Sony has been all over the map when it comes to cameras in the last few years, but one area where they’ve definitely given specific attention is the bridge camera market, one that they’ve largely created by themselves. It’s an attempt to combine the portability of point-and-shoots with the cutting-edge tech found in DSLRs. Of course, there need to be compromises on both sides to make that happen, but with Sony’s two newest cameras, the RX10 and the a7, you might find there aren’t too many things getting cut.
The RX10 is a fixed lens camera, but it is one nice lens. It’s a 24-200 mm F2.8 Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar T* zoom lens, which is paired with a 1.0-type 20.2 MP backlit CMOS sensor. The BIONZ X processing engine helps to make all that hardware practical, speeding up auto-focus times and making images look great in all lighting conditions. The auto-focus extends to movement tracking and eye tracking as well, helping keep things in focus while shooting frames in rapid succession or taking video. Video that you do take will be in 1080p, up to 24 frames per second, and the microphone can be adjusted to control audio volume. There’s also Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity, as well as HDMI out. Of course, it’s much bulkier than a standard point-and-shoot, but it’s much smaller than a DSLR with similar specs.
The a7 is an interchangeable lens camera that comes in two models, one of which is more beefed up for professionals. The pro model, the a7R, features a 36.4 MP 35 mm Exmor CMOS with no optical low-pass filter, while the a7 model totes a 24.3 MP Exmor CMOS sensor with a hybrid auto-focus system. The same BIONZ X processor is here, too, along with Clear Image Zoom to preserve image quality when you zoom in for stills or video. Wi-Fi, NFC, and HDMI out are also included. The big thing to notice with the a7R, aside from the incredible sensor, is that it’s the smallest and lightest interchangeable lens camera on the market. There’s still bulk involved, and you’ll still need to haul around whatever lens you use with it, but it’ll be much easier to deal with than most DSLRs.
Of course, tech this good in this small of a package doesn’t come cheap. The Sony a7R will sell for $2,300 (body only) when it hits stores in December. You can get the a7 with a 28-70 mm F3.5 – F5.6 lens for $2,000 or body-only for $1,700. The Sony RX10 will be available in November for $1,300.