Sony A7R IV Review
|Full model name:||Sony Alpha ILCE-A7R IV|
(35.7mm x 23.8mm)
|Viewfinder:||EVF / LCD|
|Native ISO:||100 - 32,000|
|Extended ISO:||50 - 102,400|
|Shutter:||1/8000 - 30 sec|
5.1 x 3.8 x 3.1 in.
(129 x 96 x 78 mm)
|Full specs:||Sony A7R IV specifications|
A7R IV Summary
The Sony A7R IV is a thoroughly impressive camera. Its high-res 61MP sensor captures images with incredible detail. Plus, with swift burst shooting, top-notch high ISO performance, fast AF, Real-Time Eye AF tracking, 4Kp30 video and in-body image stabilization, the Sony A7R IV is way more versatile that one might think. The image files, however, are cumbersome, and the resolution is likely more than what most people need. And at around $3500 body-only, the A7R IV certainly isn't cheap. However, given all that it offers, it's hard not to recommend the A7R IV if you have the cash and need the resolving power.Pros
Outstanding image quality; Excellent high ISOs; Fast AF performance with Eye-AF tracking; 10fps bursts at full-resolution; Improved ergonomics; Dual UHS-II card slots; Higher-res EVF.Cons
Expensive; No 4Kp60; Buffer clearing could be faster; Menus are still frustrating; Touchscreen underutilized; No built-in flash.Price and availability
The Sony A7R IV went on sale in September 2019 with a price of $3,500 USD ($4,500 CAD). A new vertical battery grip, the VG-C4EM, which holds a pair of batteries and includes the same upgraded grip, operability and weather-resistance as the A7R IV body sells for $400 USD ($530 CAD).Imaging Resource rating
5.0 out of 5.0
Sony A7R Mark IV Review
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Sony A7R IV Conclusion
Resolution & Performance: Sony's most versatile camera ever?
Packed with a high-res 61-megapixel full-frame image sensor, the Sony A7R Mark IV is, without a doubt, a beast of a camera -- the highest resolution full-frame camera currently on the market. Its high-res sensor makes it a prime candidate for landscapes, portraiture, and other types of photographic pursuits that often require lots of detail.
But there's much more to the story with the 4th-generation version of Sony's high-resolution full-frame mirrorless camera. With fast burst shooting at full-resolution, top-notch high ISO performance, swift AF with excellent coverage across almost the entire sensor, Real-Time Eye AF tracking, 4Kp30 video, powerful in-body image stabilization and more, the Sony A7R Mark IV is way more versatile that one might think from specs alone.
Yes, the Sony A7R IV is undoubtedly a high-end camera, with a high-end price tag to match, but it's an extremely versatile, feature-rich camera. Much more well-rounded than its predecessors, and much more than just a stills camera for shooting high-res photos.
So let's dive in to see how the Sony A7R IV performed in our testing!
• • •
Sony A7R Mark IV Review -- Product Overview
by Jeremy Gray | Originally published: 07/16/2019
Sony has introduced what they are calling a "different kind of monster," the Sony A7R IV. This full-frame mirrorless camera brings with it a wealth of new features and improvements, including the world's first full-frame 61-megapixel image sensor. The backside-illuminated sensor promises up to 15 stops of dynamic range and has a native ISO range of 100-32,000 expandable to 50-102,400.
Beyond image quality, the camera offers considerable speed. Sony states that the A7R IV can capture up to 68 full-resolution images at up to 10 frames per second, with continuous autofocus and auto-exposure. Further, the camera includes Sony's latest autofocus innovations, including 567 phase-detect autofocus points, real-time Eye AF and real-time Tracking AF.
For video users, the A7R IV can record full-width 4K UHD video at up to 30p or Full HD at up to 120p. And the A7R IV offers a big innovation for video autofocus: real-time Eye AF.
Considering the body itself, the A7R IV may look very familiar, but it includes numerous changes. The camera has enhanced dust and moisture resistance, a redesigned grip, a new 5.76M-dot UXGA OLED electronic viewfinder and a revised control layout.
- 61-megapixel full-frame BSI image sensor
- 15-stop dynamic range
- Native ISO range of 100-32,000
- 567 phase-detect autofocus points
- AI-based real-time eye-detect autofocus and subject tracking
- 26-megapixel APS-C mode with 325 PDAF points
- Full-resolution continuous shooting with AF/AE at up to 10 frames per second
- 4K UHD video at up to 30 frames per second with real-time Eye AF
- In-body 5-axis image stabilization promising up to 5.5 stops of stabilization
- Can capture 240.8-megapixel images using Pixel Shift Multi Shooting
- Revised camera design, including a redesigned front grip
- Enhanced moisture and dust resistance
- 5.76-million dot OLED electronic viewfinder
- Dual UHS-II card slots
- Digital audio interface through enhanced Multi Interface Shoe
• • •
• • •
Camera design: Redesigned front grip, enhanced durability, new high-resolution EVF and more
The Sony A7R IV looks quite similar to its predecessor, but the Sony design team has gone back to the drawing board in a number of key areas. For starters, the camera has enhanced dust and moisture resistance, which should mean improved ruggedness and durability. Further, many Sony shooters have long remarked that the A7 series of cameras don't offer quite enough comfort with respect to the grip. In response, Sony has revised the design of the front grip. The new grip has been designed to be more comfortable, particularly when using longer, heavier lenses. Further, the overhang area for the middle and little fingers has been increased, which should benefit users with larger hands and/or longer fingers.
There have been additional refinements to the layout and design of the camera. The AF-ON button's location, dimension and "feel" have been revised to offer smoother control. The Multi-Selector has also been revised, featuring a different shape and texture plus improved response in all eight directions. The exposure compensation dial has a new locking mechanism. Further, the touchpad autofocus responsiveness of the 3-inch type 1.44-million dot touchscreen LCD is now 1.5 times faster. Speaking of the display, it can tilt upward 107 degrees and downward 41 degrees.
The rear LCD is not the only improved display on the A7R IV. The electronic viewfinder has undergone a significant change. The new OLED Tru-Finder features 5.76 million dots and can refresh at up to 120 frames per second. Further, the 1.3-centimeter (0.5 type) UXGA OLED has 0.78x magnification, 100 percent frame coverage and a "High" quality mode, which promises a sharper, more natural viewfinder experience with reduced moiré and "jaggies." The eyepiece window is coated with fluorine to help repel dirt, grime and grease and make the eyepiece easier to clean.
In total, the Sony A7R IV weighs approximately 23.5 ounces (665 grams) with a battery and memory card included, which is less than 10 grams heavier than the A7R III. The new camera is approximately 128.9 millimeters wide, 96.4mm tall and has a maximum depth of 77.5mm, which is slightly larger than its predecessor in each dimension.
RESOLUTION KING? First Look at Our Sony A7R IV Images
Shooting Features: Brand-new 61-megapixel image sensor, improved autofocus, speedy performance and more
Image sensor and image capture
The Sony A7R IV includes the world's first 61-megapixel full-frame image sensor. Specifically, the sensor is a 62.5-megapixel back-illuminated Exmore R CMOS sensor with 61.0 effective megapixels. The sensor offers a native ISO range of 100 to 32,000, which can be expanded to a low of ISO 50 and a high of ISO 102,400. The image sensor, paired with a front-end LSI and Sony's latest BIONZ X image processor, processes 16-bit images which are then output at up to 14 bits. Output remains at 14 bit, even when shooting in silent mode or using continuous shooting modes, save for when shooting continuous compressed raw files, which are 12 bits. Like previous Alpha models, the A7R IV does not offer a lossless compressed raw recording option.
In addition to the 61-megapixel raw image capture, the A7R IV can also shoot composite images using Sony's Pixel Shift Multi Shooting mode. The camera offers 4- and 16-shot composite options, with the latter using 0.5-pixel and 1.0-pixel shift increments to allow the creation of a 240.8-megapixel composite image (this image is 19,008 x 12,672 pixels in total). As has been the case with this feature in prior Sony cameras, you will need to use Sony software on your computer to composite and utilize the files.
Looking at aspect ratio options, the A7R IV offers its standard 3:2 (9,504 x 6,336 images) and 16:9 (9,504 x 5,344 -- 51 megapixels) aspect ratios, but also adds new 4:3 (8,448 x 6,336 -- 54 megapixels) and 1:1 (6,336 x 6,336 -- 40 megapixels) options.
Leveraging its high-resolution image sensor, the A7R IV also offers an APS-C capture mode, which comes with unique autofocus advantages which we will discuss in the next section. The APS-C mode produces up to a 26-megapixel image (6,240 x 4,160) in 3:2 mode.
In addition to the new sensor, Sony has added additional sharpness/clarity picture controls, which now offers +/- 5 steps of sharpness versus the previous 3. Additional creative style settings include contrast and saturation, which are still offered in +/- 3 steps. The full list of Creative Styles includes: Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Clear, Deep, Light, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset, Night Scene, Autumn leaves, Black and White and Sepia. The A7R IV also includes Picture Effects, which are comprised of: Posterization (color and black and white), Pop Color, Retro Photo, Partial Color, High Contrast Monochrome, Toy Camera and Soft High-key.
Like the prior Sony A7R Mark II and III cameras, the A7R IV comes equipped with in-body image stabilization. The 5-axis SteadyShot system promises up to 5.5 stops of image stabilization. In addition to stabilizing at image capture, the IBIS also stabilizes the real-time view on the display and through the electronic viewfinder, which should prove especially helpful when framing images while using a telephoto lens.
The A7R IV introduces a new shutter unit, which has been designed to capture sharp images, even at fast shooting speeds. Specifically, the shutter mechanism employs a new design and fast-response coreless motor. The new shutter features a brake and dampers, which reduce mechanical front and rear curtain vibration and absorb mechanical shock. The shutter is rated for 500,000 cycles. The top shutter speed remains 1/8000s with an X-sync speed of 1/250s.
Autofocus: 567 phase-detect autofocus points, real-time tracking and Eye AF and more
Building upon Sony's existing Fast Hybrid AF, which utilizes both phase-detect and contrast-detect autofocus points, the A7R IV offers improved autofocus performance in numerous respects. The focal plane phase-detect AF system has 567 phase-detect autofocus points and 425 contrast-detect AF points, which are 168 and 170 more autofocus points than the A7R III offers, respectively. The A7R IV's autofocus points cover approximately 99.7 percent of the vertical image area and 74 percent of the horizontal image area when shooting full-frame images. When using the APS-C shooting mode, the autofocus points cover more than the entire vertical area and nearly all of the horizontal area, allowing for improved subject tracking, especially when continuously shooting.
The A7R IV includes real-time, artificial intelligence-based autofocus, including real-time tracking. The camera utilizes color, pattern (brightness) and subject distance (depth) data in real time as part of its subject recognition and tracking algorithms. Further, the camera has real-time face detect and eye autofocus, including automatic real-time switching between face-detect and eye-detect, plus automatic (with available manual selection) left/right eye autofocus. Further, Eye AF also works with animals, which should excite pet and wildlife photographers.
Additional autofocus features include low-light autofocus down to -3 EV in AF-S (f/2.0 at ISO 100), the ability to switch between vertical and horizontal AF areas and adjustable AF tracking sensitivity. There are also some new features, including the ability to circulate the autofocus area through the four bounds of the frame, the ability to select between white and red focus frame colors and improved focus peaking detection (plus a new blue peaking color, which joins the existing red, yellow and white options).
Performance: 61-megapixel image capture with AF/AE at up to 10 frames per second
As discussed earlier, the A7R IV now includes dual UHS-II SD card slots. This in conjunction with the new sensor, improved processing and the new shutter mechanism results in impressive shooting performance specifications. The A7R IV offers up to 10 frames per second continuous shooting, even when capturing full-resolution 61-megapixel files.
At 10 fps, the camera continues to deliver real-time AF and AE. If you want "Live View", the maximum speed is reduced slightly to 8 frames per second. With respect to the buffer depth, buffer memory has been increased by 1.5 times, which allows for a total of 68 Extra Fine/Fine JPEGs, 68 compressed raw images or 30 uncompressed raw frames to be captured in a single burst. When using the APS-C image area, buffer depth is increased by approximately 3 times.
Considering battery life, the A7R IV promises up to 670 still images on a single charge when using the rear display and 530 shots when using the electronic viewfinder. For video, the A7R IV is rated for up to 170 minutes of continuous recording when using the monitor. When needing additional battery life, you can attach the new VG-C4EM vertical grip, which holds a pair of NP-FZ100 batteries roughly doubling battery life, or charge the camera using a mobile battery via its USB Type-C and Multi/Micro USB connectors.
Connectivity and workflow features
The A7R IV has been designed to offer better connectivity and workflow options for working professionals in particular. We have already touched on the dual UHS-II SD card slots, although these have come at the cost of losing Memory Stick Duo support (a feature we suspect few will miss), and the A7R IV also offers new wireless features. The camera has built-in Wi-Fi (with NFC), which now comes with 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz band support, Bluetooth version 4.1 (2.4 GHz band) and a new wireless tethering option. The A7R IV supports a new wireless remote commander, the RMT-P1BT, over Bluetooth as well.
For wired connections, the camera has a Multi/Micro USB terminal, USB Type-C, HDMI micro (Type-D), a sync terminal and 3.5 mm microphone and headphone terminals. Further, the camera features an enhanced Multi Interface Shoe, which supports a new digital audio interface -- more on that in the next section. When considering image transfer options, there is a new FTP background transfer and the USB Type-C port offers 2x faster transfer speeds than the A7R III.
In terms of the user experience, the A7R IV now includes the ability to assign custom functions to the front and rear command dials plus the control wheel on the rear of the camera. This means that when using My Dial custom settings, you can choose from 113 different functions to assign to these three dials plus any of the other user-assignable buttons on the camera body. The user can create independent function sets for stills, movies and playback. Further changes include expanded setting registration options, auto white balance lock and expanded white balance control.
Video: 4K video at up to 30 fps, 120 fps Full HD and real-time eye AF highlight impressive video features
The Sony A7R IV can record 4K (3,840 x 2,160) video at up to 30 frames per second in XAVC S and AVCHD video formats. Bit rates are offered up to 100 Mbps in XAVC S 4K format. While full sensor width recording is available for 4K video, when using Super 35 mode, the camera captures 6K footage and downsamples it to 4K, utilizing full pixel readout without pixel binning or line skipping, for improved detail and fewer artifacts.
Regarding autofocus performance during video, the A7R IV utilizes a refined autofocus system, which promises faster, smoother and more stable autofocus during video recording. Further, the camera introduces real-time Eye AF and Touch Tracking autofocus features during recording.
While video quality is important, audio quality matters a lot too. The A7R IV's enhanced Multi Interface Shoe adds a new digital audio interface, which gives users the option to record digital audio directly into the file when recording.
The A7R IV offers the new ability to assign XAVC S file name prefixes, which should prove helpful for pros using multiple camera bodies as part of their video workflow. Additional workflow features include a Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) picture profile, S-Log 3 for 14-stop dynamic range, picture profiles, clean HDMI, time code/user bit, REC control, Gamma Display Assist, zebra function and more.
For users demanding high-speed video in addition to pure resolving capability, the A7R IV can record Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) video at frame rates ranging from 1 frame per second to 120 fps. This allows for up to 5x slow motion video and 60x quick motion video.
Pricing and availability: The Sony A7R IV arrives this fall for $3,500
The Sony A7R IV hit store shelves in September with a price of $3,500 USD ($4,500 CAD). A new vertical battery grip, the VG-C4EM, which holds a pair of batteries and includes the same upgraded grip, operability and weather-resistance as the A7R IV body sells for $400 USD ($530 CAD).
You can order your Sony A7R IV using our affiliate links now!
Sony A7R IV Field Test
Landscapes, Portraits, Wildlife & More! Sony's most versatile camera yet?
On the physical side of things, Sony's 4th-generation, high-resolution, full-frame mirrorless camera undergoes a few cosmetic and structural improvements compared to the previous iteration. However, the camera overall isn't drastically different in terms of handling and control layout.
Let's dive in to see just how well this camera performs in real-world shooting...
Sony A7R IV Print Quality
Analysing the A7R IV's image quality on paper
Sony A7R IV Image Quality Comparison
How does the A7R IV stack up against its competitors?
NOTE: These images are from best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction and using the camera's actual base ISO (not extended ISO settings). All cameras in this comparison were shot with our very sharp reference lenses. Clicking any crop will take you to a carrier page where you can click once again to access the full resolution image as delivered straight from the camera.
In The Box
The Sony A7R IV retail box (as reviewed) contains the following items:
- Sony Alpha a7R IV Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body Only)
- Sony NP-FZ100 Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery (2280mAh)
- Sony BC-QZ1 Battery Charger
- Sony ALC-B1EM Body Cap for E-Mount Cameras
- Cable Protector
- Shoulder Strap
- Accessory Shoe Cap
- Eyepiece Cup
- USB Type-C Cable
- Limited 1-Year Warranty
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