At a special event in New York earlier this morning, Sony just unveiled the new Sony a7R IV full-frame mirrorless camera with a new 61MP back-illuminated 35mm full-frame CMOS sensor and 15 stops dynamic range. In addition to the new mirrorless camera, Sony also announced a few new accessories such as a new battery grip, camera top microphone, and XLR mic/adapter kit.
The R designation in the Sony alpha series signals huge resolution gains, and this time around unlike with the predecessor, the Sony a7R IV gets a brand new 61 megapixel chip, which according to Sony rivals medium format performance, which they now bring to a more compact mirrorless body (relative to a medium format one that is). The form factor of the a7R IV stays relatively the same, albeit for an improved handgrip and small button design changes to make for a more ergonomic experience.
And speaking of “medium format” level image quality and stunning resolution, the new a7R IV features an evolved Pixel Shift Multi Shooting mode that composites up to 16 full-resolution images. In this mode, the camera precisely shifts the sensor in one pixel or half-pixel increments to capture 16 separate pixel-shifted images, which are then composited into a 240 megapixel image using Sony’s “Imaging Edge™” desktop application.
This will most likely be a feature used by architecture and landscape photographers, and those photographers capturing art or any other still life subjects of high value and importance, for massive photographs with an unprecedented level of detail and colour accuracy that is simply stunning.
And while the video department features can appear underwhelming at first, Sony have added some very useful new features such as the debut of Real-time Eye AF for video, which is really a killer feature that will surely make its way to future more video oriented models such as the “unicorn” A7s III, which may very well be announced before the end of September. Worst case scenario before the end of the year, but that’s my guess.
Images by Sony
In terms of resolution and frame rates, not much has been improved here – we get the same 4K (UHD) 3840 x 2160 video recording in XAVC-S (H.264 8bit 4:2:0) across the full width of the image sensor and full pixel readout without pixel binning in Super 35mm mode. And speaking of Super 35mm mode, the APS-C crop mode of the a7R IV is a massive 26.2 megapixel area, which is even more than the native full-frame sensor of the Sony A7 III, and in this mode you get almost 100% phase-detect AF coverage.
S-Log 2 and S-Log 3 as well as Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) are also available on the Alpha 7R IV for HDR workflows, so it’s not all lost in terms of video on the a7R IV, but it is more likely that those picking up the new a7R IV will be more interested in the stills capabilities of the camera, rather then the fact that it does not have 10bit or 4K/60p recording.
After all, this is an R designated Alpha camera, and we all know that the a7S III is going to be the video oriented one of the bunch, and it makes sense for Sony to keep those high-end video features for the upcoming a7S III.
Sony a7R IV Features
61 MP Back-illuminated Full-Frame CMOS sensor
15-stop dynamic range
5-axis, optical in-body image stabilization system
High-speed continuous shooting at up to 10 fps with full AF/AE tracking
for approximately seven seconds in full-frame mode with an increased buffer memory
and approximately three times as long in APS-C mode
567 focal-plane phase-detection AF points covering 74% of image area and 425 contrast AF points
Nearly 100% in APS-C crop mode
Real-time Eye AF for Video
Advanced Real-time Tracking plus Real-time Eye AF for still image recording
26.2 MP APS-C crop mode!
5.76 million dot UXGA (Ultra-XGA) OLED Tru-Finder™ electronic viewfinder
High-speed Wi-Fi support, wireless PC remote connectivity, FTP wireless transfer, faster data transfer via USB and more
4K/UHD (3840 x 2160) at 24, 25, 30p XAVC-S/8-bit 4:2:0
Full pixel readout with no pixel binning in Super 35mm mode
S-Log2/S-Log3, and HLG support for HDR workflows
Multi Interface Shoe™ with digital audio interface
Dual SDXC UHS-II card slots
Improved grip and button layout for improved control