My new baby is here!! The wait was terrible! Here are some first impressions, after less than 24 hours playing with it. Well, first of all, it’s really too bad that it doesn’t come with a charger, because I couldn’t use the camera at all while I was waiting for the battery to charge! The battery takes 5 hours to fully charge and it only lasts less than 300 shots. Those 2 extra batteries will be handy. Another surprise, my SD Card is not working with the camera. It keeps showing an error. I haven’t bought SD Cards for ages, I used a Kingston 8gb class 4 with my 500D. Need to buy extra batteries, charger and new SD card. If you don’t buy official Sony accessories, it shouldn’t cost too much. Got the charger + 2 batteries for 37€ on Amazon. That’s not much considering the price of the camera.
Review tl;dr: I love the camera, I love full frame :D Can’t wait to bring it on a field test!
It’s not lighter than the 500D. The body weight is similar, but the Canon 500D is plastic and not full frame. Also, although dimensions are not that different, the 500D does feel bulkier in my hand, while the Sony is a perfect fit! It feels really comfortable to hold it, but I think for people with bigger hand, the trigger placement is kind of awkward, you’d have to pull your index finger towards you. You can see the grip size difference in the first photo. I feel more comfortable using the Sony A7R with one hand than my Canon. Metal is nice. I didn’t care about the 500D plastic body because I liked that it was lightweight, but now I see the difference. It’s nice to hold something that feels solid in your hand. Here are some pictures to compare the cameras. (I lost my 500D eye cup and it’s dirty, sorry). The lens on the 500D is the very affordable and small Canon 50mm f/1.8.
The tilt screen is nice, but I need to get used to using it. I only used my 500D viewfinder and it was fine for me. Now, I can take pictures without doing weird positions and that’s nice! I only need to remember I have a tilt screen now :)
As for the Electronic Viewfinder… I’m not sure yet. It’s my first time using one so I can’t compare, but I prefer the optical viewfinder. It was quite a shock, the first time looking through the EVF. Not used to the EVF at all for now. It’s not that shocking after a few hours playing with it though.
A lot of reviews I’ve read mentioned the loud noise the camera makes. It’s true. It’s not an issue for me at all, but the shutter sound is surprisingly loud. It sounds like you're breaking something. It always startles my cat when I take a picture. The two first shutter sounds in the recording are the Sony A7R, the last ones are the Canon.
The 35mm lens is really lightweight and compact! That’s a really good point for me! Its size (weird hood included) is similar to the super small plastic Canon 50mm f/1.8. I wish it could focus closer to objects but with a full frame sensor, I can always crop! :) The autofocus is not as bad as I thought, but again, I'm using a lens built for that camera. I haven’t bought an adapter for my old lenses.
I didn't think the Wi-Fi would be that useful. I don't have any NFC-capable device so this is pretty useless but Wi-Fi, oh Wi-Fi. It's amazing! You can send pictures you've taken directly to your computer or phone. Woohoo! Actually, I don’t know if I’ll use the send to computer much because I’m used to pulling out the SD Card and using the card reader and import directly into my external hard drive. As for the send to phone, this one, I’ll be using a lot! I am often lazy and like editing images on my iPhone so this is a very nice feature.
I wasn’t convinced by Sony PlayMemories Camera Apps, but the remote control is AWESOME. Download the app on your camera, and the app on your phone, launch the app, it will tell you to connect your phone to a custom Wi-Fi network. After you’re connected and back in the app, tadaaa, you can see what your camera sees and control almost everything. Tap on the screen to focus anywhere you want. A photo is saved on your phone and one on your camera. You can choose to save the original on your phone as well, instead of the 2M resolution. Group shots? Easy!
The image quality is impressive and I am very very satisfied. :D Here are some test images. On the left, full-size image (downsized), and on the right, a 100% crop. Note: the picture quality on those images were “fine” or “extra fine”, I didn’t shoot raw because I only found a very old low capacity SD Card that worked with the Sony A7R. Also, they were taken at night in low light conditions. Sorry, my cat is a busybody and will go wherever I go. And sorry Arya looks so stupid :)