Sony α7

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Sony α7
Overview
TypeFull-frame mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera
Lens
LensSony E-mount
Sensor/medium
Sensor35.8×23.9 mm Exmor full-frame HD CMOS Sensor
Maximum resolution6000×4000 (3:2) (24 megapixels)[1]
Film speedAuto, 100–25600
Storage mediaMemory Stick Pro Duo, Pro-HG Duo, SD, SDHC, SDXC (α7R IV supports only SD family)
Focusing
Focus modesContrast Detect (sensor), Phase Detect, Multi-area, Center, Selective single-point, Single, Continuous, Face Detection, Live View
Exposure/metering
Exposure meteringMulti-segment, Center-weighted, Spot
Shutter
ShutterElectronically-controlled, vertical-traverse, focal-plane shutter
Shutter speed range1/8000 – 30 sec, BULB
Continuous shooting5 frame/s
Viewfinder
ViewfinderBuilt-in 2.4 million dots OLED Electronic viewfinder
General
LCD screen3.0 in (76 mm) Tilting XtraFine LCD, 921,600 pixels
BatteryNP-FW50, InfoLITHIUM, 7.2 V, 1080 mAh, 7.7 Wh, Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery
Dimensions127×94×48 mm
WeightApprox. 474 g (16.7 oz) (camera body, card and battery)

The Sony α7, α7R, α7S and α7C (the α is sometimes spelled out as Alpha) are four closely related families of full-frame mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras. The first two were announced in October 2013,[2] the third in April 2014 and the fourth in September 2020. They are Sony's first full-frame mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras and share the E-mount with the company's smaller sensor NEX series.

The α7 II was announced in November 2014, and is the first in the family to revise the original body and ergonomics. The α7C introduced an even more compact form factor, being the smallest full-frame camera with in-body image stabilization.[3] The α7 series is targeted at experienced users, enthusiasts and professionals.[4]

The Sony α7 and α7R have the model numbers ILCE-7 and ILCE-7R respectively. In addition, the α7S, the α7 II, and the α7R II have the model numbers ILCE-7S, ILCE-7M2, and ILCE-7RM2. Sony's new model naming prefix strives to unify model names. "ILC" stands for Interchangeable Lens Camera, followed by an indicator of A-mount "A" or E-mount "E".[5]

Pre-announcement rumours speculated that the new camera would be named "Sony NEX-9".[6]

Variations[edit]

In 2014/2015, three new models became available forming the second generation of α7 series. They are the α7 II (ILCE-7M2), α7R II (ILCE-7RM2) and α7S II (ILCE-7SM2). Sony continues to produce the first generation models α7 and α7S, even three years after the launch, only the α7 has been discontinued in April 2019.[citation needed]

The basic α7 II model has 24 MP and has manual focus and hybrid autofocus.[citation needed]

The second generation common ground is the newer and improved body design as well as the world's first five-axis sensor-shift image stabilization system for a full-frame ILC. Sony claims that this can compensate a 4.5-stop equivalent of camera shake. In-body stabilization requires no special lens features, and mirrorless system cameras can typically accommodate lenses from any SLR system.[7][8] As an upgrade of the α7, the α7 II has the same 50 Mbit XAVC-S codec as the α7S but lacks 4K video, and the five-axis stabilization is less effective in video mode than that used in the Olympus OM-D E-M1.[9] However, the crop mode used in the α7 II does not incur "very much loss in image quality", unlike that of the Nikon D750.[9]

On 14 June 2015, Hasselblad announced the Lusso, a variant of the Sony α7R marketed by Hasselblad.[citation needed]

The third generation started in 2017, and the fourth was announced in July 2019.[citation needed]

Model differences[edit]

Model α7 α7R α7S α7 II α7R II α7S II α7R III (A) α7 III α7R IV (A) α7S III α7C α7 IV α7R V α7C II α7CR
Product standing Basic High Resolution High Sensitivity Basic Mark II High Resolution Mark II High Sensitivity Mark II High Resolution Mark III Basic[10] Mark III High Resolution Mark IV High Sensitivity Mark III Compact Basic Mark IV High Resolution Mark V Compact Mark II High Resolution Compact
Announced 16 Oct 2013 6 Apr 2014 20 Nov 2014 10 June 2015 11 Sept 2015 25 Oct 2017 26 Feb 2018 16 Jul 2019 28 Jul 2020 15 Sep 2020 21 Oct 2021 26 Oct 2022 29 Aug 2023[11]
Sensor resolution at Full Format 24.3 MP Exmor CMOS
6000 × 4000 pixels
36.4 MP Exmor CMOS
7360 × 4912 pixels
12.2 MP Exmor CMOS
4240 × 2832 pixels
24.3 MP Exmor CMOS
6000 × 4000 pixels
42.4 MP Exmor R BSI-CMOS[12]
7952 × 5304 pixels
12.2 MP Exmor CMOS
4240 × 2832 pixels
42.4 MP Exmor R BSI-CMOS[13]
7952 × 5304 pixels
24.2 MP Exmor R BSI-CMOS sensor[14]
6000 × 4000 pixels
61.0 MP Exmor R BSI-CMOS sensor[15]
9504 × 6336 pixels
12.1 MP Exmor R BSI-CMOS sensor[16]
4240 × 2832 pixels
24.2 MP Exmor R BSI-CMOS sensor[3]
6000 × 4000 pixels
33.0 MP Exmor R BSI-CMOS sensor[17]
7008 × 4672 pixels
61.0 MP Exmor R BSI-CMOS sensor[18]
9504 × 6336 pixels
33.0 MP Exmor R BSI-CMOS sensor[19]
7008 × 4672 pixels
61.0 MP Exmor R BSI-CMOS sensor[20]
9504 × 6336 pixels
Processor BIONZ X BIONZ XR BIONZ X BIONZ XR
ISO range Expanded ISO 50-25600

Multi frame NR 100-51200
Expanded ISO 50-25600

Multi frame NR 100-51200
Native ISO 100-102400

Expanded ISO 50-409600
Expanded ISO 50-25600

Multi frame NR 100-51200
Native ISO 100-25600

Expanded ISO 50-102400
Native ISO 100-102400

Expanded ISO 50-409600
Native ISO 100-32000

Expanded ISO 50-102400[21]
Native ISO 100-51200

Expanded ISO 50-204800 [22]
Native ISO 100-32000

Expanded ISO 50-102400[15]
Native ISO 80-102400

Expanded ISO 40-409600[16]
Native ISO 100-51200

Expanded ISO 50-204800[3][17]
Native ISO 100-32000

Expanded ISO 50-102400
Native ISO 100-51200

Expanded ISO 50-204800 (Stills), 100-102400 (Video)
Native ISO 100-32000

Expanded ISO 50-102400 (Stills), None (Video)
Autofocus 25 points CD-AF
w/ 117 points PD-AF
25 points CD-AF 25 points CD-AF
w/ 117 points PD-AF
25 points CD-AF
w/ 399 points PD-AF
169 points CD-AF 425 points CD-AF
w/ 399 points PD-AF[21]
425 points CD-AF
w/ 693 points PD-AF[22]
425 points CD-AF
w/ 567 points PD-AF[15]
425 points CD-AF
w/ 759 points PD-AF[16]
425 points CD-AF
w/ 693 points PD-AF[23]
425 points CD-AF
w/ 759 points PD-AF[17]
425 points CD-AF
w/ 693 points PD-AF[23]
Stills: 759 points hybrid
Video: 627 points hybrid
Stills & Video: 693 points hybrid
Maximum flash sync speed 1/250 1/160 1/250 1/160 1/250 1/160 (full frame)
1/200 (APS-C)
Max Continuous Shooting 5 frame/s 4 frame/s 5 frame/s 10 frame/s 8 frame/s[20]
In-body image stabilization No 5-axis
Flash Exposure Lock No Yes
Shutter Speed 1/8000 – 30s 1/4000 – 30 s e-Front Curtain only (1/8000 electronic)[1] 1/8000 – 30 s 1/4000 – 30 s e-Front Curtain only (1/8000 electronic)[19]
Electronic shutter mode First-curtain only No First-curtain, Silent shutter First-curtain only First-curtain, Silent shutter
Gapless on-chip lens No Yes No Yes
Live-view Tethered Capture No Yes Yes (wired and wireless)
Custom minimum shutter speed at Auto ISO No Yes
Flexible Spot with Lock on AF
Continuous Eye-AF Yes Yes (real-time tracking)
AF Sensitivity 0 ~ 20 EV -4 ~ 20 EV -1 ~ 20 EV -2 ~ 20 EV -4 ~ 20 EV -3 ~ 20 EV -6 ~ 20 EV[16] -4 ~ 20 EV[23]
Metering Sensitivity -3 ~ 20 EV -3 ~ 20 EV
User Custom Buttons 3 4 1 4+Dial
Programmable settings No Yes
Monitor pixels 921.6 K 1,228.8 K[24] 1,444K[21]
2,359.2K(A7RM3A)[25]
921.6 K[22] 1,444 K
2,359.2K(A7RM4A)[26]
1,444K 921.6 K 1,036 K 1,036 K
Touch Panel No Yes Yes (fully touch menu system) Yes Yes (fully touch menu system) Yes
Viewfinder dots 2.4 M 3.68 M 2.4 M 5.76 M 9.43 M 2.4 M 3.68 M 9.43 M 2.4 M
Viewfinder Resolution XGA
(1024 × 768 pixels)
Quad-VGA
(1280 × 960 pixels)[27]
XGA
(1024 × 768 pixels)[28]
UXGA
(1600 × 1200 pixels)[29]
Quad-XGA
(2048 × 1536 pixels)
XGA
(1024 × 768 pixels)
Quad-VGA
(1527 × 678 pixels)
Quad-XGA
(2048 × 1536 pixels)
XGA
(1024 × 768 pixels)
Viewfinder Magnification 0.71× 0.78× 0.90× 0.59× 0.78× 0.90× 0.70×
Memory card slot 1 (Memory Stick Duo/SD) 2 (slot 1: SD; slot 2: Memory Stick Duo/SD) 2 (both slots: SD/CFexpress Type A) 1 (SD only) 2 (slot 1: SD/CFexpress Type A; slot 2: SD) 2 (both slots: SD/CFexpress Type A) 1 (SD only)
Video record format MPEG-4, AVCHD (28 Mbit/s)
1080p
MPEG-4, AVCHD (28 Mbit/s),
XAVC S (50 Mbit/s) 1080p
MPEG-4, AVCHD (28 Mbit/s),
XAVC S (100 Mbit/s) 4K video
MPEG-4, XAVC S, H.265 (280 Mbit/s),
MPEG-4, XAVC S, H.264 (100 Mbit/s) 4K video[30]
MPEG-4, AVCHD (28 Mbit/s),
XAVC S (100 Mbit/s) 4K video
XAVC S, XAVC HS XAVC S, XAVC HS, XAVC S-I
Video sampling Line skipping Full-pixel readout Line skipping Pixel-binning at Full Format
Full-pixel readout at Super 35
Full-pixel readout
Slow motion video record No Yes (720p, 120fps) No Yes (720p, 120fps) Yes (1080p, 120fps) Yes (4K, 120fps) Yes (1080p, 120fps)
HDMI Output 4K still and 1080p video 4K still and 4K video 4K still and 1080p video 8K still and 4K video 4K still and 4K video 8K still and 4K video 4K still and 4K video 8K still and 4K video
Video Light mode No Yes No Yes
Professional Video edit Picture Profile w/CineGamma,
Timecode, Userbit
Other features Hybrid autofocus system No optical Low-pass filter Full-pixel readout video at Full Format Hybrid autofocus system Hybrid autofocus system, No optical Low-pass filter Full-pixel readout video at Full Format
Lossless RAW No (11+7 bit lossy RAW[31]) Yes, uncompressed (2.0 firmware update[32][33]) Yes, uncompressed
Star Eater[34][35] Only in Bulb mode Only at 4s and above after Fw2.10, upgraded algorithm after Fw4.0, not present in continuous shooting mode[36] Only at 4s and above, upgraded algorithm[37]
PD-AF w/ adapted lens Only A-mount lenses w/ LA-EA2 and LA-EA4 Yes (Firmware update) Yes Only w/ LA-EA2/4[38] Yes
Operate while USB charging No Yes Yes w/ Tethering
Battery Life
(CIPA standards)
340 shots 340 shots 380 shots 350 shots 340 shots 370 shots 530 shots (EVF) /
650 shots (Monitor)[21]
640 shots (Monitor on A7RM3A)[25]
610 shots (EVF) /
710 shots (Monitor)[22]
530 shots (EVF) /
670 shots (Monitor)[15]
660 shots (Monitor on A7RM4A)[26]
510 shots (EVF) /
600 shots (Monitor)[16]
680 shots (EVF) /
740 shots (Monitor)[23]
Stills: 530 shots (EVF) / 560 shots (Monitor)

Continuous video recording: 165 minutes (EVF or monitor)
Stills: 490 shots (EVF) / 530 shots (Monitor)

Continuous video recording: 155 minutes (EVF or monitor)
Body material Combi. of magnesium alloy
and polycarbonate
Full magnesium alloy chassis and polycarb bayonet mount. Full magnesium alloy chassis and stainless steel bayonet mount. Magnesium alloy used for the top, front, and rear covers[23]
Weight
(w/ battery and media)
416 g
(474 g)
407 g
(465 g)
446 g
(489 g)
556 g
(599 g)
582 g
(625 g)
584 g
(627 g)
572 g
(657 g)
565 g
(650 g)[22]
578 g
(665 g)[15]
614 g
(699 g)[16]
424 g
(509 g)
573 g
(658 g)
723 g 429 g
(514 g)
430 g
(515 g)
Dimension 126.9 × 94.4 × 54.8 mm 126.9 × 95.7 × 59.7 mm 126.9 × 95.7 × 60.3 mm 126.9 × 95.6 × 73.7 mm[22] 128.9 × 96.4 × 77.5 mm 128.9 × 96.9 × 80.8 mm 124 × 71.1 × 59.7 mm 131.3 × 96.4 × 79.8 mm 131.3 x 96.9 x 82.4 mm 124.0 x 71.1 x 63.4 mm
Discontinued Dec 2019[39]

BIONZ[edit]

BIONZ is a line of image processors used in Sony digital cameras. It is currently used in many Sony α DSLR and mirrorless cameras. Image processing in the camera converts the raw data from a CCD or CMOS image sensor into the format that is stored on the memory card. This processing is one of the bottlenecks in digital camera speed, so manufacturers put much effort into making, and marketing, the fastest processors for this step that they can.

Sony designs the circuitry of the processor in-house, and outsources the manufacturing to semiconductor foundries such as MegaChips and (mostly) GlobalFoundries, as they currently do not own any fabrication plant capable of producing a system on a chip (SoC).[1] Sony also sources DRAM chips from various manufacturers namely Samsung, SK Hynix and Micron Technology.

BIONZ utilizes two chips in its design. The first chip is an SoC that manages overall functionality of the camera such as SD card storage management, wired connection such as USB and HDMI, and wireless protocols such as Wi-Fi and NFC that are increasingly common on modern Sony α cameras. The BIONZ SoC can be identified by its part number "CXD900xx". The second chip is the ISP (image signal processor). It handles the data directly from the CMOS image sensor, and it is directly responsible for the camera's high-ISO noise characteristics in a low-light environment. The ISP can be identified by the part number "CXD4xxx".

Click here to know more about the History of BIONZ chips in Sony Cameras.

Features (universal for α7-series)[edit]

  • Exmor CMOS full-frame sensor (with different megapixels depending on camera version)
  • TruBlack XtraFine LCD screen (3 inch/7.5 cm) with tilt functionality
  • 1.3 cm (0.5 inch) electronic viewfinder
  • 1200-zone evaluative light metering
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC
  • LED-auto focus illuminator
  • Multi Interface Shoe (α7R IV adds digital audio interface)
  • 9+1 customizable buttons (10+1 starting with second generation) / 45+ assignable functions

Critical reception and awards[edit]

The Sony α (Alpha) cameras, particularly the α7 and α7R models, garnered widespread acclaim from critics and industry experts. DxOMark, a reputable source for camera and lens evaluations, crowned the α7R as the highest ranking full-frame mirrorless camera, with a score of 95 (the same score as the Nikon D800, but one point behind the Nikon D800E). The α7 achieved a score of 90, higher than the Nikon Df and Nikon D4 professional DSLR cameras, and even Sony's own SLT-A99. The Verge rated the cameras 8.3 out of 10, commenting that "It might be a few years before we realize it, but when the DSLR is relegated to a niche status among specialty photographers and full-frame mirrorless cameras dominate the market, we'll have the α7's to thank as the cameras that started it all."[40] EPhotozine which rated the α7 5 stars, meanwhile praised the α7 series' price point for making them "the cheapest full-frame digital cameras currently available" while being lighter and smaller than comparable cameras.[41] It awarded the α7 "Camera of the Year".[42] The α7R was awarded by Imaging Resource as the "Camera of the Year".[43]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jeff Keller (February 2014). "Sony α7R Review: Digital Photography Review". Dpreview.com. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  2. ^ Sony announces α7 and α7R: first full-frame mirrorless cameras: Digital Photography Review. Dpreview.com. Retrieved on 2013-10-30.
  3. ^ a b c "Sony α7C Compact full-frame camera". Sony. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  4. ^ Sony Global - Sony Global - Digital Imaging - α7. Sony.net (2013-10-16). Retrieved on 2013-10-30.
  5. ^ "Your α7 and α7R Questions Answered". blog.sony.com. 17 October 2013. Archived from the original on 2 November 2013. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  6. ^ DL Cade (3 October 2013). "Sony NEX Full-Frame Rumor Roundup". PetaPixel. Retrieved 11 January 2014.
  7. ^ William Browley. "Sony α7 II Review". Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  8. ^ "The New Sony α7 Mark II". 26 November 2014. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  9. ^ a b Andrew Reid. "Sony α7 II review – 5 axis stabilization in video mode". Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  10. ^ "Sony calls this the "basic full-frame model," but there's nothing basic about it". The Verge. 26 February 2018.
  11. ^ "Sony Electronics Releases Two New Alpha 7C Series Cameras". www.sony.com. Retrieved 7 November 2023.
  12. ^ Zimmerman, Steven (12 October 2016). "Sony IMX378: Comprehensive Breakdown of the Google Pixel's Sensor and its Features". XDA Developers. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  13. ^ "Sony α7R III 35mm full-frame camera with autofocus". Sony.
  14. ^ "Sony α7 III with 35-mm full-frame image sensor". Sony.
  15. ^ a b c d e "Sony introduces the a7R IV with 61 Megapixel full-frame sensor". Digital Photography Review. 16 July 2019. Retrieved 16 July 2019.
  16. ^ a b c d e f "Sony introduces the a7S III with 12.1 Megapixel full-frame sensor". Sony.
  17. ^ a b c "Sony α7 IV Compact full-frame camera". Sony. Retrieved 21 October 2021.
  18. ^ "Sony a7RV (a7R5) Mirrorless Camera | ILCE7RM5". Sony Electronics. Retrieved 1 August 2023.
  19. ^ a b "Sony α7C II compact full-frame camera". Sony. Retrieved 7 November 2023.
  20. ^ a b "Sony α7CR 61.0 MP compact full-frame". Sony. Retrieved 8 November 2023.
  21. ^ a b c d "Sony α7R III 35mm full-frame camera with autofocus". Sony.
  22. ^ a b c d e f "Sony α7 III with 35-mm full-frame image sensor". Sony.
  23. ^ a b c d e "Sony α7C Compact full-frame camera". Sony. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  24. ^ "ILCE-7RM2 Specifications". Sony.com. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  25. ^ a b "ILCE-7RM3A Specification". Sony.
  26. ^ a b "ILCE-7RM4A Specification". Sony.
  27. ^ "Sony α7R III 35 mm full-frame camera with autofocus". Sony. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  28. ^ "Sony α7 III with 35-mm full-frame image sensor". Sony. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  29. ^ "Sony α7R IV 35 mm full-frame camera with 61.0 MP". Sony. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  30. ^ "Sony a7S III initial review". dpreview.
  31. ^ "diglloyd blog: Sony's 11+7-bit Delta Compression, Posterization in Some Situations". diglloyd.com. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  32. ^ Ltd, Magezine Publishing. "Sony Alpha A7 II Uncompressed RAW Firmware Update v2.0". ePHOTOzine. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  33. ^ "Sony a7R II uncompressed Raw firmware update available October 19". DPReview. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  34. ^ Norman, Ian (3 May 2017). "Star Eater: Documentation of an Issue with the Sony Cameras for Astrophotography (and How to Fix It)". Lonely Speck. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  35. ^ "Sony Star Eater". www.markshelley.co.uk. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  36. ^ "Sony a7RII star-eater workaround". blog.kasson.com. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  37. ^ "The Sony a7RIII eats stars". blog.kasson.com. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  38. ^ "Compatibility Information - ILCE-7SM2". support.d-imaging.sony.co.jp. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  39. ^ "The day has come: Sony A7 marked as discontinued at BHphoto and Adorama!". sonyalpharumors. 27 December 2019. Retrieved 27 December 2019.
  40. ^ Sony Alpha α7 and α7R review, The Verge, By Dan Seifert on 16 December 2013
  41. ^ Sony Alpha 7 ILCE-7 Full Review ePHOTOzine 3 Dec 2013 by Joshua Waller
  42. ^ ePHOTOzine's Best Cameras Of The Year Awards 2013 Posted: 6 Dec 2013 by ePHOTOzine
  43. ^ Top 13 for 2013: The Best Cameras, Lenses and Technologies of the Year by Dave Etchells, Imaging Resource posted 11 December 2013

External links[edit]