Sony’s A7r contained the world’s most desirable FF sensor in a remarkable package that had its infuriating sides. Good build, lovely design, great EVF alongside terrible ergonomics, slow wakeup times and noisy shutter.
Once the joy of superb image quality started to dissolve into everyday normality, the niggles started to grow in importance up to the point where I actually stopped using the camera for some weeks. I voiced my aggravation several times on this website and then, more constructively, wondered whether the future A7r replacement would follow a path of innovation (more megapixels, sensor-shift …) or maturity (faster wakeup, better ergonomics, silent shutter …).
It turns out the answer is “both”. Sony have just announced what is – by a safe margin – the most mouth-watering camera on the market.
Resolution grows from 36 to 42Mpix. Probably not hugely noticeable but nothing to sniff at.
Much more importantly, the sensor is back-illuminated. In astrophotography, the best cameras all use this technology which not only provide greater sensitivity but – often – higher dynamic range. The aging sensor in the A7r really could not be criticised. 3 years on (I owned a D800e before the A7r) its image quality with good lenses and good shooting technique still amazes me. But, on paper, this new sensor promises even better things to come. The improved ISO rating is nice to have but not really essential. But it could mean that ISO3200 will be as smooth as 1000 used to be. And that’s really good.
I look forward to reading the specs in more detail, particularly dynamic range and base ISO value.
Just as sexy is the silent shutter more. That is wonderful news indeed for anyone making pictures in quiet environments.
Oh, and 4K for those who photograph things that move.
4 stop 5-axis stabilisation, 3.5x faster operation, silent mode, no vibrations, 500 000 shutter actuation rating …
These are all very precious promises which, if borne-out, will make this camera a very mature one on which to build a fantastic system.
First Image samples look very promising too. Also check out the full list of very interesting features (for instance, Bright Monitoring)
All this is very welcome maturity. Sony have resister market pressure and appear to have taken the time necessary to create an almost-perfect package.
My only, and very minor, gripe so far, is that the rear view seems to suggest ergonomic choices have remained the same. A bit of a shame but definitely something we can live with considering how brilliant the rest appears to be.
Q-dos Sony (I feel a little pain for Leica, who just announced a very interesting Q camera. But it does appear the real Q department is out there, at Sony HQ. There’s simply no comparison possible between these 2 offerings!)
And a huge thank you for listening to your fan base! You can use your fantastic cameras to film the slow sinking of your competition, who didn’t.
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