Why you wouldn't buy an A7R IV - comments welcome

Ziggy99

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There's a widespread assumption on social media that if the III was good with 42 MP then the IV must be better with 61.

This post is about the ways in which that assumption doesn't hold true for everyone.

When I was considering a second body for general application alongside my bird photography of course I first considered the IV, but in researching how it performed within the Sony ecosystem, limitations become clear.

Most importantly, its higher resolution over the III is lost to noise at 800 ISO or more.
See the Youtube review of the IV by Gordon Laing: search for QFPlY-4cwPE

Marc Alhadeff concluded from his lens tests that this full potential will only be achieved in ideal conditions with speed of min 1/250 handled and low ISO <800 ISO.

In wildlife photography you will be shooting at those higher ISOs.

Then there's lenses. Some simply won't resolve that pixel density so you need to commit to good glass.
See Alhadeff's test results: https://sonyalpha.blog/2019/11/10/which-lenses-to-maximise-the-potential-of-the-sony-a7riv/

There's the file burden. Your existing computer may need to be upgraded.

There's the question of need: how often and for what purposes must you have this resolution? If you're not doing large prints, never? If you're outputting your work to social media, wouldn't 12 MP be plenty?
I can see why landscape and studio photographers would benefit from that resolution, but the rest?

There's technique. Higher resolution more faithfully reproduces soft focus or camera movement.


For myself I opted for the III. Most of that level of resolution is lost in any case when I take a 42 MP 12/14-bit RAW file and put it through the mincer for display on FB as an 8-bit 200 KB JPEG.

There are advantages of the IV over the III according to the reviews: bigger body, greater EVF resolution and A9-standard AF. Some bird shooters think the extra resolution gives them a built-in supertelephoto as they can shoot and crop. And you can but you get a flat image.

----

Sony tends to market on quantity: eg. the resolution of the IV, the number and spread of AF points on the A9 (693! 93% of the screen!). But when shooting a BiF I only need one point to lock, preferably on the face. In getting focus, the A9 is no better than my Nikon D500 and in one key respect it's worse - with still small birds.
I find it distracting to have so many dancing green boxes when trying to follow a bird on the wing. If the line thickness was halved, it'd be better. Ironically, all that effort has gone into getting rid of blackouts and sometimes I think I'm looking at a Pacman screen.
But the reason we have so many points is that Sony can do stuff with algorithms, in particular face and eye recognition.

What are your thoughts?
 
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AlwaysOnAuto

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Other than the cost of the camera itself, I hadn't really thought of getting a IV.
I guess you could say I voted with my wallet when I bought my A7iii.
The main reason I wouldn't now is the cost of the computer to handle those big files.
 
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bdbits

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I upgraded from the A7ii to an A7Riii, so 24MP to 42MP, a while back. I have found it to be a great upgrade for me and what I shoot (a lot of landscape). Very happy with the upgrade, and I think I will keep this camera for quite a while.

But I would not go with an A7Riv, even if I could afford it, for many of the reasons cited which mostly come down to the increased demands - better computer, more storage (which extends to backups), perhaps new lenses or at least not finding some older glass usable anymore. I suppose I am sounding like "640K should be enough for anyone". And for those who want 61MP or can make use of it, more power to them. For me, I do not think it would be worth it and I am very happy with 42MP.
 
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I upgraded from the A7R2 to the A7R4. I compiled a list of all things I don't like about the A7R4 but these are mainly niggles about the user interface, not performance. Not sure if I would have upgraded from the A7R3, most probably not. My use cases are completely different from that of @Ziggy99 though, I never do birds, let alone birds-in-flight, and my longest native telephoto lens is the FE 4/70-200.
 

Dan Euritt

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That Alhadeff lens "test" has been roundly criticized by many people, for example: https://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1645511/0

Jim Kasson addressed the claims that the a7riv is somehow more noisy than the a7riii:
"I draw the same conclusions from these visuals as I did from the graphs I posted earlier: the a7RIV has only small advantage in shadow noise at a few ISO settings, a disadvantage at some, and the differences are not consequential to normal photography.
Overall, I find the a7RIV comes up short compared to its predecessor, but not short enough that that should discourage an a7RIII owner who wants the capabilities and features of the newer camera."
https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4428174

A lot of that a7riv noise confusion stems from people attempting to compare dissimilar resolution photos at 100% view size, because downsampling to equivalent size reduces noise and improves p.q.: https://photographylife.com/why-downsampling-an-image-reduces-noise

Only the latest Sony cameras have real-time tracking, aka a9/a9ii/a7riv/several Sony crop bodies: https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4366091

RTT is an advantage in a number of different scenarios, see the video below.

The a7riv has redesigned grip and buttons, dual SDXC UHS-II card slots(aka no more memory card slot), etc., so it looks like a solid step up to me, even if I can't justify owning one. It doesn't have a stacked sensor, so it's obviously not playing the same autofocus league as the a9/a9ii, but then neither is any dead-tech DSLR.

 

Tipton

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*keeps shooting A7Rii*

Not that I will *never* upgrade. I could use the battery upgrade, in particular, but I know that at this point, I'm still not getting all the potential out of my two generations old camera, and it doesn't cost me a thing to continue shooting.

I think lens upgrades are what will actually make a difference in image quality.

Although, now that I think about it, the A7R4 is simultaneously Sony's highest resolution Full Frame and APS-C camera. It could replace both my A7 and my a6500.
 

unlo

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*keeps shooting A7Rii*

Not that I will *never* upgrade. I could use the battery upgrade, in particular, but I know that at this point, I'm still not getting all the potential out of my two generations old camera, and it doesn't cost me a thing to continue shooting.

I think lens upgrades are what will actually make a difference in image quality.

Although, now that I think about it, the A7R4 is simultaneously Sony's highest resolution Full Frame and APS-C camera. It could replace both my A7 and my a6500.
I had the same thoughts. About replacing both my a6500 and my a7ii with just one body a7r4... Then I thought about how many times I enjoy having two cameras on hand. Since the a7ii is my first full frame and Sonys (worlds) first Mirrorless full frame with ibis, I decided I would squeeze every last drop out. A6600 gives me all the features I really wanted out of the a7r4 and none that I didn't want. Plus it is a lot cheaper and files are easier to manage. We'll see what the price is after the next full frame release.. Maybe this month? If the rumor mill is true
 
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JonathanF2

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My issue is that I don't need high megapixels all the time. I'm a volume/spray-n-pray kind of shooter. I don't even consider myself a great photographer, I just shoot so many images one or two shots are bound to come out good! I wish Sony had a medium/small raw format like Nikon. It would actually negate having to own a lower MP camera like the A7III if the A7RIII/IV could should smaller raws and just use the full sensor res when wanting larger print photos.
 

Clix Pix

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I was still in the process of deciding what I wanted to do in terms of moving to mirrorless, and had pretty much decided upon the A7R III when the A7R IV was announced, so I waited longer, read comments and reviews, made my decision after that. I was starting from scratch, both camera body and lenses, and I figured that I might as well get this right from the start......

Now, about six months after my purchase of the A7R IV and three lenses, with other lenses later joining the family, I can say so happily that I love, love, LOVE my A7R IV body and the lenses that I've been putting on it! It was a huge, really big decision back in November, trading in all my Nikon gear, and it was a sentimental thing, too, as I'd been using Nikon for many, many years....but the time had come to make a change and for me, for various reasons, going with Sony was the direction in which I decided to head. I have not regretted this decision and I've been really happy with the photographic results I've gotten from this camera and the lenses I currently own and am using.
 

Ziggy99

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Good news.

I'm not sure what 'love' means though. Can you tell us what it does that the Nikon didn't?

People should be aware that there are systemic AF problems with this body and the FE200-600. Read up on them in dpreview or fredmiranda.
 

Clix Pix

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Well, my Sony A7R IV is a full-frame mirrorless, for starters, and my Nikon gear was older, and all DSLRs and older lenses. Some of those lenses were real treasures, though, still cherished by many, either collectors or users, so that's fine, and I'm sure they've found happy homes by now. I much prefer the EVF to using an optical VF now, and I find my A7R IV quite responsive and capable of handling anything I throw at it.

One major reason that I went with Sony rather than Nikon is that at the time of the initial announcement of Nikon's new mirrorless series, there was no mention anywhere of a macro lens on their roadmap. That was unacceptable to me, as I am very much into shooting closeups and macros. I also was not keen on the idea of using my old lenses with the FTZ adapter, especially when many of those lenses would not be able to use AF and would become manual focus only. My eyes are too old for manual focus and I greatly appreciate auto focus, thank you very much! :). I wanted to be able to purchase native lenses in the various configurations in which I was interested and did not want to have to possibly wait years for Nikon to cough up a macro lens or two. They still haven't produced one yet, by the way.....

Yes, I am familiar with the reports of issues with the A7R IV and the 200-600mm; I must be very lucky as I have not experienced those issues.
 

Ziggy99

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I shot birds with an A9 alongside a Nikon D500 for a year, and found there was nothing that the Sony could do that the Nikon couldn't, with one exception. Each is easy at some things and not so easy at others.

The exception is this: the A9, like the A7R III, sometimes simply fails to AF on a bird in midground.
If someone prioritised record shots, I'd tell them these cameras weren't for them.
 

bdbits

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Ziggy, I know you have had issues with the 200-600. I have read where others have also had problems with that particular combination. I did see on fredmiranda where at least one person sent his in to a repair place and a very dedicated tech painstakingly calibrated lens electronics and he now gets a great keeper rate at least for focus issues (I think it was 8 out of 10). So maybe there is a way to fix it but few techs know how.

As for the A7R4 versus the D500, that is kind of an apples and oranges comparison with sensor size among other things. It might be better to compare with an A6xxx-series body. Of course results are what count regardless. It seems to me there are Sony shooters who have/do use other brands also getting sufficient keepers with full-frame Sony bodies. (Record shots, have no idea as I am not in that area.) Surely they are not all just putting up with problems. I wonder what the secret is. Not saying your issues are not real. I think I would be very annoyed too if I were in your shoes. Just some food for thought.
 

Clix Pix

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Beats me! I have the A7R IV and have been using it almost daily since November 2019 and with several different lenses. No problems. Haven't used either an A9 or an A9 II so can't speak to that. From what I can tell in reading this thread, you're using the older cameras and complaining about issues which may or may not exist in the new bodies. Have you actually used either the A7R IV or A9 II?
 

Ziggy99

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Ziggy, I know you have had issues with the 200-600. I have read where others have also had problems with that particular combination. I did see on fredmiranda where at least one person sent his in to a repair place and a very dedicated tech painstakingly calibrated lens electronics and he now gets a great keeper rate at least for focus issues (I think it was 8 out of 10). So maybe there is a way to fix it but few techs know how.

As for the A7R4 versus the D500, that is kind of an apples and oranges comparison with sensor size among other things. It might be better to compare with an A6xxx-series body. Of course results are what count regardless. It seems to me there are Sony shooters who have/do use other brands also getting sufficient keepers with full-frame Sony bodies. (Record shots, have no idea as I am not in that area.) Surely they are not all just putting up with problems. I wonder what the secret is. Not saying your issues are not real. I think I would be very annoyed too if I were in your shoes. Just some food for thought.
Actually I ditched the 200-600 for its image quality with a 1.4 TC, not for focussing failures.
As far as judging any camera goes I think there are three focuses: how well does it achieve your purposes? how much does it take to master? what is it like to use?
So eg. people win photo competitions with APS-C and with FF. Both these days are very capable. Oranges and oranges in my book.
 

Ziggy99

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Beats me! I have the A7R IV and have been using it almost daily since November 2019 and with several different lenses. No problems. Haven't used either an A9 or an A9 II so can't speak to that. From what I can tell in reading this thread, you're using the older cameras and complaining about issues which may or may not exist in the new bodies. Have you actually used either the A7R IV or A9 II?
I don't take newer to mean anything in terms of my questions just listed.
Why raise it?
 

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