Chasing Details with the Alpha 7R IV
By Tuan Nguyen and Hoang The Nhiem
Launched in late 2019, the Alpha 7R IV is Sony’s latest edition to the full-frame Alpha line-up. Some highlight features include a 15-stop dynamic range, 61MP, and Real-time Eye AF. It’s one thing to look at those details but it’s another to try and understand how they can affect your photography.
We sat down with professional wedding/travel photographer Tuan Nguyen and professional landscape/street-life/fine-art photographer Hoang The Nhiem to understand what these specs mean in real-life settings.
Let’s talk about dynamic range
Ever tried taking a photograph on a bright, sunny day, only to realise later that you have lost some detail in either the shadows, highlights of both? It could be an exposure problem but it could also be your camera’s limited dynamic range.
Dynamic range is the ratio between the maximum and minimum measurable light intensities - white and black basically.
So what can you achieve with a 15-stop dynamic range?
It means that a camera with more dynamic range is able to reproduce more tonal values from the deepest shadows to the brightest highlights.
Alpha 7R IV | FE 24-70 F2.8 GM | 59mm | 1/125s | F6.3 | ISO 1250
Tuan Nguyen (TN):
It makes the colour gradient smoother, especially during sunset hours. Besides the remarkable ability to reproduce the colour of sky, the noise in shadows is also very impressive. I wanted to keep the motion of the waves, so I sacrificed the ISO to keep the shutter speed at 1/125s. The result was not as silky smooth as a shot taken with long exposure, but the result had amazing noise reduction. You can even see the shape of sandy beach.
Alpha 7R IV | FE 12-24mm F4 G | 12mm | 1/500s | F11 | ISO 320
Hoang The Nhiem (HTN):
For landscape photography, everyone wants to see the best pixels at the lowest ISO and widest aperture. 15 stops is a great range for testing lenses also. It’s definitely an improvement on what the Alpha 7R III has to offer. I don’t have to bring as many filters as before.
The bigger the better, but what do high megapixel numbers mean?
At 61MP, the Alpha 7R IV is the highest megapixel full frame camera currently available on the market. This, paired with a large CMOS sensor and G Master lenses means you can capture more details than ever before. It’s particularly useful to have especially if you enjoy taking shots at night.
Alpha 7R IV | FE 12-24mm F4 G | 12mm | 1/2s | F11 | ISO 50
Sony’s G lens did very well at 61MP. My SEL1224G has very minimal distortion, extreme sharpness and an ultra wide angle that allows me to capture even more details. There is almost no noise in the shadow—the rock texture, and the area from bright to dark is full of detail but no noise.
Alpha 7R IV | FE 12-24mm F4 G | 24mm | 8s | F8 | ISO 200
Usually at night, there’s always noise in night-scape shots but at 61MP, everything is clear as day. You can see the text “Harbour View Tower” clearly. Even the details in the background are very clear.
Alpha 7R IV | FE 24-70 F2.8 GM | 70mm | 1/250s | F6.3 | ISO 200
It’s absolutely convinced me as far as details are concerned. Personally, I think Alpha 7R IV was born to challenge the quality and resolution of Sony Lenses, and GM Lenses did well by it. I chose this picture not because of the breathtaking scene but because coniferous forests really challenge the sensor. This is a huge difference when you zoom-in and enjoy the pixel!
Alpha 7R IV | FE 24-70 F2.8 GM | 70mm | 1/125s | F5.6 | ISO 3200
As a wedding and travel photographer, colour reproduction is also very important. Look at the white shirt! It is white without any defect from the environment. The skin tone is also not red as overall. I took this around 5.30pm, handheld, at IS0 3,200. 61MP really challenges stabilisation and noise reduction. It’s convinced me that it’s possible to achieve studio quality images while traveling.
So what can you do with Real-time Eye AF and high resolution shooting?
The Alpha 7R IV autofocus system uses 567 phase-detect points and Sony’s signature eye tracking for both humans and animals. The large number of precise AF points paired with Sony’s advanced AF tracking algorithm makes it extremely easy to track moving subjects while adjusting the image’s composition without losing the focus point. This strong autofocus performance, combined with a 5-axis stabilisation lets you capture clear, sharp images at 61MP, even when you are shooting handheld.
Alpha 7R IV | FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM | Crop mode | 268mm | 1/500s | F5.6 | ISO 250
The Alpha 7R IV Real-Time Eye AF is a huge improvement compared to the Alpha 7R III. It is faster and more accurate. Even with his eyes closed and an object in front of him, the Alpha 7R IV still manages to track his eye.
The bigger the number, the better? Just maybe
Having access to larger megapixels, higher ISO and more dynamic stops are definitely beneficial to any photographer. But most importantly, is the understanding of what they can do for you. And sometimes the best way to understand a camera’s features is to try it out for yourself.
Interested in learning more about what the Alpha 7R IV can do? Visit our stores today or check out our website.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not reflect the opinions or views of Sony Singapore.
Tuan Nguyen’s Gear
Hoang The Nhiem’s Gear