Sony Alpha a7: A Travel Photographer’s Dream Camera?
About a month ago, I mentioned in this article that the folks at Sony had shipped me one of their new Sony Alpha a7 cameras to test drive during our trip to Alaska.
While I normally travel with one lens (an 18-200mm zoom) on my Nikon, the folks at Sony sent me an 28-70mm zoom for my test drive.
While I suppose the definition of a travel photographer’s dream camera might vary from photographer to photographer, I was looking for fantastic quality captures from a lightweight package that could also produce wonderful video.
My Nikon delivers fantastic photographs, but it is heavy and the video capabilities (primarily because of poor focus capabilities in video mode) were considerably lacking.
On May 17th, 2014, we sailed into Sitka aboard the Silversea Cruises Silver Shadow. It was a beautiful day, and figuring that I wouldn’t need a 200mm zoom, I opted to take the Sony out for a stroll.
Top 10 Things I Liked About the Sony a7
- 24 megapixels – while it’s hard to see in the small photograph above, that harbor scene really pops sharp on my 27″ iMac computer. The difference between my 16 megapixel Nikon and this 24 megapixel Sony is rather remarkable.
- It’s palm-sized – frankly, I was a little worried about this. I was concerned that it might be too small to efficiently operate. After using the camera, my fears were quickly erased. I found the camera, while smaller, still very easy to operate.
- It’s lightweight – at just over 1 lb, the Sony a7 is nearly half the weight of my D7000.
- Full-frame sensor – the Sony has a full-frame sensor, where my Nikon D7000 has a cropped sensor. This has many advantages, particularly in low light situations. Plus, the full-frame sensor in such a small package is one of the unique features of the Sony a7. All other full-frame sensor cameras, with interchangeable lenses, are much larger.
- Crisp video – I used the Sony a7 while on a floatplane adventure. I experienced none of the focus issues that I experienced with my D7000, plus the camera will host my wireless microphones, has a headphone jack, and an onboard sound meter. This allows me to leave another piece of equipment home when traveling.
- Tilt-able LCD screen – this will come in very handy when I’m not able to peer through the viewfinder.
- Auto HDR – while I don’t have anything exciting to show you, this is a wonderful feature for the many times we find ourselves in high contrast situations. In fact, if I had my tripod with me, I could have used the auto-HDR feature and saved the snowcapped mountains in my top photograph from being blown out.
- Onboard Wi-Fi – there have been many times when I would have liked to share a photograph stuck in my Nikon immediately across our social media platforms. With the Sony a7’s onboard Wi-Fi, I can transfer to my iPhone and share until my heart’s content.
- Sweet Fn Button – with one touch of the Fn button, I had all the necessary functions at my fingertips to adjust ISO, focus area, metering area, and more. I loved it!
- It’s a back saver – when we travel, my gear bag weighs in around 24 lbs. Although I haven’t weighed the difference, I suspect I’d be under 20 lbs with this camera in my pack, and leaving home some stuff I wouldn’t need. You might not think 4-5 pounds is a big deal, but my back might beg to differ with you after it’s carried all that stuff all over the world. 🙂
Sony a7 Photos
Poking around with my loop, I’m finding clarity that I’ve never seen before. This photo is from inside the local Russian Orthodox Church.
Did you know that Sitka has a volcano watching over the town?
St. Peter’s-by-the-sea Episcopal Church
We were sad to leave Sitka. As it turns out, Sitka was our very favorite Alaskan town. We definitely want to go back!
Nonetheless, it was a great day to take the Sony a7 out for a spin. And, don’t be surprised if you hear me announce someday in the near future that I replaced my Nikon D7000, my Canon Vixia video camera, and as host of cables and video mixers for the new Sony Alpha a7.
Thanks Sony! I had a blast with your camera. I just have one question: do I have to send it back? 🙂
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