Like all its predecessors in the A-series, the Sony A7R IV is a conveniently small mirrorless program camera with a full-frame sensor – an arrangement that was once alone an impressive achievement.
These times the sensor holds an astounding 61 megapixels, which makes it the best full-frame camera out there; if you need greater detail than this, you will need to begin looking at very much heftier and pricier moderate format versions like Fujifilm’s GFX series.
The question that immediately springs to the brain is, “Do I want that very much resolution?” and it’s a pertinent one, actually if the Sony A7R IV offers, in writing, plenty else choosing it besides a capability to render a whole load of detail. It’s about twice the price of Sony’s beloved A7 III. We spent a few days shooting with the camera to determine if it really is worth the investment.
Check also: Best Lenses for Sony a7R IV
Sony A7R IV Price
Design – The Sony A7R IV is compact and complex
Holding this camera in your hands, it’s quite astonishing to think that there’s a 61-megapixel sensor inside. It’s small and relatively lightweight, with a nice fat grip to wrap your right hand around and a control layout that feels intuitive to use.
Not only are several dials located within easy reach of your fingers and thumb while holding the camera, but it also features a textured thumb-stick that can be used to quickly shift the focus point or jump around menu options.
Speaking of the menu, it’s a big ‘un, and complicated. Sony receives a lot of stick from reviewers for its camera UIs, and they have a point: you often have to flick through a lot of screens to get to a particular setting, and the way they’re arranged isn’t especially intuitive. Once you’ve surely got to grips with where issues are, this won’t become so a lot of a concern, but getting to that time of familiarity usually takes a while
Build quality is great, as you’d hope from a camera that costs anywhere near this much. The framework is constructed from hard, rigid magnesium alloy and everything can be weather-sealed; we believe you’ll get a long time of use out from the Sony A7R IV.
Viewfinder and display – Dazzling displays
Much like other A-series versions, the Sony A7R IV gives both an LCD touch screen and an OLED viewfinder. The previous is a 3-in. 1.4-million dot TFT monitor which can be tilted up or down (however, not forwards – sorry, vloggers and selfie addicts), as the latter measures only 0.5 inches across but crams in 5.76 million dots (the most yet seen on a Sony camera).
The viewfinder is beautifully crisp, lag-free and incredibly natural-looking (you may also set it to an ultra-high frame rate of 120/100Hz if you would like), as the screen is sufficiently bright and punchy to be used outdoors on a sunshiney day. We didn’t possess much cause to make use of its touch features, but it’s ideal for quickly establishing a focal point.
The just sizeable improvement we’re able to envisage here’s for the display to somehow tilt forwards and/or aside as well as along. Otherwise, both shows are fantastic.
Performance – Freakishly fast autofocus
Sony’s autofocus system is definitely one of the better around, and right here you get the real-time tracking previously observed in the A6400 and A9 models. This model is outstanding for shooting a shifting subject, as it’ll maintain a reliable lock on many people and pets (yes, the camera can recognize your dog) via attention and facial recognition because they shift around the framework.
The sheer amount of focus points available supports the accuracy: 567 for phase detection and 425 for contrast detection, within the greater part of the frame. Stage the camera at a cat with the options turned on and you can see the real-time AF at work, with a box appearing at and following the cat’s eye as both it and the camera move. It’s clever stuff and something that portrait and wildlife photographers will doubtless come to love.
If you thought a 61-megapixel camera must necessarily be sluggish, think again: the Sony A7R IV can shoot continuously at up to 10fps and, coupled with that slick and swift autofocus, that makes it something of a speed demon. The twin UHS-II card slots are another nod to speed too, letting you store hi-res video and stills without delay.
Photo and video quality – Detail to die for
The camera’s 61-megapixel image works out at a resolution of 9504 x 6336. That’s a lot of pixels, sure, but quite hard to visualize. To get a true idea of the detail on offer here, think printed posters: at 300dpi quality, each full resolution shot here could be printed out as a 31-inch by 21-inch poster.
It would be a great-looking poster, too: the camera’s color depth and dynamic range are fantastic. One of the advantages of the camera’s resolution is that it offers strong scope for cropping, and in fact, there’s even an APS-C/Super 35mm mode built-in to do this automatically but, aside from that, it’s hard to call 61 megapixels essential unless you’re consistently printing out huge images. The question remains: do you actually need that much detail?
Sony’s Pixel Shift mode takes things to even greater heights, moving the sensor slightly and shooting multiple times to create incredibly detailed composite images. You’ll need a tripod for this, but the resulting 240-megapixel photos are staggering in their sharpness. A clever, well-implemented and ultimately impressive feature – but arguably one only a few landscape photographers will ever use.
The Sony A7R IV also does video recording, of course, and its 4K 24/30fps quality is superb whether you use the full-frame or Super 35mm setting (although you may notice some rolling shutter in full-frame clips). The camera records at 6K quality before downscaling to 4K, and the resulting videos are rich in detail and contrast. Video clips also take good thing about the excellent autofocus program, so that it can track human being faces and additional moving objects very efficiently.
Should I choose the Sony A7R IV?
There’s simply no doubting the characteristics of the camera. It’s among Sony’s greatest and it manages to accomplish the tricky balancing work of tempering its extraordinary detail while becoming genuinely uncomplicated to make use of for general day-to-day digital photography. It’s fast and fairly compact, well-constructed and only a great all-rounder generally.
The problem is, it’s £3,500 and, for almost all users, its 61-megapixel sensor is simply not necessary. If you really, actually need that much fine detail (and you’d probably need to be a specialist photographer to state as very much), it’ll confirm its worth – but even people that have very challenging quality control will see the A7 III, at around half the purchase price and functionally the A7 IV’s equal in lots of ways, to become more than enough for his or her requirements.
For the majority of us, the Sony A7R IV is merely overkill, and so it’s challenging to recommend. That’s not saying it isn’t an excellent little bit of tech, and as its cost drops in the arriving months and years, we are able to see it learning to be a much more tempting prospect.
Let’s face it: you almost certainly don’t have to take 61-megapixel photos, making the Sony A7R IV a Mirrorless Camera to recommend in its current price tag. That said, it’s a fantastically effective product that provides a surprising quantity of speed and comfort for such a hi-res camera, and if it had been less expensive we wouldn’t hesitate to award this amazing all-rounder a higher score. As it stands, cheaper models like the A7 III and A7R III make a lot more sense for the majority of buyers, so we’d definitely advise looking at those first.