Sony Announce the A7R IV – a 61MP Monster Full Frame Camera

Earlier today Sony surprised many in the photography world by announcing its first 4’th generation full-frame mirrorless camera – the A7R IV. This is also the highest resolution camera Sony has ever marketed with a whooping 61MP and a whole host of improvements compared to the previous generation.

In the video above Craig Beckta talks about some of the features Sony announced for the A7R these include the aforementioned new 61MP sensor, improved dynamic range with up to 15 stops according to Sony, 10fps shooting 68 frames before the buffer fills up (with AF) which is quite impressive for a 61MP camera).

The new Sony A7R IV with dual UHS-II card slots

In APS-C mode the A7 IV now support 26MP resolution which is the highest for any FF camera in APS-C mode and can be used for work with long telephoto lenses to increase the equivalent focal length while still preserving decent resolution).

Update: Adorama’s hands-on with the A7R IV from the press event in NY

Sony improved the AF capabilities of the camera to include 567 PDAF (phase-detect AF points) and 425 contrast-detect points, with 74% frame coverage (the coverage in APS-C mode is close to 100%).

The new version of Sony’s Pixel Shift mode can now combine no less than 16 images to create an amazing 240MP image (this isn’t done in-camera though – you will need to use Sony’s Imaging Edge software to do that).

Shooting 240MP images with Sony’s A7R IV Pixel Shift mode 

The viewfinder was also improved to 5.6 million dots (compared to just over 3 million of the A7RIII).

Sony also added UHS-II to the second memory slot (both now support this fast standard which is nice), and there is a fast USB-C  connection (USB 3.2). Sony improved the wireless features of the camera including for the first time both 2.4GHz band/5GHz bands WIFI (IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac), it also has for the first time wireless threatening that can connect to the Sony Imaging Edge software (that will have a new version soon to support that). As with before, there is also Bluetooth and NFC.

The new Sony A7R IV – a new higher res viewfinder

Externally the new camera is almost identical to the A7RIII (there are some minor changes in the two dials on the top including a dial lock for the exposure compensation dial and a new higher back dial). The improved grip is probably the biggest change externally.

Sony’s official A7R IV features video

Sony gave a lot of emphasis on its new hot-shoe which is a new generation supporting digital interface between the microphone and camera (the A7R IV will be the first camera to accept direct digital audio input). Unlike existing cameras and mics – where the analog to digital conversion happens in the camera (and susceptible to interference from the camera electronics), the new interface will allow feeding the camera direct digital signal from the Sony dedicated new microphone (and maybe in the future other mics and recorders as well).

The new Sony A7R IV – deeper grip and a few changes to the dials

Sony also announced the new ECM-B1M shotgun microphone which includes eight pickup capsules and a built-in A/D converter that works with the new Sony Hotshoe. Additionally, Sony updated the XLR mic adaptor to a new version which will also transfer a digital signal to the camera in the same way. The mic will sell for $350 and the adaptor for $600 (starting in Septemnber 2019 and October 2019 respectively).

Sony’s official ECM-B1M digital mic video

There are a few things that from our perspective Sony still needs to improve and did not address in this camera and you should keep in mind:

  • Sony didn’t improve most of the video aspects of the camera – we still have the same 4K 30p with 8bit internal and the same codec with 100mbit max (there is again no 4K 60p on this camera).
  •  Despite the viewfinder improvement, the monitor didn’t change – the same small size, mediocre resolution,  low viewability in sunlight, no flip option.
  • There are very minor changes to the button layout and no additional buttons (we still only have up to C4 user-customizable buttons – pro-level DSLRs typically have much more buttons – especially in the front including an AF/MF switch).
  • There was no discussion of any significant improvements to menus on this camera (Sony did make changes in the previous generation but there is still much that can be improved).

The A7R IV will be available on September 2019 for a price of $3500 (pre-orders are already up on B&H).

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