The Sony A7 arrived today and the first thing I tried was video recording in full frame and crop mode.
Guess what? It works, this is very exciting because it gives us a 1.5x digital zoom without apparent (further testing needs to be done) quality loss and suddenly the lowly 28-70mm kit lens looks a lot more interesting, at least from the videographer’s point of view
more after the break
we can cover a range from 28-105mm. OSS works as it should and I also liked af behavior during video takes. Let’s keep in mind, as of this writing there is still room for full frame video cameras, especially small ones and I consider the A7/A7r very valuable additions, although not perfect (aliasing, moire), we do get 1080/24p and even 60p, allowing us to capture bokeh-licious video thanks to the huge sensor. I am sure quite a few pro shooters will take note. This might just be the perfect video brain to come along on photo shoots.
Will the A7/A7r replace a pro video camera? Of course it won’t and frankly, I don’t understand why certain vital features have been crippled-again, particularly the 4x magnification only during video recording and the black overlay during audio level adjustment, just to make sure we can’t see what what we are filming? Don’t worry Sony, it won’t replace my FS100/FS700, 5DmarkIII or C300 shooting professional gigs even if I could see the image while adjusting audio levels and zoom to 8x while recording. It would however, make life a lot easier.
Sound recording/built in amp: As I have noticed with previous cameras from Sony, particularly the Nex-7, Nex-6 and lately the RX10, the built in amplifiers are better then what the competition offers. You will still benefit from using an external device like Sony’s XLR-K1M which produces much cleaner sounding audio and allows you to connect XLR mics. Too bad this device is way overpriced and can only be used with Sony gear. You can get a JuicedLink RM333 Riggy for about half the price and use it on any camera with a 3.5mm standard mic input.
Articulated LCD: I am happy to report that, unlike on the RX10, you can pull the LCD away from the body and the EVF eyepiece won’t be in the way ( a lot less protruding then on the RX10, check the second photo) – check out the image below
Street camera. The shutter sound isn’t as loud as on the A7r and I can see this camera as a street tool with limitations.There are better choices, like the Ricoh GR or the Fuji X100s. For traditional street photography, capturing the flow of life and looking for decisive moments, the full frame sensor won’t add anything of essence. Candid night shots, perhaps, if the shutter sound doesn’t get in the way, the ability to shoot at incredible high ISO certainly is a plus.
Kit lens: There are lots of negative comments floating around about this unworthy kit lens, well, and at the risk of sounding like you know who, I beg to differ. Of course this is only a cheapo plastic tube, however, it is small, very light weight, focuses incredibly fast and the zoom and focus rings feel very well dampened, much better then on some lenses costing 5x as much. It even has a metal mount. This lens is a surprise, in a good way.
Adapting Nikkor lenses: I didn’t have time to do a proper test yet but the good news is that I can use the Nikkor 18-35mm G-which is as you probably know, the best bang for your $$$ and one of the lightest ultra wide zooms, without any corner issues shooting raw, full frame of course, no problems with the 50mm 1.4 and no vignetting shooting my favorite, the Nikkor DC 135mm/f2 wide open . Ebay is flooded with cheap Nikon G to Sony E mount adapters, I found this one to be the best machined and smooth aperture control.
Flash sync speed: As others have reported, I can confirm that it will only sync up to 1/200 with wireless triggered studio strobes (works on Nikon at 1/320 without issues), 3rd party hot shoe strobes work fine at 1/250.
I have a few major assignments coming up and I am hoping to use the A7 on one of them, stay tuned, I will keep you guys updated on how this camera performs. If you have questions about things I didn’t get around to mention, please ask and I will try to answer.
Update: If you haven’t seen it yet, check out Dierk Topp’s guest post on the Sony A7r,
great examples of how to get the most out of this top sensor.
If you find this article helpful, please consider helping me maintaining this blog by purchasing your gear through my product links to Adorama and B&H and Ebay. It will cost you nothing and allows me to keep adding! Or consider making a direct donation using PayPal, thank you!