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Sony a7R V Review

The Sony a7R V is the imaging giant’s fifth generation, high-resolution full-frame mirrorless alpha camera, designed around a 61 megapixel full-frame back-illuminated Exmor R sensor. This is the highest resolution model in Sony’s line-up and the new generation introduces 8K 24p video, along with a host of other upgrades and improvements.

Sony a7R V review

Our Sony a7R V review explores new camera features, updated technology and considers who this ultra-high resolution body is for, and whether owners of previous generation owners should upgrade.

When Sony releases a full-frame camera, everyone sits up and takes note and the launch of the a7R V follows this trend, arriving with the pinnacle of Sony’s high resolution technology. This is crammed into a strong aluminium body (with a shutter taken from the Alpha 1) for advanced enthusiast and professional photographers.

Read more to discover all there is to know about the world’s highest resolution full-frame digital camera and how it can help you capture your best ever images.

Sony a7R V price

When the Sony a1 launched at £6,500 it positioned itself as the flagship hybrid with 50MP, 30fps and 8K video. This generation R-series body offers even higher resolution, yet the Sony a7R V price is £3999.00, which compares favourably with the flagship and other full-frame cameras in Sony’s range.

A7R V body with lens

When did the Sony a7R V come out?

The Sony a7R V launched 26 October 2022 as the successor to the a7R iV, which came out three years earlier in July 2019, after which it was awarded 2020 Camera of the Year. This means the new generation mark V has big boots to fill.

Where does the a7R V fit within Sony’s camera range?

In Sony’s nomenclature, ‘R’ stands for resolution, where ’S’ stands for sensitivity. This indicates the Sony a7R V is the high resolution body within the range, designed to deliver impeccable stills and video quality, rather than the fastest speeds or the highest ISO capabilities.

The table below highlights a couple of key feature comparisons between Sony’s full-frame cameras, any of which could be considered advanced enthusiast / professional cameras, with varying degrees of hybrid functionality.

Camera

Resolution / max fps

Internal video

Price (body)

alpha 1

50.1MP / 30fps

8K/30p – 4K/120p

£6,500.00

a9 II

24.2MP / 20fps

4K/24p

£4,800.00

a7R V

61.2MP / 10fps

8K/24p – 4K/60p

£3999.00

a7S III

12.1MP / 10fps

4K/120p

£3,800.00

a7 IV

33.0MP / 10fps

4K/60p

£2,400.00

There are many more comparisons which can be made, however for the purposes of this review it demonstrates the position within the range and the ability to capture 61 megapixels at 10fps as well as recording 8K.

High resolution full frame Exmor R sensor exposed

Most notable Sony a7R V new features

The a7R IV was such a highly regarded camera that its successor needs some special upgrades to impress an already committed user-base. Thankfully Sony has delivered, seeking to improve virtually every aspect of the camera, which arrives with plenty to talk about, albeit at the same 61MP resolution.

  1. The biggest news is the introduction of new and improved deep learning subject recognition, powered by deep learning AI processing. This delivers real-time AF tracking, with new and improved subject detection in order to help users gain sharp focus for stills and videos even in challenging situations. Animal / bird head and body have been introduced, along with planes, trains, cars and insects. Human detection has also been significantly overhauled to include poses and body parts, such as noses and shoulder, which have been added to the camera’s repertoire. This is such a meaningful development that we expect it to be rolled out across all future Sony cameras. Subject detection works better when a human or animal are extremely small within the frame and the system never stops learning due to the artificial intelligence chip, which will see more subjects introduced over time.
  2. The sensor on-chip phase detection points cover a wider area in the a7R V, with 693 points providing greater accuracy, even when subjects move across the frame, even if very small.
  3. Despite its high resolution capabilities, the a7R V captures up to 10fps RAW images, with up to 88 uncompressed and 184 compressed RAW shots, before the buffer fills.
  4. Speed and processing is handled by the latest BIONZ XR image processor, upgraded from the previous model’s BIONZ X.
  5. For videography and hybrid content creation, the a7R V now offers in-camera 10-bit 4:2:2 and 8K 24fps, as well as high speed 4K 60fps. 8K is recorded with full pixel readout and no binning, marking a significant leap from the previous model, to ensure your videos are the best possible quality, with latitude for zooming-in to a scene.
  6. Sony has also upgraded the in-body stabilisation system, which operates over 5-axis to deliver a significant 8-stops of compensation, up from 5.5-stops in the previous gen. This increase lets you capture stable handheld images, even during low light and at slow shutter speeds. Accompanying improved IBIS Sony also added Active mode video IS, which works even while recording with longer and heavier E-mount lenses, which can cause larger camera movements. The camera also utilises breathing compensation, found in Sony cinema cameras.
  7. The R-series is all about image quality and the a7R V sees upgrades across the board, starting with more accurate colours for natural scenes and skin tones. Ai technology is also responsible for achieving more accurate Auto White Balance (AWB), particularly in low light or scenes in shadow, and overall low light performance has also been improved.
  8. For those who need the absolute highest resolution, Sony has upgraded the Imaging Edge desktop app, which is now able to reduce the effects of minor movements which can occur when taking 240 megapixel multi-shot images. This works when people move around, or a leaf blows across the foreground for example, which would have previously ruined a stitched image.
  9. The EVF has been updated to enhance user-experience, which is the same 9.44 million-dots 0.90x magnification EVF from the a1. This renders a crisp, sharp view, and offers a couple of refresh rates when required.
  10. Useability upgrades continue with the introduction of a 4-axis multi angle LCD monitor, with a high 2095-dot resolution. This is easier to see in bright daylight and helps to capture awkward high and low angle shots.
  11. Where the previous generation body came with dual UHS-I/II SD card slots, the newer model features dual CFexpress card slots. These are not only quicker with faster read and write speeds, but also backwards compatible with your existing SD cards.
  12. Continuing with yet more new features, Sony has added a lossless RAW format, which captures around 50-80% smaller file sizes. This not only saves on memory card capacity, but reduces the burden of storage and hard drives, while reducing data transfer times.

This comprehensive list of updated and new features highlights significant improvements in auto focusing, ergonomics, image and video quality, as well as overall speed and usability.

The new mirrorless body measures 131.3 x 96.9 x 82.4 mm and weighs 638 g (body only) and 723 g (with battery and memory card). In comparison, the a7R iV measures 128.9mm x 96.4mm x 77.5mm and weighs 665 g (with battery and memory card). The overall size and weight gain is in part due to the new cooling system, which allows the camera to capture high resolution and high-speed movies internally.

In the hand, the brand new Sony a7R V with Albert Dross

In the hand, the brand new Sony a7R V with Albert Dross

Sony A7R V Vs A7R IV Specs Comparison

 

Sony a7R V

a7 IV

Sensor

35mm full frame Exmor R CMOS sensor with 61 megapixels

35mm full frame Exmor R CMOS sensor with 61 megapixels

Processor

BIONZ XR (up to 8x faster)

BIONZ X

Focusing

Fast Hybrid AF – 693 points

Fast Hybrid AF – 567 points

Subject recognition

Yes

Yes

Recognises planes, trains, cars and insects + additional Animal / bird head and body

Yes

N/A

AI-driven AWB

Yes

N/A

Deep learning subject recognition with AI processing unit

Additional poses and body parts

N/A

Max video quality

8K 24fps / 4K 60fps

4K 30fps

Body stabilisation

8-stop

5.5-stop

Buffer

RAW (Uncompressed): 135 frames

RAW: 583 frames

RAW (Uncompressed): 30 frames

RAW: 68 frames

Viewfinder

9M dot quad-XGA EVF

5.76M dot UXGA EVF

LCD

4-axis multi-angle LCD touchscreen with 2095-dot resolution

LCD vertical flip screen with 1.4M dot

Memory

x2 CFexpress cards

x2 SD cards

Lossless RAW

Yes

NA

Pixel Shift Multi Shooting

Yes with movement compensation in post-processing

Yes

New anti-dust system

Yes

NA

USB TYPE-C PD fast charging

Yes

NA

The sheer number of improvements highlighted in this table go some way to show the upgrade in performance the A7R V offers over its predecessor. However specs alone don’t tell the whole story and if you’re thinking of upgrading there are some benefits which include:

  • Better video AF with Real-time Tracking and improved video stabilisation
  • More accurate colours, including AI-driven auto white balance
  • Significantly better performance for wildlife photography (although the Alpha 1 is still king)
  • Significant improvements for multi-shot making it useful in the real world for landscape photographers, even when there’s some moment in the frame
  • Improvements to the menu system
  • More accurate exposure and colour overall
  • More accurate low light AF (-4EV)

The list of reasons to upgrade just keeps giving with an all-round better performing, better handling and more intuitive camera

Sony a7R V video capabilities

Although the majority of users considering the a7R V will be primarily interested in photo capabilities, many are finding themselves shooting video ever more frequently. To ensure the new generation camera is at the forefront of all types of image quality, Sony has introduced 8K video, with full pixel readout without pixel binning.

This allows you to capture 8K 24fps movies without the camera combining data from multiple pixels, which is the best video quality, which can be captured by the full-frame sensor. You also have the option of shooting 4K 60p in-camera for slow motion effects, as well as recording 4K 30fps in Super35 mode (APS-C), also with full pixel readout without pixel binning, from 6.2K oversampled footage.

Compatible Sony E-mount lenses

If you’re new to Sony’s mirrorless system, the sheer number of E-mount lenses can be a minor revelation. The E-mount has been around since 2013 and we’re seeing the release of second generation G Master lenses, as well as the arrival of more third party options.

This ensures you’ll find every conceivable lens for any subject, whether you want a versatile zoom for general purpose shooting, or wide aperture professional lens for portraits. The alpha mirrorless ecosystem is huge, with plenty of used Sony lenses, camera accessories and audio equipment to choose for the camera.

a7R V Set up on tripod

Set-up for landscapes via Albert Dross

Who is the Sony a7R V for?

With its £3999.00 price tag and extensive feature list, the Sony a7R V is a compelling choice for enthusiasts and professionals who are upgrading from any previous generation Sony camera. Likewise, anyone considering moving from another system to join the ecosystem could find this tempting, even as a second body.

Users gain a completely overhauled AF system, significantly better optical stabilisation, improved high resolution image quality, more accurate colours and updated hardware. These combine to appeal to users including:

  1. Professional or enthusiast wildlife and landscape photographers.
  2. Professional wedding, events, portrait and studio photographers such as commercial, fashion, architectural, concert, corporate and hybrid content creators.
  3. Professionals or enthusiasts who shoot aviation photography, or specialise in fine art and still life.

An impressive list of Alpha ambassadors include legends such as Chris Burkard, Nancy Borowick and Phil Nguyen, amongst many more inspirational creators.

With super telephoto mounted and Gamander Lopes

With super telephoto mounted and Gamander Lopes

Although the a7R V has some real speed and advanced AF capabilities, it’s not the first choice for fast-paced action, sports and photo journalism, where the a1 and a9 II are designed to excel. Similarly, for pure video you might choose between the a7S III, or a cinema camera such as the crop sensor FX30 or full-frame FX3, which add dedicated cage-type body designs.

Sony A7R V video review

Watch our own Gareth as he explores the latest high res model.

Instead, Sony’s goal has been to design a tool which helps creators capture the highest image quality possible. 61 megapixels has proven ample for client prints, or for heavy cropping and delivers beautifully detailed images, particularly when combined with a high-resolving lens.

Reserve your Sony a7R V today and browse through our extensive range of Sony mirrorless lenses to head out and capture some of the best content ever possible with a Sony.

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By Nick Dautlich on 26/10/2022

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