The Sony a7: Making Full-Frame Affordable

Sony a7 Image-1

Sony has been making its presence known in various technology markets and in the camera industry. It is tough competition which was evident with the Sony a7 release. From SLR to mirrorless camera, Sony has experimented with different concepts and does not disappoint.

The Alpha a7, along with the Alpha a7R, was the start of Sony’s beginning in making light, compact, and affordable full-frame cameras. These cameras can be compared to the Olympus OM-D E-M1 in size but in regards to their full-frame feature, the cameras still remain much smaller than its competitors.

There have been a few generations that have been released after the Sony a7 and a7R, but these cameras are still timeless and a great starter for early adopters. When it comes to the Alpha a7, you really can’t beat the affordable price and size as the compact system is still popular in the camera market.

Design

When holding the Sony a7 you will notice its compact body. Though it is a bit bigger than the NEX cameras, it remains smaller than full-frame Nikon or Canon cameras. There is a chunky grip that makes holding the camera feel secure. It has a boxy look to it which some might like along with a simple and sleek appeal.

Sony a7 Image-2

Most of the buttons are grouped on the right side making it easy to control with the thumb and when using one hand. At the top, there is the mode dial which allows you to change the various exposure modes like shutter priority and aperture priority.

Above the handgrip is the scrolling dial which changes the settings depending on the mode. Again, this was placed in consideration of shooting with one hand and makes it easier for users to control the camera settings. The second scrolling dial is placed where your thumb will naturally sit and also controls the aperture or shutter speed. Some use the front dial for aperture and the back dial for the shutter speed when shooting in manual.

The Sony a7 has a tilting LCD screen though it is not fully articulated. Not ideal for shooting at awkward angles. The electric viewfinder has an impressive 2.4 million dots in the half-inch space. There is an eye sensor that allows a smooth transition from the EVF to LCD.

Sony Alpha a7 in Use

As Sony’s first full-frame camera collection, the Alpha a7 was a look into the future of mirrorless technology. The camera produces photos as expected that is nothing less than high-quality.

You will notice that the color balance is bright but doesn’t overdo the vibrancy. The option to change the color output is also available through Creative Styles which can make the photos vivid, black and white, and many other options.

The camera is directed more towards advanced photographers but with Creative Styles and Picture Effects, Sony still left space for creative options. Picture Effects also add simple features to photos like softening edges.

When it comes to autofocus, Sony has claimed that the a7 is the fastest full-frame camera against its competitors. Though this is true, it all depends on the lighting. With good lighting, the autofocus is quick to lock on any subject. Once the lighting gets dim, it can take a bit more time to focus.

The Sony a7 has many incredible features but its battery life is the greatest setback. It has the same NP-FW50 InfoLithium battery that is in other Sony cameras.

This battery has 7.7Wh of energy which is claimed to give you 340 shots per charge. When put to use, it only lasts half a day which does not compare to other full-frame DSLRs. Therefore, it would be best to purchase an additional battery. To charge the camera, there is no external charge but a USB cable that connects to fill up the battery.

Sony a7 Image-3

How Does the Sony a7 Compare?

Both the Sony a7 and the Nikon D610 were at the same time. Many camera enthusiasts were anticipating the releases, especially for Sony since it was going to be a mirrorless full-frame camera. Even after a few years after its release date, both cameras remain steady forerunners in the camera industry, but which one is worth it?

Sony a7Nikon D610
LCD Size3.0 inches3.2 inches
LCD Resolution1230 dots921 dots
Viewfinder 2400k dotOptical
Battery Life340 shots per charge900 shots per charge
Weight1.04 pounds1.87 pounds
Sensitivity RangeISO 100 to ISO 25600ISO 100 to ISO 6400
Image Resolution24.0 megapixel24.2 megapixel

Conclusion

With the release of the Sony a7, the camera industry changed forever. It was a mirrorless full-frame camera that was going to give its competitors a run for their money. It was the smallest and most affordable full-frame digital camera and still produces images up-to-par.

The camera supports various 35mm lenses with the adapters available along with Sony’s wide variety of lenses. But like any camera, there is always room for improvements like with the JPEG image quality and battery life.

The camera will not disappoint especially if sizing is a huge factor for you. Sony was able to fit a full-frame sensor into the compact body which is the main attraction to the camera. As there have been many other Alpha models released after the a7, it is still a model that can be considered.

The Review

Sony a7

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The Sony a7 was the start of new camera technology. The company took a full-frame sensor and was able to put it in a compact body that had many camera enthusiasts interested. It impressed with the quality it produces, but like many forms of technology, there is always room for improvement. Since then, there have been various upgraded models but the Alpha a7 still remains relevant amongst its competitors.

Pros

  • Full frame sensor
  • Compact body
  • Lightweight
  • Tilting screen

Cons

  • No touchscreen
  • Limited lens compatibility

Review Breakdown

Design

Features

Battery

Price

Perfomance

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