Sony α7/α7r questions and answers

If you are considering the new Sony α7 or α7r full frame mirrorless cameras, I highly recommend reading those Q&A published on Sony's blog:

→David Peacock says “um, i m guessing an a-to e-mount adapter would be mandatory for these cameras , since e-mount lens are not currently designed for anything larger than an APS sized sensor. Not to mention many of Sonys a-mount lenses would not be ideal either . So that tends to make me think Sony has a new line of full frame e-mount lenses on the drawing board.”

Great guess and you’re 100% right. Though not as prominent yesterday, we also introduced 5 full frame E-mount lenses with the announcement of α7 and α7R. The new lens line-up features three advanced models from Carl Zeiss including two prime lenses – – a Sonnar T* 55mm F1.8 ZA and Sonnar T* 35mm F2.8 ZA model – as well as a Vario Tessar T* 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS mid-range zoom. Additionally, there is a Sony 28-70mm F3.5-F5.6 OSS zoom lens and one premium zoom lens from G Lens – a 70-200mm F4 telephoto zoom for E-mount. You can read more details about our lens announcements in our press release. Since the introduction of our E-mount cameras, we’ve stayed committed to supporting a larger lens line up and currently have it planned to release up to 15 lenses by the end of 2015.

→Ken Cheng says  “ugh… he showed the grip, but didn’t show how it looks WITH the grip ON the body :rolleyes:”

Yikes! We’re sorry about that. Hope you don’t blame Kenta because we had to cut some footage to keep it from being a super long video. But we’re here to make it up to you. Below is an image with the camera with grip. Let us know if this does the trick and we’re happy to share more photos if helpful.

Ross Hamamura asked on Facebook if the a7r supports Zebra on Stills and USB3.

USB 3.0 isn’t supported but there are many new on-screen display features on the α7 and α7R. One is for exposure called “Zebra” which is available for both video and stills.  Another option is “focus peaking” to assist with manual focus sharpness.

Michael Power pointed out that this looked oddly similar to the Minolta 7000.

Yes, we can see the resemblance that you mention and it’s a great nod to such an innovative camera in 1985. There is a bit of a retro design in this camera which was purposeful but the core design is really the concept of creating the Full Frame capabilities you’d expect from a DSLR into the smaller body style of the α7 and α7R. We hope, like the Minolta 7000, 28 years from now someone does a throw back to our α7 in equal regards when they are taking photos with whatever gadget they have. Or maybe via a contact lens by then … we can only guess?

We saw a lots of curiosity over our level of support for A-mount cameras and our selection of the name α7 (Alpha 7) in comparison to the original Minolta Alpha/Dynax/Maxxum 7.

All fair curiosities to have. Sony Alpha owners can rest assured that we fully support the A-mount system of cameras and lenses. A-mount cameras are not going away. Yesterday we announced our latest addition to Sony’s A-mount family, a 70-200mm F2.8 G Lens for our portraiture, sports and wildlife photographers out there.  In February we announced the α58 20.1MP DSLR along with three new generations lenses including a Full Frame 70-400mm G Telephoto Zoom, Full Frame 50mm F1.4 Carl Zeiss Prime and  DT 18-55mm Standard Zoom. And we want to honor the fan base of the original alpha 7. We recognize the importance of the original alpha a7 and believe the new α7 and α7R are fitting descendants of this famous model.

Mustafa Al Aidarous  asked, “What’s the sensor size?”

Both the α7 and α7R feature a 35mm full frame sensor (35.9mm x 24.0mm).

We noticed a lot of questions on the adapters (such as if the LA-EA1 adapter is compatible) and cropping with the use of E-mount lenses on the α7 and α7R.

The LA-EA1 is fully compatible with the α7 and α7R when using DT (APS-C) A-mount lenses but this brings us to the questions about cropping. The LA-EA1 adapter will produce crop on the α7 models if you’re using full frame A-mount lenses. All E-mount lenses can be used with α7 and α7R cameras. However as with other lenses optimized for use with APS-C sensor cameras, these lenses will cover only appx. 2/3 of the image sensor yielding a 1.5x crop factor and 10 MP (α7) and 15 MP (α7R) resolutions.

To completely utilize full frame A-mount lenses, Sony announced two new adapters yesterday. The LA-EA4 and the LA-EA3. Both adapters will not produce crop when using full frame A-mount lenses on the α7 models. These new adapters will provide Full Frame coverage when attaching Full Frame A-mount lenses to the α7 and α7R .  The new LA-EA4 is an adapter compatible with Sony’s entire range of A-mount lenses – spanning APS-C as well as full-frame models. This adapter enables extremely fast, accurate phase detection autofocus with any compatible A-mount lens (SAM or SSM) attached to an E-mount camera.  Also available, the LA-EA3 mount adapter supports full-frame shooting with the A-mount lens collection. This includes AF support with A-mount SSM and SAM lenses, however does not support AF only with those A-mount lenses which lack an internal AF motor. Pricing and more information on these adapters can be found here.

J.R. says “all these new cameras are great. However, the breaking point will only arrive if and when Sony can come up with lenses as good as the 24-70 II, 70-200 II, etc.  “

Hey J.R., we recognize that for sure and are developing more lenses. Some announced this week and many more to come. While we feel that Carl Zeiss and G lenses offer great performance of their own, we understand each unique photographer has unique lens needs and demands. To best accommodate that, one of the great values of these two cameras is their ability to be friendly with glass from other brands.  We’ve seen 3rd party companies create adapters to enable lenses of different mounts to work on these models (via our open API). Now each adapter is different so we recommend looking into which one is right for your needs and if it’s a good fit for your glass and photography style. We’ve seen some journalists already test these cameras out using the existing 3rdparty adapters on the market. You can check out Steve Huff’s post (in the comments area) where he shares his independent experience using the a specific 3rd party adapter with a Canon 24-70 on the α7. Hope this is helpful.

@iamkory tweets “The Sony A7(r) looks nice but feeling extremely meh about their new FE lenses—and current e-mount lenses aren’t much better.

We really appreciate the honest feedback. We recognize that lens requirements vary for each photographer and our goal is to honor that.  We believe the new Zeiss and G lenses announced will serve  photography needs for many people but the true great strength of this camera is their capability not to limit α7 and α7R to using only Sony glass. There’s lots of great Full Frame lenses out there and through optional adapters in the market, E-mount camera owners can use numerous highly valued non Sony lenses. From retro glass to some of the latest lenses out there. We are already seeing people test the α7 and α7R out using these adapters and expect to see more people sharing their experiences with them in the coming weeks.

Ken Change commented on our SGNL video : “I need more info in the adapters… Kenta vaguely said something about using them “with any kind of lenses you may have….” What exactly does that mean?? Will there be adapters made for Canon and Nikon mounts?”

A variety of 3rd party manufacturers have already introduced mount adapters which allow the lenses of several mounts to be used on E-mount cameras with differing levels of iris and AF control.

We saw some questions about crop on Full Frame lenses from other brands like from Shortfuse Films who asked “Is there crop Even if I’m using full frame a-mount lenses and full frame Nikon lenses with my Nikon-Nex adapter??

There is no crop factor when using full frame A-mount lenses with LA-EA3/4 mount adaptors.  Although we have not confirmed performance, there should be no crop factor when using Nikon FX lenses with a properly designed 3rd party mount adaptor.

jaytothepower3 asked on our Flick Sony Camera Club “Does the a7 and a7r have tethering capabilities?”

Yes the α7 and α7R offers tethering capabilities for still and video both Mac and PC but does not include Live View transmission.  For that, you’ll want to use the PlayMemories Mobile and Smart Control . These are pre-installed on both cameras.

Some people such as    briandawkings  and yu jhang asked about dynamic range tests.

While Sony doesn’t disclose dynamic range specifications with our cameras, we often see independent reviewers publishing results of their own evaluations. We’re guessing in due course we’ll be seeing similar independent reviews on these models.

Raptor50aus comments, “Hopefully these new cameras won’t have the same dust on the sensor problem with the NEx 5 and 6 and 7 :( “

We recognize that interchangeable lens cameras are subject to dust on sensor when lenses are changed under adverse circumstances.  However the team heard your feedback and the α7 and α7R cameras are equipped with an anti-static coating to help prevent dust and other particles from attaching to the sensor when changing lenses. A mechanism also vibrates ultrasonically to remove any remaining particles.  As with all interchangeable lens cameras we recommend care when exchanging lenses.  We hope that new info is helpful enough to turn your frown :( upside down :)

@phrixus tweets “Sony have released the (alpha) A7… is this the NEX 7? It uses the E-mount lenses… I’m so confused.”

Fair comment. It is true that both A-mount and E-mount cameras are branded as α (alpha) and the (alpha) brand has always appeared on the both product lines. The announcement this week means that all future E-mount cameras will take on a name of α (alpha) with the “NEX” sub-brand dropped. We realize that there were rumors out there about a successor to the NEX-7 and we hope we can help clear things up. The α7 and α7R Full Frame cameras represent a new level of performance for the E-mount system and are therefore not direct successors to NEX-7.

Cosmin Serban asks “What is the video codec and bitrates?”

The α7 and α7R record video in both AVCHD 2.0 and MPEG4 codecs. The bitrate can be as high as 28 mbps (1920×1080 60P).  However, uncompressed video can be output from the HDMI terminal and recorded to an external device at even higher bitrates.

Lastly a post from Donny out of Element here on DPreview. First off, thanks for sharing the feedback and yes you are right. We did see this ;)  There’s a lot of pieces in this post so we’re going to do our best to reply.

“Please fix the mess you created with names: ILCE, ILCA, Alpha line, NEX, A3000, ILCE-3000, A mount, E-mount, 3 LA-EA adapters (+1 coming for FF), NEX FF, A7 and A7r, NEX-3, 5, 5N, 5R, 5T, 6, 7, and numerous NEX-F3, C3 and so on. People, consumers, your fans are really confused. This name changing game is not doing any good. In addition names are far from been excellent. Half of names don’t follow logic, but what’s worse we don’t know what’s going on? CAN YOU PLEASE EXPLAIN to us, to users, to people who invested in you? Please?”

We’re hoping we can help clear things up. Since their introduction in 2006, Sony’s interchangeable lens cameras have been branded α(alpha).  Our new model naming prefix strives to unify the model names.  “ILC” indicates “Interchangeable Lens Camera” followed by an indicator of A-mount “A” or E-mount “E”.  As for mount adaptors, LA-EA3 directly replaces LA-EA1 and LA-EA4 directly replaces LA-EA2 – both models are fully compatible with all E-mount cameras, regardless of sensor size.  We hope that this change will better indicate the various aspects of our cameras moving forward and simplify things a bit.

“Consider some proper marketing that will give us some head-up, some info to know what is going on and what to expect. You are playing hide and seek, keeping us in total information absence, hence numerous rumors that emerge almost everyday. They are not doing any good to Sony reputation. Again, most importantly people spent thousands of dollars to things that could be abandoned due to sudden change of plans in Sony corp. The same people would gladly spent same money and maybe even more if they will know what are they investing in and what is future plans and roadmaps. GIVE SOME INFORMATION TO PEOPLE…We love your innovation – but we need coherent, understandable and open info, roadmaps and general plan to know what to expect in terms of future and what to invest in. I know you are trying to close all info on new cameras, but that is not doing any good to current mess in lineup, names and our heads.

We recognize the importance of keeping our fans informed and the importance of consistency in camera systems.  We have been and remain fully committed to both A-mount and E-mount systems and strive for cross compatibility where possible – including A-mount lens use with E-mount cameras and accessory compatibility with Multi-interface shoe.  And we appreciate that you’re a fan of our innovation. We are also are equally committed to innovation and it’s a passion of ours to bring photographers greater and greater capabilities for their craft.  Though often innovation, by its nature, is sudden and can be disruptive.  We do our best to keep people informed such as our recent disclosure of Sony’s lens development plans through 2015 and look forward to sharing more of our future plans when possible.

Please play nicely and provide software updates and fixes in timely manner for those customers who really need it. Look at FUJI, there is lot to learn from them. I’m not asking for complete change of software, but for some fixes and minor changes that could be easily done and would help a ton in terms of usability of cameras we bought. I hope A7 menu will not be that random as it was in some NEX cameras.

We understand there’s a lot of owners out there requesting firmware updates. The good news is that we have offered several firmware updates for many of our models (located here) and will continue to respond to user’s needs to the best of our abilities. However we have seen many requests for firmware updates for changes that actually would require a modification to the actual hardware of the camera. We do our best to provide context to those differences were we can and will continue to keep people updated as new firmware releases become available.

“Can you please consider open source software so that users can write various software that will push NEX capabilities even further. Tethering, better wi-fi support and many other issues can be easily solved by open sourcing at least some of the needed code. If you don’t want to do it – then fix it yourself please.”

We take this feedback very seriously and are working hard to continue to allow developers to iterate on our camera capabilities and other Sony gear. Sony has a Developer Community portal which offers developer kits, APIs and engineering support for many different lines of electronics. Last month, this program expanded with the announcement a new Camera Remotes Apps Developer program to include SDK availability for PlayMemories Camera Apps and we are already seeing discussion in our developer forum.

Finally please consider easy choice lens lineup for NEX (APS-C and FF) like you have in A-mount lens lineup (eg. DT35mm for $200). Canon 22mm (or around 24mm in Sony APS-C due to 1.6 crop of Canon) f2 lens is just around $190 new. It’s closest e-mount analog is 24mm f1.8 lens which costs $1000 – 5 times more?! Just because it’s Zeiss?! I think majority of NEX users would have gladly bought Sony 24mm lens (not Zeiss) for $300-350 fair price, even if it was f2, like Canon. Why give your fans and users only pricey Zeiss in that most versatile Focal Length (24mm)? You wanted to keep the size small? Well look at Canon 22mm f2 – it’s pancake! Don’t tell us you can’t do same or better. We Believeyou Can do a better job.

We recognize the need for a greater variety of E-mount lenses (including more affordable models) and are developing more E-mount models as quickly as we can.   But we want to be completely honest with you in sharing that the cost structure of lenses designed for use with mirrorless cameras is often higher than the cost for conventional DSLR lenses.  This is due primarily to the near silent AF structure and iris control, and is common across several brands in lens design and development.  As for premium lens designs, such as our Carl Zeiss and G-series models, their cost structure is also higher, consistent with their quality and performance quite like premium lenses from other brands.  We hope that helps provides some context. Nonetheless, we completely acknowledge the feedback and recognize the need for more affordable models. We appreciate how honest you’ve been and we’ll do our best to meet our customers’ needs.

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