Last month, Sony announced the newest addition to it’s alpha series of cameras, the Sony a7R IV. With the a7R IV available very soon, in September 2019, we are running down the new features compared to its trusty predecessor, the a7R III.
If you’re deciding between these cameras or thinking about upgrading to the latest in Sony’s alpha series, here are some of the key upgrades over the previous version and what they mean for you.
Upgrades to the Sony a7R IV vs. the Sony a7R III
One of the really big differences in the specs between the Sony a7R III and the new Sony a7R IV is a nearly 19 megapixel increase in sensor resolution. From the III’s 42.4 MP the IV now boasts 61 MP—that’s almost a 50% increase! You may be asking yourself: do I really need that many megapixels? Some would say no, but there are benefits.
For the average photographer, the truth is you may not see a huge difference with this boost in megapixels between these cameras. That said, for those photographers who are planning to print or otherwise display their photos very large (ie on a billboard), especially if you will need to crop in on the photo considerably, this change can make a huge difference in the quality.
You can see a small increase in sharpness comparison video from Tony and Chelsea Northrup:
The Sony a7R IV boasts a .3 increase in dynamic range from 14.7 Stops to 15 Stops. This isn’t a significant increase in the dynamic range from the a7R III to the IV, but it will give you better results in your low light photography. The increase in dynamic range combined with a low ISO and the increase in sensor resolution will give you less noisy photos in low light situations. It’s not a huge improvement from the III to the IV but it can make a real difference for those who need to take quality low light photos.
Sony is known for its auto focus capabilities, and the a7R III auto focus system is already well loved. But tThe Auto Focus on the a7R IV also boasts a big bump in specs adding 168 AF points to the III’s 399 AF points, making for 567 focal-plane phase detection AF points for even more accurate auto focus.
The Camera Store’s Hands on with the Sony a7R IV:
Full Frame cameras like the a7R III and a7R IV come with a cropped mode for photos you take with lenses built for cameras with smaller APS-C sensors. This means you’ll be using less of the sensor, because the lens can’t cover the whole sensor. With the increased sensor resolution of the a7R IV, though, you won’t be losing as much resolution.
When you’re putting your E-Mount or other lenses made for APS-C sensors you’ll still be getting the advantage of the higher resolution sensor with 26.2 MP in the a7R IV’s crop mode versus the 18 MP of the a7R III. In addition to that even with the reduced resolution of the images in APS-C mode you’ll still be able to take advantage of the 567 AF points on the sensor mentioned above giving you better auto focus results even with these cropped images and lower resolution.
Kai W’s Hands-On First impressions of the Sony a7R IV:
The a7R IV’s electronic viewfinder also boasts an improvement with a new 5.76 million dot UXGA OLED display compared to the a7R III’s 3.6 million dot OLED display. With nearly double the display resolution, you should see an improvement in image clarity when using the electronic viewfinder. This is a feature we’re excited about.
In addition to the image improvements, there are some adjustments to the body of the a7R IV over the a7R III based on feedback from the community. The IV has a slightly larger grip so you’ll be able to keep a better hold of it. Some buttons have moved for easier access while shooting. Importantly, the a7R IV has an improved battery compartment door to solve the weakness in the III that some users experienced when that camera was exposed to water.
Should I Upgrade from the a7R III to the a7R IV?
Looking at all the specs of a shiny new camera about to come on the market can make one wonder if the one in their camera bag right now isn’t good enough anymore. The truth is that while there are some really great upgrades in the a7R IV, in practical terms you won’t experience a quantum leap in your images when upgrading from the a7R III. If you’re looking to upgrade from an earlier model.
In the end the differences between the a7R III and the IV are not huge for the average photographer. The new a7R IV sees increases in resolution and dynamic range that can give modest improvements to your low light photography. Improvements in the sensor resolution and auto focus also translate to better results when using lenses designed for smaller sensors and using the camera’s cropped mode. Body and viewfinder improvements to the IV in response to community feedback should give photographers a slightly improved experience when handling the camera as well.
The Sony alpha series of cameras has been one of the most popular series of cameras among the KitSplitter community—we have dozens of them for rent on KitSplit! And the KitSplit community has shown consistently that they love to get rent out the latest new cameras and gear from their peers. So, if you’re looking for a camera that can pay itself off and then make you some cash on the side when you’re not using it, getting the a7R IV will likely be a good investment.
- First Impressions of the Sony a7R IV on PetaPixel
- Tony & Chelsea Northrup’s a7R IV vs. a7R III Comparison
- Phillip Bloom’s Sony a7R IV hands on for video
Did you find what you were looking for? Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter to get resources and articles like this one delivered to your inbox every week!