Print 29 comment(s) - last by rtrski.. on Oct 18 at 2:10 PM

A7 and A7R are the worlds first full frame mirrorless cameras

Sony has announced two new digital cameras – the A7 and A7R -- that it claims to be the world's first full-frame mirrorless cameras. The A7R has a 36.4-megapixel effective resolution and uses a 35mm Exmor CMOS sensor.

The Sony A7 camera has 24.3-megapixel resolution and uses the same 35mm Exmor CMOS sensor and features a fast hybrid autofocus system. Both of the cameras use Sony's new BIONZ X processor to provide fast AF capability and feature a XGA OLED Tru-finder.

The cameras are also capable of recording full HD 60p video recording, have integrated Wi-Fi and NFC technology, and are also dust/moisture resistant.

Sony A7R

The A7R will be available "body-only" for $2,300. The A7 will be available with a 28-70 mm F3.5-f 5.6 full frame lens for around $2,000. The A7 will also be available “body-only” for $1,700. Sony will also offer LA-EA3 and LA-EA4 mount adapters in December for $200 and $350 respectively.

The other the Sony camera fits into Sony's Cyber-shot line and is called the RX10. The camera has a 1.0-type 20.2-megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor. It is a super zoom camera boasting 24-200 mm F2.8 Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnas T zoom lens.

Sony Cyber-shot RX10
The camera also uses the BIONZ X processing engine and autofocus system. The camera is capable of shooting 1080p/60 HD video and can shoot bursts at up to 10 frames per second with continuous autofocus. Other features include integrated Wi-Fi, NFC, and the ability to connect to Android or iOS devices.
The camera will be available in November for $1,300.

Sources: Sony [1], [2]

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Why is it so ugly ?
By jmarchel on 10/16/2013 10:01:35 AM , Rating: 2
Good for Sony, but they need serious help with styling.

RE: Why is it so ugly ?
By Monkey's Uncle on 10/16/2013 10:26:31 AM , Rating: 2
Does a kickass camera have to be pretty?

Look at a Leica M rangefinder camera. Butt ugly and loks like something that time-traveled from the '60s. $7000 just for the body on Amazon. Expect to pay almost $10,000 for it with a decent lens.

Really good cameras are not expected to be pretty, but it is a bonus if they are.

RE: Why is it so ugly ?
By ritualm on 10/16/2013 5:47:34 PM , Rating: 2
Since when does style equal performance?

Leica's M-series rangefinder lines don't look as good as today's compacts, and they're used in many of the most memorable pictures in the past half-century.

RE: Why is it so ugly ?
By Wazza1234 on 10/17/2013 3:23:59 AM , Rating: 2
Since when does style equal performance?

He didn't say anything about performance.

Nice cameras
By Monkey's Uncle on 10/16/2013 10:14:10 AM , Rating: 1
Really nice cameras (A7/A7R not the RX10). Got me drooling.

The A7 will be available with a 28-70 mm F3.5-f 5.6 full frame lens for around $2,000.

is wrong.

looking at that lens I see it is an FE 4/ 24 -70 mm zoom range. Not sure what the "FE 4" is supposed to mean on Zeiss lenses, but I am assuming it is showing an average max aperture (a pretty useless figure). If that's the case it is simply ... meh! But I suppose as a kit lens it is better than nothing. If you have an extra 2 grand lying around, there is a lovely Zeiss 24-70 f2.8 that is far, far better glass than this one.

RE: Nice cameras
By bug77 on 10/16/2013 11:19:33 AM , Rating: 2
FE is the new mount designation for Sony's full frame line up. 4 just means constant max aperture.

RE: Nice cameras
By bug77 on 10/16/2013 11:21:51 AM , Rating: 2
Forgot to add: 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 is the kit lens for A7 (only).

RE: Nice cameras
By Monkey's Uncle on 10/16/2013 11:35:10 AM , Rating: 2
thanks for the clarification.

Not impressed with sample images
By DukeN on 10/16/2013 2:29:43 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, just saw the Verge had posted some images taken with the kit lens. Terrible when it comes to pixel peeping vs even the Canikon entry levels, plus primes for CaNikon are a lot less.

Lastly, what is the electronic viewfinder on these like? One advantage of traditional is that it doesn't suffer from lag.

FWIW, I love mirrorless and use a GX1 as my primary.

RE: Not impressed with sample images
By rtrski on 10/18/2013 2:04:31 PM , Rating: 2
Re: viewfinders, I have the SLT-A99, and I suspect these use about the same viewfinder setup. There is a definite difference between an EVF and OVF, some amount of processing lag is certainly there, you can (barely) 'see' pixellation that isn't there in an OVF, and in low light you start to get some color speckle and even tearing, since I think they do some frame refresh stacking on the sensor readout to amplify what you're seeing.

All that said... I love it. OVF's have the benefit of being an optical "you see what will impinge the sensor face", often mistaken as a WYSIWYG. The EVF on the other hand can apply white balance, amplify up to match your exposure/aperture settings and even anticipation of a TTL flash's contribution (or dim the view down, as the case may be), overlay edge highlighting (focus peaking) to show your focal plane, overlay a digital fighter-pilot like level, overlay an active histogram, let you hit a button to 'zoom in' to a central portion of the view to verify critical focus plane (but the picture is still the whole thing), etc. Plus the EVF tunnel being digital means you can do all your settings switching, review, everything with your eye to the viewfinder, even dive into the detailed menus. And in the SLTs you're getting full time PDAF simultaneous to seeing what the sensor sees, so the picture doesn't have to wait for a mirror flip, plus electronic first curtain further reduces the 'pre-shake' of hitting the shutter button to take the shot.

It's definitely a love it/hate it sort of technology, though.

As for the samples, I'll check them out. They may be ugly, and that may be preproduction JPGs or they still may have bugs on this new sensor class to work out. I've read that the new FF sensors in these have a different microlens design optimized to the shorter flange distance as compared to the one used in the SLT-A99.

good on paper but..
By Nortel on 10/16/13, Rating: -1
RE: good on paper but..
By Mint on 10/16/2013 10:20:24 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not a hardcore photographer, but do those interested in full-frame sensors care more about shaving a little off the size than having a SLR-based optical viewfinder?

Full-frame mirrorless seems rather pointless to me. Even with a pancake lens, it's still pretty huge. I don't see how you're going to get a better image than a mirrorless APS with faster lens.

RE: good on paper but..
By Monkey's Uncle on 10/16/2013 10:29:28 AM , Rating: 2
Full frame SLR cameras are usually about 20% larger & heavier than their DX counterparts.

if you were a pro carrying around your full-frame camera at an all-day event, would you rather carry something huge and heavy or something that is a little lighter and smaller. If they had equivalent features and quality, I know which one I would choose.

RE: good on paper but..
By Mint on 10/16/2013 11:51:42 AM , Rating: 2
I figured pros would value the advantages of SLR more than 0.5lbs of weight.

Do hardcore photographers not mind looking at an LCD instead of an optical viewfinder through the lens? I thought they did, and that's why DSLR always trounced mirrorless in sales back when only pros/hardcores could afford them.

RE: good on paper but..
By Monkey's Uncle on 10/16/2013 12:35:35 PM , Rating: 2
Yes and no.

Analog (mirror/prism) viewfinders excel at composition, manual focusing, sharpness and depth-of-field preview. A digital eye-level viewfinder would suffice as long as its resolution is very high.

I had a non-slr Olympus camera with a ttl digital viewfinder several years back. The eye-level ttl digital viewfinder was not bad and better than using the LCD monitor on back of the camera for these things. This was before prices on DSLR bodies started falling below $1000 & DSLRs had live view for TTL composition on the back monitor (really kludgy back then).

Since then I am sure camera makers are putting very accurate digital viewfinders on those mirrorless cameras that have eye-level viewfinders. And I am sure pros would find them more than sufficient for most general work. After all DSLRs today have so much digital information superimposed on the optical viewfinder that they may as well be digital and save the hardware for flipping a reflex mirror.

RE: good on paper but..
By Heidfirst on 10/16/2013 5:01:30 PM , Rating: 2
EVFs have pros as well as cons compared to OVFs.

Most pros have FF bodies & these are the first FF interchangeable lens mirrorless bodies so until now there really wasn't a mirrorless option for replacing their main workhorses. Even these won't really replace a conventionally sized FF body for use with large lenses (too unbalanced) or where lightning fast AF is required.
Plenty of them have mirrorless as secondary systems though.

RE: good on paper but..
By rtrski on 10/18/2013 2:10:36 PM , Rating: 2
Definitely agree that there's a raft of differences between EVF and OVF, and most people are going to find themselves in one camp or the other, but not both. (I personally love em, but I understand the reasons others don't.)

One other specific advantage of an EVF, not really that applicable to these new FF bodies, is that they're decoupled from the sensor size. You can only 'zoom' an optical viewfinder in a crop camera so much because it's optical - increased apparent visual area costs brightness. The EVF is already electronic, so EVFs on crop cameras can be as big and bright as OVFs on a FF.

I think the jury is still out on how well the on-sensor PDAF works on these. Did I read it right that only the 24mpix A7 has the hybrid, while the 36-mpix A7r uses contrast only? Odd choice to me....and implies that they're still working out the bugs with the on sensor phase detect AF (OSPDAF).

RE: good on paper but..
By Johnmcl7 on 10/16/2013 11:03:06 AM , Rating: 2
Absolutely - once you're used to the high image quality from a full frame sensor it can be frustrating having to use devices with smaller sensors when it's not possible to use the full frame camera.

It's not just about size or weight either, it's also about the way the camera is perceived. My full frame camera is a D700 and with the 50mm F1.4 lens it's not too bad for size/weight plus it's a super combination for shooting in low light such as for nights out. However a lot of people aren't comfortable around such a large camera as the immediate perception is I must be shooting for a paper or some other reason rather than the casual social shot it is. For this reason I tend to use less capable cameras (RX100 or NEX-5) as people aren't bothered by them at all. I would love an RX1 but I can't justify it particularly when it won't fit in a pocket like the RX100.

Looking at the pictures of the new Sony cameras they look a good bit more compact than the likes of the D800/5D mk 3 although I'm disappointed there's not more of a focus on prime lenses which I think are better suited to such a system particularly when it's likely to be more serious photographers using it.

In terms of getting a better image, there's more to it with APS-C vs full frame than just the lens speed. You're correct that the slower lens reduces the difference in effective speed between the two size but I find the full frame sensors have a lot more flexibility in them to deal with noise and under/over exposure so even with slower lenses, the output can be still a lot better and just more enjoyable to work with the raw files.

RE: good on paper but..
By Mint on 10/16/2013 11:41:13 AM , Rating: 2
Okay. I still think those are rather trivial reasons to get a full-frame mirrorless instead of a full-frame DSLR.

RE: good on paper but..
By Monkey's Uncle on 10/16/2013 12:55:39 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps tis might help:


Henry's - a camera vendor in my area charges between $1900 (Canon 6D) -$8000 (Nikon D3X) CA$ for a full frame camera body from Canon or Nikon.

That's a lot of money. When you consider the the better iof these is $2300 for the body, has a faster continuous shooting range, about 36 Mpix @ 12fps. This is a as high a mpixel size as the highest Nikon 800E size and almost double the fastest DSLR the Canon 7D.

RE: good on paper but..
By ritualm on 10/16/2013 5:44:02 PM , Rating: 2
Henry's is a very poor choice. Alright if you like to buy local, but the prices are just too high. To put this in a nut shell: both Henry's and Vistek sell stuff at or close to MSRP, so their prices are just too awful to begin with. I can buy the same things off eBay and even Craigslist for much cheaper.

(yes, in case you're wondering, I do live within the GTA.)

I bought my mirrorless from B&H online last year, and the total order cost - including customs and import taxes - is still less than the same order made on Henry's.

RE: good on paper but..
By DukeN on 10/17/2013 9:45:31 AM , Rating: 2

I bought my GX1 from B&H for around $250 shipped a while back.

Henrys still wants $4xx + taxes for the body.

RE: good on paper but..
By Monkey's Uncle on 10/16/2013 10:22:00 AM , Rating: 2
You realize those are full, 35mm frame cameras, right? They are not P&S with large crops that need closer lens-to-sensor placement. These need the full size Minolta mounts and full frame size lenses.

As for camera size vs lens size, that doesn't look less balanced than my Nikon D7100 + 28-300 walkabout zoom (that looks like a bazooka when I zoom in to full extension - fully zoomed out it looks bigger than this).

Also, you do realize you can swap lenses on these AND you can get them body-only, right?

RE: good on paper but..
By Nortel on 10/16/13, Rating: 0
RE: good on paper but..
By Monkey's Uncle on 10/16/2013 10:55:30 AM , Rating: 2
Seriously, how much real size difference would this make on the kind of lens we are seeing here? 10mm? That is less than half an inch.

How many pros or enthusiasts do you know that would throw away their collections of lenses simply to be able to add a mirrorless body into their kit? After all, a camera body is only a part - often a small part of a serious photographer's set of photographic equipment.

Sony knows this too and would be committing business suicide to create a full frame pro-level camera body that was not compatible with their full line of legacy "A" mount lenses.

RE: good on paper but..
By Monkey's Uncle on 10/16/2013 11:10:43 AM , Rating: 2
Leica is a very exclusive professional camera maker well known for their studio cameras. The carry 2 full camera lines "S" Medium format and "M" Rangefinder. They do not make full frame SLR cameras.

The "S" system is their legacy medium format line. While these may look a lot like a full frame SLR, these are medium format cameras costing over $30,000 each. They have a dedicated system of lenses tailored to medium format and are not compatible with 35mm full frames.

The "M" system is their legacy rangefinder line. These are not and never have been designed for SLRs. Expect to pay about $10,000 for an M2 + reasonable Vario lens.

In both cases Leica has no legacy SLR line of lenses to remain compatible with. There are no pros out there with collections of Leica SLR lenses. And there is not factory lines of SLR lenses to maintain on the market.

RE: good on paper but..
By Monkey's Uncle on 10/16/2013 12:58:56 PM , Rating: 2
Did a little looking at the actual sony information on these cameras in their video and it seems they are using their "E" (mirrorless) lens mount on these cameras as well.

Here is a video review I got from Sony's blog site:

RE: good on paper but..
By Heidfirst on 10/16/2013 4:54:30 PM , Rating: 2
E-mount was designed from the outset to be full frame capable albeit they said optimised for APS-C.
It can take A-mount lenses via adapter with no loss of functionality.

RE: good on paper but..
By rtrski on 10/18/2013 1:51:38 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, I suspect you were voted down because you're just plain wrong. The lens that comes with the A7 isn't a "Minolta Mount" at all, it is a new E-mount lens. E-mount (vs. former Minolta or now "A-mount" in current Sony parlance) assumes the much shorter flange to sensor distance, no longer suitable for a mirror box (although all current Sony Alpha SLT models use the translucent film vs. a mirror, at a slightly different angle, in that space), and was used on NEX.

The E-mount flange distance and diameter clearly supports FF sensors, or else the new FE lens couldn't do it. The current generation of E-mount lenses were designed for crop sensors, since all NEX cameras that came out until now were crops...but that's the lens optics design, not the limitation of the flange distance and diameter. You can get crop-design lenses on the A-mount too, doesn't mean it wasn't FF capable.

As for your love of balance, those rangefinder lenses have what kind of aperture, exactly? Do they have optical stabilization? What sort of AF speeds did they have, since clearly the motors aren't in the lens...there's just no valid comparison here.

This isn't a 'rangefinder' camera despite having a shallow body depth and thus more rangefinder-like body shape. You're not looking through an isolated optical tunnel that has nothing to do with the light path to the film/sensor plane, you're looking at an internal EVF (or the rear screen) at data that is digitally piped directly from the sensor. It has all the capability of a FF SLR [with the obvious caveats of how well the on-sensor PDAF works vs. a mirror-based PDAF module, and of course the inevitable OVF vs. EVF debate].

I own an A99, and have been extremely impressed with it...I've not been willing to drop PDAF for CDAF although Panasonic and Oly have come a long way with it. But I'd seriously consider one of these if I didn't already have the A99. (I might still, for underwater use, but I don't relish the idea of having to populate a few FE-mount lenses alongside my A-mount lenses, since any underwater housing ports will no doubt be planned for the mount as installed, vs. use of the adaptor.)

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