Hands on with the Sony A7 & A7R

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Well, hello there!

Sony stopped by last week with their their hot new mirrorless camera, the A7R in tow. Even better still, we were given the afternoon to take some shots with it, using their 55mm 1.8 ZA, and the 35mm 2.8 ZA. Right off the bat: we were extremely impressed with the camera itself and both lenses. We shot with both of them wide open at 1.8 and 2.8 respectively.

Despite not having a great deal of time to study the manual, we found operating the camera to be immediately accessible and simple. We worked in Aperture Priority mode and changed the ISO to 100 for most of the shots. All images were shot in JPG mode (as there is no raw compatibility) yet, in High seting, the shots were astounding. This is only one step below their Super Fine Quality Image setting, which produces the best (albeit bulkiest) shots.

Despite our large hands, The A7R felt very comfortable and had a nice grip. All of the controls were laid out just where they should have been, which sony has put quite a bit of work into – both in the UI and the feel. Moreover, we found that learning the controls I needed for shots happened within about 5 minutes. We easily set the diopter in the EVF so it worked perfectly.

We shot a variety of images below, trying to cover some portraiture, street photography, landscapes, and action shots all in a mere 45 minute window. One of the first things we changed was increasing the brightness on the LCD display to adjust for a bright sunny day, and then had no problem using the screen in bright sunlight. Coolest thing: as soon as we put our eyes on the EVF, it instantly changed over to EVF view.

Focusing seemed dead on, and you could easily change your mode for shooting from single shots, to rapid fire. Overall we found the menu interface and layout to simply be awesome.

Sony has nailed it with this camera. In just 45 minutes of shooting, we were swayed to believe that mirrorless has absolutely arrived – with Sony the clear innovator.

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Below images were shot with the 35mm 2.8, shot wide open in Aperture Priority mode, at ISO 800. A bit of normal noise can be seen enlarged at 100% but nothing that can’t be dealt with a little bit of Post cleanup.

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