Sony has just announced that it will be offering a firmware update for its revolutionary A and A7R SLR-like cameras on March 19. As for what the firmware will do, Sony is not sharing a lot of details other than the fact that the tweak will result in faster startup, new apps, and improved image quality, though in what exact respect remains a mystery.
For Sony shooters, the only thing to do now is wait and see what March 19 brings.
So, how does the A7 do? Answer: according to reviews, it's a mixed bag.
Overall, one can't help but love the camera 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, the camera can 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 positives: 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 reviews, it's been noted 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, the A7 tends to both over-sharpen and over-process its pictures to reduce noise, making finding a balance rather difficult to do. Easy fix: shoot RAW, which produces great pictures, but 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 opinions? The A7 is a revolutionary camera, but one that is in need of refinement, one that, hopefully, the firmware fix will help provide.
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