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Sony a7R IV

Introduction

  • 61mp full frame camera with IBIS
  • announced July 2019, coming Sept 2019
  • it's primary target are professional still photographers wanting high resolution images who will not mind the significant post-processing and storage issues of the very large files
  • although the 4K 30p and 1080 120p video is good,especially with AF tracking and the IBIS, the video features will not be exciting videographers and it does tend to overheat in video mode in warm conditions which will lock out the camera
  • some hidden new features not available on the a7III or a7RIII:
    • AF tracking so good that you should probably consider leaving AF mode in AF-C and consider using the Tracking Expand Flexible Spot (optionally set Touch Pad to allow setting the subject to track)
    • set a button to bring up the custom My Dial feature which allows you to change function of the 3 main dials instantly (once these have been set in the Menu)
    • can set the AF frame color to make it more visible eg red or white (previously only had grey which was hard to see)
    • can now change video file name custom title to give unique file names for each camera which reduces risk of same file names
    • can save all your settings to SD card and then re-load them at any time - unfortunately you can't name them but they are dated and time stamped - these then could be transferred to another a7RIV camera by moving the SD card over and loading them.
    • even with camera turned off, the Sony app on your iPad or similar can wake it up and display images on your camera and then you can select which ones to transfer to iPad then use your app to turn camera off again - all without touching your camera!
    • can now FTP tether to a remote FTP server via iPad (assuming iPad is connected to the internet)
    • can FTP tether to iPad as a FTP server - see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyfdusGrWK4
    • can upload IPTC information from a SD card and then have this written into each image taken

Brief spec comparisons

Sony a7RIII Sony a7R IV Sony a9
sensor 42mp 61mp (26mp APS-C mode) 24mp
PDAF points 399 567 693
PDAF coverage 68% 87% (100% in APS-C) 93%
CDAF points 425 425 425
AF tracking with Canon lenses variable better than a7RIII much better
Buffer depth compressed RAW 76 shots 68 shots 241 shots
Buffer depth extra fine jpeg 76 68 (204 in APS-C mode) 362
burst rate 10fps 10fps (compressed RAW or APS-C) 6fps uncompressed RAW 20fps (5fps mechanical)
blackout-free burst No No Yes
EVF 3.69mdot OLED 5.76mdot 3.69mdot OLED
USB 3.1 USB-C charging, 2x speed of a7RIII
SD card slots one UHS-II, one UHS-I dual UHS-II one UHS-II, one UHS-I
4K 24/30p video full frame width, no pixel binning or Super35 binned full frame or 1.6-1.8x crop Super35 crop full frame width, no pixel binning
rolling shutter poor poor minimal

Specs

  • 61mp back-illuminated Exmor R™ CMOS image sensor
  • 26.2mp APS-C crop mode has 21 sec burst at 10fps and 325 PDAF which cover almost the entire area
  • 15 stop dynamic range stills and 14 stops for video;
  • 10fps with C-AF for 7 secs;
  • improved shutter
  • 567 PDAF covering 74% frame + 425 CDAF
  • advanced Real-time Tracking plus Real-time Eye AF for still image recording
  • new 'Focus Priority' mode tells camera to acquire AF at wide open aperture at a cost of increased shutter lag
  • 5.5EV IBIS;
  • 5.76mdot EVF with 60 or 120fps refresh rate (the latter has lower resolution) - similar to the Panasonic S1/S1R
  • still has a tilting LCD not swivel
  • anti-flicker mode
  • 16 shot (4 cycles of 4 shots) HiRes mode 240mp images from a 960mp output using Sony’s “Imaging Edge™” desktop application
  • 4 shot Bayer-cancelling “HiRes” mode as in the A7RIII
  • upgraded grip and weathersealing especially around the battery and card doors which has been problematic on earlier models
  • bracketing modes
    • accessed via the Drive function
    • single or continue exposure bracket at 0.3/0.5/0.7/1.0EV for 3/5/7/9 frames or 2.0/3.0EV for 3 or 5 frames
    • WB Lo or Hi
    • DRO Lo or Hi
    • no focus bracketing and no focus stacking
  • 4K video
    • can choose 60mbps or 100mbps bit rates and either 24/25/30p in XAVC S format
    • 100Mbps bit rates require a U3 SDHC/XC card or faster, other bit rates require a U1 SDHC/XC card or faster
    • when APS-C/Super35 is set to Auto, then crop mode is used without pixel binning:
      • if select 24/25p then uses a 1.6x crop factor
      • if select 30p then uses a 1.8x crop factor
    • when APS-C/Super35 is set to OFF, full width binned video is used
  • S-Log3, HDR workflow support
  • 8 bit 4:2:0 internal recording and output over HDMI
  • 1080HD video from 1p up to 100p (4x slo mo if PAL) and up to 120p (5x slo mo if NTSC) using in XAVC S format
  • AVCHD is available for 1080 50i/60i modes at 17 and 24Mbps bit rates
  • Touch AF Tracking functionality during movie shooting
  • Real-time Eye AF for movie recording
  • Multi Interface Shoe™ with new digital audio interface delivers the high-quality sound recording with Sony’s new microphone and XLR microphone adaptor
  • Dual UHS-II SD card slots
  • USB-C charging and almost doubled data transfer speed achieved in combination with Sony’s Imaging Edge software (compared to the Alpha 7R III)
  • 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi
  • $US3500
  • optional VG-C4EM vertical grip $US400 holds two NP-FZ100 batteries
  • optional Multi Battery Adaptor (NPA-MQZ1K) can hold up to four Z batteries
  • optional new ECM-B1M shotgun microphone $US350 that features a built-in Analog to Digital converter, and the brand new multi-interface hot shoe found only on the Sony a7R IV
  • optional new XLR microphone adapter kit (XLR-K3M) $US600

issues

  • you need the highest quality lenses to actually utilise this resolution, to date there are probably only a handful, and they are generally large, heavy and expensive - see https://sonyalpha.blog/2019/11/10/which-lenses-to-maximise-the-potential-of-the-sony-a7riv/
  • poor video specs compared with peers and likely to have much more rolling shutter than the Sony a9 full frame mirrorless camera or the latest cropped sensor cameras
  • pixel density is now approaching Micro Four Thirds system levels this has ramifications for diffraction limitation at smaller apertures
  • very large file sizes means storage issues and very slow and frustrating post-processing
    • uncompressed RAW = 124Mb!
    • compressed lossy RAW = 62Mb when this is opened in Affinity Photo and saved as an Affinity format to keep your edits with ONLY ONE LAYER you hit around 450MB that is almost half a Gb per edited image and you haven't even started doing layers!!
    • 16 shot 240mp HiRes image = 2Gb!
  • Sony compressed RAW loses image quality
    • apparently uses a 12bit sensor readout instead of 14 bit (this also allows 10fps burst instead of only 6fps burst and one probably only benefits from 14bit data when shooting at base ISO)
    • apparently then applies a compression tone curve to get to an 11bit space and a further lossy mapping process which not only reduced dynamic range but also can add artifacts around high contrast edges in particular thanks to the use of 16-pixel blocks 1)
    • you can though use a desktop file compression app to substantially reduce file size, or you can convert to apparently lossless compressed DNG format on your computer.
  • each image takes about 1 sec to save to the memory card, so your 6secs of 10fps burst will mean 60 secs of writing them to the card and that is likely to mean the camera is not operational until it completes this
  • at the cost of this large file size, you are not even going to get that 61mp detail if you shoot with older lenses, you have camera shake or you shoot at higher ISO
  • no lossless RAW compression
  • no ability to use a lower resolution mode without resorting to cropping
  • to get 10fps RAW burst you need to shoot in compressed RAW, or you can shoot in uncompressed RAW at APS-C crop mode
  • menu has not been improved
  • tilting LCD not swivel and the touch screen functionality is still very limited
  • PDAF does not cover the full sensor (except in APS-C mode)but much better than a7RIII
  • no electronic faster burst modes - this is probably due to slow sensor readout and significant rolling shutter
  • still “eats” stars due to spatial filtering as with the Sony a7R III full frame mirrorless camera and Sony a7 III full frame mirrorless camera - see https://blog.kasson.com/a7riv/sony-a7riv-raw-spectra-vs-shutter-speed/, but it is probably not a big enough issue unless you are shooting for science in which case you probably should be using a dedicated cooled camera anyway

firmware updates

  • version 1.10
    • Dec 2019
    • Enables use of “My Menu” to save or load custom camera settings
    • Adds the “External Flash Set” function to allow to configure the settings of an attached flash or wireless radio commander directly from the camera.
    • Improves the overall stability of the camera

HiRes mode

Reviews

photo/sonya7riv.txt · Last modified: 2020/01/29 23:42 by gary1