As discussed at length earlier, there are a host of benefits attached to a full-frame sensor, with the one of the foremost of these being the success with which the camera handles image noise at higher ISO settings. It’s safe to say that the Sony Alpha 7 displays no signs of noise at all right up to ISO 1600, and even at ISO 3200 luminance noise is visible but not objectionable. The same is true at ISO 6400, with a very fine noise visible that doesn’t detract from the overall look and feel of the images.
The Alpha 7 utilised the same 1200-zone metering system as seen in previous Alpha SLT cameras, and it can similarly be relied up to deliver even exposures in even more challenging lighting conditions. A handy feature is the A7's zebra pattern display, which while intended more for video use, will provide a quick reference to areas in the frame that may see highlights blown out.
Colours straight out of the camera are pleasingly vibrant and appealing. The wide range of colour modes offer enough variety to change the palette to suit, should you so desire. The Auto White Balance didn't provide any nasty surprises either, with on the whole reliable colour rendition, even under artificial light sources.
Given the A7 shares the same 24MP resolution as the Nikon D610, it's no surprise to see the A7 resolves a similar amount of detail. It captures an excellent level of detail, though the 28-70mm OSS kit lens is a tad disappointing and doesn't do the sensor justice, It just lacks a little bite, so we'd recommend opting for the body only and pairing it with one of the Zeiss prime lenses to get the most from the A7's sensor.
The Sony A7 manages to pack a seriously impressive specification – including the full-frame sensor – in to a CSC body, and for that Sony should definitely be applauded. One of the most impressive feats is that it does so while keeping the price down to a relatively affordable level considering the high-end feel of the camera.
However, the kit lens with which the Alpha 7 ships – the 28-70mm optic – isn’t quite good enough to do the sensor justice, and as a result if you want to get the best out of the camera you’ll have to invest in either the 35mm or 55mm Zeiss lens, and they’re certainly not cheap.
But if you’re happy with the extra cost, or have existing lenses to make the most of the sensor when combined with the adapters on offer, then you should definitely take a closer look at the Alpha 7. It's a groundbreaking camera in many respects and we look forward to seeing how Sony improves this range in future.
The Sony Alpha 7 is a very impressive camera that delivers the goods when it comes to image quality. There are certainly issues when it comes to continuous focusing, and the standard kit lens isn’t anything to write home about, but on the whole it earns our recommendation and shows where cameras could be headed in future.
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