Sony α7r: 36MP full-frame MILC

By Andrew Hudson Published: October 15, 2013 Updated: August 31, 2014

Rocking the world of DSLR cameras, Sony has introduced the α7R — the world’s first full-frame 36 MP auto-focus MILC, in a body less than half the size and weight of a comparable full-frame DSLR.

“A game-changing blend of imaging power and portability, this mirrorless camera redefines the creative options of full-frame photography in a palm-sized interchangeable lens camera.”
— Sony press release, Oct 15, 2013

Forgoing the traditional prism and optical viewfinder of a DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex) camera, a MILC (Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera) needs less space (but has an electronic viewfinder), which allows for a smaller and lighter camera.

“world’s first mirrorless camera with 35mm full-frame sensor”
— Sony press release, Oct 15, 2013

The Sony α7R is about 5" wide, 3.75" tall, and 2" deep (without protrusions) and weighs less than a pound. In contrast, the Nikon D800 (also 36 MP and full frame) is about 6" wide, 5" tall, and 3" deep, and weighs over two pounds.

(Leica introduced the first full-frame MILCs but those are rangefinders which do not have auto-focus.)

Also introduced was the α7, in the same body but with a 24 MP sensor and a low-pass filter.

“Sony’s new α7 and α7R cameras are the world’s smallest full-frame interchangeable lens models.”
— Sony press release, Oct 15, 2013

α7 vs α7R

“α7: an exciting entry into the world of full-frame photography.”
— Sony press release, Oct 15, 2013

“α7R: designed for professional photographers and highly advanced enthusiasts.”
— Sony press release, Oct 15, 2013

Comparison α7 vs α7R
Resolution:24 MP36 MP
Low-pass filter:YesNo
Contrast-detection AF:NoYes
Magnesium alloy front plate:NoYes
Cost (street):$1,698$2,298

Low-pass filter

The α7 includes a low-pass filter whereas the α7R does not. Excluding the filter maximizes the resolution and clarity of the image.

“no optical low pass filter for added resolving power and increased image detail.”
— Sony press release, Oct 15, 2013

“The α7R lacks a low-pass optical filter, which means that it should produce extremely sharp detailed images comparable to the D800E and lower-end medium format cameras.”
— SLR Lounge, Oct 15, 2013

Specifications (α7R)

  • 36.4MP Full Frame 35.9 x 24 mm Exmor CMOS Sensor
  • No Optical Low-Pass Filter
  • Gapless On-Chip Lens Design
  • BIONZ X Image Processor
  • Direct Compatibility with E-mount Lenses
  • 3.0" Tiltable TFT LCD with 1,229K-Dots
  • 2.4M-Dot OLED Electronic Viewfinder
  • Full 1080/60p Video with Remote Capture
  • Built-In Wi-Fi and NFC
  • Multi-Interface Shoe and Built-in Flash


Sources: Sony. Image credit: Sony.

Next page: Nikon D5300: 24MP APS-C DSLR

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