I got this urge over the weekend to finally go and upgrade my camera. I decided to purchase Sony’s full frame mirrorless camera, the Sony Alpha 7 or Sony A7. This is the model with the smaller megapixels, the bigger megapixels one being the Sony A7R. I decided to get the A7 model because of three things:
- Budget – The Sony A7 and A7R are pretty much the same and the main difference is the megapixels. Because I had to limit my expenses I decided to go for the cheaper model.
The Sony A7 was selling at Cathay Photo for S$2,159 (with kit lens) and the Sony A7R was at S$2,499 (body only).
The same models were selling at Sony stores around the island at S$2,199 for the A7 and S$2,549 for the A7R. The Sony stores have a “Cash Rebate” promo until the end of June 2014 wherein they reduce S$200 and S$250 from the A7 and A7R, respectively. The prices I have mentioned already have the “Cash Rebate” reduction.
Online, I checked Digital Rev’s website and the price was similar to the pre-“Cash Rebate” amount from Sony.
I did not look at other stores – I’m not really the type who canvasses a lot.
I bought mine from Cathay Photo.
- Lens Availability – Although the Sony E-mount can be fitted with Nikon or Canon lenses, you have to purchase an adapter to do so. At the time I bought the camera, Cathay Photo was selling a Metabones adapter for S$590. I do no have budget yet for this so I settled for the kit lens. It does have a good enough focal range for my personal taste and it would suffice for the things that I plan to use the camera for. I am however in the process of acquiring an adapter for only S$75 that is assuming I don’t get bombarded by shipping cost.
The Sony A7R is not sold with any lens.
- Speed – Of the two models, the A7 was said to be the faster of the two. Websites mention it going 5fps compared to the 3fps of the A7R. Most websites say that A7R is for those who take photos inside studios or do portraits. That’s not me.
I am satisfied so far with the purchase. I like how light it is compared to my old D90 camera. Also, the size of the cam is a relief. Tourist do not approach me and ask that I take a picture of them which often happens when I have my D90 with me. I guess the bigger the camera the more “pro” you look to most people, right?
I did feel some uneasiness with the way the semi-auto functions like aperture priority and shutter priority operated. It’s as if there is something wrong with them, which led me to use the camera mostly in manual. I am not used to going all manual but it somehow felt easy with this camera. I’m thinking it is probably because of the electronic viewfinder. Whatever changes you make to your settings you see it right away in the viewfinder. Unlike my D90, which has an optical viewfinder, you won’t see the changes.
The battery sucks though. With my Nikon D90 I don’t have to worry about battery drain. For the Sony A7, I started at 100% and ended my day at 20%. I only took around 100 shots! It was published that one full charge would last 304 shots. I guess the suggestion from most websites are true then – get an extra battery. It might be related to the software of the camera much like your usual smartphone. Normally you see Apple release updates that say fix their battery issues and I feel it will be the same for any mirrorless system.
I loved having the ability to share my photos from my camera to social media in an instant. This camera has wifi capabilities and getting your photo from the camera to your phone is easier compared to having to download your photos to your computer then upload your photos to either an online site like Flickr or directly to your phone. However, the Sony proprietary software to download the camera, PlayMemories Mobile, is not too user friendly in the iPhone. I noticed that for me to be able to copy pictures from my camera to my iPhone I had to constantly turn my phone’s airplane mode on and off again – basically resetting my network. If I do not do the camera and the iPhone, even if you put them right next to each other, will not be able to find one another.
It has an NFC chip so I assume getting the pictures to your phone will be easier for most Android phones. Apple still has not introduced NFC to the iPhone at the time of the writing of this post.
Overall, I am happy with the camera especially the connectivity it offers. I am hoping that Sony will find a way to reduce the battery drain and also to improve their PlayMemories app. As for the lenses, Sony is reported to be releasing 14 or 15 lenses within 2014 – currently they already have 5 including the kit lens. The lenses are not cheap though but they are Carl Zeiss lenses.
Below are some samples of the photos I took with the Sony A7.