Sony Unveils World's First Full-Frame Mirrorless Cameras

New Sony α7 Series Are World’s Smallest, Lightest Full-Frame Interchangeable Lens Cameras
By Brent Durand

Sony Unveils World's First Full-Frame Mirrorless Cameras

New Sony α7 Series Are World’s Smallest, Lightest Full-Frame Interchangeable Lens Cameras

By Brent Durand, October 16, 2013


Sony Mirrorless a7R



Last night Sony announced the world's first full-frame mirrorless interchangeable lens bodies - the a7R and a7. Also released are 5 new full-frame E mount lenses, including some Zeiss glass! The small size, light weight and excellent image quality of Sony's a series cameras makes them a great option for dive travelers.

We hope to see housings for these cameras in the near future. Both the a7R and a7 will be available for purchase this December and are sure to be very popular with the mirrorless camera crowd.


Sony a7R and a7 Highlights:


  • a7R: 36.4 effective megapixel 35mm Exmor® CMOS sensor - the highest resolution sensor in Sony's a camera line!
  • a7: 24.3 effective megapixel 35mm Exmor® CMOS sensor and an innovative fast Hybrid AF system.
  • Powerful new BIONZ® X processor
  • Clear, bright XGA OLED Tru-finder
  • Full HD 60p video recording
  • Wi-Fi® and NFC connection
  • Dust and moisture resistant body
  • a7R est. retail price (body only): $2,300
  • a7 est retail price (body only): $1,700


Sony Mirrorless a7R





SAN DIEGO, Oct. 15, 2013 – Sony’s new α7 and α7R digital cameras are the world’s smallest full-frame interchangeable lens models2.  Highly anticipated by professional photographers and imaging enthusiasts alike, the two new cameras offer an unmatched combination of creativity, customizability and portability.

The α7R model features a 36.4 effective megapixel 35mm Exmor® CMOS sensor – the highest resolution sensor in the history of Sony’s α line – with no optical low pass filter for added resolving power and increased image detail.  The α7 model boasts an impressive 24.3 effective megapixel 35mm Exmor® CMOS sensor and an innovative fast Hybrid AF system.

Each camera is equipped with advanced imaging features including a powerful new  BIONZ® X processor; fast AF capabilities; a clear, bright XGA OLED Tru-finder, full HD 60p video recording, Wi-Fi® and NFC connection, dust-and moisture- resistance and more.

“With these new α7 camera systems, Sony has completely redefined the look and feel of a professional-grade digital camera,” said Mike Kahn, director of the interchangeable lens camera business at Sony Electronics.  “The α7 and α7R cameras are significantly smaller, lighter and more portable than any other full-frame interchange lens camera yet deliver image quality, power and performance that professionals and enthusiasts crave.”

Both cameras feature full customization and control to meet the needs of the most demanding photographers.  There are 9 different customizable buttons and 46 assignable functions that can be adjusted based on shooting preferences, including fully customizable front and back dials, a rear control wheel and an exposure compensation dial.  Users can preview all changes to photographic settings in real-time on the high-contrast, 2.4 million dot XGA OLED Tru-Finder or the high-resolution tiltable 3” LCD screen.

The new cameras share a powerful new BIONZ X processor that accurately reproduces details in textures in real-time via extra high-speed processing capabilities, and allows for exceptional low noise performance in all types of lighting conditions.  Additionally, the powerful processor combined with the advanced, high resolution sensors allow both cameras to shoot pro-quality Full HD video (AVCHD progressive, 1920x1080p @ 60p) with richly detailed colors and ultra-low noise.

Clear Image Zoom has been enhanced for video recording as well, allowing for powerful close-up shots without sacrificing pixel count.  Other pro-style movie features include an audio recording level control and display plus a “live” HDMI® output for passing through video to an external monitor or recording device.

The new cameras both have on-board Wi-Fi and NFC capabilities for instant image sharing and transfer to compatible smartphones and tablets.  The α7R and α7 models can access Sony’s platform of PlayMemories™ Camera Apps, allowing users to add new effects, filters, utilities and more.  This platform includes new ‘Multiple Exposure’ app, which automatically combines sequential exposures into one creative shot, and ‘Smart Remote Control’4, which allows for direct control of exposure and shutter speed from a connected smartphone and is particularly useful for self-portraits or group shots5.  Find out more here.

The new α7 and α7R cameras each have a tough, magnesium alloy build and are dust and moisture resistant for standing up to some of the toughest weather conditions.


Sony Mirrorless a7R


α7R Camera

            Designed for professional photographers and highly advanced enthusiasts, the new α7R model is the world’s smallest and lightest full-frame interchangeable lens camera2.

It has an impressive 36.4 effective megapixel full frame sensor and no optical low pass filter, ensuring that the extraordinary resolving power is fully realized and resulting in an unprecedented level of detail and clarity in images.

The camera features a new Fast Intelligent AF technology that delivers blazingly quick, accurate autofocus.  Additionally, there are a total of three selectable sizes for the Flexible Spot AF frame, minimizing the risk of accidentally focusing on the wrong target.


Sony Mirrorless a7


α7 Camera

            Offering an exciting entry into the world of full-frame photography, the α7 camera features an advanced 24.3 effective megapixel full-frame Exmor CMOS sensor paired with the powerful new BIONZ X processor.

The exciting new camera has an innovative Fast Hybrid AF system that combines phase- and contrast-detect AF methods to ensure speedy, accurate autofocus.  It can also shoot at up to 5 fps continuously with non-stop AF tracking, allowing it to keep pace with fast-moving athletes, wildlife or energetic children.


New Sony α Lenses and Accessories

There are a total of 5 new full-frame E-mount lenses designed to take full advantage of the powerful imaging capabilities of the α7R and α7 cameras, including mid-range zoom lenses from Sony and Carl Zeiss, two bright Zeiss Sonnar T*™ prime lenses and a premium-quality G Lens™ telephoto zoom.  Sony’s growing E-mount interchangeable lens lineup now consists of 21 different lenses including the new full-frame models.

In addition to the new lenses, there are also two new-generation mount adaptors that give photographers the ability to utilize full-frame Sony A-mount optics on the α7 and α7R cameras.  The LA-EA3 adapter simply adds compatibility for existing A-mount lenses the new cameras, while the LA-EA4 model adds the ultra-fast focusing and shooting capabilities of Sony’s innovative Translucent Mirror Technology.

There is also a new vertical grip (VG-C1EM) that offers greater comfort during vertical shooting and can accommodate two separate NP-FW50 batteries for extended battery life and shooting time.  A new BC-TRW compact external battery charger that quickly charges batteries and is great for travel, and FA-CS1M off camera shoe allows the use of external flashes (HVL-43M, 20M) in off-camera wired applications.   Additionally, the new LCS-ELCA premium soft leather carry case protects the α7 and α7R cameras from scuffs and marks while being carried.


Pricing and Availability

  • The Sony α7R and α7 full-frame interchangeable lens cameras will be available for purchase this December.
  • The α7R camera will be offered as a body-only for about $2300.
  • The Sony α7 compact system camera will be offered with a 28-70mm F3.5 – F5.6 full-frame lens (model SEL2870) for about $2000.  It will also be offered as a body-only for about $1700.
  • The versatile new LA-EA3 and LA-EA4 mount adapters will be available in December for about $200 and $350, respectively.
  • The new VG-C1EM vertical grip and LCS-ELCA premium case will also be available in December for about $300 and $ 140, respectively.
  • Please visit for a full video preview of the new Sony α7R and α7 full-frame cameras and follow #SonyAlpha on twitter for the latest α camera news.





Further Reading


Where to Buy

Please support the Underwater Photography Guide by purchasing your underwater photography gear through our sister site, Bluewater Photo & Video. Click, or call them at (310) 633-5052 for expert advice!




The Best Service & Prices on u/w Photo Gear


Visit Bluewater Photo & Video for all your underwater photography and video gear. Click, or call the team at (310) 633-5052 for expert advice!


The Best Pricing, Service & Expert Advice to Book your Dive Trips


Bluewater Travel is your full-service scuba travel agency. Let our expert advisers plan and book your next dive vacation. Run by divers, for divers.