Wednesday, October 16, 2013

My Initial Thoughts on the Sony A7/A7r

Excitement and fear...are exactly how I feel about Sony's new full frame cameras, the A7 and A7r.  There's a buzz in the air and you can "feel" it in every photography forum, blog and rumor site out there.  Finally a small mirrorless, full frame, interchangeable lens camera with automatic features and an electronic view finder that's fairly affordable.  I will not go into detail about the specs as others sites have done an extensive job already (I am a huge fan of Steve Huff's work and you should definitely check out his blog regarding his initial impressions), but it will be a game changer


You must be wondering how I know this despite not  touching the camera.  First and foremost, I have used their Alpha line extensively and dabbled with their NEX line.  Both are fantastic systems that have garnered a reputation that is not only deserving, but also warranted.  Sony has been at the forefront of innovation. They are not afraid to push products out even at the risk of failure or cannibalizing their other lines...yeah, I am talking to you Canon and Nikon (don't get me started with the Rebels or even the D610). It's EXCITING to see companies take steps towards truly improving camera technology through change.  I can say with certainty that the Sony Mirrroless Full-Frame camera will be my future tandem camera, BUT it will probably not be the A7/A7r.  Here are my thoughts:

- In-Body Image Stabilization: Why oh why did you not include IBIS?  You are in bed with Olympus and could have easily implemented the 5 axis system, which is better than any optical stabilization system, hands down.  Are you purposefully holding back tech to sell future lines? Heck, I would have taken the Steady Shot in body system that Sony uses in their Alpha lines.  I do a ton of low-light/evening photography and can easily hit below a 40th of a second even shooting wide open.  Additionally, having IBIS means that their lens line will no longer need an optical IS and proprietary/third-party glass can be much smaller.  The benefits of having a small-bodied camera is pointless from an ergonomic/practical standpoint if your glass is beastly.  Finally, legacy glass will be even more fun to use stabilized.  

- Lens Line:  The lens line is still not mature and is pricey as hell.  A 55mm f1.8 prime lens at close to $1,000 is a little too much in my book.  Granted it's a Zeiss lens, but they really need to come out with a non-adapted alternative since a nifty-fifty is a must-own lens.  I know this will come with time, but this is a huge barrier to entry, since my initial investment will be close to $3,000+...yikes.

- Battery Life: Rated at under 300 shots.  This just won't do, especially for event photography.  I guess I will not only need the grip, but also additional batteries.  The price keeps going up.

Despite my "complaints", I will be the first...err second...to say that no camera is perfect and purchasing a new toy is all about being a satisficer and not a maximizer (thank you, Eric Kim). Either way, I am so excited to get my hands on this camera (or future iterations of the A7/A7r) and FEARFUL for my wallet. Sony continues to hit home runs and I can't wait to see what they will come out with next.  Until then, I will be impatiently saving my lunch money for a Sony full-frame camera...unless Olympus has something to say about that =).

So say we all,
Dino