Sony A7 Comprehensive Review

Sony A7 Full-Frame Mirrorless Digital Camera - Body Only

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Photography gear is essential to the art; knowing which gear to buy and where the best value is can challenge those who seek it, especially for novice photographers or hobbyists. Being that there are so many camera choices, accessories, and features to sort through, the search may deter some from finding the level and quality of photography gear they are searching for. Recognizing that shopping for a new electronic investment can be tedious, we offer you the opportunity to save time and become more informed about cameras and photography equipment that will help you take your best photos.

This article will thoroughly discuss four of Sony's diverse compact, handy digital cameras and full-frame options. We are beginning by highlighting the Sony A7, a full-frame, mirrorless digital camera. The Sony A7 is a remarkably compact yet high-performance digital camera that will deliver incredible images, video footage, and user experience. As we move throughout this article, we will be comparing three other Sony models to the Sony A7 to help you determine the differences between these powerful and smart digital cameras.

What Is the Sony A7?


Sony a7

Image from Amazon

As we dive into this review, we are checking out the Sony A7 and its many unique features to see how it may fit into your photography goals. The Sony A7 is a 24MP full-frame mirrorless digital camera equipped with a 2.4 million-dot OLED viewfinder, 10fps video capture, and a comprehensive AF system that has impressive coverage to give you beautiful, crisp photos with precision focus. We think the Sony A7 is sleek, capable, and accessible by advanced to expert level photographers since there are many customizable and extensive settings to learn.

The Sony A7 is constructed with improved ergonomics, thoughtful control placement, and efficient connectivity options to help streamline your photography experience. This incredibly compact digital camera is packed with incredible potential, designed to function with any E-mount lens or A-mount lens with an adapter. An amazingly powerful and compact full-frame option, the Sony A7 offers users a handheld, high-end photography experience while producing composite and radiant images.

Product Specs

Sony a7 Full-Frame Mirrorless Digital Camera - Body Only
  • 24.3 MP full frame CMOS sensor. Internal Battery Charge. Supplied Battery-NP-FW50 W-series Rechargeable Battery Pack. External Power-AC Adaptor AC-PW20 (sold separately)
  • Up to 4 FPS in Speed Priority Continuous shooting
  • ISO 100-25600(AUTO ISO 100-6400)
  • 1080/60p/24p HD video (AVCHD/MP4)
  • 3" tiltable LCD with 921,600 dots

The Sony A7 arrives with several unique and notable elements which set it far apart from other digital camera competitors in the same price range. The first awesome feature in the Sony A7 is its 35 mm full-frame Exmor® CMOS image sensor which performs in ultra-sensitive ranges, capturing light in an innovative way for realistic yet noise-reduced images. To pair with this awesome image sensor, the Sony A7 also carries a BIONZ X™ image processor, giving you reliable and live color feedback in tandem with its 2.4 million-dot OLED viewfinder.

An essential element of the Sony A7 which distinguishes it from other digital camera is its ability to shoot 14-bit RAW footage with 16-bit processing. This factor is important to help maintain full detail and beautiful, rich images that are digitally flexible for editing and post-shoot manipulation. The Sony A7 also comes with a maneuverable LCD screen, magnesium alloy body, and a durable, weather resistant seal which will keep you shooting in harsh environments without hesitation.

Pricing

The Sony A7 is a high-end digital camera which is available either as just the body or paired with several Sony lenses. You can purchase this camera for around $800 USD on sony.com or amazon.com.

How It Compares

We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare.

  • Sony A9
  • Sony Cybershot RX10 IV
  • Sony A6000

Sale
Sony a7 Full-Frame Mirrorless Digital Camera with 28-70mm Lens
  • 24.3 MP full frame CMOS sensor. Compatible OS - Windows Vista SP2*4, Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8, Mac OS X (v10.6-v10.8)
  • Up to 4 FPS in Speed Priority Continuous shooting
  • ISO 100-25600(AUTO ISO 100-6400), 1080/60p/24p HD video (AVCHD/MP4)
  • 3" tiltable LCD with 921,600 dots. 1/2-inch XGA OLED color electronic viewfinder with 2.4M dots
  • Raw and Raw + JPEG shooting. Multi-interface shoe (optional external flash sold separately)

Ease of Use 3.5/5 stars

The Sony A7 delivers an intuitive user experience for advanced to expert photographers. Its electronic viewfinder gives you an incredible amount of control before snapping your photos; it gives you the ability to level your photos, use focus peaking, grids, and other live features to customize the perfect conditions. The user interface can challenge even expert users. This thoughtful viewfinder increases image quality by offering you real-time feedback. The Sony A7 has comfortable and lightweight ergonomics with considerately placed dials and buttons, giving you more range of motion to capture your best shot.

Features 4/5 stars

This Sony was designed with a unique mixture of features such as 5-axis stabilization, 4K HDR video, tilt and touch LCD monitor, dual SD slots, and an incredibly powerful 24MP full-frame BSI sensor. A headphone and microphone jack increases creative possibilities and gives you more flexibility while recording and reviewing video. Unfortunately, Sony will charge you to add on additional features or upgrades that are otherwise inherent to DSLR cameras.

Design Quality 3.5/5 stars

The Sony A7 has several awesome design features that make this a unique and functional unit. The camera body is slim, lightweight, and weather sealed to protect it in harsh or unexpected environmental conditions. The A7 has comfortable ergonomics with a stock lens, but it is advertised as compatible with much larger pieces of glass although limited—this offsets ergonomics and will place a lot of stress on both the body and the lens. There are excellent lens options to pair with this body but we recommend keeping the unit compact. Its battery and charging system requires you to purchase an extra batterey plus an additional AC adapter. USB charging is possible with a non-proprietary cord.

PROS

  • Powerful image processor gives you stunning captures
  • Light, sleek, and ergonomic body
  • Weather sealed body
  • Electric viewfinder
  • Thoughtful dial and button design

CONS

  • Poor battery life
  • Loud shutter
  • No dedicated charger - sold separately
  • Limited, expensive lenses

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Sony a9 Full Frame Mirrorless Interchangeable-Lens Camera (Body Only) (ILCE9/B)
  • World's first Full-frame stacked CMOS sensor w/ integrated memory
  • World's first blackout-free continuous shooting up to 20 fps
  • Silent, vibration-free, anti-distortion shutter up to 1/32,000 sec.
  • 693 Phase Detection AF points over 93% frame coverage. Operating Temperature - 32 - 104 degrees F / 0 - 40 degrees C
  • In-the-box: Power cord, Cable Protector, AC Adaptor, Battery Charger BC-QZ1, Shoulder strap, Body cap, Accessory shoe cap, Eyepiece cup, Micro USB cable

Our first camera up for comparison is the Sony A9. This camera is quite different from the A7 as it doubles the continuous capture, carries a full-frame stacked CMOS sensor with integrated memory, and has a compact, aluminum build. This is a high-end and powerful unit that performs quietly at high shutter speeds and lag-free autofocus. Its multi-selector joystick is a creative move to give users a more efficient mode of navigation and easier auto-focus toggling.

The Sony A9 takes quick photos with rich and dynamic appearance. This Sony shoots in RAW file format and composes accurate photos with a comprehensive autofocus system. Its full frame 4k video capacity with full pixels and no pixel binning helps you capture all the details. The body and lens are sold separately, with several interchangeable lens options available.   

Price
The Sony A9 is a high-end full-frame mirrorless digital camera that will capture incredibly high-definition and high-resolution photos, capturing the true essence of your subject. You can purchase the body for around $3,500 USD on sony.com. Various lens additions available.

Ease of Use 3.5/5 stars

The Sony A9 is an amazing and high-performing camera for advanced and expert photographers, as the settings and in-depth menu options are challenging to understand to their fullest potential. The camera is powerful and capable of capturing a perfect shot nearly every time as the shutter speeds are incredibly fast, smooth, and quiet. The portrait grip is designed poorly and overall the camera is bulky; it might as well be a DSLR in that regard. The autofocus system is responsive and accurate, and photos have an excellent depth with ease.


Features 4.5/5 stars

This unique and reliable Sony A9 is equipped with some high-level attributes such as a stacked CMOS sensor with integrated memory, remote control compatibility, silent shutter, and dual SD slots. The 4K video capability is stunning and autofocus eye tracking is incredibly precise. This unit also has solid battery life and quickly charges with its included external charger.


Design Quality 4/5 stars

The body is a solid yet lightweight aluminum frame with a weather sealant to endure whatever conditions you may experience. Although the material is lightweight, the body is still compact enough that adding a powerful lens will confuse the ergonomics and the camera becomes very heavy. The controls are thoughtfully placed with an intuitive user operation and many customization options. We think the biggest flaw with this camera is its poor software and firmware, making the technological side of this camera more challenging than necessary.

PROS

  • Superb autofocus system and toggle options
  • Customizable knobs and wheels / intuitive button design
  • Silent, anti-distortion shutter even at high speeds (1/32k)
  • Live electronic viewfinder
  • Premium image quality

CONS

  • Poor portrait angle grip
  • Challenging interface
  • Heavy and impractical ergonomics / as heavy as a DSLR
  • High-end price point
  • Two SD card slots, only one is high transfer speed

Sale
Sony Cyber‑Shot RX10 IV with 0.03 Second Auto-Focus & 25x Optical Zoom (DSC-RX10M4)
  • World's Fastest AF acquisition speed of 0.03 sec. Optical image stabilisation technology developed by Sony is valuable for handheld still and movie shooting, especially in low light or at the ultra-telephoto end of the zoom range up to 600 mm
  • 315 phase-detection AF points covering Approx. 65% of the frame. Light Metering Mode- Multi Pattern, Centre Weighted, Spot (Standard/Large), Entire Screen Avg, Highlight
  • ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T* 24-600mm3 f.2.4-F4 ultra-zoom Lens
  • 20.1MP 1" back Illuminated Exmor RS stacked CMOS sensor w/ DRAM. Dimensions (W x H x D) (CIPA)-5 1/4 x 3 3/4 x 5 3/4 inches, 5 1/4 x 3 3/4 x 5 1/8 inches (from front of lens to monitor). Weight-2 pounds 6.7 ounce(Battery and SDXC Card included)/ Approx. 2 pounds 5.1 ounce) (Body Only)
  • 24 Fps4 continuous shooting up to 249 Frames5 with AF/AE tracking.Filter Diameter:62 mm.Diopter Adjustment:-4.0 to +3.0m-1

This is an impressive digital camera that really delivers high-quality and professional content at a moderate price point. The RX10 IV is versatile and innovative, offering users a responsive autofocus system, 25x zoom, silent shutter, comprehensive focus field, and a touchscreen LCD which ultimately makes the photography process more interactive. The Cybershot RX10 IV is operates up to 24fps in continuous shooting thanks to its BIONZ X™ image processor. Stunning 4K movie recording with direct pixels and no pixel binning collecting nearly double the amount of detail. All of this is activated through an electronic viewfinder.

Price
The Sony Cybershot RX10 IV is a moderately priced high-end, 4K video capture digital camera that delivers incredibly deep and interesting photos. You can purchase the body for around $1,600 USD on sony.com.

Ease of Use 4/5 stars

The Sony Cybershot RX10 IV has a quick-response AF system which is very useful and easy to capture the perfect photo on-demand. There are several programming hiccups that go along with Sony's trend of outdated software/menu interface. Several settings are confusing, so we highly suggest studying the user manual. Auto mode produces wonderful photos and its image stabilization makes every photo the perfect photo.


Features 4/5 stars

The Sony Cybershot RX10 IV has a diverse and applicable range of video performances whether 4K or 1080p you receive a lot of recording flexibility with this digital camera. Image quality is driven by image stabilization and comprehensive autofocus, resulting in balanced and rich photos that never miss a beat. 25x zoom paired with the RX10 IV's impressive autofocus system is an awesome combination for nature or landscape photography.


Design Quality 4/5 stars

The RX10 IV is a beautifully built digital camera that is quite compact for its power. The camera consists of a mixed polycarbonate, rubber, and magnesium alloy chassis. It is weather sealed for optimal performance in nature and while traveling. The combination of a 1-inch image sensor and 25x zoom capability results in deeper photos. Thoughtful control placement makes for easy access and fluid captures.                

PROS

  • Mid-point price range, excellent value
  • High-quality images
  • Precision autofocus system/tracking
  • 25x zoom
  • Compact
  • Weatherproofed and sealed
  • High performing in diverse lighting conditions

CONS

  • Inefficient software and menu design
  • Interface functionality
  • Touchscreen only applicable while focusing, not for menu settings

Sale
Sony a6000 Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera - Black (24.3MP, Body Only)
  • 24 MP APS-C CMOS sensor and Focus Sensitivity Range :EV 0 to EV 20 (at ISO 100 equivalent)
  • ISO 100-25600 (expandable to 51200). Lens compatibility- Sony E-mount lenses
  • Hybrid AF with 179-point focal plane phase-detection and 25 contrast detect points
  • Up to 11 FPS continious shooting - 3-inch tilting LCD with 921,000 dots.Viewfinder Type:0.39 in-type electronic viewfinder (color)
  • In the box: Rechargeable Battery NP-FW50; Shoulder strap; Eyepiece cup; Micro USB cable

The last Sony on the list of comparisons is the A6000 model. The Sony A6000 is a specialized, mirrorless DSLR pocket camera designed to capture with 24.3MP using an Exmo APS HD CMOS sensor and a BIONZ X™ image processor, similar to its larger A series siblings. A unique and high-end feature is the Sony A6000's OLED TruFinder electric viewfinder. Its autofocus system is fast and utilizes 179 focus points for comprehensive image focus. A 3-inch LCD makes reviewing your 1080p full-HD video footage a breeze.

Price
The Sony A6000 is remarkably powerful at a low-end price point. As far as DSLR cameras, the A6000 offers an incredible value. You can purchase this compact photography ally for around $450 USD on Amazon.com.

Ease of Use 4.5/5 stars

Overall, the Sony A6000 is easy to use and offers excellent AF modes which will help you take an awesome photo even without understanding all its features. Comfortable, lightweight, and compact makes this a great camera for travel and discreet photography. Image stabilization is patchy and requires a bit of a learning curve.

Features 4.5/5 stars

The features and capability of the Sony A6000 are remarkable for the price point. Impressive max burst rate at 11fps helps you capture the perfect photo from the multiple variations that are present within one second. Its 179-point autofocus system delivers crisp and rich images.

Design Quality 4/5

The Sony A6000 is sleek, compact, and beautiful. Live view through the viewfinder compliments the compact body and helps you capture photos with more accuracy. The A6000 is intelligently designed for compatibility with lens adapters, so your options here are really endless—further increasing the overall image quality that this camera can achieve.  

PROS

  • Clean HDMI output
  • 11fps Max burst rate
  • Powerful image processor
  • Precision autofocus system
  • Compact, sleek, powerful
  • Crystal clear photos, brilliant in low-light
  • Extreme value

CONS

  • Low battery life (~360 shots per charge)
  • Noisy shutter
  • Poor lens quality limits image quality potential
  • Soft stock lens; update or use an adapter for many lens options

Conclusion

After having completed this thorough comparison, we are confident in delivering our composite rating of the Sony A7. We feel that the Sony A7 comes in at a 4 out of 5 stars. The A7 is an ideal and dynamic camera for advanced or expert photographers who are looking for a moderately priced camera that shoots in RAW, captures stunning images with a powerful image processor, is weather sealed, and comes equipped with a precision electric viewfinder. We hope that you have found this information to be helpful as you continue hunting for your perfect combination of photography equipment.

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