Roger Cicala tearsdown a Sony A7r

Discussion in 'This or That?' started by robbie36, Jan 30, 2014.

  1. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    Real Name:
    rob collins
    There is a very good article from lensrental's Roger Cicala on tearing down a Sony A7r

    The whole article is quite interesting but the last paragraph is worth quoting...

    'This is rather amazing. The completely disassembled Sony A7R consists of about a dozen major pieces, held together with 29 screws of just three different sizes. A typical DSLR has around 120 screws of 11 different sizes. You might not care less about that, but do you know what I thought about? How much easier it will be to fix this camera when it breaks. How much simpler it must be to perform all the calibration that must be done during assembly. And how much simpler it must be to assemble the A7R in the first place. In other words, how much cheaper it must be to make this camera, than to make a DSLR.'
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  2. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Real Name:
    David Dornblaser
    Interesting. I wonder if other mirrorless cameras are constructed with such well thought out simplicity?
  3. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    This is of course one of the major reasons why the manufacturers are so keen on mirrorless. Mechanical components are much messier and expensive in manufacturing terms.
  4. rbelyell

    rbelyell Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 15, 2013
    Mountains of NY
    is there any concern for a qualitative difference stemming from the 'simplicity' vs 'complexity' philosophies? perhaps not, but my visceral, and perhaps incorrect, reaction is that 'other' dslr manufacturers have much more experience and have been in the camera business much longer than sony. one would think they have optimized the 'cost vs quality' process by now.

    on the other hand, perhaps it is more a question of 'mirrorless' cameras requiring less than their mirrored counterparts. or perhaps its sonys very lack of background that led it approach the issue with fresh eyes.

    in any event, i do think the qualitative question is a useful one to answer.
  5. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    Real Name:
    rob collins
    The elegance and simplicity of Sony's design for the A7r is very impressive but they do have the advantage of being a fully integrated electronics group. Often the number of different types of screws is at least partially tied to the number of independently design parts. Olympus, for instance, has a Sony sensor, an Epson EVF, a Nidec Copal shutter, a ???? LCD etc.

    But obviously mirrorless provides a huge advantage - Nikon said their Nikon 1 consisted of only 183 parts compared to over 1,000 for their average DSLR - it was at launch, the highest margin ILC that they had ever produced.
  6. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Sony bought expertise when they purchased Minolta. DSLRs by their mechanical nature need to be more complex to deliver performance.
  7. silver92b

    silver92b Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 7, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    Sony has had years and years of experience in designing and building electromechanical products. They are definitely not strangers to design and assembly of cameras. Don't forget they pioneered the video tape machines with the Betamax and until the (fairly) recent demise of the tape camcorders, they were right there in the front lines of design and manufacture (I still have 2 Sony camcorders LOL!).

    I'm not surprised that the A7r is a model of simplicity. The manufacturers (except Mercedes Benz) always try to cut costs and economy of parts and simplicity of assembly are always sought after.
  8. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin .

    Oct 9, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    It's always impressive to see what goes inside a camera. I did find an interesting remark from Roger Cicala in the comments section, though.

    I assume that Roger has seen the inside of enough weather-proofed camera bodies to be able to make a specific point about this one.