Combined with the latest version of the in-camera image processing engine, BIONZ X, the sensor produces 61MP images that are remarkably rich, detailed, and relatively problem-free, even at very high ISOs. For low-light photography, that’s a real gift.
- 61MP Full-Frame Exmor R BSI CMOS Sensor
- 567-Point Phase-Detection AF System
- UHD 4K30p Video with HLG & S-Log3 Gammas
- 5-Axis SteadyShot INSIDE Stabilization
- Dual UHS-II SD Slots
High ISO Image Examples Taken with a Sony a7R IV
In taking these shots, I’ve tried to include several sequences of the same shot at different ISOs so that it’s possible to do some apples-to-apples comparisons. You can also find similar high-ISO photos I took with the a7R III here.
I’ve also emphasized scenes with a lot of shadows, which is typically where the downsides of high ISOs—image noise and grain, lower dynamic range, poorer detail, and shifting colors—can tend to show up more obviously.
All of these were shot in RAW (actually, RAW + JPG) so as to bypass the camera’s processing that’s applied to the JPGs. In practice, the a7R IV’s processing engine does an excellent job dealing with image quality issues at high ISOs. So much so that there’s a good argument to be made for using the JPGs rather than the RAW files, especially if you don’t want to spend the time and effort in post-processing to get results that good. (You can see some practical examples here). But the ones shown here are rendered from the RAW files, not the JPGs, and therefore don’t have that in-camera processing applied.
I’ve processed the RAW files in Lightroom but have deliberately only applied the lightest of touches. The whole point of the exercise, after all, is to show warts and all. So there hasn’t been much done to them—some minor exposure and contrast tweaks here and there, for example. And I haven’t added any extra noise reduction beyond Lightroom’s default setting (Luminance: 0; Color: 25; Detail: 50; Smoothness: 50).
It’s worth noting that I haven’t applied any external noise reduction to these, either. There are specialized image editing apps available that can do pretty remarkable things in cleaning up image noise at high ISOs (eg. DxO’s DeepPrime and Topaz Labs’ DeNoise AI are good places to start; and if you’re shooting RAW, DxO’s PureRAW works a bit differently and isn’t only focused on image noise, but it can yield impressive results).
Native ISO vs. Extended ISO on the Sony a7R IV
The Sony a7R IV has two sections of extended ISO range, which is where software is taking over to boost the effectiveness of the sensor hardware’s capabilities. One is at the low end, and another at the top end. At the low end, ISO 50, 64, and 80 fall into the extended range. At the top end, ISO 40000, 51200, 64000, 80000, and 102400 are in the extended range.
That leaves a native ISO range from 100 to 32000. I’ve separated out these two sections because, for many users, the native ISO range is going to be more useful most of the time.
Native ISO Range: ISO 3200 to ISO 32000
You can click on each image for a full-resolution version for a closer look. If bandwidth is an issue, be warned that the full-resolutions versions are 61MP JPGs.
Extended ISO Range: ISO 40000 to ISO 102400
Auto ISO Range Limits on Sony a7R IV
Unlike some cameras that don’t make the extended ISO range available when shooting with Auto ISO, the a7R IV gives you the ability to set your own upper and lower limits, and those can include going into the extended ISO ranges.
This is useful if you want to use Auto ISO but want to make sure that it won’t use very high ISOs where you’ve judged that the image quality deteriorates too much. Every photographer will have their own threshold for that. For me, for general travel photography use, the images coming out of a7R IV are acceptable up to around 25600. So I might set the upper limit there. Beyond that, it becomes more of a case-by-case basis, which I can override with manual ISO selection if I wish.
You find this option in the a7R IV’s menu system under
Camera 1 > Exposure 1 (page 9/15) > ISO Setting > ISO
Choose ISO Auto from the list and then move right to select the minimum and maximum from the bottom of the screen.
Manual ISO Range Limits
You can also assign limits on the available ISOs when manually selecting the ISO. ISOs beyond those limits won’t show up at all in the scrolling selector.
Why might you want to deliberately remove ISO options? Primarily because it can make the manual selection that much quicker because you’re not scrolling through a bunch of ISOs that you have no intention of using.
You find this option in the a7R IV’s menu system under:
Camera 1 > Exposure 1 (page 9/15) > ISO Setting > ISO Range Limit
Key Specs of the Sony a7R IV
- Lens Mount: Sony E
- Sensor Type: 35.7 x 23.8 mm (Full-Frame) CMOS
- Sensor Resolution Actual: 62.5 Megapixel
- Effective Resolution: 61 Megapixel (9504 x 6336 pixels)
- Crop Factor: None (Full-Frame)
- Aspect Ratio: 1:1, 3:2, 4:3, 16:9
- Image File Format: JPEG, Raw (14-bit)
- Image Stabilization: Sensor-Shift, 5-Axis
- Exposure Control
- ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 100 to 32000 (Extended: 50 to 102400)
- Shutter Speed: Mechanical Shutter / 1/8000 to 30 Second + Bulb Mode (1/8000 to 1/4 Second in Movie Mode)
- Metering Method: Center-Weighted Average, Highlight Weighted, Multiple, Spot
- Exposure Modes: Aperture Priority, Manual, Program, Shutter Priority
- Exposure Compensation: -5 to +5 EV (1/3, 1/2 EV Steps)
- Metering Range: -3 to 20 EV
- White Balance: Auto, Cloudy, Color Temperature, Custom, Daylight, Flash, Fluorescent (Cool White), Fluorescent (Day White), Fluorescent (Daylight), Fluorescent (Warm White), Incandescent, Shade, Underwater
- Continuous Shooting: Up to 10 fps at 61 MP for up to 68 Frames (JPEG)
- Interval Recording (Timelapse): Yes
- Self-Timer: 2/5/10-Second Delay
- XAVC S: UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) at 23.976p/25p/29.97p [60 to 100 Mb/s]
- Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 3.976p/24.00p/25p/29.97p/50p/59.94p/100p/119.88p [16 to 100 Mb/s]
- AVCHD: Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 50i/59.94i [17 to 24 Mb/s]
- External Recording Modes: 4:2:2 8-Bit / DCI 4K (4096 x 2160) at 23.976p/25p/29.97p / Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 23.976p/50i/50p/59.94i/59.94p
- Video Encoding: NTSC/PAL
- ISO Sensitivity: Auto: 100 to 12800
- Manual: 100 to 32000
- Audio Recording: Built-In Microphone (Stereo)
- External Microphone Input: (Stereo)
- Focus System
- Focus Type Auto and Manual Focus
- Focus Mode Automatic (A), Continuous-Servo AF (C), Direct Manual Focus (DMF), Manual Focus (M), Single-Servo AF (S)
- Autofocus Points: Phase Detection: 567
- Contrast Detection: 425
- Autofocus Sensitivity: -3 to +20 EV
- Viewfinder Type: Electronic (OLED)
- Viewfinder Coverage: 100%
- Interface & Memory Card Slots
- Media/Memory Card Slot Dual Slot: SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-II)
- Internal Memory: None
- Cable Connectivity 3.5mm Headphone, 3.5mm Microphone, HDMI D (Micro), USB Type-C (USB 3.2 Gen 1)
- Wireless Connectivity: Wi-Fi / Bluetooth
- GPS No
- Battery: 1 x NP-FZ100 Rechargeable Lithium-Ion, 7.2 VDC, 2280 mAh (Approx. 530 Shots)
- Dimensions: (W x H x D) 5.07 x 3.8 x 3.05″ / 128.9 x 96.4 x 77.5 mm
- Weight: 1.46 lb / 665 g
Sony a7R IV Price & Availability
You can find it in various configurations and bundles, including the body only or with lenses and other accessories.
Sony initially set the MSRP for the a7R IV at $3499.99, but with newer models out since then, you can find it for significantly below that.
- 61MP full-frame Exmor R BSI CMOS sensor
- 567-Point Phase-Detection AF System
- UHD 4K30p Video with HLG & S-Log3 Gammas
- Up to 10 fps Shooting, ISO 100-32000
- 240MP Pixel Shift Multi Shooting
Note: There’s now an “A” version (as in, a7R IV A) that features two incremental updates: a higher-resolution back LCD screen and USB 3.2 connectivity. The cameras are otherwise identical.
With newer models out now, there’s a healthy supply of a7R IV’s on the used market. Some good places to look are:
Fixing Image Quality Problems in Editing
The general rule of thumb in photography is that it’s better to get the shot right at the time of capture rather than trying to fix it later. That’s a great aspiration, but it’s not always possible to do if you’re shooting in especially challenging conditions or bumping up against limitations or flaws in gear, conditions, or technique.
But it’s worth mentioning that there are some excellent tools available to help address common image quality issues with digital images. And they’re getting better and better all the time as the power of AI ramps up. They can deal remarkably well with anything from sensor issues like high-ISO image noise to lens issues like distortion, softness, vignetting, and chromatic aberration. (Note: I’m focusing here on corrections related to image quality, not image enhancement tools—that’s a different kettle of fish.)
All-round image processing apps like Lightroom Classic and Capture One have solid tools built in that are very good places to start. But it’s also possible to take it much further with more specialized tools. If you shoot in challenging conditions regularly and find room for improvement in the image quality coming out of the camera, these might well be worth a look (and they have free trials). Some are stand-alone apps; some integrate into image editing suites such as Lightroom Classic.
UPDATE: In April 2023, Adobe released an update to Lightroom Classic that added new AI-powered noise reduction for RAW files. It’s a powerful tool that rivals some of the dedicated apps below. If you’re already using Lightroom Classic for your image editing and organization, it’s well worth trying out—look for the Denoise tool under the Detail panel.
Fixing Image Noise & High ISO Artifacts
- DxO PureRAW 3. Like Lightroom Classic’s Denoise tool, it only works on RAW files. But since was updated to version 3, it has become my go-to app for this kind of thing. I’m consistently amazed at how it can rescue photos with otherwise dodgy image quality from noise. It can also help with lens distortion, lens vignetting, and lens softness.
- DxO DeepPrime. This is the noise-only offering using the same denoising technology as PureRAW.
- Topaz Labs’ DeNoise AI. This is another excellent option for specialized denoising. It works alongside Lightroom or as a standalone app.
Fixing Lens-Related Optical Issues
- DxO PureRAW. Again offers an impressive suite of automatic fixes that are applied before you start editing the images.
- DxO ViewPoint. Correcting for lens distortion and geometry skews. Lightroom Classic and Capture One also have excellent built-in tools for this.
- Topaz Labs Sharpen AI. In addition to standard unsharp tools, it includes focus correction and shake reduction.
- The camera’s model number is technically the Sony α7R IV (i.e., with an alpha character rather than an “a.” It’s sometimes spelled out as Sony Alpha α7R IV, and the product number is ILCE-7RM4.
Images and product information from Amazon PA-API were last updated on 2023-12-02 at 13:52. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon Site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.