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Sony A7 is a full-frame, traveler's dream camera (pictures)

The Sony A7 and A7R are two compact digital cameras, boasting full-frame image sensors and interchangeable lenses.

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Andrew Lanxon

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Packing light for a holiday but still want professional image quality from your camera? Feast your eyes on the Sony A7 and A7R, two compact digital cameras that boast full-frame image sensors and interchangeable lenses.

The A7 has a 24-megapixel resolution and will start at $1,700 for the body only. The A7R has a higher 34-megapixel sensor, no anti-aliasing filter, and starts at $2,300.

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Controls

Both models offer full manual control over all settings as well as automatic and scene modes if you don't want to play around with the dials.
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Layout

The layout is identical to the previous full-frame compact, the RX1, which I found to be simple to operate.
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OLED viewfinder

There's a 3-inch OLED viewfinder on the back of both models.
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Professional model

The A7R is apparently the more professional version of the two models, with a higher resolution, no anti-aliasing filter, and a higher price tag.
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Full-frame sensor

That's a full-frame sensor stuffed inside. It's much bigger than the sensors you'd typically find inside compact digital cameras, allowing for greater dynamic range and lower image noise.
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Lenses

Three new lenses will be available for the camera that are specifically designed for use with full-frame sensors.
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Alpha lenses

You can use any of Sony's Alpha range of lenses, though, once you pop on an adapter.
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Adapter

Here's the adapter. It's not tiny by any means, but it won't take up a lot of room in your camera bag.
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Battery grip

You can get a battery grip for the camera, too. It extends battery life and allows for a more secure grip. There are buttons on the side to help with shooting in portrait orientation. It'll set you back $299.
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Camera cross section

It might look pretty, but if your camera does this, gather up all the pieces and send them back.
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35mm sensor

Here's the 35mm sensor. It's not really much use by itself.
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28-70mm lens

This 28-70mm lens is available only as part of a kit with the camera.
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35mm prime

This 35mm prime has high-quality Carl Zeiss optics and an f2.8 aperture. Prices for additional lenses weren't known at the time of writing.
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Size vs. features

The cameras are much bulkier than standard compact digital cameras, or indeed Sony's interchangeable lens NEX cameras. They're the smallest interchangeable lens cameras with a full-frame sensor, though.
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Inputs

There are inputs for mics and headphones -- handy for capturing professional audio.

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