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Sony A7R Performance


Timing and Performance

Decent performance overall.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

~2.0 seconds

Time it takes to turn on and capture a shot.

Shutdown

~3.2 seconds

How long it takes camera to turn off before you can remove the memory card.

Buffer clearing time
17 seconds after 15 Large/Extra Fine JPEGs*
Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card.
13 seconds after 15 RAW files*
18 seconds after 14 RAW+ L/F JPEG files*
*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/sec UHS-I SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Startup time was much slower than a typical DSLR, but reasonable for a CSC. Shutdown was slow. Buffer clearing times were a little slow, but not a surprise given the very large files.


Mode Switching

Play to Record,
first shot

~0.9 second

Time until first shot is captured.

Record to Play

~3.7 seconds

Time to display a large/extra fine JPEG file immediately after capture.

Display
recorded image

~0.5 second

Time to display a large/extra fine JPEG file already on the memory card.

Mode switching performance was fair, though switching from Record to Play was quite slow.


Shutter Response (Lag Time)
Full Autofocus,
Single-area AF mode
0.359 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting. (AF timing performed with the Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA lens.)

Full Autofocus,
Multi-area AF mode
0.362 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting.

Manual Focus
0.261 second

For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused".

Prefocused

0.163 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

Looking at the Sony A7R's ability to determine that it's properly focused when shooting the same target multiple times, its autofocus speeds were decent, but a little slower than average for a CSC. The Sony A7R's full-autofocus shutter lag (with the subject at a fixed distance) was 0.359 second in Single-area AF mode. This increased slightly to 0.362 second in Multi-area AF mode. That's quite a bit slower than the average pro DSLR and even slower than most consumer DSLRs, but only slightly slower than most CSCs.

When manually focused, the Sony A7R's lag time only dropped to 0.261 second, which is a bit on the slow side for manual focus shutter lag. The Sony A7R's prefocused shutter lag time was 0.163 second which while quick, is much slower than most DSLRs or CSCs.

To minimize the effect of different lens' focusing speed, we test AF-active shutter lag with the lens already set to the correct focal distance.


Cycle Time (shot to shot)

Single Shot mode
Large/Extra Fine JPEG

0.84 second

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, 10 seconds to clear*.

Single Shot mode
RAW

0.79 second

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, 6 seconds to clear*.

Single Shot mode
RAW + L/F JPEG
0.84 second

Time per shot, averaged over 16 shots, 13 seconds to clear*.

Early shutter
penalty?

No

Some cameras don't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous mode
Large/Extra Fine JPEG

0.57 second (1.74 frames per second);
20+ frames total;
16 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, with no signs of slowing.

Speed Priority
Continuous mode

Large/Extra Fine JPEG

0.25 second (4.00 frames per second);
15 frames total;
17 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 15 frames, then slows to an average of about 1.19s or 0.84 fps when buffer is full.

Speed Priority
Continuous mode

RAW

0.25 second (4.00 frames per second);
15 frames total;
13 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 15 frames, then slows to an average of about 0.99s or 1.01 fps when buffer is full.

Speed Priority
Continuous mode

RAW + L/F JPEG

0.25 second (4.00 frames per second);
14 frames total;
18 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 14 frames, then slows to 1.43s or 0.70 fps when buffer is full.

Flash Recycling

N/A

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/sec UHS-I SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Single-shot cycle time was about 0.8 second no matter the file type, which is average for a CSC but a little slow compared to most DSLRs. Standard continuous mode performance was quite slow at about 1.7 frames per second. Speed Priority Continuous mode was much faster at 4 frames per second, though autofocus is fixed at the first frame of a burst in that mode. While not as fast as most DSLRs and CSCs, this isn't bad considering the sensor size and resolution. (About the same speed as a Nikon D800, though it can focus between frames.)

Buffer depths were good considering the very large files, at 15 for Large/Extra Fine JPEGs, 15 for RAW and 14 for RAW+Large/Fine JPEGs in Speed Priority mode. (The Sony A7R does not support shooting Extra Fine JPEGs together with RAW.) In standard continuous mode, buffer depths are likely better (we only tested Large/Extra Fine JPEGs and didn't run into the buffer limit before stopping our test at 20 frames.) Note, though, that our target for this test was designed to be difficult to compress, so JPEG burst lengths should be longer with typical subjects.

Buffer clearing times were a little slow, but not a surprise given the very large files.


Download Speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

24,120 KBytes/sec

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

Download speeds were very fast, quick enough that you won't feel the need for a separate card reader, even with large memory cards. (Note that this test was performed with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/sec UHS-I SDHC card: Slower cards would likely show slower transfer times.)


Bottom line, the Sony A7R's overall performance is fair compared to most compact system cameras, but when you consider its sensor size and resolution, performance is actually pretty good with decent autofocus speeds, shot-to-shot times and burst mode performance.

Battery Life

Fair battery life for a Compact System Camera.

Operating Mode Battery Life
Still Capture,
(CIPA standard, LCD Monitor)
340 shots
Still Capture,
(CIPA standard, EVF)
270 shots

The Sony A7R uses a custom NP-FW50 rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack for power, and comes with both a single battery and AC adapter for in-camera charging via USB. The battery is rated for 340 shots per charge when using the LCD monitor and 270 shots when using the electronic viewfinder, according to the CIPA standard. Battery life is fair compared to typical CSCs though pretty good considering its size and sensor, but poor compared to most DSLRs. We recommend getting a second battery for your A7R if you plan any extended outings or shoot a lot of video. An optional VG-C1EM vertical grip is available which doubles battery life with two batteries.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on a fully-charged rechargeable battery), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))