Sony has announced a couple of new cameras early this morning, including the A7 and A7R, both mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras with a twist that’s unprecedented for that type of device – a full-frame sensor is housed within each. That makes these the smallest, lightest full-frame cameras with swappable lenses to boast full-frame power, and with a 36.4 megapixel sensor on the A7R, and a 24.3 megapixel one in the A7. Of course, it’s the sheer size of those sensors that makes all the difference here.
Full-frame blows away the APS-C and micro four thirds sensors found in most MILC systems, like Sony’s existing NEX line or the Olympus OM-D models, in terms of their ability to capture light and deliver better over all image quality through accurate and rich color and contrast capture. The new Sony A7R also omit an optical low pass filter, which results in better resolution and detail rendering. Both of these new cameras have a new BIONZ X processor, a hybrid AF system that uses both phase and contrast detection for quicker focus, an OLED Tru-Finder hybrid optical viewfinder and a 3-inch rear screen that can be tilted, another first for a full-frame.
Both camera models also boast both NFC and Wi-Fi for easy pairing and direct transfer of photos to devices, and they’re built for pros, with dust- and moisture-resistant magnesium alloy cases. They take a new full-frame E-mount lens, of which Sony is release five in time for launch, and they also work backwards with standard E-mount lenses designed for the NEX series, albeit with some cropping. There will also be an adapter for Sony’s A-mount lenses, which work with their non-mirrorless DSLR range.
The A7R and A7 will both go on sale in December, for $2,300 and $1,700 for body-only, respectively. There will also be kits available with some of the new lenses. Sony’s new full-frame interchangeable powerhouses aren’t cheap, but they aren’t crazily expensive, either – on par with the new lower cost line of full-frame DSLRs, in fact. Sony has been absolutely blazing a trail through the digital photography world these past few years, with its RX- line of powerful pocket cameras, and even the innovative (if odd) Q- series cameraphone lens attachments. The A7R and A7 look to be a continuation of that trend, but we’ll reserve final judgement until we get some hands on time with these new photographic monsters.