This morning, Sony introduced its latest camera, the a7R IV. Packing a 35mm full-frame 61-megapixel back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS image sensor, the camera features 15-stop dynamic range at low sensitivities, 10fps high-speed continuous shooting and Real-time Eye AF for movie recordings.
The camera, which succeeds Sony’s popular a7R III, is the company’s highest resolution full-frame camera ever.
“The new Alpha 7R IV combines medium format-level image quality with high-speed shooting, extremely fast focusing and an extensive list of upgrades to design, connectivity and usability,” said Neal Manowitz, deputy president of Imaging Product and Solutions Americas at Sony Electronics. “This will allow professional photographers, videographers and all other types of creators to capture content in ways that were simply not possible before.”
The a7R IV is equipped with a 5-axis, optical in-body image stabilization system that has been fine-tuned to support its high-resolution shooting capacity, resulting in a shutter speed advantage of 5.5 steps. The shutter unit assembly has also been redesigned to reduce slight movements that may cause blur.
The camera also packs Sony’s highest resolution viewfinder ever, a 5.76 million dot UXGA OLED Tru-finder EVF, which is about 1.6 times the resolution of the a7R III. The display can be set to achieve either a 60fps or 120fps refresh rate.
Shooting and focusing speed
The a7R IV can photograph full resolution images at up to 10fps, with accurate AF/AE tracking for up to approximately seven seconds. There’s also an APS-C crop mode present, delivering 26.2-megapixel images.
The upgraded focusing system is compromised of 567 focal-plane phase-detection AF points that cover approximately 74 percent of the image area. There are also 425 contrast AF points that add extra precision and reliability for low light and other situations. The higher AF sensor density and refined tracking algorithms of the new camera produce a notable improvement in tracking performance, allowing complex subject motion and sudden subject movements to be reliably tracked with greater precision than ever.
The Alpha 7R IV also supports Real-time Eye AF, which employs artificial intelligence to detect and process eye location data in real-time, locking and maintaining focus on the subject’s eye with extreme precision. This is available for both animal and human subjects, with either animal or human Eye AF mode selectable depending on the shooting situation. Real-time Tracking(7) is available as well, which utilizes a newly developed subject recognition algorithm to ensure the ultimate subject tracking and persistence of the focusing system. There is also an anti-flicker shooting mode(13), which automatically detects the presence of fluorescent or artificial lighting in a shooting environment to minimize any impact on the final image.
The a7R IV offers 4K video recording across the full width of the image sensor, and full pixel readout without pixel binning in Super 35mm mode. S-Log 2 and S-Log 3 are also available to maximize color grading flexibility, with S-Log 3 offering 14 stops of dynamic range. Hybrid Log-Gamma is also available to support an Instant HDR workflow.
For video autofocus, the camera utilizes a refined Fast Hybrid AF system that achieves faster, smoother, more stable autofocus during video shooting — even if an object temporarily moves in front of the intended subject. The camera also includes Touch Tracking functionality during movie shooting, allowing the user to simply touch the screen on their intended subject for instant acquisition.
The a7R IV debuts Real-time Eye AF for movie shooting, a first in any of Sony’s cameras. When activated, the eye of a subject is automatically tracked with high precision and reliability, allowing the shooter to focus on the content itself as opposed to what is in focus or not. The aforementioned Touch Tracking functionality will also automatically initiate Eye AF when a human subject is selected.
Build and design
The camera also features several upgrades to its design and usability. To maximize durability, the a7R IV features upgraded dust and moisture resistance, with additional sealing provided at all body seams, battery compartment cover and media slots. The camera is built from durable magnesium alloy, and has an upgraded six screw, extra-firm lens mount.
The body also includes an improved grip for greater comfort and a more secure hold. There’s also a new multi-selector joystick design, an exposure compensation dial lock button and a redesigned shape and new position for the rear dial. The camera includes two UHS-II compatible media slots, allowing for faster read/write speeds.
Battery life has also been improved over the a7R III, with a CIPA measurement for up to 670 still images using the LCD monitor, or 530 images with the Electronic Viewfinder. The body can also be powered via a USB connector.
Pricing and availability
The Sony a7R IV will ship in September 2019 for a suggested retail price of $3500. Pre-orders will be available through B&H beginning July 18.