Is it right for you?

Cameras can serve different purposes for different photographers; the right tool for one person might be the wrong one for someone else. With that in mind, we'll be taking a look at how the Sony a7R IV stacks up for a variety of common uses, based on its specifications, our lab testing and the time we've spent with it in the real world.


Landscape

Processed in Adobe Camera Raw.
Tamron 17-28mm F2.8 @ 17mm | ISO 100 | 1/50 sec | F5.6
Photo by Rishi Sanyal

The Sony a7R IV is a natural fit for landscape photography, thanks not only to its 60.2MP resolution, but also a host of other refinements and updates that Sony has included - let's take a look.

Pros:

  • Tons of resolution in single shot mode
  • Up to 240MP high-resolution mode, if your subject is still enough
  • Updated weather-sealing
  • Great overall image quality and dynamic range
  • Excellent lens selection
  • Tilting LCD is handy for tripod work
  • More prominent buttons and dials will aid use with gloves
  • Good battery life
  • USB charging
  • With a powerful enough charger, the camera can run on USB power

Cons:

  • High-res mode workflow is cumbersome, and there is no motion correction option
  • A top-plate LCD showing camera settings would be nice

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Weddings and events

Processed in Adobe Camera Raw.
Sony FE 85mm F1.8 | ISO 1250 | 1/200 sec | F1.8
Photo by Carey Rose

Wedding and event photography incorporates a lot of aspects of some of the other types of shooting covered on this page, bundling them up and requiring a high degree of competence from both camera and photographer. Here's how we think Sony's a7R IV stacks up.

Pros:

  • 60.2MP of resolution for impressive detail
  • Excellent color and JPEG quality
  • Good quality 4K video
  • Autofocus especially good at maintaining focus on people
  • 10 fps max burst shooting
  • Comfortable grip for large lenses, long shooting sessions
  • Dual UHS-II card slots for redundancy
  • Memory recall modes can make it easier to switch from stills to video

Cons:

  • Lots of resolution means a lot of drive space
  • Limited Sony on-camera flash options (but there are third party ones)
  • You cannot switch to video mode while the buffer is clearing
  • Switching from stills to video is cumbersome if you haven't set up the memory recall modes
  • Fastest burst speed requires dropping to compressed, 12-bit Raw files, could limit post processing flexibility
  • No in-camera Raw conversion for quick tweaking and sharing
  • You may notice occasional front-or-back-focused images taken in bursts during AF-C
  • Some interface lagginess
  • No red-grid flash assist - only on-camera LED light
  • Continuous AF tracking starts to falter in very low light

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Formal portraits

Out-of-camera JPEG.
Sony FE 85mm F1.4 GM | ISO 1000 | 1/200 sec | F5.6
Photo by Richard Butler

Thanks to the large full-frame sensor, the a7R IV will get you super blurry backgrounds (with the right lenses), and there will be no lack of detail thanks to the camera's very high resolution. Plus, some of the best eye-detection autofocus in the business makes it easy to focus on your composition and interacting with your subject, and not on whether or not the image is in focus.

Pros:

  • Very good autofocus implementation
  • Good color out of camera
  • Very strong selection of portrait lenses
  • 1/250th sec flash sync speed

Cons:

  • Limited Sony flash options (but third parties like Godox are compatible)

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Family and moments

Processed in Adobe Camera Raw.
Sony FE 35mm F1.8 | ISO 100 | 1/320 sec | F1.8
Photo by Rishi Sanyal

A good family and moments camera is easy to keep with you, ready to go, all the time. The a7R IV isn't an especially large camera, but it's not pocketable either - but still, if you're the type of person that likes (or is used to) carrying around a dedicated camera with a versatile lens, here's how we think the a7R IV will fare as a family and moments camera.

Pros:

  • Good auto mode
  • Excellent autofocus and eye detection
  • Fast burst speeds
  • JPEG images look nice out-of-camera for quick sharing over Wi-Fi (and NFC makes it extremely easy to pair with Android smart devices)
  • Good low-light performance
  • Good video quality

Cons:

  • 60.2MP may be overkill for this sort of use
  • No 'selfie' capable screen mechanism, though this is admittedly rare on high-end cameras
  • No in-camera Raw conversion

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Lifestyle and people

Out-of-camera JPEG.
Sony FE 135mm F1.8 GM | ISO 100 | 1/640 sec | F1.8
Photo by Rishi Sanyal

If you're into living your best Instagram life (yo), or just want to capture more polished and artsy photos of social moments, the a7R IV comes with a strong feature set. Let's take a look at how it handles this type of photography.

Pros:

  • Good out-of-camera JPEGs for fast sharing
  • Potential for very shallow depth-of-field with the right lenses
  • Autofocus implementation is excellent
  • Resolution will be handy for clients wanting to make prints, or for selling high-res images on stock photography websites
  • Great overall image quality, flexible Raw files
  • Strong lens selection

Cons:

  • Somewhat awkward to select between multiple recognized faces
  • You may notice occasional front-or-back-focused images taken in bursts during AF-C
  • If you're mainly uploading to social media, you do not need 60.2MP

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Travel

Out-of-camera JPEG.
Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM @ 24mm | ISO 100 | 1/500 sec | F4
Photo by Dan Bracaglia

For the level of image quality it offers, the a7R IV strikes a reasonable balance of size, weight and ergonomics. And so, just as with family and moments, let's look at how the a7R IV works for the travel photographer that likes to have a dedicated camera on them at all times.

Pros:

  • Well-built, sealed body
  • Good out-of-camera JPEGs
  • Robust wireless connectivity options
  • Supports charging and power over USB, not picky about chargers
  • Solid battery life
  • Dual card slots allow for redundancy if you don't pack a hard drive for backups
  • Good video

Cons:

  • No in-camera Raw conversion
  • Large files mean you'll need large memory cards, or some spares

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Candid and street

Out-of-camera JPEG.
Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 @ 41mm | ISO 100 | 1/250 sec | F4
Photo by Dan Bracaglia

Street photography can be demanding for both camera and photographer. Responsiveness is key, but there are a number of other considerations to take into account.

Pros:

  • Tilting touchscreen for shooting from the hip
  • Excellent 'Wide' autofocus area mode
  • Option for fully silent electronic shutter
  • Plenty of physical controls for key settings

Cons:

  • Smaller options may be better for this sort of work
  • Interface lag could be an issue
  • Silent shutter could result in rolling shutter artifacts

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Sports and action

Out-of-camera JPEG.
Sony 24-70mm F2.8 GM @ 33mm | ISO 2500 | 1/400 sec | F5.6
Photo by Dan Bracaglia

To be fair, you're unlikely to see many a7R IV's doing primary duty on the sidelines of your local football (or soccer) match, but it's impressively unperturbed by being asked to shoot action. And so, for the landscape shooter that occasionally wants to shoot things that move, well...let's take a closer look.

Pros:

  • Tons of resolution gives flexibility in cropping
  • Larger grip makes handling large lenses easier
  • Good viewfinder
  • Excellent autofocus system
  • 10 fps max burst speed (8 fps with 'live view' between shots)
  • Plenty of external controls
  • Fairly deep buffer
  • Big AF-ON button
  • APS-C crop mode still gets you 26MP files
  • Good JPEGs out of the camera

Cons:

  • Autofocus can be hit-and-miss during bursts, with some shots slightly front-or-back-focused
  • Resolution could be overkill
  • Large file sizes
  • Lengthy card write times, even with the fastest cards
  • Burst shooting at any speed drops Raw files to 12-bit
  • Electronic viewfinder drops resolution while the camera is continuously focusing

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Video

The Sony a7R IV is not meant to be as strong a video camera as some of the company's other models, but it's darn good - in fact, our time with it shows that it captures the best 4K footage out there among high-resolution rivals.

Pros:

  • Up-to 4K/30p capture
  • Good detail in 4K full-frame mode, even better in APS-C crop mode
  • Can configure separate button and Fn menu settings from video to stills
  • Good in-body image stabilization
  • Lots of capture tools, picture profiles and Log video
  • Real-time Tracking AF during video works well
  • Mic and headphone ports
  • Good battery life
  • Options to customize focus response and speed

Cons:

  • No 10-bit capture. HLG, while useful for high contrast scenes, doesn't conform to standards (so won't automatically trigger proper HDR modes on TVs/ YouTube)
  • Some users will prefer a more traditional articulating screen mechanism
  • Cannot switch over to video while the buffer is clearing
  • Exposure settings carry-over between stills and video, slowing down the switching process
  • Mode dial / lock mechanism makes it cumbersome to switch into movie mode

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