Sony A7 et A7R

version franšaise

Sony had bought Minolta in 2005 and proposed digital SLRs, first with classic mirror then in 2010 with semi-transparent mirror. In October 2013, Sony introduces a new E-mount and its first mirror-less hybrid camera with full-frame sensor and interchangeable lenses.
Sony creates a new market with two photo models (A7 and A7R), full format of 24 and 36 million pixels. This market is in fact a replacement/substitution market for the declining market for DSLRs.

The commercial strategy of Sony is different from those of other manufacturers that when they release a new camera, remove its predecessor, Sony uses a more original method of continuing to sell simultaneously several generations of cameras. Sony regularly introduces new versions of its cameras but continues to offer pre-sale models at a lower price, which allows the creation over time of a wide range of cameras from the oldest to the newest, the latter having the most complete features.

The shape of the Sony A7

Sony A7R IV

Sony A7 R IV

Sony A7R top

The shape of the Sony A7 also plays an important role. While coming from the Nex 7, it is built with a prism on the roof and commands identical to those of digital reflex with mirror chamber and optical premium. It would have been more convenient to have an electronic viewfinder on the left of the camera and adjustable as on some "compact" digital experts.
Placing the A7's electronic viewfinder in the form of a prism allows the consumer to immediately identify this camera as a DSLR, that it is not, and as a direct competitor of Nikon, Canon and other Pentax.
Sony could have created a RX1 electronic viewfinder and interchangeable lens but the Sony A7 was to stand out from Nex and other digital compact.
The shape of DSLR is a hallmark of SLRs, and Panasonic S1, Nikon Z6 and Z7 have understood, they made, a few years later, the same choice as Sony.

The originality of the Sony A7

Hasselblad Lusso

Hasselblad Lusso

The Sony A7 was not only the first full-format hybrid, 24 x 36 mm, but it has the originality of allowing through its Wi-Fi chip not only to control the camera from a tablet or a smartphone but also to connect to the Sony Entertainment Network and download some applications to improve the functionality of the camera. Some of them are free, some others not. These applications allow to realize multiple exposures, to correct the optics defaults, to export the photos towards Flickr. Sony did not develop the Sony Entertainment Network nor open to outside developers the ability to create applications. This feature was probably not expected by the buyer of this type of camera: If you like pure Photography, you are not necessary a geek.

The Sony A7R may be found under the Hasselblad name. As the Hasselblad Stellar was a clone of Sony RX100, the Hasselblad Lusso is an Alpha 7R with a luxurious finish: a precious wood grip, stones on some parts, and a specific finish. The rest is identical to the first version of the Sony A7R with its 36 Mpx.

The Sony Alpha 7's family.

Sony A7's family

The Sony Alpha 7 (A7), introduced in 2103, is the first interchangeable lens compact camera equipped with a 35mm format. Compact, it replaces the NEX-7 and remains the most versatile model and the bestseller of the range. In 2013 and 2014, the Sony A7s are the only full format hybrids on the market. It has a 24.2 megapixel sensor. This is the Sony A7 mark II brings in 2014 a backlit sensor, stabilization on 5 axes. The Sony A7 mark III brings in 2017 a better autonomy and a design inspired by the A9.

The Sony Alpha 7R (A7), launched in 2103 is as compact as the A7 but features a 36.4 megapixel low-pass filterless sensor with a burst at 5 fps. The Sony A7R Mark II brings in 2015 a full-size backlit sensor without 42.4 megapixel low-pass filter, a high sensitivity at ISO 102,400 and 4K video, the autofocus is phase correlated and counts 399 points against 177 for the A7R, the stabilization on 5 axes. The Sony A7R mark III brings in 2017 a better autonomy and a design inspired by the A9. The Sony A7R Mark IV of 2019 features a full-size 61 million pixel backlit sensor, a pixel shift mode, an AF with 567 points phase detection, a burst mode at 10fps.

Sony A7S III

Sony A7S III

The Sony A7S is a video-oriented version, introduced in 2014, able of shooting in 4K at 24/25/30 fps with a 12.2 megapixel sensor for better fluidity, a larger dynamic range (15.3 EV9), better digital noise management and sensitivity can reach 409,600 ISO. The Version 2, the 2013 Sony A7S mark II, brings 5-axis stabilization and autofocus from 25 detection points to 169.
The Sony A7S mark III brings in 2020 a 12.1 Megapixel backlit sensor, an AF with 759 phase detection points and 425 contrast points, a sensitivity from 40 to 409,600 ISO, 4K video sequences at 120 p, with a crop factor of 1.1, or Full HD video mode in 240p, a fully articulated rear screen and an Oled viewfinder with 9.44 million dots and a refresh rate of 120 Hz.

Sony A9 II

Sony A9 II

The Sony A9, presented in 2107, is equipped with a full-size, backlit sensor offering a definition of 24.2 million pixels. Its CMOS "stacked" technology integrates a buffer. It can take 20 images of 24 MP per second and is stabilized on 5 axes. It has a high sensitivity to 204 600 ISO. The unit offers 4K / UHD video at 30 fps or Full HD at 60 fps. This is the professional version of the Sony A7 a fully built magnesium alloy case and a mechanical shutter for 500,000 cycles.

The 2019 Sony A9 mark II has a similar design of the A7 mark IV with the enlarged handle, the joystick on the back and the AF-On button but features on the upper left cover, a double barrel of access to focus modes and various shooting functions. The upgrades of the A9 mark II primarily concern professional photographers with immediate data transmission enhancements: support for FTPS files (SSL or TLS protocols) to better secure transfers in Ethernet 1000BASE-T and Wifi; improved remote shooting performance in connected mode via the Remote Camera Tool application (reduction of trigger times and display in LiveView); increased and more stable Wifi transfer speed with 5 GHz bandwidth in addition to 2.4 GHz; Support for all IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac standards. In addition, it will be possible to record information vocally through a voice memo function. And to transfer this data at the same time as the files to which they correspond in FTP. Or convert them to text in the form of IPTC metadata with the Transfer & Tagging add-on application. The A9 mark II is proposed to $ 4500 body only (October 2019).

pierre j.

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Created August 18th 2019, Updated July 29th 2020.
© Pierre J.