Sony just announced the 4th generation of the high resolution A7R Full Frame mirrorless camera retailing for $3498 US. This Sony A7R IV is packing a Full Frame 61MP Exmor R Sensor with has 15-stops of dynamic range, and 567 phase-detection AF points embedded. It’s also capable of shooting 10 frames per second for up to 68 consecutive frames while maintaining AF tracking and auto exposure. Sony also upgraded the OLED viewfinder to a 5.76M-dot resolution unit for incredible clarity.
This resolution and ability to track moving subjects at 10fps is nothing short of incredible. Ideal for advanced portrait shooters and landscape photographers in particular, but if sports shooters are looking for crazy resolution, the A7r IV will also work for that as well. The A7r IV is basically a medium format resolution camera killer if resolution and af speed are what you are after.
More camera body refinements were made with increased weather sealing, larger dials, locks, and new buttons for better feel and ease of use. In addition the grip was significantly enhanced for better ergonomics. The default shutter dial was also moved to the top of the camera next to the now locking exposure comp dial. Both memory card slots are now the faster UHS-II format as well.
The A7R IV also features full time autofocus tracking w/ Eye-AF for both humans and animals while shooting photos and now video recording. This is huge for videographers!!
That is basically the meat of the upgrades, but there are a lot more little things that Sony changed as well, and you can learn about that in the initial reviews from the Sony press event, key features list below, and the full overview below.
Sony A7r IV – Key Features:
61MP Full-Frame Exmor R BSI CMOS Sensor
Max Resolution = 9504 x 6336
BIONZ X Image Processor & Front-End LSI
567-Point Phase-Detection AF System
Real time focus tracking
5.76M-dot resolution OLED @ 60hz, Less than 5.76M-dot @ 120Hz
10fps up to 68 consecutive shots
15-stop dynamic range
New Pixel-Shift Technology = 240MP Image
Silent shooting mode – Has significant rolling shutter unlike A9
UHD 4K30p Video with HLG & S-Log3 Gammas
Real time tracking and Eye-AF with Video
Improved weather sealing
Dramatically Improved Ergonomics (Grip in particular)
New larger rear thumb toggle
Better on and off switch
Port doors are also much improved
Interval shooting function – Time-lapse photography
Exposure comp dial now has a toggle lock button
Default Shutter dial now on top of camera
Dual UHS-II Format SD Card Slots
Memory Card door now slides back to open like DSLR’s
530 shots per charge with the EVF or 670 shots with the rear LCD
Moving to an even higher resolution realm, the Sony Alpha a7R IV continues the noteworthy series of highly capable full-frame cameras, characterized by impressive stills and video performance and versatility. This fourth edition of the a7R sees the inclusion of an updated 61MP Exmor R BSI CMOS sensor and enhanced BIONZ X image processor, which afford impressive imaging results with marked smoothness, a 15-stop dynamic range, and, of course, speed. Up to 10 fps shooting is possible along with the ability to record UHD 4K30 video, both with support for Real-time Eye AF and Tracking AF technologies. The revised sensor design uses a Fast Hybrid AF System, with 567 phase-detection autofocus points, for notably fast and accurate focusing performance. Despite being such a high-resolution sensor, it is also distinguished by its flexible native sensitivity range from ISO 100-32000 for working in a variety of lighting conditions. Additionally, benefitting both stills and video operation, the a7R IV retains the 5-axis SteadyShot INSIDE sensor-shift image stabilization, which is effective to minimize the appearance of camera shake by up to 5.5 stops.
Balancing the imaging merits, the a7R IV also sees an updated physical design with more robust weather sealing to suit working in especially harsh weather conditions. In terms of usability, the OLED electronic viewfinder has been boosted to an impressive 5.76m-dot resolution for clear viewing and the 3.0″ rear tilting touchscreen LCD has a high 1.44m-dot resolution for crisp playback, live view shooting, and menu navigation. Dual SD card slots are both UHS-II-rated for faster performance and the inclusion of a USB Type-C port permits tethering and quick in-camera battery charging. Additionally, built-in Bluetooth and both 2.4 and 5 GHz Wi-Fi bands afford wireless transferring and remote camera control from linked mobile devices.
61MP Exmor R BSI CMOS Sensor and BIONZ X Image Processor
Featuring a back-illuminated design, the full-frame 61MP Exmor R CMOS sensor works with the BIONZ X image processor to offer impressively high-resolution stills and video while minimizing noise, improving speed, and achieving a wide 15-stop dynamic range. This sensor structure works with gapless on-chip lens design and an anti-reflection coating, as well as eliminating the optical low-pass filter, to improve light collection and enhance detail. Also, the copper wiring layer dramatically improves data transmission speed for creating 14-bit, high-resolution 61MP stills with a native sensitivity range from ISO 100-32000, which can be further expanded to ISO 50-102400. Also, it enables internal UHD 4K video recording with a wide 14-stop dynamic range using either the full width of the full-frame sensor or an APS-C-sized area. The BIONZ X processor also works in conjunction with a high-speed front-end LSI to realize faster processing times along with the ability to capture this impressive 15-stop dynamic range with smooth tonal rendering.
The sensor and processor combination also avails fast continuous shooting at up to 10 fps at full resolution, for up to 68 consecutive frames, with full-time AF/AE.
Fast Hybrid AF System
An updated Fast Hybrid AF system now employs a combination of 567 phase-detection points, which cover approximately 99.7% of the height and 74% of the width of the frame, along with 425 contrast-detection areas for reliable and quick autofocus and subject tracking performance. This focusing system also achieves especially quick speed and reliable tracking, as well as enhanced low-light focusing response down to -3 EV. The use of phase-detection points also enables the use of A-mount lenses via the optional LA-EA3 or LA-EA1 lens mount adapters with full continuous AF/AE tracking compatibility.
The apt focus system also lends itself to a variety of focusing functions for refined accuracy, including Lock-on AF, which maintains focus on moving subjects throughout the use of a configurable frame that is set over the desired moving subject, and Expand Flexible Spot, which employs neighboring focus points to retain focus on moving subjects even if the originally selected point loses focus. Additionally, Eye AF can be used to base focus on recognized human and animal subjects’ eyes for portraits and is available in both AF-S and AF-C modes, for both stills and video. Autofocus can also be used in conjunction with the Focus Magnifier function for critical focus when homing in on minute subject details. The rear touchscreen can also be used for Touch Focus control, and a Touchpad Focus Control mode lets you use the rear screen intuitively while keeping your eye to the viewfinder.
Body Design and Built-In Wi-Fi/Bluetooth
An updated UXGA OLED Tru-Finder EVF is featured and has a 5.76m-dot resolution for bright, clear viewing in rich detail, and a dedicated High quality setting enables a 120 fps refresh rate for especially smooth playback of moving subjects.
In addition to the EVF, a 3.0″ 1.44m-dot rear LCD is also available, which has a touch panel design for intuitive operation and focusing control. The screen also tilts upward 107° and downward 41° to benefit working from high and low angles.
Magnesium alloy chassis assures rigidity, durability, and stability while remaining lightweight. The lens mount has also been improved to better support heavy lenses and the grip rigidity has been improved for more comfortable hand-holding.
Extensive weather-sealing, including enhanced sealing around the battery cover, terminal cover, and chassis joints, has been employed to resist dust and moisture for reliable operation in harsh weather conditions.
Using the same NP-FZ100 battery as its predecessor, the a7R IV’s battery life is rated for approximately 530 shots per charge with the EVF or 670 shots with the rear LCD.
Dual SD memory card slots allow for flexible file saving and handling and can be configured to partition raw and JPEG files or can be used for overflow recording. Both of the card slots are rated to support UHS-II memory cards for faster transfer speeds.
Integrated PC sync terminal for wired flash sync with strobe packs or wireless radio remotes.
A USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C port has been added, in addition to a micro-USB port, for faster, more reliable tethering support. The USB Type-C connection allows the camera to be charged from the host power source while connected.
Updated Multi Interface Shoe supports working with the optional ECM-B1M Shotgun Microphone or XLR-K3M XLR Adapter Kit, which provide improved, clear audio recording sound by sending a digital audio signal to the camera, opposed to an analog signal.
The a7R IV also features a 3.5mm microphone input jack for compatibility with external microphones.
Built-in Wi-Fi enables the a7R IV to instantly share imagery to mobile devices for direct sharing online to social networking, via email, and to cloud storage sites. Support for both 2.4 and 5.0 GHz bands also enables wireless tethered shooting support. NFC (Near Field Communication) is also supported, which allows for one-touch connection between the camera and compatible mobile devices; no complex set-up is required. Once connected, the linked mobile device can also display a live view image on its screen and remotely control the camera’s shutter.
Bluetooth connectivity allows for location data acquisition.
Additional Video Features
Support for HDR Content:
Affording extensive customizable color and gamma controls, the a7R IV allows users to adjust the gamma, black level, knee, color level, and more. Also, users can use the same S-Log2 Gamma Curve that is found on high-end Sony Cinema cameras that squeezes up to 1300% more dynamic range into the video signal then traditional REC709, for increased post-production flexibility. HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) support is also available, along with the BT.2020 color space, for recording within a wide color gamut and, in addition to S-Log2, S-Log3 is also available for producing an effective 14-stop dynamic range with increased grading control in the shadow to mid-tone regions of the image.
Slow & Quick Motion:
Take more control over your video capture capabilities with a variety of new frame rates available in an S&Q mode. This will allow shooters to capture Full HD video at one of either steps between 1-120 fps. These settings will allow you to slow down action as well as speed up a slow-moving scene. This setting is also NTSC/PAL switchable.
Enhanced Zebra Function:
An enhanced Zebra function is ideally suited to aid in monitoring exposure values in high-contrast scenes. Video signal level targets can be set from 0 to 109, and specific ranges can be set to make exposure level adjustments easier.
Time Code and User Bit Settings:
A time code can be used to record hours, minutes, seconds, frames on image data for more precise editing while the User Bit function can record date, time, and scene number to aid in editing together footage from multiple cameras.
UHD 4K movies and lower-resolution proxy movies can be simultaneously recorded. The smaller proxy files are ideal for quick previewing or pre-editing that can reduce the time required for final 4K editing.
Other Camera Features
A Ratings function lets you assign star values, from 1-5, to images in-camera for faster editing and sorting at home during post-production.
An advanced 1200-zone evaluative exposure metering sensor delivers consistent and accurate results using multi-segment, center-weighted, or spot metering modes.
Highlight and Average metering modes helps avoid blown-out highlights and provide stable auto-exposure, respectively.
Anti-flicker shooting automatically recognizes and times the shutter action to minimize the flicker effect for more consistent results on still images.
Picture Effect modes: Posterization (Color), Posterization (B/W), Pop Color, Retro Photo, Partial Color (R/G/B/Y), High Contrast Monochrome, Toy Camera (Normal/Cool/Warm/Green/Magenta), and Soft High-Key.
Creative Style modes: Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Clear, Deep, Light, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset, Night Scene, Autumn leaves, Black & White, Sepia, Style Box (1-6), (Contrast (-3 to +3 steps), Saturation (-3 to +3 steps), Sharpness (-3 to +3 steps).
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