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A Match For Medium Format?
Sony A7R IV ₹2,99,990
Rohinton Mehta

Sony is unquestionably the leader in the full-frame mirrorless market and has a range of offerings. Its newest product, the high-resolution 61 MP Sony A7R IV camera was introduced in India on 20th September 2019. Currently, this is the highest resolution 35 mm Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera in the world. Smart Photography had an opportunity to put it on test.

Design & Build Quality

The A7R IV is a mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera. The body, with a superb hand-grip, appears very well made. It uses lightweight but sturdy magnesium alloy for its outer covers and internal frame, with enhanced weather sealing applied to the battery cover, terminal cover and all joints in the chassis. The media compartment lid has a double-sealed sliding mechanism to prevent moisture getting into it. The body weighs approximately 665 g with the battery and memory card. The A7R IV body is made in Thailand and comes with a three-year warranty.

Key Features

The Sony A7R IV is a full-frame 61 MP camera body backed by a new Back Side Illuminated (BSI) CMOS sensor. To match the high-resolution sensor, the A7R IV uses a high-speed BIONZ X image processing engine, that, in spite of the 61 MP, offers a maximum speed of 10 fps in burst mode. Sony claims that the A7R IV has a dynamic range of 15 stops along with a good control over digital noise, especially in the range up to ISO 32000. The high-dynamic range at lower ISOs deliver smoother transitions from shadows to highlights. The camera does not use an optical low-pass filter, and this too helps in capturing finer details (lowpass filters, while mitigating moire, also cause a slight drop in the image quality).

The shutter mechanism is tested for 500,000 activations and incorporates an internal damper to absorb the vibrations caused by the shutter movement. This ensures sharper images. The camera also offers an electronic shutter that completely does away with shutter vibrations. The A7R IV adds SteadyShot — a 5-axis, high-efficiency optical InBody Image Stabilisation (IBIS) that gets you a 5.5-stop advantage in equivalent shutter speed. This means that in spite of the very high resolution, you could get away with hand-held shooting at low shutter speeds and still achieve sharp images.

The A7R IV uses a touch screen with limited control; you can touch a subject on the screen to achieve autofocus, and the AF point can also be moved around. The camera utilises a Fast Hybrid AF System that combines phase-detection as well as contrast detection autofocus, even when shooting in low light (as low as minus 3 EV); the camera’s 567-point phase detection and 425-point contrast detection autofocus points cover 99.7-percent in height and 74-percent in width of the screen area. This ensures that the subject could be almost anywhere in the frame and yet be in proper focus. The camera offers the following Focus Modes: AF-S (Singleshot AF), AF-A (Automatic AF), AF-C (Continuous AF), DMF (Direct Manual Focus — allows you to fine-tune the focus manually after you have used autofocus), and MF (Manual Focus). The following Focus Area can be user selected: Wide, Zone, Centre, Flexible Spot, Expand Flexible Spot and Tracking.

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November 2019

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