning of the end of DSLRs.

  5. 6
    ) David
    October 16, 2013 at 7:27 am

    As a Pentaxian I allways wanted to say this to to someone else who is not a Pentax user:

    This system is lacking the appropriate lenses! It really is. Also Sigma can’t simply make E-Mount versions of their existing full frame lenses due ton the different flange distance. Let’s see where this is leading to :-)

    A anyway, thumbs up for sonny for innovating so hard recently :-)

    • 10
      ) Don Tang
      October 24, 2013 at 8:24 pm

      As a fellow Pentaxian, I only have this to say: manual fullframe with focus peaking, you can then use any lens you want. This may be the closest thing to a Pentax fullframe if you have a collection of fullframe Pentax glass. Personally, I can’t wait to use my Pentax-M 50 F1.4 for some serious bokeh!

      • 11
        ) David
        October 26, 2013 at 7:16 am

        That’s an interesting approach! Anyhow I just dud some research on how this feature is implemented (on NEX-7 at leaset) and it seems like it won’t be all that helpfull in low light fith fast lenses (and the smc M50/1.4 counts as fast for sure ;) as it needs sharp corners to work, similar to contrast detect AF.
        Or did I miss something?

        • 12
          ) Don Tang
          October 26, 2013 at 10:51 am

          Focus peaking works mostly with edges of objects and prints. For the most part though I use focus assist where the picture is zoomed in on the EVF ~ this is an indespensible feature on longer focal lengths where depth of field gets incredibly shallow. When I shoot with my 500mm reflex lens, the NEX is my camera of choice.

          Even sporting the same sensor, my NEX-5N cannot hold a candle to the k-5 in terms of high ISO performance. Then again, my k-5 cannot match my friend’s Nikon D700 in terms of low light performance even while using a low aperature lens (Sigma 30 F1.4) fully opened (we were shooting in an aquarium). In short, ISO numbers cannot be directly compared between different sensor classes, I preordered the A7R and expect to revisit the aquarium for a rematch soon afterwards.

          Lastly, even though I don’t use it, i remember there is a mode called focus trapping where the camera releases shutter when the subject comes into focus. AI has always been a bit of a hit and miss, even the best AF probably work only 90% of the time.

          • 14
            ) David
            October 26, 2013 at 12:23 pm

            Intersting, I am just now thinking of getting a D700 :)

            Anyway I am very intersted to see how those new cameras are performing if they arrive…

            • 15
              ) Don Tang
              October 27, 2013 at 8:34 am

              For ultimate low light performance on a budget, see if you can get hold of a D3S.

        • 13
          ) Don Tang
          October 26, 2013 at 11:08 am

          Also, to elaborate the point of focus peaking versus AF, camera senors never have issue in generating data, it is what how the AI process the data that determine the success rate of the AF. With focus peaking, the sensors feed you the data and rely on you for the decisions. No such thing as bad focus peaking, just $hitty photographers.

  6. October 16, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Can the new EF full frame lenses be used on NEX APS-C cameras? This would make them an interesting choice for existing NEX users like myself who may be interested in a full frame body upgrade in the future but who want to stagger the investment and are happy with just a new lens for now.

    The unfortunate flip-side is that if NEX users decide to buy an A7 or A7r and use existing NEX lenses, they will get less resolution than they currently have (e.g. the A7 shoots at 10 megapixels with an APS-C lens, compared to 16MP on a NEX-6 with the same lens).

    • October 17, 2013 at 7:46 am

      Would the A7 work if you bought one of the Zeiss 24mm f/2.0 Alpha lens with the Alpha to NEX E-mount that has autofocus? Currently my setup is NEX-6 with the setup i described. I was just wondering if it would work with the new A7 and hoping i won’t need a different adapter.

      • 17
        ) Don Tang
        October 28, 2013 at 12:44 pm

        Unfortunately, the e-mount to alpha mount adapter you have, the LA-EA2, is APSC only, a full frame lens on the said adapter will behave like an APSC lens. To get full frame sensor support with AF you will have to go with the LA-EA4.

    • 9
      ) Don Tang
      October 24, 2013 at 7:47 pm

      actually at APSC it is 10MP using medium quality setting, at high quality setting you still get something lik 15-16MP cropped. though i do wonder if you use this camera in ctopped mode, why even bother and not go back to APSC altogether? this is a minimalist camera with very little in ways of bells and whistles if you take away fullframe.

      • 16
        ) Charlie
        October 28, 2013 at 4:21 am

        Yeah it is just something to think about for now, I’m not planning on making the jump yet. The new ecosystem needs time to mature before I would be able to get involved – hopefully as more camera models and lenses become available, pricing will become more competitive. Besides, by the time the rest of the announced lenses are available, there will probably be a refresh of the A7/A7r released!

        So I’m sticking with NEX APS-C for now. I’ve just bought the two lenses I’ve been drooling over – the 10-18mm F4 wide angle zoom and the 35mm f1.8 prime. These will keep me busy for another year or so, and I may consider upgrading my NEX-6 to whatever NEX-7 successor may be announced next year.

        Happy shooting!

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