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Sony A7R: Image Quality and Verdict

By Mike Topham



  • Recommended by TR
Sony A7R


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Sony A7R: Image Quality

Given the length at which we’ve discussed the A7R’s sensor, it seems to barely need mentioning that the image resolution the camera can produce is utterly exceptional. At lower ISO settings especially the level of clarity and detail resolved by the camera is simply phenomenal.

Sony A7R

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Sony A7R

Be aware that this can be a double-edged sword – when every detail captured by the camera is resolved in stunning clarity, little imperfections caused by poor focusing or camera-shake become quite glaringly obvious. It also means that you really need the very best lenses, to avoid any imperfections showing up.

Sony A7R

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Some good news though – even with the enormous resolution, the A7R copes excellently with image noise. Slight traces of image noise start to creep in at ISO 800, but even at the highest sensitivities it is barely noticeable. The Raw files recorded by the camera perform much better than the JPEGs in this regard.

Sony A7R

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The dynamic range is a little restricted in the Sony Alpha 7R, more so than in the Alpha 7, as the higher resolution means its light-gathering capabilities are put under much greater strain. It scores points, however, for its colour palette, which is as reliable as we’ve come to expect from Sony cameras. The auto white balance in particular is very dependable.

Sony A7R 12

Should I buy the Sony A7R?

Short answer – it depends what you need. The feature set and raw power of the Sony Alpha 7R puts it ahead of pretty much every CSC you could buy, and in terms of resolution it easily keeps pace with a high-end DSLR. The current range of lenses is currently quite restrictive – given that Sony has already mapped out its plans for the future of the lineup you could treat an Alpha 7R as an investment for the future, though it depends how deep your pockets are. For the moment, though, you’re better off picking up an adapter and looking into third-party lenses.

The other major issue to bear in mind is the price. The Alpha 7R is a few hundred pounds more expensive than the Alpha 7, and £1,700 is not exactly pocket change. Whether it’s worth it comes down to how much you need that extra resolution. If you’re, say, a landscape photographer, the Alpha 7R is a fantastic investment. If you’re any kind of photographer, it’s an excellent but expensive camera.


Barring slightly lacklustre focusing and a limited lens lineup, the Alpha 7R is a hugely impressive camera. If you’re willing to part with serious cash for a CSC then this is the best one you’ll get.

Next, read more camera reviews

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Design 8
  • Features 9
  • Image Quality 9
  • Performance 7
  • Value 8


February 11, 2014, 9:40 pm

It's without peer as it's the only FF mirrorless camera. Yes sensor is great, but there are issues with the camera such as poor AF, slow lenses to help give the illusion of a small system. Sony has been careful not to release the fast lenses normal FF DSLR users love so much as they would show up the flaw in the system; tiny camera and big lens is unbalanced. Also battery life is just woeful, very limited native lens selection, no electronic first curtain shutter on the A7R, which by the way the A7 has, which is bad news for slow shutter speeds say in the 1/2-1/30s range for landscape say.


February 20, 2014, 8:21 am

I'd guess you don't own the camera as you've merely listed all the stuff that's listed ad nauseum by canikon / M4/3 owners across the many photography forums on the web. Also because, if you owned one, you'd have listed a different flaw - in fact in general usage the only one that really matters - shutter lag. All the other complaints you make are massively overblown. With lenses, the camera takes pretty much any lens ever made, OK, so they're MF, but no other FF camera system can do this. If you want tele- don't forget the camera takes e-mount too if you want to keep the size down. The AF isn't up there with the very best PDAF / current camera stuff, but go back a couple of years and its on a par - its certainly not poor, its just not in the top 10 - lastly, battery life - I honestly can't fathom this one and I wonder what the person who originated this comment was doing with the camera. I shot a wedding over XMAS, I used three different lenses, the LEAE-4 adaptor and shot 1100 (RAW) pictures - I used two batteries and had 15% left in the second when I was done.

Lotus Eater

February 21, 2014, 10:45 am

My Zeiss FE 55mm f/1.8 is far from slow and is nowhere near unbalanced on my A7.
AF is excellent in decent light, and certainly no worse in low light than some DSLR/standard 50 combos I've used in the past - it's an overblown issue.
Sony weren't careful not to release the 70-200/4, so your point about large lenses is kind of redundant.


February 24, 2014, 6:58 pm

Why do people keep parroting Sony's claim that this is the first or only FF mirrorless camera when the Leica M9 has been out since 2009?

Lotus Eater

February 26, 2014, 1:29 pm

"1 According to survey conducted by Sony as of October 2013, for non-reflex interchangeable lens digital camera equipped with auto focus function."


March 9, 2014, 11:25 am

Is it just me or looking at the sample pictures posted they seem to have a bad attack of the measles! - I'm thinking this must be dirt/dust on the sensor? - Is this common to this type of camera - obviously having to spend hours on Photoshop correcting this is a BIG put off!

Lotus Eater

March 11, 2014, 12:45 pm

This camera has probably been passed from reviewer to reviewer and nobody has bothered to clean it. Imagine how many product shots have been taken with the lens or body cap detached, allowing dust to enter the chamber.
I don't find that any NEX I've owned or the A7 is any more susceptible to dust than any DSLR I've used - plus, when they do get dirty, they're much easier to clean.

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