We test the latest, full-frame model from Sony's stable. The A7R IV mirrorless camera offers very high resolution and a whole lot of interesting solutions. Is this the perfect camera for fashion and landscape photographers?
Sony approaches the premiere of its cameras in an interesting way. The third generation Sony A7S has not yet appeared on the market, but the A7R can already boast of the fourth generation. Sony A7R IV is not revolutionary in relation to its predecessor, but it has several features that significantly distinguish it from the competition and make it a very attractive model. I invite you to read our review of this mirrorless camera.
Solid and functional construction
Body Sony A7R IV is very similar to that known from its predecessor. The differences can only be seen by a trained eye, because they are cosmetic. The housing is a magnesium structure that is properly reinforced and sealed against dust and splashes. There can be no objections to the reliability of the workmanship, because you can see that it is equipment made with accuracy and care that it can serve for many years. The right side is covered in a large part with rough rubber, which is intended to provide a firm grip. Grip is marked on the housing and the camera is really comfortable. Relative to the first version of the housing, the manufacturer has made a lot of progress and now the camera probably lies in the hand and there is no fear that it falls out. On the other hand, SLRs still look slightly better in this respect, but at the expense of larger sizes. Sony A7R IV is therefore a reasonable compromise, although its dimensions and weight (665 grams) significantly exceeds the average for mirrors. For professionals, however, large dimensions and slightly larger weight than "featherweight" will be an advantage.Most camera control buttons are located on the upper right side – so we have easy access to them when shooting. In total, the camera has as many as 5 dials , including one on the front, supporting, among others, the menu – it was used instead of the standard four-way selector. Knobs allow you to control the most important elements of the exhibition, i.e. shutter, aperture or ISO. We also have a dial dedicated for exposure compensation and for setting modes. In both cases the knobs are secured against accidental twisting – to change the setting, press the button in the middle of the knob. While this makes sense with exposure compensation, it can be more annoying than useful with the mode dial. Among the modes, the manufacturer included standard P, A, S, M, Film Mode, Auto, S&Q (for creating time-lapse and slow-motion movies) and three modes marked with numbers, which allow you to set the most commonly used parameters and save them – we always have access to them, because turning off the camera or changing the battery does not reset the saved settings. On the front of the camera you will find, among others, the REC button and a joystick to set the focus point (which we also set by touch on the screen). However, I miss the lever known from previous models to switch between autofocus and manual focus modes. Changing the AF setting selection is not very instinctive to me. There are also 4 function buttons on the camera, there is also the Fn button, which by default launches the quick menu. On the left side of the housing, the manufacturer has placed a full range of inputs, allowing the camera to be connected to many devices. So there is an HDMI type D cable, micro USB type C (allowing the camera to be powered), headphone and microphone inputs, as well as a drain hose input. There was also a classic older micro USB. In turn, the latest standards are responsible for wireless communication : Wifi ac standard with NFC and Bluetooth 4.1 support . Free application from the Sony store, installed on a mobile device, will allow you to wirelessly control the camera and transfer photos. On the right side we will find 2 more slots for SD memory cards – today this amount is (or should be) the standard in advanced models. The battery in the camera is a large battery with an above average capacity – 2280 mAh . This ensures quite a long work on a single charge of 500-600 photos. It is still less than in many SLRs, but compared to the first and second versions we have a lot of progress – the battery is more than twice as large.
Great viewfinder and touch screen
The camera is equipped with a 3-inch touch screen with a resolution of 1,440 million points. The resolution is therefore above average, although characteristic for high-end cameras. Brightness is also at a high level, so using the camera in strong sunlight is not a big problem. The screen is tiltable, although unlike more amateur models, it does not offer a 180-degree range of rotation.The touch of the screen allows you to set the focus point, but to a large extent it ends . Still the touch functionality in Sony cameras differs from what the competition offers, which cameras can only be operated using the screen. The camera menu is characteristic for all newer models of the manufacturer. The categories have been grouped into several segments and, unfortunately, due to the large number of functions, you will need to go through the entire menu in search of some options. Fortunately, there is also a "favorite" category and we can save the most-used functions in it. We also have access to important parameters directly from the short menu, launched with the Fn button. The digital viewfinder, which has a resolution of 5.760 million points and provides 100% frame coverage, is definitely distinguishing from the competition. There is no doubt that with high resolution photos the viewfinder quality matters, because we need to be sure that the frame is properly set and sharpened. The viewfinder in the Sony A7R IV is the highest shelf and we can not have any objections to its quality.
Great tonal dynamics of photos and resolution
The heart of the camera is a full frame matrix with a 15-degree dynamic range and a resolution of 61 megapixels. The tonal dynamics of the recorded photos is really impressive and beats most models that we can find on the market. The matrix also ensures high detail of the photos taken, which is especially important when we are dealing with 61-megapixel photos. High resolution is one of the main determinants of the new model. Who will need 61 megapixels? A camera with such parameters will be used in studio, advertising or even landscape photography. Although 61 Mpix is a very high value, we can get even higher resolution thanks to the Pixel Shift function . Using it, the camera records 16 photos, each moving the matrix slightly. As a result, we get a photo with a resolution of up to 240 megapixels and even greater detail. Below you can see the difference between a photo taken with the function (left side) and without it (right side).This feature was already available in the previous model, but has now been improved. As you can see in the picture above, the sharpness and clarity of the frame at high magnification is noticeably higher – this can be seen especially when trying to read letters and numbers. On the other hand, there is a slight glow around the subtitles, this may be due to the minimal camera shake, although it was mounted on a tripod. The downside of the function is the fact that the process of combining several photos into one does not take place in the camera, as in the competitive Olympus OM-D E-M1X , for example. To get a high resolution picture you need to install special free software from Sony on your computer. In terms of work at higher ISO resolutions, however, the camera does not look outstanding. Stuffing up to 61 megapixels on the matrix results in the fact that the grain at higher ISO values is becoming very noticeable. Although the ISO range is 50-102 400 , the useful value ends up with several thousand. The fact is, however, that this model was not designed to work with a higher ISO, because in studio and advertising photography, it is not so important. A great tool is the Eye AF function, allowing the camera to focus on sharpening the eye of the character – a human, but also an animal. Eye AF in this model works great. Below you will find several sample photos taken with the camera. Frames in full resolution for preview in the gallery . As befits a Sony model, it stands out from the market autofocus. The AF system is based on 567 focus fields with phase and contrast detection. The autofocus operation cannot be faulted because it works quickly and efficiently. It manages above average also in low light. When assessing the colors of photos it is impossible not to pay attention to nicely saturated greens and a truly blue sky. However, the skin color has changed, which, unlike many previous models, is not so "earthy" anymore. Skintons now look much more natural, so I have no objections to the coloring of the photos – Sony has made a lot of progress in this matter.
Film mode on the level
Sony in the professional camera segment is trying to create thematic models addressed to a specific group of recipients. The A7R IV is not dedicated to filmmakers, so no far-reaching changes in this category could be expected from this model. The movie mode in this model stands out significantly from the background of cheaper competition. However, in the category of filming cameras, Sony significantly loses with Panasonic, which creates models that are de facto cameras. A7R IV offers 4K at "only" 30 fps and Full HD 120 fps. This is the standard today. For both modes, we can record materials with sound and full autofocus support. The camera also has film profiles, including HLG, which, according to many people, is much easier to work and later "colorize" than S-Logs. The functionality of the movie mode will be known to users of previous models, because in this matter a lot has not changed. So we can interfere with all settings during filming. Zebra and focus-peaking will help. The camera also offers timecode support and the ability to output a signal via HDMI.
Summary and evaluation
In recent years, Sony has revolutionized the photography market so much that it is difficult for him to beat himself. The LG A7R IV is a model with great possibilities, although compared to its predecessor, it is not a revolution, therefore people who are currently working on the third generation of the model are unlikely to think about changing quickly. The fact is, however, that Sony is trying to create models targeted at specific groups of users . Thanks to its high resolution, great tonal dynamics, but also flawless autofocus, the camera will be used in studio photography, especially advertising, where "large format" matters. Landscape photographers will probably also reach for it. For people working on large projects, the price at around PLN 17,500 per body will not be deterrent. [Show_rating]