Sony Alpha A7 Review: An In-Depth Look at Its Specifications

Review of the Sony Alpha A7

Finding the right camera is hard. The camera market is growing every day. There are more brands, cameras, and accessories.



If you have been into photography for a while, you may be more familiar with the brands and styles that you want. But, if you are brand new to this field, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

Difference Between DSLR and Point and Shoot

DLSR camera
point and shoot

Let’s start with the difference between two of the most common cameras: DSLR and point and shoot.

DSLR cameras offer more power, speed, and features than the point and shoot. They also let you manually control certain aspects of a shot. This is why these tend to be more popular with professionals versus beginners.

These also cost more and are larger than point and shoots.

Point and shoot cameras are also known as compact cameras or a fixed lens camera. This is because these cameras can’t change lenses like DSLRs can. The lens is built right into the body of the camera.

DSLR

  • Offer more power, speed, and features
  • Let you manually control certain aspects
  • More popular with professionals
  • Cost more and larger
  • You can change its lenses
  • See the image directly through the lens
  • Has a viewfinder

point and shoot

  • Offer more power, speed, and features
  • Let you manually control certain aspects
  • More popular with professionals
  • Cost more and larger
  • You can change its lenses
  • See the image directly through the lens
  • Has a viewfinder

It’s also the easier to use this camera. It’s more automatic than DSLRs. You quite literally point and shoot the camera to get the image, hence the name.

The big difference between the two is that a DSLR can change its lenses. This means that you can change its capabilities and features and you change them. Point and shoots are more static.

Another difference between the two types is how the photographer sees as he frames the shot. With a DSLR, you can usually see the image directly through the lens. This is because of a series of prisms and mirrors that reflect the lens image back to the viewfinder.

With a point and shoot, there usually isn’t a viewfinder. They depend on the LCD screen to let you frame the photo.

What Makes the Sony Alpha A7 Different?

Sony Alpha A7

The Sony Alpha A7 is a DSLR camera. Sony is a familiar brand in the camera market, and they are known for their experimentations. This camera is no exception. Sony has managed to make to create a full frame camera that’s about the same size as Olympus OM-D R-M1.

If you aren’t familiar with that camera, it means that the Sony camera is much smaller than their full frame, interchangeable lens peers.

It’s solidly built, though some of the controls are oddly placed. The A7 features a full frame 24-megapixel CMOS. It also uses the Hybrid AF system with an on-chip phase detection. It’s also able to use electronic first curtain mode, which allows for a quieter shutter, and reduces the potential for “shutter shock” vibration.

This will come especially in handy if you are a wild life photographer. The shutter could possibly scare away any animals that you are trying to photograph.

It also uses Sony’s latest Bionz X processor and has XGA electronic viewfinders., tilting LCDs, WiFi, and a weatherproof body. A big downside, though, is that it doesn’t have image stabilization. This helps with shaking and prevents photos from blurring. If you have shaky hands, you may have a hard time with this camera.


​Bionz X Processor

Bionz X Processor

This is the company’s latest processor, and it’s more powerful than the previous generation. Sony is a little vague on the specifics but is touting the new processor as offering “Detail Reproduction Technology.” This seems subtler and sophisticated sharpening system. Sony promises less apparent emphasis on edges, giving a more convincing representation of detail.

Another thing the processor can do is “Diffraction Reduction.” This means the camera’s processing attempts to correct for the softness caused by diffraction as you stop a lens’ aperture down.

This is probably aperture-dependent and sounds similar to an element of Fujifilm’s Lens Modulation Optimization system.

Technical Specs

We are providing a list of the more technical specs of this camera. This is helpful so you can compare and contrast with other cameras. If this seems like a totally different language, that’s okay. We break down most of these specifications in this review.

Sony Alpha A7

Body Type

Body type

SLR-style mirrorless

Sensor

Max resolution

6000x4000

Other resolutions

6000x3376, 3936x2624, 3936x2216, 3008x1688, 308x2000

Image ratio w:h

3:2, 16:9

Effective pixels

24 megapixels

Sensor photo detectors

25 megapixels

Sensor size

full frame (35.8x23.9 mm)

Sensor type

CMOS

Processor

Bionz X

Color space

sRGB, AdobeRGB

Color filter array

primary color filter

Image

ISO

100-25,600

Boosted ISO (minimum)

50

White balance presets

10

Custom white balance

Yes

Image stabilization

no

Uncompressed format

RAW

JPEG quality levels

extra fine, fine, standard

File format

JPEG (DCF 2.0, EXIF 2.3), RAW (ARW 2.3)

Image parameters

standard, vivid, neutral, clear, deep, light, portrait, landscape, sunset, night scene, autumn leaves, black & white, sepia

Optics and Focus

Autofocus

contrast detect (sensor), phase detect, multi-area, center, selective single-point, single, continuous, face detection, live view

Autofocus assist lamp

yes

Digital zoom

yes (4)

Manual focus

yes

Lens mount

Sony E

Number of focus points

117

Screen/ Viewfinder

Articulated LCD

tilting

Screen size

3 inches

Screen dots

1,230,00

Touch screen

no

Screen type

Xtra fine LCD

Live view

yes

Viewfinder coverage

100%

Viewfinder magnification

0.71x

Viewfinder resolution

2,359,000

Photography Features

Minimum shutter speed

30 seconds

Maximum shutter speed

1/8000 of a second

Exposure modes

auto, program, aperture, priority, shutter priority, manual

Scene modes

portrait, landscape, macro, sports action, sunset, night portrait, night scene, hand-held twilight, anti-motion blur

Built in flash

no

External flash

yes (via multi interface shoe)

Drive modes

single, continuous, speed priority continuous, self-timer, bracketing (AE, white balance, DRO)

Continuous drive

5.0 fps

Self-timer

Yes (2 or 10 sec, continuous (3 or 5 exposures)

Metering modes

multi, center weighted, spot

Exposure compensation

±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)

WB bracketing

Yes

Videography Features

Resolutions

1920x1080 (60p, 60i, 24p), 1440x1080 (30p), 640x480 (30p)

Format

MPEG-4, AVCHD

headphone and microphone ports, XLR support via adapter

Microphone

yes

Speaker

mono

Storage

Storage types

SD/SDHC/SDXC, memory stick duo/pro duo/ pro-HG duo

Connectivity

USB

USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)

HDMI

yes (micro-HDMI port with 4k still, uncompressed video output)

Microphone port

yes

Headphone port

yes

Wireless

built-in

Wireless notes

with NFC and wireless control via PlayMemories mobile app

Remote control

yes (wired)

Physical

Environmentally sealed

yes

Battery

battery pack

Battery description

NP-FW50 lithium-ion battery and charger

Battery life (CIPA)

340

Weight (including batteries)

474 g (1.04 lb/ 16.72 oz)

Dimensions

127x94x48 mm (5x3.7x1.89 inches)

Other Features

Orientation sensor

yes

Time lapse recording

no

GPS

none

Pricing

Sony Alpha A7 Digital Camera & 28-70mm FE OSS Lens with 64GB Card +...
  • KIT INCLUDES 14 PRODUCTS -- All BRAND NEW Items with all Manufacturer-supplied Accessories + Full USA Warranties:
  • [1] Sony Alpha A7 Digital Camera & 28-70mm FE OSS Lens (Black) + [2] Sony 64GB SDXC C10 UHS-1 Card + [3] Sony LCS-U30...
  • [4] Spare NP-FW50 Battery + [5] Battery Charger + [6] 55mm (UV/CPL/ND8) Filters +

You can get this camera in a couple of places. The first being Amazon. The second place is at Best Buy.

Now, even though it’s more expensive, the Amazon listing is the better deal. This is because it’s actually part of a kit. You not only get the camera but a bunch of accessories too. The bundle includes the camera and lens, a 64 GB memory card, a large, soft camera carrying case, a spare battery, battery charger, 3-piece HD filter set, a wireless shutter release remote control, precision design flash, 50 inch travel tripod, 2.5x telephoto and .45x wide angle digital lenses, PD HDMI to micro-HDMI gold audio/ video cable (6 ft/1.8 m), PD SD and MicroSD memory card reader, 2 MicroSD memory card case, and an LCD screen protectors.

So yeah, it a great value deal. This is particularly good if you are a beginner to photography and don’t have the accessories already.

How It Compares to Other Cameras

Nikon D750 FX-Format 24.3MP DSLR Camera (Body Only) + Deluxe Power...
  • NIKON AUTHORIZED DEALER - Includes Full NIKON USA WARRANTY
  • Nikon D750 DSLR 24.3MP HD 1080p FX-Format Digital Camera Body Only
  • 24.3MP FX-Format CMOS Sensor. EXPEED 4 Image Processor. Full HD 1080p Video at 60 fps. 3.2-inch Tilting LCD Monitor....

Now if it seems like the Alpha A7 isn’t the right camera for you, no worries. There are other cameras out there in the world. One particular camera seems to be going head to head with the Alpha A7. It’s Nikon D750, which is on Amazon and also comes in a bundle. 

The bundle includes the camera body, a battery charger, USB cable, neck strap, body cap, eyepiece shield, rubber eyecup, multi battery power group, 64 GB memory card, photo sling camera backpack, extra battery and charger, 60 inch tripod, 12 inch rubberized spider tripod, F4600N flash, DSLR camera flash diffuser, Corel PaintShop Pro X9 digital download, LCD/ lens cleaning pen, dust removal blower system, memory card wallet, mini tripod, screen protectors, 3 piece lens cleaning kit, and a microfiber cleaning cloth.

It’s easy to use, there aren’t too many buttons and you can use fast continuous shooting. It gets 4 out of 5 stars for ease of use. The build quality and design are great. It’s nice, lightweight, and sleek. This camera gets 5 out of 5 stars.

Canon EOS 6D 20.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD (Body...
  • 20.2 MP Full-Frame CMOS Sensor, 14-bit A/D Conversion, 100-25600 ISO Range
  • 11 Point AF points, 63-zone Dual-Level Metering Sensor
  • Canon iMAGE GATEWAY to Share and Upload Photos Anyhwere on iOS or Android Devices with Free EOS Remote Application

Another competitor is the Canon EOS 6D. You can get it on Amazon. It’s solidly built but not as heavy duty as other models. It’s has a plastic top plate which is to allow WiFi and GPS to work. It also only offers one memory card slot while a lot of other cameras offer you two. It’s 4 out of 5 stars.

It has a familiar feeling to how you use it, especially if you have used any mid-range EOS camera recently. It’s seamless to create a full frame photo. Plus, it has a touchscreen which always makes things easier to use. It gets a 5 out of 5 stars for ease.

You can change the settings and customs without any trouble. You can change up to five different buttons.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Solidly made
  • Fair priced
  • Very good image quality when shooting RAW
  • Compatible with a huge range of legacy 35 mm camera crop
  • Large, high resolution electronic viewfinder
  • Tilting LCD offers good detail and outdoor visibility
  • Useful tools, like focus peeking and zebra pattern
  • Very good video quality
  • Strong video features: manual controls, audio level adjustment, and uncompressed HDMI output
  • Well implemented dual-axis electronic level
  • Solid WiFi system allows for remote shooting, easy photo sharing; NFC a plus
  • Charging via USB can be convenient
  • Classic Sony features (HDR, Sweep Panorama) work well
  • Exposure compensation dial makes Auto ISO usable in manual mode
  • Microphone and headphone ports
  • Optional battery grip
  • Dust and moisture resistant

Cons

  • JPEG quality disappointing compared to peers—crude sharpening, over aggressive processing, and occasional posterization
  • Autofocus can be hesitant, especially in low light; AF improves when assist lamp is turned off
  • Auto ISO tends to keep shutter speed at 1/60 of a second, often resulting in blurry photos
  • Limited selection of FE lenses, which are expensive compared to competition
  • Tools for shooting with third part lenses need improvement
  • Longer than average startup times
  • Camera “locks up” while buffer is clearing after continuous shooting
  • Overly sensitive eye sensor, it can stay active when tilted
  • Lacks a built-in flash
  • Limited battery life
  • Exposure compensation and rear scroll wheel too easily bumped by accident
  • Menu arrangement poor and navigation a bit clunky
  • No in camera RAW conversion
  • No external charger included for rapid charging
  • Included remote capture software lacks live preview
  • Not a completely waterproof
  • Awkward menu system

Conclusion

Product

Details

Price

Sony Alpha A7 Digital Camera & 28-70mm FE OSS Lens with 64GB Card +...
  • 24 MP Bionz X CMOS
  • 100-25600 ISO
  • 3" tilting Xtra Fine LCD
  • 1/8000 sec maximum shutter speed
  • Shutter remote control
Nikon D750 FX-Format 24.3MP DSLR Camera (Body Only) + Deluxe Power...
  • 24.3 MP FX-Format Expeed 4 CMOS
  • 100-51200 ISO
  • 3.2" tilting LCD monitor
  • Continuous shooting up to 6.5fps
Canon EOS 6D 20.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD (Body...
  • 20.2 MP full frame CMOS
  • Continuous shooting up to 4.5fps
  • 1080p HD video recording
  • 11-point AF system
  • 3" LCD

This camera is great but pricey. We like that it’s lightweight and the quality of photos. It has a lot of cool features including ones that can help with photo editing. This will bring an extra spark to your photos.

The fact that you can quiet the shutter is a great highlight. This can open a lot of doors for wildlife photographers. The animals won’t run away before you can get the shot.

Some downsides are that it has a limited battery life and that it has an awkward menu. This could make it hard to operate.

The price is also something that is hard to ignore. Even with the bundle, it’s a lot of money. This isn’t a great idea for someone who is super new to photography. If someone was maybe a mid-tier photographer, this could be the best deal ever.

The issues with JPEG rendering can turn off a lot of people, especially if you plan on making a lot of JPEGs.

Overall, we give the Sony Alpha A7 4 out of 5 stars.

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