Sony is one of the most stable players in the photography market, which at the same time is not afraid of innovation and bold decisions. Any, even the simplest camera of this company will serve you faithfully, and a bunch of cool optics, both native and from third-party manufacturers, makes the company’s cameras a particularly interesting option even in times of crisis. Today we deal with the Sony model range: we are looking for the right camera in the right format.
Sony compact cameras
Camera for bloggers: Sony ZV‑1
We talked about this camera more than once. Sony ZV‑1 is perhaps the perfect compact for a vlogger with a cool bonus — a cool efficient autofocus system. The developers have provided many features that help novice bloggers easily get a cool picture.
You can control the exposure manually, or you can set everything to auto. There is automatic blurring of the background with one click, a product demonstration mode with smooth refocusing from face to product and back, built-in neutral density filters for shooting outdoors. An effective stabilization system and a good standard microphone are provided. There is everything to start shooting video without additional equipment.
The camera records detailed 4K at 30p, and there are special LOG profiles for easy color grading.
This compact for bloggers has only a couple of drawbacks — there is no viewfinder and protection from bad weather. Otherwise, if you’re looking for a simple, easy-to-use model for shooting video, the Sony ZV‑1 is a good option.
Travel: Sony RX100 VII
If your interests go beyond shooting vlogs, Sony has a compact that can do it all. For a unique “soap box” Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VII will have to pay about the same as for the flagship APS‑C camera.
The price for the VII generation of the famous “cybershots” bites, but their characteristics are worth it. As with the ZV‑1, you get a battle-ready device with a built-in 24–200mm f/2.8–4.5 universal zoom lens from ZEISS. In addition to good optics, there is also a multilayer 20.1‑megapixel matrix. The camera can shoot bursts at 20fps with tracking autofocus, so it’s suitable for both fast action scenes and wildlife photography, given the lens’s range limitations.
RX100 VII can shoot good video: on board detailed 4K with stabilization and excellent control over rolling shutter (when shooting a moving object, part of the matrix lags and fixes its previous position, which leads to visual distortions).
So if you’re looking for a versatile compact travel camera but don’t want to carry around interchangeable lenses, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VII is your option.
Sony APS‑C cameras
For beginner photographers: Sony a6100
The junior model of Sony’s crop series is aimed primarily at beginner photographers. But by purchasing such a camera, you also get a good head start — an impressive set of features is only slightly inferior to the flagship Sony a6600.
The a6100, like the older model, uses a 24.2‑megapixel Exmor CMOS sensor and a nimble BIONZ X processor. The camera focuses instantly and coolly tracks moving objects. Proprietary eye detection system and tracking autofocus Real-time Tracking work great when shooting people and when shooting animals.
The camera also has 4K video recording in Super 35mm format with pixel reading from the entire width of the sensor. There is a microphone jack, but there is no headphone jack, as well as built-in stabilization.
Another camera for bloggers: ZV-E10
If you are looking for a Sony APS‑C format sharpened for video, the blogging ZV-E10 is a more interesting option. It’s similar to the a6100 in specs, but in terms of special features and video capabilities, it’s more like the Sony ZV‑1.
Compared to the a6100, the ZV-E10 has a swivel screen, a headphone jack and a micro-hdmi port. And unlike the ZV‑1, this blogging APS‑C allows you to change lenses. This means that with fast lenses like the Sigma DN 30mm f/1.4, you can get the beautifully blurred background that YouTubers love so much.
The larger format sensor handles low light better, which is important when shooting indoors. Unfortunately, the same sensor, which is used in all the latest models of the a6xxx and ZV-E10 series, is susceptible to the rolling shutter effect. If you are going to move quickly or pan a lot while shooting video, you can get noticeable distortion in the picture.
Universal crop camera: Sony A6600
If you want a “universal soldier” in a compact APS‑C camera body, the Sony A6600 is your best bet. This flagship model is aimed at advanced hobbyists and enthusiasts — both photographers and videographers. The camera is suitable for any genre of shooting and any situation.
The Sony a6600 has a cool 5‑axis stabilization system that provides up to 5 stops of exposure compensation, which is good for both handheld photography in low light and video shooting.
At the same time, it still has the same cool autofocus system that allows you to focus on an object in 0.02 seconds, recognize eyes based on AI and tenaciously follows the object, even if it temporarily disappears from the frame.
In terms of video, the a6600 offers 4K at Super 35mm, there are microphone and headphone jacks on the body, and the autofocus system is as effective for movies as it is for photography. The disadvantage of this camera in terms of video shooting, as in the case of the a6100 and ZV-E10, is a pronounced rolling shutter.
If you want a versatile interchangeable lens camera but don’t mind paying extra for a full frame, the a6600 is a great option.
Sony full frame cameras
Entry level full frame: Sony A7 III
If you’re looking for the easiest and not too expensive entry into the “full frame camera club”, then the Sony a7 III is there for you.
Of course, this camera is not as fast as, say, the a9 II, and does not boast the resolution of the a7R IV, but the Sony a7 III received a bunch of features from its older brothers, the price tag for which, due to recent events, has become simply prohibitive.
The a7 III has a super-efficient autofocus system and a cool 5‑axis stabilization system. Its 24.5‑megapixel back-illuminated sensor (improves camera sensitivity) works in tandem with a powerful processor to deliver a very wide dynamic range and high ISO performance with minimal noise.
Despite the fact that this is a serious full-frame camera, it has a compact body weighing only 650 grams.
Other full-frame “generalists”
But if you’re looking for an even more compact full-frame body, Sony has a truly unique model. Sony a7C weighs 509 grams, and its dimensions are 124 x 71 x 60 mm, which is comparable to crop cameras. Attach the Sony FE 28–60mm f/4–5.6 compact folding zoom lens to it for one of the best combinations for travel and everyday photography.
If the prices of the Sony a7 III and Sony a7C seem prohibitive and you still want a full-frame camera, the older Sony A7 II is still an interesting option for most photographers. Of course, it is not as fast in terms of autofocus and does not support 4K video, but it is significantly cheaper than older models.
But if you’re on a budget and want a versatile start in full-frame photography, the latest Sony a7 IV is the option for you.
For portraits and landscapes: Sony A7R IV
And now let’s move on to specialized full-frame cameras that are suitable for professionals in their genre.
For portraits and landscapes, we recommend the Sony a7R IV (and the upgraded version of the a7R IVA with a cooler display), which boasts a 61MP sensor.
In addition to a beautifully detailed picture, it is also distinguished from the previously mentioned models by improved body protection, suitable for working in any location.
Landscape photographers will appreciate the extended ISO sensitivity range from 50 to 320,000 — the camera can be used in the most difficult lighting conditions, including for shooting night landscapes with a starry sky.
If 60+ megapixels is not enough for you, the a7R IV has a special multi-frame stitching mode for one huge 240-megapixel shot. You can make incredible wallpapers!
Interestingly, despite the insane detail that favors calm, judicious work, this professional camera supports continuous shooting at a good pace — up to 10 fps. It’s not super fast for sports or fast-paced action scenes, but it’s easy to capture that moment in portraiture.
Sony a7R IV is good in terms of video too, but we have a completely different model in store for video pros.
For videographers: Sony A7S III
Many look at the 12-megapixel Sony a7S III with bewilderment. Of course, this resolution may not be enough for photography, but the a7S III is not designed for photography (although it still knows how to take pictures).
The matrix with a smaller number of larger pixels is designed specifically for video: it supports 4K video with a 1:1 pixel readout, which eliminates moire-type artifacts; it copes well with work in low light (for example, when shooting indoors at concerts or in the evening on the street); and a smaller amount of data allows you to work as quickly as possible in all modes, which is very important for video signal processing.
The a7S III’s 4K video quality is the best in the entire line, there is practically no rolling shutter effect, it has a convenient swivel screen and powerful stabilization. Plus a lot of specialized tools for videographers, support for modes and codecs for professional work, and so on. In general, if you need a camcorder from Sony, choose the Sony A7S III.
For sports and wildlife: Sony A1 and A9 II
But for sports, wildlife and high-speed shooting, we have two options.
The first, less expensive, is the Sony A9 II. The camera can silently shoot with an electronic shutter at 20 fps, which is very cool for photographing animals. It has the most effective autofocus, advanced protection against bad weather and an excellent viewfinder. What else is needed to sit in ambush with a 1200mm telephoto lens at the ready and wait for a bear (or try to “hit” a football player from the other side of the field)?
The second option is for those who need the best. This is, of course, our favorite Sony a1, which has repeatedly found itself in all sorts of ratings of the best mirrorless cameras. The alpha camera tries to be the best at everything (and it mostly succeeds), but because of this, the price of the Sony flagship reaches cosmic heights.
At the same time, continuous shooting is one of its main features. The Sony a1 can capture 155 consecutive RAW photos at 50.1MP at up to 30fps. Impressive? You can add 8K video at 30 fps and 4K video at 120 fps here, as well as a viewfinder with a resolution of 9.44 million dots.