2013 was an exciting year for photography. We had the quirky, but wonderful Nikon Df, a fix to the defective Nikon D600, the D610, Fuji’s first non rangefinder mirrorless, the X-E2 and Sony’s A7 series. At one point or another, I either owned all of these cameras or had the chance to extensively use them, well actually, all but one, the Sony A7. The A7 series never peaked my interest, I thought the system was to young. At launch there were no promising lenses or character to the cameras like I was seeing with the Fuji’s or Olympus cameras. This hesitation stayed with me, at least up until December 2016 when I had the chance to buy the Sony A7 at a huge discount. So what did I think of this camera?
Behind the relatively utilitarian design is a engineering masterpiece of a camera. With the same sensor (or at least similar) as the Nikon D610, image performance is great, and to fit everything is such a tiny body is nothing short of a miracle. Plenty of resolution for my stock images, and large enough files that some post processing was possible. So why was I so hesitant on purchasing this camera? It checks all the marks, take a look at DXO marks score (link here), clean images throughout the ISO range, a decent dynamic range, solid auto focus, good build quality, and a very good viewfinder. What more could I ask for in a camera? Every time I picked up this camera I got the feeling that is was a marketing ploy, packing every spec you can think of into a camera, offer it at a great price, and sell as many units as possible. But something had been lost. Some call it character, soul, or just a feeling they get when they take the image, or when they view the images for the first time after a trip, its not tangible like resolution or dynamic range, but it was enough that 6 months later I sold the camera. I don’t regret it, not for one moment. I never used the camera, it would just sit in the bag, taking up space, and when I did use it, I was disappointed, but not for the the technical performance, it was the intangible soul of the camera that missing for me.
What I like: As a piece of engineering, this camera is amazing. Like I said earlier, the cameras has clean images throughout the ISO range, a decent dynamic range, solid auto focus, good build quality, and a very good viewfinder, and as of 2017, some stunning lenses to go with the bodies.
What could use improvement: Mediocre video quality, poor battery life (I mean really poor, pack a dozen batteries), and a lack of the intangible quality I look for in a camera.
Final words: It’s a wonderful camera, and it takes amazing images, it’s just not for me. Maybe you’ll like it, the only way to know is to go and try it, rent it for a week and see what you think, maybe it will click with you, maybe not.
So I hope you liked my Sony A7 Review (Sort of), I know that it isn’t the normal camera review format, but I hope you can understand that this was more a showcase of buying a camera that matches you, not your spec sheet.