The Sony a7R isn’t the best thing since Jesus, but the camera enthusiasts act like it’s the Second Coming. If you’re a normal human who likes taking pretty pictures and doesn’t care about the techie talk, here’s the deal: it’s a small camera with a giant sensor.
In other words, Sony took the big sensor from the Nikon D800e, stuffed it into a compact body, and ditched the optical viewfinder in favor of an EVF. World class image quality no longer means lugging around a bag full of heavy gear. If you don’t think this is a big deal, check out this quote from the Verge:
Every once in a while, a product comes along that changes the dynamic of an entire industry. The iPhone did it in 2007, the Mustang did it in 1964, and Converse did it with the All Star sneaker way back in 1917. Now, Sony is poised to upend the camera industry with the new Alpha a7 and a7R mirrorless cameras.
Yea, that’s totally over the top, but indicative of the insanity surrounding this camera. The Sony a7R is a huge deal, but there’s more to it than meets the eye.
The camera industry is in a state of crisis and the Sony a7R may be its last great hope. The a7R just isn’t a camera, but the first in a whole new class of cameras that will transform the industry.
According to CIPA, the entire dedicated camera market has fallen by 43.5% (camera phone competition). The lucrative DSLR market is off by 18.5% and the much vaunted mirrorless market is down too. The ship has hit the iceberg and is going down fast. Unfortunately, Nikon and Canon executives are following the Kodak game plan step by step. Denial. Denial. Denial.
Since these executives are playing violin on the deck of the Titanic and I love Nikon so much, I’m going to break the cycle of denial and tell them what’s up. The DSLR market is facing 3 huge problems:
Last Camera Syndrome – This is a theory postulated by Thom Hogan. Nikon and Canon have sold a ton of exceptional cameras over the last few years and nobody needs to upgrade. Nikon is trying to get the last trickle of film shooters with the retro Nikon Df, but that ship has sailed.
Everything is Too Good – The latest $5,000 toy isn’t that special when the soccer mom camera at Walmart can produce nearly the same image quality. The Nikon and Canon fanboys who love to geek out and take pictures of brick walls have moved on to better stuff.
Old White Guy Problem – Old white guys are sick of a lot of things including photography. They’ve mastered their craft and bought the most expensive cameras, but are now stuck lugging around a ton of heavy gear that makes everything miserable. Photography is no longer fun and it’s just another pain in their ass.
So what does this have to do with the Sony a7R? Simply put, the a7R rights the above wrongs and puts the lucrative DSLR ship back on course.
Let’s get something straight. As a photographic tool, this thing stinks. Just like every other pathetic camera fanboy I got geeked out when I saw the specs on the a7R. Sony checked off all the right boxes that made me salivate. 36 megapixels – check, 2.4 million dot EVF – check, super small – check – full frame – checkmate. Sony had me.
In real life, this camera is like dating a super hot chick with a bunch of daddy issues. The camera is perfect on the outside but has all these crazy problems like it can’t focus, it’s slow,it has no lenses, and the shudder sounds like an old credit card machine. Damn!
Despite its flaws, the Sony a7R is still the ultimate game changer. It’s the first autofocus camera to combine small size with astonishing image quality. It also does something that no other camera has done ……… It breaks the Canon-Nikon duopoly.
For Nikon and Canon, the innovation train left the station decades ago. Both companies have iterated the same bodies since the 90’s and are still pumping out the same giant cameras from generations past.
The Sony a7R nukes the ridiculous DSLR form factor and creates a new paradigm.
Resistance is Futile
Compact mirrorless cameras are nothing new, but this is the first lightweight professional camera that equals or surpasses all DSLR’s. With an adapter, it takes multiple system lenses and costs a $1000 less than its nearest competitor. Game over man.
Sony makes the best sensors in the business and the camera intelligentsia are finally looking beyond Canon and Nikon for the first time in decades. What they’re seeing is an amazing little camera with a magical viewfinder that surpasses the image quality of anything made by the big boys.
The Sony a7R may not be perfect, but it’s certainly the future of photography. It’s the camera that will move the industry beyond the antiquated DSLR and give enthusiasts a reason to upgrade. If the Canon-Nikon duopoly can embrace this new form factor and awake from their deep slumber, sales will boom. If not, they better prepare for a long, hard fall to the bottom.
Image Credits – Sony Corporation of America