About a minute after the announcement, I decided to buy the Sony A7R4. I sold my Sony A7R2 earlier this year and it didn’t take long for me to miss it. Why did I sell it? Because I didn’t think I needed it. I have a pretty decent pile of cameras and in the brand stack, Sony was my least invested system.
As I said, it didn’t take long for me to miss it. I often carried my A7R2 with the superb Sony Zeiss 35mm F2.8 lens attached. The compact form factor of this body and lens combination made it easy to throw in a bag and take just about anywhere. And that’s what I did. I just threw it in a backpack or whatever bag I carried and went. Or, I slung it over a shoulder with a Peak Design strap. Since the A7R2 didn’t have the new, longer-life batteries, I often carried a spare battery or two as well.
I photographed my family, motorcycle racing, dogs, travel, my brother’s wedding, and just about anything that happened in front of that compact little kit. So, again, why sell it? Because I have two Nikon D850s and a full stable of Nikon lenses, 14-500mm, and I felt an urge to pare down my gear. Plus, I have a nice Leica setup that I really enjoy. So, a third system felt like overkill.
Sadly, none of those other cameras quite measure up to the overall portability and capability of the Sony A7R2 and Sony Zeiss 35mm combination. The gripped D850s and lenses are colossal by comparison. They’re magnificent and I love working with them, but not for roaming around and carrying “just in case” cameras. The Leica M10-P, 35mm film MP, and my Summilux and Summicron lenses are also stellar kit when I want to slow down a bit. However, the simplicity and versatility of the A7R2/35mm combo was just too great to have. I overcame my temptation to buy an A7R3 because I had a hunch that Sony, embroiled in the recent mirrorless arms race since Canon and Nikon released direct competitors to the A7 line, would release something new.
The A7R4 Was A Surprise
I did not expect the A7R4 so soon. The 61MP A7R4 surprised me, pleasantly. The improvements, from what I’ve read and seen in early reviewers are great. I’m pretty stoked about the locking exposure compensation dial. It was one of my quibbles with the previous bodies. I often bumped that dial and occasionally missed some shots–or at least had to rescue some in post processing. It’s a testament to the quality of the raw files that I was able to same some that had been underexposed three stops.
Sony Face and Eye Detection Auto Focus & Real Time Tracking Are Enough to Buy a Sony A7R4
Sony’s eye detection is a killer feature. Both Canon and Nikon introduced similar technology, but Sony is still the leader on this front. Shooting candids is a completely new experience when you have an extremely reliable eye focus capability that is fast and accurate. Photographing kids, friends, street photography, etc., all get much easier. The feature removes another delay in getting that shot. I’ve gotten some great family photos that were hail-mary-point-and-shoot-just-to-see-what-you-get efforts and they worked because of eye detection autofocus.
I’m curious to try out animal eye detection. Depending on its reliability, it should be great for photographing pets. Accurate eye detection combined with a very fast autofocus system is enough for me to buy an A7R4.
The enhanced grip, button feel, and other ergonomic features are also a great selling point.
I’ll post real world review of the system in use later in the year.
My Preferred Sony A7R4 Kit
When I buy the Sony A7R4, here’s what my Preferred Sony A7R4 kit will look like:
- Sony A7R4
- Batis 18mm f2.8
- Batis 25mm f2.0 Lens
- Zeiss 35mm f2.8 Sonnar Lens
- Zeiss 55mm f1.8 Sonnar Lens
- Sony GM 135 f1.8
The lens that would be on the body 90% of the time would be the superb Sony Zeiss Sonnar 35mm F2.8.