Product specifications coming soon
Rated 5 out of
Spectacular Images form a 36MP Sensor
"Short Review: the 36 MP sensor A7R with the Zeiss 55mm F1.8 lens produces spectacular images like nothing I?ve seen from a 24MP sensor. The raw files look great straight out of the camera and require little post processing.
Long Review: I?ve been using this camera mainly with the Zeiss FE mount 55mm F1.8 lens and battery grip. Initially I used it without grip with the LA-EA4 adapter and an A mount Zeiss 16-35mm F2.8.
The first images with the 16-35/2.8 were great- better than using that lens on a 24MP body. But they weren?t hugely better. This reinforced my original skepticism about the usefulness of a 36 MP sensor (some people feel 24 MP is more than enough). Then I received the 55/1.8 and mounted it on the A7R. WOW! This was my reaction after viewing the first images straight from the camera. The look is like nothing you'll see from lower resolution sensors. There's a fluidity to the images that renders them exceedingly pleasing. When you view them at 100% this pleasing, fluid quality remains. And this is for raw files imported into Lightroom with no post processing done. I subsequently found that these images need less adjustment than those from 24MP sensors. You have to be particularly careful with capture sharpening. I thought I was seeing some ?orange-peel? granulation along edges at 200% It turned out to be the result of oversharpening. The amount I would normally use in Lightroom on a 24MP raw file was way too much for this sensor?s files.
I would have expected that the low light performance to be poorer than a similar sized sensor with lower pixel count. But in fact, I'd say the low light performance of this A7R is about a stop better than my A99.
The contrast based autofocus (AF) seems similar to Sony?s other recent alpha bodies. It hunts one cycle (i.e. overshoots, then comes back). The phase based AF (built into the LA-EA4) adapter is a little bit snappier than the system in the A99. The manual focussing aids are superb: magnified view (which can be set to apply the instant the focus ring is moved) focus peaking which I've set to ""paint"" yellow outlines on edges that are in focus and a distance scale superimposed on the viewfinder.
The body is metal harkening back to decades past when camera bodies were built like tanks. Even the covers over the electrical/signal connectors are proper metal, hinged doors not floppy plastic bits.
The eye focus capability works well when the person?s head occupies a good portion of the frame. It doesn?t work well when there are multiple people in the frame. It took me a bit of searching in the menu for the Custom button settings to find the Eye AF selection which I assigned to C1. You must first focus on the face so that the Face Detection frame comes up, then press the Eye AF button to isolate focus on the near eye
Without the grip the camera is very compact- larger than a Nex 7 but similar handling. With the grip the camera feels more like a SLT (e.g. A77 or A99) albeit much lighter. In either case the camera has a very solid feel.
The electronic viewfinder (EVF) is bright, very sharp and contrasty. The LCD panel is similarly sharp and the brightness can be boosted in sunny settings.
The menus are nice- reminiscent of the alpha cameras (although you can switch to a ?Tiled? view if you are more used to the Nex menus).
I bought this camera primarily for landscape work mounted on a tripod with a remote shutter release. In other words, I?m doing everything I can think of to allow this high MP sensor to reach its potential. When I first received the camera I used it a fair bit as a walk-around. Even though the 55/1.8 lens is not optically stabilised (and I don?t think I?m very good at hand holding) I was surprized to see how sharp my first hand-held images were. I think this results from the camera resting nicely in the hand and being easy to brace.
Still, to get every last bit of resolution from this sensor you will need really exceptional lenses (like the Zeiss 55/1.8) and should brace the camera (tripod best tree, ground, knee second best). As I mentioned at the beginning of the review, using a very good lens that delivers sharp images with a 24MP sensor will produce a bump up in sharpness with the A7R. But to get the spectacular results that this sensor can produce you have to use a really exceptional lens."
Date published: 2014-01-22