Sony a7CR – shrunk in the wash

Sony a7CR – shrunk in the wash

To say I have big hands would be an exaggeration. However, I'm among those who feel that Sony's desire for miniaturization sometimes goes too far. Here, for example, there is hardly room for fingers between the grip and the lenses. Wearing gloves is excluded. Unless they're really skinny, but there's no point in wearing gloves in the first place either.

Others may not see this as a problem. Just look at the sales statistics. Sony's full-frame cameras in the Alpha series are very popular.

No wonder. The vast majority of newer models are great cameras. Powerful tools for professionals, and a lot of fun to shoot with, even for amateurs. Over time, several very good lenses have been added to the catalogue, and the combination of 60MP and sharp glass can impress jaded reviewers when images appear on screen.

As when we tested the a7R V, Sony's flagship camera with a 60MP full-frame BSI CMOS image sensor, best-in-class autofocus, and 8K video recording.

The latter doesn't have the a7CR, but otherwise the camera is very much based on the technology from the a7R V. It's just that it's a shrunken camera body without a viewfinder in the middle, which looks more like a Leica-style rangefinder camera.

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Known technology

In short, the camera is very powerful. With the same 60MP backlit photo chip, although no 8K video, but with 10-bit 4K video, image stabilization, pixel shift and the same autofocus with improved subject recognition – it's actually a miniature version of the phone Flagship a7R V.

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Photo: Lasse Svendsen

Both are primarily aimed at photographers who need a small, high-resolution camera for portraits, weddings, landscapes, and mostly still subjects. It's not a fast action camera, despite extreme focus accuracy. The a7CR has a shooting rate of eight frames per second, so this isn't the camera for a 600mm f2.8 or trackside at a track or track.

Photo: Lasse Svendsen

Ease of use

The camera is also too small to fit long telephoto lenses. Although it comes with a detachable grip that extends the front grip. The compact form factor led to many compromises. There is only one card slot here. The rotatable screen is smaller and has a lower resolution. The same goes for the viewfinder, and the built-in image stabilizer has up to 7 levels of stabilization, compared to the a7R V's eight levels.

The a7CR's very practical joystick is gone.

The viewfinder and screen are smaller here than on the a7R V. Photo: Lasse Svendsen

8K video is gone here too, and it doesn't matter. 8K video on the a7R V creates huge files and a crisp shutter. But the camera's Bionz XR processor supports 10-bit video at 4K30p, 4:2:2, with S-Log3 and S-Cinetone. Up to 600 Mbps. There's also a 4K60p setting here, sampled from a 1.2x crop section. It's also possible to record 4K in Super 35 or APS-C format, with a 1.5x crop.

Here you also get Sony's HD Pixel Shifting technology, which takes up to 16x exposures giving a resolution of 240MP. This requires the subject to be stationary and the camera to be on a tripod when taking exposures. The image file must then be processed in the program.

The handle can be easily removed, and the battery can be replaced with the handle. Photo: Lasse Svendsen

Recognizable image quality

There's no revolution here when it comes to image quality. Sony hasn't made any changes to capture processing or dynamics. You'll get the same image quality we know from the a7R V. And that's a good thing, because in practice that means ultra-smooth uncompressed RAW image files, and very nice or even better jpegs. HIF files.

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Only one card slot. Photo: Lasse Svendsen

Thanks to good optics, the camera delivers superior detail resolution rarely seen in this category. Image files have a rich dynamic range, which gives the photographer a lot to do in post-processing.

I know photographers who aren't like that So Excited by the color reproduction of Sony's most expensive cameras, I think it might be a bit much to Digital, almost artificially perfect. Whether that means other cameras don't offer perfect color reproduction, I won't speculate, but I have to admit I prefer it more Analogue Skin color reproduction of, for example, a Nikon Z7 II or a Leica M10.

Sony's 60MP full-frame BSI CMOS image chip delivers superior image quality. Photo: Lasse Svendsen

Image noise? Not until you get past 12800 ISO, so that's one less thing to worry about.

The A7CR isn't Sony's most advanced camcorder, being mostly aimed at still images, but it delivers very good 4K30p video quality. On our 75-inch 8K reference TV (from Sony), some artifacts could be seen where the recording contained fast motions. But it's modest, and doesn't bother with very clean file quality with exceptionally good dynamics, saturated colors and a wide contrast range.

Photo: Lasse Svendsen

Conclusion

The Sony a7CR is not perfect. The low-res viewfinder (in 2024) and the screen are retracted down. So does the lack of an additional card slot and joystick. The camera is also impossibly small in some situations, And – It's not completely free. But it is difficult to criticize the image quality, which is on par with the best of the best. On the other hand, the camera is ideal for photographers who need a small, light camera with high resolution. For travel, landscapes, street photography and portraits, the a7CR is a fun and flexible camera that, with the right lenses, can deliver images that will convince anyone.

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Sony a7CR

High end

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