Guide to Sony A7 series (Sony A7, Sony A7 II, Sony A7S, Sony A7S II, Sony A7R, Sony A7R II)

General tips for the Sony A7 series

The Sony A7 series are mirrorless cameras that have limited battery life. All Sony A7’s use the same, small Sony NP-FW50 batteries that are also used in the older Sony NEX-cameras. Typically they will last between 200-500 shots on one charge, depending on the situation and use. Luckily the batteries are cheap and small, so I’d advise you to buy several and always take some spares with you.

Any Sony A7-series camera is very well suited for using adapted, manual lenses. Because of the short flange distance (distance between the lensmount and sensor) these E-mount cameras can be adapted to use almost any type of DSLR lens as those are all designed with longer flange distances in mind. All Sony A7-series cameras offer perfect tools for manual focusing, like focus peaking. Focus peaking highlights all the parts of the image that are in focus in the live view on your screen or in the EVF, making it easier to see if your image is focused correct. Focus peaking is perfect for faster moving objects or taking a quick photo. Focus peaking isn’t precise enough to ensure every photo is perfectly focused, if that is critical you can switch to focus magnification. Focus magnification gives you an enlarged live view with up to 100% magnification making it easy to perfectly focus on your subject. It is a lot more precise, but also slower, so it doesn’t really work with (fast) moving subjects.

Velbon UT53D review
Mirrorless cameras work well with adapted lenses. Here is my Sony A7 with a vintage Pentax-M 50mm f1.7 lens

There are high speed adapter available that offer AF on Canon-mount lenses with the Sony A7. The older Sony A7’s (non mark II) will have slower AF as they can only use contrast detection AF with these adapters.

As the Sony A7-series cameras have excellent live view refreshrates and good EVF’s, focus peaking and magnification makes using manual focus lenses a lot of fun. That also means you don’t have to invest in original FE-lenses, if you don’t mind manual focus you can find real gems of vintage lenses for just a few euro’s. Those can provide very sharp but also cool looking photos. If you want to know more about the original FE lenses, please see the following reviews:

Nissin i60A review
The i60A is a perfect match for the Sony A7 or other E-mount cameras, both in size and functionality

The Sony A7-series don’t have built in flash units. So if you need extra light you will have to use an external speedlight. I’d choose the Nissin i60A as the size (see my review of the Nissin i60A here), features and power are a perfect match for the A7 cameras. The high guide number (60 meters) means you will have enough light, and the i60A also has a built in video light. With the optional Air commander you can even use it off camera for more freedom.

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