Preview of Sony Alpha a7 and a7r

It's amazing what you'll find window-shopping.

A preview of Sony Alpha a7 and a7r.

I was briskly walking around the streets of Siam, Bangkok. Just me and my camera. It's a Sunday, but not a Sunday I am used to. Usually Sundays are a lazy and boring affair in the UK but not here in Bangkok. There is plenty going on around me, plenty for me to see and snap and practice some street photography techniques.

After over two hours of darting back and fore the streets I needed some rest from the biting Bangkok heat. Siam is home to probably the world's strongest air conditioners and one of the most refreshing buildings is The Paragon. I decide to seek shelter there.

After receiving my immediate cooling off I head to the Sony Centre to do a little window shopping and play around with a few toys they usually have out. Lo and behold there is something new affixed to the front window. It states loudly... “the New Sony A7 and A7R. Pre-order here now. Try in-store”.

Alpha a7 and a7r basic specifications and buying options

Alpha a7 and a7r basic specifications and buying options

I sweep myself into the store, but firstly I spot people picking up and trying them both. I'll have to wait my turn....

I read over some of the spec lists of what both cameras provide and I speak to the friendly rep who advises me that it's ready to pre-order and I could buy it in either December or January 2014 here in Bangkok.

I am delighted in viewing the spec sheet. Two mirrorless lovelies, two full-frame sensors, two latest Bionz X processors inside and two options of “kit lenses” that would be available with both cameras.

 

Ohhh... it's my turn to have a play now.

Initial looking at both cameras I notice they are quite identical in design albeit a few differences in front material design.  Comfortable to hold, sleek and not to difficult to assess what button does what. I recently had a go at the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and subjectively the Sony looks and feels a whole world better than the Olympus.  Any differences between the Sony's are on the inside of the bodies, which is the most important thing.

Top view of a7. 

Top view of a7. 

Both cameras here have the new Zeiss 55mm f/1.8, 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 and a Zeiss 35mm f/2.8 you could play around with. Firstly I had to go through the display as I noticed whomever had it last whacked up the ISO to the max. I find how to change the ISO effortlessly on  the display, it instructing me to use the back scroll wheel. The menu system also feels familiar to me and probably to Sony users, non users of Sony cameras might find it difficult to use.

The focusing on these cameras are super quick. I try them on fixed images and moving. Every occasion locking on to the subjects with ease. The resulting images are also pin sharp when cropping into them.

Back of the a7

Back of the a7

The back screens are vivid and vibrant and can do a little bit of acrobatics, just flip the screen up or down. And the EVF is awesome. Sony is still the kings at making EVFs. My only boggle with them is that they still have that fraction of a delay when you put your eye to the eye piece. It's one of the annoyances with them so far.

The vibrancy off the colour is rich and also sharpness and noise is well under control even going up the ISOs.

I have very little time left to play with the cameras as a number of other people's patience is running low with me “hogging” both cameras. The last thing is tried is the NFC of the a7 and the wifi of the a7R to transfer images to my android. Each were simple to set up and after a few awkward moments setting it up and trying to connect but they did manage to work well in the end.

Here is where I had to submit my turn onto someone else. I put the cameras down for the next interested person to have a go. I have to admit there is some interest in the camera to keep a steady stream of people coming into the shop and checking these out. Nothing like a Ipad launch but when I hang around and speak to some of the people who tried the a7 or a7r they did like it and would consider buying it. I am told that they have seen more pre orders for the a7 than they expected and they have had more interest in these than the a99. Sounds very promising for Sony.

 

The above photos were taken using images taken from the a7 and a7r.
Photos of the a7 were taken by the a7r and the a7r photos are taken by the a7.