Sony A7R IV mirrorless camera review

The Sony A7R IV was released in 2019, just two years after the A7R III. On the surface it looks quite similar to the A7R III, but Sony has made subtle changes to its design and performance that make all the difference in practice, making it an absolute dream to handle. This camera features a state-of-the-art autofocus system, incredible image quality, and better weather sealing than previous models.

Sony A7R IV: key specs

Sensor: full frame
To go up: Sony E
Resolution: 61.0 megapixels
ISO Sensitivity: 100-32,000 (expanded 50-102,400)
Continuous shooting: up to 10FPS with AF/AE tracking
Lester: 665g

The Sony A7R IV is also currently the highest resolution full-frame camera on the market, so there’s no doubt why professional photographers are flocking to buy this camera powerhouse.

The A7R IV comes with a pretty hefty price tag ($2998), so we’re going to take an in-depth look at this camera and discuss what types of photography it would be best suited for, as well as all the pros and cons of this camera. Photo. and the features it offers.

Sony A7R IV: Design

sony a7r iv rear view

A rear view of the Sony A7R IV shows the large LCD screen and camera controls. (Image credit: Kimberley Lane)
  • Improved grip for a better grip
  • Large, lightweight size for a full frame camera
  • Bigger and better buttons than the predecessor

The Sony A7R IV seems to perfectly balance the portability of a mirrorless camera while being large enough to make it easy to grab. This camera weighs 665g with dimensions of approximately 128.9mm x 96.4mm x 77.5mm. Handling is one aspect of the camera that has been improved after reviews of the A7R III, with many users noting that there wasn’t enough room between the lens and the handle. Sony has now redesigned the grip to allow more space between the grip and the lens, making you less likely to drop it.

Sony has also redesigned the buttons on the camera body to be bigger and better than the previous model. It’s now much more obvious when you’ve pressed them, which might not seem like a huge issue in theory, but in practice it’s advantageous for astrophotographers who are more likely to wear gloves when shooting. shooting. The AF joystick is also bigger and better, although this camera’s autofocus is so good you probably won’t even need to use it.

Sony A7R IV: Performance

Milky Way above a night landscape

The Sony A7R IV offers excellent astrophotography with fantastic detail, even in the darkest shadows. (Image credit: Kimberley Lane)
  • Continuous shooting up to 10 frames per second
  • Excellent eye AF and tracking
  • Incredible image quality

The Sony A7R IV can shoot up to 10 continuous frames per second, which is impressive for a 61-megapixel full-frame camera with such large files. However, you run into issues when shooting in drive mode as there seems to be quite a slow buffer time. We tested this camera on a portrait shot, and hit about 60 shots in the buffer before the camera struggled to take more frames, and we had to wait a while to the buffer is empty. You’d need to time your burst shots well to avoid the buffer filling up too quickly, but the A7R IV’s ability to lock onto moving subjects precisely is amazing so you don’t miss a shot. a lot of photos.

We used a 120MB/s memory card in the camera, and with file sizes around 120MB with no option for a medium or small RAW file, that meant it could take around a full minute before we can resume shooting. You can help speed things up by using an even faster memory card, but since the file sizes are so large, it still won’t be particularly fast to write the images to the card. If you mainly shoot sports or action, this probably isn’t the camera for you.

Architecture showing strong lines and shadows

The camera doesn’t struggle with bright highlights or dark shadows, even when shooting in direct sunlight. (Image credit: Kimberley Lane)

If you don’t need images with 61MP, with just the push of a button you can turn the A7R IV into a 26MP APSC camera with 1.5x crop factor. This means you can capture 10fps bursts for much longer with less buffering, making it much more useful for sports shots or fast action. Not to mention that you can also use any APSC lenses you already own.

Where this camera really comes into its own, though, is Sony’s incredible autofocus system. Sony has introduced what they call “real-time tracking”, which means the camera has been trained to recognize eyes and faces. This camera features fast hybrid autofocus with 567-point focal-plane phase-detection AF (425 on the A7RIII) and 425-point contrast-detection AF. – significantly improved over the previous model. In action, this camera’s autofocus was near perfect and tracked the subject perfectly keeping its eyes in focus at all times.

It could also recognize when the subject was wearing sunglasses, switching between face tracking and eye tracking when their eyes were uncovered. Even when the subject turned their face away from the camera, they immediately recognized that they had turned towards the camera again and followed them effortlessly into the frame. We also tested this camera on a few shy black cats, and where many cameras wouldn’t even recognize there’s a face in the frame, it tracked their eyes perfectly. Real-time animal eye tracking on this camera is a huge plus, because let’s be honest, animals are much less cooperative than humans.

portrait of a woman by the sea

Ideal even for portraits with excellent color reproduction in subtle tones. (Image credit: Kimberley Lane)

The real selling point of this camera is the incredible image quality. The Sony A7R IV is the highest resolution full-frame camera you can buy with 61MP and 4K max video resolution. When it comes to image quality, this camera is in a class of its own.

When it comes to battery life, we think the A7R IV did just fine. It uses the same FP-Z100 battery as the Mark III, and Sony claims it can achieve 670 shots with the rear screen and 530 shots with the viewfinder (but this usually varies depending on your shooting style of sight). However, when we tested this camera in the real world, it performed very well. Over the duration of a 2 hour shoot we took over 2000 shots and by the end of the shoot the battery was down to just 65%, having started with a full charge.

Sony A7R IV: functionality

sony a7r iv front view

A 61-megapixel image sensor captures brilliantly detailed full-frame photos. (Image credit: Kimberley Lane)
  • Many customizable options
  • Non-hinging screen makes some shooting angles difficult
  • Good in low light

In total, there are 11 customizable buttons on the A7R IV. There are up to 100 different assignable options for these buttons, divided into up to 27 categories. You can also save your custom settings to an SD card, and you can set up a custom “my menu” tab made up of your most used settings, so you’d better set it up the way you want and be able to stay largely out of it. of the confusing menu system – a common gripe for many Sony users.

Although the 7.5cm LCD screen of this camera is very impressive in terms of quality, the only downside to the screen is that it is not fully articulating. This makes shooting from lower angles more difficult, especially if you’re shooting in portrait orientation, and means it’s not the best camera to choose if you’re more of a vlogger or videographer. The screen is touch sensitive, but the only thing you can really do with it is adjust the focus.

The A7R IV also performs very well in low light, making it a great option for astrophotography. You can use straight-out-of-camera shots at speeds up to ISO 6400 (you’ll start to see noise beyond that, though). The results are so good from a single shot that this camera will suit astrophotographers of all skill levels.

Should I buy the Sony A7R IV mirrorless camera?

As this camera is still holding up two years after its release, we would definitely recommend it if you are a professional photographer and have the budget for it. Although the competition has really intensified since the release of this camera, it is still one of the best cameras you can buy. The only type of photography that wouldn’t be suitable for this camera would be for action or sports photography, as it simply wouldn’t be able to perform fast enough with its current buffer speed when shooting at full resolution, instead forcing photographers to drop down for faster shooting speeds.

If this product is not for you

If the Sony A7R IV doesn’t seem to suit you, there are plenty of other options available that might be better suited. Unless you’re shooting content for billboards or creating very large prints, it’s unlikely you’ll actually need to shoot 61MP, so here are a few other options to consider.

If you want to stick with Sony, the Sony A7 IV has many of the same features as the A7R IV, but with a lower resolution and lower price. Even the previous model, the Sony A7 III, is still a cult favorite among many photographers. So unless you absolutely need more than 50MP, either of these two options would be a great buy. For Canon users, the Canon EOS R5 (opens in a new tab) actually beats the A7R IV in a few areas, including better IBIS, slightly faster hardware and frame rates. The Canon R5 is also more ideal for those who shoot more video as well as photography. For Nikon photographers, the Nikon Z7 II (opens in a new tab) would be the camera that most rivals the Sony A7R IV.

About Julius Southworth

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