Do you hear? It is the scream of a competition driven by the roller. Sony A7R IV - first impressions

61 megapixels. Super-fast autofocus. New, better housing. Sony A7R IV is a camera for everything, though ... not for everyone. I have spent some time with him and I have something to talk about.

There is nothing to repeat - Sony A7R IV is a real beast, and if you want to know the fullness of its majesty, I encourage you to read the premiere text of Marcin Połowianiuk . Here, however, we will focus on what can be read in the specification: on the impressions of using and translating all these numbers into photographs.

If we talk about pictures, it's like American youtube speakers say after lengthy introductions: without further dragging, let's get started .

Sony A7R IV reviews

Sony A7R IV is a monster. Dot.

I'm not saying this only in the context of the quality of the photographs being taken, because it literally tears from the slippers, but also about the size of the output files. For the scale: RAW with Sony A7III , equipped with a 24 Mpix matrix, it weighs on average below 50 MB. Uncompressed RAW with 61-megapixel Sony A7R III weighs up to 120-140 MB, while JPEG in full resolution takes about 30-40 MB of space on the memory card. The resulting files have a resolution of 9504 x 6336 PX, at which 6000 x 4000 from the 24-megapixel matrix suddenly appears to be a tiny picture.

How do these numbers translate into actual results? I had the opportunity to test the scenes prepared by Sony and the results are breathtaking. And remember, the following example photos are just lightweight JPEGs, because at the time of writing this article Lightroom has not yet supported .ARW files from the camera. All photos were exported to a resolution of 2000 x 1500 px.

The matrix with the resolution of 61 Mpix allows me to be convinced by performing the test crop. Here, for example, the eye of the model is so sharp that I can count her lashes without difficulty.

This photo, however, after cutting out the fragment, still had 2,500 px in width:

The bird is sharp, it's hard to know it's a crop. Meanwhile, the original photo looked ... yes:

For a camera with such a huge matrix, the Sony A7R IV surprises with its rate of fire. Thanks to the shutter speed at 10 fps, it is possible to catch shots such as when the assistant threw artificial ice into artificial whiskey (I emphasize that no liquor suffered during these photos):

This is of course only the first few "shots" from the new Sony camera, but it is clear that the possibilities of the new "erka" are overwhelming. Interestingly, more than twice the number of pixels relative to A7III did not translate into significantly higher noise. I would say that up to ISO 12800 the quality is fully acceptable. At the maximum native sensitivity (ISO 32000) the noise is visible, but the detail is left behind so that it is possible to upload such a file to the Internet.

Of course, another issue is how this noisy picture will look like after compression and export of the output file, but anyway - for a matrix with such a density of pixels, it is more than good.

During the presentation, we could also see printouts of photos taken on prepared scenes - it was easy to guess, they looked amazing.

We already know that Sony A7R IV makes fantastic photos. And what about the rest?

It's time to talk seriously about why the A7R IV is - at least in my opinion - a completely new hand for Sony.

I will be completely honest - I have not been a big fan of these cameras for a long time. For the second generation, I considered them almost unusable crap. Everything changed with the release of A7R III , which was a milestone in relation to its predecessors. He eliminated most of the ills, he filled most of the deficiencies. It was obvious that Sony listened to its users, listened to journalists and dutifully applied patches.

The same can be seen in Sony A7R IV, which finally - finally! - he grew up not only in order to compete with competitors in terms of the quality of workmanship and comfort of work, but even to dismantle it with a roller.

The biggest problem of the existing Sony corps was their ergonomics (or rather its puny level) and the quality of performance not matching the rest of the rate. Finally, we can say that the black days of Sony are behind us.

The Sony A7R IV is so well made that when I was in the hands of the Sony A7III in parallel , I felt like I was holding some Chinese counterfeit in my hands. I am exaggerating a bit, of course, but I want to give a good impression that the difference in the quality of workmanship is colossal. Only the difference in the comfort of work is bigger.

I have been testing the Sony A7III for several days with the 24-70 f / 2.8 G-Master lens and I will not pretend, a convenient set is not. The grip of existing Sony cameras was too shallow, the buttons too tight, the joystick to change the focus points was not very responsive and a bit too small.

The new "erka" changes everything. The grip is extremely comfortable; deeper, wider. Sony with one product jumped from the very bottom of the stakes on her forehead, presenting the camera that fits perfectly in the hand, even when we pair it with a large lens, like 24-70 f / 2.8 or 135 mm f / 1.8, which I had the pleasure to photograph during the presentation.

The buttons do not seem cheap and plastic at the end, but they have the right pitch and are properly spaced. The new joystick is fantastic and really makes it quick and precise to choose the AF area.

I also love the new shutter release, which is additionally suppressed in the A7R IV to offset the chance of moving the photo. This, however, affects not only the quality of photography, but also the pleasure of pressing the trigger - the shutter is quieter, has a more pleasant sound and a clearer jump. Another change in plus .

The new digital viewfinder is also a big leap forward. The predecessor was already quite good, with a viewfinder with a resolution of 3.69M points. The new OLED has a resolution of 5.76M points and it can be seen at a glance. The picture is crystal clear, and the digital viewfinder was much more enjoyable than the Sony A7III, where the viewfinder is OK. The A7R IV is excellent.

Sony A7R IV is also extremely responsive. This is the Sony A9 level, not the previous A7R III or A7III. A7III placed next to the new "erka" seems almost lethargic and lethargic. In the new Sony camera everything takes place immediately, you can not even hear the distant echo of old responsiveness problems.

And finally slots for memory cards are two UHS-II sockets, in addition placed in a logical order. It's hard to believe, but until today in Sony cameras for some reason, the bottom slot was slot number 1, and the top slot number 2. Now it's the other way round, which is the way it should be.

The only downside I can give here is a little too shallow pin blocking the camera mode dial - it was not easy to push it to change the operating mode, but I would probably get used to it quickly. Subjectively, I still do not like the huge and complicated Sony menu system, but again ... you can probably get used to it too, but not so fast.

To sum up: from the side of the quality of performance and improvements, the Sony A7R IV corps deserves the highest possible rating. It is as much a qualitative leap as between the second and third generations of "erek". Maybe not a revolution, but a rapid evolution in the right direction.

With the beasts, it happens that it is difficult to subdue them.

The above praise does not mean that Sony A7R IV is a perfect camera in every respect. First of all, it was too early for such radical evaluations, and secondly, during the short time with the camera I noticed a few issues, through which some may not look at the A7R IV favorably.

The first issue is autofocus, or rather the ease with which you can interrupt it. The new system, having 567 fields covering 74 percent. the frame is fantastic. Apart from the delicate Eye AF problems, while the model had hair on her face or put on half glasses, the Sony A7R IV sets the focus virtually flawlessly.

The problem is that even the best AF system with such a huge resolution requires an extremely reliable hand, especially in combination with lenses with a long focal length, like 135 mm f / 1.8.

All it takes is a slight movement, a sudden movement in the frame, a wind blowing the flower on which the bee is sitting, and instead of razor sharpness, we get only well-hewn soap. Do not get it wrong, with 61 Mpix even a slightly coarse picture still looks sharp, if we watch them without zooming in. But when you look closely, you can see that the picture is not as sharp as we would like.

I am daring to say that the Sony A7R IV requires a very reliable hand and - like any beast - long-lasting training to control. I am sure that having spent more time with the new camera of the Japanese and delving into the meanders of the AF system settings, it is possible to control this lack of stability. Thus, the A7R IV is not the same "fool-proof" camera as the A7III, which perfectly sharp images can be made blindly. No, A7R IV requires a lot of skill from the photographer.

Unfortunately, this also leads to issue No. 2, that is, to the five-axis stabilization of the matrix, which in this model is clearly worse than in models with smaller matrices. You can see it with the naked eye both when taking pictures, where stabilization does not compensate for vibrations sufficiently, and in the video, which attempts to record "offhand" ended with a rather jerky, unpleasant picture.

However, I did not have a chance to check it out exactly, so I will temporarily withhold my opinion. Who knows, maybe stabilization in video will perform better in Super 35 mode than in FF mode, which I quickly tested to check the quality of eye detection in video. As predicted - Eye AF in the video is doing sensational. It is a pity that the stabilization of the matrix does not keep up.

Issue No. 3 is the power you need to tame the beast. Computing power, specifically. Already testing the Sony A7R III, I learned that processing RAWs weighing 100 MB is not a piece of cake. Here you need a large team of digital ponies to talk about any smooth work. Unfortunately, even editing JPEGs for the first impressions I saw that the ultrabook with low-voltage processor and 8 GB of RAM is completely unsuitable, especially in tandem with Lightroom.

To work with files smoothly, we need a computer with significant computing power.

And yet we are talking only about RAW files! How much power will it need generated from such a file and processed by TIFF? And the result file from the new Pixel Shift mode, which size is up to 240 Mpix? We will get to know concrete data only during the tests, closer to the camera's premiere of the camera, but I am afraid that many photographers will have to exchange computers at the same time to replace their current camera on the A7R IV.

Sony A7R IV is a camera that can do anything, but it is not for everyone.

Sony has no other such a universal product in its extensive portfolio of Sony cameras. Even the notorious A9 gives way to the new family member in many fields.

Who is Sony A7R IV for? Of course, first for studio, fashion, portrait, and landscape photographers. A7R IV will surely find its place in advertising photography, from where - I suspect - it can put a lot of medium format cameras (I look at you, Fujifilm!). Sony also aims at photographers taking pictures of architecture, but at the same time looks at nature photographers, who certainly not only enjoy fast and accurate AF, 10 FPS and a huge matrix, but also high resolution in APS-C mode (26 megapixels), which allows you to gain an additional range while hunting for wild animals with a single button.

And without a doubt the Sony A7R IV is not a camera for the average Kowalski. Not only because of the skills required for its taming, but also simply for the sake of the price - 17500 PLN is the amount to swallow for the professional, but for the enthusiast / hobbyist can be an unstoppable barrier.

And even among professionals there will be those who should not reach after the A7R IV. This is not an ideal choice for sport photographers, not only because of the poorer rate of fire from A9, but also because of the huge size of files and the lack of a network connection that professionals use at top level events.

This is not an ideal choice for event or wedding photographers, where in addition to taking photographs, they also need to be prepared as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the huge size of files and the computational power needed to control them is not conducive to fast field work.

It does not change the fact that the Sony A7R IV is - so far - the most complete camera that came out of the hands of Japanese engineers. This equipment can do everything, even if in some aspects it works better, and in others worse. There is probably no single field in which the A7R IV would not cope with some degree.

Add to this a new, excellent body, the same great battery as in other full-frame mirrorless company and finally a complete range of glasses, and we have a serious pretender to be the king of the photo jungle.

Of course, only the time and opinions of professionals will show whether this initial enthusiasm persists for a long time or whether it quickly evaporates with the vapors of everyday work.

So far, however, one thing must be said: Sony has so much jumped out of the competition when it comes to the quality and the capabilities of its cameras, that you can even suspect the company of bullying the weaker. Swept.

Do you hear? It is the scream of a competition driven by the roller. Sony A7R IV - first impressions


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