By Features Editor, Mat Gallagher:
Sony this morning put pay to the rumours and announced its new A7 and A7R cameras. These are mirrorless system cameras with full frame sensors – a move that has been expected since the launch of the RX1 over a year ago. The new models are perhaps even more appealing to the videographer as they are the stills photographer. For video the mirror box is, of course, useless, while a full frame sensor offers obvious advantages, so could this be the perfect solution?
The new range includes two models, the A7 and the A7R. The A7, Sony claim, is the world’s smallest mirrorless camera with a 24.3MP CMOS full frame sensor. Its fractionally heavier brother, the A7R, features a 36.4MP gapless full-frame sensor without an optical low pass filter. Both cameras feature a new, faster BIONZ X processor, an XGA electronic OLED viewfinder, NFC and WiFi connectivity, and 1920×1080 24p/25p/50i/50p/60i/60p AVCHD video output. There is even a clean HDMI output, allowing non-compressed footage to be recorded to an external device. Unfortunately a 4K output is for stills only. Both do feature a headphone jack for audio monitoring and the external Sony Shotgun mic (ECM-CG50) or XLR adapter (XLR-K1M) can be used. Manual exposure and audio levels are available in video mode. As is peaking and zebra pattern.
The A7 features an enhanced Fast Hybrid autofocus with a combination of phase and contrast detection from the sensor with 117 phase detection and 25 contrast detection points over the full frame sensor. The A7R, provides a ‘fast intelligent’ contrast detect system that is claimed to be 40% faster than the NEX7. If previous NEX models are anything to go by, this should still be an impressive system.
The cameras use the existing E-mount of the NEX models, though new FE-series lenses are required to cover the full frame sensor. Ben Pilling, Technical Marketing Manager for Digital Imaging at Sony Europe confirmed that old E-mount lenses do still work though. ‘The image is automatically cropped. The camera recognises that it’s an APS-C lens.’ The new lenses include two zooms (24-70 f/4, 70-200mm f/4) and two primes (35mm f/2.8 and 55mm f/1.8), as well as an adaptor for Sony A mount lenses. We’re sure it wont be long before metabones and the like have versions ready for this camera too.
Sony also announced the RX10, a DSLR-style bridge camera, featuring a 20.2MP 1in sensor (just larger than Super 16mm) and a 24-200mm Carl Zeiss T* lens, that looks like it could be equally interesting for video shooters, allowing full manual control and audio monitoring through the same XLR adapter as the A7 and A7R. This will be available from the end of November, priced around £1000.
The A7 and A7R will be available from Dec 2013 priced £1300 and £1600 body only respectively. For more information visit www.sony.co.uk
|Format||JPEG, RAW,||JPEG, RAW,|
|AVCHD, MP4||AVCHD, MP4|
|Media||Single SD/||Single SD/|
|MS Pro Duo slot||MS Pro Duo slot|
|Focus system||Fast Hybrid AF||Fast Intelligent Contrast AF|
|(50ISO expanded)||(50ISO expanded)|
|Viewfinder||2.3m dot EVF||2.3m dot EVF|
|LCD||3in (921k)||3in (921k)|
|tilting screen||tilting screen|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi, NFC||Wi-Fi, NFC|
|Headphone||3.5mm jack||3.5mm jack|