Sony Tough E Mount by Fotodiox for A7/A7R
Aftermarket companies are making replacement mounts for the A7R. Are they worth the price?
So what is the issue? Sony produced the A7R (and A7 and most other E mount cameras) with two piece plastic and aluminum mount. It has plastic locking flanges for the lens and a aluminum plate (to make the mount appear to be metal). This is typical of most companies entry level products since a full plastic mount, although just as strong as this two piece version, is not appealing to consumers.
I am a fan of plastics, they can be very strong and when used in appropriate places they can reduce cost and weight of a product. Look at the BMW i3, it is a car with a safety cage made of plastic. Carbon fiber reinforced plastic. That aside, the A7R is not a cheap camera with features such as replacing the metal front plate with a nice magnesium alloy plate, using metal knurled knobs, but when it came to the mount, they cut all corners. Sony decided to use a plastic mount.
Aftermarket companies clearly decided this was a good market to go after, especially after Sony admitted their folly by introducing the A7S with a stainless mount for heavier lens use with cine lenses, disregarding the fact that the LAEA4 has been out for some time allowing use of lenses like a 300mm f/2.8 on the A7R.
I am all for engineering to meet needs, and the factory E mount on the A7R is more than adequate for lenses like the wonderful ZEISS 55mm f/1.8, but the bottom line is the mount is also a piece of crap not fit for the A7R. It is fit for the NEX 3N, or even A6000, both cameras with very low price points for their features, but on a flagship? No thanks, but thanks to Fotodiox we have this reasonably priced mount replacement. The “Tough E Mount”.
I decided to make a short video showing replacement, and also show the wonderful strength of that composite mount that people brag so much about, and even the aluminum mounting ring which is no stronger; bending and breaking easily around the screw holes (the tough E mount is 100 times stronger). Aluminum is not good for friction areas, a small piece of sand will gouge it heavily since it is so soft. Even the plastic mount had lubrication used for it.
To attempt this job you need a precision set of phillips screw drivers and a basic competence with mechanical repairs. There is some thread lock on the screws, so they are tight coming out. If you don’t feel confident a local camera shop or jeweler might be willing to do the job. Biggest risk is slipping with the screwdriver and marring the sensor.
My recommendation? I highly recommend this mount. The lens is much more positive feeling and it just ups the overall quality feel of the already great camera. It did make the Sony recognized light leak slightly worse, but it is easy to fix with some carefully placed tape to seal off the leak on that shiny gold ring.