PDN: Sony A7r and RX10: Handling & AF impressions

PDN: Sony A7r and RX10: Handling & AF impressions


A quick visit to the Sony booth at the PDN here in NYC this morning, got my hands on the Sony A7r and the RX10. Many photos, handling and af speed impressions after the break

not exactly sure where to start :) let me try to summarize my impressions of the Sony A7r first:
In headlines:
AF speed with the new 55mm 1.8 Zeiss lens is VERY fast, FASTER then my Nikkor 50mm 1.4 on the D800E. If you happen to have a Nex 7 and the orig 16mm pancake, the FF 55mm Zeiss will focus just as fast, which, frankly, is quite amazing. As you probably know a 55mm requires a much higher level of accuracy and has a longer focus throw. The lens feels incredibly solid with a buttery smooth focusing ring, very close in feel to a well-dampened mf ring. Very close indeed. I am impressed (at regular indoor light levels). One has to wait and see how it performs in low light.

sony_a7r_rx10_m_kobal (1)
The next thing I noticed is how tiny it really is – look at my thumb next to the prism, we have all read about it but to hold one is a different story. A fusion between the Nex 7 and the RX1 is a very accurate description.
The shutter sound is quite pleasant, however, not the best choice for candid photography.

just look at the comparison shots below, against the Ricoh GR, truly amazing how small she is :)



another positive surprise was the accessory grip, I think we all agree it looks quite good in photos and now that I had the chance to hold it, I think this grip is a must, even if one doesn’t shoot vertical, I found it stabilized the camera in a horizontal position as well, very useful. I am definitely getting one.



Overall I am very excited about the Sony A7r, it looks great, feels very solid, fantastic EVF, great articulated screen, fast af performance in good light, the control wheels make sense, very intuitive to use. Don’t forget, these are my first hands on impressions, handling it for a few minutes, of course we might discover a few gotcha’s after a full day of shooting. Looks very promising though.

Sony RX10, this is a totally different beast and I am certain that it will have that special appeal for video shooters, don’t get me wrong, I am sure it will be a very capable camera as well but after handling it for a couple of minutes, it has video written all over it.
First off, this is NOT a small, pocketable camera, this is a TANK! The built appears a notch above the A7R, the controls have the perfect resistance, full metal knobs, the zoom and aperture ring are a dream to use in video mode, super solid and smooth.


below with the zoom fully extended at 200mm equiv:


below compared to the Ricoh GR


Finally a lens that can be zoomed during recording, like a real TV camera, very slow zoom speed, very quiet, great feeling controls, good EVF, now that I had the chance to peek through it, I don’t think manual focus will be a problem and of course I liked the articulated LCD. Shutter sound is very quiet, not as quiet as on the RX100II, it has to cover a larger diameter lens and as a photographer I am happy to report that it appears to sync the flash up to 1/1600 without problems (pre production model)
I wasn’t allowed to insert a card in either camera, damn. :) AF speed in photo mode on the RX10 was good, not crazy fast though, esp when zoomed towards the long end. AF-C in video mode on the other hand, seemed perfect. I am mostly excited about the RX10 as a true hybrid camera with equal capabilities shooting video and photographs, a slight edge in video mode perhaps, if you haven’t seen my previous post about the RX10, click here.
Sony has turned it up again, can’t wait to get my hands on these beauties and start shooting.

But can you trust Sony when your camera needs to go back for repair?
Check out the next couple shots, Sony is very serious about their newly announced PREMIUM SERVICE and wants you to know what goes on at their digital ICU, they had a dust free room with technicians on display, working on cameras:)





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9 thoughts on “PDN: Sony A7r and RX10: Handling & AF impressions

  1. Mike Nero

    Nice review. Im looking for a replacement for my SONY DSC-F717. I have a closet full of old Nikon gear that I don’t use. Ive been looking for a replacement for a while, one lense is fine, macro is needed, moderate zoom keeps me happy, easy to carry left or right handed.

  2. Southbyeast

    Looking forward to your review and congrats in advance ;)!

    I think you will get it earlier than folks like me in Asia (27th Nov) so enjoy!

  3. mike.kobal Post author

    Yup, I remember that from my Nex7 days :) I really didn’t have much time, however the viewfinder looks much improved, it is the same one we find on the A99, I think it will be fine, will definitely pay close attention to it once it arrives and report on it

  4. Southbyeast

    Hi Mike great to hear that! What about viewing angles on the A7R?

    Its fairly unforgiving on the NEX7 (once your eye shifts off center on the EVF you get a lot of image tearing)

  5. mike.kobal Post author

    I wore glasses that day and found the EVF very impressive. No lag, that” I can’t believe this is an EVF” experience, there was a long line and not enough time to really evaluate it, not sure how it would compare to the A99, which I remember, has an amazing EVF, Sony had their product lines split up between different counters, there was no way to directly compare, I personally think the EVF is very, very good, certainly not anything that would hold me back purchasing the camera :)

  6. Southbyeast

    Hi Mike, how do you find the EVF compared to the A99? I found that the NEX7’s EVF wasn’t very forgiving in terms of viewing angle but the A99s to be more comfy, especially for eyeglass wearers like me.

    I like the A99’s EVF so kinda hoping that the one on the A7R is similar or better in quality! :)

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