Sony Reveals Revamped a7R IV with 61MP Sensor and Redesigned Body

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Sony Reveals Revamped a7R IV with 61MP Sensor and Redesigned Body

Bigger numbers are always better, right? Well, it certainly seems to be the case with the just-announced Sony Alpha a7R IV and its 61MP full-frame BSI CMOS sensor. Somewhat of a surprise launch (I’m sure many were expecting another a7 to be updated sooner), but it is a welcome one. Not only is the a7R IV bringing with it a higher resolution—fitting its “R” designation—but also tons of quality-of-life improvements to make operation and handling even better.

Sony Alpha a7R IV Mirrorless Digital Camera
Sony Alpha a7R IV

Resolution, Resolution, and Speed

The a7R IV is now the highest-resolution full-frame interchangeable lens camera on the market. The world’s first 61MP full-frame sensor brings it nearly 50% more pixels than its predecessor and about 20% more than its nearest competition. It even surpasses many medium-format offerings. Using a back-illuminated (BSI) CMOS sensor, designed as an Exmor R in Sony’s lingo, the a7R IV isn’t sacrificing much in its quest to improve the resolution dramatically. Images should be clean at high sensitivities and data will be offloaded with excellent speed. The new sensor and BIONZ X processor will even deliver 15 stops of dynamic range, making it an even better choice for landscape photographers.

If 60MP wasn’t quite enough, Sony has announced an upgrade to the Pixel Shift Multi Shooting mode that captures up to 16 frames, allowing for the creation of insanely 240MP images with full color data at each pixel. This system uses a 5.5-stop SteadyShot INSIDE image stabilization system to move the sensor precisely and capture as much detail from the scene as possible.

With more pixels comes more autofocus pixels. The a7R IV jumps up to 567 phase-detection points with 74% coverage. Up to 10 fps continuous shooting is possible with full AF/AE tracking in full resolution for up to 68 images in a single burst. Real-time Tracking and Eye AF are available in stills and movie for humans and animals. One other benefit to the high resolution is that, in APS-C crop, the camera will still offer 26MP with a 325-point phase-detection AF system that covers nearly the entire area.

A Better Body

Sony is still a relatively newcomer to the professional camera scene, and with that have come some growing pains. Early a7 models were lauded for their image quality and features, but usually there were a few complains about handling and controls. The a7R IV represents another significant leap for the company and should be greatly appreciated by Sony shooters. The buttons have been redesigned for a better feel and response, the dials have been made larger and a couple have gained a lock to prevent accidental bumps from ruining your photos.

Gained with the a7R IV are dual UHS-II SD card slots. This is very welcome and ensures consistent performance no matter what media settings you choose to use, whether that is mirroring, overflow, or sorting. Other ports have been changed to either optimize position and/or make them more durable. The a7R IV is now Sony’s most weather-sealed camera body. A little bit of rain or dust shouldn’t be a problem. These ports should be familiar to most: a USB Type-C, micro-USB, micro-HDMI, and PC sync.

One of the most important upgrades is the use of a higher-resolution 5.76m-dot UXGA OLED electronic viewfinder. It is notably sharper and clearer than previous models. It can be set to either 60 or 120 fps refresh rate to suit the shooting situations. The grip has been redesigned again for improved ergonomics. Wireless tethering is now possible via 2.4/5GHz Wi-Fi, a faster USB Type-C connection, and more under-the-hood changes.

The Other Details

Now, Sony has made other cameras more video-centric, though the a7R IV can certainly hold its own. It seems similar to its predecessor—UHD 4K at up to 30p and 100 Mb/s—with some nice improvements. It still achieves its greatest quality in the APS-C/Super35 crop mode where it down-samples the entire 6K area into a final 4K image. S-Log-2/3 and HLG HDR modes are present. Touch Tracking is an option for more easily tracking subjects via the touchscreen. It also is worth mentioning again that Real-time Eye AF now works during video recording.

Audio has been completely revamped with a new digital audio interface that will dramatically improve the quality of sound recordings. Using a new Digital Microphone that sends a digital audio signal through the redesigned Multi Interface Shoe, shooters can achieve incredible quality with their audio for video. The ECM-B1M Shotgun Microphone uses eight mic capsules to achieve a super-directional pickup in a compact form. It has adjustable directionality and plenty of other controls directly on the rear of the device, which mounts on the a7R IV’s Multi Interface Shoe.

New accessories are coming along with the camera, including a VG-C4EM Battery Grip, which matches the camera’s controls and dust  and moisture resistance. A revised XLR-K3M is on the way, too, with a built-in Digital Audio Interface to send high-quality audio to the camera. Version 2.0 of the Imaging Edge desktop software is on the way, as well.

Sony VG-C4EM Vertical Grip
Sony VG-C4EM Vertical Grip

The Sony a7R IV is scheduled for a September 2019 release and is impressive. Are you excited for this release? Enough changes to make you upgrade? Sound off in the Comments section, below!

38 Comments

Will this new Sony a 7 R IV have automated focus stacking or focus bracketing capabilities in camera?   

When I try to connect a Shutterboss timer to the a7R III, the plug doesn't go all the way in and is easy to pull out.  Is this true for the a7R IV?

Somehow ridiculous pixel depth is not really what the camera users have been begging for. If anything it's usability features more than anything that needed improving:

less menu diving to get to access settings, better low light performance, better AF performance and other items.

Is there any info on the 1080p frame rate capabilities? 

Hi Jamie!

The a7R IV will reach 120p in Full HD. Thanks!

I am guessing that this is another E mount lens!

I have a lot of Minolta Lens, that I do not want to give up! 

I shoot Real Estate photography and have been fortunate enough to be able to shoot over 100 magazine covers. I started with Minolta way back, and Sony bought the camera rights from Minolta. Why can't they keep some models going with the A mount lens?

Mike

Hi Mike,

You can still use your A-mount lenses with an adapter. Sony makes the LA-EA3 Adapter that should preserve most automatic functions on A-mount glass.

Are there photos of back of camera, button placement?

Hi Shirley,

If you visit the camera's product page you will find detailed photos of every angle: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1494679-REG/sony_ilce7rm4_b_alpha_a7r_iv_mirrorless.html

If you are familiar with the previous model you will find it to be very similar, though the actual buttons have been improved.

Has Sony addressed any of the dust issues with the A7R IV? I have found the mirrorless cameras to be extremely annoying dust magnets.

I applaud Sony's effort but as an aging A mount shooter no longer shooting professionally but still avid advanced enthusiast I don't want or need that many MP and don't have the desire to spend GB (giga-bucks) on cards and storage. I would however welcome improvements in tracking and autofocus in the form of firmware upgrades to the A99M2 and other existing models. What camera manufacturers seem to like doing is getting deeper and deeper into our pockets by putting out improvements in a newer model enticing us to spend more bucks. It is like they are using big tobacco strategies getting us hooked then using that addiction to pray on us financially. While in the past that kind of behavior may have been necessary because of the pure mechanical nature of cameras it is no longer acceptable. With today's technology it is possible to make meaningful improvements using software upgrades. If revenue is the goal, which we all know it is, I would not be opposed to paying a modest fee for strong but not required firmware upgrades. It would be like what companies such as Adobe and Microsoft have done with their subscription based software. I hope Sony, Nikon, Canon and the others hear my pleas.

Adobe and Microsoft as well as a large portion of the software industry have gone that route. They are not offering it as an option but to people like myself who've been doing IT stuff for a long time, it's being seen as an enticement offered at gunpoint because you don't get other options. It's their way or no way at all. No ownership of software copies, no fair use considerations etc.

I would love to see them get serious about offering software improvements or supporting an open source developement that can give users enhancements to existing or aging stuff. Canon is probably the only camera system out there that has that as an option even if it's not something Canon approves of tacitly.

The problem I have with subscription software is... the price will always go up. What you see is a low teaser rate to get you hooked. But the rate * 12 months is usually the price of the software. It is not like you are going to use the software every day 8 hours a day. But t is about milking the US customer while sending their high paying jobs overseas - creating a collapsing house of cards because there will be less high paying job to support this scheme. Software is not a service - it is a program - being run by the services of your computer processor. 

The only way this make sense is for a business who can in effect, write it off as a monthly operating expense. Consumer can't. I don't like piracy but that pales in comparison to subscription and software activations. But therein lies salvation.

I preordered this at 07:01 On the 18th. … I am very much looking forward to working with the advanced pixel shifted images.

I want to find out about the overheating issues that Sony Cameras have always seemed to have. This is mainly for video shooting and occurs mostly when maxing out the resolution at 4K for prolonged periods of time. For any professional camera that has video shooting capabilities, I personally feel this is a major issue that needs to be touched upon, addressed, and solved as one of the top priorities for Sony. This alone is preventing me from purchasing a Sony camera because in the professional Cinematography realm, overheating and shutting off while trying to film an event, especially live, is a huge issue and could result in catastrophic results between relationships with clients and reputation of your company. I would love to hear about this factor when talking about this camera. Has Sony thought about the professional Cinematographer and how these cameras are incapable of shooting video in a professional environment due to overheating? 

Hi John,

Sony has made vast improvements since the release of the a7R II and its known overheating issues at launch. With the a7R III I haven't experienced any such issues. However, if this is still a serious concern you will have to wait for us to get one in our hands for extensive testing (hopefully soon so we can do some stress testing in the summer heat).

I don’t see anything mentioned about the ISO range and max ISO in most of the articles.  Any insight on that?

I would like to know what the native ISO's are also. I'm sure 800 is standard as usual but are there more natives to work with?

Hello,

The native sensitivity range for stills is ISO 100-32000 which can be expanded to ISO 50-102400. For video with S-Log recording the base sensitivity is ISO 800.

Correction. With S-Log you will start at ISO 500.

I'm curious what the Auto ISO ranges are. I noticed way back now it seems that Nikon's Auto ISO range was pretty sad and didn't permit usability in low light settings without a lot of editing in post which I dislike having to do.

I've been very pleased with the RIII overall and the advances with the RIV look even more awesome. I've been waiting for an upgrade and hoped it would happen before my overseas trip but alas it won't be available until September. In any case, I look forward to working with the new version.

This is amazing news. Always been a fan of sony cameras. It seems the issue of image file size was not really answered. At 61MP those cards will fill up pretty fast and take up a lot of space on one's computer.

It would be great to know how large of a file 30 mins of 4K S-Log recording would take on an SD card.

4K footage records at either 60 Mb/s or 100 Mb/s. At the max of 100 Mb/s a full minute of recording is about 750 MB. For 30 minutes this is about 45 GB. Obviously this depends on what exactly you are recording and will fluctuate as it isn't a constant bit rate.

It looks like uncompressed raw files will be about 110-120MB each. Yea, that will fill your cards up quite quick.

Does this camera have an articulating back screen?

Yes it does. It describes it in the specifications.

The rear screen offers the same tilting functions as the past couple models.

This is what I kept praying for from Canon but they consistently fail to deliver. Megapixel isn't the draw for me but everything else is and as a portrait, wedding photographer and a Canon shooter, this is significant. I think I am ready for a change, I am tired of trading things that I want in a camera for what is available. 

That makes two of us!  But do wait just a little bit longer, as I am hoping that Canon will bring out a decent one shortly as the Olympics will be held in Japan next year

Sorry, it's Sony all the way for me!

I'm disenchanted with the pixel bloat that I see happening in the camera industry, some sort of increase in pixels is inevitable when you consider our display technologies are advancing. Printed media however can't really make use of it so it's rather pointless.

I have been most keen on the sidelines looking at improvements in shutter designs, better low or no light sensor performance (with less noise), wireless integration options (tethering etc). I bought into Nikon at the D800E when it was new, I liked it a lot for a while but I saw it's limitations too. It now sits in a corner of my house shamefully gathering dust.

You are correct MP is irrelevant if you are doing small pic. But if you can see what MP can do when you turn your family photo into a large poster - wow!

Have been wanting more resolution and a better grip. Getting the Eye AF and tracking like the A9 is a bonus for sure. I will be pre-ordering ASAP and look forward to getting my hands on this in Sept.

Totally agree. The a7R IV was a surprise for us here that I didn't even know I wanted. All the changes improve the camera in important ways and make this release the best a7 model yet. I'm definitely planning on picking one up myself.

There are no words. I never cease to be amazed at the ability of capitalism to improve/create products to compete in the marketplace. I’d buy this, except, I shoot sports. Where is Sony’s 200mm f2.0, the classic must have sports lens? 

We will probably be waiting a bit for a 200mm f/2 (though you could risk an adapter and going with another manufacturers lens), but the 400mm and 600mm are solid releases, so here's hoping that we get all the lenses we could ever want. Still, the a7R IV is a great pick for sports considering its speed and the advantage of additional resolution.

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