Interesting interview by Nikkei Business with Mr. Shigeki Ishizuka, a former Sony digital camera developer.…
Sony just announced the Sony Alpha 7R IV. Is the Sony Alpha 7R IV the new reference for the competition?
Sony Introduces High-Resolution Alpha 7R IV Camera with World’s First 61.0 MP Back-illuminated Full-frame Image Sensor
• 15-stop[iii] dynamic range at low sensitivities, resulting in smooth natural gradations ranging from deep shadows to highlights
• High-speed continuous shooting at up to 10 fps[iv] with full AF / AE tracking for approx. 7 seconds[v]in full-frame mode with an increased buffer memory, and approximately three times more in APS-C mode
• 567 focal-plane phase-detection AF points covering 74% of image area and 425 contrast AF points
• Features an APS-C crop mode delivering stunning high resolution of 26.2MPii
• 5.76 million dot UXGA (Ultra-XGA) OLED Tru-Finder™ electric viewfinder with outstanding detail, brightness and contrast
• Upgraded connectivity and operability including high-speed Wi-Fi support, wireless PC remote connectivity[viii], FTP wireless transfer, faster data transfer via USB and more
• Professional 4K movie recording functionality including full pixel readout with no pixel binning in Super 35mm mode,[ix] S-Log3, HDR workflow support
• Multi Interface Shoe™ with digital audio interface deliver the high-quality sound recording with new Sony’s microphones and XLR adaptor
• Additional enhancements to the body design include an improved grip and button for improvised control with compact, lightweight body
Sony today announced the latest addition to its acclaimed Alpha™ 7R series full-frame mirrorless camera line-up; the extremely versatile, powerful Alpha 7R IV (model ILCE-7RM4).
Sony’s highest resolution full-frame camera ever, the new Alpha 7R IV delivers stunning image quality with high resolution and wide dynamic range while maintaining outstanding focusing performance, high-speed continuous shooting and much, much more.
“We are continuing to drive innovation, break boundaries and redefine the expectations of digital camera performance,” said Yann Salmon Legagneur, Director of Product Marketing, Digital Imaging, Sony Europe. “The new Alpha 7R IV combines medium format level image quality with high-speed shooting, extremely fast focusing and a long list of upgrades to design, connectivity and usability. This will allow professional photographers, videographers and all other types of creators to capture content in ways that were simply not possible before.”
A New Level of Image Quality
The new Sony Alpha 7R IV features a newly developed 35mm full-frame back illuminated CMOS image sensor with a resolution of 61.0 MP,ii the world’s firsti of its kind. The new sensor’s back-illuminated structure and effective noise reduction techniques combine to deliver extremely low-noise, high sensitivity performance ensuring the absolute maximum image quality. The camera also boasts an impressive 15-stopiii dynamic range at low sensitivities, resulting in smooth natural gradations ranging from deep shadows to highlights, and utilises algorithms from many of the latest Alpha™ cameras to maintain outstanding colour reproduction.
This new full-frame model is equipped with an innovative 5-axis optical in-body image stabilisation system that has been fine-tuned to support its high-resolution shooting capacity, resulting in a shutter speed advantage of 5.5-steps.[x] Additionally, the shutter unit assembly has been carefully re-designed to reduce even the slightest movement that may cause blur.
The Sony Alpha 7R IV also includes Sony’s highest resolution viewfinder in any camera, a 5.76 million dot UXGA OLED Tru-finder EVF. About 1.6x the resolution of the EVF in the Alpha 7R III, this new viewfinder provides an extremely accurate, true-to-life depiction of the scene being framed. The display quality can be set to ‘Standard’ or ‘High’ mode, and to either 60 fps or 120 fps refresh rate to best match the subject and shooting conditions.
Additionally, the new camera features an evolved Pixel Shift Multi Shooting[xi] mode that composites up to 16 full-resolution images. In this mode, the camera precisely shifts the sensor in 1 or 0.5-pixel increments to capture 16 separate pixel-shifted images containing a total of 963.2 million pixels worth of data then composited into a 240.8 million pixels (19008 x 12672 pixels) image using the “Imaging Edge™” desktop application.[xii] Ideal for photographing architecture, art or any other still life photography subject, this enhanced mode produces photographs with a level of detail and colour accuracy that is simply stunning.
Shooting and Focusing Speed
The innovative new Alpha 7R IV full-frame mirrorless camera can shoot full resolution images at up to 10 fpsiv with continuous, accurate AF/AE tracking for up to approximately 7 secondsv in full-frame, full-resolution mode (JPEG / RAW), and approx. 3x seconds in APS-C crop mode delivering 26.2MPii images. These high-speed options ensure that fast moving subjects can be captured with extreme accuracy and incredible image detail.
The upgraded focusing system of the Alpha 7R IV is comprised of 567 focal-plane phase-detection AF points that cover approximately 74% of the image area. There are also 425 contrast AF points that add extra precision and reliability for low light and other situations that are best served by contrast AF. The higher AF sensor density and refined tracking algorithms of the new camera produce a notable improvement in tracking performance, allowing complex subject motion and sudden subject movements to be reliably tracked with greater precision than ever.
The Alpha 7R IV also supports Real-time Eye AF, which employs artificial intelligence to detect and process eye location data in real-time, stay locked onto the subject’s eye with extreme precision. This is available for both animal and human subjects, with an option to select either animal or human Eye AF mode depending on the shooting situation. Additionally, the Real-time Trackingvii feature is available which utilises a newly developed subject recognition algorithm to ensure the ultimate subject tracking and persistence of the focusing system. There is also an anti-flicker shooting[xiii] mode, which automatically detects the presence of fluorescent or artificial lighting in a shooting environment to minimise any impact on the final image.
Enhanced Connectivity for Professional Workflow
Sony’s new Alpha 7R IV full-frame camera is equipped with a variety of advanced connectivity features designed to enhance professional workflow. The new model includes wireless LAN functionality to support the conventional 2.4 GHz band as well as a high-speed 5 GHz[xiv] band for faster, more stable data transfer. Wireless PC remote connectivity (wireless tethering shooting)viii is also available on the new Alpha 7R IV, a first for Sony cameras. Requested by many working professionals, this will allow for much more freedom in studio and location shoots, where the photographer can move around freely without restriction.
In addition to high-speed Wi-Fi® and wireless PC connectivity,viii the new full-frame camera is equipped with a SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.2 Gen 1) USB Type-C™ connector that supports extremely fast wired data transmission, with almost doubled data transfer speed achieved in combination with Imaging Edge software compared to the Alpha 7R III.It also supports FTP data transfer with background transfer capability, allowing photographers to send images to a specified FTP remote server while they are still shooting or reviewing images.
To support an efficient, high-speed connected professional workflow, Sony has announced version 2.0 of “Imaging Edge” desktop applications (‘Remote’/’Viewer’/’Edit’).xiii The ’Remote’ application allows users to control cameras and monitor live shooting on their PC screen; the ‘Viewer‘ application is used to quickly preview, rate and select photos from large libraries and the ’Edit‘ application can develop RAW data into high-quality photos for delivery.
To maximise convenience in image transfer, when utilising the latest version of Sony’s Imaging Edge Mobile™ application,[xv] the camera can now transfer images to a connected smartphone even if the power is set to OFF.[xvi]
High-resolution 4K and Professional Filmmaking Features
In addition to its impressive still image capabilities, the new Alpha 7R IV performs exceptionally well as a serious filmmaking tool, offering 4K (3840×2160 pixels) video recording and full pixel readout without pixel binning in Super 35mm mode.ix This ensures high-quality 4K footage with exceptional detail and depth. S-Log 2 and S-Log 3 are also available to maximize colour grading flexibility, with S-Log 3 offering a total of 14-stops of dynamic range. HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma)[xvii] is also available on the Alpha 7R IV to support an Instant HDR workflow.
For video autofocus, the versatile new full-frame camera utilises a refined Fast Hybrid AF system that achieves faster, smoother, more stable autofocus during video shooting – even if an object temporarily moves in front of the intended subject. The camera also includes Touch Tracking functionality during movie shooting, allowing the user to simply touch the screen on their intended subject for instant acquisition.
The new Alpha 7R IV debuts Real-time Eye AF for movie shooting,vi a first in any of Sony’s cameras. When activated, the eye of a subject is automatically tracked with high precision and reliability, allowing the shooter to focus on the content itself as opposed to what is in focus or not in focus. The Touch Tracking functionality will also automatically initiate Eye AF when a human subject is selected.
Another notable video feature is the addition of a digital audio interface to the camera’s Multi Interface Shoe™ (MI Shoe), allowing direct connection of the new ECM-B1M Shotgun Microphone or XLR-K3M XLR Adaptor Kit for clear, low-noise and high-quality audio recording. Interval shooting for creating time-lapse videos is available, as well as full HD recording at up to 120 fps, Slow and Quick Motion[xviii] functions and much more.
Enhanced Build, Design and Customisability
The new Alpha 7R IV has several upgrades to its design and usability, with many adjustments being implemented directly based of the voice of Sony’s professional community.
To maximise durability, the new Alpha 7R IV features upgraded dust and moisture resistance,[xix] with additional sealing provided at all body seams, the battery compartment cover and media slots. The camera is built with an extremely lightweight and durable magnesium alloy, and has an upgraded six screw, extra-firm mount.
Additional enhancements to the body design include an improved grip for greater comfort and a surer hold within the hand; an increase in the diameter and feedback for the ‘AF-ON’ button; a new multi-selector joystick design for improvised control; an exposure compensation dial lock button and a redesigned shape and new position for the rear dial. A strong request from many professional users, the new camera also includes two UHS-II compatible media slots, allowing for higher overall capacity and faster read/write speeds.
For added convenience, camera setting registration is expanded. Now, almost all camera settings can be saved to and read from an inserted memory card. Up to 10 combinations can be saved to any individual card and loaded into any camera body of the same type.
Despite its 1.5x pixel count, the battery life has also been improved – with a CIPA measurement of up to 670 still images per charge using LCD monitor,or530 images with EVF). For even more uninterrupted operating time, the new optional VG-C4EM Vertical Grip holds two NP-FZ100 batteries, and the optional Multi Battery Adaptor (NPA-MQZ1K) can hold up to four Z batteries. The body can also be powered via the USB connector.[xx]
Sony has released a variety of new accessories to compliment the new Alpha 7R IV camera, including:
VG-C4EM Vertical Grip – provides same operation, handling and design as the Alpha 7R IV camera, including upgraded dust and moisture resistance;xx doubles battery life and allows USB battery-charging via the camera body.
ECM-B1M Shotgun Microphone[xxi] – Eight high-performance mic capsules and advanced digital signal processing provide three selectable directivity patterns in one compact microphone of approx. 99.3mm (4 inches) in length with Super-directional pick up; when connected to the Alpha 7R IV via its Multi Interface Shoe with digital audio interface support, audio is directly transferred to the camera in digital form so that the highest possible quality is achieved without noise or degradation.
XLR-K3M XLR Adaptor Kit[xxii] – Two XLR/TRS combo connectors and one 3.5mm stereo mini jack for microphone and line input, with extensive control that helps facilitate the post processing workflow; connected to the Alpha 7R IV via its Multi Interface Shoe with digital audio interface support, audio is directly transferred to the camera in digital form so that the highest possible audio quality is achieved without noise or degradation; supplied extension cable for Audio provides extra flexibility for camera attachment with rig, cage or bracket.
SF-M series TOUGH
Ultra-Tough UHS-II SD card with ultra-fast speed up to 277MB/s (read) is ideal for shooting in extreme conditions and streamlines the post-shooting workflow; supplied with file recovery software (supports both macOS and Windows).
Fast USB for PC hub with UHS-II SD/microSD reader, supporting USB 3.1 Gen 2 and 100W USB Power Delivery (USB PD), contributes to efficient workflow by ultra-fast, stable backup to PC or SSD.
Pricing and Availability
The new Alpha 7R IV Full-frame Interchangeable Lens Camera will ship in Europe in August 2019, priced at approximately €4000
VG-C4EM will ship in September 2019 for approximately €450
ECM-B1M will ship in September 2019 for approximately €380
XLR-K3M will ship in October 2019 for approximately €650
For full product details, please visit: https://www.sony.co.uk/electronics/interchangeable-lens-cameras/ilce-7rm4
A product video on the new Alpha 7R IV canbe viewed here.
A Product video on the new ECM-B1M can be viewed here.
A variety of exclusive stories, videos and exciting new content shot with the newest cameras and other Sony α products can be found at
https://www.sony.co.uk/alphauniverse. Sony’s European photography hub is available in 22 languages and details product news, competitions and an up-to-date list of Sony events in each country.
[i] As of July 2019, based on Sony survey of digital cameras with a full-frame image sensor
[ii] Approximately, effective
[iii] Still images. Sony test conditions
[iv] Up to 10 fps in continuous “Hi+” mode, and up to 8 fps in continuous “Hi” mode. Maximum fps will depend on camera settings
[v] In JPEG (Extra fine / Fine) or compressed RAW mode
[vi] This function does not track animal eyes
[vii]“Tracking” in the menu. This function does not track animal eyes
[viii] Image Edge desktop application Ver. 2.0 or later is required
[ix] Super 35mm 4K recording results in a slightly narrower angle of view
[x] CIPA standards. Pitch/yaw shake only. Planar T* FE 50mm F1.4 ZA lens. Long exposure NR off
[xi] The Imaging Edge (Remote/Viewer/Edit) desktop application Ver. 2.0 or later is required for compositing. Image compositing may not be successful if camera or subject movement causes blur. Some restrictions apply to flash and other device
[xii]‘Remote’/’Viewer’/’Edit’ version.2.0 will be released in August 2019
[xiii] Only 100 Hz and 120 Hz flicker is detected. Continuous shooting speed may decrease. Flicker-free shooting is not available during silent shooting, BULB exposure, or movie recording
[xiv] Models sold in some countries/regions support IEEE 802.11b/g/n (2.4 GHz) wireless LAN only. 5 GHz communication may be restricted in some countries and regions
[xv] Imaging Edge Mobile version.7.2 will be released in July 2019
[xvi] Imaging Edge Mobile Ver. 7.2 or later is required. “Cnct. during power off” setting in camera must be turned ON and the camera and smartphone must be paired using Bluetooth® technology via the Imaging Edge Mobile application
[xvii] Connect this product to an HDR (HLG) compatible Sony TV via a USB cable when displaying HDR (HLG) movies
[xviii] Sound not recorded. Class 10 or higher SDHC/SDXC card required
[xix] Not guaranteed to be 100% dust and moisture proof
[xx] A battery must be installed in the body when power is being supplied via the USB connector
[xxii] Refer to the Sony support page for details and camera compatibility information