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Sony A7 vs A7S

The Sony Alpha A7 and the Sony Alpha A7S are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in October 2013 and April 2014. Both the A7 and the A7S are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The A7 has a resolution of 24 megapixels, whereas the A7S provides 12 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Sony A7
versus
Sony A7S
Sony A7   Sony A7S
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Sony E mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
24 MP – Full Frame sensor 12 MP – Full Frame sensor
1080/60p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-25,600 (50 - 51,200) ISO 100-102,400 (50 - 409,600)
Electronic viewfinder (2400k dots) Electronic viewfinder (2400k dots)
3.0" LCD – 1230k dots 3.0" LCD – 921k dots
Tilting screen (no touchscreen) Tilting screen (no touchscreen)
5 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
340 shots per battery charge380 shots per battery charge
127 x 94 x 48 mm, 474 g 127 x 94 x 48 mm, 489 g
Sony A7:
Check Ebay offers
Sony A7S:
Check Ebay offers

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Sony Alpha A7 and the Sony Alpha A7S? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Sony A7 and the Sony A7S is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Sony A7 vs Sony A7S
Compare A7 versus A7S top
Comparison A7 or A7S rear

In this particular case, the Sony A7 and the Sony A7S have exactly the same width and height, and, thus, have identically-sized bodies. However, the A7S is slightly heavier (3 percent) than the A7. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Sony FE Lens Catalog. Mirrorless cameras, such as the two under consideration, have the additional advantage of having a short flange to focal plane distance, which makes it possible to mount many lenses from other systems onto the camera via adapters.

The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, which can be very convenient when travelling.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Sony A7 127 mm 94 mm 48 mm 474 g 340 Y Oct 2013 1,699i
2.
 
Sony A7S 127 mm 94 mm 48 mm 489 g 380 Y Apr 2014 2,499i
3.
 
Nikon Df 144 mm 110 mm 67 mm 760 g 1400 Y Nov 2013 2,749i
4.
 
Nikon D610 141 mm 113 mm 82 mm 850 g 900 Y Oct 2013 1,999 i
5.
 
Panasonic GH4 133 mm 93 mm 84 mm 560 g 500 Y Feb 2014 1,499i
6.
 
Samsung NX1 139 mm 102 mm 66 mm 550 g 500 Y Sep 2014 1,499i
7.
 
Sony A7C 124 mm 71 mm 60 mm 509 g 740 Y Sep 2020 1,799 i
8.
 
Sony A7 III 127 mm 96 mm 74 mm 650 g 610 Y Feb 2018 1,999 i
9.
 
Sony A7S II 127 mm 96 mm 60 mm 627 g 370 Y Sep 2015 2,999i
10.
 
Sony A7 II 127 mm 96 mm 60 mm 599 g 350 Y Nov 2014 1,999i
11.
 
Sony A7R 127 mm 94 mm 48 mm 465 g 340 Y Oct 2013 2,299i
12.
 
Sony RX1R 113 mm 65 mm 70 mm 482 g 270 n Jun 2013 2,799i
13.
 
Sony RX1 113 mm 65 mm 70 mm 482 g 270 n Sep 2012 2,799i
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The A7 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 32 percent) than the A7S, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.

Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the large-sensor cameras that aim for top notch image quality. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Sony A7 and Sony A7S sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the A7 offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixels, compared with 12 MP of the A7S. This megapixels advantage translates into a 42 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the A7 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 5.97μm versus 8.45μm for the A7S). Moreover, it should be noted that the A7S is a somewhat more recent model (by 5 months) than the A7, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of individual pixels.

The resolution advantage of the Sony A7 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A7 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Sony A7S are 21.2 x 14.2 inches or 53.8 x 36 cm for good quality, 17 x 11.3 inches or 43.1 x 28.8 cm for very good quality, and 14.1 x 9.4 inches or 35.9 x 24 cm for excellent quality prints.

The A7 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.

The Sony Alpha A7 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 50-51200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A7S are ISO 100 to ISO 102400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-409600.

A7 versus A7S MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Sony A7 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.814.2224890
2.
 
Sony A7S Full Frame 12.0 4240 28321080/60p23.913.2370287
3.
 
Nikon Df Full Frame 16.2 4928 3280none24.613.1327989
4.
 
Nikon D610 Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.4292594
5.
 
Panasonic GH4 Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p23.212.879174
6.
 
Samsung NX1 APS-C 28.0 6480 43204K/30p24.213.2136383
7.
 
Sony A7C Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.7340795
8.
 
Sony A7 III Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.7373096
9.
 
Sony A7S II Full Frame 12.0 4240 28324K/30p23.613.3299385
10.
 
Sony A7 II Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.913.6244990
11.
 
Sony A7R Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.614.1274695
12.
 
Sony RX1R Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.013.6253791
13.
 
Sony RX1 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.114.3253493

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60p).

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The A7 and the A7S are similar in the sense that both feature an electronic viewfinder, which is helpful when framing images in bright sunlight. Moreover, their viewfinders offer an identical resolution of 2400k dots. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Sony A7 and Sony A7S along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Sony A72400 n3.0 / 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0/s n n
2.
 
Sony A7S2400 n3.0 / 921 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0/s n n
3.
 
Nikon Dfoptical Y3.2 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5/s n n
4.
 
Nikon D610optical Y3.2 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 6.0/s Y n
5.
 
Panasonic GH42359 n3.0 / 1036 swivel Y 1/8000s 12.0/s Y n
6.
 
Samsung NX12360 Y3.0 / 1036 tilting Y 1/8000s 15.0/s Y n
7.
 
Sony A7C2360 n3.0 / 922 swivel Y 1/4000s 10.0/s n Y
8.
 
Sony A7 III2359 n3.0 / 922 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0/s n Y
9.
 
Sony A7S II2400 n3.0 / 1229 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0/s n Y
10.
 
Sony A7 II2400 n3.0 / 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0/s n Y
11.
 
Sony A7R2400 n3.0 / 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 4.0/s n n
12.
 
Sony RX1Roptional n3.0 / 1229 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
13.
 
Sony RX1optional n3.0 / 1229 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the A7S is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the A7 and the A7S write their files to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.

Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Sony Alpha A7 and Sony Alpha A7S and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Sony A7Ystereo / monoYYmicro2.0YY-
2.
 
Sony A7SYstereo / monoYYmicro2.0YY-
3.
 
Nikon DfY- / ---mini2.0---
4.
 
Nikon D610Ymono / monoYYmini2.0---
5.
 
Panasonic GH4Ystereo / monoYYmicro2.0YY-
6.
 
Samsung NX1Ystereo / monoYYmicro3.0YYY
7.
 
Sony A7CYstereo / monoYYmicro3.2YYY
8.
 
Sony A7 IIIYstereo / monoYYmicro3.1YYY
9.
 
Sony A7S IIYstereo / monoYYmicro2.0YY-
10.
 
Sony A7 IIYstereo / monoYYmicro2.0YY-
11.
 
Sony A7RYstereo / monoYYmicro2.0YY-
12.
 
Sony RX1RYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
13.
 
Sony RX1Ystereo / monoY-mini2.0---

Both the A7 and the A7S have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The A7 was replaced by the Sony A7 II, while the A7S was followed by the Sony A7S II. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Sony website.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Sony A7 and the Sony A7S? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Advantages of the Sony Alpha A7:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (24 vs 12MP) with a 41% higher linear resolution.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1 EV of extra DR).
  • Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1230k vs 921k dots).
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (32 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in October 2013).


Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A7S:

  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.7 stops ISO advantage).
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (380 versus 340) out of a single battery charge.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (5 months) more recently.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A7 emerges as the winner of the contest (6 : 4 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

A7 06:04 A7S

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Sony A7 and the Sony A7S place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the A7 and the A7S in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Sony A75/5+ +..80/1005/55/5 Oct 2013 1,699i
2.
 
Sony A7S4/5....86/1004.5/55/5 Apr 2014 2,499i
3.
 
Nikon Df4/5....81/1004/54/5 Nov 2013 2,749i
4.
 
Nikon D6104/5+ +..87/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,999 i
5.
 
Panasonic GH45/5+ +..85/1005/55/5 Feb 2014 1,499i
6.
 
Samsung NX15/5....87/1005/55/5 Sep 2014 1,499i
7.
 
Sony A7C3.5/5..3.5/586/1004/54/5 Sep 2020 1,799 i
8.
 
Sony A7 III..+ +4.5/589/1005/55/5 Feb 2018 1,999 i
9.
 
Sony A7S II5/5+....4.5/55/5 Sep 2015 2,999i
10.
 
Sony A7 II5/5+4/582/1004.5/55/5 Nov 2014 1,999i
11.
 
Sony A7R5/5+ +..82/1004.5/55/5 Oct 2013 2,299i
12.
 
Sony RX1R5/5......4/54.5/5 Jun 2013 2,799i
13.
 
Sony RX15/5....79/1004/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,799i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Sony A7:
Check Ebay offers
Sony A7S:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Sony A7 vs Sony A7S

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Sony A7 Sony A7S
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Sony E mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
    Launch Date October 2013 April 2014
    Launch Price USD 1,699 USD 2,499
    Sensor Specs Sony A7 Sony A7S
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 35.8 x 23.9 mm 35.8 x 23.9 mm
    Sensor Area 855.62 mm2 855.62 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43 mm 43 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 24 Megapixels 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6000 x 4000 pixels 4240 x 2832 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.97 μm 8.45 μm
    Pixel Density 2.80 MP/cm2 1.40 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 25,600 ISO 100 - 102,400 ISO
    ISO Boost 50 - 51,200 ISO 50 - 409,600 ISO
    Image Processor BIONZ X BIONZ X
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 90 87
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 24.8 23.9
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 14.2 13.2
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 2248 3702
    Screen Specs Sony A7 Sony A7S
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.71x 0.71x
    Viewfinder Resolution 2400k dots 2400k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 1230k dots 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs Sony A7 Sony A7S
    Focus System On-Sensor Phase-detect Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/8000s 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Electronic Shutterno E-ShutterYES
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium MS or SDXC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Sony A7 Sony A7S
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI micro HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port External MIC port
    Headphone Socket Headphone port Headphone port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in NFC built-in
    Body Specs Sony A7 Sony A7S
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type NP-FW50 NP-FW50
    Battery Life (CIPA)340 shots per charge380 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 127 x 94 x 48 mm
    (5.0 x 3.7 x 1.9 in)
    127 x 94 x 48 mm
    (5.0 x 3.7 x 1.9 in)
    Camera Weight 474 g (16.7 oz) 489 g (17.2 oz)
    Sony A7:
    Check Ebay offers
    Sony A7S:
    Check Ebay offers

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