Sony A7R IV review
The 61 megapixel Sony A7R IV is remarkable as a technical achievement, but as a camera its handling is starting to grate
The Sony A7R IV’s design tweaks make it handle better than the A7R III before it (though it can still be tiresome), and the resolution puts it well ahead of all its full frame mirrorless rivals for megapixels. And yet… while Sony’s hybrid AF system just keeps on getting better and better, the 4K video stays capped at 30fps, and real-world sharpness gains are subtle.
World record resolution!
Better handling than the Mark III
No 60/50p video
Small body/big lens imbalance
Ageing design and handling
ILCE-7RM4 61MP full frame Exmor R CMOS sensor
Hybrid AF, 567 phase detection, 325 contrast AF points
100 to 32,000 (exp. 50-102,400)
9,504 x 6,336
Multi-segment, centre-weighted, spot, average, highlight
4K UHD at 30p, 24p
EVF, 5.76m dots
2x SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS II)
3-inch tilting touchscreen, 1.44m dots
Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC
128.9 x 96.4 x 77.5mm
655g (body only, with battery and SD card)
61 millions pixels is a ground-breaking resolution for full frame cameras, but it’s worth pointing out that this increase is spread across both the image width and height, so the Sony’s images are not THAT much larger than those of the Nikon Z 7, say, measuring 9,504 x 6,336 pixels (Sony) versus 8,256 x 5,504 pixels (Nikon). That’s an increase in image width and height of 15%.
What’s truly impressive is how Sony has managed to maintain a 10fps continuous shooting speed despite the massive increase in the data that’s being captured and processed. True, the buffer capacity is restricted to 68 raw files/JPEGS, but it’s also possible to shoot in an APS-C mode that captures 26 megapixel images and with 3x the buffer capacity (claimed).
Sony’s latest AF system brings 567 phase detection AF points covering 74% of the image area (or the entire area in APS-C mode) and both human and animal eye tracking.
Video performance gets a boost with the addition of Real-Time AF, but otherwise it does feel as if Sony is resting on its laurels somewhat. There’s still no 50/60p 4K video capability, nor 10-bit capture, and if you want the best ‘oversampled’ quality you need to use the cropped Super 35 mode. You can capture full HD at up to 120fps and, arguably, the A7R IV is hardly a video specialist. Nevertheless, it does feel as if the video capabilities have not really advanced significantly.
Sony says its 5-axis in-body stabilisation system has been tuned for this new camera to offer up to 5.5EV compensation, and A7R IV’s Pixel Shift Multi Shooting mode can merge 16-shots made with tiny pixel-shifts between each to produce 240MP images – if you have static subjects, sufficient storage capacity and the required Sony Imaging Edge 2.0 software.
The A7R Mark IV does bring wireless tethered shooting capability, though the large files and limited wireless data bandwidth means you’re still likely to be better off with an old-fashioned cable connection.