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themillsmedia

Canon 7D vs. Sony a7r

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So, I've been shooting video on a Canon 7D for years, and have loved it. Now, though, someone I know is offering to sell me his used Sony a7r for a good price (I'm on a pretty tight budget...otherwise I would invest in a Sony a7s instead). My question is, is the a7r worth it?

I mostly do run-and-gun, handheld shooting, but I've done some more controlled shoots as well, with tripods/sliders/etc. I edit with Premiere/After Effects and grade with Looks.

While I know the still image quality of the Sony a7r is incredible, I've read mixed reviews about its video capabilities. Does anyone know how it stacks up against the old Canon 7D? Would it be a significant upgrade, or not so much?

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs
Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

It would be a very good upgrade in terms of 

 

-Fullframe sensor aesthetic 

-Significantly better stills, 

-smaller, lighter, 

-Tiltable LCD, EVF for video 

-Zebras/peaking 

-appreciably higher resolution video (yet aliasing/moire is 7D league) 

-Better lowlight performance, a good deal better 

-Slightly better codec, less macroblocking and better noise pattern

-Better audio quality and a headphone jack

-Clean HDMI out

 

And it would be a downgrade in a few things:

 

-Military Tank build quality, 

-Optical VF

-Much higher burst rate

-Much larger buffer

-Better stills autofocus system + tracking moving subjects 

-Capability to shoot 14bit Raw video with ML and all the other host of features that come with that (advanced zebras, peaking, waveform, vectroscope, intervalometer, silent shooting, Dual ISO HDR, etc)

-Some people like Canon colours more, 

-Better compatibility with Canon lenses in AF, IS and Aperture control

 

As you may notice, most of the 7D advantages are related to photography, it's a workhorse for professional sports photography, not really considered for video shooting nowadays, in fact its video capability is identical to the Canon Rebels, so if the 7D Build, speed and AF, OVF in stills are not important and you're not a sports photographer the A7r is a much better camera in all the other regards mentioned above, just not for this specific application of sports photography. 

 

Important***** Take note that you will need an active adapter to have control over aperture and have IS with you Canon lenses on the A7r, but AF is bad even with the best adapters so forget AF without Native Sony E-mount Glass. And also remember the Canon EF-S lenses that cover APS-C will not be compatible with the Full Frame A7r, just Canon EF Fullframe lenses. 

Keep the cost of the adapter in mind (not cheap!) and how they'll work in AF, IS, Iris control with your lenses

And keep the cost of E-mount lenses in mind if you need good stills AF. If you can cover these, I'd take the jump unless I am professional sports photographer. The A7r is great. 

 

 

 

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If you are happy with the image of the A7R and you do a lot of hand held shots, you might be better off with a used A7II which will come for about the same price and adds IBIS,XAVC-S and s-log2. 

If you want to improve the image quality and stay within your budget, the GH4 might be a better option as Andrew suggested.

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the a7r is kinda half baked for video....... and i think thats part of the reason a lot of ppl were surprised at how aggressively video forward the a7rii is~!

i just sold my 7d for an rx10m2, and let me tell you, in terms of video it is a HUGE upgrade for many reasons. i mention it bc of the way you described what you need to shoot; there could be a lot of benefits there. its super easy to use handheld due to its stabilization, and rolling shutter weirdness is absolutely minimal compared to, say, the a7s. just a thought, might be worth looking into idk

whats lacking in comparison is the sensor size... but for me the rx10m2 is destined to compliment a full frame a7sii......which doesnt exist yet lol. how shallow do you need your dof?

speaking of the imaginary a7sii.... i dunno how long you feel comfortable waiting before pulling the trigger on this, but when the a7sii comes out the used price of an a7s may well be in your price range... but then again i dont know exactly what your price range is ;) what are we talkin here.... $1500 or so? less?

tbh id avoid the a7r entirely for video. moire/aliasing is one drawback as ebrahim pointed out; besides, youve just got way better options as ppl have mentioned. the gh4 as andrew suggested, a d750 if you can afford it as therenaissanceman said, idk theres more..... and when youre buying used theres definitely some deals out there if you hunt them down~! ☺️

 

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I understand if money is tight and that means you have to let go of the 7d, but I love my 7d to bits and I use almost every day for stills and it has never failed me. I always get amazed by the Canon colors straight out of the camera.

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Thanks for the comments, everyone! This is SUPER helpful.

For now, I'm still on the fence. I'm not actively in the market for a new camera, but I know I'll need to upgrade from my old 7D at some point. I'm being offered the a7r for $800, which seems like a deal. However, from what you've all said, it may be better to save that money and put it toward an even better upgrade.

Another quick question: I know the a7r uses the AVCHD codec. I've heard this can be a pain, but I'm not sure if it's a dealbreaker or not. Anyone have any thoughts on editing AVCHD footage in Premiere (I'm on a Macbook pro with 16gb of ram).

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Thanks for the comments, everyone! This is SUPER helpful.

For now, I'm still on the fence. I'm not actively in the market for a new camera, but I know I'll need to upgrade from my old 7D at some point. I'm being offered the a7r for $800, which seems like a deal. However, from what you've all said, it may be better to save that money and put it toward an even better upgrade.

Another quick question: I know the a7r uses the AVCHD codec. I've heard this can be a pain, but I'm not sure if it's a dealbreaker or not. Anyone have any thoughts on editing AVCHD footage in Premiere (I'm on a Macbook pro with 16gb of ram).

For 800 dollar its a very very good deal, i edit nex 7 AVCHD on my macbook air with 4gb ram with no problems.

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As someone else said, you'd be better off getting an a6000 or even a Nikon d5500. They both are cheaper and have better video quality. And the d5500 is really good for stills. The noise level is pretty similar to the a7r (less than a stop of difference) and the detail in the shadows is great (better than the A7 II). Not to mention the better lens selection. 

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Buy used. Pick up two A6000s or a couple G7s. Hell, two D5500s or just one D750 would be a much better hybrid setup. The A7R just isn't good enough compared to everything else you can get for the same money.

I've been hearing a lot about the D5500 lately... Is it supposed to be that good for the price?

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I've been hearing a lot about the D5500 lately... Is it supposed to be that good for the price?

I had the D5200 but wasn't too impressed. I now have a D5500 and it's markedly better. The colour is very accurate, you can pull up the shadows without getting lines across the image, the Flat profile is perfect, the ergonomics are a lot better, has 60fps at a decent bitrate, etc. Still a soft image compared to the Panasonic cameras, still not great in low light and still has no focus or exposure aids during recording. But at £380 now on the grey market it's a really nice camera. I wouldn't use it for travel video but for planned shots it's great. 

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I had the D5200 but wasn't too impressed. I now have a D5500 and it's markedly better. The colour is very accurate, you can pull up the shadows without getting lines across the image, the Flat profile is perfect, the ergonomics are a lot better, has 60fps at a decent bitrate, etc. Still a soft image compared to the Panasonic cameras, still not great in low light and still has no focus or exposure aids during recording. But at £380 now on the grey market it's a really nice camera. I wouldn't use it for travel video but for planned shots it's great. 

 Most people I've heard from say is good at 3200 and even 6400 at a push. 

I can confirm everything else though, as well as extremely low rolling shutter, great battery life, and a nice fine noise grain at higher ISO. It's even a killer stills cam at 24MP and 14 stops of dynamic range at base ISO. 

It's one of the best hybrid cameras on the market, imo, and has a very pleasing image without much work.

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 Most people I've heard from say is good at 3200 and even 6400 at a push. 

I can confirm everything else though, as well as extremely low rolling shutter, great battery life, and a nice fine noise grain at higher ISO. It's even a killer stills cam at 24MP and 14 stops of dynamic range at base ISO. 

It's one of the best hybrid cameras on the market, imo, and has a very pleasing image without much work.

Maybe there is a quality control problem then? Because the noise I get in video is very blotchy. Not really usable past ISO 1600. Average rolling shutter as well. 

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I had the D5200 but wasn't too impressed. I now have a D5500 and it's markedly better. The colour is very accurate, you can pull up the shadows without getting lines across the image, the Flat profile is perfect, the ergonomics are a lot better, has 60fps at a decent bitrate, etc. Still a soft image compared to the Panasonic cameras, still not great in low light and still has no focus or exposure aids during recording. But at £380 now on the grey market it's a really nice camera. I wouldn't use it for travel video but for planned shots it's great. 

Yeah, I noticed the body only sells on eBay for about $450. If this ever gets under 3, I may have to give it a try.

Right now, I am looking at maybe picking up a used FZ1000. I have a very specific project it will be perfect for. 

But either way, the D5500 sounds like a decent hybrid camera. 

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