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Sony A1 or A7R5

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So I'll be upgrading this year and wanted some feedback from users. I have a Sony A7R3 and I want the better focusing of the newer models. I'm not to concerned between the two for megapixels because they are both up there. I like the A1 shutter speed but is there a big difference between the two as far as autofocus speed? Also any other thoughts. 


Oh and can the record button be reassigned both since I don't shoot video?

Edited by Buddha
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This was me last year, coming from a7III. I went A7RV mainly due to pricing. The price difference on camera and housing adds up to a pretty penny. However with a comfortable budget I would probably go with the A1. But it prob depends on your needs, advantages of a1


- Better video specs

- Higher native flash sync speeds (does this still matter with high speed sync?)

- Marginally better autofocus


Big draw for me of the a7rv, over the a1 other than price, is the 24Mpix files when shooting in APSC mode.


Something else to consider is that sony might come with an a1II in the not too distant future. A1 is now 4 years old

Edited by Erik H
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Hi @Buddha.  Yep, I made that same decision last year.  First, both are excellent choices!  It’s a great problem to have to decide between two such capable bodies.  

Over previous models, both have:

 - Significantly better focus

 - Much better menu system

 - Substantially better white balance

 - Dual SD/CF Type A slots


I believe both will allow the video button to be reassigned, but don’t hold me to it.


In my humble opinion, here are the high points for each:



 - Higher flash sync speed (1/400 vs 1/250)

      Good for controlling sun balls and black background in macro

      Note - need a trigger that will support it

 - Faster overall focus due to stacked sensor

 - High res at 50MP / 21 MP in APS-C mode

 - Great video specs, if you do that later



 - Higher res at 61MP / 26MP in APS-C mode

 - New AI focus engine

      “May” pick up eyes slightly better, but not as fast as a1

 - Unique flip screen may be better for land-based photos 

 - Good video as a hybrid camera, if you decide to do it

 - A bit lower cost


I actually had both and had a chance to use them in land based photo situations.  When I say it was a close choice, it was an extremely close choice as both are truly fantastic and a significant improvement over earlier models.  I had an a7rIV previously and struggled with white balance and focus speed, especially with the Sony 90.


I ended up keeping the a1 and put it in a Nauticam housing with the WACP-C.  In the US I’ve seen the a1 going for as low as $4700 new.

For me, the 1/400 sync speed and stacked sensors for fast focus were the deciders.


Note - to get the 1/400 speed you need to use a trigger that can support it such as the UW Technics.  This will also do HSS with Retra strobes if you eventually go that way.

With all that said, I’m sure you will be happy with either for years to come! 


Edited by ChipBPhoto
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Thank you both for that. I was also considering waiting for the A1m2 but nothing on the horizon yet. Like Chip I struggle with the autofocus of my A7R3. I don't shoot video or APS-C so those aren't a concern. Shutter speed is one of the features but more than anything it's the autofocus because I want to do more macro. My cameras now do well shooting WA especially with the WACP it makes it even easier. 


Chip, when you used both did you notice any difference between the two for the autofocus?

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2 hours ago, Buddha said:

Chip, when you used both did you notice any difference between the two for the autofocus?

Good question - I found the a1 a tiny bit faster in focus due to the stacked sensor.  It was night and day over the RIV.  Between the a1 and the RV, is it a deal breaker?  Not really.  The RV is very close in real usage.  If you didn’t do a side-by-side comparison most would never notice.  I have a friend that just bought an RV rig and loves it.

You should see a big improvement using the Sony 90 with either.  It still hunts a bit, but is much better than what you’re probably experiencing now.  I found the 28-60 with the WACP-C focused similarly between them, but again most likely faster and more accurate than you’re seeing now.  

For what it’s worth, Alex Mustard faced the same questions and ended up with the a1.  The sole reason was the 1/400 sync option.  He is also a Retra user so gets the HSS benefit.  (I use Z330s, so no HSS for me)


The a1v2 is the unicorn many are chasing.  While various rumor sites keep the dream alive, there is no real feel for when we may see an update.


Honestly, either would be a great choice, especially with the lens options you’re using.  


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I was just debating with the same decision and ended up going with the R5. Video is not important to me so I was only considering the photo advantages. In the end decided I don't shoot enough action to need the stacked sensor and the 1/400 sync alone was not worth the price difference. FWIW I am upgrading from A7C which is only rated for 1/160 flash sync but I frequently shoot up to 1/250 - there is only a very very small black bar on top which is easily cropped out. So I'm hoping with the R5 being rated for 1/250 I can get 1/320 at least and maybe even 1/400 with a small crop-able bar. I noticed no discernible difference with the EVF or autofocus (on land) - the Sony salesperson told me R5 autofocus is supposed to be a bit more accurate actually with the new AI sensor. 

Alex Mustard's review on the A7R5 is what convinced me and he goes into quite a bit of detail in this video (although I know he shoots A1 but as I am not a pro I figured R5 was good enough)


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