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Digital Photography review tests Sony's A7

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Digital Photography Review (DPR), one of the web's most trusted resources for all things digital photography, has just completed its in-depth review of the Sony Alpha 7, the world's first full frame, mirrorless, interchangeable lens camera. When Sony announced the A7, it fulfilled the dreams of many who felt limited by sub-frame models that were the only option until the A7. Needless to say, people were quick to clamor for the camera. Now, the first review by a world-renowned authority has been published.

So, how does the A7 do? Answer: it's a mixed bag.

Overall, the staff at DPR loved the A7 for what it is: a mirrorless, full frame camera that's about as small as the latest offerings from Olympus (which have a 2x crop factor). Additionally, DPR praised the camera for its ability to use just about any lens thanks to the adapters that Sony has made available for it.

Innovations aside, how about actual performance?

The strong suit of the A7 is its video capability, which is not all that surprising considering that Sony has an extensive background in the video camera field. In addition to the high quality of the video itself, the A7 offers a lot of other features that advanced movie makers will appreciate, such as: extensive manual control, audio adjustment, the ability to stream uncompressed HDMI output, and microphone and headphone ports. Other things DPR liked: the electronic level, a dedicated exposure compensation control, a high quality electronic viewfinder, good build quality, and wi-fi connectivity.

As for complaints? Well, there's one that could single-handedly put off many would-be buyers: the poor JPEG image quality.

In its review, the DPR Staff can't help but note that pictures from the A7 look a lot like those from Sony's pocket compacts, namely over-processed. Taking things overboard on both extremes of the spectrum, DPR complains that the A7 will both over-sharpen and over-process its pictures to reduce noise, making finding a balance rather difficult to do. DPR's recommendation: shoot RAW, which is something that many users may not want to take the time to do as RAW mandates post-processing on the computer. Other complaints involve slowness, namely in start-up, buffer clearing, and AF.

Overall conclusion? The A7 is a revolutionary camera, but one that is in need of refinement.

Want to buy a A7? As for pricing and availability, the A7 in in stores now and sells for around $1,700 for the body and for $2,000 with a 28-70 f3.5-5.6 kit lens.

For more info:
The Full Test

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