My 1st look “wrap up” of the Sony A7 and A7r cameras!


My 1st look wrap up of the Sony A7 and A7r cameras!

NOTE: All images posted here are JPEGS from the cameras, NOT RAW. 

Hello to all and good morning on this spooky Halloween day. I decided to take the morning off from this Sony event (off-road driving) because I am so backed up on work as well as tired and in need of a refresh. So I have a few hours free this morning to catch up on work, doing some tests that have been requested and charging my internal battery.

An OOC Jpeg with the A7r – 55 1.4 Otus


Over the past few days I have been writing and showing samples from the new Sony A7 cameras. This will be my final wrap up on my 1st look of them from using these bad boys all week. To catch up you can see parts 1-3 below:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

I have also stated that this is basically a first hands on look, and NOT a full review. When I get a review sample at home I will do a full review of the cameras. (As for all of the requests..there is simply no way to get them all done during this week as every minute of every day is jammed packed but I will be posting my first look wrap up and opinion on my experience with the new camera so far).

Sony A7r and Zeiss Otus


Auto Focus, Lenses and more…

So are these the dream cameras many of us have waited years  for? Is it the “RX1 with IC lenses” that many of us wanted? Is it a Leica M replacement for a fraction of the cost? Well, that remains to be seen but the camera is not perfect (no camera really is) and its biggest issue right now is native lens availability. At launch we have the Kit Zoom 24-70, a 35 2.8 and a 55 1.8 (a couple of weeks later). The 35 2.8 and 55 1.8 are superb lenses. Lightweight and sharp as can be. BUT in low light, with either of these cameras, these lenses can hunt for AF which has always been a Sony thing it seems. It’s not “bad” and you CAN get the cameras to AF in really low light, it is just there me be a time when the camera hunts and misses if shooting in low light conditions.

The Sony 55 1.8 at 1.8 on the A7 – OOC JPEG


Sony 55 1.8 on the A7 – ISO 6400


55 1.8 on the A7


If you have at least SOME light then you are good to go but I can state right now that these Sony’s will not win AF speed awards with either of these cameras. Keep in mind, my reference is the Olympus E-M1 as I have found this camera to be the fastest to AF of any I have ever used, period. The Sony’s in comparison to that reference are nearly as fast in daylight but in low light they drop to about 50% as fast. I noticed this last night when shooting Ben Folds at the historic Ryman Theater using the 55 1.8 and A mount 70-400. There were a couple of occasions where it would hunt for AF due to the lights being so low.

In other words..FAST AF in daylight. Slower AF in low light. This goes for both the A7 and A7r. 

Ben Folds with the 55 1.8 and A7



Using the 70-400 A mount lens with Adapter at 400mm, ISO 6400 and I accidentally had my camera set for -2 EV comp!


The 55 once again..during soundcheck


Before you read any further, take a look at the video I made for the A7 cameras comparing them side by side, taking a listen to the shutter sound of each and sharing my verbal thoughts about using the cameras.

The 1st Look Video on the A7 and A7r

The Build

The build of the A7 and A7r are fantastic. I have had no issues with this and while to me, the OM-D E-M1 feels slightly better made, I am not sure this is really the case. Both are built nice though the E-M1 may feel better in my hand. I am comparing it to the E-M1 as I have that camera with me on this trip and just held both side by side.

Same size, both feel great but the Oly is a little more “slick” in its design.


The A7 and A7r are weather sealed as well so should not be an issue in the rain if you need to grab some shots while it is coming down.

As for the differences in build, the A7r has better made dials but in use you really do not notice this. Both feel the same to me in the hand as well as look the same. To me the build feels like a beefed up NEX-7.

No issues there.

The 55 1.8 on the A7 at 1.8 – Country Music legend Porter Wagner’s old suit and guitar displayed at the Ryman Theater in Nashville, TN


General Use

In use the A7 and A7r are just fine. Menus are easy to navigate as they use the Alpha menu system and NOT the NEX menu system. To those who were saying it has the NEX Menu system available, it DOES NOT. End of story.

After setting up the camera to your own preferences it is simple as pie to use.


Some who are with me that have been using the camera have been saying they were having overexposure issues. Well, I have not had any when using most lenses..until I was shooting with the 55 1.8. Then I noticed the camera was over exposing just a little and I had to dial it down with some negative exposure compensation. When using the manual lenses I had no issues so not sure if this is a firmware thing or a lens thing but do know that overall I had no issues with exposure. I am sure that if any bugs are found that Sony will address these before the camera ships in the form of firmware updates.

Other than that, the exposure metering seems solid to me. I know there have been some reports about exposure issues but I have been posting loads of they look overexposed? 🙂

Manual Focus:

When shooting any lens in manual focus, even a Sony FE lens, for me it was easy to nail focus without a problem. Some have been saying the focus peaking is not accurate..well..focus peaking is more of an aid, not a sure-fire way for critically manually focusing. I think that many testing the camera now have never really used peaking much, but using it requires some practice as well as making sure to not just rely on the peaking but on the subject in the EVF as well. I kind of mesh both..when the peaking is telling me something is in focus, and shooting wide open at 1.4 or close to it, any slight movement of the focus barrel can knock it out of whack. You have to be precise and peaking is not really precise (nor is it on any camera). Just remember it is an aid to manual focus and does not replace your own eyeball. It can also be turned off if you do not want it. You can also press a button and have instant magnification if you want to critically focus.

For every photo I posted here over the past few days using a manual lens I used peaking without magnification. I had no issues and 98% of my images were in focus. But I have used peaking quite a bit over the past few years so I am used to it and know what to expect from it and what not to.

For those who are not used to it, practice makes perfect and after 2-3 days of shooting using peaking it should not be an issue.

As for manual focusing the Sony FE lenses, I had to switch on MF last night while taking photos in a bar where Sony had us gather for some really low light shooting. Now, the place was DARK and while I could AF on some things I had to MF for others. Manually focusing a Sony lens will automatically bring up magnification when you turn the focus barrel. This makes it foolproof to nail the AF.

So for me, I had no issues with manually focusing any lens and nailing focus. At all. In fact, I found it quite easy..just as easy as manually focusing on the E-M1.

Using Leica M Mount Lenses

The Leica 50 Summilux ASPH at 1.4 – Sharp just how I remember it from the M9 days…through a store window at 12AM..Hmmm, I used focus peaking here 🙂 Wide open…and it worked!


After using these cameras extensively with a variety of Leica M mount glass I can say that if you shoot 35mm and up, there will be no issues on the A7 or A7r with color fringing or magenta edges or focusing. If shooting lenses such as the crazy 12mm Voigtlander or the 15mm or a Zeiss 21 2.8 or Voigtlander 28 f/2 you will see different degrees of either Vignetting or Color issues on the edges.

This also happens on the worlds only other full frame mirrorless camera, the Leica M 240 (and previous M9)

The next few are from the Leica 50 Summilux ASPH, wide open at 1.4 on the A7. I am happy to see that it keeps its signature look. It works just as well on the A7r, was a breeze to manually focus and the color is great, even in these plain old JPEGS from the A7.

EXIF is embedded so be sure to check out the ISO on these 🙂 AND click them for larger versions! THESE ARE ALL JPEGS, NO RAWS YET.






I am happy to see the 50 Lux retain its quality and look on the new A7 and A7r. For some, an A7r and 50 Lux would be all they would ever need. Throw in a 35 f/1.2 or 35 f2 and then 75 or 90 and you would have a nice little tiny lens kit with a powerhouse camera. Truth be told, I loved  shooting the A7 and A7r with these tiny RF lenses. Not only did it feel good in the hand, they were easy to work with and focus as well as putting out amazing results. Anyone who is saying this lens will not do good on the A7 or A7r do not know how to use them correctly on such a camera (or are trying to knock it down for Leica’s sake).

But back to the wide-angle thing…some of these ultra wides lenses are just not meant to work well with full frame digital bodies. The good news is that if you like B&W you can use the 12, 15 or any ultra wide you like. Just convert to B&W and you will not have problems. 🙂 Lol. But seriously, if you are primarily an ultra wide Leica M lens shooter, you may want to skip these bodies. If you shoot 35mm and up, to me, these two cameras put out better IQ than the Leica M. Quite the fear for Sony so I applaud them for that.

Many of you have asked for a slew of samples on each body with different lenses. First of all, I am not a Leica lens storage cabinet, I only have certain lenses I was able to borrow for this trip (from and they are mostly Voigtlander and some Zeiss (which came from I have also had zero time until today (only because I skipped the morning trip) to do ANY sort of testing. I can tell you this though…

What I have found is that my favorite lenses on the A7 or A7r have been the Voigtlander 35 1.2 II, the Zeiss 35 Biogon f/2 and  the Leica 50 Summilux ASPH as well as the little tiny Zeiss 50 ZM Planar (amazing colors). All amazingly beautiful in color, sharpness and overall look. I am a huge fan of rangefinder lenses so I am happy to see that the Sony A7 and A7r can use most of them to their full potential without issue. (besides ultra wides).

A friend of mine, Ashwin Rao has a slew of Leica M mount lenses..something like 30 of them or so. If I can get an A7 and A7r to review and take home I will fly to Seattle to test these lenses with Ashwin, one by one, spending a full day or two to do it right. He has lenses ranging from 16mm to 135mm and also ranging from vintage to modern.

THAT would be a cool test. I will let you guys know who have interest in that soon if it will be a reality.

For now though, seeing that I am in a hotel room in Nashville, all I could do is what you see below:

Lens Testing – M Mount from 15 to 50mm

1st set on the A7R








2nd set on the A7








So there you go. What you see is what you get with each lens on each camera. These are direct from camera JPEG using AWB. Exactly as I expected from shooting them over the last few days. The A7 will give you slightly better performance with ultra wides though none will give you clean files with the 15mm Voigtlander. No full frame camera in digital can. The A7 with all of the lenses besides the 15 look pretty damn good though. As I said, my faves are the Voigtlander 35 1.2, the Zeiss 35 f/2 and  the Zeiss 50 f/2 (as well as the 50 lux).

Wrap it up!

There you have it! My 1st look wrap up after using these cameras for the past 4 days. Sony has  created a unique camera with a nice build and feel, a full frame sensor and the ability to not only use their new lenses, but adapted lenses as well (with some exceptions in wide angle M mount) as their older E Mount lenses (which will crop on these cameras, killing the full frame look they are bought for).

I saw a guy yesterday shooting the Nikon 14-24 on the A7R without issues and man oh man was it sharp. So the camera is very versatile when you think about the possibilities of what lenses can be attached to this little guy. There are hundreds of classic RF lenses to try and loads of Canon glass as well. Pretty limitless.

I have not yet been able to test things such as continuous AF speed or full on ISO comparisons but I can say that by using both, I really did see the resolution increase in the 7… but do I need it? Not really. Do I want it? Probably.

Many have been asking me…”Which one do I get”?

To answer that ask yourself if you want powerhouse resolution or huge resolution. Either one delivers plenty of detail and resolution but the A7r takes it up a notch. For Leica users who want to use M glass, I recommend the A7 if you want to shoot with some wide angles (some work fine) and the A7r if you are 35mm and up. It’s that simple. Both excel at low light and high ISO, both feel the same and work the same.

What about the 35 2.8 Zeiss Lens? 

For those wanting more from the new Sony 35 2.8 FE, I have posted samples and thoughts in previous posts but will do more in my  upcoming full review. The 35 is a SUPERB lens and if you want AF it will be tough to find a sharper 35mm for this system. In fact, that would be impossible. It focuses fast, is sharp as you could ever need and it is small.

Below is a full size JPEG from the 35 2.8 at 5.6 on the A7R, Handheld out of my hotel it for full size (saved as a level 8 JPEG)


A7 or E-M1?

For those asking me if they should buy an A7 or Olympus E-M1, that is not for me  to decide. Best thing to do is read reviews and go from there. As I said a few weeks ago, I will own both and will explain why in a future detailed article because it may cause some commotion 🙂 The E-M1 will focus faster, feels even better in the hand, is more repsonsive and has many more lenses available. BUT it is not full frame, which is what the A7 and A7r are all about.

Also, many have asked about the new RX10 as well, and I have not even touched one yet but will be doing so today for the halloween costume contest Sony is putting on later. Again, it will just be my 1st thoughts, not  a full review.

So with all of that I must leave now to go get ready for the rest of the day ahead of me, this took me a few hours to put together so time to join back up with the group. Will be back home tomorrow evening so looking forward to getting back and resuming my normal schedule!

Happy Halloween!

OH and if you want to order one of the Sony cameras, doing so at my list of links will greatly help me out here on this site. Those tiny commissions I get help to keep this site up and running everytime one of you use my links to buy ANYTHING. CLICK HERE FOR THE SONY a7 PRE ORDER PAGE!

Also, big thanks to Stephen Gandy from Camera Quest once again for letting me use these lenses! His site is HERE. 







  1. Hi Steve – quick question, have you tested the a7R or a7 with a Summilux 35mm f1.4 ASPH? I know the 35mm is very sharp and all, but would like to know how well it works with the a7/a7R from your experience. I actually have a Zeiss Biogon 35/2 with my a7R, attached using the Voigtlander Close Focus Adapter.

  2. Hi, Steve ! I’ve got a question. I’m looking forward to buying A7, but the thing that lets me down is the lack of glass. Till today I’ve been using canon rebel + soviet mf lenses and a bit of L glass, so mf isn’t a concern. My worries are lenses like 70-200 or similar primes for shooting concerts and etc. what about using Nikon or canon lenses with metabones, how’s the quality, af speed ?

  3. Steve, as always, your photos look amazing. If I wasn’t familiar with your work, I’d say you’ve been shooting with this camera for years! This camera definitely caught my attention. I have a nikon D90 & wanted to get either a mirrorless NEX-7 or a full frame Canon 5D mark III for a long time but decided to wait. I’ve been waiting for an NEX-7 upgrade or an affordable full frame … then this Alpha a7 absolutely blew me away. I have a Nikon 50mm f/1.2 MF and a few prime legacy lenses I bought cheap from ebay such as Canon 58mm f/1.2 FL & Minolta Rokkor 28mm f/2.8 MD (which I have yet to test out on a mirrorless).

    Will my lenses work with the a7 using the correct adapter? What kind of adapter do I need, a special adapter like the metabones, an adapter with AF confirm, or one of those cheap ones I see at amazon for $35? Will the current 3rd-party-lens to e-mount adapters work on this new full frame e-mount (really curious about that one)?

    Also … to avoid vignetting, will I have to go crop mode for any of my lenses? How about an M-mount lens?

    Any advantage of using a Voigtlander 50mm f/1.1 Nokton over my current Nikon 50mm f/1.2 Nikkor (aside from the faster f/1.1)?

    Coming from an nikon D90 APS-C size sensor, please forgive my lack of knowledge as I have no experience with a mirrorless or full frame camera before.

    • You should be able to use cheap adapters for all the lenses you mentioned. These adapter should work without issue on the full frame E mount cameras. Most adapters, especially for non-G Nikkor, Canon FD/FL, and Minolta MD are nothing but extension tubes with different mount types at each end made to make up for the shorter register difference on the E mount.

      However, nobody will know if each adapter works for sure until they try them. I would suggest buying adapters from retailers that offer refunds just in case. None of your legacy glass will need crop mode, it’s all full frame glass (at least, what you’ve listed is).

      As for the Voigtlander 50mm f/1.1 vs. Nikon 50mm f/1.2, you may as well stick with the Nikon if you like what it produces. Personally I think the Voigtlander makes a better image but neither produces anything stellar wide open so it’s really a personal preference.

    • I cannot comment on the A7/A7R yet (for lack of hand-on experience). However, for Nikon-F-to-Sony-E adaptation with possibility to operate the diaphragm on the adapter, I can recommend Novoflex – not cheap, but extremely well made and reliable. My brother (who has a sizable Nikon collection – glass from all generations since the F, bodies from F to recent digital pro gear) is using those with good success.

      I have used the Nikkor 35mm f/1,4 with this adapter on the NEX-7, and can state that it shall work well on any E-mount body – nitpickers may complain about the fact that the lens/adapter combination is huge in comparison to the minuscule camera body, though… not so much of a problem with the slightly beefier A7/A7R, me thinks…

  4. Olympus E-M1 or the Alpha A7? The difference here would be Full Frame, obviously, but would someone with the E-M1 benefit from the upgrade to the Alpha A7?

    • I have an EM5, which is essentially identical in performance (see DXO marks) and I love it to bits. The A7r sensor is leagues above it in all aspects, so it depends on what is important to you. Incredible speed or IQ.

  5. M-mount: A7 is softer in the corners it seems, disappointing. A7r the way to go if you have M-mount lenses, which is a shame for street photography since the AF is not as good (for AF lenses, of course).

    Looking forward to a proper test with high resolution samples. A7 + ZM Boigon corner is upsetting! I wonder how the 35 ASPH Cron fares.

      • If you look at the three light reflecting points (Zeiss 35/2) on the unmounted lens, they are 2-3 times taller in the A7 shot than in the A7r, which is consistent with the corner blur that Ron Sheffler’s A7 files display. It looks like motion blur.

        It’s even more pronounced on the Voight 1.2 shots. The A7r corner is sharp (the alpha logo), the A7 corner suffers terribly, even more motion blur effect than on the Zeiss.

      • For the record, I’m eagerly awaiting your more specific A7/r M-mount lens tests – your results will be crucial to the lens I buy for the Leica M6TTL. Really hope the A7 gels with at least one of the top 35 lenses (Boigon 2/2.8, ASPH cron, or even the Lux).

        As it stands, the A7r and the Voight 1.2 look the most suited.

  6. Hello Steve! Thanks for posting. I’m thinking to buy a7, but quiet not sure yet because of the af speed and accuracy. mostly I take landscape which will be fine, but sometimes I do portrait indoor/outdoor.
    with 35mm 2.8 za, and la-e4 + 85.4 za , do you think it will suit for my use?
    Thanks in advance!

  7. A grat writeup as always . Thanks for your time and tremendous effort . I have one question . Rangefinder lenses are so compact but those of a7/r are quite large despite their flange distance being quite less than dslr . Is it because of autofocus ?

  8. Sony A7 + Zeiss Biogon 28/2.8, the 35/2, 50 f/2 and 50 Lux


    EM-1 + 14-35/2 SHG, 35-100/2 SHG, PL25/1.4 (‘D’ not DG) and Zuiko 50/2

    Which 4 lenses! A tougher call than people might think?

    • OMG, that EM1 setup would be WAY TOO HUGE! Id take the Sony over that anyday. If it were E-M1 and 12mm f/2, 25 1.4 and 75 1.8..then we would have a competition on our hands..

      • Steve, Love the site! You do a great job of speaking to real-world pros and cons of different equipment, and you always call it exactly like you see it.

        I bought an E-M5 and a few primes through your link last year :). I am in love with the 75 1.8 lens, but I’m not crazy about any of the wide angle lenses (haven’t tried the 12 f/2 yet.) I’m happy with my e-m5 (the upgrade looks amazing) to cover a pretty wide shooting range.

        I’m debating about getting a second camera, and not sure which way to go. The flexibility of mirrorless cameras is amazing, but I’m considering the RX1r for its amazing IQ and size, and I think I can live with 35 as long as I hold onto the e-m5. If you were in my shoes, how would you rank the following choices:

        1) Upgrade to the e-m1 and keep growing the lens collection
        2) Dump the m4/3 kit and go to one of the Sony A7 bodies
        3) Keep the e-m5 and add the RX1r as a second body/street camera

        Assume the budget is there for any 1 of these options. I have no other cameras or lenses in my collection (that don’t suck) besides the e-m5 with 75, 45, and Panny 20. Thanks in advance for your reply 🙂 I’m no pro, just an enthusiast.

        • What wide angles have you tried? The 12 is fave. The 17 is fantastic, on the E-M1, Not as good on the E-M5 and i Have no idea why. As for your question, I have no idea. Go with what you think you will like and use the most. The A7 will be slower in operation, sort of like a medium format vibe when in use. Totally different and there are no lenses like the 12, like the 75 1.8, etc unless you go to adapted glass. Depends on what you want.

          • Thanks for the reply! I tried the 17, and didn’t feel it had the same quality as the longer Oly primes. Returned it and got the Pan 20. I probably should have gone down to the 12, but cash was tight at the time.

            Is the RX1 slower too, or just the A7? My wife photographs the kids a lot, and they obviously make difficult subjects for any camera, especially in low light!

            The other option is to hit the easy button and grab the new 12-40 pro lens. I haven’t seen your review on that one yet, but I’m assuming it’s coming soon?

  9. I am not totally convinced by these cameras and I won’t be buying one purely because of the limited lens availability and the quite loud shutter noise. I have to say though that the image quality and resolution is superb so if you are a landscape or architecture photographer these would be ideal I think, once the lenses start appearing, plus they are a lot cheaper than the equivalent Canikon cameras.

    I am also not a fan of adapters to use legacy glass, I use them sometimes on my Olympus E-P3 to mount my Canon FD lenses, but in doing so everything slows down because, after actually fitting lens to adapter, then mounting same to camera, set up camera for aperture priority exposure, focus manually on full aperture, then change the aperture manually before taking the shot, missed a lot of shots that way so I now only use Olympus lenses that are made for the camera. I think the Olympus OMD E-M1 is a much better camera for allround use but not full frame, obviously. For that I would have to go for the canon 5D or the Nikon D610.

    I can’t even see how the Sony cameras make much sense for Leica users either unless they would like just playing around with adapters and lens testing, especially as they don’t seem all that good with wide-angle Leica rangefinder lenses.

    I am interested in the progress these cameras make and Sony have to be applauded for the introduction of these two cameras, even though it seems strange to offer TWO with different specs. I am not saying I would never buy one as the IQ is so good, but I would have to wait for full reviews and a bit more maturity. In the meanwhile I’ll still lug around my Canon film cameras or my 5D (mark 1)

    • I have a Leica M9 and have been considering the new M. But the $7K, limited availability of the M and the fact I’ve grown tired of the rangefinder have stopped me from taking the plunge. When the A7r was announced, I immediately ordered one. Why? I could continue to use my Leica glass on a similar full frame camera. Similar because the M and the A7r each have focus peaking. But I had never used a focus peaking camera before. So I bought an NEX6, the Voigtlander M to E adapter (I tried the adapter recommended on this site but the little chrome release “thing” kept hitting my finger) and put a Voigtlander 35mm f1.2 II on the NEX6. Heaven! After about three weeks of trying out all sorts of Leica glass on the NEX6 (the first time I’ve really enjoyed using the 90mm Summicron), I’m starting to get the hang of focus peaking. My shot success is around 90%; a success rate that kills my success rate with the M9 (and that dinky little focus patch).

      I’m not sure I understand the focus-on-full-aperture-then-change-the-aperture thing you describe. All I can say is I’ve kept the whole thing very simple with the NEX6 set on aperture priority and I just focus the lens until I get a good dose of focus peaking red, then fire away. Maybe a simple change of process would improve your experience. Please don’t take any of this as criticism; just sharing my trial-and-error experience.

      • When shooting with the A7 and Leica glass it is as simple as pie. Very quick as well. You mount the lens..set your aperture on the lens as you would on the Leica M and just aim, compose, focus and shoot. Very quick and easy. No need for mag with this cam, I just eyeball it. It is NOT difficult or a pain to shoot like this, in fact, it is easy, hassle free and fast. No need to stop down to focus, I focus wide open. No issues.

        • Steve and Gary, if you focus wide open, then shoot, you are stuck with the limited depth of field that gives, if that’s what you want that’s fine. I don’t have focus peaking on my E-P3 so when I mount say, my Canon 50mm F1.4 via an adapter I focus at full aperture for accuracy of focus, then stop down to get the depth of field that I want. I stopped using this method and bought an Olympus 45mm F1.8 which in speed of use and achieving pin-point focus is far faster than using manual focus and manual aperture control with my legacy glass mounted via an adapter.

          I guess if you are not concerned about the limited depth of field then leave the adapter mounted lens at full aperture. Most old lens designs have issues of sharpness when used fully open, but again, if that’s the quality you want in your pictures that’s fine. Leica lenses were always sharper than lenses designed for SLRs so maybe using them full open would pose no issues for sharpness but the control over depth of field surely remains?

          For static subjects there is sense in using legacy glass if it’s good to get the utmost in IQ from the incredible resolution on offer with the Sony cameras but for most uses the Sony and Zeiss designed lenses, giving full automation, make more sense for general use. Unfortunately there are not that many of them yet so I can’t see Nikon or Canon getting too worried as they make complete systems, not just cameras.

          • After I bought the NEX6 to focus-peaking-experiment-with, I tried out my Leica 35 Lux (hated it), 50 Lux (eh), 75 Cron (terrific) and 90 Cron (terrific) and my Voigtlander 35 1.2 (the best!) (haven’t tried my Noct; I’m saving that for the A7r). I simply attached the adapter to the lens, the lens/adapter combo to the camera, enabled shooting without a lens in the NEX6 menu and then shot as if the lens were attached to my M9 (but without the headache inducing focus patch). Whatever f-stop I selected on the lens, the camera would more or less accurately meter for the scene and adjust the shooting speed. I then press the shutter button and I have a digital photo (and the little NEX6 gives a far more accurate AWB than my M9 ever did).

            If I want to shoot wide open, I do and if I shoot at f11, I do. No other adjustments or changes to shooting style.

            For a long time I resisted using manual focus lenses on an auto focus camera. To me, auto focus ranks up there with some of the greatest inventions of the 20th century. However, manual focus is not so bad and in fact with focus peaking and a bright EVF, it’s really just about as fast as auto focus and in some cases, more accurate.

    • >I am also not a fan of adapters to use legacy glass, I use them sometimes on my Olympus E-P3 to
      >mount my Canon FD lenses, but in doing so everything slows down because, after actually fitting lens to
      >adapter, then mounting same to camera, set up camera for aperture priority exposure, focus manually
      >on full aperture, then change the aperture manually before taking the shot, missed a lot of shots that way

      Then your workflow needs some adaptation (;->)…

      Adapters are relatively cheap – so equip each lens you intend to shoot with in a session with an adapter -saves one step at changing. Then use focus peaking (if your camera offers it) and/or magnification with the already stopped-down lens. With Sony NEX-bodies and with the Panasonic GX1 (with electronic finder) that works very well… as fast as with old-fashioned rangefinder or non-AF SLRs.

      In the old days, one hat to think preparing a shot of a moving object, as there was no Autofocus doing the work for the photographer… and there is a lot of good imagery around from those days, even for fast-moving objects…

  10. I’m pretty excited about this camera, I have some old leica glass I’d love to use again, and would also love to use those zeiss primes. I’m super bummed about the battery life though 300 shots? that’s nothing on a gig I’d have to bring 5-6 batteries per camera for a day of shooting.

  11. Hi Steve,

    Did you get a chance to test the Nokton 50 1.5 on one of the A7 cameras ?
    If so, could you please share your thoughts, compared to the Planar 50 you recommend.


  12. I doubt you are telling us the full truth, Steve!. A full size image of a brick wall with the FE 35mm 2.8 but much smaller samples of nonsense scene made with the RF lenses…

    • OMG, really? Always a troll somewhere to be found. Wait for my full review, when I can process RAW files correctly. Small sample of nonsense scene with an RF? I posted a TON of REAL WORLD REAL PHOTO samples with RF lenses, more than ANYONE in the world has done. I suggest you go elsewhere for your info instead of coming here to insult me.

  13. Hi Steve ,

    Great Job and thanks !!
    Have you use the LENS Compensation apps for the Leica Wide Angle Lens ? Do you think it will work better than Corner FIX ?
    Also , which body is better for Leica M lens shooter ? A7 or A7R ?


  14. Hey Steve,
    My G.A.S. is acting up again, and the A7 series is not helping at all!
    I own an M9 with a 75mm summarit mounted on it. I’d like to go for a 35/75 combo because I don’t want to lug around a bunch of lenses. This is why I was starting to think about getting an RX1/RX1R. In my opinion, the RX1 will exceed the IQ coming out of the A7 series with the zeiss 35mm 2.8 simply because the lens and the camera were designed to be paired together. Do you think that Sony will be updating the RX1 series? Or maybe lower the prices with the A7 now in line? 😀
    You must still be overwhelmed with all of our requests so if anyone else would share their two cents it’d be greatly appreciated!

  15. “A friend of mine, Ashwin Rao has a slew of Leica M mount lenses..something like 30 of them or so. If I can get an A7 and A7r to review and take home I will fly to Seattle to test these lenses with Ashwin, one by one, spending a full day or two to do it right. He has lenses ranging from 16mm to 135mm and also ranging from vintage to modern.”

    Wow!!! That is a lot of Leica M lenses. I live in Seattle, and I’d love to see that collection of 30 Leica M lenses. I only have half that number of Leica M-lenses and that seems like too many. But, I have some classic R lenses. Drop me a line when you are in town. It would be nice to meet you and Ashwin and shoot my town with you.


  16. Steve,between Em1 and A7/A7r, you will get them both, Em1 wins for speed, AF and feels better in hand,
    whilst A7r for fullframe sensor inside relatively smaller body than dslr, but not small enough (bigger than RX1R) and I think is a bit heavy too, So why don’t get fullframe DSLR that has more power and faster AF and somehow better performance?

    • > So why don’t get fullframe DSLR that has more power and faster AF and somehow better performance?

      Many factors at play. If size and use of old lenses are no decision drivers, but a fast AF is, DSLR is the way to go (Nikon Df, anyone (;->)…).

      If you want to use old rangefinder glass (like me) and do not care much about AF (and if, then care for accuracy over speed), then mirrorless full frame may be your thing.

      Even if I have been a rangefinder Leica (strictly analog – never really cared for the prices of M9 and M240) user for decades, the total package on the Sony side seems mighty attractive to me. Initially I thought “A7R all the way”, now I have afterthoughts, and may start with an A7… the mechanical shutter front curtain in the A7R is in the end a turn-down for me. I guess I shall have to wait for the merchandise to appear in a shop and compare side-by-side…



    • With song’s manufacturing capabilities, I’d say it’s coz either it was a cost issue or they wanted a different flavour of shutter sound from the rest. If all cameras had quiet shutters, then all of a sudden, a louder chunkier sound may become sought after. It’s human nature to always want something that’s not given to us. Just a theory.

  17. I’m having a hard time choosing a 35mm lens for a7r (just two more weeks left here in Europe :D). I’m standing between Voigtlander 35 1.2 and Sony Zeiss 35 2.8. Which one would you choose? Manual focusing is not a problem and fast aperture would be a welcoming plus. Here in Finland it’s so dark this time of year. But still, if I would like to have the best new Sony can deliver… Is the Voigtlander a good choice for this new Sony camera?

    • Well, if you want AF, it is the Sony, which is super sharp even wide open. It’s small and very light. If you want super shallow DOF for low light or special effect, the 35 1.2 is the answer. It is larger, heavier and all manual but neither will give you the look of the other. The Sony will be the sharper lens I feel, even at 2.8 but the Voigtlander is not supposed to be sharp. It is more of a character lens. I can say that I enjoyed shooting the Voigtlander on the A7 more because of the manual focus and aperture and feel. Was fantastic.

  18. Good to see Sony improve on the focusing problems from the past. I owned an a65 and it mis-focused on an alarmingly regular basis. Prime or zoom didn’t matter. Pity, as I LOVED the video function, and for a DSLR, it was a perfect size/weight.

    I’ve heard others complain about this Sony focusing problem, but they were all relating to the A-Mount cameras. Hopefully Sony figured it out and corrected it here.

  19. Thanks for all the reviews Steve. Just wondering if either model has an amber focus assist light for low light focusing.

  20. Hi Steve,

    first of all –> you do a great job and it´s plesure to read your pages.
    Everybody on this pages ask about super expensive Leica “glasses”. But can you pls write something about kit lens witch will be selling with 7A (28-70). I know it´s not recommended lens by you, but I think it will be good options for somebody (like me) who want to buy his first “big” camera. And don´t have any lenses yet. And buy prime lenses is probably to expensive to reach it. (probably later) I am thinking about Om-d 1 kit too.

    Thx very mutch for what you do and have a nice day 😉

    PS: sorry for my english but I´m not native speaker 😉

    • I will do just that in my review if I get one sent to me. I did mess around with the kit zoom and it was decent, really great for video actually. With the IS in the lens it worked very well. IQ was good but not stellar. Size is largest of the three launch lenses.

      • Thanks Steve for these comments on the kit lens. Your comment “decent” and “IQ was good..” means enough to me to know that it is worth it and will do for now. Before now all I have heard is generally negative (not necessarily on your site) about it probably because it isn’t ‘stellar’ like the primes but in “zoomland” is still good for the relatively small price.

  21. Thanks Steve for the in-depth first look. It helped me decide not to buy either right now and stick with my m4/3’s kit. Hopefully Sony or another lens manufacturer will come out with a good ultra wide angle for these in the near future. I don’t want to make the same mistake I did when I bought my NEX-5, having to wait almost 2 years for a ultra wide for that was brutal. I have a feeling this could happen here with this system.

  22. hi steve, im not sure if my comment made it in …

    what’s your opinion on the voigt 35 1.2ii vs 35 1.4 on the a7?


      • Thanks Steve.

        I only ask because the 1.4 is smaller and less expensive than the 1.2

        It will be my first manual lens and I want to purchase it with the A7 so I highly anticipate your opinion. I hope you can do a comparison.


  23. Excellent review!
    I’m wondering about the shutter difference between A7 and A7R.
    A7 has electronic front curtain but A7R doesn’t. Have you tried to compare them? Generally there are two things need to be taken care of:
    1, Shake. A7R shutter could bring in more shake when shooting, have you noticed any serious shake on A7R?
    2, shutter lag. With electronic front curtain shutter NEX shutter lag improves from about 100ms to 20ms. So I guess A7R may have lag about 100ms, even more if consider it is a FF. Do you feel any problem about lag?

    • I have not noticed shake personally and I did not use a tripod at all. BUt I did notice a slight feeling of slowness with the A7R and it may have been due to that slow and clunky shutter sound. The E-M1 for example feels speedy and responsive. The A7r feels more slow..almost like a Leica – same state of mind anyway. An action guy is not going to want an A7r but for street, still, landscape, portraits — it could rock and roll with the best of them.

  24. Great first look Steve, I have really enjoyed following the developments this week. One last question before you get back to your family for the weekend. If you were starting from scratch and had no lenses, would you go for a good manual lens on the A7 or one of the FE lenses at this stage? Thanks

  25. Hi Steve, great job with this. Most informative first impression I’ve read.
    Are you familiar enough with NEX cameras such as the 5n, to compare the low light AF of the A7 to those cameras? Better, worse, same?

  26. If someone can only afford to buy one lens (and doesn’t own any) after buying one of the two Sonys which one would you recommend?

  27. Wow, thanks a lot for all the work that obviously went into this review! Especially the part on manual focus lenses. I am considering a FF camera for two Voigtländer lenses that I have learnt to like a lot: the 35/1.2 and the 21/1.8. Judging from your test shot the results with the 21 don’t look bad at all. I am wondering whether this could be managed by a lens profile or whether the idea of shooting 21mm is a clear deal breaker for the A7r. It would be very kind to share your opinion on this!

    Anyway — thanks for the great review! What a refreshing set of photos after looking at these embarassing photos at dpreview!


  28. Very interesting overview and also sensible real-world commentary as ever. My sense, and others’ from comments here, is that the a7 is the all-round choice. One question please. Notwithstanding your comment about not having dozens of lenses, you are very positive about the Zeiss 55/1.4 Otus and also the Zeiss 50/2 Planar but have you tried the Zeiss Sonnar 1.5? I recall you have really enjoyed using this quirky lens in the past and I have one and would buy one of these two bodies principally for its use but probably also with the FE 35/2.8. To R or not to R, that is the question.

  29. Hi Steve,
    great Job as usual. I know you are a Leica M shooter but I have some nice R-glasses especialy the small and very sharp Apotelyt 3,4 180 mm. What do you think, will it be a good idea to use it on a7 or a7r? Leica R-users have been waiting a very long time for a possibility to use their glasses after dumping the R-System by Leica itself.For me it looks like that the sonys are this possibility. Certainly only for the smaller R-Lenses

    Greetings from Germany

    • The Apo-Telyt R 180mm f/3,4 works well on the NEX-7, and it works well on 35mm film.

      Given the fact that the NEX-7 has a smaller pixel size and pitch on the sensor than A7 and A7R, that the lens projection is almost telecentric when compared to non-retrofocus wide angle lenses, that the image circle is good enough for 35 mm film, and therefore for full frame digital sensors, I would expect good results.


      PS: I really like the Apo-Telyt R – it has serve me well over time – on an SL2 and on various NEX bodies….

  30. Hi,
    read multiple times that you referred to the kit zoom as a 24-70? I think it is a 28-70/3.5-5.6, and the 24-70/4 is the Zeiss zoom to come in spring. Or did you already get the Zeiss zoom for testing?

    • I have this question as well. I’m hoping that Steve wasn’t impressed with the 28-70 and that there is still some hope for the 24-70/4 lens…

      Steve, can you shed some light on this?


  31. I have two systems Nikon and Fuji.
    I have some Leica lenses as well. I am after simplicity and would not use these cameras even if they were given to me. I am not saying I would not like them. I just can only carry one camera in my hands and at the moment that camera is Fuji X100S

  32. Hi Steve, great work as usual. I’m thinking of getting one of these cameras soon to use with my EF and m mount glass, but the color shift in the corners is what is bothering me, but after doing some research about the matter on google, I found a software for PC and Mac called cornerfix, that apparently corrects that nasty color shift in the corners, the thing is you have to create the lens profile yourself and the software only takes .dng files, if you can take a look at this and try using it with the a7r files to see if it corrects the color shift.

      • So, the a7R might not be that bad after all to use with wa rf lenses, just more post processing.
        The thing is if the corners on the a7R are better or not than the ones from the a7 when the color shift is present, or does the color shift cause some degradation on sharpness??

  33. Epic work Steve. Thanks so much for the info on manual focusing as well. You’re a star. You’re also a one-man bank balance busting machine! If you carry on like this you’ll cause another banking crisis as we all hit the credit cards to buy more gear.

  34. Hey Steve, thanks a lot for writing dowm your honest opinion. You did an excellent job here! What I remember is first of all the “color shift vignetting” with wide angle M-mount lenses. But from what I see it’s less than what the NEX-7 produces and in my use, I find it pretty easy to correct that: in Photoshop RAW Coversion (I believe Lightroom works in the same way) with the purple slider (not the magenta!) one can simply compensate. This can sound somewhat unorthodox to do, but I have not one picturewhere somebody ever noticed my “special treatment”. (I have to say, the widest RF lens that I use is the Biogon 28mm.) From your pictures though I see more of a general vignetting than a color shift, which is even easier to compensate. So right now I’m not worried at all.
    Second thought concernes the use with the Zeiss Otus. In some pictures I clearly noticed some vignetting (not color shift) in others there is non. I don’t understand this. This could be an issue for some readers. I have downloaded some vignetted pics from different publishers and found it pretty easy to correct. But it takes a few secs and one would like the Otus to work flawless on the A7 too. I think and hope Sony can and will make a compensating profile, since in some circumstances, I’d like to use a lens like this, regardless it’s size and weight.
    Last thing I remember is the AF, which is no problem at all to me, since I’m a typical MF guy, using focus peaking 98% of the time. BTW what you write about FP is absoutely 100% correct. It’s an aid (but such a wonderful aid!). Add the magnifying to this, and IMO we get a great system.
    I don’t know if anybody expected this to be perfect camers, I sure didn’t. But still it’s everything I ever dreamed of, and from what I saw so far, even more! There’s always only one question: can I live with what I consider its flaws? I surely can! As a matter of fact, I expect no other camera to have that few flaws – for my use, that is. So right now I’m overthrilled!

  35. Thank you very much for these excellent insights!

    I think about replacing my M9 with an A7 and wonder about whether image quality of the M9 might be better in any way?

    I am unsure about IQ compared between A7 and A7r too: 24MP should have better dynamic range (more headroom) than 36MP for its larger size of individual pixels, right?

    And: A7r does not have a low pass filter, A7 does. Is this noticeable in any way when comparing images between the two?

  36. Thanks for your 1st wrap up, Steve. But your conclusion…

    “But seriously, if you are primarily an ultra wide Leica M lens shooter, you may want to skip these bodies.”

    …is far too vague for me as long as you did not test the entire range of Leica M mount wide angle lenses.

    Here you see first results of the Leica WATE that proof that of course there are good wide angle M mount solutions:

    And I am quite sure that the Voigtlander Ultron 21/1.8 ASPH will do a good job on the A7 / A7R as well.

    • Sure, it all depends on the lens. BUT, if someone is MAINLY a wide angle Leica M lens shooter, it is best to avoid these because some lenses will do OK, others nog so much. Not everyone has the WATE. Many have old vintage glass, some have older designs from the 80’s and 90’s..and some have the latest and greatest. If you want a camera that will work with EVERY wide angle Leica M lens, the A7r is not it.

      • OK, but I am sure that there are quite a lot out there, that do not have any M-mount UWA at the moment or consider buying another one anyway. If the only alternative for a high end and compact fullframe solution is to buy a Leica M to continue using older UWA (from which several also do not perform well on the M), the Sony A7R + WATE is the cheaper and better option.

        When the D800(E) appeared, there were also many that considered buying new lenses that can cope with the new sensor. I saw no recommendation to skip that camera only because there were lenses that did not perform well with it. The accuracy of the AF was a different story…

        In the Leica user forum some already ask if the WATE came to rescue the A7R (and Leica by selling more WATE)…;-)

  37. The most i love Zeiss Biogon 35mm f 2.0 on this shots. Awesome lens.
    Looks like CV 21mm 1.8 is very usable as well.

    Thanks for the review.

  38. Steve – great coverage. Thank you for sharing your thoughts along with all the great images. It was very helpful to read what you had to say about focus peaking too.

  39. Steve the last three days have delivered some wonderful photos. Can see you in your photographic element harking but to Seals images with the M9.

  40. Thanks so much Steve for your hard work it know it takes allot of a day to do your job .
    I recently sold my fuji xe1 (it was disappointing )I was looking for a camera to carry around with my M9 and this looks like a perfect match as I have way too many old canon and leica and Russian RF lenses and of course a summilux 50 and 75 I can’t wait thanks again and get some rest 🙂

  41. Great coverage from event every day. I’m undecided whether to go for a7r and a7. I shoot with Voigtländer M & LTM glass a lot, but I don’t think I will use ultra-wides that much on FF, though I have 15/4.5, 21/1.8, 25/4 and 28/1.9 (and 35/1.2, 35/1.7, 35/2.5, 50/1.5, 75/2.5). My favorite fov on APS-C is 28mm and that translates to 42mm on FF so I guess I’ll be mostly using 35mm and up. Anyhow, I was wondering if you saw any corner problems at all with CV Ultron 21/1.8 on the a7r? I didn’t spot any issues on your one sample from that combo but was wondering if you can comment more about that combo?

  42. Using it for sometime now, have you changed your ming on the add on grip? Just curious if you now see it as over kill.

  43. Thank you Steve, great wrap up answering most of the questions. I have the A7r with he 35mm on pre-order with the intention to use it mostly with M-lenses. I might have to switch to the A7. I expect the A7(r) to be a dream combo with the 35mm native lens, 50mm ZM Sonnar and apo 90mm Summicron. For wides, my plan is to have the Ricoh GR and wide angle adapter in the bag as it seems difficult to find a better 28mm and 21mm equivalent focal length lens for FF.

  44. This is really disappointing. You promised to test wide M lenses and your report is all about
    a couple of Voigtlander lenses and nothing else… Really confusing. Who cares about Otus?

    • > Who cares about Otus?

      I do, f. i…

      The M wide angle lenses were covered well, by the way. And due problems were identified.

      PS: Thanks for the effort, Steve!!!

  45. I’m just starting printing with an Epson 3880. Since you have shot with so many different cameras, including Leica, I am curious to know if you think you could tell the difference between a sony a7 with sony 55 and a Leica with one of their 50s printed at 16×20. I don’t think I could but i’m not sure because I never tried.

    Thanks for the work you do for us.

  46. Today I read elsewhere that focus peaking has not been entirely accurate. Have you had any negative experience with the focus peaking? Otherwise, your write-up and posted images reinforce my positive feeling that I ordered the A7r at announcement time. Thanks (and thanks for the effort; it’s appreciated)!

      • You are correct; my oversight. I find when I use focus peaking with a Sony NEX 6 and Leica or Voigtlander lenses that focus peaking increases in accuracy the more stopped-down the lens is set to. Comments above more or less confirm this. The adventure continues!

  47. Great writeup of the first impressions of the Sony A7/A7R! I wonder how well the Contax G Zeiss lenses will work with an adapter on these.

  48. apart from the resolution, did you notice any image quality superiority in the 7r over the 7? (or vice versa?) i know you said the 7 performed better with colour fringing on the wide RF lenses. but what about overall sharpness? most of the reviews and releases hint that the 7r should be noticeably sharper (offset microlens positioning and no AA filter), but from your samples i would say they are neck and neck.

    ppl also expected the a7 to be less noisy in low light due to larger photosites, but again, your samples seem neck and neck.

    currently have them both on preorder and debating which i should cancel. love your reviews, and pics.

    lookiing forward to using my old canon FD L lenses and nikkors. currently shooting with the nex6 and these old slr lenses are amazing. especially the canon FD 85 f1.2L. any advice on which body would be better suited?

    also, i assume all your samples were taken without flash. is this correct?

    PS… so refreshing to see an internet photo guru who actually takes amazing shots. very inspiring. (take note fro, kai, star, granger)


  49. This is all great imput..and broadens my awareness about what is out there….for now I am keeping my MFT kit and my FF Canon kit….we will see how this all develops…For now…The fast, accurate AF and super low DOF I get from my Canon kit …is going to keep me using it for now….If the Sony’s had 1/2 of the lens quiver that is available to me….I might consider switching …but I can see that that may be a few generations away for this photographer….. LOVE some of the results that Steve was able to squeeze out of these new Sonies though!!!!!

  50. By far the best coverage on the A7/R so far, a big big kudos to you! Fantastic pics, insights and a real desire to go out of your way if needed to inform readers.

    There remains a lot of confusion and questions about the camera and inspite of a lot of coverage and test shots all over the internet, your thoughts and tests have by far been the most insightful and useful imho.

  51. Hi Steve,

    I’ve read that the A7r is more sensitive than the A7 to camera shake and that it is difficult to shoot hand held at slower shutter speeds. While shooting, did you notice a difference in this aspect between the two models and what kind of shutter speeds were you able to use handheld? Thanks for all the great coverage you’ve done with these.

  52. Is there any reason that lenses designed for the A7 won’t work just fine on the NEX 6? I’ll be in the market soon for a prime lens or two and eventually would like to upgrade to FF, but I’m not terribly interested in being the guinea pig for the first round of problems and headaches that inevitably come up in any new camera launch. The flip side is if at all possible, I’d like to buy lenses that will work optimally with both the NEX and the A7 so the transition is a bit easier down the road. So, would it be reasonable for example to expect the 35mm A7 lens to perform similar to the Zeiss primes designed for NEX on the NEX 6? Thanks in advance.

  53. nice camera and all, but unless you got some real GAS it’s just another system to appease the materialistic instinct in us….makes us feel good….until the next rehash…..i’ll wait for the nikon and fuji offerings before succumbing 🙂

  54. This get’s an expencive website to read.
    First the RX1 that i am extremely satisfied with.
    And now the a7 that has some of the features i miss in the RX1. (the a7 is already pre ordered)
    By the way is there any tilt shift lenses that can be used with these cameras.
    And do you plan to test a lens like that?

  55. They seem like nice cameras. I don’t think I will be giving up my M240 or MM anytime soon. And I just spent time again with my M9 and don’t plan to give that up either.

  56. Outstanding coverage Steve,

    When everyone is sleeping or having their JD’s on the rocks you are up and sharing your impressions with us. This is really something unprecedented.

    Great first impressions on the newest Sonys. I’ll be waiting for detailed hands-on reviews.

    Keep up the great work, it is hugely appreciated.


    Richard Franiec

  57. I appreciate very much the honest observations. Some, me included, have been a touch too critical of the Sony before you gave this sweet wrap up.

  58. Steve thanks for these updates it really has been helpful, tomorrow I am testing my Rokkor glass on a 7 so really looking forward to that. Was hoping to test them on the 7r but they don’t have one so if you get a chance and have the inclination I would appreciate it, no pressure lol. Anyway safe home and thanks once again

  59. Steve, great stuff you have the best site around…love your honesty and you’ve blown me away with many of the photos you have taken, be them for tests or just because you are very talented! Good words aside, can you tell, if JUST comparing the A7R with Sony 35mm lens, to the RX1R, is there any overall advantage in your opinion in overall IQ on the A7R vs the RX1R? OR is the only advantage the A7’s can change lenses? I had the optional EVF so that’s a non issue for me here. I ask because I am the type who ends up usually living with one prime on my ILC cameras. Of course I do actually change lenses now and then but 90% of the time I think the 35mm lens will be living on my A7R that I ordered as I just like that focal length somehow. I am just wondering if I am going to be getting better quality pictures in your opinion A7R 35mm, vs RX1R 35mm. IQ only is my question please. I know I’m asking you to compare a 36 meg sensor with a 24 still..on the overall..
    Can you speak to this? Thank you.

  60. Steve,

    First of all, thank you very much for the articles and all the images.

    The photos from these cameras with Leica lens are very sharp, but somehow I did not see the “glow” I normally see with the m9 or ever the m 240. The images are more edgy not smooth as ones from the Leica bodies. The colors are nice but somewhat flat, and resemble images from my D700. I was hoping to see more of the Leica lens characters to be more noticeable in the images. Wonder if it even worth using the Leica lenses on these cameras since you can’t get the most out of those lens.


    • Thanks for reading! Funny because I see the opposite. I see more “Leica Character” in these than I do from the M 240. Not M9 level but more than the M 240, which I have used since launch. If you look at my M 240 and 50 Lux samples you will see what I mean. Plus, these are JPEGS..remember. There is a huge difference between JPEG and RAW, and a Leica M JPEGS are awful. Once these are processed as RAW…look out. I think many forget that this is all JPEG here.

      • I’ve been visiting your site for years now, and your takes on these matters have always been pretty accurate. Well, I am glad you think that, and will check back to see those converted raw files whenever you’ve gotten the chance to post them.

        Happy Halloween !


  61. I have pre-ordered the a7r and the RX10, so I am very much looking forward to your shoot tonight. Sometimes I just don’t want to haul around a bunch of primes. But mostly I do 🙂

  62. Fantastic work Steve, you’ve answered all my questions on this camera. I had ordered the A7R with the Zeiss 24-70 f/4 zoom primarily for studio work where I will be shooting at f/8 mostly with multiple off-camera flashes via Pocket Wizards. And I was just intending to mount Leica or Zeiss glass for primes and focusing manually when the need for different/larger apertures arise. But you have just convinced me to get that 35mm f2.8 for AF and “general use”… 😀

  63. Thankyou,

    A long few days for you, and a fantastically useful overview for us, some great images thrown in.

    Use the links people, we need to keep the man fed……

  64. Great writeup for a “first look”. I must say, your sample photos are great and blow away all the others I’ve seen. These cameras really shine in the hands of somebody that knows what they are doing. Thanks for all your work!

  65. Steve, great set of articles and photos. Very much appreciate the time you have invested on preparing this for the rest of us.

    I particularly find the comment that the IQ with M lenses is better than with the M240 or M9, that’s very promising.

    AF and cost aside, would would be the best IQ kit for an A7R? Sony FE 35/55 or Zeiss 35/50f2 or Leica 35Cron/50Lux?

    I have shot with Leica before and understand the quality there, but reading the reviews here and elsewhere, it seems like the Sony FE lenses in the native mount are quite special as well. Appreciate your thoughts.

  66. Hey Steve, let me know if you do make it up to Seattle. Would be glad to take y’all out on my sailboat for some shooting from the water if y’all like. I should have my own A7 in hand by then!

  67. Steve, I already own a D800 for “serious” shooting, and I love It. I also have a V1, that I’m tempted to replace by one of this cameras, just don’t know which one.

    What do you think?

    Should I buy A7r with the same D800’s sensor or A7, which looks like to be faster and quieter (as the V1)?

    As the V1, this camera would be used as my daily camera.

      • Yes, I’m.

        One of these Sonys or Nikon DF, but first I need to decide which Sony to compare with DF.

        I’m more inclined to A7(r), because I prefer a mirrorless camera as my daily camera, and love the ability to put almost any lens in front of this huge sensor.

        • Agreed as far as nearly limitless lens selection with the A7(r).

          I’ve got Voigtländer M and L mount lenses and a bunch of great old Nikon AI -S lenses that I use with Micro Four Thirds GH 2 and GX 7. BUT, it looks like the A7 could be exactly what I’ve been looking for in terms of IQ and size… much like my beloved Nikon FM2n!

  68. Thank you very much! — Now waiting for your ‘cool’ test 😉 Or even better if compared to a Leica M 🙂

    I came to the conclusion to either replace my elmarit 28mm with a Zeiss 35mm or to buy a Leica M. For me the main problem with elmarit 28 on 7/7r is corner sharpness.

    I’m curious what you will do with your Leica cam.

    • please please tell me you have more pictures or even corner crops with this combination…
      I’d love to see them.

  69. Great 1st impression report! Thanks for putting the time into this!
    No I have to decide between a7 and 50 lux or 6d and otus :p

  70. Thanks for the brilliant work and writing Steve. I ordered A7r the night it was announced, now after seeing your results of using wide/ultra-wide Zeiss/Voigtlander glass on it, I am wondering if CornerFix will be able to fix those isssues, the same way it fixes similar issues on using the wide/ultra-wide glass on NEX7.

  71. Thanks Steve – for M-Mount folks it sounds like the A7 is the versatility king when it comes to lens options and we are not giving up that much in terms of image quality for that. Great news esp for the $$$ savings over the A7R. But, for those wanting max resolution, it might be interesting to try the new SONY app called Lens Compensation app – it’s one of Sonys playmemoriescameraapps especially for 28mm and wider… Looks like we can create profiles. Looks perfect! If you search you will find it as the top result in google. Wonder how this would effect 28mm m-mount and below? Maybe with this app we can have our cake and eat it too with the A7R. Steve have you tried or seen this?

  72. good review and great images – much better than images on that technical review site 🙂 – not sure if this has been asked before but I am sure people considering buying an Rx1 will wonder how A7/35mm compare to Rx1 – thanks

  73. Is that BW photo of the guitar (6400 ISO 55mm 1.8) OOC or a conversion in PS? It is crazy good, perfect grain, and a great contrast.

  74. Hey Steve,

    You don’t sound blown away by these cameras. Perhaps because you’re too tired or I’m way more excited than you 🙂

    Really looking forward to your full review. The 7 looks like it will get the job done for me, but that “extra detail” is so tempting. Ugh.

    You are running the BEST blog in town when it comes to mirror less cameras. Appreciate your time and effort. Thanks!


    • Oh I AM excited about them but when writing this when I woke up this morning I was sooo tired. I had 5-6 hours to get it all done so was a bit sluggish, maybe that came across in the article. BUT, I am also s little burnt out shooting 🙂 12-14 hour days just shooting will get to you! But the cameras are fantastic with gorgeous image quality and color..the color is what I see so much improved from past Sony NEX models. AWB is great as well. Prob best AWB I have seen to date.

      Only issues is slow AF in low light, loud shutter speed and an overall feeling of not being super fast in response..but I think that is a mental thing due to the slow clunky shutter sound.

      I love it and am keeping my A7r pre order 🙂 Just for the fact that I can mount all kinds of funky lenses on it and experiment. It will be an “artists camera” due to this fact alone, something even the new upcoming Nikon “DF” can not do.

      • Haha. 12-14 hour shooting sounds crazy. (I am only a casual shooter).. no wonder you’re tired.

        Every time someone says Shutter sound now, I flinch 🙂

        I have to say, Nikon’s DF is not very appealing (to me). Size, FF, AF, legacy lenses, VIDEO, etc.. are what the 7 and 7r will excel in and Nikon doesn’t look at it that way.

      • Ah, but there are some impressive lenses in the Nikon back catalogue too. I can’t wait to try out my Noct-Nikkor on the DF… One could easily be happy with older AI or AIS lenses.

        • Agreed. That is the reason I said it was not for me. For someone (like me) who doesn’t own/not invested in Nikon glass, the DF, as a sole camera, seems unappealing.

  75. Well Steve, this just convinces me to go for the A7r! My m9 was stolen about 2 years ago and I still have a bunch of nice zeiss zm lenses. I love the 35/2, amazing lens and real 3d pop on an m9. Appears that the a7r might offer me the same! Keep up the good work!

      • Thanks for your thoughts on low-light AF, by the way. There are a lot of us who never get to compare cameras, and your impressions (and mini-reviews) are helpful.

        To some of us, AF is critical. We don’t shoot landscapes, we shoot kids playing basketball, 1st grade plays, and that sort of thing.

        The AF difference between XE2 vs. A7 vs. EM1 and even vs. D7100 boils down to low-light (and medium-light) autofocus.

        • Check out the 70D from Canon. digitalrev did a review on it where they threw something in the air and followed it with the camera with continuous shooting. It did an amazing job. that camera would be great for kids. I am in the same situation. I use the Panny GH2 and the focus is pretty good too, esp in video.

  76. Wonderful read, in terms of image quality I agree it surpasses the M and M9 and at a affordable price. It will go well with my M6 which will always give me that rangefinder feel when I need it, but now a full frame camera for my Summilux 50 at a fraction of the cost. I hope Leica take notice.

  77. I’m guessing the way to go for wide-angle is SLR instead of rangefinder glass. Old Minolta MDs are dirt-cheap and many are outstanding optically. The 24 f/2.8 Rokkor is optically identical to the 24 /2.8 Elmarit-R.

  78. So I guess Leica should make the body and Sony the electronics, it would be an awesome combo.
    Leica M-R, R for resolution….hybrid rangefinder… hmmmm

  79. Thanks for the write up. I’ve been saying I think people aren’t used to peaking and whatnot with the complaints I’ve seen from reviewers. You’ve made images that look like they’ve been post processed straight out of camera, impressive Steve.

    Ordered my A7r and I can’t wait to use it.

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