Sony A7R IV – 61MP Camera Announced
Sony did it again, breaking the full-frame pixel barrier with the introduction of the all-new Sony A7R IV with a whopping world’s first 61MP back illuminated image sensor.
One thing for sure is, the full frame camera image sensor race is not going to stop at 50MP+ commercially, as development has broken the 100MP benchmark (although it is not commercially introduced, yet). Today, Sony has dished out the all time high pixel count for the full-frame camera, the A7R IV with a monstrous 61MP back-illuminated image sensor. Before we got our hands on for the first look and review. Let’s take a quick tour of what the new Alpha has to offer, with excerpts from the official press release.
The new Alpha 7R IV features a newly developed 35mm full-frame back-illuminated CMOS image sensor with a resolution of 61.0 MP, the world’s first of its kind. This sensor’s back-illuminated structure and effective noise reduction techniques boasts an impressive 15-stop dynamic range at low sensitivities, resulting in smooth natural gradations ranging from deep shadows to highlights.
This new full-frame model is equipped with an innovative 5-axis optical in-body image stabilisation system that has been fine-tuned to support its high-resolution shooting capacity, resulting in a shutter speed advantage of 5.5-steps.
With Sony’s highest resolution viewfinder in any camera, a 5.76 million dot UXGA OLED Tru-finder EVF, this new viewfinder provides an extremely accurate, true-to-life depiction of the scene being framed. The display quality can be set to ‘Standard’ or ‘High’ mode, and to either 60 fps or 120 fps refresh rate to best match the subject and shooting conditions.
The new camera 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 1 or 0.5-pixel increments to capture 16 separate pixel-shifted images containing a total of 963.2 million pixels worth of data then composited into a 240.8 million pixels (19008 x 12672 pixels) image using the “Imaging Edge” desktop application. Ideal for photographing architecture, art or any other still life photography subject, this enhanced mode produces photographs with a level of detail and colour accuracy that is simply stunning.
The Alpha 7R IV is a speed monster at full resolution, it shoots up to 10 fps with continuous and accurate AF/AE tracking for up to approximately 7 seconds in full-frame, full-resolution mode (JPEG / RAW), and approx. 3x seconds in APS-C crop mode delivering 26.2MP images.
The upgraded focusing system of the Alpha 7R IV is comprised of 567 focal-plane phase-detection AF points that cover approximately 74% of the image area. There are also 425 contrast AF points that add extra precision and reliability for low light and other situations that are best served by contrast AF. 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, stay locked onto the subject’s eye with extreme precision. This is available for both animal and human subjects, with an option to select either animal or human Eye AF mode depending on the shooting situation. There is also an anti-flicker shooting mode, which automatically detects the presence of fluorescent or artificial lighting in a shooting environment to minimise any impact on the final image.
Connectivity for Professional Workflow
Sony’s new Alpha 7R IV full-frame camera is equipped with a variety of advanced connectivity features designed to enhance professional workflow. The new model includes wireless LAN functionality to support the conventional 2.4 GHz band as well as a high-speed 5 GHz band for faster, more stable data transfer. Wireless PC remote connectivity (wireless tethering shooting) is also available on the new Alpha 7R IV, a first for Sony cameras. Requested by many working professionals, this will allow for much more freedom in studio and location shoots, where the photographer can move around freely without restriction.
In addition to high-speed Wi-Fi and wireless PC connectivity, the new full-frame camera is equipped with a SuperSpeed USB Type-C connector that supports extremely fast wired data transmission, with almost doubled data transfer speed achieved in combination with Imaging Edge software compared to the Alpha 7R III. It also supports FTP data transfer with background transfer capability, allowing photographers to send images to a specified FTP remote server while they are still shooting or reviewing images.
To support an efficient, high-speed connected professional workflow, Sony has announced version 2.0 of “Imaging Edge” desktop applications (‘Remote’/’Viewer’/’Edit’). The ’Remote’ application allows users to control cameras and monitor live shooting on their PC screen; the ‘Viewer‘ application is used to quickly preview, rate and select photos from large libraries and the ’Edit‘ application can develop RAW data into high-quality photos for delivery. To maximise convenience in image transfer, when utilising the latest version of Sony’s Imaging Edge Mobile™ application, the camera can now transfer images to a connected smartphone even if the power is set to OFF.
4K and Filmmaking Features
Alpha 7R IV performs exceptionally well as a serious filmmaking tool, offering 4K video recording and full pixel readout without pixel binning in Super 35mm mode. S-Log 2 and S-Log 3 are also available to maximize colour grading flexibility, with S-Log 3 offering a total of 14-stops of dynamic range. HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) is also available on the Alpha 7R IV to support an Instant HDR workflow.
For video autofocus, it utilises 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 new Alpha 7R 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 in focus. The Touch Tracking functionality will also automatically initiate Eye AF when a human subject is selected.
Another notable video feature is the addition of a digital audio interface to the camera’s Multi Interface Shoe (MI Shoe), allowing direct connection of the new ECM-B1M Shotgun Microphone or XLR-K3M XLR Adaptor Kit for clear, low-noise and high-quality audio recording. Interval shooting for creating time-lapse videos is available, as well as full HD recording at up to 120 fps, Slow and Quick Motion functions and much more.
Build & Design
To maximise durability, the new Alpha 7R IV features upgraded dust and moisture resistance, with additional sealing provided at all body seams, the battery compartment cover and media slots. The camera is built with an extremely lightweight and durable magnesium alloy, and has an upgraded six screw, extra-firm mount.
Additional enhancements to the body design include an improved grip for greater comfort and a surer hold within the hand; an increase in the diameter and feedback for the ‘AF-ON’ button; a new multi-selector joystick design for improvised control; an exposure compensation dial lock button and a redesigned shape and new position for the rear dial. A strong request from many professional users, the new camera also includes two UHS-II compatible media slots, allowing for higher overall capacity and faster read/write speeds.
For added convenience, camera setting registration is expanded. Now, almost all camera settings can be saved to and read from an inserted memory card. Up to 10 combinations can be saved to any individual card and loaded into any camera body of the same type.
Despite its 1.5x pixel count, the battery life has also been improved – with a CIPA measurement of up to 670 still images per charge using LCD monitor, or 530 images with EVF). For even more uninterrupted operating time, the new optional VG-C4EM Vertical Grip holds two NP-FZ100 batteries, and the optional Multi Battery Adaptor (NPA-MQZ1K) can hold up to four Z batteries. The body can also be powered via the USB connector.