Meet the world's smallest and lightest interchangeable lens full-frame camera*. No other full frame, interchangeable-lens camera is this light or this portable. Sony's Exmor® image sensor takes full advantage of the Full-frame format, but in a camera body less than half the size and weight of a full-frame DSLR. Enjoy the 36.4MP of rich detail, a true-to-life 2.4 million dot OLED viewfinder, Wi-Fi sharing ,and an expandable shoe system. It's all the full-frame performance you ever wanted in a compact size that will change your perspective entirely.
*Among interchangeable-lens cameras with a full frame sensor as of October 2013.
The Sony A7R is a diminutive full frame mirrorless camera. It uses a 36mp CMOS sensor without an anti-aliasing filter. No anti-aliasing filter means that the image coming from your optics is not compromised by the camera. The body is a magnesium alloy shell that weighs out at 480 grams or just over a pound, compared to the Nikon D810 weight of 980 grams is about half for the same imaging performance.
The target photographer is someone who needs the best in image quality in a portable, versatile package. Still quality is outstanding up to an ISO 3200 and can be pushed to 25600. Video is more than capable with resolution to 1920x1080 with frame rates up to 60P and down to 24p in MPEG-4 and AVCHD format. You can also use an external microphone via the red jack (3.5mm) and for professional sound control use headphones to ride the audio via the green jack (3.5mm).
I purchased mine for several reasons. The first being the A7R is full frame so it allows my wide angle lenses to produce the stunning perspective they were designed to. The second is that I can adapt every lens I own to the A7R with inexpensive adapters. Various companies make adapters for every lens mount from Alpa to Zeiss Contarex. Sony also has a very comprehensive line of lenses available today to cover almost every photographic need.
Let me expound on why the ability to use other people's lenses is so important. No company has a lock on the best at all focal lengths. Many people would agree that the Nikon 105 F2 DC (defocus control) lens is superb for portraits or controlling where your focus extends. On the other hand, only Canon offers a 17mm tilt shift lens. The, Mamiya RB soft focus lenses are very special for the David Hamilton look. The ability to choose your image making tool with almost no restrictions is very powerful.
What makes using other peoples lenses work is what is called "focus peaking." You pick a color (red, yellow, or white) and how strong an effect. As you focus the plane of focus lights up with the color you have selected. With an extremely sharp lens like the Canon 300 2.8L you can select the lowest setting and know exactly where your focus point is; as you stop down you will see your approximate depth of field. If you have a very wide angle like a Zeiss 15mm then you might pick a higher peaking level as ultrawides requires some discernment about just where the sharpest focus is. Let me expound, you get a pretty good idea of exactly what will be in focus by how much color you see highlighting in your viewfinder. For portraits you can bring focus out to the tip of the nose or just the iris. For landscapes you can see just how far you have to stop down to hold acceptable focus, a very powerful tool.
Additionally, the A7R has another advantage over traditional SLR cameras; the viewfinder is a 2.39 million dot OLED. When you make exposure changes you see the effect in the viewfinder; previously very complex exposure calculations are now a matter of dialing and looking. What's not to like about having the world's best lenses at your disposal and the ability to see what you will get before you snap the shutter.
You can also adjust the view in the OLED viewfinder to provide a level to keep horizons where they should be. Another setting provides a histogram as you shoot so that you can keep your shadows and highlights exactly where you want them as you shoot instead of having to stop and examine your images to see if you got them.
Last, I find the articulated 1.23 million dot rear 3" LCD to be very useful for "weird" positional shooting. I purchased a "Hoodman" focusing hood and use the A7R much as a view camera for still life photography. Using the "Hoodman" provides the ability to examine the image in any light however bright and directional. The large screen lets me really take a look at composition and exposure in a relaxed manner while providing a large enough view to really examine the image.
Now, the A7R is not for the sports photographer as it's frame rate is only 4 frames per second and there are many much better cameras out there for predictive auto-focus on moving subjects. Also, while the images are very useable up to 3200 ISO there are better cameras out there for photographing coal mines at midnight. One other issue with this camera is the shutter has a lot of vibration for the weight of the camera. There are many reports of "shutter shake" at reasonable fast shutter speeds, some report as high as 1/125th of a second. I have not found this in my camera but the evidence is convincing enough that the potential user should do a personal test on what is acceptable performance for them.
One more point of contention, battery life. It is short at about 300 shots per charge. You will be well advised to carry several charged batteries with you if you shoot away from AC current. The good news is the Sony charger will take a flat battery to a full one in just about two hours so not bad on that end. The Sony NP-FW50 batteries are fairly inexpensive and not large so two batteries in a pocket is not something you are aware of while shooting.
The Sony A7R is in very high demand. When we have them in stock they sell very quickly; so if you believe this is a good fit for you, make the choice to order quickly. We have a price match guarantee and a 14 day no-question return for full refund policy so you can be confidant that you will get a good camera at a great price and with free ground shipping there is no reason to hesitate. - Don Dory