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Sony Alpha A7R IV Full Review - Performance

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Sony Alpha A7R IV Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.



Sony Alpha A7R IV (Mark 4) Other sample images

Sample Photos - Images look good straight from the camera, with rich saturated colours. Skin tones are pleasing, and the levels of detail are very impressive, particularly when you zoom in to the images. Portraits benefit from face and eye detection focus giving a good success rate. Bokeh is nice, with good subject separation, and pleasing background blur. 

We are impressed by the JPEG results straight from the camera. With many cameras we find that better results can be found by processing the raw files, and adjusting settings to taste, but this time, we're not so sure, as the camera has done an excellent job, with little need to adjust the photos. 


Sony Alpha A7R IV (Mark 4) Lens test images

Lens Performance - Due to a high-resolution sensor, any camera shake will be picked up, and any focus errors will be amplified when viewing images at 100%. If you use a "weak" or poor performing lens, then this will be more obvious with this camera, as the weaknesses will be amplified. However, the camera does help give a good success rate, due to the reliable focus system, and built-in anti-shake sensor.  

Shooting in to the sun, with the 24-70mm f/2.8 GM lens, flare and ghosting is visible, but in almost every other situation the lens is quite resistant to flare. The lens performs well in a variety of situations, and can deliver high resolution results. We'd normally recommend shooting using a prime lens for the best results, and that still remains true, however the 24-70mm f/2.8 GM lens is capable of performing well with this camera and high-resolution sensor. Although the lens is quite large and heavy, there are smaller lenses available. When viewing images at 100%, you do notice softness towards the corners and edges of the frame.

AF performance is excellent, with a very high success rate on photos. With a 61mp sensor, you can also use APS-C (1.5x) cropping, and this gives you a 26.2mp image.

Using the multi-shot high-res mode you can capture even better images, shooting either 61mp images with improved colour and detail (combines 4 shots), or high-resolution 240mp images (combining 16 shots). You'll need to use a sturdy tripod, and you'll need to process the raw images on a computer in Sony Imaging Edge before you can use them. As the individual raw files are 117mb in size (each) you'll need a computer capable of coping with this, and to create a 240mp image, the camera uses 16 raw images!


Sony Alpha A7R IV (Mark 4) ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - For the lowest noise and best detail possible we would recommend using ISO100 to ISO800, as images have low levels of noise and very good levels of detail. For lower light situations ISO1600 to ISO3200 still provides good results, although noise increases and fine detail is reduced. ISO6400, ISO12800 and ISO25600 show higher levels of noise, with lower levels of detail, and results could still be useful, as long as you're not looking for fine detail. At ISO51200 noise levels become stronger and we would recommend avoiding this setting if possible, although results may still be useful if resized and used on the web. ISO102400 is best avoided as noise is extremely high, and detail is very low.

Noise compared to the competition...

Compared to the Sony Alpha A7R III (with a 42mp BSI CMOS sensor), the 61mp A7R IV shows more noise at ISO3200 and ISO6400, and stronger noise reduction appears to remove more fine detail, in comparison. Therefore, to really see the added benefit of the 61mp sensor, you're best advised to use the lower ISO speeds, preferably below ISO1600. Compared to the 50mp Canon EOS 5DS R, the Canon also shows slightly less noise at ISO speeds of ISO1600 to ISO6400, however, the Sony offers a much extended ISO range, and with the Canon topping out at ISO12800, the Sony gives much better versatility. 

As you would expect, the noise performance of a 61mp full-frame sensor, can't keep up with a larger medium format sensor, with a lower resolution of 50mp (and larger pixels), and the Fujifilm GFX 50R delivers better noise performance. 


Sony Alpha A7R IV (Mark 4) White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) gives a slightly warm result under tungsten lighting, and the camera has options (in the menus) to adjust how auto white balance performs, with the choice of warm or cool (white) results. For the most accurate results under tungsten lighting, the tungsten preset gives the best result. Auto white balance in mixed lighting gives a yellow / green tone, however results under fluorescent lighting are better. There were times when the auto white balance gave cold results, which meant we had to switch to a white balance preset for more pleasing results. The fluorescent presets are best avoided as they can give a colour cast to the image. 


Video - The camera offers 4K UHD video recording, at frame rates up to 30fps (at 100mbps). In order to switch between NTSC (30fps) and PAL (25fps) frame rates you need to switch between NTSC and PAL modes, and the camera will then ask you to format your memory card before using it. This can be extremely frustrating, although you can work around this by having different memory cards for PAL and NTSC recording. The camera includes S-Log2/3 and HLG picture profiles, so you can set up the camera to your requirements, and with microphone and headphone sockets, clean HDMI out, there is very little lacking from the camera for serious video recording. However, the lack of CINE 4K video is a little surprising. 

There is a Super35 crop available (downsizing 6K footage to 4K), but with this off, the camera uses the full-width of the sensor. Also on offer is FullHD video, up to 100fps (PAL), 120fps (NTSC). Other slower (more normal) frame rates are also available. 

Results are good, with crisp, detailed footage, and the camera's image stabilisation system helps keep footage steady. In the video below, we've used the touch-screen to change the focus point, and the camera gives a smooth transition in focus between the different points. Additional videos can be found on the ePHOTOzine YouTube Channel.


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JJGEE 16 7.9k 18 England
26 Oct 2019 8:47PM
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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