Avid travelers and photography enthusiasts often go weak in the knees to to cameras that belong to the Japanese pedigree. However, in the crowd of DSLRS from the stables of Nikon and Canon, contenders from Sony also vie for attention. Sony cameras are known for their excellent optics and imaging prowess and the A7 is suited well for travellers serious about photography.
Whatâs the Sony A7 is all about then?
To make it simple the Sony A7 is a feature rich, compact, and lightweight camera with features travelers will find handy. It is a full-frame, mirror less device that lets you shoot high quality, sharp images and tweak with the settings a lot too.
There are 3 variants in the A7 series. The A7 costs the least, but it is still pretty powerful. The A7R sports higher megapixels while the A7S is meant for users who shoot videos more than images.
Design and build: compact and sturdy
Sony kind of hit the bullâs eye by squeezing in a full-frame sensor into the body of a compact mirrorless camera. Basically, it denotes the sensor Sony has used in the device is large and so it is more likely to produce sharp, noiseless images. However, the A7 still is smaller than many rivals from the stables of Nikon and Canon. Professional quality rarely comes in a small package, but when it does-users should rejoice! It weighs just 416 grams.
Spec: reasonably good
While the spec of Sony A7 cannot trounce that of some high end DSLRs it does put on a good show! The sensor resolution is 24.7 Megapixels and the device is equipped with a Sony E & FE lens. It supports SD.SDHC and SDXC cards. The video recording capacity is maxed at fullHD resolution and FPS choice is 24 or 60. ISO range begins from 250 and goes all the way up to 256000.Â The device sports support for NFC and Wifi, quite a boon for users on the move. On top of the device, there is a hot shoe using which a number of accessories can be attached, it supports accessories like flash. There is an HDMI out port as well.
Technology: As good as it gets
While a lot of serious photographers go gaga by models of brands like Nikon and Fuji, the truth is many such models actually have sensors manufactured by Sony. As it is, Sony A7âs gapless sensor design enables it to collect more light easily. This, coupled with the companyâs BIONZ X Image Processing technology, enables capture of more details and reduces noise level.
Weather resistance: good
When you want to capture marvelous nature and wildlife images while traveling, it becomes necessary to use a camera that copes with varying climate conditions. Except for very wet places, using the Sony A7 is not a problem. It survives use in sandy, snowy and humid climates with ease. While Sony does not claim the device to be weather proof most users will find no issue in operating it in varying weather conditions.
LCD Screen & Viewfinder: flexibility aplenty
Sony has used an articulating LCD screen in the A7 models and they do a fine job of tilting up and down as per imaging needs. However, using them all the way around for taking selfie is not possible.
Lens options: Bring them on!
The native Sony FE lens on the A7 does a nice job of shooting texture and detail rich images, but seasoned photographers may want more! Sony manufactures a few FE lenses for the A7. These are:
Sony FE 70-200mm F4
Zeiss FE 16-35mm F4
Zeiss FE 24-70mm F4
Zeiss FE 35mm F2.8
Zeiss FE 55mm F1.8
Software: user friendly and customizable
From beginners to savvy DSLR users, nearly everyone will find the software UI and menu system used in Sony A7, absolutely comfortable. The majority of buttons can be heavily customized to suit user needs. Only the video recording button is placed somewhat oddly at the deviceâs right side. Users get 2 2 custom modes to save widely used camera settings on the dial.
Sony offers some in-Camera Apps that geeks will find handy. The Time Lapse App is ideal for shooting group images and selfies. The Smart Remote Control app lets users deploy a smartphone to control the camera.
Video recording: Decent
With even smartphones packing in 4K UHD recording, some users may find the 1080p resolution for video recording in this Sony camera a tad disappointing. However, the A7 does perform well in video recording tasks. There is a slow motion mode. Sony has crammed in external headphone jacks and a 3.5mm microphone for video recording, as it is. It excels at recording 1080p video with smooth, continuous autofocus. Users also get active audio levels, and manual exposure control. Video can be saved in AVCHD and MP4 formats, of which undeniably the MP4 is easier for sharing!
Battery: The Achillesâs heel
If there is anything downright saddening about the Sony A7 is its mediocre battery life. The compromise Sony made for a smaller and sleek body, is the use of a low capacity battery.. Deactivating the wifi does help in extracting more juice from the battery. Simply carry a spare battery, if you must!
Summing it up
Overall, the Sony A7 is an excellent compact camera which offers performance rivaling top notch DSLRs but in a smaller form factor. It fits the bill for travel photography well with weather adaptability, mirrorless build and native FE lens. The only big drawback in this excellent device is its middling battery life.