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New Sony Gear on the Way – Sony A7r, SEL55F18Z, HVL-F20M Flash

Sony A7r

I sent back the Sony RX10 although I really wanted to purchase it believe me! Now it’s time for the other full frame beast, better known as the Sony Alpha A7r. To test this animal I will using the native FE Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens, and my Canon EF L lenses via the Metabones III lens adapter. I also have an old school Minolta 50mm f/1.4 Rokkor-X lens I’ll certainly try at some point. Studio photography will also be tested one way or another, but hopefully with some willing participants. Lab testing will also be done, but modifications will be made to the lab this time. I’m still not exactly sure what yet, but I have ideas.

The Sony HVL-F20M External Flash is also coming and I look forward to finally testing it. The Sony A7 and A7r have no built in flash, so this is a perfect opportunity to see the real world power of this compact unit. Plus I have several requests to try this flash out as well.

A Closer Look – Sony A7r

$2298 US, Full Frame, 36mp, no anti aliasing filter, Gapless On-Chip Lens Design with angle priority in corners, stronger chassis assembly then A7, no electronic 1st curtain shutter, and a few other things..


Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens – SEL55f18z

Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Lens

Sony HVL-F20M Flash

Sony A7 VS A7r?

I wrote and article on comparing the A7 vs the A7r a while back (click Here), but it’s been a while, tons of reviews have been published, and my thoughts have changed a bit on this issue. Each camera has it’s strengths and weakness’s, so lets go over them quickly:


Sony A7

Sony A7r

BodyStandard ChassisHeavy Duty Chassis
Sensor24mp Hybrid sensor36mp, gap-less micro lens
FilterAnti Aliasing filterNo Anti Aliasing filter
Pixel densityLower Pixel densityHigher Pixel density
ShutterElectronic w/ first curtain shut offSupposedly louder and no 1st curtain option

DXOMark Sensor Score – Sony A7 VS A7r


As you can see by the DXOMark sensor scores below, the higher resolution clearly gives an advantage in pretty much all areas. Can’t wait to see how it works on the real world 😉

Closing Remarks:

That is about it for now, but stay tuned for more very soon! The new gear should arrive today hopefully 😉
Also, can somebody try and comment please? I’m curios if it works now. Thanks in advance for the efforts…

  1. I have the A7 + 55m F1.8 but sometimes wonder if I shouldn’t have opted for the A7r, but when I hear the shutter I’m glad I choose the A7. Also the image quality and pixels of the A7 are already great. But looking forward to your findings.

    1. I hear ya Edwin and I was thinking the same about the A7r. How much better is it really? I know the no AA filter makes a pretty big difference, because when I upgraded to on my Canon 5d Mark II years ago from the Canon 40d, it was night and day sharpness improvement with the same glass. Clearly the sensor had something to do with it, but it turned out to be the no AA filter in the end after doing some re-search. I remember being very surprised back in the day. Now, that doesn’t mean the A7r is going to blow away the A7, but perhaps it will be pretty big?
      Thanks for the comments,

  2. Edwin, do you find the shutter sound being too loud on the A-7r?
    Do you mind me asking what camera you had before the A7 and how the transition to the A7 has been for you?
    I have the A-77 and my fingers are burning to hold an A7 or the A7r, hence why I ask 🙂

  3. I purchased the A7r w/ FE 35mm & 55mm lenses with the FE 24-70mm with OSS on the way. I couldn’t be happier with this camera and lenses and I enjoy being able to use all of my APS-C E-mount lenses at 15mp on the A7r to include being able to use the ultra wide SEL 10-18 APS-C lens in Full Frame mode between 13-14 to 18mm. Focus speed also seems to be equal if not better than my Nex 6.
    I really haven’t found much evidence of the now imfamous shutter slap/vibration effect even though I have tried repeatdly to reproduce the effect -albeit I have seen some very, very minor blurring specifically when using the 55-210 fully extended on a tripod but only at 1/25 shutter speed. I have repeated this scenario several times with multiple lenses and shutter speeds so I am certain of the conditions. In this case I was testing for the effect photographing an address label on an envelope and I only saw the slight blur in the letters post processing by zooming in well beyond 100%—the very minor blur that I saw was nothing at all like what is being posted on the various internet forums and I only saw it because I was specifically testing and looking for it and frankly the minor blur I saw under heavy zoom would never be noticed in real world photography otherwise IMHO.
    I am not saying shutter slap/vibration is or isn’t a problem with this camera and by no means do I have the equipment to put this effect through the rigorous and test scenarios I have seen on some forums. However, I just haven’t yet encountered this problem to any extent that would make be worry otherwise.

    1. Hello LBier,
      Thank you very much for the detailed report and comments! I’m even more excited now hearing your raving review and info about the so-called shutter slap phenomenon. Your testing sounds similar to what I was planing on doing 😉
      Catch up with you later!

  4. I got the A7 and the FE 35mm last week, great combo 😀
    Sure the A7r looks even better, but the body only was nearly the price of the A7+35, so I prefer the combo 😀
    I was between the FE 35 and the 55. I picked the 35 because I think its a better all around, due the size and wider focal length. But for portrait and some shallow DoF, the 55 is a better choice. 😉

    1. Thanks for the comments! I bet it’s easier the hand hold the 35mm then it is the 55mm Flavio 😉 I’m finding the default shutter speed of 1/60sec to slow for the 55mm zeiss on the A7r while hand-holding. Around 1/100sec seems to do the trick. OSS would be really nice on this lens!

      1. 1/60 is quite safe for the 35mm, but not very much for an 55mm. The camera usually use the
        Shutter speed = focal length rule of thumb, which is ok, but kinda hit or miss. I like the shutter speed twice faster than the focal lenght, like 1/100 for a 50mm or 1/400 for an 200mm telephoto.
        Im looking forward for the flash review, looks great for the A7. Another great accessory for the A7 is the ECM-XYST1M mic, its a huge improvement over the build in mic. I got one for the NEX 6 last year, and I recommend 😀

        1. Thanks again for the comments Flavio. That rule makes perfect sense for primes with no OSS and hand-holding. Good rule of thumb!
          I can tell you the flash works really well on bounce mode! I did a few test shots and was very impressed to be totally honest. Hopefully I’ll get time to put together another article tomorrow 😉

    2. Congratulations FlavioRoss ! I know you will love the camera and I am confident you’ll find the FE35 an excellent lens both optically and size. It’s a great form-factor for hand held shooting and I’m with you–I try to stick to 1.5x + focal length unless I have something to lean the camera on. I used the 35mm at the beach the other weekend and I slipped a UV filter under the FE 35’s lens hood ( to protect the lens from ocean spray/sand) a nice compact little package. BTW, I have found the FE 55 to be even sharper than the FE 35– two crazy-good lenses for the A7/r !

      1. Thanks! 😀
        The FE35 is an amazing lens, so small and so well build.
        And the A7 is an amazing camera, and its not just about the FF sensor. Great build quality, even better EVF and LCD, lot of customs buttons, dials, faster and more accurate AF… lot of improvement over the NEX cameras.
        Im thinking about the 24-70 F4, looks great and have OSS which is great for videos. But I think the must have is the 70-200 F4, I love these telephotos zooms. (I had a Canon 70-200 F4L back then, great lens)

        1. Thanks for the additional comments and feedback on the FE 35mm f/2.8 lens and A7 Flavio 😉 I wish I had that prime with the A7, but what are ya gonna do. I have the Metabones III adapter and just tried my EF 17-40mm f/4 L lens and it looks like the results are excellent! Believe it or not the EVF is actually the same resolution as the Nex-6 pretty much. Not sure if it’s really any better, but it does look great I agree. Next generation will be much more resolution I think.
          Both of those lenses are pretty much must haves for the A7 and A7r in my opinion. I would like to see a 24-105 f/4 or something like that personally. It’s perfect for the full frame format when versatility, OSS, and extra reach are needed. The 24-70mm is also great, but not wide enough for an ultra wide angle. It’s plenty wide though for 90% of normal photography, but when you want that wide angle effect, it’s just not wide enough. Sony will probably fill that gap with a 14-24mm f/4 lens or something crazy like that if I had to guess. the 16-35mm is already available for the A-Mount so why duplicate that? I think that is why they went with the 55mm f/1.8 as apposed to the 50mm f/1.8 lens. I could be wrong though 😉
          Powerzoom is really the best for videos and my guess is Sony will come out with a full frame powerzoom at some point. The A900 has been out a while, so I’m sure they are working on it. It takes years to develop an awesome new lens though. Hopefully that will be in the 24-100mm range with OSS and variable powerzoom for video buffs.

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