If there was any doubt that Sony is the most innovative camera maker, the newly announced Alpha A7 and Alpha A7R prove that the Sony camera engineers are at the top of their game.
To no one’s great surprise, Sony has announced two full-frame, E-Mount cameras.
Until now, all of Sony’s E-mount cameras relied on APS-C size sensors. The new Alpha A7 will feature a 24.3 megapixel, Exmor® CMOS full-frame sensor and sell for $1700 (body only.) You can order the A7 with the brand-new 28-70mm F3.5 – F5.6 full-frame lens for about $2000.
If that isn’t enough firepower for you, you can opt for the Alpha A7R. The A7R features a 36.4 effective megapixel full-frame Exmor® CMOS sensor. The A7R, which boasts a higher pixel count than any of Sony’s Alpha A-Mount dSLR or SLT cameras, will carry a list price of $2,300 (body only.)
These new cameras are intriguing in many ways.
In the first place, although the new cameras carry the same E-mount which was first introduced with the original Sony NEX mirrorless offerings, Sony has dropped the NEX designation for these cameras.
Secondly, with 36mp, the A7R carries more pixels than Sony’s flagship Alpha A99. With a built-in electronic view finder, HD video, fast auto focus, built-in WiFi and magnesium weather sealed body, there is little that the A99 can offer that can’t be done with the A7R. About the only advantage the A99 can boast is native compatibility with Sony and Minolta A-mount lenses. Sony is offering a new full-frame adapters, which will allow users to mount and use A-mount lenses on the A7 and A7R.
Is this the death-knell for the A-mount cameras? Or will Sony continue to develop A-mount SLTs?
Thirdly, the new cameras require new E-mount lenses which can cover a full-frame sensor. You can use your existing E-mount lenses with the A7 and A7R, but you need to use a crop setting or live with heavy corner vignetting. Just as there are full-frame and crop-frame A-mount lenses, going forward there will be two types of E-mount optics. You can use the full-frame lenses with any E-mount camera, but the original APS-C coverage lenses will crop the image on the full-frame cameras, resulting in a lower pixel count with the older lenses. At the same time, for those who want the smallest camera setup possible, full-frame lenses are usually bigger and heavier than dedicated APS-C coverage lenses.
It appears for the foreseeable future, we will see both full-frame and crop sensor lenses in the E-Mount lineup. Currently Sony is offering five new full-frame E-mount lenses in its catalog. I would expect that third party manufacturers will quickly convert some of their full-frame optics into the E-mount to anticipate the desire for new full-frame lenses for the A7 series.
Both cameras will feature the aforementioned weather sealed body and both will offer WiFi and NFC connectively. The cameras will be compatible with Sony’s PlayMemoriesTM app store.
Sony hasn’t forgotten video enthusiasts, and has equipped the A7 series with 1920X1080p AVCHD progressive video at 60fps. Both cameras carry a “live” HDMI connector that can pass video to an external monitor or auxiliary recording device.
The A7 and A7R are expected to be in stores by December, just in time for Christmas.
The A7 series cameras are true game changers, as the A-mount cameras appear to be stepping aside for new professional level E-mount Alphas.
In the words of Bob Dylan; “The times, they are a changing…”
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Preorder the A7 with kit lens at Amazon.com
Preorder the A7 with kit lens at B&H Photo
Preorder the A7R at SonyStyle
Preorder the A7R at Amazon.com
Preorder the A7R at B&H Photo