- 651MP full-frame CMOS sensor
- 567-point phase-detection AF system
- 5.76m-dot OLED EVF
- 10fps burst mode
- ISO range of 100-32,000
- 4K video capabilities at 30p
- 3.0” touchscreen LCD
- 5-axis SteadyShot INSIDE stabilization
- Built-in Bluetooth
- Built-in Wi-Fi
- 670-shot battery life
- 250,000 shutter life expectancy
Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash
The Sony a7R IV, Sony’s high-end full-frame mirrorless camera, came out late last year and was almost immediately dubbed too much camera for even professional photographers.
The Sony a7R IV specs are out of this world (very few photographers I know truly need 61 megapixels), and yet this has to be where professional photography equipment is headed.
In this Sony a7R IV review we are going to tackle all of those incredible specs, the changes that Sony included in this update (and some changes they didn’t but maybe should have), and generally argue what types of photographers truly need a camera of this quality.
There’s no doubt about it, the Sony a7R IV is absolutely incredible, but for most photographers this quality is something they can put off for another few years while waiting for the price to come down.
Sony a7R IV Specs
So, I already mentioned the fact that the Sony a7R IV comes with a 61MP full-frame CMOS sensor. If you’ve never had the pleasure of shooting with a sensor this capable, you should watch the above video by Engadget which walks you through what it feels like. The short answer is: pretty incredible.
Engadget also touches on the video specs of the Sony a7R IV, which shoots 4K video at 30p.
Another interesting spec on this camera is the 567-point AF system, which is notably fast.
Other Sony a7R IV Specs:
Sony a7R IV Body & Design
The Sony a7R IV is of a similar size to a small DSLR. Although it obviously doesn’t have a mirror like one, it does need to fit a huge sensor in its body, which means it is going to be a bit heavy or bulky if you’re used to shooting with mirrorless cameras.
If you’ve ever worked with either the Sony a7 or Sony a9 line before, then the Sony a7R IV body is going to feel completely natural for you.
One improvement to the Sony a7R IV body is that it is the most weather-resistant body Sony has ever created. This doesn’t mean you can toss it directly into the ocean because it still doesn’t have the sturdy body of a professional-level DSLR, but it isn’t going to be damaged in a small storm.
The screen is definitely one of the selling points of the Sony a7R IV. It’s incredibly bright for low-light shooting (without running the battery down as fast as other screens on other models). It’s a touchscreen, though you can customize your screen if you don’t love it as a touchscreen. The LCD tilts and can be extended out, which works well for street photography.
The EVF is also obviously a huge selling point on this mirrorless camera. It comes with a 120fps refresh rate.
As for the button layout, this camera almost identically imitates earlier Sony a7 models, except for the fact that Sony did make the buttons bigger to improve its ergonomics. For example, the AF-On button is a lot larger than it used to be, as is the AF point joystick (although you will probably rarely need it thanks to a much better AF system).
Sony a7R IV Build & Handling
As is the case with both the Sony a7 and Sony a9 line, this camera is pretty block-like, i.e. it may be uncomfortable if you’re shopping around for an ergonomically-designed camera, despite the easier to find and press buttons. Although, it does feature a deeper grip than previous models, which is helpful if you’re shooting with gloves on.
It also does a really good job of feeling both sturdy and light. It weighs just 23 ounces with the battery and memory card, which means that you can manage this camera with even large lenses.
It also does a great job of being customizable. For instance, it has 11 customizable buttons with up to 100 options for each of them. These buttons are also customizable for both still shooting and video shooting.
This is one of my favorite Sony a7R IV features because I’ve never found the user interface on the Sony a7 line to be especially user-friendly.
I briefly touched on the battery life of the Sony a7R IV earlier. It’s rated at 670-shots if you’re using the rear screen and 530-shots if you’re using the viewfinder. I think anything over 500 is completely acceptable for a professional photographer shooting outside of your studio.
I did find some problems with the handling. For instance, the movie record button is too close to the larger AF-On button, so if you are shooting in cold weather you may have problems pressing both at the same time.
Sony a7R IV Autofocus
The Sony a7R IV autofocus gets its own section in this review because of just how excellent it is.
The 567-point phase detection AF system covers 99.7% of the screen vertically and 74% of the screen horizontally. It includes Real-time Tracking AF, which means you can track objects and people via face-and-eye-detection technologically at the same time.
There’s obviously no perfect autofocus system yet and this is true with the Sony a7R IV as well. For instance, the 60MP resolution can act as a detriment when it comes to the AF system because if your shot is even slightly out of focus, it absolutely will be noticeable.
The accuracy of the AF system is incredible when shooting single drive, but it will drop off slightly while in burst mode.
The only times that the AF doesn’t work beautifully in real-world tracking is when you’re either shooting in very low light or if you’re shooting a subject that is strongly backlit.
Sony a7R IV Video Performance
For Sony a7R IV’s video performance, you can watch this video test by Tutto Digitale.
As aforementioned, it shoots 4K video at up to 30p. It comes with many video tools, like focus peaking, zebra exposure warnings and different log shooting modes.
If you are able to crop your footage when shooting in 4K, the picture will be more detailed, but the full-width 4K capabilities are still great.
The AF system also works when you’re shooting video, but you need to remember to enable touch-to-track focus before doing so.
Sony a7R IV Image Quality
Photo by Anshul Jain on Unsplash
Now, the Sony a7R IV image quality should obviously be expected to be quite spectacular, given the 60MP sensor. It definitely lives up to this expectation.
You can expect to capture absolutely every detail with this camera, which is why it’s such a great option for professional product photographers. When you’re shooting along the higher end of its ISO range, it does become a bit noisy, but nothing ridiculous.
The color casting is also very realistic with this camera, although Sony is still known for less-than-ideal blue colors. This camera’s blues do tend to look a bit purple.
Sony a7R IV Price
I’ve mentioned it a few times throughout this article, but the Sony a7R IV price is pretty astronomical. It’s currently selling for $3,200. As such, I’d recommend watching MPB’s website, if you’re serious about snagging one, to try and find a used version to save some cash.
As of the writing of this article, there aren’t any used options available for you. However, MPB rotates through hundreds of products a day and if you can save hundreds of dollars, I’d definitely recommend it considering the still high price point.
I’ve used MPB many times over the years and I have yet to be disappointed with the process. Their used gear is inspected and graded so you know exactly what you’re going to get in the mail. And when you sell items to MPB, they give you a fair price so you can put money in your pocket or use the funds as a trade-in for a new-to-you camera. It’s a great setup!
For more information about why we recommend MPB as our used camera retailer, feel free to check out our MPB review in the learn more links below.