When I first started looking for a new camera that I needed badly for my upcoming tour of Canada I immediately turned to Sony. Why not, I’ve always had good luck with the brand in the past. Perusing around the store the one that got my attention was the Sony Alpha A7. I had heard a lot of positive things about this model while doing some research from home.
I picked it up and was immediately in love. It has a SLR-like design and angular viewfinder hump which is quite different from the NEX cameras that are now being sold under the Alpha series.
One of the major differences that I have noticed with this Sony camera is the use of a full-frame 24.3 megapixel sensor. Now I’ve never had a full frame camera but I know they are suburb when it comes to gathering light and creating sharp detail rich images. Plus, the interchangeable lens system really opens up the possibilities and is a big step up from my old point and shoot camera.
Personally, I believe the Sony Alpha A7 is indeed one of the best cameras for travelling. It’s bigger than the average point and shoot camera but smaller and a lot lighter than the average dSLR. The A7 weighs only 474g including the memory card and the battery which considering the full-frame sensor within makes it a very small and light. Measuring just 127x94x48.2mm, this camera can be carried very easily while you are travelling. This is another reason I found this model quite interesting as I needed something that won’t really make my luggage heavier but will serve its purpose well.
So far the Sony Alpha A7 has two primes, two standard zooms and one tele zoom available. This is probably one of the drawbacks as the lens options are still pretty limited. The fact that Sony decided to release two standard zooms instead of going for a wide angle-zoom is a bit odd as well. I like primes so having two primes is a good thing but both of them are reported to be a bit slow in comparison with some other models within the same price range. At this point I’m going to say lens availability is downside but it should improve in the future.
The Sony Alpha A7 also has an electronic first curtain mode that ensures that the shutter is quieter. It also reduces the “shutter shock” vibration. Some people have experienced problems with this at faster shutter speeds where the top of the frame becomes black or there is ghosting, blur, etc. This resolves when EFCS is turned off. Personally I have not had any problems with image quality as other readers have reported. Still, it’s worth mentioning.
Sony Alpha A7 has a 3 inch LCD screen that tilts up and down. It also has viewfinder which is the same large XGA OLED display which is also available in the other Sony cameras as well. Having the viewfinder makes it much easier to use under the sunny conditions where the LCD will have a very limited visibility. I would not consider purchasing a camera without a viewfinder.
I won’t be coy about this. It’s really poor and I’m not the only one who to say this. The battery life has been one of the biggest shortcomings with this Sony camera. Now Sony claims that I can video for up to 135 minutes or take 270 photos but it definitely seems less. The good news is that the batteries are fairly small so carrying a few extra isn’t a big deal. Bottom line here: Carry some extra batteries!
The Sony Alpha A7 has built-in Wifi with NFC which means you can easily transfer the images to an electronic device. This is good news for me as I have this tendency to be a show off by uploading my good pictures through Facebook as soon as I take them. I’m sure my family and friends love it and are always eager to see what I post next. OK, I’m kidding, I actually like to painstakingly go over my photos before I show anyone.
However, at the same time if it’s not a landscape or something photographic I tend to leave the images on my computer for a long time and forget about them. Say I’m at my nephew’s soccer game and I just want to shoot a few shots of him playing soccer, share them with the family and be done with it. This is where Wifi comes in handy for me.
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