Sony A7 vs A7R

With Sony taking over the major headlines this week, a number of our readers have been asking about the differences between the Sony A7 and A7R – two new full-frame interchangeable lens mirrorless cameras. As I have written in this article, Sony’s full-frame mirrorless cameras are shaking up the camera market and could potentially influence the future development and pricing of full-frame DSLRs in the future. Boasting impressive 24 and 36 megapixel sensors, the Sony A7 and A7R cameras are attracting a lot of potential buyers from different camps. But one question remains: what is the difference between the A7 and the A7R and which one should one pick? Although both cameras look very similar, there is a big difference in price: the A7 is priced at $1700, while the A7R is at $2300. In this article, I will go over the feature differences between the two cameras and provide personal recommendations on what lens(es) to choose. I believe the two cameras are targeted at completely different audiences. Please keep in mind that this Sony A7 vs A7R comparison is purely based on specifications. A detailed comparison with image samples and ISO comparisons will be provided in the upcoming Sony A7 and Sony A7R reviews.

Sony A7 vs A7r

Before I go into recommendations on which to pick and why, let’s first take a look at how the two cameras stack up against each other in terms of specifications:

Sony A7 vs A7R Specification Comparison

Camera FeatureSony A7Sony A7R
Sensor Resolution24.3 Million36.4 Million
AA FilterYesNo
Sensor Size35.8 x 23.9mm35.9 x 24.0mm
Sensor Pixel Size5.96µ4.87µ
Dust Reduction / Sensor CleaningYesYes
Image Size6000 x 40007360 x 4912
Image ProcessorBIONZ XBIONZ X
ViewfinderElectronic / EVFElectronic / EVF
Viewfinder Type / ResolutionXGA OLED / 2,359,296 dotsXGA OLED / 2,359,296 dots
Viewfinder Coverage100%100%
Built-in FlashNoNo
Flash Sync Speed1/2501/160
Storage Media1x SD1x SD
Continuous Shooting Speed2.5 FPS, 5 FPS in Speed Priority Mode1.5 FPS, 4 FPS in Speed Priority Mode
Max Shutter Speed1/8000 to 30 sec, Bulb1/8000 to 30 sec, Bulb
Electronic Front Curtain ShutterYes, On / OffNo
Exposure Metering Sensor1200-Zone Evaluative Metering1200-Zone Evaluative Metering
Base ISOISO 100ISO 100
Native ISO SensitivityISO 100-6,400ISO 100-6,400
Boosted ISO SensitivityISO 12,800-25,600ISO 12,800-25,600
Autofocus SystemFast Hybrid AF (phase-detection AF / contrast-dection AF)Contrast-detection AF
Focus Points117 points (phase-detection AF), 25 points (contrast-detection AF)25 points (contrast-detection AF)
AF Predictive ControlYesNo
Video CapabilityYesYes
Video OutputAVCHD / MP4 Compression, Uncompressed via HDMIAVCHD / MP4 Compression, Uncompressed via HDMI
Video Maximum Resolution1920×1080 (1080p) @ 60p, 60i, 50p, 50i, 25p, 24p1920×1080 (1080p) @ 60p, 60i, 50p, 50i, 25p, 24p
Audio RecordingBuilt-in stereo microphone
External stereo microphone (optional)
Built-in stereo microphone
External stereo microphone (optional)
Articulating LCDYesYes
LCD Size3.0″ diagonal TFT-LCD3.0″ diagonal TFT-LCD
LCD Resolution921,600 dots921,600 Dots
HDR SupportYesYes
Built-in GPSNoNo
Wi-Fi FunctionalityBuilt-inBuilt-in
BatteryNP-FW50 Rechargeable BatteryNP-FW50 Rechargeable Battery
Weather Sealed BodyYes, Dust and Moisture ResistantYes, Dust and Moisture Resistant
USB Version2.02.0
Weight (Body Only)474g with battery and memory card465g with battery and memory card
Dimensions126.9 x 94.4 x 48.2mm126.9 x 94.4 x 48.2mm
MSRP Price$1,699 MSRP (as introduced)$2,299 MSRP (as introduced)

While most of the above features are very similar, there are some key differences between the Sony A7 and the Sony A7R:

  1. Image Sensor and Image Quality: Obviously, the sensors on the two cameras are completely different. The A7 has a 24.3 MP sensor, while the A7R has a 36.4 MP sensor. As a result, the size of each pixel on the sensor is also very different: 5.96µ vs 4.87µ. What does this mean? Simply put, the A7 will provide cleaner images at higher ISO levels when viewed at pixel level, or 100% zoom. However, that advantage will no longer be true when looking at the output of both sensors when images are down-sampled, or “normalized” to 24.3 MP. If you do not understand how and why, please read my article on the benefits of high resolution sensors. As a result, when 36.4 MP is resized to 24.3 MP, the amount of noise on both images will be equivalent, however, the high resolution sensor on the A7R will produce better and sharper details. This obviously comes at an expense of having larger JPEG and RAW files.
  2. Autofocus System: This one might be a big surprise for may – the Sony A7 has a superior Hybrid autofocus system with both phase-detection and contrast-detection autofocus capabilities, while the A7R only has contrast-detection autofocus. This basically means that the A7 will focus faster and is therefore a better choice than the A7R for anything that moves (portrait, street and event photography). The A7 also has a lot more focus points (117 vs 25) for better framing and composition. With contrast-detection AF, the A7R is specifically targeted at landscape and architecture photography.
  3. Camera Shutter and Flash Sync Speed: The Sony A7 is shipped with an electronic front curtain shutter, while the A7R does not have that capability. As a result, the A7 has an impressive 1/250 flash sync speed, while the A7R is limited to 1/160. If you are a portrait photographer and you use flash a lot, the A7 will be a better choice for this reason alone.
  4. Price: Lastly, there is a $600 difference in price between the two models. This means that Sony wants to charge more for the resolution alone, despite the fact that the A7R is worse in terms of the flash sync speed and autofocus features.

To me, it is very clear what Sony is doing here with the two cameras. The Sony A7 is clearly targeted at everyday photography, portraiture, street and event photography, while the A7R is a tool to be used for landscape and architecture photography, where high-resolution capabilities are more important than autofocus speed and flash sync speed.

Now that you know what the two cameras are for, here are my lens recommendations, based on the first 5 lenses announced by Sony.

For Landscape / Architecture Photography using the Sony A7R: With a 36.4 MP sensor, you need a lens that can resolve as much detail as possible and has the right zoom range. The Zeiss 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS is a perfect candidate for this. 24mm is wide enough for most situations and the nice zoom range makes it a great fit for photographing landscapes. And image stabilization is certainly a nice bonus with this lens, allowing you to photograph hand-held in low-light situations. Sony’s 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 will not be able to compete with the 24-70mm Zeiss optically. The Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS is another candidate for photographing distant landscapes to extend the range of the 24-70mm. Unfortunately, Sony has not yet produced a super wide angle lens yet, but we should be seeing one in 2014.

For Portrait / Street / Event / Everyday Photography using the Sony A7: Street photographers will want the Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 lens, because it is small and has the right focal length for most situations. Portrait and event photographers should get the Zeiss 55mm f/1.8 for subject isolation and to get beautiful bokeh. The 55mm f/1.8 is a very sharp lens, based on the image samples I have seen so far. The second lens on my list would be the Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS, since it is another lens with very sharp optics and very useful for documenting events / photographing distant subjects. A 70-200mm lens is a must-have for photographing wedding ceremonies. For group portraits and other tighter shots, I would personally pick the 35mm f/2.8 prime, although some might want the versatility of the 28-70mm. In fact, the Sony 28-70mm only costs $300 when bought as a kit, so I would probably buy the A7 with this lens.

The good news is, other third party manufacturers are already announcing plans to make Sony full-frame E mount lenses and Samyang is the first one, which will be retrofitting 5 of its prime lenses:

  1. Samyang 14mm f/2.8
  2. Samyang 24mm f/1.4
  3. Samyang T-S 24mm f/3.5
  4. Samyang 35mm f/1.4
  5. Samyang 85mm f/1.4

The above lenses are all manual focus lenses, with excellent performance characteristics. The 14mm, 24mm and 24mm Tilt Shift would all be great candidates for the Sony A7R for capturing landscapes/architecture.

Hope this helps, please let me know if you have any questions!


  1. 1) Peter G
    October 17, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    Well, Sony could not have designed a more ugly camera body. What were they thinking ?

    Retro look from the 1960’s ?

    • October 17, 2013 at 9:17 pm

      Peter, I don’t think they look that ugly :) I would say the looks are pretty similar to the Olympus OM-D E-M5. Maybe I am just used to my E-M5 :)

      • 1.1.1) Peter G
        October 19, 2013 at 2:17 am


        Well, I like my Sony 47 ” TV.
        I like my SONY 100 Disc CD players. ( 2 off )
        That’s where it stops :-)

        The Sony styling department needs to get out of the 1970’s.

        • tokyojerry
          October 21, 2013 at 8:41 pm

          Peter G. To each their own I surmise. For myself, it ultimately comes down to an issue of functionality, not a fashion show nor stylistics. So long as a camera is designed well enough to hold and carry, is quick and logical to access multiple controls accomplish the shot or footage, I really don’t care much whether a camera has side fins or not.

          As soon as the camera (A7) releases on 11/15, I will be purchasing to supplant (or replace) my NEX-6

        • kurnia
          October 25, 2013 at 4:20 am

          Well, I love this look, if you complain about the old skool look, well there are lots of company out there you need to complain, examples: fuji, leica, olympus. If i can ask sony, I’d like them to make camera like my old Minolta SR-1S, I still use this camera sometimes.

    • 1.2) MartinG
      October 19, 2013 at 3:36 am

      I have agree – it is kind of hideous, angular, harsh and manages to even ‘look’ like handling it would be uncomfortable. There are other ugly cameras however. Perhaps they will make their lenses square so that they can fit with the looks of the camera!

  2. 2) Scott McGuire
    October 17, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    I can’t believe Sony didn’t launch a prime super wide angle FE Lens for all the landscape photographers who have been waiting for the A7r???? Grrrr!

    • October 17, 2013 at 9:18 pm

      Scott, there will be 5 more lenses next year, plus all the lens from third party manufacturers. In fact, Samyang has just announced 5 more lenses for the E mount and they are all primes!

    • 2.2) PAUL
      October 18, 2013 at 12:58 pm

      I welcome Sony as a real FF challenger to Canon/Nikon Duopoly. I just miss sensor-based image stabilizing in A7 or A7R. Sigma, Samyang or other PCMs are expected to release a lot of A7 mount glasses in coming months. Photographers are winners.

      • 2.2.1) Scott McGuire
        October 18, 2013 at 9:21 pm

        I agree Paul as a current Pentax K-5 shooter where the body has stabilization instead of the lenses. I’ve heard good things about the Samyang lenses, but would have to get used to manual focus.

  3. 3) samer RIhiZK
    October 17, 2013 at 6:57 pm


    It was also said that the 7R is made of more magnesium alloy than the 7, is it not so?


    • October 17, 2013 at 9:18 pm

      Samer, everything is the same except for the grip. The A7 has a plastic grip while the A7R is magnesium alloy. Very small difference…

  4. 4) Ron M
    October 17, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    How about the Samyang/Rokinon lenses just announced for release in a couple of months? You’ve reviewed them for other systems and I’d assume performance would match up for the A7/R’s. Any thoughts or recommendations?

    • October 17, 2013 at 9:20 pm

      Ron, you are right – Samyang has 5 more lenses that will be retrofitted to the full-frame E mount. It is great to see the 24mm tilt shift and the 14mm, 24mm, 35mm and 85mm lenses – all very fast and nice. I will update shortly with some additional info.

    • October 17, 2013 at 9:31 pm

      Just updated the article with some info on Samyang lenses :)

  5. 5) chen
    October 17, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    Is there an internal intervalometer (to take time lapses)?

    • October 17, 2013 at 9:21 pm

      Chen, I have not seen any info on that, so probably not :(

    • 5.2) Chad
      October 20, 2013 at 7:19 pm

      One is expected to be released via the Sony Play apps that will be available in camera. Another app that has been announced is one that lets you set lens corrections for manual focus lenses – such as Leica rangefinder glass

      • 5.2.1) Joe
        November 28, 2013 at 11:39 am

        Where did you hear that an updated time-lapse app would be coming out? The one that’s there for NEX cameras is pretty limited and can be a LOT more complete. It would be great if this is true.

  6. 6) ok
    October 17, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    Am dissappointed the 7R can only capture 4 frames per second.

    • October 17, 2013 at 9:22 pm

      Why would you need more than that for landscapes?

    • October 18, 2013 at 10:27 am

      1.5 FPS actually, 4 without autofocus.

    • 6.3) Paul
      October 18, 2013 at 2:56 pm

      We couldn’t have both high resolution sensor and high frame rates. Writing 36 mega pixels takes time.

  7. 7) leonkoum
    October 17, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    A7R has microlens in sensor and a7 has not.
    They say that the reason for this is for better performance with ultra wide lens at the corner of the frame.
    Do you have any informations for this?


    • October 17, 2013 at 10:08 pm

      Leonidas, both the A7 and the A7R have corner pixels angled slightly towards the center to prevent digital sensor vignetting. Aside from that, there is no other improvement as far as I know…

      • 7.1.1) Daniel
        October 20, 2013 at 7:24 pm

        I’ve just read of a test done on a7 with lot of zeiss and leica glass M.. and the result looks horrible. The guy wrote that on the a7r it’s gonna be much better because of this microlens story…. do u know anything???

  8. 8) Cristian
    October 18, 2013 at 12:54 am

    No, electronic front curtain shutter for the A7r is the deal breaker for me. :( That feature is very useful in high resolution macro photography where the vibrations induced by shutter movement would affect the sharpness of the images. Well, seems the A7 is the only choice then…

    Nasim, may I know where did you take the shuter infos from? I’ve checked the Sony official A7/A7r pages and the infos about the shutter mechanism are the same for both cameras: “Shutter Type : Electronically-controlled, vertical-traverse, focal-plane shutter”.

  9. 9) Pablo
    October 18, 2013 at 2:12 am

    Nasim excelent blog
    On the product presentation in Sony Australia’s youtube channel ( you can see the angled pixel corners and the additional magnesium alloy parts only on the A7r for long telephoto lenses.

    Personally I love the design, you can tell Sony did really listen to it’s costumers requests, the dials (not only 2, but 4 with the ISO dial and EV), the dedicated video button at the side, and the capability of recording video at 1080p at 60fps with a audio input, all at a very reasonable price means Sony is decided to increase is market share.

    My main concerns are the bracketing in RAW (The NEX 5 for example only does it in JPEG), the option to shoot time lapses (either by firmware, or release remote input via usb), and the availability of quality lenses hopefully with reasonable prices! You may be paying $1700 for the body, but the Zeiss 35mm 2.8 is $800, and the 55mm 1.4 is $1000 which means you’re paying more for a couple primes than for the actual camera.

    Anyway it certainly is exciting to see so much effort in this cameras design, and I will surely wait for you’re exhaustive review on it once you have it!

  10. 10) Frank Jr.
    October 18, 2013 at 5:36 am

    Electronic Front ( On / Off) and Back Shutters?

    I have heard that high shutter speeds with large aperture lenses that ghosting may occur with the front electronic shutter on? Therefore the option to turn it off. Label me dumb, but I think an article on the different type shutters and how they work would be helpful.

  11. 11) Max
    October 18, 2013 at 7:23 am

    This all look very promising. I don’t like the bulk of my D800 + lenses at all but I doubt whether this can be a replacement.

    My first concern is the weight and size in relation to a 36 megapixel sensor. We all know that with the D800 you need the best shooting technique and any camera shake must be avoided.

    I think a camera needs weight to be stable in your hands. If you need to bring a tripod the lightweight advantage has gone. Stabiliser will help but not all lenses are stabilised.

    The other point is autofocus speed (I never used compact or mirror-less so I have no idea). Will the focus-speed and accuracy enough to use this camera shooting models and portraits (outside and in studio, b.t.w. I am not a sport shooter).

    Thanks for all the information.

  12. 12) Randall
    October 18, 2013 at 9:34 am


    How do you think Leica lenses will perform on this body. I.e. 50mm summicron.

  13. 13) Herbie
    October 18, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Crazy about this camera. I’ve been wondering if it would use the same manual adapter I use with NEX 6 for legacy lenses.

  14. 14) guy howard
    October 18, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    Excellent article. I’ve placed my pre-order for the A7r, selecting r because I have a good selection of E lenses for use with my Nex-7, and want to be able to transition with some grace to the FE lenses, and want the higher resolution. I am somewhat concerned about the effect of the shutter opening shake that cannot be disabled in the 7r. Is the fact that the shutter is capable of 1/8000 operation contribute to increased shake at opening? I am hoping there will be some tests of this issue and posts so I can make a decision to buy the A7 instead based on data, rather than theory. I did notice that the sample image on the Sony site using the A7r and a long exposure looked as though it could benefit from less camera shake. Hard to tell for sure though.

  15. 15) Steve
    October 18, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    Awesome cameras!

    I’d love either of these and while I shoot more cityscapes than street or portraiture, I still think I’d go for the A7 over the A7R for the better AF and smaller file size.
    I have to admit that the lenses are a little disappointing in that there’s no f/2.8 zooms or f/1.4 primes. Plus the slowish primes are around $1k.
    Even the RX1 has a 35 f/2.

    Anyway, ta for the review Nassim, I appreciate your input as I’ve been wondering which one to get (if any).

  16. 16) PenGun
    October 19, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    Oh come on. We ain’t gonna buy that big puppy and haul it into the bush and put zooms on it.

    My Leica lens, my Elmar-M 135 4 will be all I have left after I sell off my Fuji X stuff but it will do till I get some more. I’ll look at the FE 35mm and 55mm when they appear, I’ll rent em’, but it will not surprise me if I don’t want em’.

    Leica glass kinda spoils you and everything else seems a bit tacky.

    Someone put it on a tripod and get some sharp pics with it. I have yet to see one. Handheld smear everywhere.

  17. 17) Erik
    October 20, 2013 at 3:11 am

    I would be very interested in hearing more details about how the camera behaves with manual focus glass with an adapter. In my case I have all of my old manual Nikkor (AI-S) lenses left and I am hoping that the A7 would be something that I could use like a digital version of the Nikon FM3A.

    – Will there be focus confirmation?
    – Would I have to open up the lenses to the largest aperture to do focusing and then stop down to do metering and take the shot? Or could also the focusing be done stopped down?
    – Does wide angle lenses (like the 20mm f2.8) work?
    – Is the loud shutter also creating camera shake? What would be the lowest practical shutter speed for using a 50mm lens on a static subject? 1/25s, 1/50s or 1/100s?

    • 17.1) Guy Howard
      November 1, 2013 at 9:48 am

      Measurements made of the Nikon D800 shutter shake show that this does become an issue on a tripod at shutter speeds less than 1/125-1/50. With the A7, this can me mitigated by using electronic first curtain shutter. I am leaning toward the A7r, but may switch to the A7 if Sony does not address this issue in camera setup or if testing shows it is an issue, which seems likely based on the D800 tests.

  18. 18) Daniel Michael
    October 20, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    Some rumour that Nikon will announce a full frame hybrid camera soon?

  19. 19) JimD
    October 20, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    CDAF can be faster than PDAF. However its tracking ability is not so good. It depends on how its implemented. For example there are very few PDAF DSLRs that can focus quicker than the Olympus and Panasonic micro four thirds cameras and probably none with their accuracy. So the fact that the a7r has CDAF should be no handicap to very fast focus on single shots, but it depends on implementation. I agree that the a7r seems to be focused to landscape and architecture but it is more true to say it is focused at the “single highly considered shoot” shooter than the on the fly take a million one will be good brigade.
    The lack of a manual is a very big le down by Sony. I believe the a7r is the only one that has angled pixels to allow rangefinder lens use. That for me is far more important than PDAF.
    But, a manual would be nice to look at. How can one order a camera without knowing how it can be set up.

  20. 20) tokyojerry
    October 21, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    Thanks for the insightful feedback on these two new full frame cameras from Sony. Currently, I own a Sony NEX-6. I am debating whether to sell it or not in lieu of the full frame, A7. Well, whether I sell the NEX-6 or not, I will be acquiring the new Sony A7. ;-) Traditionally I have not been fond of MF lenses, because Sony has a function in their cameras known as ‘focus peaking’ , these older lenses become much easier to use even if MF. I currently have:

    Minolta MC-Rokkor-PF, 58mm, f1.4
    SLR Magic’s 35mm, f1.7 Telecine
    Sony’s 16mm, f2.8 pancake lens (with 0.75x magnification adaptor for 12mm, f2.8)
    Sony’s 16-50mm kit lens (APS-C lens, NEX-6)
    Sony’s 24-70mm kit lens (to be acquired with the new Sony A7)

    If I were to acquire any other lens to complement what I already have, which would you recommend? I am thinking of 5 Samyang lineup in particular as I am not sure I want to spend big bucks for a Zeiss-branded lens. Maybe in the future.

    I know that might be a subjective question because every one’s shooting style and needs / wants are different. Nonetheless, it will be interesting to hear your opinion. Thanks.

  21. 21) Al
    October 31, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    Comparing A7 to A7r is not comparing apples. Sony has deliberately downgraded the A7, presumably to make the A7r shine brighter. Marketing ploys are a Sony strategy, highly distasteful, and I wish Sony would stop. The A7r has more pixels, but each is smaller, and this will always translate into more noise. The A7 24mp will produce better overall photo results for DR, NR, colours, etc. The comment about sharpness and details is not entirely valid. IF the AA filter were removed from the A7, I am 99.99% confident this will render the 24mp sensor as sharp and detailed as the 36mm sensor, assuming the same Zeiss lens is used to compare. Apart from this, I think the A7 product represents the future of photography. I do not expect Nikon (which uses the Sony sensor) and Canon to die, the way Rollei and Contax did, but people will have little need for a DLSR now. The Zeiss lenses are equal or superior to Leitz, and the A7r sensor superior to the Leica sensor, so I have no need whatsoever to buy Leica. As Sony improves the firmware, speed, interface, ergos, whatever, the older brands will be increasingly pressured to compete, and I expect to see one or ore die ere long.

  22. 22) Guy Howard
    November 1, 2013 at 9:24 am

    There is one detail that should be mentioned in the design difference between A7 and A7r sensors that should be included in making a prediction of relative sensor performance: although the pixel area calculation is fairly straightfoward, the A7 sensor also includes the pixel electronics that is required to support the electronic first curtain shutter and the AF phase detect. The first curtain shutter electronics reduces the area available at each pixel site for light gathering, so it may very well be that the A7r will beat the A7 sensor in DR, noise, etc. Note I said ‘may’. Lots more samples and some measurements are in order. The DxOMark score for the A7r is 95, equal to the Nikon D800. That will be difficult to equal.

    • 22.1) Al
      November 3, 2013 at 7:45 pm

      Technically, true: and it “may”. Depends upon how far Sony wants to go to downgrade the A7. Pixel count means nothing now. For 99.9% of all users, the 24mp imager will be far more than sufficient. The proof is in the images already posted on Flickr and such. The A7 will be much the better and practical tool to use. Thankfully, Sony has given us superb imagers to choose, and each gets us back to the old standard where the lens is the primary determinant for IQ. The kit lens is good, but the Zeiss is much better. Images I have seen by the Zeiss lens on the A7 are superb, under all lighting conditions. Out of the box, the Zeiss images for say 1m x 2m sized are only very slightly different between the A7 and A7r, due to the AA filter primarily. These differences are easily compensated by some post-pro (better in-camera) to the point no differences are discerned. But how many users will print 1m x 2m prints, and where? The AA filter is a key component for auto-focusing and video: which is why the A7 is better in this respect. The key for both cameras now is the lens: by using a top quality lens, both cameras will produce the same IQ (though the A7 will require some tweeking). I think the A7 line will become “the” standard to beat: already it surpasses Leica. I may get both models just for fun!

  23. 23) Zac Davis
    November 4, 2013 at 9:38 am

    Hello to a fellow Coloradoan and thanks for your post. Ill spare the excitement Ive felt while reading about and researching the A7 over the past few weeks, as it appears that this body answers many of the requests that Ive long been hoping for. Bottom line, Im a current D800 user. Id like to think I shoot an equal mixture of landscape/architecture and street/travel photography. Im not a wedding photographer nor am I a sports photographer.

    I am once again confused as to which is the best route to go; A7 vs. A7R. For me, its not as clear cut as “I need the higher pixel count” or “I need the better AF system”. Im basically looking for the BEST all around fit. Ideally looking to throw a 35mm Voigtlander Nokton 35 1.2 Aspherical II on there, and use it for 90% of my daily needs because I can now carry a FF camera with me everywhere; to a restaurant, on a plane, walking around lodo, or on a tripod up in the Tetons. So knowing that you already touched on this topic, but Ive given even great specificity for my needs…what are your thoughts? Anyone?

    Thanks so much!

  24. 24) JoeA
    November 4, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Thank you Nasim. Your post elightened me to have a knowledge on what determines “Image Quality”.
    Based on your info, I am more inclined to get the A7. I don’t do photography for a living but it’s my passion. I want events as well as landscapes/architecture etc.

    1. Do I loose a lot interms quality when taking Landscapes?
    2. Have you compared the A7 with rx1r?

    Thanks again for your post.

    • 24.1) JoeA
      November 4, 2013 at 11:47 am

      Correction on question 1. Do I loose a lot interms of quality when taking landscapes, if I take Sony A7 route vs. A7r?

  25. 25) mrinmoy
    November 13, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Nasim, like your great coverage on Nikon D600, I am waiting for your another great review with all details among, Sony A7, A7r, Canon 5dmk3 and Nikon d800E ….. lets us see the preformance…. under ur xray eyes…. so many best wishes to u and ur time…. for the great job…

  26. 26) robertdc
    December 13, 2013 at 3:48 am

    Nasim, thank you very much for this initial review which is really helpful.

    I am trying to decide on a camera for primarily shooting candid street portraits, both full length and head shots. I used to use a Nikon D800 with 85mm 1.4G which was great but I sold that some time ago in the hope of finding something lighter and less obtrusive. For wider street scenes I’m using the Ricoh GR which is fine but I need something with a longer focal length for portraits. I don’t own any lenses at present and have narrowed my options down to the Sony A7/A7R or the Olympus OM-D E-M1. I would just like to get your view on whether it would be better to go for full-frame with no IS and lack of any good typical portrait lenses, but with more scope to crop – or take the Olympus route which seems better just in about every way except sensor size (great IS, smaller and more appropriate lenses, touch screen, faster AF, quieter shutter etc).

    Originally I was going to get the A7R and 55mm lens since I loved the look I was able to achieve before with the D800 but I worry about the slower AF and difficulty handholding a much lighter body with longer lenses and no IS. I know you suggest the A7 for portrait and street but it just doesn’t appeal to me. I think if I am going to give up all the potential benefits of a smaller, faster, cheaper, more complete system then I want that 36MP sensor back again but ideally not in the rather compromised A7R body. I don’t shoot landscape or architecture but I’m keen to start getting into studio portrait work at some stage.

    I’ve pretty much persuaded myself to go for the OM-D E-M1 with the apparently excellent 12-40 2.8, 45mm and 75mm lenses right now, to complement my Ricoh GR, and just wait until the full-frame mirrorless range matures in a year or two before probably jumping back into full-frame again.



  27. 27) dino
    February 15, 2014 at 12:35 am

    Dear Nasim, in Df in depth review you mentioned A7r has shorter distance between lens and sensor. Probably this is something that applies to all mirrorless cameras as well.
    Back in film days, Leicas and other rangefinder cameras were told to have a clear advantage in wide angles not only because of the rangefinder but because lenses could be designed better, without the limitation of the mirror, and the biogon design just to mention one was possible and superior compared to the distagon design, used for SLRs. Now, with focus peak and shorter distance ( better exploited by the rear of the lenses) do you see a resurgence of this trend? Might mirrorless have an edge over Dslr in wide angles?

    • February 15, 2014 at 12:41 am

      Dino, absolutely! The new 35mm Zeiss lens for the A7/A7R is a reigning killer. I have never seen a 35mm lens this small, this sharp. When I review that lens and post its Imatest scores, you will see that it is just wicked sharp. So I fully agree that a shorter flange has its advantages for wide angles – that certainly seems to be true. The biggest issue with short flange distance is the stupid red dot issue. Not sure how manufacturers are planning to deal with that, but it would be nice if all lenses were properly coated to prevent/minimize that problem. I love shooting against the sun and don’t like seeing those nasty red dots!

  28. 28) Doug W
    March 24, 2014 at 6:19 pm


    Thanks very much for the great review and other information on the Sony A7 and A7R. Your efforts have be vey helpful.

    I am very impressed with these Sony cameras, and I am trying to decide whether to purchase the A7 or the A7R. I come from a Nikon SLR background (started with a Nikkormat FTN in 1967) and I have many Nikkor lenses. The idea of being able to use these lenses on a modern light-weight digital body is very appealing. I mostly shoot landscapes, portraits, and macro in manual focus mode (on my Nikon DF), often while traveling. So, it seems that the Sony A7 or A7R would be an excellent second (or maybe even primary!) body. As for choosing between them, I am leaning towards the A7R because I don’t need the better autofocus or speed of the A7. Also, “back in the day”, I used to make 20″ x 24″ Cibachrome prints from Kodachrome 25. It would be nice to be able to make large prints again, but mostly I would be making 8″ x 10″.

    So, one of the few concerns I have about the A7R is that most reviews warn that, with its high resolution, it is very unforgiving with regard to hand-held shooting and poor quality lenses. They seem to say that the A7 is more forgiving with camera shake and lens defects. But, isn’t this a print size issue, rather than which camera is used? In other words, suppose one takes a picture on the A7R, with a poor lens and some camera shake, and then you downsample/ downsize the image to 8″ x 10″. Then, you take the same picture with the A7, with the same poor lens and shake, and post-process that image to 8″ x 10″. Would the lens / camera shake defects be more obvious the A7R print than the A7 print? I may be missing something, but it seems to me that the prints should be about the same. Your comments in this regard would be much appreciated!

    Best regards,


    • March 24, 2014 at 7:35 pm

      Doug, I would rent one of the Sony cameras and see if it works out for you before making a decision to buy one. The A7R has a lot of resolution and has a phenomenal sensor, but it has a very shaky shutter mechanism and a few other issues. If you have not shot with a mirrorless camera before, definitely give it a test shot before buying one.

      if you have already made up your mind to purchase one, I would get the A7R instead of the A7 if you need the resolution (for architecture, landscapes, etc). If you don’t need the high resolution, then the A7 is the way to go.

      • 28.1.1) Doug W
        March 24, 2014 at 7:42 pm

        Thanks very much for your prompt reply. As you suggest, I will get my hands on on an A7R and try it out before buying one.

  29. 29) rob
    March 29, 2014 at 6:14 am

    Specs are fine. But for real-life use, specs are quickly forgotten. What Sony has created (finally) is a camera that will capture as much photo detail as your lens can produce. For the first time, we have a camera that will accept lenses from a variety of other manufacturers, and can show the strengths and weaknesses of those lenses. I have used both models with a Zeiss Contax G45 lens (rated by many to be the finest lens for 35mm format). The differences between the images are simply indiscernible for images viewed on a 29inch monitor. I have even printed these at 1m x 1.5m and see no differences (I do not have access in my country for larger print sizes). I doubt seriously the majority of pros would print at larger sizes, and how many normal people would? I have duplicated these results with the Zeiss 55 lens. The A7 produces stunning images when setup and used properly. The A7 has very much faster autofocus, which is perfect for stills and video. This should not be undervalued. Video is about equal quality for both cameras, regardless of lens. So, for real-life, the A7 is the easier, more reliable camera to use, with no discernible sacrifices made. My suggestion is not to be swayed by marketing: get the A7 and with the money saved get the Zeiss 55 lens. Add a bit of sharpening in the A7 menu, and maybe tweak a few other settings to your taste (eg sturation), and focus upon your photography skills. You will have a camera/lens that will create stellar images. When the next A7 release comes, it will be without the AA filter, and then for sure the images will be identical to the A7R (but AA is very useful for video).

  30. 30) wahaudi
    March 5, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    Very nice review. I’ve been impressed with Sony’s courage to challenge the market with innovative and different cameras. A few years ago I bought a Sony DSC R1 bridge camera. An odd looking camera with a big sensor and a fantastic Zeiss lens, it can take amazing photos. One technical note that I think is relevant today, the R1’s pixel pitch is 5.49 — placing in between the the two A7s reviewed here.

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