When Sony announced the new A7 and A7R in 2013, the press release stated in part; “The A7 and A7R cameras are significantly smaller, lighter and more portable than any other full-frame interchange lens camera.” I thought great, finally a full frame system that’s lightweight, small and portable; now I can do away with my ‘a’ mount full frame and aps-c gear, plus my micro 4/3 stuff, thereby saving money and space in the bag, and not having to remember the settings and menus for each camera. I ordered the A7R and Zeiss 35/2.8 lens, but I was a little bit disappointed at the overall foot print; it was bigger than I expected, but still light and portable. I hoped Sony would come out with more small prime lenses for the system in the coming months as they said there would be about 10 more lenses released by 2015.
Unfortunately, the lenses that followed were not scaled down to the smaller, lighter and more portable camera bodies, but in reality, they were larger, heavier, and slightly less portable than what I’d been using with the ‘a’ mount system, especially the legacy prime lenses. The ‘a’ mount FF camera bodies (A900, A850) were larger, but the lenses were generally smaller. Fast forward to 2017, and I see no small lenses like the 35/2.8, only larger versions of the ‘a’ mount stuff. The quality of the new FE prime lenses is great, and so are a couple of zooms, but they are just as large, if not larger and heavier than the older ‘a’ mount stuff.
I guess I’m whining now, but I hope Sony comes out with a larger FE camera body to match the oversized lenses; or better yet, offer some smaller lenses for people that want to travel or hike with minimal weight and bulk.
Just for kicks I included the pictures for a size comparison with an old 1950s folder, sporting a 50mm F/2 Schneider Xenon lens, and the A7R with Zeiss 55/1.8. Most people are probably unaware that some Kodak Retinas, (including the one pictured here), are interchangeable lens (common elements behind leaf shutter) cameras, available in focal lengths of 35mm, 50mm and 80mm. Look at the size difference between the two lenses!!! Of course the Schneider is not auto focusing, but it is a six element coated lens, and razor sharp across the entire image. I’d like to see Sony or anyone else come out with a full frame system this small!