Evolved imaging intelligence is here: the Sony α7R V

This fall seems to be the season of Sony! In the last month alone, we have seen announcements of a powerful yet accessible cinema body, a new entry in the developing niche of vlogging cameras, and a delightfully broad lens rebate program. Now, perhaps most excitingly of all, we are proud to report…

The Sony α7R V is on the way!

A newly developed, dedicated AI processing unit with deep learning capabilities is the biggest innovation, but there are numerous reasons Mark V might catch your eye. Read on for the scoop.

This line of high-resolution full frame mirrorless cameras has proven extremely popular, and we’ve seen all kinds of breathtaking photos and videos made on each α7R. The fifth iteration is slated for customer delivery in early December, but you can pre-order now in one of our brick and mortar stores or at the link below.

In addition to the flashy AI unit, the α7R V relies upon a BIONZ XR processing system to power its extensive computational feature set. While this isn’t the first time we’ve seen the BIONZ XR processor (that honor belongs to the α7S III), it’s certainly Sony’s best offering in the field yet—to the tune of eight times the power of their previous top-of-line processor, the BIONZ X—and, again, the first time we’ve seen them add dedicated artificial intelligence to the “brain” of an Alpha series camera.

As for the sensor that feeds data to this tiny computer, it’s a 61.0 MP back-side illuminated CMOS EXMOR R. Nice! Don’t need all those pixels? Adjustable JPG size has been a standard feature of Sony Alpha cameras for a while now, but the α7R V allows you to capture RAW photos at smaller resolutions (26 or 15 MPs). Conversely, do you crave more than the paltry 61 a single exposure offers? Pixel Shift Multi Shooting allows you to create an ultra-high-res composite—240 MP!—of up to 16 images via Imaging Edge Desktop.

Other selected highlights include…

  • Up to 583 compressed RAW images in buffer (with sufficiently fast memory, of course)
  • Over 1000 JPG images in buffer
  • Visible light + IR sensor for improved AWB control
  • AI processing unit also allows better/more consistent AWB in shadow or other difficult lighting
  • AI processing unit allows fine blur to be sharpened at the pixel level
  • Stellar connectivity: webcam, tethered shooting, FTP transfer, 2×2 MIMO support for fast WiFi transfer, and more
  • Dual hybrid CFexpress Type A/SD-XC UHS-II card slots

The body

Viewing images on a full frame Alpha camera as you capture them (and navigating the completely redesigned Main Menu) has never been nicer. The α7R V offers both a new 9.44 million dot EVF and a new 4-axis, multi-angle 3.2″ touch display. You’ll be feasting your eyes on 2.1 million dots with hard to beat flexibility: up tilt of 98°, down tilt of 40°, side swivel of 180°, and rotation of 270°. A few other tweaks were worked into the design—see the images of the camera below for details.

For durability, the chassis is magnesium alloy, and the whole body has been weather sealed. Just make sure your lens can handle the dust and moisture, as well! The shutter, rated for over half a million shots, will certainly keep up.

Speaking of keeping up, the body has also been designed for maximum heat dissipation to allow extended continuous recording. Notably, unique sigma-shaped graphite heat sinks are attached to the sensor (one of the warmest parts). Up to about thirty minutes of continuous 8K 24p 10-bit 4:2:0 video can be recorded—not too shabby!

Video features

It’s always a little complicated to compare video specifications, but let me assure you—the α7R V is no slouch, especially considering the fact that the “R” designation has typically designated more of a high-res studio camera than a video-oriented hybrid.

Short of 16 bit RAW (recordable via HDMI output), the maximum video quality you’ll find here is 8K 24p (or 4K 60p, depending on how you measure video quality) 10-bit 4:2:2 All-I XAVC S-I 600 Mbps. The 8K video does have roughly a 1.2x angle of view, but that’s not a huge tradeoff (and that extra “zoom” can be helpful sometimes). The 4K is oversampled from 6.2K input, without pixel binning.

Sony claims 14+ stops of dynamic range when using the S-Log3 gamma curve and one of the three S-Gamut gamut presets included in the camera, which is the kind of breadth that makes you a little teary eyed. If, on the other hand, you’d rather save yourself some editing time in post (or are under a time crunch), the S-Cinetone setting will provide a gorgeous, “cinematic” look to your footage straight out of the camera.

The 5-axis IBIS system rated for 8 stops of stability correction (which will cooperate with compatible lenses for even better results) plus in-camera Active IS software stabilization should allow you to achieve quite satisfactory handheld results when the need arises. The list goes on (Breathing Compensation, AF Assist, etc.) but suffice it to say that the innovations Sony has made since 2019 in their video architecture are in full attendance in the α7R V.

Next generation AF

Autofocus aficionados, fear not: Sony has continued to wage the noble war against the abomination that is missed focus. This sensor sports a smart jacket of 693 phase detection AF points covering 79% of the imaging area, which is pretty cool, but the real star of the show is the new AI processing center.

The AI chip enables a new AF mode, effective for both stills and movies: Real-time Recognition. Loaded with data that allow the camera to not just track but recognize forms (and adaptively improve at it), the α7R V boasts a claimed 60% improvement in human eye recognition over the α7R IV as well as a 40% improvement in animal recognition. The new system can be directed to watch for the following categories of subject: Human, Animal/Bird, Animal, Bird, Insect, Car/Train, Airplane. And, thanks to the powerful processor and highly observant sensor, the AF system is effective down to exposure metered at -4 EV and/or at up to 10 fps (via EVF—only 8 when using live view).

The α7R V even includes a feature that is rarely considered “auto” focus but which ab-so-lute-ly saves the human operator a ton of time, when implemented effectively: high level focus bracketing. If you’ve ever attempted to capture effective product photography you will already know that this doesn’t mean “add one photo a little closer-focused and one a little further away.” No, the α7R V will capture up to 299 images with automatically shifted sequential focus points, allowing you to either pick the best one or keep them all and stack them later.

I often find myself using a previous iteration of the α7R series and I am definitely excited to give this camera a spin. All I see left on my wish list is in-camera double exposures!

This hot body is slated to be in hands before the end of the year (before Christmas, if you happen to feel like being an exceptionally generous gift-giver), but we are still invariably encountering limited supply. The sooner you order, the sooner you’ll be telling stories with an ease you’ve never yet experienced. Hope to see what you create, real soon!

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