Today I was able to attend the PhotoPlus show in New York . The highlight of the show was clearly the Sony A7R . Sony had probably a dozen stations where you could handle the camera and some of the lenses . I find it valuable and enjoy going each year to learn some of what the tests don t show .
The most important aspects I hoped to evaluate related to viewing and AF ..its a little like standing in line for a ticket ..you get a few minutes at most . My style of shooting is "street" and responsiveness is very important . I have little need to be concerned about which lenses work . There is clearly the potential to have a small system with almost MF capability ...but this can t be evaluated at a photo show .
The build quality is excellent ....not quite to the Rx1 ...but close enough . A premium product but not close to the build of a Leica (if you care ). The balance with a standard wide angle 35/2.8 is excellent and the camera feels great . With the grip it has the feel of a small DSLR (smaller and thinner ) but very nice ..the vertical hold is also well done .
Viewing is much better than I expected (I am not that experienced with the newer EVF s ) I was pleased that I could see well enough to compose and to see the moment . Compared to the EVF used on a Leica M .....significantly better . I much prefer an OVF and this isn t close to the viewing thru a D800. But preferences aside ..this is a darn good EVF and it provides the basis to have a small form .
AF was slow compared to a DSLR and with an EVF ... it wasn t always easily visible that I had locked focus . I know this is a familiarity issue and can get much better with practice . This might be the largest weakness for street ...worth evaluating for yourself . With good screen I can manual focus much faster .
The lenses are really pretty small for a full frame camera and obviously designed to match the body size . The 35/2.8 maybe smaller than the Rx1 35/2 ....the Zeiss 50/1.8 was beautiful (needs a different hood ) .
My impression is that this is a world class sensor wrapped in a nice camera ..how can you knock an updated version of the D800E sensor in a small high quality form .
What was interesting is that Sony is clearly a product company ....the A7R bodies were either on a very small stand (with 8 stations ) or mixed in with the larger small format offerings . There was little to draw you in if you hadn t read the reviews . Contrast that to either Canon or Nikon ...both application or system oriented . Plenty of hands on opportunities ,visual displays ,demonstrations of capabilities . There were easily 10X the floor traffic to Nikon and Canon and neither had anything really new .
Only real surprise was that the shutter didn t sound all that loud ...probably the crowd noise .
Nothing more than a hands on impression from a street shooter but some aspects you have to handle the camera to understand .