If you are currently looking for a new camera but you want to understand completely the Sony Alpha range of hybrid cameras… Welcome, you are at the right place! The development of hybrid cameras has exploded in the last 6 years. And as a result, we see so many different Sony alpha models appearing and it can be sometimes difficult to understand the specificity of each one. And more importantly, understanding which one is best for you, you needs in term of photography and/or videography. But also which one is more suitable your business.
We have been with Sony since 2017 and we really love this brand and their cameras. They are super light, perfect for traveling. They have amazing cameras and lenses that are perfect for both photography and videography. We’ll explain why and more importantly we will help you understand the complete Sony alpha range.
This will help you making your choice and buy the camera that suits you best! It may seem complicated given the number of cameras: Sony Alpha 7II, 7III, A7S or A7R, but no worries, Sony has done a good job you’ll see! 😉
Before you start, you should also read our post about all of our travel photography gear.
Sony : a leader in the hybrid camera market
Sony is a major player in the field of hybrid cameras. A hybrid camera or also called “mirrorless”, means without a mirror. Often described as a “hybrid” because between compact and SLR. Indeed, hybrid cameras are distinguished by the absence of reflection by a mirror as we can see on the SLR.
In any case, the advantages of hybrids are their weight which is very low (Sony A74 bare body: 658g; Canon 1D X Mk2 1340g), and their size. They are super small and light compared to the other cameras on the market. The Sony Alpha 7III naked is less than 700 grams. It’s great to be able to take it everywhere during your travels.
In addition, the image quality of the latest innovations for hybrids allows them to play in the big league and match the best SLRs on the market. The quality of the electronic viewfinders of the hybrids is also pure joy. This is only my opinion, but I strongly advise you to invest in a hybrid rather than an SLR!
This photo has been taken with a Sony Alpha 7III and a 16-35mm GM.
Sony Alpha : a wide range of different uses
I see you behind your screen in panic… When you are on the Sony website to buy your next camera, it can be a nightmare to understand which one is the one for you. You have probably already searched for blog articles or YouTube videos; to explain you the big mess of Sony especially on the whole Alpha range. Don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it seems; it’s even very simple when you understand how Sony thought about it!
To keep things simple and not to make things even more complex; we will discard all variants of the Sony alpha 6000. Sony has thought through the construction of its range. The specificities of the cameras reflect the use you have of them. Whether you do more photography, more video, whether you do both, or whether you do for example sports or wildlife photography; a camera will be adapted to you. All these indications will allow you to find the right camera!
By the way, you can also read our post about landscape photography tips.
The perfect balance : the Sony Alpha (III and IV)
When I say the Sony A7 I mean of course the Sony A7 II, A7 III A7 IV and even the ugly duckling the A7C.
With a full-frame sensor of 24.2 megapixels and 34.1 megapixels for the Sony A7 IV, this sensor allows a very good photo quality while allowing to have an incredible quality in video. The fact of going from A7 to A7IV allows an improvement of the auto-focus, the increase of the number of fps in 4k, the ergonomics of the box etc.
I said that the Sony A7C is the ugly duckling but it’s just that Sony wanted to improve the ergonomics; which makes it the smallest Alpha by getting rid of the optical viewfinder on top. We’ll say that it’s the missing link between the A6000 and the A7.
The Sony Alpha 7III : perfect for photos and videos
We had a Sony Alpha 7II and then a Sony Alpha 7III and we are very happy with them. Especially the III which is more powerful than the II for video with a superb auto focus. It is also compatible with most waterproof housings, to make underwater photos. It is ultra light and perfect to take with you on your travels. Of course, if you add zoom lenses, it will be heavier. But if you have fixed lenses, it will remain relatively light.
It is clearly the perfect mix for creating both amazing photos AND videos. Because the Sony Alpha7SII would be great for videos and the Sony Alpha 7R3 would be better for photos. We have been using the Sony Alpha 7III since 2 years and we just love it. For landscapes photos and videos but also lifestyle fashion and underwater photos and videos.
The Sony Alpha 7 IV : the next level for both
This camera is exceptional for its image quality and the number of pixels it offers. That said, if you don’t do print and your photos are mostly used digitally, it’s not worth investing in this little gem. Unless you have powerful SD cards and hard disks, save yourself this waste of space!
Conclusion: All the little family of Sony A7 are the perfect balance between photo and video. They don’t excel in both fields but allow a very good compromise between these two activities. The Sony Alpha 7IV is the nest level of the Sony Alpha 7III. It has a retractable screen very nice and enjoyable if you don’t have a second screen. It’s also awesome for Vlogging. Also you will have the 4K for 120 images per second which is amazing for video.
The Sony A7R or the pro of photography
Being the perfect cousin of the Sony A7, the A7R follow perfectly its buddies by proposing the A7R, the A7R II, the A7R III and the last of the family the A7R IV.
With a full-frame sensor of 36 megapixels for the A7R then 42.4 megapixels for the A7R III and A7R III to finish with 61 megapixels with the A7R IV. I might as well tell you that with a resolution like that, even when taking a picture of someone at 300 meters, with a 50mm you can zoom in on every detail without worrying! That’s why it has an R for resolution (image resolution).
Having tried it once in a store, the A7R sub-range is just a photographer’s delight. Coupled with a powerful auto-focus system, an artificial intelligence more and more present and a wide range of optics, it’s absolutely amazing!
Action! Sony A7S the best for videography
Just as the Sony A7R had the R for resolution, the A7S has an S for ISO sensitivity.
The 12.2 megapixel full-frame sensor of the Sony A7S, A7S II and A7S III allows it to reach just indecent ISO values (ISO 409,600 for the latest). Without going into these ISO values, it still allows an impressive rise in ISO without the presence of digital grain.
But it is especially in video that the beast will show all its strength! With a 4K recording at 120 fps and Full HD 240 fps you will be able to do some sick slow motion. Coupled with an auto-focus on faces and eyes (also animals) and an improvement of the S-log profiles, the Sony A7S III is placed today as the reference camera for Sony videographers
The Sony Alpha 9 A92 : when it goes too fast
The Sony A9 sub-range has made a name for itself in the field of sports and wildlife photography. Why? you are asking yourself, impatient boy!
Simply because of a 24.2 megapixel full-frame sensor with a fast auto-focus system with excellent subject tracking and a 21 fps burst with a silent electronic shutter which is very useful for wildlife photography. This makes it ideal for capturing a moving subject, especially a fast moving one.
The A9s are a bit like the electric batteries of the alpha range with a reactivity that is unbeatable!
The Sony Alpha A1 : the number that means everything
Well, before leaving in the land of blue dreams, we will calm down a little with the price which is … 7299€. Oops, sorry I didn’t mean to destroy your cornea.
We won’t lie to each other, this case is the bomb. But… it can also be a bomb on your bank account. Even as professionals photographers, we think twice before going for this kind of camera. But as they say, the true dreamer is the one who dreams of the impossible, right?
The Sony A1 is the consecration of all the innovations of Sony in a single camera.
Ultra-fast burst, 8K video, 50.1 megapixels, dual BionZ XR processor, 92% auto-focus coverage. What makes its auto-focus awsome, the Sony A1 makes you dream on paper and in real life. There, we are not dealing with a very dubious Tinder profile fail when you go on a date.
To summarize, the Sony A1 is a mixture of the A7R IV, the A7S III and the A9 II.
The Sony Alpha range : which one is the best for you ?
Finally when we understand what Sony wanted to do, the Sony Alpha range becomes immediately clearer! We are not going to lie, Sony, with its Sony Alpha range, has become a monster in everything that is hybrid and we see it on the last innovations.
After, yes we hear it a lot, there is marketing behind all this but we’ll say that Apple started a long time ago to get us used to that ! We still remain on hyper qualitative products with real innovations with each new product.
Friends, I hope that this article has been useful and that you see a little more clearly. Since we have been with Sony for 5 years now, we have never been disappointed with any of the products, whether it is cameras or lenses.
Don’t hesitate to share your experience in comments or if you have any questions, I’ll be happy to answer them and help you 😉
In the meantime, to see what a little Sony alpha gem is capable of, head over to Instagram at @chiarabarrasso and @jelafaille and our travel YouTube channel. See you soon guys!