Sony Alpha A7R hands-on: We test out the 36-megapixel full-frame system camera

Not content with launching one full-frame compact system camera, Sony has gone and launched two. The Sony Alpha A7R joins the A7 model, but offers a significant push in resolution. That sensor houses 36 million pixels. Wowzers.

But that's not all, the "R" in the name stands for resolution, and not just because of the megapixel count. The A7R also removes the optical low-pass filter (OLPF) from the camera's equation which ought to result in sharper images for those pros seeking that next level of resolution. It won't work for all scenarios, because of possible moire issues, but if this is the tool for you then you're likely to know what sort of photographer you are.

We've had an extensive play with the A7R and, put simply, it looks, feels and handles almost identically to the Alpha A7. There's nothing much between them. The build quality is the same, the features are the same, although there's no hybrid autofocus system - it's "Fast Intelligent AF" instead, which is another way of saying contrast-detection only. This still seemed fast enough to us, we couldn't spot the difference in the conditions that we were shooting in.

READ: Hands-on: Sony Alpha A7 review

The only other difference you might notice is that the R model actually weighs about 10g less. So megapixels don't equate to mass after all, eh? In our hands the weight difference wasn't something we could pick up on. We're not electronic scales after all. But with a smaller prime "FE" lens - that's the name of the new full-frame E-mount lenses - on the front the sheer small scale of the camera was obvious. You only need to look at our hands-on pictures to see that.

We snapped a few frames with the Alpha A7R and zoomed in on the rear screen to see what we'd got. Physical size is huge, which is awesome if you want masses and masses of resolution.

But that extra res does come at a price. The A7R is earmarked to cost £1,700 when it launches in December, a full £400 more than the "standard" A7. Now that might sound like a lot of money, but it's on par with similar budget full-frame DSLR systems and, so we think that Sony is onto a winner here.

 



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