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The Sony ILCE-7, ILCE-7R and ILCE-7S (α7/α7R/α7S) are three closely related digital cameras announced 16 October 2013 and 6 April 2014. They are Sony’s first full-frame mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras and share the E-mount with the company’s smaller sensor NEX series. They are targeted at experienced users, enthusiasts and professionals.
The products are more commonly known as the α7, α7R and α7S. Pre-announcement rumours speculated that the new camera would be named Sony NEX-9.
Although the α7 and α7R use full frame sensors and have a DSLR-shaped design, their sizes and weights are less than Olympus OM-D E-M1 with its small micro four thirds sensor and can also be compared with the lightest Fullframe DSLR. Compared to the smallest and lightest APS-C DSLR Canon EOS 100D, the α7 is 67 grams heavier and a bit larger, but the thickness is only two thirds of Canon’s. The α7 price is significantly lower than a comparative Fullframe DSLR price, but still higher than that of a low or mid-end compact camera price. Compared to the Nikon D800E, the weight of Sony α7R is only about a half and the price is about two-thirds.
There are three different types of cameras available in the α7-series. They are the α7, α7R and α7S.
The ‘R’ model is the “resolution” version of the series with a new, higher-density sensor design, and priced $600 more than the α7 at launch, but has no optical low-pass filter as the sibling has. However, the α7R does not include the faster hybrid auto-focus system found on the lower-resolution model.
The ‘S’ model is a high sensitivity version of the series with an effective ISO range from 100 to 409600 and with 4K video capability.
w/ High Dynamic range
w/ High Color depth
w/ Video production
|Body material||Magnesium alloy andpolycarbonate||Full magnesium alloy||Full magnesium alloy chassis
and stainless steel bayonet mount.
|CMOS Sensor||24.3 megapixel Exmor||36.4 megapixel Exmor||12.2 megapixel Exmor|
|Maximum image size||6,000 x 4,000 pixels||7,360 x 4,912 pixels||4,240 x 2,832 pixels|
|Sensitvity Range||Expanded ISO 50 – 25600
(100 – 51200 at multi frameNR)
|Expanded ISO 50 – 25600
(100 – 51200 at multi frameNR)
|Expanded ISO 50 – 409600|
|Autofocus||25 point contrast-detection
w/ 117 points phase-detection
|25 point contrast-detection||25 point contrast-detection
(works down to -4 EV)
|Maximum flash sync speed||1/250||1/160||1/250|
|Continuous drive||5 fps max speed.
(w/ Predictive continuousAF)
|4 fps max speed.||5 fps max speed.|
|Video record format||MPEG-4, AVCHD (28mbps)Full HD||MPEG-4, AVCHD (28mbps) Full HD||MPEG-4, AVCHD (28mbps)Full HD
XAVC S (50mbps) Full HD
|Video sampling||Line skipping||Line skipping||Full-pixel readout|
|Slow motion video record||No||No||Yes (720p, 120fps)|
|Electronic first curtain shutter||Yes||No||Yes|
|Silent shutter mode||No||No||Yes|
|HDMI Output||4K still and Full HD video||4K still and Full HD video||4K still and 4K video|
|Other features||Fast Hybrid autofocussystem||No optical Low-pass filter||Professional video workflow
w/ Picture Profile, S-Log2, time code
Features (universal for α7-series)
- Exmor CMOS full frame sensor (With different megapixels depending on camera version)
- TruBlack XtraFine LCD screen (3″/ 7,5 cm) with 921.6K dots resolution with tilt functionality.
- 1.3 cm (0.5inch) Electronic Viewfinder.
- 1200-zone evaluative light metering.
- Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC.
- LED-auto focus illuminator.
- Multi Interface Shoe.
- 9 customizable buttons and 45 assignable functions.
The cameras received positive reception from the critics. DxOMark crowned the α7R as the highest full frame with sensor quality by a mirrorless camera with the score of 95 and has same score with Nikon D800, but one point behind of Nikon D800E, while the α7 has score of 90 and better than Nikon Df, Nikon D4 professional DSLR camera and Sony SLT-A99. The Verge rated the cameras 8.3 out of 10 commenting that “It might be a few years before we realize it, but when the DSLR is relegated to a niche status among specialty photographers and full-frame mirrorless cameras dominate the market, we’ll have the α7s to thank as the cameras that started it all.” EPhotozine which rated the α7 5 stars, meanwhile praised the α7’s price for being “the cheapest full-frame digital cameras currently available” while being lighter and smaller than comparable cameras. It awarded the α7 as the “Camera of the Year.” The α7R was awarded by Imaging Resource as the “Camera of the Year”.