Sony a7 Vs a7R – Detailed Comparison

Hey guys! Today we’ll be looking at the basic cameras in two of Sony’s most popular series. The A-7 series, and the A-7R series- Sony a7 Vs a7R. Both of these cameras were regarded as professional mirrorless cameras, as at the times of their release, in 2014.


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Sony a7 Vs Sony a7R
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Belonging to different series, these two cameras serve different purposes. In this article, we would be comparing the two cameras. This will provide you all the information you would need to help you decide #WhatCamera is better suited for your needs.

If you do not have the time to read through the whole article, check out our comparison overview below. In the comparison overview, we talk about all the main points you’ll need to note which would help you make an informed decision.

However, if you do have the time, we suggest you read the whole article as it promises to leave no stone unturned. Let’s get into it!

Sony a7 Vs a7R – Comparison Overview

Looking at the overall features of these two cameras, we can easily see that they are very similar. The major difference in specs is the sensor resolution. The Sony a7 comes with 24 megapixels, while the Sony a7R comes with 36 megapixels.

However, when you use both of these cameras, you really see the slight difference. The Sony a7 is a better all-round camera. If you’re looking for something that will take good enough photos and videos, then you should go for the Sony a7.

It also shoots more frames per second and has faster autofocus speeds. So, if you’re into sports photography, you are better suited using the Sony a7.

On the other hand, if you’re patient enough the Sony a7R produces much sharper, much richer photos. This is mainly due to the fact that it has a better color depth than the Sony a7. It also performs better in low-light.

Finally, looking at the price of these two cameras, they provide enough quality. Yes, they are not the most affordable out there. But if you want to go professional with photography, either of these two cameras is worth investing in.


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Sony a7 Vs a7R – Comparison Table

 

Sony a7

Sony a7R

Announcement Date 22nd January 2014 13th February 2014
Sensor Resolution 24 megapixels 36 megapixels
Continuous Shooting Rate 5 frames per second 4 frames per second
Weight 474g 465g

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Sony a7 Vs a7R – What Scenario Is What Camera Best For?

Sony a7

Sony 7R

Both of these cameras are actually a lot similar. The major difference between them is speed and resolution. For this camera, it is all about the 36-megapixel sensor. Yes, we know that the sensor resolution is not all that matters, we’re not by any chance saying it is.
The Sony a7 takes it in terms of speed. Firstly, this camera has a continuous shooting rate of 5 frame per second.  

This is one more than what was available with the Sony a7R which has 4 frames per second.
However, if you’re interested in creating really large prints or you have any other need for all that extra resolution, then you definitely want to pick the Sony a7R.
If you’re a strobist, you would definitely be in love with this camera. It has a high edge over the Sony a7R as it provides a maximum flash sync speed of 1/250 seconds.  

This is a lot faster than you would find on most consumer camera models.
Another thing with this high sensor resolution, this camera, the Sony a7R does not come with an anti-aliasing filter.  

Without this feature, your images are a lot sharper with plenty of fine details. This difference can be visibly seen in the images.
The Sony a7R only comes with 1/160 seconds. So, if you do a lot of flash photography, you really to consider the 2/3 stop difference between the flash sync speeds of these two cameras. However, we must mention that the anti-aliasing filter in the Sony a7 is not very strong.
   

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Sony a7 Vs Sony a7R
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Before we go on to talk about this review in details, we would advise you watch this video below. It’s a hand-on review, comparing these two cameras. Check it out below:

Sony a7 Vs a7R – Common Features

These two cameras are very similar. In this section of this Sony a7 Vs a7R comparison article, we would be looking at all those features that you can find on both of these cameras.

They’re Both Mirrorless Cameras

In recent times, Sony has been totally focused on making mirrorless cameras. This shift in focus is what has given birth to the Sony Alpha series. Which is subdivided into the a7 and the a7R series, as represented by these two cameras today- Sony a7 Vs a7R.

The major reason why people like mirrorless cameras is “portability”. Photographers have always wanted cameras that are small and compact. However, in times past, to achieve that, the quality of the photos you’re taken would also have to drop.

Mirrorless cameras changed that narrative. With mirrorless cameras, you can a small, portable, and lightweight camera that can perform with the same quality, if not more, when compared to the bigger DSLRs.

Why Are Mirrorless Cameras Smaller Than DSLRs?

Well, it’s in their name “mirrorless”. In DSLRs, for light to be transferred to the optical viewfinder, it needs to first bounce off a mirror, then a pentaprism, before it’s sent to the optical viewfinder. On the other hand, with mirrorless cameras, you don’t need any of those.

In a mirrorless camera, light enters into the camera through the camera’s lens. It goes straight to an electronic sensor, whether the shutter button is clicked or not. This electronic sensor then converts that light into a digital image. The digital image is then passed to a small display inside the camera, which you see when you look through your electronic viewfinder.

So, replacing those big and chunky mirrors and pentaprisms, with a simple and compact electronic sensor, is why mirrorless cameras can be a lot smaller than DSLRs. This reduction in weight also means a reduction in price.

Mirrorless cameras are more affordable to make because they are smaller, and don’t need all the extra mechanical parts. So, for the same price, you are most likely to get a better mirrorless camera than a DSLR.

Other Benefits Of Mirrorless Cameras

Mirrorless cameras are not only good because of their form factor. There are several other reasons why a photographer might choose a mirrorless camera over a DSLR, apart from just wanting a smaller camera.

One of these is “speed”. When the shutter button is clicked on a DSLR, the mirror has to flip upwards to allow light hit the imaging sensor directly. The image is captured when light hits this sensor. On the other hand, with mirrorless cameras, light is always hitting the electronic sensor.

This means that there are no moving parts involved. When you hit the shutter button, no parts need to be moved, the image is just automatically captured. This is why mirrorless cameras, more often than not, having faster shutter speed and shoot more frames per second than equivalent DSLR cameras.

Another huge benefit of mirrorless cameras is their electronic viewfinders, which would discuss in details, right now.


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Electronic Viewfinders

While DSLRs come with optical viewfinders, mirrorless cameras come with electronic viewfinders. A lot of people prefer electronic viewfinders to optical viewfinders. The major reason for this is what each of these viewfinders show the photographer.

On one hand, optical viewfinders show you raw light, exactly how the camera’s lens is catching it. On the other hand, electronic viewfinders show you a processed image. What that basically means is that you get to see exactly how your image is going to turn out.

Putting this into perspective- Let’s say you are trying to increase the ISO of your picture. With an optical viewfinder, the only way you’ll be able to measure the brightness is by reading the light meter on the viewfinder.

With an electronic viewfinder, you would literally see the whole image get brighter and darker as you change the ISO settings. The same can be said for exposure, focus and other photo settings.

This is not to say that electronic viewfinders are perfect, they’re not. The biggest drawbacks with electronic viewfinders is that they are power-draining. While optical viewfinders will work without the camera being turned on, electronic viewfinders need power, and consume a lot of it.

Wireless Connection

Both of these cameras come with a built-in wireless connection. With built-in wireless connection, you can easily connect your camera to other devices in your network. This will help you to conveniently transfer files from your camera to your other devices.

Gone are the days when you needed to carry wires everywhere just to transfer files from your camera to your laptop. Not to talk about when you have to remove the SD card then put it into the system, before you send your files.

Apart from allowing you wirelessly transfer files from your camera to other devices, the built-in wireless connection that this camera comes with allows you send files to the internet. Sending your files to the internet provides you with either of two benefits.

The first is if your primary audience is on the internet, which they most often are, these days. If your primary audience is on the internet, the fact that you can upload your photos and videos directly from this your camera means that you can get to your audience faster.

The second benefit is more general. By uploading your files to the internet, you can back them up on the cloud for safe keeping. This will prevent you from losing your files if your SD card ever gets damaged or corrupted.

These two cameras further come with an added wireless connection feature called “NFC”. NFC, otherwise known as, Near Field Communication, is a wireless connection feature that allows you to pair with compatible devices, simply by placing them close to each other.

Once these devices are paired, they’ll automatically connect to each other once they’re brought close to each other.

Articulating Screen

An articulating screen is basically an LCD screen that tilts. It’s mounted to the camera using a pivot system, which is why it has the ability to tilt to different angles. An articulating, or a tilting screen becomes very important when you’re trying to record videos.

When recording videos, or even taking photographs from certain angles, it becomes almost impossible to use your viewfinder to frame your photos. This is when the articulating screen comes in. Because it tilts, you can easily tilt it to the angle you’re shooting from and use it to frame your photos.

External Flash Shoe

An external flash shoe is a pretty simple feature that has great important. It’s that little pocket on top of the camera that allows you to connect the camera to an on-camera flash.

If you’re going to be doing a lot of low-light photography, then you definitely want to have the option of using an on-camera flash.

RAW Support

RAW is a format you use to save pictures, just like PNG and JPEG. RAW is highly regarded because it is the original picture. All digital cameras initially capture images in this format. However, few cameras will not allow you to save your photos in this format.

Rather, they would edit the image, compress it, and then convert it to JPEG, before saving it. The problem with this process is that it reducing the amount of information in the pictures, hence, its quality.

So, if you want the highest quality for your images, you need to have them saved in the RAW format. One thing you must know, however, is that RAW images are uncompressed, so, they’re very large.

If you’re going to shoot RAW, make sure you have enough storage space on your memory card, before you start your shoot.


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Sony a7 Vs Sony a7R
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Face Detection Focus

This basically means your camera automatically focuses on any face that’s in the frame of the shot. Although it might not seem like much, it really helps if you’re going to be taking a lot of portrait shots.

Microphone Port

The most important component of any video is the audio. Without good audio, it’s difficult for the audience to follow what is going on in the video. This is why having a microphone port on a camera is very important.

With a microphone port, you can easily connect an external microphone to your camera. This allows you to record high-quality sound with your camera. We all know that the built-in microphone that comes with most cameras is just not good enough.

Headphone Port

Recording good audio is important, and so is monitoring said audio. The headphone port that this camera comes with, allows you to connect you’re a headphone to your camera.

This headphone helps you to monitor the audio that your camera is recording, whether with the camera’s built-in microphone, or with your external microphone.

Environmental Sealing

Doing a lot of outdoor shooting requires that you always monitor the weather and try to beat it. However, sometimes, we just can’t predict nature. While you’re shooting, you might run into mild rainfall or the environment might get a little windy.

With the environmental sealing feature that these two cameras come with, you won’t need to panic when either of these happens. Basically, with this environmental sealing feature, your camera is protected from both moisture and dust.

AE Bracketing

An Exposure bracket is group of photos taken of the exact same scene with different exposure levels. The aim of creating exposure brackets is to find the picture with the best exposure settings. From this, you can see that getting the exposure right is one of the most important things for any photography.

Creating manual exposure brackets can be stressful as you would have to manually capture every shot, changing the exposure after every one. To make this easier, manufacturers added the autoexposure bracket.

An autoexposure bracket is automatically created by the camera. To do this, all you need to do is initially set all the exposure settings you want to try, and then take the shot. The camera will automatically capture this one shot and save it as different images with the different exposure settings.

Apart from making it easy for you to create exposure brackets, autoexposure bracketing also makes it possible for you to get HDR images. HDR images are formed by adding all the images in an exposure bracket into one image. This HDR image is perfectly exposed because it features all the different exposure levels.  


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Sony a7 Vs Sony a7R
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Sony a7 Vs a7R – Unique Pros

Alright! Now that we’ve seen all the ways that these two cameras- Sony a7 Vs a7R, are similar, it’s time to look at the ways they are not similar. In this section, we would be talking about all the features that either of these cameras comes with, that the other does not.

Unique Pros Of The Sony a7

1. More Focus Points (117)

The Sony a7 comes with 117 focus points. Focus points are points which your camera uses to focus on an object. You notice these focus points when you half-press your shutter button. Some cameras will give off a “beep” while some others will have the AF points light off inside the viewfinder, or the LCD display.

If you leave your camera on autofocus, you’ll know what area of the frame is focused on when you see what AF points light up. With more focus points, you get better autofocus. This is because, the focus points practically tell the camera where to focus.

2. 5 Frames Per Second

The Sony a7 has the ability to shoot 5 frames per second. The Sony a7R, on the other hand, can only shoot 4 frames per second. This extra frame per second becomes noticeable when you’re taking a lot of action shots.

So, if you’re into sports photography, wildlife photography, or you’re generally used to capturing a lot of moving and action shots (both video and photos), then you would definitely want to be able to shoot as many frames as possible.

3. Dynamic Range

Although the margin is very tight on this one, we have to point out that this camera, the Sony a7, has better dynamic range than the Sony a7R.

Dynamic range in photography refers to the range of colors your camera can process. Therefore, the wider the dynamic range, the more colors your camera can process, which in turn creates more color-accurate photos.

To put this into perspective, if your camera has a small dynamic range and you take a photo that is very bright, those bright parts of the photos will be blurred out. At the other end, a photo that is very dark might be shadowed out if your camera’s dynamic range is not wide enough to process such a dark color.

It’s just like our eyes as humans. When you walk into a room and you can’t see anything, it’s not that there is no light in that room. It just basically means that the dynamic range of your eyes is not wide enough to process that level of brightness.

That’s why nocturnal animals can see in places we can’t. Their eyes have a wider “dynamic range” than ours, which is why they can see a wider range of brightness levels.

4. Larger Sensor Pixel Area

Although both of these cameras come with a full-frame CMOS sensor, this camera, the Sony a7, comes with a larger sensor pixel area. With a larger sensor pixel area, you get more light passing through the camera’s lens.

This in turn means that you get more light sensitivity, and brighter pictures when you’re shooting in low-light. The Sony a7 comes with a sensor pixel area of 35.65µm2, while the Sony a7R comes with just 23.83 µm2. This basically means that the sensor pixel area on the Sony a7 is 49% larger than the sensor pixel area on the Sony a7R.

Unique Pros Of The Sony a7R

1. Higher Maximum Sensor Resolution (36 Megapixels)

Just like we’ve mentioned earlier in this article, the ideal number of megapixels you need to have in a professional camera is 20. With that benchmark at the back of our minds, we think it’s fair to say that this camera does exceptionally well in that regard.

Yes, having a high number of megapixels does not always equate a great photo, however, it does come with a lot of benefits. The most noticeable benefit is that your camera processes a lot more pixels with a higher resolution.

What that means is that with a higher sensor resolution, you can zoom into your pictures more, without them getting pixelated. Imagine you take a picture and there’s something in the background that’s interesting. If your camera doesn’t have high megapixels, zoom into that picture and it’ll lose all its detail.

However, if your camera does have a high sensor resolution, you can zoom into that image, crop everything out, and it’ll still come out clean. This also applies to printing these images. The larger the prints you wish to make out of your photos, the larger the sensor resolution you should go for.

2. -Lightweight (465g)

This is not to say that the Sony a7 is not lightweight, it is. But this camera, the Sony a7R, is slightly lighter than the Sony a7. This is a vital point to note because mirrorless cameras are meant to be as lightweight as possible.

So, if you’re looking for just that, then you will definitely find it with the Sony a7R.

Sony a7 Vs a7R – Unique Cons

Sony a7

  • It comes just 24 megapixels. While that is not bad in many quarters, it is when compared to the Sony a7R that comes with 36 megapixels.
  • It is slightly heavier than the Sony a7R.
  • It has a low-light ISO of 2248 which is worse than the Sony a7R that comes with 2746.

Sony a7R

  • This camera comes with only 25 focus points. This is 92 less than the Sony a7 that comes with 117 focus points.
  • It has a continuous shooting rate of 4 frames per second, which is one lesser than the continuous shooting rate of the Sony a7.
  • It has a sensor pixel area that is smaller than that of the Sony a7. This means that it won’t have as good light sensitivity as the Sony a7.

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Sony a7 Vs a7R – Common Pros

 

Sony a7

Sony a7R

Wireless Connection With the wireless connection that these two cameras come with, you can easily transfer files from your camera to other devices.  

Furthermore, you can upload your files straight from your camera to the internet.  

This is great for keeping your files safe, in case your memory card spoils.  

It also allows you reach your audience more quickly.
Same as the Sony a7.
Articulating Screen An articulating screen provides you with great image framing and control when you’re shooting from certain angles.  

These are angles where it would be difficult for you to use your viewfinder from.
Same as the Sony a7.
External Flash Shoe An external flash shoe allows you to connect an on-camera flash to your camera.  

This provides you with extra lighting when you’re shooting in low-light.
Same as the Sony a7.
Electronic Viewfinder Electronic viewfinders are great because they show you everything.  

With an electronic viewfinder, you see a live preview of exactly how your image is going to appear.  

This means that you can edit things and see how the changes will affect the image, before taking the shot.
Same as the Sony a7.
RAW Support Both of these cameras allow you to save your images in their RAW format.  

This means that you get the highest quality images, which are uncompressed.
Same as the Sony a7.
Face Detection Focus If you take a lot of portrait photos, you’ll definitely be happy with this.  

With this feature, your camera automatically focuses on the face that’s in the frame of the shot.  

Of course, if you don’t want this, you can easily change it. However, it’s great to have it as a default option, saves a lot of time.
Same as the Sony a7.
Maximum Sensor Resolution Both of these cameras have a good maximum senor resolution, although the Sony a7R is better.  

This means that you get really detailed images that won’t get pixelated when you zoom into them a fair bit.
Same as the Sony a7.
Microphone Port The built-in microphone on most cameras just isn’t good enough to do the job.  

That’s why it’s great that these two cameras come with microphone ports that allow you to connect external microphones to your cameras.
Same as the Sony a7.
Headphone Port Connecting a headphone to your camera allows you to monitor the audio you’re recording with either your built-in camera microphone, or your external microphone. Same as the Sony a7.
Environmental Sealing This basically protects these two cameras from both moisture and dust.  

This in turn, means that you can use either of these cameras when you’re out in the rain, or when it’s windy.
Same as the Sony a7.
AE Bracketing You can create autoexposure brackets with this camera.  

Not only does it make it super easy to create an exposure bracket, AE brackets also make it possible to have HDR images, which are perfectly exposed.
Same as the Sony a7.

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Sony a7 Vs Sony a7R
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Sony a7 Vs a7R – Common Cons

 

Sony a7

Sony a7R

No in-camera Image Stabilization Neither of these cameras comes with in-camera image stabilization.  

Neither of these cameras has slow shutter speed. So, you really wouldn’t see the effect of the lack of image stabilization in your pictures.  

You would notice it more when you’re shooting video. Your videos will come out shaky and blurry for every slight camera movement.  

Simply put, to get a balanced video, you need to get a gimbal or a tripod.
Same as the Sony a7.
No Touchscreen Neither of these cameras has a touchscreen feature. A touchscreen feature would have made it easier to navigate through the camera’s settings.  

It would have also helped in manual focusing as all you would have had to do is tap on where you want focused.
Same as the Sony a7.
No Built-in Bluetooth Built-in Bluetooth would have made it faster and easier to transfer files to other devices.  

This is heightened by the fact that there are a lot of devices that come with built-in Bluetooth.  

It would have been a lot easier to share files with those devices using Bluetooth connectivity.
Same as the Sony a7.
No Built-in GPS Without a built-in GPS, you cannot geotag your photos, neither can you find them if they ever get lost. Same as the Sony a7.
No Internal Flash Looking at the fact that mirrorless cameras are meant to be the symbol of portability, it’s sad that neither of these cameras comes with an internal flash.  

This means that you have to carry your on-camera flash with you wherever you go, which makes things not so portable anymore.
Same as the Sony a7.
Single Card Slot Both of these cameras come with one card slot. This reduces the storage flexibility and the maximum storage space you can get with your camera. Same as the Sony a7.
Can’t Shoot Slow Motion Videos Neither of these cameras can shoot in slow-motion. Same as the Sony a7.

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Sony a7 Vs a7R – General Feeling Amongst Users

Sony a7 Sony a7R
People who bought this camera had a few things to commend about it, and also a few things they wish were different. One thing that people talked about the Sony a7R in comparison to the Sony a7 is that this is a more specialized camera, compared to the Sony a7 that is better all-round.
For the commendation, many photographers found that this camera performed really well in low-light.   You can see this from its wide ISO range and low-light ISO. If you want a studio camera, or a camera for travel, this is the camera for you. This is because it takes good portrait and landscape photos.
Another thing they commended was the speed. Many photographers who bought this mentioned that it is fast enough to capture basic action photos. The one place where this camera did not do it for most customers is autofocus. The autofocus on this camera is very slow, especially compared to the Sony a7.
The one downside is that the lenses are very expensive. If you want a lens that can shoot long distance, you’re looking at spending over a thousand dollars.  

This is not, in any way, aided by the fact there are very few (almost none) third-party lenses that you can use with this camera to achieve same results.
So, to shoot on this camera requires a lot of patience.  

The 36-megapixel sensor also helped a lot of customers get clear photos when they made large prints of their images.

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Sony a7 Vs Sony a7R
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Sony a7 Vs a7R – What Do We Think?

Both of these cameras are extremely similar. The only minor difference is that the Sony a7 is faster, so it’s great for taking action shots, while the Sony a7R’s 36-megapixel sensor captures better portrait and landscape photos.

Because they’re just so similar, we’re going to have to give this one as a draw. Honestly if you use these two cameras, most of the time, you won’t notice the difference in the output. So, go on, make your choice. For whatever you choose will be a great choice!

Sony a7

Sony a7R

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