Initial thoughts on the Sony A7R IV (mini review)

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MinAZ Veteran Member • Posts: 4,752
Initial thoughts on the Sony A7R IV (mini review)

I have to say, when the A7R IV was announced, I had a mix of emotions. One thought was that it didn't seem that incredibly big of an upgrade since the most exciting thing about it was the move from 42 to 61 MP, and it wasn't as if we didn't think 42 was enough MP for most applications. Already, my wife's A7R III created humongous files that were kinda clunky to deal with, but the A7R IV's 60 mb RAW files (and that's compressed!) was even more difficult. However, since I did not have a high-res camera having "skipped" the A7III, I thought that the R IV could be a way to get the best of both worlds - the low light ability and AF of the A7 III and the resolution of the R III perhaps.

Here are some of my initial thoughts on the R IV:

- the feature that I liked most about the R IV is actually quite unexpected - at least I didn't notice it mentioned very much - the ability to switch through focusing areas with a single button. Ironically, I think this software update is my #1 favorite thing about the R IV, that you can set up one of the buttons in the rear so that you can switch between wide and single-point AF without having to scroll through the AF menu. Because Sony's eye-AF doesn't work if you are not shooting humans or animals, or if your subject's head is turned away, this is a really neat feature to have.

- the files are really clunky. Photo Mechanic took quite a while to process the files, and even copying them over to the hard drive using very fast SD cards and USB 3.0 connection seemed like it was going to take forever. LR only has preliminary support of the ARW files from the IV currently so we will have to wait and see how these handle in LR once the final version is out.

- AF is amazing. I mean not that it wasn't in the A7III. But if anything, its even better now. Kinda subjective I know - I had no way of testing AF speed, but shooting the III and R IV side-by-side, I never felt either camera was prone to missing AF in any case.

- another surprise is how well the image stabilization worked. You'd think the huge MP sensor would prove a challenge when shooting non-OIS Sony lenses esp. at the telephoto range, but I actually didn't notice the difference compared to shooting with the A7 III. I was actually concerned about this point because I've heard some reviewers suggest that at high-res, you need super amazing handling technique to get a sharp image, but I honestly did not seem to encounter this problem (yet).

- ergonomics - several people complained about the change in the grip from the R III to R IV, but I really didn't notice. Seemed fine to me.

- APS-C mode - okay this one had me feeling mixed. I loved the ability to crop in using a single (user assigned) button, and the smaller file sizes can be a boon if you don't need to full 61MP. The down side is that should you set it to toggle and then forget about it, your sole indication that you are in crop mode (other than the FOV) is a small icon on the rear LCD, so you might also inadvertently end up cropped files when you meant to shoot full-frame.

- colors - looking at the images side-by-side with the A7III, it seems like Sony may have tweaked the colors a bit in the IV.

Honestly, if I already owned the A7R III, I would not upgrade. The larger files are going to be taxing my computer processing ability and storage space, and much as I appreciate a few of the new features in the R IV, I think the R III is a pretty darn good camera already. On the other hand, at the amazingly affordable retail price for the R IV, I think that it is a worthwhile consideration if you do not already own the R III (but to make things more complicated the R III is being sold at a steep discount currently).


- I thought I might mention that the touch screen in the A7R IV still doesn't allow you to do very much... I mean really? All that cost adding in a touch screen, would it kill enable full functionality... It is not like Sony doesn't make cell phones or anything and could adopt touch screen functionality...

Sony a7 III Sony a7R Sony a7R III
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