Field Test of the Sony A7r by Brian Smith


Field Test of the Sony A7r by Brian Smith 

Today is probably going to be “A7” day so here is some info you may find useful.

Just saw this page today which is a field test of the Sony A7r by Brain Smith with some AMAZING photographs to go along with it. He also used the Zeiss 18mm f/4 Leica M mount lens and I see ZERO color shift in his image. Check out his report HERE.

I also set up a full pre-order page for the cameras and all accessories HERE.



  1. Just looked at Brian Smith’s excellent review. This is an important camera. Not only is it crazy small, but the images are great. The 35mm examples seem to have a bluish/metallic tint, but the 50mm shots are brilliant. All three of the 50mm examples are better than the seven 35mm examples

  2. I didn’t really think the photos showcase what the camera is capable of, at all. Decent photos, but… Kind of meh. Where’s the 3-d pop? Bokeh? Vivid colors? High iso examples?
    I’ll look again, but I didn’t see any of that.

    I hate to Poo-Poo the photographer, but… I dunno if I’d even consider some of those keepers. I’ll look again.

  3. I do not own any leica glass, but I do have some m42 zeiss, which have always given me great results. I’m in confusion now, because I really like what I see from the FE 35, don’t know if I should just get an RX1R.
    Don’t laugh but my eos m coupled with my m42’s are giving me great results, they just become a bit of a drag to carry sometimes…
    Can anyone advise if going 36mp with the A7r and using m42 would deteriorate iq… I read somewhere when the nex e mount 50mm 1.8 came out, the resoltion of the nex 7 was too much for it to handle…

  4. I’ll wait for impartial reviews before passing judgement. Brian’s a great photographer but he’s paid by Sony and get’s his gear for free.

    • Makes sense why review is very one sided. But the other link posted a few threads above from a Chinese/Asian photographer testing the a7r, those pics are quite impressive….

    • If this is true wouldn’t the honest thing be to say it in the review so people know this before they get all excited by one paid, glowing review? This is why it’s good to look at lots of reviews of new cameras.

    • Brian IS a Pulitzer prize winning photographer, and his work IS great, but this obviously is a Sony ad especially since he even links where you can buy his favorite camera bag. Which just happens to be a Sony bag!

      That being said, this camera IS going to be really special.

  5. I am very interested in using this camera with my Leica M lenses.
    In my opinion the only real issue could be smeared corners, not color shading: color shading can be corrected quite effectively , but there is no solution if you have smeared corners.

    I tried extensively the Fuji XE1 with my Leica M lenses, and while it worked very well with the 90mm Elmarit, the results with the 35mm Summicron ASPH were terrible: at f/2 there was smearing starting at 1/3 of the frame, becoming unacceptable at 2/3. In the extreme corners there was no detail smaller than 5-6 pixels. This was still evident at f/5.6. At f/8 it was ok. And all of this on a cropped sensor.
    I don’t know the reason of this behaviour: I read that the cause is the thickness of the sensor glass, or the loss of specific microlenses, but I know that on the M9 I have all the information up to the corners.

    If instead this camera could work well with Leica M lenses, I see a troublesome future for my bank account, already spoiled by the M9.

  6. There’s something strange about the color and contrast in the pictures. I hope that is all post-processed and not Sony colour.

    • +1 I found the contrast a bit too much, but looking at his portfolio, I think the photgrapher might prefer it that way.

  7. I hope the A7r can also make “normally” contrasted photos……this feels like overcontrasted and oversharpened, not at all pleasing to the eye (at least not my eye).

    Greets, Ed.

  8. Hmm, went down to the Sony store and handled the A99 to check out its EVF, as it is meant to be the same as the A7R. I thought it was ‘ok’, not great. I much prefer the optical finders of rangefinders and regular SLRs (film and top end digital cameras).
    I the EVF on the Olympus EM1 better than the Sony?

  9. Nice Pictures… Amazing detail it seemed and nice an contrasty…wish he spoke a little more what he did to the files before uploading… still the 100% crop on the woman’s face was fantastic… Colors on all the samples seemed bright and rich… even on just this very minor set of pictures I’m glad I pre-ordered the A7r and the 35mm…. I shall call her Monica…and she will likely be my number one girl… now I just have to decide who to sell Rachel (my Xpro1) or Sara (My D800e)…. I’m thinking Rachel and her lenses…. burp…excuse me…just got a little gas…

  10. The article, though very helpful, has a fair bit of misinformation in it. Smith claims (1) A7 and A7R are “the lightest interchangeable lens cameras ever made” [certainly not true], (2) they have the same EVF as the a99 [also not true], (3) both have edge-compensated microlenses [apparently only the A7r has this feature], and (4) they have aluminum bodies [I think that the metal chassis are magnesium, not aluminum]. Otherwise a very helpful article!

    • The EVF is the same as the external one for the RX1, which I believe is the same as the one in the A99? I may be mistaken but they did tell me it was the same EVF as the external RX1 EVF.

  11. One other thing I just thought of.. when using a Leica M lens with an adaptor on the Sony, how does it work seeing that M lenses do not have automatic diaphragms like ‘regular’ SLR lenses. i.e. they need to be stopped down manually before shooting.
    On a rangefinder camera it does not matter, as you are not viewing the image through the lens. But with a camera (like this Sony) that uses the lens for viewing as well as imaging, wouldn’t you first have to view/focus with the aperture wide open, then stop down for actual shooting (which could make the viewing image very dark)?
    I have no idea seeing I’ve never used my M glass with adapters!


  12. I’ve seen his article and pictures too, before your anouncement and indeed, the one thing that I remembered was the absolutely clean 18mm ZM picture. But I wasn’t surprised. To me it was more a confirmation of Sony’s way of working. When they notice a real problem, they fix it. I’m sure Sony wasn’t gonna take any chances with this one. The RX1 was the tryout. The A7 is the real deal. It’s their statement. Their signature.

    • For the photo of the ruined church, the caption says: A7R Sony / Zeiss 18mm F4 M-Mount / 1/100 F2.8 / ISO 200


  13. Steve, of course the ZM 18/4 exhibits no color shift. It’s retrofocal, not symmetrical. We need to see the VC 21/4 or ZM 21/4.5 to understand the micro lenses correction issue.

  14. Wow, the image s coming from the A7r is simply mind blowing. This camera could be a game changer. Users of full frame Canon, Nikon now have a light weight alternative for shooting portraits, landscapes, etc.

  15. How come everyone is so wind up in seeing M mount wide angles on this camera? Is there a reason for such hype? All I see is people in the internet asking the same thing over and over…

    I mean, I understand what that means, quality lenses, on a interchangeable lens full frame camera, other than Leica, but why would it be any different?

    • Here is why:

      To date the only camera that was capable of using Leica M lenses to their full potential (full frame) was the Leica M, a $7000 body only camera. MANY can not afford $7000. Wide angle lenses on the Leica M can give issues such as color shift, etc but Leica has created profiles for their 6-Bit coded lenses to fix this. But use a Voigtlander 15mm and you will get red color shifts making it usable for B&W only. Enter the A7r, the 1st full frame mirrorless compact camera besides Leica that can use those Leica M lenses, which are the best lenses in the world without question. Tiny, solid as a brick house, sharp wide open, amazing Bokeh, etc. Now one can pay $2200 for an a7r and use these lenses how they were meant to be used.

      The only question do wide angle lenses perform? Will they also give the color shifts? No one really knows just yet.

      I shot the 35 1.4 SC on the a7r and it had less Vignetting than it does on the Leica M and no color shift. So far so good.

      But many want to see lenses like a 21 1.4 or similar to see how they do. If they do well, this would not only be an awesome alternative to a Leica M at 1/3 the cost, but also as a 2nd body for Leica M users.

      • It’s probably unavoidable that wide angle lenses have some kind of compromise, be it vignetting, color shading or corner softness. A solution would be software correction which is employed in all digital camera nowadays. M9, NEX and XPro1 all have this feature. What’s critical is to have customizable lens profile like the one in XPro1. I’m not sure if Sony is willing to expose this feature.

        • Yes, the XPro1 has a customizable menu to create lens profiles…BUT….vignetting and colour shifting are minor problems compared to smeared corners….and that my friend is where the XPro is one of the worst offenders. Believe me, I wish it wasn’t so.

          • I can honestly say that I own an X Pro and use it extensively with the Voigtlander 15mm and have seen ZERO smeared corners. Can,t speak to other wide angles as I do not use them. BUY the 15mm if you are an X Pro user. It is a superb combo.

      • Hi Steve, Many of us would like to see what the Leica 50 APO summicron can do with the Sony A7R sensor – surely the sort of sensor it was made for!

      • Yes, I see the hype for people who already own “L” glass, that the new Sony offering gives them a cheaper upgrade path for the body. This is the upper market looking to step down.

        However, there is another market that the Sony opens up – those looking to step up. For these people not only was the Leica body too expensive, in general their lens are as well. For me, yes, the $7k for the body is too much, but so is the $4k for a lens.

        What I am interested in seeing is what Sony glass is going to be available for the platform and at what price point. While Leica and Voiglander lens are talked about most often here, Zeiss has the ability to make comparable glass – it may not be as warm, but it can be as sharp and some say has its own character as well.

        Just saying – I understand that at launch Sony is looking to play to the step-down market and the A, M, adapters are wonderful in attracting people to the platform. However, this camera also has a huge potential in the step-up market as well as long as glass being produced is as equally ground breaking regarding price vs performance.


    • I think its a combination of a few things. First, ultrawides in M-mount are excellent, and second, the smaller flange difference between the M mount and FE mount vs. something F-mount and FE mount means that the adapter is thin so the camera keeps its form factor and hopefully works with the unique designs of M mount ultrawides.

      One of the advantages of the M-mount has always been the close proximity of the rear element to the focal plane in an ultrawide lens because of the lack of a mirror. Mirrorless cameras inherit this fact due to their lack of a mirror as well. This fact also relates to the size of the lens as some M-mount ultrawides have lens barrels that protrude deep into the body.

      • Daniel, I have to agree here on both points Nick made. I love my M mount Zeiss 21mm 2.8 – it’s super sharp (and there are better lenses out there), and fairly tiny compared to the SLR equivalent. To give an idea, the filter size of the M-mount 21mm is 46mm, while the SLR version is 82mm. Which one would you want to carry on a hike?

    • because so far these lenses have been adapted on Sony’s NEX cameras (APS-C and BG-900 FF) who had partly color shift problems in the corners. Now the A7 is the first Full Frame photo camera other than Leica that these lenses can be adapted and finally work with their full image circle. The Leica has no problems as its microlenses in front of the sensor correct the high angled rays to avoid problems on the sensor.
      Now people are curious if theres a Leica M Body replacement for 80% less money that can replace it with the same or even better performance. That’s all the reason for this “hype”.

      • Other than not having to dish out $7000 for a Leica Body, the cutting edge ISO performance on this FF sensor is another thing to celebrate. I don’t have the M but I have the M9P, and at night I give up.

    • More than just a color shift issue, the real problem is that the rear optical part of Leica lenses are designed differently from other lenses makers. Due to that, Leica had to design a specific “kind of curved” sensor in order to optimize sharpness in corners with their wide angle lenses (35mm FLE is for example quite poor in corner sharpness result on a standard NEX…even being 4500$+ ).
      The real deal is then to know if this new Sony sensor can manage well wider Leica lenses or NOT.
      There is no point sticking a 6000$+ Leica wide lens on a sensor that will make it behave like a 200$ one.

  16. Completely brilliant review!!
    this isn’t the camera for me, but still incredibly interesting.
    Definitely looking forward to seeing how the other manufacturers respond to this.

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