Photography News 04

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Camera review

SonyA7 andA7R Sony has broken the mould and taken the mirror out of full-frame with the A7 and A7R. Small and light they may be, but what more is there to the new Alpha duo? ON TEST

with 36 megapixels, matches the current highest resolution full-frame camera, the Nikon D800. Although there are differences between the two Sonys on the inside – more on these later – the bodies are identical, at least visually. The only difference in terms of build is a greater proportion of magnesium alloy in the casing of the A7R, making it lighter than the A7 without sacrificing dust and moisture resistance. Everything else is identical, so the two cameras are almost indistinguishable to use. Exactly as you want There’s a lot that’s right about the way the A7 and A7R handle. They certainly avoid one potential pitfall of a small body: they don’t suffer from cramped handling. This is partly down to the grip, which is extremely comfortable without being too big. It’s

moulded nicely for your hand, and is just about big enough to get your little finger on the bottom. Where these cameras are also fantastic is in the customisation options for the controls. As well as three custom buttons, another seven of the preset buttons can be reassigned. Each has a choice of 46 functions, and the control wheel can be assigned to one of four, so you really can set it up exactly as you want it. Even the on-screen quick access menu that’s opened by the Fn button can be customised – it’s a grid of 12 items, and you can select exactly which function goes where. Not everything about the handling is so smooth though. One problem I found was that the combined control wheel and directional pad on the back can easily be pressed when you’re trying to turn it, and vice versa. For example, trying to press the directional keys to move the AF area, I accidentally turned the wheel and started changing the AF area selection method before I realised what I was doing. The camera can also be slow to respond, and this is summed up by the start-up time – there’s a full two seconds between flicking the switch and being ready to shoot. There’s also a noticeable lag in the on-screen display when turning the dial to change settings – change the aperture, for example, and the sliding scale that’s displayed is always a beat behind your finger on the dial. Perhaps the highlight of the handling is the viewfinder, which is the same on both cameras. It’s electronic of course, but has a magnification of 0.71x that matches many full-frame DSLRs, there’s hardly any lag and it gives you a crystal clear preview of your shot, even down to the effects of features like the Dynamic Range Optimiser (DRO). There’s a slight delay in the automatic eye sensor activation, but I’ve seen worse and once you’ve got it to your eye, there’s no need to take it away even if you need to make adjustments – camera settings are displayed along the bottom of the viewfinder as in any DSLR, with more across the top. If you need to enter the quick menu or even the full menu to change any settings, you can still do this too because the

Words by Ian Fyfe

A7 SPECS

Not so long ago, the size and weight of full-frame cameras was enough to put you off, never mind the large dent they left in your bank account. In a relatively short space of time, that’s changed dramatically – it started with more compact and affordable DSLRs like the Nikon D600 and Canon EOS 6D, and now Sony has taken full-frame in a new and very exciting direction with the A7 and A7R, a pair of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras with 35mm sensors. The A7 offers an impressive 24 megapixels of resolution – this is on a par with Nikon’s D610, ahead of the D4 and Df, and more than any current Canon full-frame offering. But the A7R goes further, and

PRICE £1299 body only CONTACT www.sony.co.uk SENSOR 24.3 megapixels with BIONZ X processor IMAGEDIMENSIONS 6000x4000 pixels ISORANGE ISO 50-25,600 AUTOFOCUSMODES Single-shot, continuous, direct manual, manual EXPOSURE COMPENSATION +/-5EV in 1/3, 1/2EV steps, AEB 5 frames at +/-1EVor 3 frames at +/-3EV in 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, 1, 2 or 3EV steps SHUTTER 30secs-1/8000sec METERINGPATTERNS Multi segment, centre- weighted, spot SHOOTINGSPEEDS Single, continuous 2.5fps, speed-priority continuous 5fps, self- timer 10 or 2secs, self- timer continuous LCDSCREEN 3in tilting with 921k dots STORAGEMEDIA SD, SDHC, SDXC, Memory Stick Pro Duo, Memory Stick Pro-HG Duo, Memory Stick XC- HG Duo DIMENSIONS (WXHXD) 126.9x94.4x48.2mm WEIGHT 474g (including battery and memory card)

Metering in both the A7 and A7R is excellent, and no compensation was used in our test shots

Photography News | Issue 4

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