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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Score in detail
Image Quality 9