Sony Alpha A7R IV Full Review

We put the 61mp Sony Alpha A7R IV through its paces to find out just how well this full-frame mirrorless camera can perform. It gives high-resolution images, but are they any good? Find out in our full review.


|  Sony Alpha A7R IV (Mark 4) in Mirrorless Cameras
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The Sony Alpha A7R IV (Mark 4) 61mp full-frame camera is the first full-frame camera to feature a 61mp Full-Frame BSI CMOS sensor. It can also record 4K video, has built-in 5-axis image stabilisation and can shoot continuously at 10fps. Plus, it has up to 15-stops of dynamic range. With a higher resolution than many medium format cameras (at 50mp), but in a full-frame mirrorless camera body it sounds impressive but, can the Sony Alpha A7R IV stand out against an ever-growing crowd of medium format cameras? That's what we'll be finding out as we put it to the test. 


 

Sony Alpha A7R IV Features 

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The Sony Alpha A7R IV has a 61.0mp full-frame BSI CMOS sensor, without OLPF (Optical Low-Pass Filter), a 240.8mp multi-shot mode (combining 16 images), up to 15 stops of dynamic range and 10fps continuous shooting with AF/AE. 

On the back, you find a 5.76mllion dot electronic viewfinder (EVF) which is higher resolution than the 3.69 million dots found on the A7R III and below this is a 2.95inch LCD touch-screen which can be tilted up and down. 

As you'd expect from a Sony Alpha, 5-axis in-body image stabilisation (5.5 stops) is built-in along with 567 phase-detect AF points, offering AF tracking and improved AF in low-light. The touch-pad AF point control has also been upgraded with new touch-tracking and there are customisable function button controls for stills/movies (which are separate). 

Real-time eye-AF is pretty cool and can be used when capturing stills/videos of both humans and animals. The left or right eye can be selected, too. 

The ISO range goes from ISO100 to ISO32000 (native) which extends to ISO50 and ISO102400 and the 10fps continuous shooting, with AF/AE, is rather impressive (even though it is the same as the A7R III). To see just how good it is, have a look at the below video. 

 

 

Sony say the camera's body is more resistant to dust/moisture and connectivity is improved with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built-in.

Battery life is rated at 670 shots using the LCD screen, less when using the EVF - something we'll be putting to the test as we work our way through our review. 

As for video, you can capture 4K UHD video (from 6K oversampling), and video-specific features include S-Log3 for wide 14-stop dynamic range, HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma), real-time Eye AF, phase-detection AF, unlimited video recording (no 29min limit) and a dedicated movie function mode. Also, skin tone gradation has been improved, with improved highlight recording. FullHD video recording supports speeds up to 120fps / 100fps (NTSC/PAL). 

 

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Using the Sony E-Mount there are a wide range of Sony FE (full-frame) lenses available, from Sony and other manufacturers. 

As you would expect, the camera has P, A, S, M shooting modes, giving you full manual controls, and there are three custom modes on the locking mode dial. There are a range of adjusting the look of images, with creative effects available, customisable colour profiles ("picture effect"), as well as picture profiles for video recording. Including flat and HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma), for HDR video recording.

 

Sony Alpha a7R IV Key Features:

  • 61.0mp full-frame BSI CMOS sensor, without OLPF
  • 240.8mp multi-shot mode (combining 16 images)
  • 5.76mllion dot EVF, 0.78x magnification
  • 2.95inch tilting touch-screen
  • 5-axis in-body image stabilisation (5.5 stops)
  • 567 phase-detect AF points (74% coverage), 425 contrast
  • Real-time eye-AF, still, movie, human, animal, L/R eye selectable
  • AF tracking, improved AF in low-light (improved accuracy)
  • Touch-pad AF point control upgraded with new touch-tracking
  • Customisable function button controls (stills/movie separate)
  • 10fps continuous shooting, with AF/AE
  • 15 stops dynamic range (up to)
  • ISO100 to ISO32000 (Native), extends to ISO50 and ISO102400
  • 4K video, 30/25fps, SLog2/3, HDR
  • Upgraded dust and moisture resistance
  • Improved connectivity, with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • 670 shot battery life (LCD)

 

Sony Alpha A7R IV Handling

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The Sony Alpha A7R IV has improved weather-sealing, which we found useful when caught in the rain with the camera. The camera body is made from magnesium alloy, and certainly felt very strong when we were using the camera. The grip is now larger than the previous camera, the A7R III, and this provided ample size for a firm grip of the camera, thanks to both the size, and the generous rubber provided.

The side ports include headphone and microphone sockets, a USB Type-C (USB3) connection, a micro HDMI connection, and a MicroUSB connection. These are covered with rubber that provides a very secure seal when closed. There’s also a flash sync socket.

The electronic viewfinder (EVF) features dioptre correction, and eye-detection so the camera will automatically switch between the EVF and screen when needed. The view through the viewfinder was very clear and detailed and gave an excellent view of the scene particularly when outside, where the screen was in bright light. The touch-screen can be tilted up and down, as well as away from the camera, but it can’t be tilted enough for it to be used for “selfies” or self-portraits. There’s also an outdoor setting, which increases the brightness of the screen to the maximum.

Shooting with the A7R IV, the focus is impressively rapid, and the eye-detection focus is very quick, with a high success rate. You can also select whether you want the camera to focus on the left or the right eye (something Olympus has offered for years), or on default settings the camera will focus on the closest eye. The only time we found issues with the eye-detection focus was when photographing someone wearing glasses, and this would result in the camera focusing on the frame of the glasses instead of the eyes.

 

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The focus point can very quickly be changed, using either the touch-screen or the joystick on the back of the camera. This has been improved and is now larger, making it easier to use.

The mode dial and the exposure compensation dial are both “locking”, and to turn them you have to press in the middle button on the mode dial, and the exposure compensation can be locked or unlocked.

 

 

The menu system remains long-winded (as you can see above), with multiple pages of options that spread of a huge number of screens – there are 15 pages of Photo options, following by 11 pages of other photo/video options! The camera does thankfully have a “My Menu” section where you can store your favourite settings (once you’ve found them), and you can also customise the many (C1,C2,C3,C4) function buttons on the camera. The camera lets you customise the on-screen functions, accessed by pressing the Fn button, but new to this camera is the ability to customise this with different options when you’re shooting in photo or video modes.

In playback, you can delete one photo at a time, which can make deleting a number of images a time-consuming affair. Unlike other cameras, there’s no option to select multiple images to delete, unfortunately.

There’s the option to rate your images with a star rating so you can highlight the best photos, but there is no built-in raw image editing, which will mean you’ll need to edit raw files on a computer. This is frustrating is you just want to quickly make a change to an image, and is a useful feature that is found on most competitor cameras.

The multi-shot mode can produce 240mp images, taking multiple shots at a sub-pixel (0.5pixels) level, as well as gathering full RGB information at every pixel (and sub-pixel). However, you will then need to use Sony’s image editing software on your computer to produce a single high-resolution image. There are also options to shoot a lower resolution (60mp) multi-shot image, where the camera gathers RGB information at every pixel.

The camera uses the newer Z battery, and this offers 670 shots using the rear screen, or 530 shots when using the electronic viewfinder (EVF), a slight improvement over the A7R III, which also uses the same battery. 

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Comments


JJGEE 14 7.6k 18 England
26 Oct 2019 8:47PM
Handling.
How did you find changing lenses ?

My initial thought is the release button is not that easy to access as the grip gets in the way but I guess one will get used to it !

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