The Sony A7R IV hands-on 61 glorious megapixels
The Sony A7R IV is a 61MP full-frame camera. The phrase is unbelievable when you remember that people jumped on the 42MP A7R II a few years ago.
However, here we are in 2019 and the number is increasing in the stratosphere. Not that we’re complaining, especially since we’ve had the chance to see what this decision actually means to capture various themes at the A7R IV launch event in New York City.
Let us first set the table. The new A7R IV comes in September for $ 3,500. The samples we used were production-ready in terms of image quality, but the body and circuit were likely to be compact and updated before the camera hit store shelves.
It is not that photography has affected this much, but it does mean that it is our initial working impression and not the final review. Business news, we can talk as much as we want about image quality and what a 61MP sensor can do.
Frankly, not everyone needs too much precision – in fact, most people do not. We were very pleased with the 24MP photos from Sony A7 III and other cameras with similar sensors.
The 61MP comes in at 9504 x 6336 pixels, or enough resolution to make 31 x 21-inch prints at 300 pixels per inch. From another point of view, the 8K TV, which is still an emerging technology, is only “7680 x 4320 pixels” or about 33 megapixels.
If your plans have extra-large prints or all-over cuts, the A7R IV will likely look very attractive. But looking at the photos online, especially on the likes of Instagram, is beyond exaggeration.
The introduction of mid-format cameras such as the $ 10,000 FujiFilm GFX 100 with 100-megapixel sensors created much buzz in the photo world.
Obviously aimed at studio professionals, cameras are hard to hit in this way, but the rest of us don’t have that kind of money, or simply don’t want a camera that is that big. 61MP may sound like less than 100, but in practice, it is not. You can still shoot all the same subjects, and there are very few modes of delivery where the difference is ever noticeable.
In addition, the A7R IV offers a supported dynamic range of 15 stops for “stunning realism” according to Sony, placing it within and possibly above the mid-format region.
Usually, we do that kind of promotion with many grains of salt, but the pictures we took were really good.
And if 61MP resolution is not available to you, the Mark IV has a 16 pixel-shifting mode that produces a 240MP file, easily bypassing the eight 180MP modes in the Panasonic Lumix S1R.
The sensor jumps slightly between each exposure, then combines the 16 resulting images together to create a super-high-resolution image. The camera has to be mounted on a tripod and completely stabilize the subject (hence, the selfie is pulled), but it is an amazing amount of detail.
It is also recommended to use a remote shutter or shutter delay.
Unlike the Lumix S1R, this creation can only be done in Sony’s Imaging Edge desktop software – there is no way to preview the pixel-shift file in the camera. Obviously, for still life and landscape photography (on a windless day) it provides even more resolution to pixel watchers.
We did not get the opportunity to use this feature due to the hectic nature of the shooting schedule during the detection, but we are definitely eager to give it a try when production sampling arrives.
Other benefits of imaging technology are 5-axis image stabilization, mechanical shutter speed from 30sec to 1/8000sec with native ISO 100-32,000 (expandable from 50 to 102400), electronic shutter, and 1/32000 seconds with APC crop mode. 4K video with full pixel readout with 26.2 MP, S-Log3, and HDR support.
We have released practically every Sony Alpha interchangeable lens camera, going back to 10 years ago as well as the early A-mount introduction of most E-mount models.
The biggest change at that time is how the E-Mount (used in all Sony mirrorless cameras) has grown to dominate the mirror segment, with 52 Sony lenses available and plenty of third parties available.
Sony has set the bar for full-frame mirrorless and continues to lead, not just in resolution. Sony cameras have a good feel, good balance, and logical placement of key controls.
The A7R IV camera offers a deeper grip, better moisture and dust resistance, improved compensation, a lock button on the dial, a textured autofocus joystick, and a few other minors Improve this with improvements.
We have some issues, such as the movie record button being very close to the AF-on button, but for the most part the design is very clear – and dare we say – similar to a DSLR, though it’s certainly not as heavy as the Lumix 1RR is. Based on CIPA testing, the battery is also powerful with a rating of 670 shots when using an LCD.
The LCD appears very similar to the Mark III, measuring 1.44 million pixels and 3 inches, but is a completely new 5.76 million-dot OLED electronic viewfinder with selectable refresh rates of 100 million or 120 fps. We first saw this viewfinder on the Lumix S1 series and it is quite impressive.
Despite the additions, the A7R IV is a camera that you can easily take with you. It measures 5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1 inches and weighs 23 ounces with a battery and memory card.
Add a lens, such as the G Master 85mm f / 1.4 ($ 1,800) that we tested, and the device adds up to a wide weight, but still manageable. We also shot with 135mm f / 1.8 Prime ($ 1900), 24-70mm f / 2.8 zoom ($ 2,199), and 35mm f / 1.8 Prime ($ 749).