Opinion soup: What do you think of the Sony Alpha 7, a7r and RX10?

Sony-a7

It's been a crazy, busy day for Sony. They released the Alpha 7, 7r and RX10 cameras. What do you think about them? Here's a few comments I have myself, jump in to join the conversation.

Sony-RX10

1) The RX10 looks like anything but an RX100, it looks like a DSLR more than anything. It's the most amazing camera of the bunch in my opinion. 24 to 200mm at 2.8 throughout the whole range? That's AMAZING! The RX10 will cost $1299, compare that to the $2000+ Canon 70-200. The Sony RX10 can go way wider, but it's not of course full frame, it's a 1 inch sensor. But for Bokeh lovers….this will be the camera to get. I think this is the kind of camera that can be labeled “The only camera you need”. Big enough sensor, amazing Zeiss lens.

nex-dead

2) The NEX is officially dead, everything will fall under the Alpha name. I have a big issue with the viewfinder. DSLR need a large hump on the top of the camera because there's a mirror and prism mechanism up there, the biggest advantage of the mirrorless cameras is that they are mirror-less. They don't need a mirror to be able to see the image, hence they don't need a hump on the top of the camera.

So I find the SLR looks of the A7 and A7r questionable. Why go to the hump when you don't need to in the first place?Β That's how the NEX7 and NEX6 were set up, no hump. At least it looks like it has one, absolutely killer grip.

3) Yeah, the Zeiss lenses are expensive, but you can always get Voitlander FF lenses. They are AMAZING lenses.

4) Prices of legacy FF lenses will go up. I expect Contax G lenses, Voitlander Lenses and other popular ones to be much more expensive once the A7 is released

Sony-a7-2

5) There's going to be lots of NEX 7, NEX6, Fuji XPRO and other cameras on the market. Now is your chance to nab some great, great gear at cheap prices.

6) Sony is hitting multiple markets here: It's helping DSLR users to jump on the mirrorless train (from Nikon & Canon) and it's helping mirrorless users to upgrade to something larger. Judging from the success of the RX1, these cameras will sell.

 

 

7)Β Many brand this as a Leica Killer but I highly doubt it. Sure, some who wanted a Leica will get this instead, but I still believe that what Sony is targeting is not their market.

These are my opinions on the releases, what do you think?

Links:

-Samyang plans E mount FF lenses

-Images and Sample images

-Sony not quitting A mount

About The Author

28 thoughts on “Opinion soup: What do you think of the Sony Alpha 7, a7r and RX10?”

  1. There’s a few things to consider about this camera that I hope are very obvious. Yeah, yeah…..the finder. Here’s a big issue. The Nex line of cameras with a built in finder have what’s called a Rangefinder Experience. That phrase is not so much about body design as it is about when the camera is up to the eye.

    The Rangefinder Experience allows the use of both eyes when framing. Keeping the finder eye piece at the far left allows the use of the left eye to aid the framing process. This in my eye, is the single most important advantage to the Leica M series.
    Now the finder is closer to center and as in a SLR of all types, the left eye is blocked by the camera.

    I hope this new camera is a continuation of the A series and not the NEX series. What a huge disappointment that would be for all who relish the Rangefinder Experience. I’m only talking about the eye position and nothing else…that may come later.

    Just to clarify, I’ve been a Leica M shooter for over 45 years and during all that time, I never bonded with the SLR form. I can’t even think about that form even now.

  2. i think that this could be the future of photography, and think that it’s great that mirrorless cameras are getting higher in quality everytime, and in fact surprised me that there was a “pro grade” full frame mirrorless camera in the market and I’m sure many are too. The thing is that even if this camera was to compete with Leica, taking into account it’s small form factor and seemingly high image quality, a Leica is a rangefinder, and this is not. People who know that a rangefinder is different from any other camera will know and buy a Leica because it’s a Leica (synonym to rangefinder to me and I believe to many others who think like me) and not any small camera with high quality files and lenses. And this is why the fuji X series doesn’t seem appealing to me at all because they are not really rangefinders and the only rangefindery thing they have is the viewfinder which made me hesitate for a while

  3. I don’t think that’s even the real reason to use a rangefinder in the first place and if it was, the rangefinder experience is much more that that. And probably people who really know about it shoot film and not the digital M’s because they are just different. I know it because I use an m4 and because I felt it and because there are many people talking about it elsewhere in the web; Eric Kim talks about it for a relatively more “legit” reference

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  5. I love what Sony, Olympus and Ricoh are doing! The A7 sort of reminds me of the Beseler Topcon (solid brick of a camera) from the early 70’s.

    The RX 10 is nice. Might be the one camera to take to Myanmar or something!

    Anyone wanna buy my Nikon D700 and 85 1.4. πŸ™‚ Nah? Yeah, didn’t think so. πŸ™‚
    Now I think I will reread a few of your great articles and use some of those great presets I purchased from you and Don!

    Truth be told, all the digital cameras are pretty darned nice at this point.

    Keep up the great work! Love your site!

    1. I completely agree that it’s a convention and 4/3 + APSC do deliver amazing results. The thing with Full Frame that draws many is a sort of “Full Frame look” that’s hard to get. There’s also the regular goodies like better ISO performance.

      You can’t beat mu43 in lens size tough, there’s no comparison, these things are small, and there’s some serious lenses in there too.

  6. I have been both a rangefinder and slr (digital and film) shooter. Of all of them I found the older OM series fit me the best. Small size, larger finder, great lenses, well made.

    This new Sony seems to fit that mold almost better than the Olympus md5. I have a whole raft of good OM Zuiko lenses (24/2.8, 35/2, 50/1.8, 100/2.8, 75-150/4) to slap on the Alpha 7. I don’t see myself being able to afford 7r. My NEX-6 however will have to do for awhile longer and it is doing fine by me right now.

  7. I just saw some images from this camera and my mind was blown into a thousand pieces… well… actually it was de-particle-lized and became quarks (for those who don’t know, quarks make up neutrons and protons and all those things)…
    http://briansmith.com/sony-a7r-field-test/
    Yeah, but seriously… it did happen… my brain thing

  8. I think you have 7 very good points. About the DSLR style body: I think the majority of people still think that something looks like a DSLR must be good. And look at the popularity of the OMD’s, many love the “retro” look. In addition, the viewfinder hump allows good optics in front of the OLED screen whereas in the NEX-6 and 7 there’s no room for that, and the eyepiece sticks out much further from the body compared to the NEXes. I can understand the pain for rangefinder lovers, but after all, is an EVF in the upper left corner of the body really providing a rangefinder experience?

  9. They all still appear a bit big to me, when Ricoh release a GR FF camera I will be there. Im a little disappointed by the RX10, i was hoping for another GR/Coolpix A form factor with APC-S sensor and file output like the NEX 6. The image quality of those new Sony FF cameras is something to behold though, really quite stunning.

  10. i think the shutter sounds terrible
    and the grip looks like its part of an entirely different camera
    but i like the size, flat angular type shape to the body, and that it doesnt use horrid nex menus πŸ™‚
    the 2 totally different sensors is pretty cool, as well!
    i just need an rx2, with build in vf, and faster af… hop to, sony!

  11. I would really be curious to see some prints, but those photos by Brian Smith really speak for themselves. This is not to say that great pics can’t be taken APS-C or MFT but those pics looked great. Interesting though, I think a lot of us agree that primes look good and have a richness that zoom lenses simply can not pull off. So do I like those pics so much because, of the photographer, the camera or the lens….of course all three. Yeah, the choices in glass are limited and I don’t care for legacy lenses so it limits my choices but my finances are limited as well, so a few lenses max. I think that I could be very happy with that system for a very long time. What I wonder about are flash options?

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  13. Re Point #7: The A7 is not a Leica killer–Leica market is tiny (but very prestigious) and Sony’s out to be #1 or 2, so taking on a niche player doesn’t make business sense. Also, if you want a rangefinder camera, there’s still only one option, and using liveview is not a good replacement. Plus, anyone spending $7K+ for a Leica M body usually can also buy a couple of Sony’s as well. As a Leica M8 user, I have no desire to use my M lenses on a Sony camera–I’d rather use Zeiss/Sony/Minolta lenses and enjoy full AF, metering and auto aperture (plus lens corrections built in).

    I personally also find the use of legacy glass highly overrated–stop down metering, lag, etc. render it slow working and fussy. if I want to use it like a view camera, I’d shoot a view camera.

    I think Sony’s trying anything and everything to gain market share and momentum, so it has to do something disruptive to break the Canon/Nikon duopoly. Sony’s A& splash is temporary. I’ll just wait for Nikon’s response within the next 12-18 months as I already have a whole Nikon FX setup and am in no rush to upgrade, especially if that means all new lenses and losing the optical viewfinder, all for a slight reduction in body size and weight (which is minimal compared to the 70-200 f/2.8 monsters from any of the makers, including Sony’s in A-mount).

    I can just wait for Nikon to come out with its own mirrorless FX (and F mount adapter if necessary) and decide, what if anything, should be done. Competition is good, but being an early adopter is not always.

  14. Olivier, as a very active and dedicated NEX 7 user, this one got me scratching my head. I hate that the EVF became central, and the grip does look glued on from another camera. It’s a Frankencam at best, cosmetically speaking. However, aside from the shutter sound that *everybody* agrees to be obnoxious, it does seem to address numerous quirks and limitations of the NEX series (hopefully improved AF speed, better menus, more controls and configurability) along with an impressive EVF *and* a fantastic FF version of an already amazing 24 mp sensor in the 7. SO while I sort of hate that Sony didn’t just give us a slightly larger NEX 7, and find the A7 frankly… awkward looking, I did preorder the 24mp version. One thing I do NOT intend to do is reward Sony’s lens policy with a SINGLE dollar. I’m not buying any of their FE optics until they bring their crap together and start offering normally priced and specified optics. Yeah, I’m sure a Roll’s Royce is better, but my new Audi A4 is a perfectly fine car that gives a ton of bang for the buck, and if I couldn’t afford this, I’m sure Hondas and Toyotas are perfectly useful vehicles as well. Sony go f#&k yourself with your 1100€ 55/1.8 gigantic lens, this is obscene !
    So I’ll be perfectly happy going three routes with the A7 : my existing E lenses, yeah, they’ll vignette, which I’ll take care of in PP (and keep a slight vignette so I don’t have to add it in post as I routinely do, so actually a *benefit* for me !). Legacy glass, which I have some lovely samples of. A mount lenses with a LA-EA adapter, solution I already have for my NEX 7 and that is really useful and budget friendly. Lenses are big ? Yeah, so are FE ones πŸ˜‰ Last thing : I listed my NEX 7 for sale… and pulled it off after refusing to seal several deals. I just can’t part with that good a camera !

  15. Well, well πŸ˜‰ At least three people were genuinely willing to buy my 7, but I just couldn’t let it go ! Several reasons for that : 1) I love a two body set-up not to change lenses, and I couldn’t possibly afford two A7’s now. 2) APS has its upsides, without losing resolution through crop mode and the A7. 3) the 7 still has positives over the A7, namely the RF form factor and built-in flash, which is crazy useful and one knows how to use it ! 3) call me irrationally sentimental but the NEX7 is just the camera I bonded the most with of ALL models I ever had (make that about 80% of all DSLRS ever released, and a handful of mirrorless as well) and I can’t bring myself to part with it. Of course I’ll have to see how much use it gets once the A7 is here….

  16. Perusing the comments just now, and saw this one (that had been moved) questioning what the obsession with FF is. Many people, myself included, spend a lot of time reading phoblogs, and most of them focus on gear. A good photography-only blog is almost impossible to come by, but they do exist (typically people who shoot with cell phones do this – because the content is what matters most to them…). I’ve come across so many reviews of so many different camera systems and formats, and sharpness and ISO are basically the only two metrics for a good camera. However, for many people, myself included, the missing feature that made gave my images that professional-looing quality comes from FF perspective. It’s the relationship between objects within an image (best explained here: http://www.josephjamesphotography.com/equivalence/#perspective). FF allows me to separate my subject from other subjects and the background cleanly because you need to use a longer focal length to achieve the same perspective. So an iphone has a 4mm lens and everything is in focus all the time at f2.4, while a 90mm lens at f2 has a supershallow DOF when shooting portraits. This perspective difference is the big deal with FF cameras. If one shoots mostly landscapes or objects that are >30 feet away, FF perspective is diminished. But if you find yourself shooting images of people as well as scenery, the FF adds a totally different effect to images. This is the added appeal of medium format like the Leica S, where a 70mm focal length is like a FF 55mm, giving clear subject isolation.

  17. This doesn’t solve anything for me because I don’t want a D800, 5D, nor the Olympus. With the NEX, we got smaller and better, now the A7 has the hump and is bigger with heavier lenses. Well, you can’t win because a FF sensor needs better lenses. But people who are budgeting 3-4k for a new system are either pros or serious amateurs. Other than that, it is the well heeled enthusiast. I’m guessing, Sony wants respect and created the coolest toy on the market. According to what I’ve seen online, in difficult lighting, it is not much different than the competitors. NEX users will lose resolution unless they get the A7r, but using those lenses on a FF camera doesn’t make any sense. So… right now you are looking at a prime user. Is that for a pro? I don’t see many people print anything remotely needing anything more than 10MP. Keep in mind ‘many.’

    1. Finally, someone points out that there is no such thing as a “pro camera”, the definition is plastic πŸ™‚
      The 1000+ for a Zeiss is not outrageous but it’s an E mount that has yet to stand the test of time. Compare that to the M mount that’s been there for ages!

  18. A thousand dollars for a Zeiss lens is hardly outrageous. And realize that you have never escaped the trappings that you have the best body, but not top of the line lenses.

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