Guts-n-Gore: Sony A7R Dissection

Discussion in 'Mirrorless Digital Cameras' started by c_watson|1, Feb 1, 2014.

  1. I'm very interested in the A7. Every time I see a modern digital camera disassembled I am reminded how sophisticated they are and how demanding photographers are, often unthinkingly. "I wouldn't even consider this camera as there are only 42 AF points," or "Too much noise at ISO 6,400", or "It takes 1.5s to start up. I'll pass"
    We are really very lucky.
     
  2. Every time I see a modern digital camera disassembled I am reminded how sophisticated they are​
    People said the same thing about the Canon AE-1 and now look where we are :)
     
  3. Simplicity (like the minimum types of fasteners) among complexity. I used to repair my old vintage MG. Not harrowing, but I wouldn't think of doing it with my contemporary car. Despite the advantages of a high tech A7r as an image maker, will such complex cameras last as long as my mechanical Leica or work in extreme cold or humidity, but likely that is not the priority? With the pace of innovation that is not in the cards. On the other hand, if you are not in a hurry, photography with the older mechanical cameras can be just as high quality in output and durable. At least, the A7r represents an attempt at high quality at a comparatively reasonable cost of entry.
     
  4. "Mechanical cameras" are well and truly yeterday's tech. Sure, we can disparagingly compare the latest cameras with those of a few years ago-the pace of change is fast, no doubt, but I think it behoves us to respect and be grateful for the work being done by The Japanese in providing the world with its imaging systems. Go back only 10 years and show "those in the know" an NEX-6 and they would be astonished. Go back to the late Sixties with am OMD-M1 and a Photoshop-equipped laptop and you'd be arrested!
     
  5. "The completely disassembled Sony A7R consists of about a dozen major pieces, held together with 29 screws of just three different sizes. A typical DSLR has around 120 screws of 11 different sizes. You might not care less about that, but do you know what I thought about? How much easier it will be to fix this camera when it breaks. How much simpler it must be to perform all the calibration that must be done during assembly. And how much simpler it must be to assemble the A7R in the first place. In other words, how much cheaper it must be to make this camera, than to make a DSLR."
    Easier, simpler, cheaper are key and suggest how mirrorless with likely supplant the DSLR.
     
  6. I suspect we will see the invention some day of a replacement of the lens with a different electromagnetic wave bending system (somewhat along the lines of that of an electron microscope, but simpler). The lens may be old tech (even pre 1800), just as the internal combustion engine (19th century) is, but there will probably always be a space for them. Some of the finest mechanical cameras, such as the Canon and Nikon early F models, and the up to recently Nikon F6, are from Japanese workshops. It is also interesting I think that in one mechanical RF camera that is still produced there are more than one hundred separate pieces that comprise its single rangefinder-viewfinder module. I agree with the remarks of both Stephen and C W, but we shouldn't be ready to bury some older technology simply because it isn't the latest. What is great about the A7r is that, apart from all its electronic exposure programs that not everyone may need, it offers a simpler and smaller camera for 3rd party and Sony optics and with a state of the art sensor.
     
  7. Mirrorless cams may supplant the DSLRs someday, but the mirrorless cams need to overcome a few shortcomings first. The shutter needs to close, open, close, and then open each cycle. This slows down the camera considerably and makes it nearly useless for action sports. On the same vein, continuous focus in mirrorless cams simply cannot compete with DSLRs. Lastly, the EVF needs a *great* deal of improvement before it can approach the optical viewfinder experience. The EVFs are very good, but not even close to the opticals. I shoot mirrorless only, but if I needed the speed to shoot sports, I'd have a DSLR in a second.
     
  8. "...but the mirrorless cams need to overcome a few shortcomings first. The shutter needs to close, open, close, and then open each cycle.This slows down the camera considerably and makes it nearly useless for action sports."

    And DSLRs don't have shutters?
     
  9. Thanks to the OP for a fascinating link.
    "[the shutter] slows down the camera considerably and makes it nearly useless for action sports" AND "EVF needs a *great* deal of improvement" David M.
    10 frames per second on an NEX-7 (no need for full frame for web and publication needs) and 5 FPS on the full frame A7.
    Except for memory buffering concerns & the fact that these new EVF's are virtually "real-time, David's comments make no sense...
     
  10. This [slow frame rate] slows down the camera considerably and makes it nearly useless for action sports
    Frame rate was never the limitation for mirrorless cameras to do sports. Even my $500-ish Olympus E-PL5 can do 8 fps in RAW for a few seconds before it slows down.
    The two main issues related to spots photography that mirror less cameras have in the past were: (1) slow images refresh in the VF, making it difficult to follow the object via the VF, and (2) contrast based AF does poorly in predicting in which direction the object moves, making it difficult to do focusing tracking. The issue with (1) has slowly being addressed in Panasonic and Olympus cameras by allowing the option to turn off preview (to keep the live view on) and by better image processing. For (2), the new Olympus E-M1 uses a hybrid AF system which has greatly improved its AF tracking ability.
     
  11. The a7 and a7R I handled both had really slow startup times. I counted to five seconds before they were ready to fire. DPR and other reviews have confirmed this criticism.I rarely turn off my DSLR off during a shoot, so who cares? But with with the greater battery demands of the EVF, mirrorless users probably learn to turn it off often.
    One thing I wonder about mirrorless cameras-- with the shutter remaining open so much of the time, how much worse is the problem of sensor dust? My Sony DSLRs have needed regular sensor cleaning, so I don't think they've come up with foolproof self-cleaning systems yet. Or have they?
     
  12. C Watson: Yes, DLSRs have shutters. But they open and close. That's half the work of a shutter on a mirrorless cam and the response time on any mirrorless I've held is much slower than a top end DLSR.
    Gus: The NEX 7 can shoot in 10FPS bursts, but AF is locked at the first shot and there is no live view during the burst. Tell me, how useful is that for sports? So if your subject stays in the same place, you're OK. If it moves, God forbid, you're screwed. That explains all those NEX 7s I see on NFL sidelines.
    And whilthe A7 can approach 5FPS, maintaining focus is, well, challenging. It's not an action camera.
    Gentlemen, my opinion of mirrorless cams has not changed. For action sports, get a DSLR. There is no MILC that's even on the same planet as a Canon 1Dx or Nikon D4.
     
  13. John: Dust has never been an issue on my Panny GH3. I've shot it in some nasty conditions, and changed lenses in those conditions. Routine blasts by a Giotti Rocket are all it needs. The cleaning system seems to do a really good job.
     
  14. Gentlemen, my opinion of mirrorless cams has not changed. For action sports, get a DSLR. There is no MILC that's even on the same planet as a Canon 1Dx or Nikon D4.​
    I would totally agree with this statement for professional sports shooters shooting NFL or NBA. In fact, I would add that another important limitation for the pro sports shooter is the lack of long lenses in most mirrorless systems. For m4/3 it has just one lens that can reach 600 mm (FF eq), but it is a 100-300 slow zoom lens. However for regular people or Mom and Dad photographing kids playing sports, these cameras are more than enough. Keep in mind that a D4 costs $6000 and weighs 1350 g. The E-M1 and E-T1 are about $1200 and <500g.
     
  15. "Tell me, how useful is that for sports?" David M.
    "There is no MILC that's even on the same planet" CC C.
    Currently the Fastest Auto Focus "in the world".
    179 focus points, 92% screen coverage at 11 FPS with 24MP
    The "sports bargain", mirrorless Sony A6000 <<< Click
     

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