So if you have arrived here, it means you’ve questioned yourself about
What model from the Sony Alpha 7 series best suits you?
The 4 members of the Alpha 7 family, even if they share many features, differentiate each-other by specific characteristics, making each one more appropriate for different photography styles. So, to raise the question above it’s something natural, given the situation.
First of all, let’s analyse their specifications
|a7 (review)||a7R||a7S (review)||a7II (review)|
|Resolution||6000 x 4000||7360 x 4912||4240 x 2832||6000 x 4000|
|AF Sensibility||EV0 to EV20||EV0 to EV20||EV-4 to EV20||EV-1 to EV20|
|Predictive AF||Yes||No||No||Yes (improved)|
|Frame-rate||5 fps||4 fps||5 fps||5fps|
|Silent Shutter Mode||No||No||Yes||No|
|Weight||416 g||407 g||489 g||556 g|
|Body Price*||5.599 lei||9.599 lei||10.699 lei||8.199 lei|
*At the time of this article, in Romania. Click to verify the current price
So, taking a look at the specs, and by testing each model (I know I have not written a review for the a7R, but I did test it personally), I’ve tried to build a profile for the user of each of the models from the Alpha 7 series, based on their preferred shooting genre.
Yep, that’s me in the photo
So, if your main photographic activity is wedding/event photography, this is how I see things:
- you fancy the photojournalistic style, you hate flashes and you want excellent results in low light – > Sony a7S
- you prefer using your Granpa’s lenses for that superb Bokeh, and you still want rapid AF when using modern lenses -> Sony a7II (and on top of that you get free upgrade to stabilised vintage lenses)
- you focus more on the posed/directed shots, pre or after events shooting sessions and want maximum details for your Weds printed albums -> Sony a7R
- you’ve just started doing event photography and Budget is a problem -> Sony a7 (best deal from the entire Alpha 7 series and is still produced in parallel with the a7II)
If you are a videographer, not that I am one, but this is what I would chose:
- Sony a7s for the best image in any shooting condition, excellent editing flexibility and 4k
- or, if you don’t want to pay premium, Sony a7II gives you the same XAVC S codec as the a7S, and also IBIS with any lens if you prefer shooting mostly handheld. You got to choose here 🙂
Landscape and nature photographer
On this field the answer is pretty simple: Sony a7R for the best image resolution, superb printing capability with excelent details even with large format printing.
Instead, if you prefer doing safari, birding or any other in nature shooting involving movements, then the improved focusing system of the new Sony a7II, with 30% faster AF aquisition, 1.5 x better tracking of moving subjects, might suit you better. This is only if you can’t live without full-frame. If you accept shooting APSC, then, nothing beats the small Sony a6000 in focusing speed, frame-rate of 11 fps and subject tracking. Plus, you’ll get the 1.5x crop factor for your tele lenses.
Portrait, studio photographer
This is the field I have the least experience, and not that I don’t like portrait photography, but because I find it the most difficult to get the perfect portrait. You need a great deal of experience, you do it mostly in studio and the natural choice in this situation is again, the Sony a7R, for it’s accurate image details and print offerings.
If you prefer on-location portraits to the studio ones, then you might reconsider, because of the flash sync rate of the a7R (only 1/160) compared to the ones of Sony a7 or a7II (1/250). It depends on your budget which one of those two.
Street or photojournalism photographer
With its low light amazing performance, and reaching ISO values hard to imagine not long ago, the camera that bites from the dark, the Sony a7S is the winner in this kind of photography. Moreover, if you need to be completely quiet when shooting, using the Silent Shutter, and be quieter than Death itself, is an added value not to attract any attention to you.
If you are a “hipster” and you love vintage lenses, putting at work all the time those rangefinder evergreens, then you might take a look at the last model of the Alpha 7 series, the Sony a7II because it gives you a huge advantage: in body stabilisation for any lens you put on it. We are entering a new era my friends!
You are like me (many years ago). You are a student, live in a campus, you still get some spare money from your family, but they barely cover your meals. But you love photography, you are a dreamer, you eat, drink and shit photography. You better prefer shooting one roll of film and develop it after a while, than to shoot on a compact camera, or on an entry crop dSLR.
You want Full Frame, you want DOF, you want Bokeh, you want, want, want! … but from where?!
Pinch and scrape, wait for Santa, learn more to get a scholarship, but don’t miss the occasion to get the best deal on a full frame camera of this time – the Sony a7. You can go for Body only, because you’ll find plenty of adapters for that old glass you got almost for nothing on internet 🙂
The videographer photographer
Yep, sounds funny, but I know many people fancying more and more videography. I know some who quit doing photography, in favour of producing films. Even I do fancy it, more and more. So, if you are this kind of photographer, I don’t have to tell you which is the best of the best for this scenario: Sony a7S. In the end, all of us will want 4K.
Again, if you are just starting in this field, from zero, you better go for the a7 and with the spared money, invest in some “cine” glass 😉
In the end
It is difficult to cover all photography genres, but I’m sure you got my point:
- Sony a7 – budget, enthusiast, full-frame lover, best deal of the moment (quality vs price)
- Sony a7R – super details, Hi res, studio work, product, food, magazines etc.
- Sony 7S – dark, pitch black, 4K, silent 🙂
- Sony a7II – versatile, good for everything, 5 axis IBIS, vintage lenses etc.
See you next time!