Which Sony Alpha camera is best for you?

How do you decide which is the right Sony Alpha A7 camera for you? Updated for 2021!

Sony’s A7 series was divided into three lines that were started with the A7, A7R and A7S. However, as of 2020, Sony has now added the A7C to the series thus creating a quartet of full-frame mirrorless cameras.

The 24Mp A7 was introduced as the all-rounder and more affordable option when getting into full-frame mirrorless photography, while the 36Mp A7R was the high-resolution model that now provides a whopping 61 million effective pixels with its fourth iteration, the A7R IVA. The 12Mp A7S was introduced as the low-light and video-centric camera with the newly introduced A7C completes the line-up by providing a compact (the “C” in the title) option for the modern, hybrid shooter.

Development and Versions

As is with all technology these days, development is continuous and this is no different for the Sony Alpha range of cameras. Since the original Sony A7 in 2013, we are now lucky enough to be able to choose from four A7’s, four A7R’s, three A7S’s and one A7C.

Full list of Sony A7 Series Cameras:

So with this plethora of options, where do we begin?

What is the Sony A7 best for?

Pitched as the affordable option for those getting into full-frame mirrorless photography the A7II and A7III are really much more than their predecessor. The further addition of the 33MP A7IV is the best entry-level camera for all-around video and photography performance.

Ideal for everyday photography and also great for more niche genres like landscapes, portraits and even as a beginner wedding photographer’s weapon of choice, the A7 III and A7 IV also offer 4K video options along with S-log so you can create more professional looking content.

Best for Hybrid Photo/Video Creators
  A7 A7 II A7 III A7 IV
Release Date 2013 2014 2018 2021
Mega Pixels 24MP 24MP 24MP 33MP 
Viewfinder Dots 1,230,000 1,230,000 2,360,000 3,690,000
Video Full HD Full HD 4K oversampled from 6K 4K oversampled from 7K
Stabilisation None 5-axis 5-axis 5-axis
ISO 100-25600 100-25600 100-51200 100-51200
Processor Bionz X Bionz X Bionz X Bionz XR
Dimensions 127 x 94 x 48 mm 127 x 96 x 60 mm 127 x 96 x 74 mm 131 x 96 x 80 mm
Weight 474 g 599 g 650 g  658 g

What is the Sony A7R best for?

The highest resolution model from Sony with a huge 61Mp, the A7RIVA is best suited to those needing to capture a great level of detail. Macro shooters and Portrait photographers are the first port of call with Wildlife photographers being able to benefit from the ability to crop into their images. Sports photographers can also consider the A7RIIIA and A7R IVA thanks to the improved autofocus system that’s locks and tracks onto subjects effectively and incredibly quickly.

With a photo-heavy focus in the Alpha R range, it’s not to say that these cameras can’t produce fantastic 4K video output. The in-body image-stabilisation not only benefits the stills but also aids the camera in putting out professional-level 4K video.

Best for High-Quality Photography
Release Date 2013 2015 2017 2019 
Mega Pixels 36.4MP 42MP  44MP 61MP
Viewfinder Dots 2,359,269 2,359,269 3,686,400 5,760,000
Video Full HD 4K 4K 4K
Stabilisation None 5-axis 5-axis  5-axis 
ISO 100-25600 100-25600 100-32000  100-32000
Processor Bionz X Bionz X Bionz X  Bionz X
Dimensions 127 x 94 x 48 mm 127 x 96 x 60 mm 127 x 96 x 74 mm 127 x 96 x 78 mm
Weight 465 g 625 g 657 g  665 g 

What is the Sony A7S best for?

Video. Simple. The 12Mp sensor allows the camera to handle extremely well in low-light. The low megapixel count means that it can handle noise very well. The vari-angle high-resolution LCD screen also allows the user to capture from more angles than ever before.

Capable of 4K 120p with super-fast AF of 0.2s and 15-stop wide dynamic range, the A7SIII also boasts a double stabilisation system that’s supported by a larger battery capacity so your content creation can go on, and on, and on… you get the idea.

Best for High-Quality Videography
Release Date 2014 2015 2020
Mega Pixels 12MP 12MP 12MP 
Viewfinder Dots 2,400,000 2,359,296 9,440,000
Video Full HD(60p), 1280x720(120p) 4K/30p, Full HD/120p 4K/120p
Stabilisation None 5-axis 5-axis
ISO 100-102400 100-102400 80-102400
Processor Bionz X Bionz X  Bionz XR
Dimensions 127 x 94 x 48 mm 127 x 96 x 60 mm 129 x 97 x 81 mm 
Weight 507 g 627 g 699 g

What is the Sony A7C best for?

4K video, stills up to 10fps and real-time eye AF to name a few of the main features of the A7C, are all brought together in a small, lightweight and portable package. The “C” stands for compact and this camera certainly stands up to its name. Sony is already known for their small and lightweight full-frame cameras so they’ve gone one step further with the A7C.

Built for the hybrid shooter, the A7C can be a great first camera for beginners or even used as a fun option for the more professional photographer to keep in their camera bag. With the combination of high-level stills and video, it makes the A7C perfect for vloggers who also like to capture the world around them.

Best for Beginners or Vloggers
  A7C A7C II?
Release Date 2020

Will there be an A7C II?

We will just have to wait and see...

Mega Pixels 24MP
Viewfinder Dots 2,360,000
Video 4K/30p
Stabilisation 5-axis
ISO 100-51200
Processor Bionz X 
Dimensions 509 g 
Weight 124 x 71 x 60 mm

Tell me more?

So what we’ve told you so far might be useful if you’re trying to just get a handle on which cameras do what, but what about if you’re a dedicated landscape photographer or perfected portrait photographer? If you have a specific style or styles of photography or videography that you are looking to do then read on to see which camera suits your style.

What camera should I use for landscape, still life, macro and portraits?

Landscape, still life and macro photographers are usually concerned with capturing lots of detail. That makes a high-resolution camera the logical choice and the 61Mp Sony A7R IVA is the model of choice. In addition to its ability to record lots of detail, it has an excellent dynamic range and a superb autofocusing system.

The older A7R III has a more attractive price point however that does come with a few compromises. The A7R III has a reduced resolution compared to the A7R IVA, although at 44MP that is still no ill-store.

What Sony camera is best for video?

If videography is your main consideration, the Sony A7S III is the camera to go for. At 12Mp it has a low pixel count but this means that noise is controlled very well at high sensitivity settings. The A7S III also has very impressive 4K/120p video capabilities meaning there is nothing it cannot do.

  • Sony Alpha A7s Mirrorless Digital Camera

    Sony Alpha A7s - The original. Note the grip resembles that of the a6000, both cameras were released in 2014.

  • Sony A7S IIIThe Sony Alpha A7S III delivers excellent video in versatile lighting scenarios by controlling noise while using high ISO settings.

However, Sony has also given the A7R III and A7 III fantastic video capability, more than enough to satisfy a hobbyist and many professional videographers. These cameras also benefit from much better handling - including a better location for the video record button, touch screens and the mini-joystick controller for autofocus control. 

So if you have any interest in shooting stills as well as video, we’d recommend going for the A7R III or A7 III. 

What is the best Sony A7 Camera for Sport and Action Photography?

The third generation A7 cameras have an incredible autofocus system. It means the A7R IIIA and Sony A7 III are capable of focusing on a fast-moving subject and keeping it sharp wherever it roams around the frame. 

What’s more, both cameras can shoot at 10fps (frames per second) and do so completely silently if necessary. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that 42Mp images take up a lot more space on a memory card and hard drive than 24Mp images. And if you’re shooting at 10fps, it doesn’t take long to fill your card.

With that in mind, if you’re interested in shooting sport we highly recommend the Sony A7 III.

  • Sony Alpha A7 III Full-frame Mirrorless Camera
  • Sony Alpha A7 III AutoFocus system
    The Sony A7 III autofocus system utilizes 693 phase-detection AF points, indicated by the green boxes shown here, that cover 93% of the image area. These are complemented by 425 contrast detect points, in combination, they deliver fast and accurate AF.

What is the best Sony camera for Weddings and Portraits?

The A7R IVA and A7 IV have a trick up their sleeves that wedding and portrait photographers love - Eye AF. It does a brilliant job of getting the eyes sharp in portraits and wedding images - even when the subject is moving.

Both cameras make a good choice for this type of photography and pros are divided about which to opt for. However, the A7 IV wins out for many because of the smaller file size, excellent noise control and more affordable price.

A Bit of Everything?

The A7 III is a great all-rounder. The A7 and A7 II were also intended to be all-rounder cameras, but the Mark III has better handling and a brilliant AF system. As we mentioned earlier, there’s also an extensive array of video options so you can produce high-quality 4K video as well as great 24Mp images.

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  • By Fiona Chandler
  • 6 Jan 2021

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