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A7RIV first (good) impressions

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Hi, I got  my new A7RIV one week ago and here are my first impressions for still photography:

1/ Ergonomics :

This new body get closer to a real professional one than its predecessors. Many comments have already been made on that, so I shall not dig in. I just can witness that the improvement is real in many aspects and it is a pleasure to use this new body. Some weaknesses such as the fuzzy menus are still there but fortunately you can customize your functions.

2/ The 61MP sensor

- Sharpness and level of details is outstanding ! The gain compared to the A7RIII is clearly visible. Having said that, compared to the A7RIII, with 45% more megapixels on the A7RIV you will get a size increase of the image (cropped at 100%) of "just" around 20%. I do often print on A2 or A1 formats papers (300 ppp) and I welcome this additional capacity. For some of you, it might be of no use and the A7RIII remains an excellent choice.

A word on the pixelshift : I tried it with the 16 shots option. I was not so much impressed by this option with the A7RIII, but, with the A7RIV, it is crazy ! The picture  is much bigger than the basic uncompressed raw one . At 100% crop, you can print a perfectly sharp and detailed 63 X 42 inches picture ! Of course, the use is limited to scenes where nothing moves. I shall use it, among others, when shooting in museums.

Despite its extremely good performance, the A7RIV cannot be compared to a medium format camera and I do not like the Sony marketing on this. A medium format body has a bigger sensor which means (for the same pixels count) less diffraction, shallower DOF, etc..and all in all a better image quality. But there is a price for that : very expensive, bulky and heavy bodies and lenses, and a much less versatile system.

- In order to get the best from this new 61 MP sensor, you need the very best lenses. I did test my own gear (made of mainly Sony GM lenses) and also some other gear of my friends. The 61 MP sensor does not forgive anything. With no surprise the GM lenses were fine. With other brands, the results are uneven : a good result for example with the Voigtlander 110mm Macro, less good results with the Zeiss Loxia series. Let's remember that with such a high megapixel sensor diffraction comes earlier when you stop down. (By the way, I think it is strange to see lens manufacturers (including Sony) still selling lenses with a 22 minimum aperture).

-  Noise : I found that the noise comes earlier than with the A7RIII when you increase your ISO setting (beyond 800 ISO). On my side I do not care since shooting mainly landscapes and portraits, I always try to stick to low ISOs.

- In Body Image Stabilization : good surprise ! the performance is very good with this demanding 61MP sensor and you really can shoot hand held at relatively low shutter speeds. Having said that, the A7RIV seems more sensitive to shake than its predecessors (I did see that with my 100-400 GM when shooting at 400)

- Autofocus and eye/face tracking: no need to say that this new A7RIV is excellent. I am very impressed.

- Color rendition : For what I have seen so far the new sensor gives warmer colors than the A7RII and III 42MP one.

 

As a matter of conclusion : If not perfect, this new A7RIV is clearly an excellent product with a lot of potential. The 61MP sensor requires to be more patient and focussed on what you do : this is a small price to pay for getting high level pictures.

 

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Shot BIF with A7R4 and the 200-600 for the first time today. Tracking was good but I had trouble with back button focus, not the focus but with the joy stick. My thumb covers both and I found myself moving the focusing spot to the right when I focused the camera.  I ended up using the shutter button to focus. 

The noise was not as good as I expected it to be even at 800 but it reduces pretty good, definitly not as good as the R3.

It is not easy to hand hold this camera and get tack sharp images without getting higher shutter speeds.

Images are great.

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My first impressions with A7R IV & 200-600mm

After about 3500 shots, my personal first thoughts on this combo are:

- AF: For BIF it works good, if you swith AF reaction to 4 or 5. The lens AF works fine, if you do not use the "full" distance mode. If I do this, the AF starts hunting for sharpness. The other modes work well.

- AF animal-eye mode: Well, there, I´ve to work with it longer. At most birds the eyes are not sharp, even if the animal-eye mode is activated. Mostly, the nearer feathers of the wings are sharp, not the eye at itself. Also, the AF works not well, if there are waterdrops around in the morning (misinterprets waterdrops with eyes). Also to find the right AF mode (bright,...) is something to work on, as the AF of my body changes focussed objects over the whole AF filed in milliseconds. But if I do slow down AF reaction BIF are not sharp.

- shooting speed: If I do high+, the AF works not as good as just on "High". There about 6-7 fps are realistic.

- noise: Well, compared with the 7III, the noise is visibly more. But understandably if there is less light, the amplified signals will have more noise. Mine works well under 800, at 1600, noise is quite high.- The shot attached is 1/500s, 1600 iso, f6.3... the 8th shot was the sharpest (but mushy), as the AF switched frome one water drop to another.

- using the body: back AF button is a big plus. the AF-on-button is really well built. Some times it happenes - as the writer before me wrote - that I do swith the Af field in af-spot mode.  The EVF is a world better than the A7III´s and the blackout is feeled much lesser. Only the brightness sucks in sunlightor in bright areas - so taking off my glasses and adjusting the sharpness on the ocular made it better. For the backdisplay an magnetic attached sunscreen was an good tip to see the screen in brighter conditions. An arca swiss compatible l-bracket was ordered and will arrive in some days from the USA.

- video: Hmmmm, it gets very warm if you use high bit rates, so in the morning, it is best, if you cover the body with some water repellent material, as it gets wet from condensation.

 

What is missing for me: First, some influencer videos on how to use this combo with best settings.  🙂

 

 

 

Edited by tomcat

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I somehow cannot get eye/AF tracking to work. Must be a setting I am missing. It works on static subjects but will not track subjects even when button that I assigned EYE/AF to is continually pressed.

 

Any suggestions? Thanks.

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