The Sony ILCE-7, ILCE-7R and ILCE-7S (Î±7/Î±7R/Î±7S) are three closely related digital cameras announced 16 October 2013 for the first two, and 6 April 2014 for the third in the series. Externally, they are identical except for the model-number. They are Sonyâs first full-frame mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras and share the E-mount with the companyâs smaller sensor NEX series. The ILCE-7m2 (Î±7II) was announced in November 2014, and is the first in the family to revise the original body and ergonomics. The a7 series is targeted at experienced users, enthusiasts and professionals.
Sony's new model naming prefix strives to unify model names. âILCâ indicates Interchangeable Lens Camera followed by an indicator of A-mount âAâ or E-mount âEâ
The products are more commonly known as the Î±7, Î±7R and Î±7S. Pre-announcement rumours speculated that the new camera would be named Sony NEX-9.
Although the Î±7 series uses full frame sensors and have a DSLR-shaped design, their sizes and weights are less than Olympus OM-D E-M1 with its small micro four thirds sensor and can also be compared with the lightest Fullframe DSLR. Compared to the smallest and lightest APS-C DSLR Canon EOS 100D, the Î±7 is 67 grams heavier and a bit larger, but the thickness is only two thirds of Canon's. The Î±7 price is significantly lower than a comparative Fullframe DSLR price, but still higher than that of a low or mid-end compact camera price. Compared to the Nikon D800E, the weight of Sony Î±7R is only about a half and the price is about two-thirds.
There are four different models available in the Î±7-series. They are the Î±7, Î±7R, Î±7S and Î±7II.
The basic 'Î±7' model has 24MP and fast hybrid-autofocus.
The 'R' model is the 36MP "resolution" version of the series with a new, higher-density sensor design, and priced $600 more than the Î±7 at launch, but has no optical low-pass filter as the sibling has. However, the Î±7R does not include the faster hybrid auto-focus system found on the base model.
The 'S' model is a high sensitivity version of the series with an effective ISO range from 100 to 409600 and with 4K video capability, but only 12MP.
The Î±7II model uses the same sensor (with minor tweaks) as the original Î±7, but significantly revises the external ergonomics and adds Image Stabilization as the world's first 5-axis sensor-shift image stabilisation system for a full-frame ILC. Sony claimed that this can compensate a 4.5-stop equivalent of camera shake. In-body stabilization requires no special lens features, and mirrorless system cameras can typically accommodate lenses from any SLR system. As an upgrade of the Î±7, the Î±7II has the same 50Mbit XAVC-S codec as the Î±7S but lacks 4K video, and the 5 axis stabilisation is less effective in video mode than that used in the Olympus OM-D E-M1. However, the crop mode used in the Î±7II does not incur "very much loss in image quality", unlike that of the Nikon D750.
Features (universal for Î±7-series)
- Exmor CMOS full frame sensor (With different megapixels depending on camera version)
- TruBlack XtraFine LCD screen (3"/ 7,5Â cm) with 921.6K dots resolution with tilt functionality.
- 1.3Â cm (0.5inch) Electronic Viewfinder.
- 1200-zone evaluative light metering.
- Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC.
- LED-auto focus illuminator.
- Multi Interface Shoe.
- 9 customizable buttons and 45 assignable functions.
The cameras received positive reception from the critics. DxOMark crowned the Î±7R as the highest full frame with sensor quality by a mirrorless camera with the score of 95 and has same score with Nikon D800, but one point behind of Nikon D800E, while the Î±7 has score of 90 and better than Nikon Df, Nikon D4 professional DSLR camera and Sony SLT-A99. The Verge rated the cameras 8.3 out of 10 commenting that "It might be a few years before we realize it, but when the DSLR is relegated to a niche status among specialty photographers and full-frame mirrorless cameras dominate the market, weâll have the Î±7s to thank as the cameras that started it all." EPhotozine which rated the Î±7 5 stars, meanwhile praised the Î±7's price for being "the cheapest full-frame digital cameras currently available" while being lighter and smaller than comparable cameras. It awarded the Î±7 as the "Camera of the Year." The Î±7R was awarded by Imaging Resource as the "Camera of the Year".