Sony announced plans to release a brand new Alpha series camera, the a7R IV. It is stacked with a 61 megapixel Exmor R BSI CMOS sensor, the latest BIONZ X image processor, 576 phase-detect autofocus points, and 10 FPS continuous shooting. Sony’s the first to offer such a high megapixel sensor in a camera of this form factor and they’re boasting 15+ stops of dynamic range.
What Photographers Will Love
You’ll find some of the same favorite features found in prior models. The a7R IV maintains 5-axis in-body image stabilization with up to 5.5 stops of compensation and the ISO range is still super wide (50-102400 in extended mode). But there are a few notable new details that make this camera a photographer’s dream machine:
• Capture a 240 megapixel image with a revamped Pixel Shift Multi Shooting mode.
• Real-time Eye EF and Tracking AF technologies up to 10 FPS.
• Expanded AF point coverage.
• Refined multi-selector, which has a new shape and texture, to more easily control those AF points.
• Redesigned menu system with more customization options.
• Crop down from full frame to APS-C and still enjoy 26.2 megapixel images.
• A reworked shutter that’s naturally quieter.
• New OLED viewfinder with an ultra sharp “High Quality” mode.
• A deeper grip for better ergonomics when handling large lenses.
• Finally…wait for it…dual UHS-II card slots!
Video Options for Hybrid Shooters
For video, it’s equipped with commonplace but acceptable features. Capture internal 4K up to 30p, 8-bit 4:2:0 (4:2:2 over HDMI) with S-log 2 and 3 from 6K oversampling using pixel binning (or 4K in Super 35mm mode without binning). The a7R IV has all the same ports as the prior model, including 3.5mm headphone and microphone jacks and USB-C, but now also provides a multi-interface hot shoe that works as a digital audio interface for direct connection to new devices such as the digital ECM-B1M Shotgun Microphone and the XLR-K3M XLR Adapter Kit. This is a fine camera for video and definitely a great choice for photographers who need a good video option for hybrid assignments and multimedia projects. However, this release isn’t a huge splash as far as professional video specs go – it’s much shinier for photographers.
Will You Upgrade?
For many of us, the question may be whether to upgrade.For most people, probably not. Needing 61 megapixels is rare. However, wanting 61 megapixels is another story. We’re all at least a little curious about what we can do with that kind of resolution. The real question might be whether to switch to Sony from another platform. Sony continues to lead in mirrorless while Canon and Nikon are still catching up. Through the many iterations of Sony Alpha cameras, they’ve made improvements not only to their main specs but also to battery life, overall image tone and color, ergonomics, responsiveness, and even button layout – not to mention their expanding line of super sharp FE lenses. If you’re on the fence, the best way to find out is to rent and compare.
In the end, the a7R IV sounds like a big deal and not just a small, incremental improvement. It’s quite the leap in megapixels while also being able to shoot 10 frames per second – an incredible combo for wildlife and sports shooters. We’ll be looking forward to getting our hands on it and really diving in – and you’ll get to dive in, too, as soon as we get our fleet, which is expected in September (though could be sooner, click “Notify Me” here to be the first to know). See all the specs in fine detail, including sample imagery, via Sony’s brochure.
What About the a7S III?
After this exciting announcement, we’re left wondering; where is the a7S III? The a7R III is not an irrelevant camera and we’d argue that the a7S II is in greater need of an update. Some of the staff here at BL seem to think Sony is purposefully misdirecting us with this announcement to build further hype for a major video monster. We’ll keep an ear to the ground for you.