Sony's full-frame mirrorless system camera launched
Sony's A7 and A7r, the world's first full-frame mirrorless system cameras (not counting the Leica M), were launched yesterday and are in line with rumours over the past few weeks. For the first time, the more compact mirrorless camera can compete directly with full-frame DSLRs. Both cameras share Sony's E-mount but the company has also introduced a range of five full-frame lenses specifically matched to the A7s.
The A7, with a 24MP sensor, is likely to sell in the UK for well under £2,000 including a 27-70mm f3.5-5.6 kit zoom. The more expensive A7r, which loses the anti-aliasing filter and sports a 36MP sensor, will probably retail for around £2,000, body only.
Sony's announcement is big news for the photographic world. Leica, which has so far had the full-frame non-DSLR market to itself with the £5,000-plus M, will be looking over its shoulder. Even many Leica fans are saying that a small M-mount full-frame with built-in EVF is what Leica should have brought to the market.
The big question in the minds of Leica owners is how their M lenses will perform on the A7s. All is not straightforward as this thread on the l-forum shows. I started the discussion last week and it has produced some strong views. Despite misgivings, I am convinced that there will be keen interest in the performance of Leica glass on these new cameras. If nothing else, the Sony's will increase demand for second-hand Leica lenses, already strong, and will indirectly benefit Leica. As soon as I can get my hands on one of these fascinating little bodies I intend to find out for myself.
Steve Huff has had his hands on both the A7 and A7r and has even tried the A7r with a 50mm Summilux. Provisionally, he says, the Sony appears to work with with current 35mm and 50mm Leica lenses. If he is right then the A7 series will be a winner. With his usual brand of outrageous enthusiasm, this is what Steve has to say:
Yes my friends..the day is here and the price is RIGHT, much less than we thought at under $2300 for the top of the line 36MP A7r. For those with Leica glass, we can now mount our Leica glass on a high quality full frame body with the best sensor tech of 2013 inside the camera without spending $7000 to do so. For those with a Leica M, this could be a great back up (but again, not sure how wide angle leica lenses perform yet) Those who could never afford a Leica, here you go. Those who have Leica lenses but shoot a film Leica and refuse to pay $7000 for an M, here you go. Those who love the idea of a full frame DSLR like the D800, D700, Canon 5D, 6D, etc but can not stand the size and weight? Here you go. Those who want a 2nd camera that will provide full frame qualities such as shallow DOF and nice low light capabilities? Here you go.
To get a better idea of the A7/7r and the cameras' capabilities, it is well worth watching this excellent initial review from TheCameraStoreTV.