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    Sony A7/A7R specifications

    f there's one thing that you can say about Sony's digital camera business, it's that they've experimented with many different concepts. From SLRs with dual autofocus systems and Translucent Mirror Technology to its NEX mirrorless line-up, Sony has gone down virtually every avenue in digital imaging. Their latest products - the Alpha 7 and Alpha 7R - may be the most exciting products to come out of the Sony labs in some time. The Company has managed to create full-frame cameras which are about the same size as the Olympus OM-D E-M1. In other words, much smaller than any other full-frame interchangeable lens camera.
    In addition, Sony is also unifying the Alpha and NEX brands, so all future interchangeable lens cameras will now fall under the Alpha umbrella.
    The A7 and A7R are identical in terms of design, with the main differences being their sensors and autofocus systems. The A7 features a full-frame 24 megapixel CMOS, while the A7R has a 36 megapixel CMOS sensor with no optical low-pass filter. The A7 uses an Hybrid AF system (using on-chip phase detection) similar to the one found on the SLT-A99, while the A7R has traditional contrast detection. Both cameras use Sony's new Bionz X processor and also have XGA (1024 x 768 pixel) electronic viewfinders, tilting LCDs, Wi-Fi, and weatherproof bodies that resemble a much-simplified Olympus E-M1.
    As you'd expect, Sony had to come up with new lenses to take advantage of the full-frame sensors, and they'll be known as 'FE-series'. There will be five lenses to start (listed below), with ten more promised by 2015. Existing E-mount lenses will work, though they won't illuminate the entire sensor. If you have A-mount lenses laying around, those too will work, as long as you pick up either of Sony's two adapters.

    Sony A7 / A7R key features
    • 24.3 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor with OLPF [A7]
    • 36.3 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor with no OLPF [A7R]
    • E-mount with support for FE, E, and A-mount lenses (with adapter)
    • Bionz X image processor
    • Hybrid AF system with 25 contrast-detect and 117 phase-detect points [A7 only]
    • Weather-sealed magnesium alloy body
    • 3-inch tilting LCD with 1.23 million dots
    • XGA (2.4 million dot) electronic viewfinder
    • Diffraction correction technology
    • Full HD video recording at 1080/60p and 24p; uncompressed HDMI output
    • Wi-Fi with NFC capability and downloadable apps
    Bionz X Processor

    The big story here are the two full-frame sensors found on the A7R and A7. The A7R's 36 megapixel sensor (sans optical low-pass filter) is likely the same one used in the Nikon D800E. Sony says it is targeting this model for the photographer looks for the best image quality possible - if you don't mind a little moiré. The A7R uses a 'Fast Intelligent' contrast-detect autofocus system that Sony claims is 40% faster than the system on the NEX-7.
    For those who don't need 36 million pixels, there's the A7. This camera uses a 24.3 megapixel CMOS sensor with a low-pass filter and on-chip phase detection. This 'Hybrid AF' system promises faster focus times for the Alpha 7.
    The two cameras may also catch the eye of video enthusiasts. Both can record at 1080/60p and 24p, with manual exposure control, headphone and mic ports, an audio meter, zebra pattern, XLR support (via optional adapter) and live, uncompressed, HDMI output.

    The company's latest processor, dubbed Bionz X for reasons that presumably made sense to someone, is considerably more powerful than the previous generation, allowing what the company says will be more sophisticated processing.
    Sony is being a little vague on specifics but is touting the new processor as offering 'Detail Reproduction Technology' which appears to be a more subtle and sophisticated sharpening system. The company promises less apparent emphasis on edges, giving a more convincing representation of fine detail'.
    Another function promised by the Bionz X processor is 'Diffraction Reduction', in which the camera's processing attempts to correct for the softness caused by diffraction as you stop a lens' aperture down. This processing is presumably aperture-dependent and sounds similar to an element of Fujifilm's Lens Modulation Optimization system (introduced on the X100S), suggesting it's something we should expect to see become more common across brands in the coming months.
    Finally, Sony says the Bionz X chip offers a more advanced version of its context-sensitive, 'area-specific noise reduction', which attempts to identify whether each area of an image represents smooth tone, textured detail or subject edges and apply different amounts of noise reduction accordingly.
    We've only seen printed samples of the camera's images so far and can't be sure to what extent their everyday output will live up to these promises, but it'll certainly be something we'll look to test as soon as we receive a production-spec camera.

    While the A7 and A7R have an E-mount, you'll need to use Sony's new FE-series lenses to take advantage of those full-frame sensors. Existing E mount lenses will still physically fit, but as they're only designed for use with APS-C sensors, their image circles won't cover the entire frame properly (just like using Sony's DT lenses on full-frame Alpha mount cameras). Five FE lenses are being announced at launch, but they won't all be immediately available, and the 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS will only be sold as a kit lens for the A7. All of the lenses are weather-sealed, but while all the zooms include optical stabilization, the primes do not.
    Here are the four lenses that will be available in the months following the A7/A7R launch:

    Sony A7/A7R specifications

     Sony Alpha 7Sony Alpha 7R
    MSRP$1699.99 (body only), $1999.99 (with 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 lens)$2299.99
    Body type
    Body typeRangefinder-style mirrorless
    Body materialMagnesium alloy
    Max resolution6000 x 40007360 x 4144
    Other resolutions6000 x 3376, 3936 x 2624, 3936 x 2216, 3008 x 1688, 3008 x 20007360 x 4912, 7360 x 4144, 4800 x 3200, 4800 x 2704, 3680 x 2072, 2400 x 1600
    Image ratio w:h3:2, 16:9
    Effective pixels24 megapixels36 megapixels
    Sensor photo detectors25 megapixels37 megapixels
    Sensor sizeFull frame (35.8 x 23.9 mm)Full frame (35.9 x 24 mm)
    Sensor size notesNo optical low-pass filter
    Sensor typeCMOS
    ProcessorBionz X
    Color spacesRGB, AdobeRGB
    Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
    White balance presets10
    Custom white balanceYes
    Image stabilizationNo
    Uncompressed formatRAW
    JPEG quality levelsExtra fine, fine, standard
    File format
    • JPEG (DCF 2.0, EXIF 2.3)
    • RAW (ARW 2.3)
    Image parameters
    • Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Clear, Deep, Light, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset, Night Scene, Autumn Leaves, Black & White, Sepia
    Optics & Focus
    • Contrast Detect (sensor)
    • Phase Detect
    • Multi-area
    • Center
    • Selective single-point
    • Single
    • Continuous
    • Face Detection
    • Live View
    • Contrast Detect (sensor)
    • Multi-area
    • Center
    • Selective single-point
    • Single
    • Continuous
    • Face Detection
    • Live View
    Autofocus assist lampYes
    Digital zoomYes (4)
    Manual focusYes
    Number of focus points11725
    Lens mountSony E Mount
    Screen / viewfinder
    Articulated LCDTilting
    Screen size3.00
    Screen dots1,230,000
    Touch screenNo
    Screen typeXtra Fine LCD
    Live viewYes
    Viewfinder typeElectronic
    Viewfinder coverage100%
    Viewfinder magnification0.71×
    Viewfinder resolution2,359,000
    Photography features
    Minimum shutter speed30 sec
    Maximum shutter speed1/8000 sec
    Exposure modes
    • Auto
    • Program
    • Aperture priority
    • Shutter priority
    • Manual
    Scene modes
    • Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sports Action, Sunset, Night Portrait, Night Scene, Hand-held Twilight, Anti Motion Blur
    Built-in flashNo
    External flashYes (via Multi Interface shoe)
    Drive modes
    • Single, continuous, speed priority continuous, self-timer, bracketing (AE, white balance, DRO)
    Self-timerYes (2 or 10 sec; continuous (3 or 5 exposures))
    Metering modes
    • Multi
    • Center-weighted
    • Spot
    Exposure compensation±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
    AE Bracketing±5 (3, 5 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV, 2 EV steps)
    WB BracketingYes
    Videography features
    • MPEG-4
    • AVCHD
    Resolutions1920 x 1080 (60p, 60i, 24p), 1440 x 1080 (30p), 640 x 480 (30p)
    Videography notesheadphone and microphone ports, XLR support via adapter
    Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC, Memory Stick Duo/Pro Duo/Pro-HG Duo
    USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
    HDMIYes (micro-HDMI port with 4K still, uncompressed video output)
    Wireless noteswith NFC and wireless control via PlayMemories Mobile app
    Remote controlYes (wired)
    Environmentally sealedYes
    BatteryBattery Pack
    Battery descriptionNP-FW50 lithium-ion battery and charger
    Battery Life (CIPA)340
    Weight (inc. batteries)474 g (1.04 lb / 16.72 oz)465 g (1.03 lb / 16.40 oz)
    Dimensions127 x 94 x 48 mm (5.00 x 3.70 x 1.89)
    Other features
    Orientation sensorYes
    Timelapse recordingNo

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