Sony's DSLR Killer is Finally Here - Alpha 7 & 7R are Full-frame Compact ILC

Big sensor, compact size, and interchangeable lens system from Sony is a dream camera no other manufacturers could produce so far.  The closest match is Sony's own RX-1 with identical spec, but with fixed lens which is a huge drawback for many potential buyers.

Sony's latest Alpha 7 & 7R are closer in size and design to Sony’s NEX cameras, yet come with huge full-frame sensors and a suite of high-end interchangeable lenses. These are definitely pro-level cameras, with pro-level prices: the 7 starts at $1,999.99 with a kit lens, and the 7R will cost at least $2,299.99.

Despite their gigantic sensors, both the Alpha 7 and 7R (Sony's dropping NEX from the branding here) include a footprint not much larger than other models in the company's mirrorless lineup. Externally, the duo is identical, with resolution representing the chief differentiator here.

They use the same E-mount that you'll find on existing cameras and lenses, but you'll need to upgrade your glass to take full advantage of the new sensor. You can also use existing optics, either with significant cropping or some heavy vignetting, but if you're investing in either camera, it's definitely worth boosting your lens collection, too. Join us past the break for a closer look at Sony's exciting new Alphas.

Sony’s new cameras signify a new era as they have boldly claimed them to be, "the world’s smallest full-frame interchangeable lens models."

The design is a little boxy, with little of the retro chic of the Fujifilm X-Pro 1 or the Olympus OM-D E-M1, but it’s well-made and intuitive to use.

With these cameras, though, what's inside counts most. The Alpha 7 comes with an effective 35mm full-frame, 24.3-megapixel sensor, and Sony’s Bionz X image processor. The camera’s sensor range goes up to ISO 25,600, it outputs 14-bit RAW images, shoots at 5 frames per second, captures 1080p video at 60 or 24 frames per second, and can output 4K images and uncompressed HDMI.

The 7R goes even a step further, by removing the low-pass filter and adding a 36.3-megapixel sensor (the same resolution as the Nikon D800, which feels comically enormous next to the 7R). The photos we saw from both look fantastic, with remarkable detail and sharpness — every bit the equal of the D800 and even the Canon 5D Mark III, which Sony doesn’t shy away from comparing its cameras to. These cameras are powerhouses.

Both models have super-sharp 3-inch, 1.23-million-dot tilting LCDs on the back, and integrated 2.4-million-dot OLED viewfinders. As always, the picture in an EVF is slightly less accurate than an optical viewfinder, but when we used the 7 and 7R we were impressed with how bright, responsive, and flat-out huge the viewfinder is.

Wi-Fi and NFC continue their run across Sony’s camera lineup here, using the PlayMemories Mobile app to turn your phone into a remote control or viewfinder. The experience doesn’t seem to have changed or improved much, though, which doesn’t bode well for the new devices.

As Sony's introducing an entirely new camera system, there are a handful of accessories to discuss, too. There's a vertical grip adapter for $350, an LA-EA4 Alpha lens adapter with a built-in AF motor for $350, an LA-EA3 lens adapter without an AF motor for $200, a leather case for $40, a $15 screen protector and an off-camera shoe for 50 bucks.

Sony's DSLR Killer is Finally Here - Alpha 7 & 7R are Full-frame Compact ILC Reviewed by Blogs on 10/19/2013 Rating: 5

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