Click Click! Thunk! Shutter Sound Comparison – Sony A7R vs Leica M

Click Click! Thunk! Shutter Sound Comparison – Sony A7R vs Leica M

The video below is self-explanatory, basically an audio comparison between the Sony A7r and Leica M in the shutter sound department. Enjoy!

Related Post

73 Comments

  1. Steve, When I shoot the A7 I hear a succession of rapid clicks and then I get “prosessing…” and the photo. I do not get the sound you repor. T. Can you tell me why is that! Why I do not get the single click that you all get? Thank you, and keep up the good work

    • Sounds like you have the wrong Auto ISO engaged. There are two options there, one of them takes a succession of shots and stacks them for better high ISO. I do not use that one so check that as my bet is you have that one engaged.

  2. I know u said Steve that the only difference in shutter speed/lag between the two is the shutter sound that “fools” you into thinking it so…but if I turn off the sound of the video in ur first video between the two I see a noticeable difference in the LCD blackout time…the r taking much longer to refresh…is it my impression or have u also noticed this?

  3. I’m hoping that camera manufacturers will someday adopt the much more stealthy shutter sound, “Quack-Quack.” No one would ever guess they were being photographed. HBS

    • In this extremely scientific test, the A7 sounds rather horrible. Absolute sound levels aren’t everything, the nature of the sound might be more important.

  4. I assume the α7 body / lens construction is way too thin to muffle the sound. Leica body seems more vibration free.

  5. Not toooo concerned about the sound, rather does the shutter induce blur on macro or telephoto shots when the camera is perched on flimsy tripod. My NEX 5N DOES introduce vibrations that cause blurring if the EFC is off. Hope you compare the A7 to the A7r. Oly users have discussed such a phenomenon I think.

  6. At first I thought it’s just the nature of a mirrorless camera (they stay open until we hit the shutter release then the shutter closed and open again to create the exposure) but when I tried my X-Pro1 it sounds a lot like the M.
    I hope you can post a video on how the A7r’s shutter works, Steve…

  7. Hey guys, what’s all that fuzz regarding the way this film was executed? Let me quote Steve here: this is an “audio COM-PA-RI-SON”! The purpose of a comparison is to emphasize the differences. To do this, it’s essential to record both items in the same circumstances. In this case, both camera’s were exactly in the same spot on the same table. To emphasize differences in sound, you’d better enlarge the dynamics. Again, placing the cameras on the table, with the top acting like a sound board, is exactly the best way to make this happen. So to emphasize the differences and realize a clear comparison, this recording was VERY WELL EXECUTED.
    One can clearly perceive that the A7r’s sound is not only longer, it’s also higher in pitch. In general, higher piches are more easily perceived as vexatious, but lower pitches reach further. Another element: the amplitude curve of the M seems to be steeper, which contributes to a bigger “shock”-effect. Last remark: one can never perceive an accoustic sound (which those camera’s produce) to the fullest, when listening to a recording via PC speakers – even the best professional studio monitoring system will give a completely different experience than the live sound!
    But honestly, we’re talking about nuances here that mainly work on an emotional level. As far as that’s concerned, the question is: do I love it, or do I hate it. That’s personal. Me, I love the A7r sound more than the M’s. It gives me more a “camera curtains” impression.
    Last thought: in sound it’s perfectly possible to have two items (for instance studio monitors) that produce the same measuring figures, but still sound very different. So to judge solely on the basis of figures is an occupation for those who rather like to LOOK at sound instead of LISTENING.
    🙂

  8. The sound of the a7r is fine in the hand in fact it has a reassuring feel…..def not too loud. In fact after a bit of use, one doesn’t even notice it. The camera feels like quality generally and the sound sort of reflects that

  9. I don’t mind that the comparison isn’t super-technical; it’s just to give us a rough comparison. The table makes them both sound louder, but since presumably it affects both of them equally, you can still compare one to the other. I admit I’d rather hear them both held in hand, though (same distance from the mic) so we could get a better idea of how they’d sound in use.

    I’m guessing that the Sony’s sound would be more noticeable simply because it goes on longer and is “busier”/more complex, but it’s still fairly low-pitched and probably wouldn’t be too obtrusive in noisy environments.

  10. The A7R sounds like that but the pitch is higher in the video, probably amplified by the table/echo. The A7R shutter is slow, deliberate and clunking.. so much so that the A7R has been nicknamed “Chomp-Chomp” (said with a deep guttural sound).

  11. I prefer the A7r sound much better than the M. It actually sounds like a shutter where the M sounded like it stopoed a little short before it finished. The best way to describe it is that the M is trying NOT to sound like a camera and the A7r is bragging that it IS a camera. That’s how it feels to me.

  12. For street photography, which I enjoy a lot, this noisy ‘clunk’ is bad news. No ‘in camera stabilisation’ or lenses (36mp!) either. Otherwise great camera but not for me. Cheers

  13. The Sony sounds like it is taking two pictures. I don’t think it’s the volume as much as the duration of the sound. The M sounds like hitting a single key on a typewriter (for those of us old enough to remember what that sounds like). The M didn’t sound much quieter to me from the video, it just made the sound for a much shorter duration.

  14. It would have been nice if the absorption coefficients of the floor, walls, ceiling and table were included so as to determine the effect the room has on the shutter sounds. The humidity level would also be helpful. I’ll wait for the re-test 🙂

    • But, since this is a comparison, those are not factors unless they change dramatically between clicking the Leica and clicking the Sony. Well anyway, I understand this is just an informal comparison but some of us are hopeless geeks and geeks like numbers 🙂

    • Good points Ken, and someone with fatter fingers might inadvertently absorb more of the sound or change the nature of the frequencies coming through, really I dont think Steve thought this through at all. Other sites will of course demonstrate the worst case by continually shooting highly reflective brick wall type surfaces or fascinating studio scenes with glass bottles, and he never seems to cover that aspect of photography properly either 😉

  15. Pls. also note the vibration generated by the shutter of A7r. That could be a problem for some low speed shots. I tried both and the Leica M is much more stable.

  16. What bothers me more than the shutter sound is that the A7R has an electronic viewfinder, this was my dream camera till I tested it in a sony store, the optical viewfinder in my D600 is much better for me

  17. The A7R is significantly louder. I’d be curious to hear what the A7 sounds like with the electronic first curtain enabled. EFC and all, neither will probably beat the M’s shutter. Nor should they, given how much work went into improving it vs the M9. It makes that perfect understated snxt. That said, for the price difference and getting AF, I could live with the A7R shutter just fine.

  18. we might be getting a little over analytical here, it’s just to give you an idea of the sound. Doesn’t bother me at all, the autofocus bleep from many cameras is much more annoying.

    Perhaps they could add the sound of someone winding the film on….then us old folks (yes, that includes you now Steve) could get all teary eyed at the memory…..of course there are plenty here still having that experience and enjoying it too.

  19. Would love to hear this again but this time holding the camera in your hands as you would when taking a photo. Doing this on a table adds in other issues.

  20. It would be better to set each camera on a tripod, use a timer and have a sound level meter measure it. Or at least show the display on the Roland recording device you are using so we know which one goes higher.

  21. Happy Birthday Steve! After listening the sound of the the two cameras I took out my M6 and enjoyed the best sounding camera for the M lenses………. So wonderful!!!

  22. Hi Steve, happy birthday:-)
    In fact, I don’t really care of shutter sound unless it sounds like hammering.. but unfortunately, this video doesn’t say anything about these shutter loudness, because you recorder was set to auto level mode… I can clearly hear it.
    It’s like shooting two different walls, one gray and one white with camera in automatic exposure mode… they will both end up like 18% grey…
    I think you got me 🙂
    You have to set level manualy 🙂
    Thanks for all your great reviews and articles 🙂

  23. NO, no, no! We are hearing the shutter and then the table. The 240 is no where near that loud. Let’s pick it up and hand hold it.

  24. Sony A7R kinda’ sounds
    like an old-time Cash Register, or Adding Machine !

    But hey — they are BOTH great cameras, and I’d love either one.
    🙂

  25. Steve, please repeat the test with the two cameras sitting on two hand towels; there is no doubt that the table is amplifying the sound. An alternative would be to mount both on tripods before recording.

    Personally, assuming this is a ‘worst case’ scenario (i.e., this is the loudest possible versions of the respective shutter sounds, I don’t think there’s much of a problem, do you?

    Happy Birthday, too!

    • Who really cares how the cameras sound while perched on hand-towels?

      What’s wrong with the video as is? It provides a relative measure, as-is, and is good enough, certainly not worth recording, editing, and posting yet another video on shutter sounds.

      Is the A7r sound “louder” or, more importantly if you care about these things, is the sound “longer”?

      When I had a chance to shoot the A7r (which is what I’m buying) I found the sound was louder than the fairly quiet Ricoh GXR/M I had with me but no louder than a D800.

      Sure, it’ll tick some people off. Not me.

      • I agree, but its not compared with the M240, which I have, and can tell you its now ways near that loud. Unless its amplified for the sake of the video, then I get it. But my M240 is quieter than my old M9 so I don’t quite get what I’m hearing…I’m surprised that’s all.

  26. If you had auto-gain on the digital recorder you were using then it would make both sound equally loud, wouldn’t it? It seems to me the only truly objective way to do this would be to compare decibel readings at the same distance. It was fun to listen to though.

      • If the video camera is using automatic gain control (my NEX has it on, and it can’t be turned off) — then the camera will always increase levels toward some ‘normal.’ But for this, you’d obviously want a consistent audio gain level. Not that this is the world’s most pressing concern, but Gordon did have a good point.

    • It certainly is a mechanical sound, otherwise it could be easily disabled and therefore a non issue. In some ways the sound can be useful, but certainly not when you want to take discrete shots.

      • Sigh, that’s not true at all. Do you actually own the camera or have you ever tried it? The shutter sound is not loud at all. Really, try it. Give your camera to someone else or use the self timer and step away a few steps. All that remains are modest clicks. I like the somewhat relaxed sound of the shutter in the A7R. Helps me slow down and think. I have not seen any problems with shutter vibration so far. What I do see, are beautiful amazingly detailed files that deliver all the resolution and dynamic range I’ll ever need for large prints. I can print the files from the A7R at 70x50cm without breaking a sweat.

        Every time I have the A7R in my hands I can’t help but marvel at it’s low weight and diminutive size. It’s like using a micro four thirds camera, but instead of a small limited sensor, this camera houses a 36 megapixel full frame sensor (without an AA filter) that delivers tons of detail and an impressive dynamic range. Sony did it again. They put a huge amount of useful modern technology in an unbelievably small body.

        I can carry this camera with two native primes all day almost without noticing it. I couldn’t do that with the Nikon D800. Photographing with the Sony A7R is like using a small classic film SLR. I love that feeling. It really is different from other mirrorless cameras.

        Nothing is perfect and there’s always something that can be improved. For me the Sony A7(R) has no serious flaws and it gives me a lot of freedom. Every new (innovative) camera is burned down tot the ground by people that never actually use a camera artistically. All these people seem to do, is stare at charts, numbers, resolution targets and comparative tests.

    • Both cameras are set on a wooden table. A table top is an excellent natural amplifier of sound (interestingly, the front face of a violin or a guitar – the part that vibrates the sound – is called the ‘table’ ). If the cameras had been hand held or fixed onto a tripod the shutter sounds would be much less loud. So the ‘real world’ shutter sounds of these cameras would be quieter.

  27. Hi Steve, I would believe that having the cameras somewhere else (maybe attached to an tripod) would have been much better due to the “echo” from the table. It seems like you have measured the decibel as well which would have been nice to know. In any case I like the sound of the Leica much more and I think that my Leica M9 sound even better than that.

    • ditto..

      Agreed the shutter sound on my A7R is not the best, a bit on the loud side, kind of lazy sounding and clunky. I’m quite fussy about such things but I know I’ll get over it. Every camera is a compromise and Sony still got a hell of a lot right so for my kind of use it won’t be a major issue..

Comments are closed.