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Sony A7
NEX Full-Frame Mirrorless (2013-)
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Sony A7 Review

SONY A7 (16.7 oz./474 g with battery and card, with a LEICA M adapter weighs about 18.1 oz./515 g), about $1,700) with LEICA SUMMILUX-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH mit floating element and LEICA-M to NEX adapter. enlarge. My biggest source of support is when you use any of these links, especially this link directly to it at Adorama or directly to it at Amazon, when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. It helps me keep adding to this free website when you get yours through those links — but I receive nothing for my efforts if you buy elsewhere. Thanks for your support! Ken.

This free website's biggest source of support is when you use those or any of these links when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live — but I receive nothing for my efforts if you buy elsewhere. I'm not NPR; I get no government hand-outs and run no pledge drives to support my research, so please always use any of these links for the best prices and service whenever you get anything. Thanks for helping me help you! Ken

Sony A7

Top, Sony A7. bigger.

 

Sony A7

Back, Sony A7. bigger.

 

December 2013    Sony   Minolta   Zeiss   Nikon   Canon   Fuji   LEICA   All Reviews

NEW: Canon 5D Mk III vs. LEICA M 240 vs. Sony A7 Image Quality Comparison 19 December 2013

Sony A7R: 36MP version for tweakers. It has too many pixels and degraded autofocus performance compared to the A7, so it will be ignored.

 

Sample Image Files

Sago Palm, 11 March 2014

Sago Palm, 11 March 2014. Sony A7, Minolta MAXXUM AF 50mm f/1.4 on Sony LA-EA4 adapter, 1/60 at f/13 at ISO 100, +3 saturation, Athentech Perfectly Clear. Bigger or © Full resolution file.

 

Yellow, 11 March 2014

Yellow, 11 March 2014. Sony A7, Minolta MAXXUM AF 50mm f/1.4 on Sony LA-EA4 adapter, 1/800 at f/8 at ISO 100, +3 saturation. bigger or Camera-original © file.

 

Palm AM 11 Dec 2013

Palm at Dawn, 11 December 2013. LEICA SUMMILUX-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH mit floating element, 1/250 at f/5.6 at ISO 100, +3 saturation, Athentech Perfectly Clear. © Full resolution or camera-original © file before Perfectly Clear.

 

Katie before school.

Katie before school, 11 December 2013. (Sony A7, LEICA SUMMILUX-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH mit floating element, 1/60 at f/1.4 at ISO 1,600, Athentech Perfectly Clear.) bigger.

 

Ryan plays with Dada's lava watch

ISO 6,400: Ryan watches Dada's Christmas (2010) iPad, 10 December 2013. Sony A7, 1987 LEICA SUMMICRON-M 50mm f/2, 1/15 at f/2 at Auto ISO 6,400, Athentech Perfectly Clear. bigger or Full-resolution image.

 

Ryan and Dada, 7:28 AM.

Ryan and Dada, 7:28 AM, 11 December 2013. Ryan loves playing with the Sony A7 and asked to take his picture with me with the self timer. Photo cropped and rotated from Sony A7, 1987 LEICA SUMMICRON-M 50mm f/2, 1/60 at f/2 at Auto ISO 200, Athentech Perfectly Clear.) bigger.

 

Ryan and Dada, 7:28 AM.

Unocal, 13 December 2013. Sony A7, Sony LA-EA4 adapter, 1985 Minolta MAXXUM 50mm f/2.8 Macro, 1/500 at f/8 at Auto ISO 100. Camera-original © file.

 

Introduction         top

I just got my Sony A7, and I'm impressed. First I'm impressed because it is very, very well made, almost completely made of metal with engraved markings — even better made than the $7,500 LEICA M typ 240 with its plastic made-in-China EVF2 electronic finder!

I'm also impressed in how easy it is to figure out on its own (the manuals are useless, but Sony knows no one reads them anyway), and how great the photos look at default settings. Auto white balance and color rendition seem much improved over previous Sonys like the A99 and RX1.

The A7 is as nicely made as the RX1, and much nicer than the plasticy A99.

It's such a beautiful, well-made and compact camera that my son Ryan and even my wife just want to pick it up and start shooting with it.

Lo and behold, with the $350 LA-E4 adapter I can also use my Sony Alpha and Minolta MAXXUM lenses with full data, control and fast autofocus!

 

Sony A7

 

Sony Wins the Rockwell Challenge!         top

Adorama pays top dollar for your used gear.

B&H Photo - Video - Pro Audio

About a decade ago I challenged any experienced digital camera maker, preferably Canon, to produce a full-frame digital camera with a LEICA M mount and integral electronic finder.

After about ten years, Sony wins as of announcement in October 2013.

Sony's new A7 ($1,698) has a 24 MP 24x36mm sensor, with a Sony E (NEX) mount. I already have a LEICA-M to NEX adapter, so I'm good to go.

Sony's A7R is the same thing, with 36 MP, for $2,298.

The only attempts so far have been from LEICA, with their M9, M-E and M typ. 240, but none has an integral electronic finder. (The Typ. 240 needs an external EVS 2 finder.)

The Sony A7 is really an NEX camera with the NEX mount. It doesn't use the Alpha or Minolta MAXXUM mount, although Sony seems to be trying to make the A7 look like an SLR and pretend it's an Alpha/Minolta mount. You can buy LA-E3 and LA-E4 adapters from Sony for the Alpha or Minolta MAXXUM mounts, but I don't know if they autofocus.

The NEX mount itself is mostly useless for full-frame (except for the new ones below, there are no full-frame NEX lenses), but adapters from every other mounts are everywhere. I suspect the A7 may be a much better camera than the M typ. 240, and will also actually be available for sale and for less than one-quarter the price.

The funny part is that I've been waiting over a year for my own LEICA M typ. 240, and it just arrived a day before this announcement. Sadly, it's just a loaner, but with the A7, I'll probably own a Sony A7 long before I can buy an M typ. 240. The LEICA M 240 is in such short supply it sells for more used over eBay than new.

 

New Cameras:

Sony A7 (24MP): $1,698.

Sony A7R (36MP): $2,298.

Sony A7 with 28-70mm Lens: $1,998.00

Leather case for A7 and A7R: $139.99

New full-frame lenses for NEX E-mount:

Zeiss 24-70mm f/4 OSS: $1,199.99.

Zeiss 35mm f/2.8: $799.99.

Zeiss 55mm f/1.8: $999.99.

 

Adapters to use MAXXUM and Sony Alpha lenses on NEX:

LA-EA3 MAXXUM to E-mount adapter: $199.99.

LA-EA4 MAXXUM to E-mount adapter (for use with AF-assist mirror cameras): $349.99

 

Adapters for LEICA M Lenses

Passive LEICA M to NEX adapters sell for about $15 and weigh about 1.445 oz. (41.0 g).

Get an M adapter because you also can use LEICA Screwmount lenses with the M to NEX adapter if you also have a screw-to-M adapter.

 

Specifications         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

Sony Model Numbers: WW328262 (A7), WW328261 (A7R).

 

Battery and Power Sony NP-FW50 battery

Included NP-FW50 battery: made in Japan, not China.

NP-FW50 7.2V 1,080 mAh battery.

Charges in-camera via USB. USB adapter but no separate battery charger included. To charge a spare battery out of the camera, buy the $50 Sony BC-QM1.

 

 

Sony A7 Box

Box, Sony A7.

 

Sony A7 Box

Box, Sony A7. bigger.

 

Sony A7 bottom

Bottom, Sony A7. bigger.

 

Sony A7, right side

Right side, Sony A7.

 

Sony A7, left side

Left side , Sony A7.

 

Sony A7 bottom

Sony A7 with Canon FD 50mm f/1.2 L with Canon FD to LEICA M and LEICA-M to NEX adapters. bigger.

 

Sony A7 bottom

Sony A7 with LEICA SUMMILUX-M 35mm f/1.4 ASPH mit floating element and LEICA-M to NEX adapter. bigger.

 

Sony A7 with LA-E4 and MAXXUM Lens

Sony A7 with Sony LA-E4 adapter and Minolta MAXXUM 85mm f/1.4: it autofocuses great! bigger.

 

Sony A7 with LA-E4 and MAXXUM Lens

Sony A7 with Sony LA-E4 adapter and Minolta MAXXUM 85mm f/1.4.

 

Sony A7 with LA-E4 and MAXXUM Lens

Sony A7 with Sony LA-E4 adapter and Minolta MAXXUM 85mm f/1.4.

 

Performance         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

 

Exposure

Exposure is excellent, although often a but underexposed indoors at night.

 

Hi ISOs

I'm not that impressed; ISO 3,200 isn't that pretty and can be noisy and murky. A DX Nikon like the D5300 is probably at least as good.

 

Data

Cards aren't titled and appear as "NO NAME."

The cards are loaded with junk folders; you have to poke around a while to find your images or movies.

 

Compared         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

The A7 has much better ergonomics than digital LEICAs, but not as sharp when used with LEICA lenses:

NEW: Canon 5D Mk III vs. LEICA M 240 vs. Sony A7 Image Quality Comparison 19 December 2013

 

While the A7 is a better camera than the LEICA M 240, it is nowhere near as good as a Canon or Nikon DSLR because the Sony's color rendition and ergonomics are inferior.

 
Sony A7
Sony A7R
Resolution
24 MP
36 MP
24 MP
Image Stabilization
Yes
Yes
no
Autofocus
Yes
Yes
no
  Phase detection (fast)
Yes
no
no
  Contrast detection (slow)
Yes
Yes
no
AF Illuminator
Yes
Yes
no
Multiple options for focus peaking
Yes
Yes
no
Front control dial
Yes
Yes
no
Image plane marker
Yes
Yes
no
Cropped shooting
Full, 16:9 and APS
Full, 16:9 and APS
Full only
Built-in EVF?
Yes
Yes
no, needs EVF 2
EVF
2 MP OLED
2 MP OLED
1.2MP LCD
Eye control for EVF
Yes
Yes
no
EVF Color Temp adjustment?
Yes
Yes
no
Rear LCD
3" 921k
3" 921k
3" 921k
Rear LCD swivel
Yes
Yes
no
Electronic Level
Yes
Yes
Remote computer control
Yes
Yes
no
WiFi
Yes
Yes
no
Apps
Yes
Yes
no
Smile Detection
Yes
Yes
no
Skin Softening
Yes
Yes
no
Dynamic Range Optimization
Yes
Yes
no
HDR
Yes
Yes
no
4k HDMI Out
Yes
Yes
no
Charger
built-in via USB
built-in via USB
external
Storage
1 - SD
1 - SD
1 - SD
Weight, wet with EVF
16.7 oz./474g
16.7 oz./474g
25 oz./710g
Weight with EVF, ready for LEICA M lenses
18.1 oz./515g
18.1 oz./515g
25 oz./710g
Price with EVF, 11/2013

$7,500: body + EVF 2

 

Wifi
Stabil
4k hdmi out
USB charger 310mins
One card
Apps

7r skips phase detection ?
1/250 (7r 1/160)
Mono mic

Remote computer control

Internal clock btty

Auto finder bright, manual color temp
Manual rear LCD

Cropped shooting

Shading Comp./Chro. Aber. Comp./Distortion Comp.

 

Usage         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

There is no separate charger; the battery charges from USB in the camera.

To charge the battery, leave it in the camera and plug the camera into any USB socket or charger with a micro USB cord.

What looks like an included charger is actually just a USB power adapter. If you want an external charger so you can charge a spare as you're shooting, buy the $50 Sony BC-QM1.

 

Recommendations         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

My A7 is much better than my digital LEICAs. The A7 is a huge step forward for LEICA shooters.

The A7 is for backpacking nature and outdoor photographers.

Forget the tweakers' A7r. It has poorer autofocus and its bloated files clog professional workflow. The 24MP of the A7 is more than enough for anything; I just sold a 4 MP image to McDonalds, for instance. They cropped it — for use on a billboard!

Mirrorless cameras are not for not for sports. For sports, you want a pro DSLR like a Nikon D4 or Canon 1DX. If that's not in your budget, get a used Nikon D3. My D3 from 2007 is still a pro 9 FPS powerhouse way ahead of anything else short of a 1Dx or D4 for sports.

For normal people, the Nikon D600, Nikon D610 and Canon 6D are probably better system cameras for about the same price — but bigger and heavier. I'm excited about the A7 because I already have the LEICA lenses; for a normal person, it's a lot less expensive to buy professional full-frame SLR lenses than even to buy used LEICA lenses.

While the A7 is popular with hobbyists, it has inferior ergonomics and picture quality compared to Nikon and Canon DSLRs. While resolution is similar, subtle color rendition is superior in Canon and Nikon because they have better secret color algorithms to give subtly better color under most conditions. While images form the A7 look OK by themselves, their colors just don't hold up compared to Nikon and Canon. If you're an artist whose work is all about color as my work is, you'd notice.

 

More         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Compared   Usage   Recommendations   More

 

Sony A7 and A7R owner's manual

 

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Mr. & Mrs. Ken Rockwell, Ryan and Katie.

 

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Oct 2013