Sony A7 IV vs A7R IV (A7R IVA) – The 10 Main Differences

The A7 mark IV is the successor to the very popular A7 mark III, and brings a lot of relevant improvements, from a new sensor to the updated AF system and video capabilities.

The A7R IV was released in 2019 and was the first full frame camera to feature 61 megapixels on the sensor.

On the outside, they look pretty much identical, but there are a lot of differences to talk about.

Note: the original A7R IV has been discontinued and quietly replaced by the A7R IVA. The changes are very subtle, with the most noticeable difference being the higher resolution of the LCD screen (2.36M vs 1.44M dots on the original model).

Cover image with Sony A7 IV next to A7R IV, with title of the article on top

More Sony A7 IV comparisons:

A7 III vs A7 IVA7 IV vs A7R IV

A7 IV vs A7S IIIA7 IV vs A7R III

A7 IV vs A9 IIA7 IV vs A7C

A7 IV vs Z6 IIA7 IV vs R6


Ethics statement: the following is based on our personal experience with the A7R IV and official information about the A7 IV. We were not asked to write anything about these products, nor were we provided with any sort of compensation. Within the article, there are affiliate links. If you buy something after clicking the link, we will receive a small commission. To know more about our ethics, you can visit our full disclosure page. Thank you!


1. Sensor resolution

Both cameras feature a full frame sensor with BSI (back-illumination) but the main difference is the number of pixels: the A7 IV has 33MP, whereas the R model has almost double that at 61MP.

Close-up on the Sony A7R IV sensor

Then we have the ISO range, which is wider on the A7 IV:

  • A7 IV: ISO 100-51,200 (normal range), or ISO 50-204,800 (extended range)
  • A7R IV: ISO 100-32,000 (normal range), or ISO 50-102,400 (extended range)

The A7 IV also features a more recent image processor, the BionZ XR, which has faster processing capabilities than the BionZ X on the R model.

Sony BionZ XR processor

The new camera can record HEIF/HDR files in 10-bit, which provides better colour sampling than JPG (8-bit). That said, it’s worth nothing that HEIF isn’t yet a popular format, so not every photo editor software is compatible.

One last thing worth highlighting is the possibility of selecting Lossless compressed RAW on the A7 IV, whereas the A7R has Lossy compressed and uncompressed only.


2. Autofocus system

Both cameras feature Sony’s hybrid focus technology and advanced algorithm that includes real-time tracking and Eye AF.

The A7 IV has more phase detection points: 759 to be exact and they cover 94% of the sensor area.

The A7R IV has 567 phase points and they cover 99% of the sensor’s height, and 74% of the sensor’s width.

The number of contrast detection points is the same for both cameras: 425.

The A7 IV has a one stop advantage in low light, with a rating of -4Ev, versus -3Ev on the A7R IV (both measured with an F2 lens).

Concerning the software, the A7 IV has the most recent processor, so it gets a few extra things. For example, Eye AF works with birds in addition to humans and animals, and the three subject types (humans, animals, birds) also work in video mode.

On the R model, bird detection is not available and Eye AF only works with humans during movie recording.

The A7 IV has more precise controls when it comes to the autofocus speed and sensitivity, especially for video. The AF Transition Speed and AF Subject Shift Sensitivity work with more steps of adjustments than the settings found on the R model (AF Drive Speed and AF Track Sens).

screenshot of the Sony A7 IV menu, showing the AF settings for video

Finally, the A7 IV has the AF assist option, which allows you to make manual focus adjustments while autofocus and tracking are enabled.


3. Buffer memory

The two cameras share the same continuous shooting speed of 10fps (maximum available, with AF/AE tracking). The A7R IV looks especially good here considering the higher megapixel count.

There are a few things to keep in mind though. The A7 IV can achieve the claimed 10fps only with JPG, or Lossy compressed RAW. With the latter, you need the CFexpress card or the speed drops to about 8fps, according to Gordon Laing. If you select Lossless compressed or Uncompressed RAW, the speed drops to about 6fps. (source: DPreview)

The A7 IV can maintain 10fps with compressed RAW or JPG, but drops to about 7fps with uncompressed RAW which is understandable (according to Imaging Resource, I only tested my copy with compressed RAW).

That said, it seems a bit strange that the R model can do more fps than the A7 IV with uncompressed RAW, considering it has almost double the megapixel. Hopefully more tests will be able to confirm or correct all this data.

As you can imagine, the buffer capabilities are quite different.

The R model can do a respectable 68 frames (JPG or compressed RAW).

The A7 IV can save more than 1,000 images (JPG or lossy/lossless compressed RAW) but that is valid when using a CFexpress Type A card on the first slot.


4. Pixel Shift Multi Shooting

Both cameras feature 5-axis image stabilisation with a CIPA rating of 5.5 stops of compensation.

The A7R IV has an extra features that works with the IBIS mechanism, and it is called Pixel Shift Multi Shooting.

When taking a picture with this mode activated, the camera captures 16 photos and moves the sensor by half a pixel (8 times) and one pixel (8 times) between each capture. The result is a whopping 240.8MP photo!

Japanese doll on a table in a living room
Enlargement side by side to show the difference in resolution and details between the single shot and the Pixel Shift Multi shot

Note that the 16 images must be composited in post using the Sony Imaging Edge desktop software. Also, this mode requires the camera to be on a tripod and with no moving subjects for optimal results.


5. Movie recording

There are a lot of differences to talk about when it comes to video. In short, the A7 IV can do 4K 60p (in Super35 mode) and can record 10-bit 4:2:2 internally with a maximum bitrate of 600Mbps. The table below gives you an overview of everything you need to know.

A7 IVA7R IV
4K up to 30pyes (no crop)yes (no crop/S35)
4K up to 60p1.5x crop (S35)n.a.
10-bit 4:2:2internal / HDMIn.a.
H.265yesn.a.
Max. Bitrate (4K)600Mbps (ALL-I)100Mbps
Rec. limitnono
1080pMax. 120pMax. 120p
S-Log2/S-Log3yesyes
HLGyesyes
S-Cinetoneyesno

Another important thing to understand is that, because of the higher megapixel count, the A7R IV does line-skipping when recording video in full frame mode. For better quality (full pixel readout), you need to use the Super35/APS-C mode.

On the A7 IV, the maximum quality can be achieved in full frame mode (up to 30p), where the camera over-samples from a region of 7K.

The A7 IV has a new set of colour profiles, called Creative Looks (same as the A7S III), that are designed to give optimal results in photo and video mode. They replace the old profiles (Creative Styles) found in the A7R IV. The new camera also has the Soft Skin Effect mode.

example of various creative looks images

Finally, the A7 IV has extra settings and features you won’t find in the R model, such as:

  • Active mode: makes the footage more stable by using the gyro sensor’s data. There is a slight crop of 1.1x
  • Post stabilisation with Catalyst: the camera can record the data from its gyro sensor, and the Sony Catalyst software can use that information to stabilise the footage in post with better results (IBIS must be off during recording)
  • Breathing compensation: reduces the breathing effect that occurs when focusing from one point to the other (the field of view is cropped a little as a result). Not every lens is compatible though (check the list on the Sony website)
  • Shockless WB: makes manual changes in white balance smoother while recording
  • Flexible Exposure Mode: it allows you to switch between auto and manual exposure settings separately for the aperture and shutter speed (like in professional cinema cameras). It is an alternative to the P/A/S/M modes.

6. Viewfinder and monitor

The A7R IV has an electronic viewfinder with more resolution, 5.76M dots to be precise. The A7 IV has a respectable 3.69M dots.

Sony A7 IV viewfinder

Both EVFs are made with a 0.5-in OLED panel and have a fast refresh rate of 120Hz. The magnification is 0.78x and the eyepoint is 23mm long.

As for the rear LCD screen, the one on the A7R IV has more resolution (1.44M on the original model, 2.36M dots on the A7R IVA) but it only tilts up and down.

On the A7 IV, the monitor has 1.04M dots. It can be flipped to the side and rotated 180˚.

hands holding the A7 IV with the screen opened on the side

Both LCDs are touch sensitive but there is more you can do on the A7 IV, including navigating the menu and changing settings.


7. Design and functionality

The design of these two cameras is nearly identical, and it’s an upgrade that started with the A7R IV, before being copied and pasted onto other recent models. With that said, there are few things worth talking about.

  • A7 IV: 131.3 x 96.4 x 79.8mm, 658g
  • A7R IV: 128.9 x 96.4 x 77.5mm, 665g

First, the A7 IV is slightly bulkier because it has a heat dissipation structure that allows it to record 4K video for longer periods of time without overheating.

Another difference is the position of the video recording button, which is found on top on the A7 IV, and on the rear near the viewfinder for the R model.

Then we have the new sub-dial, found under the main dial on top, that allows you to switch from stills to movie or S&Q mode. This means you can use the top dial to set the exposure method (Aperture, Shutter Speed priority, Manual or Program) without the need to go inside the menu when working in video mode, unlike with the A7R IV. When you switch from photo to video or S&Q, the menu also changes to display the appropriate settings.

close-up on the Still / Movie / S&Q dial on the A7 IV

Another difference is the exposure compensation dial, which doesn’t have any markings on the A7 IV and can be customised. 

The new camera also allows you to change select settings such as aperture or ISO independently for video and photo modes.

The A7 IV features the latest menu design which is much better organised than the one found on the A7R model, and is compatible with touch sensitivity.

screenshot of the A7 IV menu system
New menu

Concerning the connections, the A7 IV has a full sized HDMI (vs Micro Type D for the R model) and can work with a wired LAN connection with an optional LAN to USB C adapter. The R model has a flash sync port.

Speaking of USB C, the A7 IV and A7R IVA work at 10Gbps, whereas the one on the discontinued A7R IV goes up to 5Gbps.

Both cameras have audio in and out (3.5mm socket) and are compatible with digital audio (via the multi-function shoe).

Both cameras use the same BP-FZ100 battery, but the A7R IV has a slightly higher rating of 660 shots when using the LCD, as opposed to 610 for the A7 IV. They can be charged or powered via USB.

Finally, they are both dust and moisture resistant.


8. Memory cards

The two Sony cameras have two memory card slots.

The two slots on the A7R IV accept SD UHS-II cards, just like the A7 IV. The latter can also work with a CFexpress card (Type A) on the first slot. CFexpress has a faster writing speed and allows the camera to have much better buffer capabilities, as explained previously.

fingers inserting a CFexpress Type A card in the A7S III

9. Tidbits

Because the A7 IV is a more recent model, it packs additional features you won’t find on the A7R, such as:

  • Focus Map: highlights what is outside the depth of field with different colours (red is behind, blue is in front).
  • Variable Shutter: fine tune the shutter speed with more precision than the default 1/3 stop, useful to eliminate flickering from tricky artificial light sources such as LED
  • Anti-dust Function: like the Canon EOS R series, you can have the mechanical shutter curtains close when turning the camera off to protect the sensor.
  • USB Streaming: the A7 IV works as a webcam without the need of additional software. Just select the option in the menu, connect it to the computer, launch your streaming platform and select the camera as your video (and audio) source. It works up to 4K 15p, or 1080p 60p. You can also use the A7R IV as a webcam, but you need an additional software (Imaging Edge Webcam)

10. Price

The A7 IV has been launched with the retail price of $2500, £2400 or €2800.

The A7R IVA can be found for $3500, £3200 or 3400€.

Note: the original A7R IV (without the “A”) might still be available in a few stores, and the price should be the same as the A model. Prices are for the body only and as of late October 2021.


Conclusion

Undoubtably, the main difference between these two cameras is the sensor. The A7R model has a superior resolution of 61MP (expandable to 240MP for certain uses) that can attract landscape, still life and wildlife photographers, amongst others. And despite the high megapixel count, it retains very decent speed and excellent autofocus.

That said, there are many photographers that will be more than pleased with (almost) half the resolution. 33MP is enough for so many things, and in return you get the latest software tweaks to the autofocus and the overall operation of the camera. And if you’re interested in video, the A7 IV is the model to get.

Check price of the Sony A7 IV on
Amazon | Amazon UK | B&H Photo | eBay

Check price of the Sony A7R IV on
Amazon | Amazon UK | B&H Photo | eBay

Second-hand Sony gear on
MPB US | MPB UK


More Sony A7 IV comparisons:

A7 III vs A7 IVA7 IV vs A7R IV

A7 IV vs A7S IIIA7 IV vs A7R III

A7 IV vs A9 IIA7 IV vs A7C

A7 IV vs Z6 IIA7 IV vs R6