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Sony A7R Comparison Review

The Sony Alpha A7R is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera that was announced in October 2013 and is equipped with a full frame sensor. It offers a resolution of 36.2 megapixel.

camera

Is the Sony A7R a good camera? The A7R has a Camera Elo of 1853. This rating puts the A7R below average of all mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (full frame cameras), the A7R also ranks below average. – Well, the Sony A7R is more than 7 years old, and there have been many other good digital cameras released since 2013.

Headline Specifications
Sony A7R
Mirrorless system camera
Sony E mount lenses
36.2 MP, Full Frame Sensor
1080/60p Video
ISO 100 - 25 600 (50 - 51 200)
Electronic viewfinder (2400k dots)
3.0 LCD, 1230k dots
Tilting screen (no touchscreen)
4 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed body
340 shots per battery charge
127 x 94 x 48 mm, 465 g


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Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.

Body comparison with a credit card

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size of the Sony A7R vis-à-vis a credit card. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Sony A7R vs credit card front
A7R versus credit card top view
A7R and credit card rear side

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Sony A7R alongside a set of comparators. If you want to review a camera pair side-by-side, just select a right-side comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Sony A7R 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 16.4 oz 340 Y Oct 2013 2,299i
 
Nikon D810 5.7 in 4.8 in 3.2 in 34.6 oz 1200 Y Jun 2014 3,299i
 
Sony A7 III 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.9 in 22.9 oz 610 Y Feb 2018 1,999 i
 
Sony A7R III 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.9 in 22.9 oz 650 Y Oct 2017 3,199i
 
Sony A7R II 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.4 in 22.0 oz 290 Y Jun 2015 3,199i
 
Sony RX1R II 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.9 oz 220 n Oct 2015 3,299 i
 
Sony A7 II 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.4 in 21.1 oz 350 Y Nov 2014 1,999i
 
Sony A7S 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 17.2 oz 380 Y Apr 2014 2,499i
 
Sony A7 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 16.7 oz 340 Y Oct 2013 1,699i
 
Sony RX1R 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.0 oz 270 n Jun 2013 2,799i
 
Sony RX1 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.0 oz 270 n Sep 2012 2,799i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Sony A7R was launched in the US market at a price of $2,299. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Sony A7R:
Check Ebay offers

Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide

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. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

The Sony A7R features a full frame sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Sony A7R among the large-sensor cameras that aim for top notch image quality.

Sony A7R sensor measures

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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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
 
Sony A7R Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.614.1274695
 
Nikon D810 Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.714.8285397
 
Sony A7 III Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.7373096
 
Sony A7R III Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p26.014.73523100
 
Sony A7R II Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p26.013.9343498
 
Sony RX1R II Full Frame 42.2 7952 53041080/60p25.813.9320497
 
Sony A7 II Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.913.6244990
 
Sony A7S Full Frame 12.0 4240 28321080/60p23.913.2370287
 
Sony A7 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.814.2224890
 
Sony RX1R Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.013.6253791
 
Sony RX1 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.114.3253493

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The A7R indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the A7R can use is 1080/60p.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A7R has an electronic viewfinder with a resolution of 2400k dots. The viewfinder offers a field of view of 100% and a magnification of 0.71x. The adjacent tables list some of the other core features of the Sony A7R 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
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
 
Sony A7R2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 4.0 n n
 
Nikon D810optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
 
Sony A7 III2359 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
 
Sony A7R III3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y
 
Sony A7R II2400 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y
 
Sony RX1R II2360 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/4000s 5.0 n n
 
Sony A7 II2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y
 
Sony A7S2400 n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
 
Sony A72400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
 
Sony RX1Roptional n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Sony RX1optional n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n

Connection 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 A7R 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
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Sony A7RYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-
 
Nikon D810YstereomonoYYmini3.0Y--
 
Sony A7 IIIYstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYY
 
Sony A7R IIIYstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYY
 
Sony A7R IIYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-
 
Sony RX1R IIYstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-
 
Sony A7 IIYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-
 
Sony A7SYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-
 
Sony A7YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-
 
Sony RX1RYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Sony RX1YstereomonoY-mini2.0---

It is notable that the A7R has a microphone port. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.

Expert reviews

While the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the A7R 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. This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Sony A7R+ +82/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2013 2,299i
 
Nikon D810..86/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 3,299i
 
Sony A7 III+ +89/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2018 1,999 i
 
Sony A7R III+ +90/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2017 3,199i
 
Sony A7R II+ +90/1005/54.5/55/5 Jun 2015 3,199i
 
Sony RX1R II..82/100..o4.5/5 Oct 2015 3,299 i
 
Sony A7 II+82/1004.5/55/55/5 Nov 2014 1,999i
 
Sony A7S..86/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Apr 2014 2,499i
 
Sony A7+ +80/1005/54.5/55/5 Oct 2013 1,699i
 
Sony RX1R....4/5o4.5/5 Jun 2013 2,799i
 
Sony RX1..79/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,799i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time 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 A7R FAQ

Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the A7R.

What is the technology behind the imaging sensor in the A7R?

The camera features a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor.

Which image processing chip is used to convert the raw signal into an image file and perform noise reduction and image sharpening?

Sony equipped the A7R with the BIONZ X image processor.

What is the ISO sensitivity range of the A7R?

The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 50-51200.

What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Sony Alpha A7R?

Sony mentions a shutter rating of 250 000 actuations for the A7R. This number represents a Mean Time before Failure, that is an average value. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust the expected shutter life of the A7R over, say, three years, one would have to take about 250 pictures each and every day.

How do I find the shutter count on my Sony A7R?

Sony embeds the number of shutter actuations in image metadata. You can check the number of shots that your A7R has taken up to now by uploading a recent image to the online shutter count app.

Is it difficult to use manual focus lenses with the Sony A7R?

The A7R offers focus peaking as a manual focus aid. This feature works by placing a colored highlight on in-focus zones within the image.

Does the Sony A7R feature an autofocus assist light?

Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.

What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?

The A7R's flash sync speed is 1/160 sec.

Does the Sony A7R support the Ultra High Speed (UHS) bus interface for SD cards?

Yes, the camera can indeed use UHS-I cards (data transfer speed of up to 104 MB/s).

Which battery does the A7R use?

The camera gets its power from the NP-FW50 (here at amazon), which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.

Is there a vertical grip available for the A7R?

Yes, Sony offers the VG-C1EM as an optional accessory to facilitate shooting in portrait orientation and to provide additional battery power.

Camera to camera comparisons

In case you are interested in seeing how this camera compares to another one, 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 Summary
    Camera Model Sony A7R
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Sony E mount lenses
    Launch Date October 2013
    Launch Price USD 2 299
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 35.9 x 24.0 mm
    Sensor Area 862 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 36.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 7 360 x 4 912 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.88 μm
    Pixel Density 4.20 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 25 600 ISO
    ISO Boost 50 - 51 200 ISO
    Image Processor BIONZ X
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 95
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 25.6
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 14.1
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 2746
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.71x
    Viewfinder Resolution 2400k dots
    LCD Framing Live View
    LCD Size 1230k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus Peaking
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 4 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy250 000 actuations
    Silent Shootingno E-Shutter
    Time Lapse Photographyno Intervalometer
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port
    Headphone Socket Headphone port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in
    Body Specs
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed body
    Battery Type NP-FW50 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)340 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 127 x 94 x 48 mm
    (5.0 x 3.7 x 1.9 in)
    Camera Weight 465 g (16.4 oz)

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