Test: Sony A7R-Smart Full Forma Tare

Sony continues to impress with its technological advances and has in its model A7R pressed into a sensor to 36 megapixel full-frame – in a camera body that is the smallest so far when it comes to full format.

One notices that it is increasingly important for producers to consider size when it comes to camera design. Photographers want to wear less and less, but ideally remain at the same level when it comes to image quality. Sony has taken this and succeed with new A7R think both small and large – at the same time.

Actually, the camera in two versions, one with 24 Megapixels and the so-called optical low-pass filter – Sony A7. But here we test A7R is the sharper version where Sony decided to remove the low-pass filter and at the same time raise the resolution to 36 megapixel. The sensor has a sensitivity of between 100 and 25600 iso.

Video is recorded at 60 or 25 frames per second in full-hd 1080 p.

Really nice

It was quite a few things I reflected over when I started using A7R. The first was that it was not particularly good looking, I am not entirely convinced of the appearance, but on the other hand, it is not the design that makes the camera. Another is the feeling, which is really good, and therefore also got me to like precisely the design more and more.

Sony A7R feels very solidly built, and is made of a magnesium alloy, which is also visible on the camera – it radiates a serious durability. The grip is also really good, and it in many ways. first, so is it like a glove in my right hand, with a pronounced and comfortable grip and just enough distance to all controls, buttons and controls. The other thing that makes it great is the choice of material, which is some sort of rubber compound. The grip-ability is superb, and I’m never afraid to drop the camera. On the back there is also a rubberized surface for the thumb, which increases the feeling further.

Buttons and controls on the other hand, gives a bit of a mixed experience.The top works great in classic Sony spirit, with a selector wheel and a wheel for exposure compensation. For the index finger and thumb, see setting wheel to spin on, and these form the key feature in the design – and all these wheels work great, with good sense and proper inertia. On the flip side, we find a selection wheels that work as buttons and a slider that you can press up or down depending on the function. Up is in its original state a choice of manual or automatic focus if pressed or not, or if you press the exposure locking slider down, and press the button.

Button arrangement is generally snabbjobbat and works well, and there is also a function button and two custom buttons on the back. Actually, it’s just two buttons that pinched for how they work and what is the menu-and c2-button. Buttons are just too hard to reach above the screen, because the screen goes out so far. Unfortunately it feels a little half-baked to penetrate the buttons there because they are so hard to reach.This also applies to the record button for video, which sits on the rounded right edge.

A really bad thing is the way to go to check out zoomed in close on a previously taken picture. First, you must press the zoom button (which is bad), then wait a few seconds for the image to come up, and then it is completely zoomed in. You can then zoom with the thumb wheel, but it goes right chewy. Toughness makes it right, for example, was slow to check for sharpness ended up on the image.

Really good viewfinder, good screen

The camera has been equipped with a 3-inch display with a resolution of 1.23 million pixels, Tiltable around 80 degrees upwards and 45 degrees down. Moreover, it is the same as you find in the A99. I think it’s something too bad you did not put in an extra step in it so you could angle it more, something I think that camera would win.

But the screen seems clear, detailed and good. The only thing I can object to is that it sometimes is something tough to set up correctly if you quickly switch between light or dark, and white balance takes a few seconds to adjust itself when shooting in low light.

The electronic viewfinder, however, is really good, with a resolution of 2.36 million pixels. It also appears to have this resolution, because the image is really sharp and clear. Unlike the screen is the viewfinder image faster at perceiving the changes, and provides a whole that is really good – and really comfortable to use. In the viewfinder, there is also some good information, such as the selected application mode, number of images, image quality, iso, Aperture, shutter speed, and exposure compensation. The last appears in a smart way that an entire line below the viewfinder image, which allows you to adjust the exposure compensation slider without taking your eye from the viewfinder. An added plus is that you can set a function that shows overexposed surfaces as a zebra pattern. Really good.

Switching between screen and electronic viewfinder is done automatically via the built-in sensor that notice if you hold the viewfinder to the eye or not. Also it works smoothly and quickly switches, good and right.

Contrast-detect focus

Speed of the auto focus of the A7R is unfortunately not its strong suit. It’s not exactly slow, but not directly quickly. Some times it can half a second before it locked itself, but on the other hand, feels pretty safe on his thing, and once it is found it is on. Also the following autofocus works extremely well, where the camera is in the object’s motion, and how you as the photographer moves the camera.

Functionally have been equipped with auto focus A7R contrast-detect via sensor, while the almost identical A7 a hybrid focus with both contrast and phase detecting autofocus. This is probably also one of the reasons that the auto focus is not super fast – usually the phase detecting autofocus to be faster than the contrast-.

However, the manual focus something that Sony has been good for a long time. They have listened to what photographers want and need, and simply followed this. So true even with the features of the Sony A7R. On the other hand, there is the possibility to choose a so-called focus help via contour enhancement, in high, middle or low level, and choose from the colors yellow, red, or white. This works for both the viewfinder and screen, and helps to correct so plenty to quickly find focus right. The function works cleanly, and is almost a must to get to the manual focus is fast and good. That extra help, you can also choose to get a zoomed-in image to more accurately see where the focus is.

Another detail that makes it even better is the gear ratio in which the camera has in terms of how quickly the manual focus is changing quickly. Turn the focus ring, you will also be faster to the other end of the focus area. Rotate slowly, you get the precision. In fact, this is one of the best manual handling I encountered in a camera of this type. Thanks Sony!

Pretty good movie mode

Filming with Sony A7R is also very good. At your disposal, you have some possibilities, but also some things that don’t work. The most common problem that people are thinking about when it comes to shooting video is the ability to adjust Aperture or shutter during recording, something that does not go with A7R. However, there are some other exciting things. For example, you can adjust the iso, changing from different AF modes or even from the manual focus, adjust the exposure compensation, lock or unlock the exposure or change the focus point. All this without the recording breaks.

Another good thing is that it is possible to switch the slicer for video recording from using the entire sensor to use the aps-c size, if you have a full-frame lens attached. Two focal lengths in one lens that is.

Extra good is also in movie mode can achieve the same functionality for the manual focus that we find in the shooting mode, namely to get the contour augmentation where the focus is. This, along with the ability to quickly change from manual focus to auto means that there is a great potential of A7R for the film.

More lenses in the pipeline

Both Sony A7 and this camera, A7R, e-mount lenses – which means that you must use lenses from new fe-series to get fullformats-size. You can normally use the e-lenses, but then only the aps-c image quality. It is worth mentioning that it’s more fe lenses on time, and in the near future, we will, in addition to 35 mm/2.8 which was used in the test, also find the 24-70 mm/4 us, 70-200 mm/4 G us and 55 mm/1.8. With Sony’s own adapter, you can also use the a-mount lenses.

For those who already use other brands, there is also a lot of manufacturers who have made adaptors to use other lenses. I myself have tested with several Nikon lenses, and this works without a problem – although the autofocus not working.

Image quality

The sensor in the Sony A7R is the same in the structure that we find in Nikon D800E, which means a very good dynamic range, high resolution and really good detail. The images it produces are also like those we can find in the D800, but with some better noise reduction.

The picture quality is therefore among the better we’ve seen for a camera in full format. For video so we find an even and smooth video quality is that most cameras in this segment that can record full-hd.


It’s a little hard not to be impressed when the sensors will be larger, smaller, higher resolution camera housings and the possibility to shoot in low light. Sony has taken on to photographers looking for smaller cameras is equal potential as the really big, and with A7R, they have also succeeded in really good.

It’s easy to say that this camera is suitable for most – it makes it actually – but if you look at what it has to offer so we see that it is primarily a flirtation with the photographers who are looking for a really good picture quality and high resolution in a compact design.