The Sony a7r IV has been announced, and it looks like a really awesome camera. Unfortunately, I cannot afford one for a long time but I want to buy one and ideally keep the Sony a7rII as a backup camera. If I could get one before I fly to Canada next year, that would be awesome.
I’m doing a bit of a Sony a7r IV vs Sony a7rII comparison for myself because that’s what I’m interested in; I figure I’d share my findings with you :).
Sony a7r IV:
- 61 Megapixels
- Shoots 10 FPS
- 15 Stops of Dynamic Range
Improved low light performance
- The sensor is ever so slightly smaller at 35.7×23.8mm vs 35.9 x 24.0mm in the Sony a7rII
- Eye-autofocus, video and stills and lots of focus improvements
- Viewfinder; UXGA (1600 x 1200px) OLED; 5 760 000 dots, approx. 0.78 x magnification
- LCD; 7.5cm (3.0-type) type TFT; 1,440,000 dots; touch screen
- Playmemories Camera Apps™ – No
- Weight; Approx. 665g / 1lb 7.5oz (with battery and media)
- Dimensions (W X H X D); approx. 128.9 x 96.4 x 77.5mm. Approx. 128.9 x 96.4 x 67.3mm (from grip to monitor)
- Better sealing
- Dual Card Slots
- 42.4 Megapixels
- Shoots 5 FPS
- Type Tilt type 2.95″ (3.0-type) TFT drive, approx. 1,228,800 dots
- Viewfinder; XGA (1024 x 768px) OLED; 2 359 296 dots, approx. 0.78 x magnification
- LCD; 3.0″ type TFT LCD; 1,228,800 dots
- Playmemories Camera Apps™ – Yes
- Weight; 582g (Body Only) / 625g (With battery and media)
- Dimensions (W X H X D); approx. 126.9 x 95.7 x 60.3 mm
- Single Card Slots
I’m going to start with the main things that affect me in real world use. I appreciate the improved viewfinder, sealing against moisture, etc. Together, these make up a pretty massive upgrade for me. The frames per second, I genuinely might make use of when I photograph bears next year. It’s never been of importance to me so far but then again, I haven’t done much photography involving moving subjects.
I’ve been backing up my photographs using my phone, but I appreciate the dual card slots.
The little button on top of the exposure compensation dial scared the crap out of me. I thought, oh no, now I cannot move it without contorting my hand in some weird way, to press this button down. It’s actually a toggle switch, so you press it and it’s locked, press it again and it’s unlocked or vice versa. If you don’t like it, just leave it unlocked.
The grip looks more comfortable but I’m not 100% sure how it will be. I have huge hands. I’ll wait and see…
The sensor looks to be better in every regard. There is one caveat with this, but I will talk about that in the complaint section of this article. From what I can make out so far, from specifications and whatnot, you’re not getting extra megapixels at the cost of low light performance or something like that. I find more megapixels helps for fancy edits, plus noise is actually reduced when you down-sample, due to the signal to noise ratio.
I’m going to congratulate Sony for not including a pop-up flash or something. I know it’s expected, but there are people who craze for this feature. In my opinion, remember, if you see a little bulb, there also has to be a capacitor to power it.
I might genuinely make use of the video features this time around. I’m pretty clueless with video, but it being able to record great videos in automatic mode makes me happy, haha.
Complaints with the Sony a7r IV
I’m starting to wonder about my own personality, because after watching all of the Sony a7r IV related videos on YouTube, I thought of a few gripes with the camera. But let’s be real here, it’s a £3,500 camera and if you’re not satisfied with it but you’re tied into Sony, you’re semi-stuffed (that goes for all brands).
I noticed in the videos people are asking about the dial on top on the camera. This I found, really, really weird. Do reviewers not use their cameras much then? It’s just the same dial as before but put on top of the frame. Personally I think it looks worse; however, maybe it’s allowed for superior sealing, easier replacement if it breaks or more space in the body. Who knows. At the moment, it’s more caution rather than a negative for me.
The bump in megapixels is nice; I’m always in favour of technical advancements. However, I would like to see an mRAW function and it is not in the menus. Alternatively, a LOSSLESS compressed raw. I know Sony has LOSSY compressed; but true lossless should not impact the data. If you don’t understand the code and whatnot, consider it like a rar file.
The top left side of the camera is unused but the top right is basically cramped. The PASM dial cannot be user defined to something else nor can the exposure compensation dial. Personally I would have liked to see the PASM and exposure compensation dial user customisable, and an OLED on the top left of the frame. You might even be able to remove one of the dials but have the same functionality, with an OLED. Failing that, do what the Sony a9 does and have a dial on the top left.
Lastly, the menu-interface… I know some devout Sony fans will argue (I’ve seen it on dpreview, lol) I’ve never used a Sony camera (I’ve had the Sony a7rII two days before it officially hit the shops, I believe), I’m just not used to it or whatnot… but damn it’s bad. To switch picture profiles, enable APS-C mode for video, etc. etc. requires unnecessary button pushes. They still haven’t separated a lot of the stills functions from video! And if you’re like me and you want to dabble in video but you don’t want to keep changing settings around, it’s a nuisance.
The labelling on my Sony a7rII reminds me of going into a shop, and the aisle that says “milk” has eggs. You’ll get used to it. You’ll remember it even, but it truly doesn’t make any sense.
I would have liked to have seen a much improved user-interface and a touch screen to flick through the menu better. I believe they can still implement it. I’d probably code it for free if they let me.
I can put up with the menu problems, the cramped top might not be a problem in real world use and storage is getting cheaper. I will feel a bit more assured climbing mountains with a more sealed camera, and I find the improvements important to me. I truly think that it looks like an amazing camera but I think Sony got a little lazy too! It’s great though and it looks like it’s almost perfect for me :).