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Sony a7 full-frame compact system camera

Digital Hardware November 11, 2013 Compact System Camera, News, Sony No Comments
Sony a7 compact system camera

Sony a7 full-frame compact system camera

16 October 2013

In what will certainly kick-start a revolution in full-frame photography hardware, Sony today announced the highly anticipated a7, housing a 35mm full-frame sensor, 24.3 megapixels, interchangeable lens, mirrorless compact system camera.

Sony also announced the full-frame 36.4 megapixel a7R, the bigger brother of the a7 (but only in megapixels not physical size). As well as lacking the hybrid focusing system of the a7, the a7R also lacks an optical low-pass filter, which is sure to result in tack sharp photos, similar to that of the Nikon D800E.

There’s just so much to report about the Sony a7  (it is quite simply a technological marvel), but here are the key features at a glance:

  • 35mm Full-frame Exmor™ CMOS sensor with 24.3 effective megapixels
  • New BIONZ X™ processor with approximately 3x faster processing speed and new area-specific noise reduction for improved image quality
  • Enhanced Fast Hybrid AF combines speedy phase detection AF (117 points) with highly accurate contrast detection AF (25 points)
  • Improved XGA OLED Tru-Finder™ with wide field of view
  • Practical, reliable and intuitive with dust/moisture-resistant magnesium alloy body and extensive custom controls
  • AVCHD Progressive Full HD (1920×1080 – 60p/25p) movie recording with audio level control and clean HDMI output
  • 4K photo output and support for TRILUMINOS Display
  • NFC and Wi-Fi for easy connection with smartphones & tablets

The a7 will be available from mid-November at a RRP of £1,299 (body only) or £1,549.99 (body with SEL-2870 lens).

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Sony a7 press release

Sony introduces the a7 camera: Full-frame photography without the full dimensions

16 October 2013

a7 series cameras from Sony are world’s first mirrorless cameras with 35mm full-frame sensor[i]

[i] According to a survey conducted by Sony as of October 2013, for non-reflex interchangeable lens digital cameras equipped with autofocus function.

  • 35mm Full-frame Exmor™ CMOS sensor with 24.3 effective megapixels
  • New BIONZ X™ processor with approximately 3x faster processing speed[i] and new area-specific noise reduction for improved image quality
  • Enhanced Fast Hybrid AF combines speedy phase detection AF with highly accurate contrast detection AF[ii]
  • Improved XGA OLED Tru-Finder™ with wide field of view
  • Practical, reliable and intuitive with dust/moisture-resistant magnesium alloy body[iii] and extensive custom controls
  • AVCHD Progressive Full HD (1920×1080 – 60p/25p[iv]) movie recording with audio level control and clean HDMI output
  • 4K photo output and support for TRILUMINOS Display
  • NFC and Wi-Fi for easy connection with smartphones & tablets

The new a7 from Sony delivers all of the advantages of a 35mm full frame image sensor and lens interchangeability in a truly compact body. Without compromising on image quality, shooting comfort, functionality or AF performance, the a7 delivers stunning photographs that were previously only possible on large high-end cameras.

Alongside the new a7R, the a7 liberates photographers and cinematographers by combining amazing portability with all the advantages of full-frame photography and moviemaking. It offer including higher sensitivity shooting with lower noise, a wider dynamic range, a shallower depth of field that enables dramatic defocusing effects like bokeh and compatibility with a newly extended range of full-frame lenses.

Beautifully styled and crafted from a robust magnesium alloy body, the a7 is designed to sit comfortably in the users hand. Front and back dials plus a control wheel and exposure compensation dial allow intuitive adjustments while framing shots through the high-contrast, high resolution XGA OLED Tru-Finder or on the tiltable 3.0-type LCD screen.

Together with the powerful new BIONZ X processor, the full-frame sensor also allows the a7 to shoot pro-quality Full HD video[v]. You’ll enjoy rich, beautifully rendered movie footage with sumptuous colours and ultra-low noise, even in low light. Clear Image Zoom has been enhanced for video recording, delivering powerful close-ups without sacrificing pixel count. Pro-style movie features include an audio recording level control and display, plus a ‘clean’ HDMI output that allows video to be viewed on an external monitor or recorded on another device.

An enhanced Fast Hybrid autofocus combines speedy phase detection AF with highly accurate contrast detection AF, which has been accelerated through a new Spatial Object Detection algorithm, to achieve among the fastest autofocusing performance of any full-frame camera. Even when capturing a subject partially turned away from the camera with a shallow depth of field, the face will be sharply focused thanks to extremely accurate eye-detection (eye AF) that can prioritise a single pupil. First, the phase-detection AF with 117 densely placed phase-detection AF points swiftly and efficiently move the lens to bring the subject into focus. Then contrast-detection AF (25 points) fine tunes the focussing in the blink of an eye.

High-resolution still images can be displayed directly on a 4K television that offers four times the detail of Full HD. Support for TRILUMINOS Colour delivers a stunning palette of rich, natural colours when viewing movies and photos captured with the a7 on a compatible BRAVIA television with TRILUMINOS Display.

With both Wi-Fi and NFC, the a7 offers effortless one-touch wireless connections with your Xperia™ or NFC-compatible Android smartphone or tablet. PlayMemories Camera Apps further enhance your photo experience with a growing range of free and paid apps, spanning exciting new creative effects and filters, utilities and more.

The new ‘Multiple Exposure’ app automatically composites sequential exposures, making it easy to create beautiful and dramatic effects with a choice of pre-set artistic themes as well as manual blending modes.

Pre-installed in the a7, ‘Smart Remote Control’[vi] controls exposure and shutter release from your smartphone. Great for tripod-mounted group shots and self-portraits, the app also sends photos automatically to your mobile device for on-the-spot sharing.[vii]

New full-frame interchangeable E-mount lenses

There’s a choice of five new full-frame E-mount lenses to realise the sheer imaging power of the a7. The E-mount full-frame family includes two mid-range zooms by Sony and Carl Zeiss, two bright Sonnar T* primes and a premium-quality G lens telephoto zoom. There’s also a new-generation mount adaptor that gives photographers extra freedom to re-use their precious collection of full-frame A-mount optics with both cameras, including the newly-announced SAL70200G2 70-200mm F2.8 G SSM II telephoto zoom.

New accessories will also be available for the a7. The VG-C1EM grip extends shooting stamina via two NP-FW50 batteries, as well as providing greater user comfort during vertical shooting. The BC-TRW Battery Charger gives visual LED confirmation of recharging status. The FA-CS1M off-camera shoe can be used as an off-camera cable by connecting with a Multi Flash Cable. The LCS-ELCA premium leather soft carrying case extends the premium quality experience of handling and using the a7 while protecting your camera from scuffs and marks whilst being carried.

The light, compact new a7 interchangeable lens full-frame digital cameras from Sony is available for pre-order from www.sony.co.uk today and will go on general sale in Europe from mid-November.

a7

Lens compatibility

Sony E-mount lenses

Image sensor

Type

35mm full frame (35.8×23.9mm), Exmor CMOS sensor

Number of pixels (effective)

Approx. 24.3 megapixels

Record

system (still image)

Recording format

JPEG (DCF Ver. 2.0, Exif Ver.2.3, MPF Baseline compliant), RAW (Sony ARW 2.3 format)

Record system (movie)

Recording format

AVCHD format Ver. 2.0 compliant/ MP4

Media

Memory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo, Memory Stick XC-HG Duo, SD memory card, SDHC memory card (UHS-I compliant), SDXC memory card (UHS-I compliant)

Focus system

Type

Fast Hybrid AF
(phase detection AF/

contrast detection AF)

Focus points

35mm full frame: 117 points (phase detection AF / 25 points (contrast detection AF)

Exposure control

Metering type

1200-zone evaluative metering

ISO sensitivity (Recommended Exposure Index)

Still images: ISO 100-25600 equivalent (1/3 EV step), (ISO numbers up from ISO 50 can be set as expanded ISO range),
AUTO (ISO 100-6400, selectable lower limit and upper limit)
Movies: ISO 200-25600 equivalent (1/3 EV step) / AUTO (ISO 200-6400 equivalent)

Viewfinder

Type

1.3 cm (0.5-type) electronic viewfinder (colour)

Number of dots

2,359,296 dots

Field coverage

100%

Magnification

approx. 0.71x (with 50mm lens at infinity, -1m-1) diopter

LCD screen

Type

7.5cm (3.0-type) type TFT

No. of dots

921,600 dots

Adjustable angle

Up by approx. 90 degrees, Down by approx. 45 degrees

Wi-Fi

View on smartphone

Yes

Send to computer

Yes

View on TV

Yes

NFC

Yes (NFC Forum Type 3 Tag compatible,

One-touch remote, One-touch sharing)

PlayMemories Camera Apps

Yes

Audio

Microphone

Built-in stereo microphones or ECM-CG50/ XLR-K1M (sold separately)

Speaker

Built-in, monaural

Headphone Terminal

Yes (3.5 mm stereo minijack)

Dimensions (excluding protrusions)

Approx. 126.9mm x 94.4mm x 48.2mm

Weight

Approx. 416g (body only)

Approx. 474g (with battery and Memory Stick PRO Duo included)

[i] Compared to previous BIONZ processors

[ii] 117 points (phase detection AF / 25 points (contrast detection AF)

[iii] Only top housing and internal structure constructed of rigid magnesium alloy

[iv] The a7 series supports both PAL and NTSC movie recording

[v] AVCHD Progressive, 1920×1080 60p/50p/25p/24p

[vi] a7 series will become compatible with “Camera Remote API beta”(http://camera.developer.sony.com) , API (Application Program Interface) for remote operation of Sony camera with Wi-Fi-equipped smartphones and electronic tablets, after installation of the most recent Smart Remote Control that is distributed from countries providing PlayMemories Camera Apps.

[vii] ‘Direct Upload’ available at launch. ‘Multiple exposure’, ‘Picture Effect+’, ‘Photo Retouch’ and ‘Lens Compensation’ will be available for the a7 series by the end of 2013

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