The Alpha 7R was one of the best cameras we tested in 2013, but what of its sibling, the Alpha 7? Phil Hall tests the 24.3-million-pixel, full-frame CSC, Sony Alpha 7
Sony Alpha 7 review – Viewfinder, live view, LCD and video
The electronic viewfinder (EVF) has been borrowed from the flagship Alpha 99 and offers a XGA OLED Tru-Finder with a 2.4-million-dot resolution and 0.71x magnification, although the optics have been reworked to provide improved clarity corner to corner. The Alpha 7’s EVF clarity and resolution cannot be faulted, with the three-lens optical arrangement delivering a highly corrected display. Not only that, but the fast refresh rates and impressive magnification make it one of the best EVFs I’ve used. If there are any refinements I’d like to see, though, it would be a slight shortening of the pause when the camera is raised to your eye as it seems a little too long.
The 3in, 921,000-dot articulated rear display is also excellent, with a really impressive level of contrast and clarity, while the wide dynamic range and excellent viewing angle all add to the pleasurable shooting experience. Although the on-body controls are comprehensive, some may feel that a touch-sensitive display should be present. However, I didn’t see this as a glaring omission during shooting, perhaps with the exception of being able to tap the area of the screen where you want to focus, but in playback it would have given the Alpha 7 that extra layer of usability. Being able to pinch-and-zoom while reviewing images and swipe through shots would have been preferable to jumping into the centre of the frame at 100% when you want to look at an image in greater detail, as happens on the Alpha 7. This is a little frustrating in some instances, and I would have preferred the option of gradually zooming in on a desired area.
The Alpha 7 is well specified for movie shooting, offering full HD 1080p recording at either 60p or 25p in the AVCHD holder format. More importantly, perhaps, is that it offers full live manual control and 3.5mm jacks inputs for both a microphone and headphones, allowing you to monitor audio during recording. There’s also the option to record clean video output via the Alpha 7’s HDMI port.