Sony crams 61 megapixels and wild autofocus into its new full-frame A7R IV
Sony has upped the ante considerably on its latest A7 full-frame camera. The A7R IV offers 61-megapixel resolution, 15-stop dynamic range, monster real-time autofocus in photo and video modes, twin ultra-high speed SD card slots and pixel-shift super-resolution up to 240.8 megapixels.
You'd think Sony would get a touch complacent, as far out in front of the pack as it has been for the last several years with its high-end camera gear. With Canon, Nikon and Panasonic only managing to get their first full-frame mirrorless rigs to market in the last 12 months or so, Sony's A7 series has dominated the space since 2013, and the company's gear just seems to be getting better.
The A7R IV's 61 megapixels is borderline too much for the vast majority of shooters. Your hard drives and laptops will get an absolute pounding trying to process these shots in bulk – and that goes quintuply for the 241-MP pixel-shift super-res mode. We may be talking more than 100 MB per 61-MP RAW image. No wonder Sony's been running around making the world's fastest card readers – you're going to need them.
To help you shift the great, teetering piles of data you'll be creating, Sony has furnished this axe with high-speed Wi-Fi, a "SuperSpeed" USB-C port, two UHS-II SD card slots and the capability to do background uploads straight from the camera to an FTP service while you're still shooting – something sports and news photographers will enjoy.
Its 567 focal plane phase-detect autofocus points cover 74 percent of the imaging area. The image processor is supercharged to enable real-time face- and eye-tracking in photo bursts up to 10 fps, as well as video recording, which might even put this thing's focusing abilities past the jaw-dropping a9 we tested in 2017. And that remains, by a clean head and shoulders, the most spectacularly sharp-focusing camera we've ever used.
Despite the industry-leading low-light performance of its sensors, Sony has seen fit to include in-body 5-axis image stabilization capable of keeping things sharp – even at 61 MP – at shutter speeds up to 5.5 steps lower. Even the EVF gets a makeover, moving to a 5.76-million-dot UXGA OLED tru-finder setup that gives you 60 percent more resolution than the A7R III with the camera up to your eye.
Movie modes let you record 4K either at full-frame or Super 35 sizes, the latter giving you full pixel readout, without pixel binning. The new multifunction hot-shoe will also be of interest to videographers, as it accepts specially designed shotgun microphones that connect to the camera without any fiddly audio cables. Nice touch.
The new ECM-B1M microphone itself looks like a pretty awesome little machine, using eight different mic capsules alongside clever audio processing to give you three selectable audio pickup patterns to work with, including a super-directional pattern that should be amazing for hand-held interviews in noisy areas.
Battery life is upgraded to a CIPA-rated 670 still images per charge using the rear screen, or 530 using the EVF. It's also had a weatherproofing overhaul, with better dust and moisture sealing all round.
The Sony A7R IV will ship in Europe this August, at a price around €4,000. American buyers will get it cheaper, at US$3,500, but that's still a fair chunk o' change.
The video below provides an overview of the Sony A7R IV.