Gear Hands-On

Sony A7 Hands-On And Opinion

After trading in and consigning my Nikon full-frame cameras and buying EF-M gear, I’ve been considering a Sony A7 as something to use for adapting lenses mostly so that I could get a full 35mm sensor format. Is this camera still worth considering? Surprising it’s still sold new, so I was able to check one out at my local camera shop!

Thanks to Camera Craft in Rockford, Illinois for allowing me to film there:

Sony Alpha a7 Digital Camera:
Used on KEH:

Full resolution photos I took while trying the camera out:
Flickr Gallery

Most of the gear I’ve made a hands-on video for: Gear List

Transcript of the related video:

The Sony A7 is still sold new.
Right now, it’s around eight hundred
dollars retail. Back when it was
initially released it was $1700, so a
pretty significant drop in price. However
you do have the A7ii and the iii out
now. So I’m going to talk about this
camera and see if it is an interesting
option still. Has a 24.3 megapixel full-frame sensor with
optical anti-aliasing filter. That lowers
the chance of moire in images, but you
do lose a little bit of sharpness with
that filter. ISO range from 50 boosted
all the way up to 25,600. Autofocus wise, it has a
hybrid contrast and phase detection
system. 25 contrast detect areas
and then 117 phase detect areas.
Those are grouped in the
middle of the sensor, so it doesn’t fill
the whole frame. There is an option in
the settings to turn on a box on the
screen that shows you where the phase
detect areas are. Video wise, it goes up
to 1080p 60 frames a second. That is
encoded at 28 megabits.
Flash sync speed of 1/250th of a second.
The camera does have a magnesium casing, very nice and solid. Viewfinder wise, 100%
viewpoint 0.71x magnification, 2.3 million
pixels in the viewfinder. It does look a
little bit pixelated compared to more
recent cameras. It does have a 3-inch
tilting LCD. It is not a touchscreen.
1/8000th of a second maximum
shutter speed. It does have the
electronic first curtain mode if you
want to use that. Makes it a little bit
quieter, and a little bit faster. Five
frames a second continuous shooting mode
on the camera. The battery is physically
tiny. You do suffer for that.
It’s a NP-FW50. With a CIPA rating from
270 photos to 340 photos depending on if
you use the viewfinder or the back
screen, and also around 60 to a
hundred minutes of video recording time.
Ports wise, USB 2 port, HDMI port with the
clean uncompressed output, microphone,
headphone jack.
Ergonomics wise.. physical features wise..
This is one of the smallest, or probably
the smallest full-frame interchangeable
lens camera out there. It’s before they
added the in-body image stabilization, so
it’s pretty thin for a camera like this.
The video record button is on the side
of the thumb rest. The shutter button is
an older style. It’s kind of vertical so
it really depends on you if it’ll work
with your fingers easily. I did feel a
little bit cramped while using it, but I
had used another camera earlier for
about an hour. So I was definitely
starting to feel it. The front dial has a
sharp edge to it. It’s a little difficult
to adjust. There is a single SD card slot.
Oddly it goes from the back of the
camera to the front of the camera, but it
does work well. It fits… Again, it is a
single card slot, so if you need some
type of in-camera backup just keep that
in mind. There is a switch button combo
that defaults to either autofocus/manual
focus or AE-L modes. With autofocus/
manual focus you have that set. And then
you press the button to switch to manual
focus. I did test out the peaking feature
with that. It’s pretty quick and easy to
use. You just hold that button down and
then you can do peaking with a standard
autofocus lens. Peaking wise it does
have the three levels of peaking. Three
colors of peaking. A setting to have the
zoom automatically show up with a
distance scale. I think that’s one of the
more interesting features of this camera,
which we’ll get to. I mentioned peaking, but
it also has the zebra feature for
exposure aid which is nice. There’s no
locks for the dials mean you can
accidentally change something like the
exposure compensation pretty easily.
There are two memory save slots on the main
dial, which is always nice to see. That way
you can get custom settings for whatever you
want to set up. General economics wise,
pretty solid little camera. I think
that’s really one of the best selling
points of this camera these days is that
it is very compact for the full-frame
sensor, and interchangeable lenses.

I’ve been considering one of these as
potentially something to use with
adapted lenses. That way I have the
full-frame sensor. Could be a really nice
option potentially. Especially used. It’s
getting down there in price a little bit,
and it’s making it more interesting.
Autofocus speed felt average. It will
really depend on long-term use to see
how it works in practice.
If you want something with really good
autofocus you want to get one of the
newer cameras. The A7iii especially.
Let’s talk about who this camera could be for
these days. The first one is someone on a
budget that wants a full-frame mirrorless
camera. This is one of your cheapest
options. Someone that wants a very
compact mirrorless full-frame camera
that has interchangeable lenses. They
have a lot of old film era lenses that
they want to adapt to something. I think
this is a pretty solid option in that
case. That’s the main reason I’m
considering this camera is the smaller
size being able to adapt lenses and
still have that full-frame sensor. If you
are looking for in-camera stabilizer, you
want to go with the ii or the iii version
of the A7. If you want the better battery
life, you want to go for the iii version of
A7. Better autofocus, again, go for
the A7iii. Really depends on your budget
though. I do think this is an interesting
option still, but you have to keep in mind
the autofocus system and all of that. So
that was a quick look at the A7. Hope you
enjoyed this video. Again, thanks
Camera Craft for let me try this out at
their shop.