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Sony Alpha A7 Gordon Laing, November 2013
 
 

Sony Alpha A7 verdict

The Sony Alpha A7 is a remarkable camera that delivers the full-frame DSLR quality of the Canon EOS 6D or Nikon D610, but from a body that's considerably smaller and lighter, packed with more gadgetry and cheaper too, especially if bought with a kit zoom. Had A7 had been launched by itself, we'd all be falling over it with plaudits and affection, but its biggest issue is being announced alongside the even more impressive A7r.

It's fair to say the A7r has stolen a lot of the A7's glory, and rightly so, as it's a camera that doesn't just take aim at cheaper full-frame DSLRs, but goes for the jugular of the top-end D800e. Not only does the A7r match the output of Nikon's highest resolution DSLR, but gives you the same degree of quality with any lens you attach, which thanks to its mirrorless design could include models from Canon, Nikon, Leica or Voigtlander via a third party adapter. As such it gives Nikon D800(e) owners a chance to carry something much smaller without compromising quality, while also giving Leica and Canon DSLR owners the high res sensor they always wanted to put behind their lenses.

How can the A7 compete with that? Easy: it may 'only' have 24 Megapixels, but this allows it to match the photo output from a number of very respectable DSLRs including the EOS 6D, EOS 5D Mark III and D610. Again it does this with a smaller, lighter and cheaper body that also includes a tilting screen, built-in Wifi, focus peaking, USB charging and one of the best electronic viewfinders around. In addition it sports phase detect AF points on the sensor which allows it to deliver more confident continuous AF for stills and movies than its pricier sibling. So not only is it one of the most capable full-frame cameras around, it's also the cheapest.

   
 


In terms of photo quality, the Alpha A7 is up there with DSLRs of similar resolutions, and the out-of-camera JPEGs from the Sony are arguably better than most. It's only beaten on detail by the A7r and the D800(e). In terms of video the A7 sits roughly between its rivals, delivering superior results to the Nikon DSLRs, but still falling below the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, which thanks to its sensor resolution being perfectly divisible by 1920 avoids any scaling artefacts. Interestingly while the video quality of the A7 and A7r were very close, the A7 actually suffered from moire a little more under some conditions. But there's still enough high-end video capabilities to make either the A7 or A7r a compelling option for pro filmers, and even more so as a backup body. After all, you're getting 1080 / 60 / 50p, mic and headphone jacks, focus peaking and zebra patterns, and a clean HDMI output even when the screen is showing various assistance such as a magnified view; the HDMI even outputs audio too.

The built-in Wifi is also good to have and Sony remains the only (non-Android) camera company which exploits it to support downloadable apps to expand its capabilities. The A7 / A7r - not to mention the Wifi-equipped NEX models - still need a decent HDR / bracketing app, but at least the possibility is there for development.

I'd also like to give a mention to the USB charging, which is the first time I've seen it implemented on a camera of this class. Like some pocket cameras, you can now recharge the A7 or A7r over a USB connection using your laptop, a generic charger or a car cigarette adapter. It's fantastic not having to lug around a proprietary charger, and also very useful to be able to top it up as you drive from one shoot to another. I've even recharged them on a coach.

There's no doubt the A7 and A7r are very impressive cameras that are also priced very keenly, but the big question for those familiar with DSLRs will be whether they'll get on with the fully electronic composition of a mirrorless camera.

If it helps reassure you at all, I actually find electronic composition preferable these days. I've long been a believer in mirrorless cameras, and find the benefits of electronic composition (such as a wealth of previews, live guides and focusing assistance) outweigh the pros of an optical viewfinder on a traditional DSLR. To be fair though, I'm a travel / landscape photographer, not a pro sports shooter.

But while arguments about the pros and cons of optical versus electronic viewfinders will go on for many years to come, most high-end photographers I speak to cite the absence of full-frame models with AF as what's holding them back from dumping their DSLRs and adopting mirrorless.

Well Sony's now removed that barrier with not one but two full-frame mirrorless bodies. The more affordable A7 matches or even slightly out-resolves the Canon EOS 6D and 5D Mark III and as I mentioned earlier the A7r matches or slightly out-performs the mighty D800e. The fact they can do this with smaller, lighter and cheaper bodies which also sport a number of more advanced features is remarkable.

Even better, as mirrorless bodies with full-frame sensors, you can use adapters to mount almost any lens without a crop. This alone is enough to sell the A7 or A7r to plenty of people and makes the limited selection of native FE mount lenses at launch less of an issue. That said, there are already some crackers in the FE range. I've only used three of them, but the two Zeiss primes are excellent, punching above their weight in overall sharpness across the frame, while the kit zoom is bundled at such an aggressive price it further widens the cost difference between an A7 and a Canon EOS 6D or Nikon D610.

The Alpha A7 isn't perfect of course. Every time I use it I curse Sony for not equipping it - or the A7r - with a touch-sensitive screen, which is quite simply the quickest and easiest way to reposition a single AF area. It could also have supported focus-pulling by touch during videos. I know I may be in the minority here but I'd also have liked a fully-articulated screen, as a vertically tilting screen isn't that useful if you're composing in the portrait orientation or filming pieces to camera.

I think pretty much everyone would have liked the A7 and A7r a lot more had they also sported built-in sensor-shift stabilisation like the Olympus bodies, and indeed larger Sony Alphas too. Industry watchers will know Sony has invested in Olympus and plans to deploy some of their tech during 2014 which, I believe, may include the superb 5-axis image stabilisation, but as I understand it won't be on any of the mirrorless cameras, only the SLTs. I hope I'm wrong. Imagine a camera which can use almost any lens by any manufacturer without a crop, but which also applied stabilisation? That could really see the end of many rivals in the body business.

My biggest bugbear with the pricier A7r was its often lethargic autofocus, and while the A7 is certainly snappier under bright conditions, it too becomes quite leisurely in lower light. The presence of embedded phase detect points on the sensor makes the A7 more confident at tracking and refocusing in a continuous environment, but I'd still say it's far from being a sports or action camera.

As I noted in my main review, a lot depends on what you're used to, and both cameras are certainly faster than Canon or Nikon DSLRs in Live View. But they're not as quick as DSLRs when you're shooting through their viewfinders, nor are they as fast (in a single AF mode) as the most responsive mirrorless cameras, such as the latest Micro Four Thirds models from Olympus and Panasonic which also focus in much lower light too. Suffice it to say if you're into tracking action, it's still hard to beat the phase detect AF systems when composing through the viewfinder of a traditional DSLR. To put it all in perspective, the AF speed of the A7 won't be an issue for landscape and architectural photographers, nor for portrait shooters who have co-operative subjects, but if you shoot action or anything that moves quickly, you'll be happier with a traditional DSLR.

Moving on, the A7's shutter sound may be quieter than the A7r thanks to its electronic first curtain, but it's still clunkier and less discreet than its DSLR rivals. Suffice it to say a rangefinder like a Leica M, or indeed cameras like Sony's own RX1, are much quieter, which could be an important factor for street or wedding photographers. I wish the A7 had a silent option even if it slowed it right down or involved the potential rolling artefacts of an electronic shutter.

The last thing I'd note before making my final comparisons is the actual size and weight of the A7 and A7r. Their compact bodies are very much a double-edged sword. Yes they're considerably more portable than a DSLR at this end of the market, but there's less to hold onto and you can't help but find yourself wobbling or shooting more casually. The latter may be a personal point, as there's plenty of Leica and even Sony RX1 owners who know they need to take care when shooting for the best results, but there's something about shooting with the A7 and A7r which lulled me into a false sense of security. You feel you can snap away casually, even one-handed at times, but these are not casual cameras, especially not the A7r. The A7r gives you D800e quality and needs to be handled equally carefully to deliver similar results. This means focusing very carefully and holding steady, or best of all, using a tripod.

The new Alphas can be unforgiving cameras if you don't shoot with care and if you're coming from a smaller format, say Micro Four Thirds or APSC, you may be surprised to find minor shake and focusing errors are a more common occurrence than before. Inevitably models like the Olympus bodies will deliver a higher hit rate in a casual environment because they're lower resolution, have a deeper inherent depth of field and also sport built-in stabilisation. The full-frame sensor size may be very seductive, but do think carefully about how you shoot, especially if coming from a smaller format, and also what you'd give up if you find things like built-in stabilisation, fast single AF or a touch-screen useful day-to-day.

Now before my final verdict, here's some comparisons with rival models.

 

Sony Alpha A7 vs Alpha A7r

     
 
 
     
     

The biggest question for many will be whether to buy the Alpha A7 or the higher-end A7r. Both share a great deal in common including the same screen and viewfinder, the same control system, equally weather-sealed bodies, same video modes, same connectivity, same wireless, same shooting modes, and of course the same lens mount. There are minor physical differences, such as the A7r being all magnesium alloy while the front plate on the A7 is plastic, and the mode and compensation dials on the A7r being solid aluminium versus plated on the A7. But the major difference regards their sensors.

The Alpha A7 employs a 24 Megapixel full-frame sensor with an optical low pass filter and embedded phase detect AF points in a central frame. The Alpha A7r employs a 36 Megapixel full-frame sensor with no optical low pass filter and a 100% contrast-based AF system. Both sensors feature microlenses which are angled-in at the corners, but only the A7r's are gapless.

First things first: the Alpha A7r undoubtedly delivers crisper and more detailed images as can be clearly seen in my results pages. The lower resolution of the A7 gives it a minor edge at higher sensitivities, but any advantage is eroded if you downsample the A7r to the same resolution. So when it comes to image quality, the A7r wins out, although with superior out-of-camera JPEGs to the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, the A7 isn't exactly shabby - it's just not as good as the A7r.

The embedded phase detect AF points make the A7 quicker and more confident at focusing than the A7r, but in my tests this was generally only applicable in decent light. Shoot in dim conditions and they perform similarly in terms of AF. For video though, the embedded phase-detect AF points give the A7 an advantage over the A7r when it comes to refocusing. In my tests the A7 was visibly more confident with less hunting than the A7r which under the same conditions was noticeably more hesitant with more searching.

The continuous shooting is a bit quicker on the A7 at 5fps versus 4fps, although the biggest difference is the burst size, with the A7r being limited to about 20 or so frames even when shooting JPEG, whereas the A7 can keep shooting JPEGs pretty much until you run out of memory.

This should add up to the A7 being the better choice for action photography, and while this is the case, I still wouldn't describe it as a sports camera. The continuous AF lacked a high success rate in my tests and while 5fps is good for a full-frame camera, it's unremarkable for a sports camera. If you regularly shoot fast action there are better choices available.

So while the JPEG bursts were much longer on the A7 and it also enjoyed minor AF benefits (most notably during video), I'd say the choice between them mostly boils down to comparing their image quality and prices. The A7r certainly captures more detail, but the A7 costs comfortably less. And while those big images are seductive, handling their file sizes isn't always desirable.

See my Sony Alpha A7r review for more details.

 

Sony Alpha A7 vs Olympus OMD EM1

     
 
 
     
     

The Olympus OMD EM1 is one of the most rounded and capable high-end mirrorless cameras to date, so is a natural camera to compare against the Alpha A7. At first you may assume the Alpha A7 has all the trump cards with its considerably larger sensor, but there's a great deal in the EM1's favour that's important to weigh up. As even though you might think you want a full-frame sensor, you may end up better-served by one that's much smaller.

Both cameras actually share a surprising amount in common. They both have weather-sealed bodies that are roughly similar in size, electronic viewfinders with approximately the same image size and detail, they both have 3in tilting screens, built-in Wifi, focus peaking, eye-detection, 1/8000 fastest shutter speeds, and lots of controls and customisation. Neither has a built-in flash.

Starting with the A7, its major advantage is the big sensor, four times the surface area and with 50% more pixels. It'll come as no surprise to learn the A7 will deliver more detailed images and lower noise too at high sensitivities. The full-frame sensor on the A7 also means there's no coverage or depth-of-field reduction to factor in, so an f2.8 lens will actually deliver the same potential blurring effect as f1.4 on Micro Four Thirds. In addition the A7's focus peaking works during video, it has a panorama mode, 1080p video at 60p / 50p and 24 / 25p, a headphone jack, adjustable audio levels, there's NFC to aid the initial Wifi negotiation with compatible handsets, and the chance to extend its capabilities via downloadable apps.

In its favour, the OMD EM1 has very effective built-in stabilisation which works with any lens you attach, a touch-screen which lets you tap to reposition the AF area or pull-focus during video, deeper bracketing, considerably faster single AF, faster continuous shooting at up to 10fps (albeit reducing to 6.5fps with AF), a neat Live Time mode which reveals the image building up over a long exposure and built-in timelapse facilities. Arguably its trump card though is access to the broadest and most mature native lens catalogue of any mirrorless system which includes many small and high quality primes.

For me the combination of quicker handling, built-in stabilisation and plenty of native lenses makes the EM1 a better all-round camera for most people, and while the sensor is lower resolution and four times smaller, the detail may be enough for most purposes and the size allows high quality small lenses to be made which are sharp into the corners. The EM1 is also considerably cheaper, especially if you have your eye on the Zeiss primes for the Sony.

There's a lot to weigh-up, but if you don't need that big full-frame sensor, there's still very compelling reasons to go for a smaller format.

See my Olympus OMD EM1 review for more details.

Sony Alpha A7 vs Canon EOS 6D

     
 
 
     
     

The EOS 6D is Canon's most 'affordable' full-frame DSLR to date and as such is a key rival to the Alpha A7. As a traditional DSLR, it offers quite a different handling experience to the A7, but I believe many buyers will be wondering what the differences are and which will be best for them.

I'll start with the biggest difference: their form factor, and I'm deliberately not describing one as having an overall advantage over the other as it really boils down to a personal choice. As a traditional DSLR the Canon EOS 6D is much larger and heavier than the Alpha A7, but while it's clearly not as portable, it gives you more to hold onto and is easier to hold steady. Both cameras share large viewfinder images, but the A7's image is electronic with 100% coverage whereas the 6D's is optical with 97% coverage. There's pros and cons to both: an optical viewfinder is easier to use in very low light, never gets noisy and never lags as you pan to follow the action. In contrast an electronic viewfinder can offer a wealth of shooting aids including a choice of guides, a live histogram, leveling gauge, magnified views and focus peaking, and can also be used to compose movies along with navigating menus and images in playback. Only you can decide which form factor and viewfinder technology is best for you.

In terms of what they have in common? Full-frame sensors with similar resolutions, weatherproof bodies, built-in Wifi, microphone inputs, smartphone remote control, 3in screens and no built-in flashes.

In terms of benefits, the Canon EOS 6D boasts faster single AF which works down to much lower light levels (-3EV vs 0EV) and much more effective continuous AF when shooting stills with the viewfinder, a battery that lasts for over twice as many shots (so long as you compose with the viewfinder, not the screen), deeper seven frame bracketing, powerful remote control via MacOS and Windows computers (as well as smartphone control), a more discreet sounding shutter, and built-in GPS as well as Wifi. And lest we forget, its EF mount provides it with native access to the largest native lens around.

In the Alpha A7's favour, it may sport a similarly-detailed full-frame sensor, but with the aid of adapters it can deploy it on a wealth of third party lenses without a crop (including all of Canon's), it has a screen which can tilt vertically for easier composition at high and low angles, NFC to aid Wifi setup, a faster shutter (1/8000 vs 1/4000), a faster flash sync (1/250 vs 1/180), focus peaking, a panorama mode, a headphone jack, supports optional downloadable apps to expand its capabilities, offers 1080p video at 60p (versus a maximum of 30p on the Canon), the chance to top-up or recharge a battery over USB, and deliver 4k output for TV slideshows over HDMI. The A7 also has superior continuous AF for stills and movies compared to the 6D when the Canon is in Live View, but it's still beaten by the 6D's continuous AF when you're shooting through the viewfinder.

In terms of body price, the Alpha A7 slightly undercuts the EOS 6D, and that's before it's even had a chance to be discounted. If you're buying a kit zoom to go with either body, Sony's 28-70mm is also cheaper than Canon's full-frame options, further widening the price gap between them.

While the Sony, especially in the zoom kit, works out cheaper, I think the real decision boils down to which form factor you prefer and how you'll intend to use either camera. If you intend to shoot any kind of action, the phase-detect AF system in the 6D's viewfinder is still superior at tracking to the A7. But if you're shooting mostly static subjects, especially in Live View, then the A7 has definite handling and performance benefits, not to mention being smaller, lighter and cheaper.

So which would you buy? For more details, check out my Canon EOS 6D review and if you're still smitten with DSLRs and fancy a higher-end Canon with the best video quality of all the cameras here, then head on over to my Canon EOS 5D Mark III review for full details.

 

Sony Alpha A7 vs Nikon D610

     
 
 
     
     

The D610 is Nikon's 'affordable' full-frame DSLR and as such will be another key rival to the Alpha A7. Both share full-frame sensors with 24 Megapixel resolution, large viewfinders with 100% coverage, mic and headphone jacks, As a traditional DSLR, the D610 offers quite a different handling experience to the A7, and many of these differences are shared with the Canon EOS 6D above.

I'll start once again with the biggest difference: their form factor, and I'm deliberately not describing one as having an overall advantage over the other as it really boils down to a personal choice. As a traditional DSLR the Nikon D610 is much larger and heavier than the Alpha A7, but while it's clearly not as portable, it gives you more to hold onto and is easier to hold steady. Both cameras share viewfinders with approximately 100% coverage and roughly similar-sized images through them too, but the A7's image is electronic whereas the D610's is optical. There's pros and cons to both: an optical viewfinder is easier to use in very low light, never gets noisy and never lags as you pan to follow the action. In contrast an electronic viewfinder can offer a wealth of shooting aids including a choice of guides, a live histogram, leveling gauge, magnified views and focus peaking, and can also be used to compose movies along with navigating menus and images in playback. Only you can decide which form factor and viewfinder technology is best for you.

In terms of benefits, the Nikon D610 boasts faster single AF that works in slightly lower light (-1EV vs 0EV) and much more effective continuous AF when shooting stills with the viewfinder, twin memory card slots, a battery that lasts for more than twice as many shots (so long as you compose with the viewfinder, not the screen), a slightly larger 3.2in screen (albeit with native 3:2 images letterboxed), slightly quicker continuous shooting (6fps vs 5fps), a DX crop for movies offering a magnified view without loss of quality, a more discreet sounding shutter, and native access to a very broad lens catalogue.

In the Alpha A7's favour, it can exploit a wealth of third party lenses without a crop (albeit sometimes with the loss of AF), it has a screen which can tilt vertically for easier composition at high and low angles, built-in Wifi and NFC for wireless transfer of images, smartphone remote control, a faster 1/8000 shutter, slightly superior video quality, supports optional downloadable apps to expand its capabilities, offers 1080p video at 60p (versus a maximum of 30p on the Nikon), the chance to top-up or recharge a battery over USB, cleaner Live View magnified focusing, focus peaking, a panorama mode, and 4k output for TV slideshows over HDMI. The A7 is also cheaper, especially in a kit.

In terms of body price, the Alpha A7 undercuts the D610, and that's before it's even had a chance to be discounted. If you're buying a kit zoom to go with either body, Sony's 28-70mm is also cheaper than Nikon's full-frame options, further widening the price gap between them.

While the Sony, especially in the zoom kit, works out cheaper, I think the real decision boils down to which form factor you prefer and how you'll intend to use either camera. If you intend to shoot any kind of action, the phase-detect AF system in the D610's viewfinder is still superior at tracking to the A7. But if you're shooting mostly static subjects, especially in Live View, then the A7 has definite handling and performance benefits, not to mention being smaller, lighter and cheaper.

For more details, check out my Nikon D610 review and if you're keen on DSLRs but want a higher resolution body, check out my Nikon D800 review.

 

Sony Alpha A7 vs NEX-7

     
 
 
     
     

Until the Alpha A7 and A7r came along, the NEX-7 was Sony's flagship mirrorless camera. Many NEX-7 owners came to it from owning a bulkier, often full-frame, DSLR, and while most wouldn't go back to the size and weight, they may still look back fondly on the sensor size and lack of crop. There's also those who have simply outgrown the NEX-7 and yearn for something more sophisticated. As such, it's fair to say the Alpha A7 and A7r are of great interest to NEX-7 owners, so here's how they compare.

Let's start with the lens mount, which they have in common. Both the NEX-7 and Alpha A7 share an E-mount, which means you can natively mount any E-mount lens without an adapter. Of course all E-mount lenses to date have only been corrected for the smaller APS-C sensors of the NEX bodies, so if you mount them on the full-frame A7, you can either operate in a cropped mode at 10 Megapixels (compared to 24 on the NEX-7), or shoot uncropped at 24 Megapixels and record the vignette (see my main review).

You can also mount one of the new full-frame FE lenses on either system, but this time the compromise is the other way around: on a NEX body, it'll have the field cropped and reduced by 1.5 times, while on the A7 you'll enjoy the full coverage. This crop also applies to any other lenses you mount via an adapter, be they Sony A-mount options, or those from a third party: all will be cropped by 1.5 times by the NEX-7, compared to delivering their full field of view on the A7. If you're shooting wide, the A7 will enjoy the uncropped coverage benefit, but if you're shooting distant subjects, the NEX-7 enjoys the advantage, packing its 24 Megapixels into a smaller area for a detailed crop view.

Moving onto definite advantages, the Alpha A7 boasts lower noise thanks to a larger pixel pitch, a weather-sealed body, a larger and brighter electronic viewfinder, a far less tortuous tabbed menu system, built-in Wifi supporting wireless image transfer and downloadable apps, a maximum shutter of 1/8000, a proper mode dial, dedicated exposure compensation dial, headphone jack and a standard hotshoe; some may also prefer the larger body and centrally-positioned viewfinder.

In its favour the NEX-7 has a smaller and lighter body (although some may not see that as an advantage), shoots faster (10fps vs 5fps in Speed Priority), delivers higher resolution images with lenses designed for the APS-C frame, and costs half the price.

So while the Alpha A7 comfortably out-features the NEX-7, it is obviously a more expensive camera - indeed in a different class. But I don't think it's a stretch to envision many NEX-7 owners setting their sights on it, or even the flagship A7r as both offer a wealth of worthy upgrades, while also supporting the possibility of exploiting any full-frame lenses they may own from an earlier system.

See my Sony NEX-7 review for more details.

 

Sony Alpha A7 final verdict

The Alpha A7 and A7r are a wake-up call for the photographic industry, especially to Canon and Nikon. Here are two cameras which not only match or outperform top-selling DSLRs in many respects, but which also can use their lenses, in some cases with minimal compromise on handling. If Canon and especially Nikon aren't careful, they could find themselves becoming lens manufacturers with a niche body business in pro sports photography.

This is not as far fetched as it sounds. The killer aspect of the A7 and A7r is having a full-frame sensor in a mirrorless body. The latter means you can insert an adapter allowing them to use almost any lens from any manufacturer, while the former means it'll capture images without a crop. Think about that for a moment: as you wait for Sony to launch more native FE mount lenses, you could quite happily mount any Canon, Nikon or Leica M lens (to name but three) on the A7 or A7r via adapters. You could assemble a fantasy kit of the best lenses from each system, and while most adapters force you to manually focus, it's not a big deal if you were already using magnified Live View for static compositions with a DSLR. And if you choose a Metabones Smart Adapter III you could enjoy automatic aperture control, EXIF data, Image Stabilisation, and AF on Canon EF lenses that's roughly the same speed as using Live View on a Canon DSLR.

Using adapters also lets you realize the new Sony Zeiss 35mm f2.8 is actually sharper in the corners than the legendary Leica Summicron 35mm f2, while additionally boasting autofocus and a lower price tag. There may only be five native FE mount lenses at launch, but at least one of them is already an absolute cracker.

While enthusing about the Sony A7 and A7r I've heard many people comment they're impressed but will wait for version 2. But seriously Sony's got so much right here at version 1 that I'm more than happy to highly recommend both of them. Yes the AF isn't the quickest around, the shutter's surprisingly clunky and I'd still prefer a fully-articulated touch-screen, but every time I use either of them I can't help but be very impressed.

Of the two, I think like many I initially discounted the A7 simply because the images from the A7r were so much more detailed and there wasn't as big a difference in their AF performance as I'd hoped. But not everyone needs or even wants monstrous 36 Megapixel files and the fact is the A7 still shares a great deal with its sibling at a comfortably lower price. Indeed it's currently the cheapest full-frame camera from any current range, and this is before it's even had the chance to be discounted.

So while the A7r's ultimate resolution remains very seductive, the A7 fights back with sheer value, especially when bundled with the 28-70mm kit zoom. As I mentioned in my A7r review, any potential buyer should think very carefully about whether they really need full-frame, and also understand the limitations of the two Sonys especially compared to established smaller formats such as the latest from Olympus or Panasonic, but if you decide the large sensor in a small body is the way to go, you've now got two fantastic choices. What a start for the FE system.

Note this review so far is based on out-of-camera JPEGs and I'm sufficiently impressed to already give it my top award. I will of course be updating the review with RAW comparisons once Adobe Camera RAW fully supports the new formats and I'll also be expanding my sections on the movie mode and shooting modes in the near future too. Check back soon!



Good points
Great quality rivals DSLRs of similar resolution.
Full-frame sensor means no crop with any lenses.
Small body with good ergonomics and controls.
Weatherproof body.
Excellent large and detailed electronic viewfinder.
Tilting 3in screen with live histogram & leveling gauge.
1080p video w manual exposures, headphone & mic jacks.
Wifi, NFC and downloadable apps to add features.
Focus peaking.
Panorama mode.
Handy recharging over USB. Works in-car or via laptops.
HDMI output can deliver slideshows in 4k to compatible TVs.

Bad points
AF falls behind DSLR viewfinder or best mirrorless.
No built-in stabilisation. Needs optically stabilized lenses.
Limited selection of native lenses at launch.
Screen not touch-sensitive and doesn't fully articulate.
Fairly basic bracketing and no timelapse built-in.
Relatively clunky shutter sound and no silent option.
Video can suffer from moire, but superior to Nikon.
No built-in flash.



Scores

(relative to 2013 semi-pro cameras)

Build quality:
Image quality:
Handling:
Specification:
Value:

Overall:

17 / 20
18 / 20
15 / 20
18 / 20
19 / 20

87%
 

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