Last year, Sony proved they could competently jam a full-frame imaging sensor inside a compact camera, releasing the fixed lens RX1 to universal acclaim. While the RX1 and RX1R are still widely regarded as the best option for shooters who enjoy large sensor benefits in a pint-sized package, the world salivated at the thought of bringing a 35mm full-frame sensor to the prosumer mirrorless interchangeable lens market. Today, Sony has done just that, officially announcing the Alpha A7 and Alpha A7R – the proverbial gut punch to the current DSLR camera market.
Borrowing design influences from their NEX brothers, the new Alpha A7 and A7R are virtually identical in terms of appearance. Each share the same control button and mode dial layout, leather hand grip wrapped around a black textured body, and Olympus E-M5-esque pentaprism style viewfinder shell. In fact, if it wasn’t for the A7R’s branding, both cameras would be fairy indistinguishable to the untrained eye. Case in point, the image below:
Inside, both cameras pack the latest BIONZ X imaging processor, 1,200-zone metering system, 14-bit RAW output, an ISO range up to 25,600, built in WiFi and NFC capabilities, focus peaking, a max shutter speed of 1/8000 and the ability to capture uncompressed Full HD 1080/60p video. Moreover, the A7 and A7R share an identical 2.4 million-dot OLED EVF and a 3″ vari-angle 1,229K-dot rear display.
The notable differences between both cameras lie in the A7R’s 36.3-megapixel, AA filter-less sensor and slightly more rugged feeling exterior casing which presumably does a better job at sealing out the elements. The A7 settles for a more file-size friendly 24.3 megapixel full-frame sensor but includes a 117-point phase detection AF system – a feature that the A7R lacks.
Differentiations will also extend into cost. The A7 will land in as the cheaper of the two options, carrying a body only price-point of $1,700 or $2,000 with a 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens. The A7R will be priced considerably higher at $2,300 body only with no kit options currently planned for release. Pre-orders have already begun sprouting up at many major online retailers with each camera’s expected arrival coming in December.