updated 05:20 am EDT, Wed October 16, 2013
Sony A7, A7R are first full-frame mirrorless cameras
Sony has launched it long rumored and eagerly anticipated Alpha 7 full-frame mirrorless camera. The new 24.3-megapixel camera is aimed at fans of the company's NEX camera line looking to step up into a full-frame camera as well as camera enthusiasts looking for a compact bodied, full-featured, full-frame device. In a surprise, the company has also revealed the Alpha 7R aimed at professionals that removes the low-pass filter and includes several additions including an upgraded 36.3-megapixel sensor.
Both cameras include Sony's new BIONZ X image processor that is capable of shooting 14-bit RAW image files while delivering support for ISO up to 25,600. Sony says that the processor combined with their respective high-resolution sensors allow both cameras to shoot pro-quality 1080p video (AVCHD progressive, 1920x1080p@60p) with rich colors and ultra-low noise. The A7 can also shoot stills at 5fps continuously with non-stop AF tracking (the A7R at 4fps), making them ideal for shooting fast moving athletes and wildlife.
Both cameras include magnesium alloy in their construction, although the high-end A7R uses this more extensively throughout its construction to help support large full-frame lenses with perfect rigidity. The two cameras also incorporate a tiltable 3-inch LCD display and integrate a 2.4 million dot XGA OLED Tru-Finder. Customization options are extensive, including assignable controls, while Sony also debuts a new dual interface allowing users to use the user-friendly UI from the NEX series, or switch to a professional grade UI for full control. Both the A7 and A7R also come equipped with dust and moisture resistance as well as Android and iOS support over Wi-Fi plus NFC for quick pairing with Android devices.
The A7 and A7R both support Sony's existing range of E-mount lenses from the NEX line, although images will be automatically cropped to their APS-C sensor compatible size. However, Sony is also adding five new full-frame E-mount lenses designed to take full advantage of the 35mm sensors in each camera, including mid-range zoom lenses from Sony and Carl Zeiss, two bright Zeiss Sonnar T Prime Lenses and a premium G Lens telephoto zoom. Sony says its E-mount range now includes 21 lenses with an additional five full-frame E-mount lenses due by the end of 2014. A vertical grip adapter will also be available.
The Sony Alpha 7 will retail from $1700, while the Alpha 7R will retail for $2300 (body-only) with both models shipping in December.