Over a year ago, Sony introduced the Sony Alpha a7 IV, a 33MP impressive camera marketed to pros and enthusiasts. Fast forward a year, and now photographers and cinematographers have a newly implemented 61MP Sony a7R V camera to consider.
In this Sony a7 IV vs Sony a7R V comparison preview, we dive deep into the main differences you’ll find when comparing these two bodies. By the end of this guide, you should clearly understand which camera is right for you based on the type of photos or videos you capture. So without further ado, let’s dive in.
Ethics statement: the following is based on official specs for the A7R V, and our personal experience with the A7 IV. We were not asked to write anything about this product, nor were we provided any compensation of any kind. Within the article, there are affiliate links. If you buy something after clicking one of these links, we will receive a small commission. To know more about our ethics, you can visit our full disclosure page. Thank you!
While the sensor size is identical on the two cameras (35mm format, or full frame), the a7R V features a jaw dropping 61MP sensor, almost double the resolution found in the a7 IV (33MP).
Both sensors are built around a back-side illuminated structure. The R model lacks the low pass filter to maximise sharpness, whereas we believe the A7 IV has a weak AA filter after making side by side tests with other cameras.
Where the A7 IV gains something is with the ISO sensitivity: the 33MP camera has a range of 100 to 51,200 (normal), which can extend to ISO 50 and ISO 204,800.
The A7R V is not far off: ISO 100-32,000, or ISO 50-102,400 with the extended values.
2. Image Processor
The image processor is often overlooked, but it plays a much more important role that we like to believe. This is certainly the case with the Sony a7R V, where Sony pushes the concept further.
For starters, it’s refreshing to see a camera brand bringing new technology into the market in the form of an AI processing unit on the a7R V. This fancy bit of technology talks between the 61MP sensor and BIONZ XR processing engine and enhances features through algorithms, resulting in the highest possible image quality and improved auto white balance accuracy (combined with a visible/IR sensor on the front of the camera).
When looking at the Sony a7 IV, the only similarity is with the BIONZ XR processing engine. Apart from that, there’s a big divide as the a7R V includes other stand-out features the AI processing unit dominates over the Sony a7 IV, including the advanced subject autofocus recognition that we will describe in the next chapter.
3. Autofocus Comparison
The Sony a7 IV has always been an impressive camera when utilising autofocus on various subjects. Driven by 759 Phase-Detection Focal Plane Autofocus points, the camera locks focus precisely without hunting. When comparing it against the newer model, which includes 693 Phase-Detection points, you might think the a7 IV outperforms. However, this isn’t the case.
Even though there are fewer Phase-Detection autofocus points, the AI processing unit on the a7R V accounts for much more.
If you photograph people or wildlife, you should be comfortable using the subject recognition target modes on Sony Alpha cameras. The Sony a7 IV will allow you to track Humans, Animals and Birds well, as shown on this website with various tests and reviews; however, there is a drastic improvement regarding the same setting on the Sony a7R V. The AI processing unit assists the focus system through intelligent algorithms to predict body poses and cleverly track the eye, head and body.
To put this into perspective, Sony’s a7R V AI tech improves the focus tracking of Humans by 60% and Animals / Birds by 40% compared to the a7 IV.
This same algorithm can also track other subjects as well. For instance, using the head and body tracking combination, insects, are easily identifiable. In addition to insects, the A7R V will track Cars, Trains and Aeroplanes.
Sony has also introduced additional settings to control the behaviour of the subject detection mode. You can combine animals and birds into one setting, which is handy for wildlife photographers.
Face / Eyes
Face, Head, Eyes, Body (with pose estimation)
Body, Head, Eyes
Body, Head, Eyes
Macro photographers will be pleased to know they can now bracket up to 299 images, sequentially shifting your point while capturing, using the a7R V. The images cannot be composited in camera, but on your computer via the Sony Imaging Edge software.
Finally, the low light rating is the same for both cameras: EV -4.0 at an equivalent ISO 100 and F2 aperture.
4. Stabilisation Improvements
You’ll find a vast stabilisation improvement on the Sony a7R V. Now, with a better 5-axis in-body optical image stabilisation system, photographers gain 8-steps of compensation. Compared to the a7 IV’s 5.5-steps, this is hopefully the major leap Sony users have been waiting (Sony’s stabilisation has been the weakest part of the system so far).
The newer system works via a high-performance gyro sensor which can utilise the AI processing unit’s algorithm to detect and compensate for the blur on a single pixel level!
If you plan on using the a7R V for video, you’ll find slight stabilisation enhancements on the new model.
The Active mode is available on both cameras (unless if you are shooting 8K with the R model), but the A7R V has a newly released stabilisation algorithm that works with select OSS lenses to gain better stabilised footage. These lenses include 24-105mm F4, 70-200mm GM, 100-400mm GM, and 200-600mm G, although to unlock this feature, you will need to update the lens software.
We must not forget that the 5-axis sensor shift inside the a7R V can be used for another function: the Pixel Shift Multi Shooting mode, that can output the same 61MP files with enhanced colour resolution (4 frames) or an impressive 240MP output (combining 16 frames).
The major improvement is that small movements can be corrected when the files are processed with the latest version of Sony’s Imaging Edge software (you cannot do this in camera unfortunately). This will also be available for the Sony A1 files.
5. Differences and Similarities In Movie Output
The two Sony models are similar in recording video using the processing engine when put side by side. However, there are drastic differences when it comes to resolution.
The main difference is in the a7R V, which is capable of recording 8K at 24p or 25p (with a 1.24x crop). This impressive quality can be maintained internally within the camera at 10-bit 4:2:0 for half an hour. To achieve this long duration, Sony’s solution has been to include the same heat disspitation structure found in the A7S III and A7 IV.
In comparison, the highest output the Sony a7 IV provides is the matched spec of the a7R V at 4K 60p. However, the a7 IV can record this with the Super35 mode only (aka 1.5x APS-C crop), whereas the a7R V does a bit better with a 1.24x crop again.
Speaking of the Super35 mode, the higher resolution of the Sony a7R V sensor allows the camera to record 4K up to 30p with 6.2K oversampling without pixel binning.
If you want to work in full frame mode (meaning without sensor crop), it is the a7 IV that offers an advantage: it can record 4K up to 30p by oversampling from a 7K region, whereas the a7R V does the same 4K/30p with the line-skipping method, which means you won’t get the same sharp results, and possibly some aliasing / moiré to deal with.
Internally, both cameras can record S-Log3 and S-Cinetone, and they use the same codecs including 10-bit 4:2:2 and ALL-Intra compression, but the a7R V also adopts a more high-end workflow with 16Bit RAW Output via the HDMI port.
There is a lot take in here, so hopefully the table below will help you recap all the important specs.
Full frame / Super35
Full frame / Super35
No limit (4K)
(4K 30p and 60p)
Native pixels (8K)
(4K 30p Super35)
(4K 30p full frame)
Some similarities of both cameras are the inclusion of AF Assist, Focus Map, Breathing Compensation and a Flexible Exposure Mode. These helpful modes make it easy for cinematographers and assistants to gain focus with visual aids, and control the exposure.
Another inclusion is the Anti-flicker mode. It’s good to see manufacturers like Sony move this feature to additional models. With Anti-flickering shooting and the Variable Shutter, active creatives can manually adjust the shutter speed in small increments to reduce or remove the banding from LEDs, screens and displays.
6. LCD and EVF Improvements
The Sony a7 IV features a 1.04M dot 3″ LCD, whereas the newer camera showcases a more detailed 2.1M dot 3.2″ LCD screen.
Regarding the screen movement, the Sony a7R V’s LCD has a multi-angle slide-to-open functionality. When operating, the same tiltable option is still found on the Sony a7 IV, but with limits to a vari-angle monitor. The 4-axis multi-angle LCD found on the a7R V allows users greater flexibility when composing.
Sharing the same viewfinder as the a1, the Sony a7R V has a in-built 9.44 million-dot QXGA Electronic View Finder. With this 0.64-type EVF, users obtain a 0.90x magnification with a maximum of 240fps and a 25mm eye-point. In comparison, the Sony a7 IV features a smaller 3.68 million-dot EVF with a lower magnfication and slower refresh rate.
Max. Frame Rate
7. Camera Operation
In terms of operation, on the surface, most of the functionality is the same between the two cameras. The design is the same, the dimensions are praxctically the same and all the physical controls (buttons, dials, joystick) are equal. They both offer dust and moisture resistance.
- a7R V: 131.3 x 96.9 x 82.4 mm, 723g
- a7 IV: 131.3 x 96.4 x 79.8 mm, 658g
The only thing to note is the new Main section on the Sony a7R V menu, which is basically a shooting setting list that can be accessed quickly. This addition (coming from the FX3/FX30 cinema line) minimises the menu experience to a matter of seconds, allowing users to find a setting intuitively through larger touchscreen buttons.
While on the subject of operation, it’s worth mentioning a stand-out feature on the Sony a7R V – the new anti-dust system that starts 70,000 cycles per second to effectively remove dust and particles from the imaging sensor.
8. Storage and Buffer
Adding to the prowess of the new Sony a7R V are two additional CFexpress memory card slots (the a7 IV has one). This type of memory, along with the 2x UHS-II SD slots found on both cameras, can handle most of the video recording formats, but they give a significant advantage when it comes to buffer.
Both models can shoot at 10fps. Thanks to the lower resolution of the sensor, the A7 IV will need a moment only when reaching 1,000 compressed RAW or JPGs.
On the other hand, the a7R V can store 1,000 JPEGs or 583 Compressed RAW files before needing a break.
Note that if you shoot with Lossless Compressed RAW, the speed drops on both cameras.
9. Connectivity and Workflow
There’s a new way to connect to devices! This is a great addition for many photographers working out in the field, on location or off the beaten track.
The Sony a7R V can transfer at double the speed of the Sony a7 IV through the 2×2 MIMO (often referred to as 2T2R). The way 2×2 MIMO works is by transferring data via two dedicated antennas, which establish up to two streams of data with the receiving device, hence why it is twice as fast.
Other type of connections are the same on the two cameras and include:
- USB-C with 10Gbps of speed
- Wired LAN via (USB C adapter)
- USB Tethering with compatible Xperia smartphones
- Plug-and-play webcam mode (no extra plugins required)
- 5GHz Wifi and 2.4GHz Bluetooth
The a7R V was launched with the retail price of $3900, £4000 or €4500 (body only).
The a7 IV is less expensive and can be found for $2500, £2400 or €2800 for the body only once again.
Other Sony A7R V Comparisons
A7R IV vs A7R V
There are many smaller differences between these two cameras, but you’ll find these won’t impact your shooting experience as much as the major differences outlined here. Both the Sony a7 IV and Sony a7R V are great, but they should be treated as unique tools for different jobs.
The Sony a7 IV is well-versed as a good contender as your next camera if you’re looking for something that can give you a bit of everything at a more affordable price. You get great image quality, plenty of settings for video and an excellent autofocus system that can deliver in a variety of genres, from portrait and weddings, to sports and wildlife.
On the flip side, if resolution is your main priority, don’t look past the Sony a7R V. Along with the improvements in autofocus (that will certainly please portrait and wildlife shooters), wedding, commercial, and landscape photographers will all fall in love with the impressive specification lineup that Sony will no doubt pour into future models.
And speaking of future models, we’re all curious here to see if the new tech will make its way in the A1 and A9 series. The combination of next gen AI processing and ultimate speed and performance should be one not to miss!
Check price of the Sony A7R V on
About the author
Leigh Diprose is a business owner and full-time writer in the imaging industry. His knowledge of photography, cameras, lenses, lighting, audio, film, printing, cinematography, and accessories has amassed over a 20-year career. Published work and contributions can be seen across the internet, including notable brands including, PetaPixel, Fujifilm, ShotKit, Adorama, Canon, Arcatech, Videvo, SmallRig, ATLI, Light Stalking, Lucky Camera Straps, and many imaging manufacturers and leading retailers in over 14 countries.