Sony a7R III vs. a7R IV Complete Comparison: Which One To Buy?

Choosing between the Sony a7R III and the a7R IV can be a difficult decision for photographers.

Sony has brought the Sony Alpha 7R IV onto the market, which brings small improvements in almost every area.

As a photographer, I know that even the most minor details on a camera can make a big difference to the final result.

On top of that, let’s not kid ourselves—cameras are expensive.

So, it’s important to closely examine the options and understand the differences in how these cameras perform before making a decision.

In this guide, I will compare the Sony a7R III and the a7R IV to help you make an informed decision.

Let’s get started!

At a Glance

The short version is that the Sony a7R IV is better than the a7R III.

What a surprise that the newer model is a better option when I’m looking strictly at their features and performance, right?

Joking aside, the a7R IV has a better body design and more reliable tracking with the autofocus.

It also tends to record things like skin tone better, which is vital when making high-resolution videos.

The a7R III isn’t all downsides, though. It’s significantly more affordable, works better at high ISO, and you won’t see as much of a rolling shutter.

I don’t think it’s as good as the IV, but the III is hardly a bad camera by any measurement.

With all that in mind, let’s take a deep dive into the different features of these cameras.

Main Specifications Comparison

The a7R III and a7R IV are cameras in the same line, so they share many specifications. However, it’s the points where they differ that matter here.

The III has a 42.4 MP 35mm sensor as the main component, while the IV has a more-advanced 61.0MP 35mm instead.

As far as performance goes, the IV has a clear advantage, and that’s one of the main reasons I think it’s a better camera.

Both cameras have an E-mount lens system, internal stabilization, and a weatherproof design that makes them suitable for rainier environments, so there’s no decision in these features.

The III has a hybrid autofocus with 399 phases and 425 points for contrast detection. The IV has the same contrast, but the 567 phase, has another aspect that beats out the older model.

ISO sensitivity is practically the same, with 100 to 32000, able to pull 50 and push as high as 102400 on each camera.

However, while the basic specs are the same, I found that the III functioned better at higher ISO. Mostly, I think that shows that specs aren’t everything for a camera.

Shutter speeds are functionally the same, offering 1/8000 to 30s on each camera. The viewfinders are 0.5-inch OLEDs, but the III only has 3,686k while the IV upgrades to 5,760k.

A casual photographer might not notice the difference, but I did when comparing them back to back.

The rear monitors are the same, featuring a three-inch tilting LCD touchscreen. They’re a little limited compared to other cameras, but I think they can get the job done.

Both cameras can record 4K video at up to 30 fps and 1080p video at up to 120 fps, so there’s once again no real difference.

Neither camera has a built-in flash, but at this level of quality, you want to use external tools to modify your lighting anyway. I don’t consider this a real drawback.

Minor features include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, dual SD slots, and tethering systems.

The IV is a little heavier at 665 grams compared to the III’s 657, but that’s not enough difference for most people to care about.

The IV is also slightly larger in all dimensions, although I had no trouble compensating for that.

Key Takeaways

SpecificationSony a7R IIISony a7R IV
Sensor42.4 MP 35mm61.0MP 35mm
AutofocusHybrid with 399 phases and 425 points for contrast detectionHybrid with 567 phases and 425 points for contrast detection
ISO Sensitivity100 to 32000 (50 to 102400)100 to 32000 (50 to 102400)
Shutter Speed1/8000 to 30s1/8000 to 30s
Viewfinder0.5-inch OLED with 3,686k resolution0.5-inch OLED with 5,760k resolution
Rear Monitor3-inch tilting LCD touchscreen3-inch tilting LCD touchscreen
Video4K up to 30fps and 1080p up to 120fps4K up to 30fps and 1080p up to 120fps
ConnectivityWi-Fi and BluetoothWi-Fi and Bluetooth
StorageDual SD slotsDual SD slots
Dimensions126.9 x 95.6 x 73.7mm129 x 96.4 x 77.5mm

Sensor: Both Cameras Deliver High-Quality Results

As experienced photographers know, sensors are one of the most vital parts of any camera.

A good sensor gives bigger, higher-quality photographs, and they’re the primary deciding factor in image quality when all else is equal.

The IV has an impressive 61.0 megapixels in its full-frame sensor, which is 19 megapixels higher than the III’s 42.0.

For anyone who doesn’t want to do the math, the difference means the newer camera has about 45% more pixels than the older one, a serious impact on high-quality images.

The physical sensors are nearly identical in size. The IV is 35.8mm by 23.8mm, while the III is 35.9mm by 24.0mm.

While the III is technically a little larger, I didn’t notice a significant difference when I was checking the depth of field or other basic details.

Neither sensor has an anti-alias filter. The lack of a filter means the images are sharper, but you do have a higher risk of more if you can’t control for that. 

Key Takeaways

Camera ModelMegapixel CountSensor SizeSensor Pixel AreaAnti-Alias Filter
Sony a7R III42.035.9mm x 24.0mm5.93µm²No
Sony a7R IV61.035.8mm x 23.8mm3.76µm²No

Overall, the sensors on both cameras are impressive and deliver high-quality results.

However, the IV’s higher megapixel count makes it the clear winner for photographers who prioritize resolution, while the III’s larger sensor pixels give it an edge in low-light situations.

 I’ll discuss that in more detail later, so for now, the primary thing to remember is that the III provides better shots in some lighting.

Autofocus: The IV is the Clear Winner

Aside from the number of focus points, the autofocus systems in the III and IV are nearly identical.

The IV‘s 567 detection points cover about 74% of the sensor, while the III‘s lower 399 points cover about 68% of its slightly-larger sensor area.  

More interestingly, the IV has some additional real-time tracking capabilities that I still haven’t seen on many cameras.

By pressing the shutter button halfway, its real-time algorithm processes several types of information to keep the focus on your subject and minimize new autofocusing time.

That may not sound like a big deal to the casual photographer, but real-time tracking is outstanding for pet and wildlife photography.

Some animals simply don’t want to cooperate with the camera, and the IV can mitigate the worst of their movement.

The other autofocus features are nearly identical, with many options to suit different situations.

Key Takeaways

SpecificationSony a7R IIISony a7R IV
Autofocus SystemNearly identical to IV, with 399 phase detection and 68% coverageNearly identical to III, with 567 phase detection and 74% coverage
Real-Time TrackingYes
Real-Time AlgorithmYes

Overall, I think the IV is the clear winner here because of the additional tracking, but the III is still a good option for many photographers.

Shutter Speed: IV Outperforms III

Shutter speeds are practically identical for these cameras, though the IV has a slight advantage and disadvantage, which I’ll explain in a moment.

Shutter speed varies on each camera but can go up to 1/8000 with either the mechanical or electronic shutter options.

I also saw that the cameras can go for up to 30 seconds before you have to switch them into bulb mode, which is relatively common for cameras in these sizes and not a major point of distinction.

For continuous shots, the III can take 76 jpegs or compressed RAW images or 28 uncompressed RAW.

The IV is slightly lower at 68 jpegs or compressed RAW but allows 30 uncompressed RAW.

It also has an APS-C mode that significantly increases the number of images you can store, which is another point in its favor.

Key Takeaways

SpecificationSony a7R IIISony a7R IV
Shutter SpeedUp to 1/8000 with mechanical or electronic shutter optionsUp to 1/8000 with mechanical or electronic shutter options
Bulb ModeYes, after 30 secondsYes, after 30 seconds
Continuous Shots76 jpegs or compressed RAW images, 28 uncompressed RAW68 jpegs or compressed RAW images, 30 uncompressed RAW
APS-C ModeYes

All in all, I think the IV wins overall here, but being able to take quite a few more standard images at full resolution can make a difference in some projects.

If you expect to take a lot of continuous shots, it may be worth considering the III despite the camera’s lower overall quality.

Video: a7R IV Has Better Video Recording, a7R III For Budget Option

I love the video improvements on the IV, and it’s the clear choice for this type of work. However, the main difference is in the minor features and support, not the overall image quality.

Both cameras offer 4K video recording at up to 30 frames per second. I prefer 60 fps when possible, but you need different equipment for better FPS, and no camera does anything.

The III and the IV can also record full HD (1080p) video at about 120 fps, which is entirely adequate for most needs.

The IV’s higher pixel count has a slight advantage here, and I can expect the image to be a little sharper at higher resolutions.

However, I think two features are more important than the resolution.

First, the IV has real-time autofocus, which I discussed above. The autofocus makes a real difference for some types of video recording and helps you avoid losing track of your subject.

Sony also removed the time limit. The III has a hard cap of 29 minutes and 59 seconds for its high-quality video recordings, which can be an unpleasant interruption.

The IV doesn’t have that limit, though you still need enough memory to store a longer video.

On a less obvious level, the IV has an improved interface to link to digital audio systems, including some microphones.

The digital support can provide significantly better audio recording, and it offers improved automated focus adjustments.

While the III isn’t a bad camera for shooting high-quality video, I noticed the difference the IV makes for longer projects. 

Key Takeaways

SpecificationSony a7R IIISony a7R IV
4K Video RecordingUp to 30 fpsUp to 30 fps
Full HD Video RecordingUp to 120 fpsUp to 120 fps
Real-Time AutofocusYes
Time Limit29 minutes and 59 secondsNone
Digital Audio InterfaceYes

In conclusion, if you prioritize video recording capabilities, the Sony a7R IV is the clear choice.

However, if you don’t need the advanced features and are on a budget, the a7R III is still a capable camera that can deliver excellent results.

Electronic Viewfinder and LCD Screen: IV Wins

The IV is the clear winner in the viewfinder competition, though I don’t consider this a significant consideration or a reason to pick one camera over the other.

The III’s electronic viewfinder is an impressive 3.69 million dot OLED, with a refresh rate of up to 120 frames per second. That’s impressive on its own, but the IV increases things to 5.76 million dots or about 1.6x more resolution than the III.

I didn’t see much difference in the viewfinders when looking at closer subjects.

However, things become more pronounced when looking at distant or more complex photos, like landscape photography.

The LCD screens are nearly identical. They’re the same size, have the same magnifications, and have about the same physical adjustments.

Sony did add one feature, with is about a 50% increase in response time, but most people probably won’t feel like this matters for most photos.

Key Takeaways

SpecificationSony a7R IIISony a7R IV
Electronic Viewfinder3.69 million dot OLED, refresh rate of up to 120 frames per second5.76 million dots
LCD ScreenSame size, same magnifications, about the same physical adjustments, 50% increase in response timeSame size, same magnifications, about the same physical adjustments

In short, the IV‘s significantly better viewfinder makes it the winner, but I suggest you limit the value you place on this unless you have a specific reason to focus on the viewfinder over the other specifications.

Ease of Use: IV’s Improved Functionality and User Experience

The IV is easier to hold and use, a noticeable point in its favor. This is most apparent with the camera size, where the IV is slightly larger in all dimensions than its predecessor.

A direct result of the size difference is that it’s easier to hold the IV, especially if you’re attaching a lens.

Many buttons on the IV are also thicker and easier to use, which provides tactile feedback and a better sense of what you’re touching if you’re looking through the viewfinder.

For example, the autofocus button is raised and noticeably more substantial on the IV than on the III.

Both cameras have front and rear dials. I found that the IVs were easier to turn, more precise in their controls, and placed better on the camera.

Notably, the front dial is angled up now, which better suits the position your fingers are likely to be in when using them.

I also like the multi-selector on the IV, which has a different texture than it used to but maintains the reactivity.

However, the nicest update is known as My Dial. This setting allows you to set additional functions on both dials, customizing your controls to suit different needs.

It’s subtle, but that’s a major convenience upgrade if you learn to make the most of it.

In short, most of the settings for ease of use here aren’t immediately obvious to the untrained eye.

However, once I started to understand them, it quickly became apparent that Sony focused a lot on usability, not just picture quality, for this generation of the camera.

Key Takeaways

SpecificationSony a7R IIISony a7R IV
SizeSlightly smallerSlightly larger
Button thickness and usabilityThinner buttons, less tactile feedbackThicker buttons, more tactile feedback
Front and rear dialsHarder to turn, less precise controls, not as well placedEasier to turn, more precise controls, better placed
Multi-selectorSame texture as the buttonsDifferent texture than the buttons, maintains reactivity
My DialNot availableAvailable, allows customization of controls

Overall, the Sony a7R IV’s improved ease of use makes it a better choice for most people, despite its higher price tag.

Image Quality: a7R IV Excels in Most Situations

The IV has better image quality in most situations, which is the main reason to consider buying it over the older model.

They have identical basic features, including a full-frame 35mm format, a back-illumination system, and no anti-aliasing. The IV does have that 61.0-megapixel camera, though.

However, while the higher resolution is innately better, images from both cameras can need some work in post-production to refine them.

I often use Lightroom for this, and it can be challenging to see the difference in fundamental image quality after modification.

If you’re taking pictures straight from the camera, you can expect more sharpness with the IV.

It has a higher maximum sharpness of +5 compared to the III’s +3, but both cameras start to do strange things if you go all the way to the maximum settings.

So realistically, it’s better to stay a point or two below the maximum for the best results.

In my experience, the III performs just a little better when you’re looking at the dynamic range and unusual circumstances, such as a single bright area in an otherwise dark photo.

The IV has a bit more noise I had to edit out later, but it’s most prominent on both cameras at higher exposure values.

Just like with the sharpness, staying a little below the maximum for exposure values tends to produce better images and reduce noise.

Realistically, this means you can use most of the camera’s range, but you may have to spend time experimenting if you want to push its limits.

That’s where the IV’s better basic quality comes into play.

The only reason to get cameras like these is that you’re looking for quality that casual consumer products can’t provide, and better image quality in complex environments is one of the most important metrics I look at.

Key Takeaways

FeaturesSony a7R IIISony a7R IV
Sensor42.4MP 35mm61.0MP 35mm
Anti-aliasing filterNoNo
Image qualitySlightly lower than IVBetter than III
SharpnessMaximum of +3Maximum of +5
Exposure valuesCan use most of the rangeCan use most of the range
Dynamic rangePerforms slightly betterN/A
NoiseLess noticeableMore noticeable
Basic featuresFull-frame formatFull-frame format
Back-illumination systemYesYes

Overall, the IV has better image quality due to its higher resolution sensor, but both cameras perform well in most situations.

ISO Sensitivity: III Outperforms IV

Believe it or not, the older III wins out here, though the difference isn’t so great that I think it’s worth using as a decision point between these two models.

I like to use DxO Mark to evaluate these. For those unfamiliar with the company, DxO is essentially a testing and benchmarking business that calculates specific performance attributes.

The III has an overall score of 100, representing a score of 26.0 in color depth, 14.7 in dynamic range, and 3523 in low-light ISO performance.

The IV is slightly worse at a score of 99, featuring an identical color depth, a better dynamic range at 14.8, and a slightly worse low-light ISO at 3344.

Both cameras do well in most low-light situations, and even by external metrics, these cameras are fundamentally similar to each other.

Key Takeaways

FeaturesSony a7R IIISony a7R IV
Overall Score (DxO Mark)10099
Color Depth26.026.0
Dynamic Range14.714.8
Low-Light ISO35233344

Overall, the III is a clear winner in this area, so I think it’s worth considering for any buyer who intends to focus on low-light photography.

Stabilization (IBIS): IV Has Slight Advantage

Image stabilization is a crucial aspect of great photography. Shaky hands or even a bit of wind can throw off an image and give unwanted blur, and low-light conditions tend to make it even worse.

Both cameras feature a five-axis image stabilization system. This system corrects for pitch, yaw, and rolling, which can cause unwanted blur in images, particularly in low-light conditions.

The a7R III provides 5.0 stops of image stabilization, while the IV improves upon that with 5.5 stops.

It’s worth noting that using lenses with built-in optical stabilization from Sony’s catalog can significantly enhance the stabilization systems of both cameras, particularly when using longer focal length.

However, I noticed that older lenses without electronic connection systems aren’t as effective with these stabilization systems.

While I can adjust the focal length manually in the camera’s menu, it may be more efficient to use modern lenses to save time.

Key Takeaways

FeatureSony a7R IIISony a7R IV
Image stabilization5.0 stops5.5 stops
Stabilization systemFive-axisFive-axis
Lens compatibilityOlder lenses without electronic connection systems may not be as effectiveOlder lenses without electronic connection systems may not be as effective

Overall, while the IV does have a slight advantage in its higher range and better performance at slower speeds.

I don’t think the differences are significant enough to be a primary deciding factor for most photographers.

Both cameras are excellent choices for image stabilization and will produce sharp and clear images in most environments.

Body Design & Control: a7R IV is Superior

At first glance, the basic bodies of these cameras may seem similar, and it can be challenging to tell them apart.

However, the a7R IV has several subtle improvements that make it a better choice for serious photographers.

For example, the IV features better sealing along all of its body parts, including the battery area, which helps keep water out better.

The media area also has a double sliding cover, which works much better than the III’s hinge.

Furthermore, the IV‘s exposure dials have a locking system, allowing me to keep the lock off for quick changes or engage it to stay on the same setting, even when rapidly adjusting other controls.

While the IV is slightly larger in every dimension, the difference isn’t so significant that it becomes difficult to store them in the same places.

Additionally, the minimal change in weight is impressive, with the IV being only eight grams heavier than the III.

As a professional photographer, every millimeter and gram matters, and I appreciate the IV’s improved overall design.

Key Takeaways

FeatureSony a7R IIISony a7R IV
Media Area CoverHingeDouble Sliding Cover
Exposure Dial LockingNoYes
Size (dimensions)Slightly SmallerSlightly Larger
WeightLighterSlightly Heavier
Rear WheelStandardElevated

Overall, the Sony a7R IV is the better choice for serious photographers.

Although the III may be lighter, the IV‘s better texture, elevated rear wheel, and other improvements are significant advantages that make it a better choice for professional photographers.

Menu System: a7R IV Outperforms a7R III

Navigating camera menus can be a challenge due to their limited customization options and controls.

For instance, the III’s menu is serviceable but could be better with more control options and customization.

However, the IV has made several improvements over its predecessor! The two most notable enhancements are the My Menu and My Dial functions.

With these features, I can adjust both the front and rear dials and the control wheel for easy access to common settings.

Plus, the menu supports up to thirty entries for frequently accessed items.

The overall menu navigation on the IV is much smoother! I can use both front and rear dials to quickly move through main and sub-menus.

Sony even added illustrations for some functions to make it easier to find what I need.

These menu improvements really shine during extended photoshoots when I want to take many types of pictures.

While it may not seem like a big deal if I only need to change one setting, the more changes I need to make, the more time I’ll save by taking advantage of IV’s customization options.

While menu systems may seem like an odd selling point for a camera, they play a crucial role in its overall ease of use.

Most people focus on image quality – and rightly so – but having a camera that’s easy to take pictures with can make all the difference!

Key Takeaways

Sony a7R IIISony a7R IV
Limited control options and customization in menuMy Menu and My Dial functions for customization
Limited menu navigationImproved overall menu navigation with front and rear dials and illustrations
No significant improvement in menu systemPronounced improvement in ease of use with menu customization and navigation features

Overall, the a7R IV outperforms its predecessor, the a7R III, in terms of menu customization and control options.

Flash: No Clear Winner Between a7R IV and a7R III

It’s worth noting that while neither the Sony a7R III nor the a7R IV has a built-in flash system, they both offer a hot shoe for external flash units. 

In fact, both cameras are highly versatile when it comes to flash photography, with a range of advanced features designed to help achieve optimal lighting conditions in a variety of shooting scenarios. 

These features include flash compensation, which allows for fine-tuning of flash output, flash bracketing for capturing multiple exposures with varying flash intensities, and slow sync to create a sense of motion in low-light situations.

Additionally, both cameras feature an eye reduction mode, which helps prevent red-eye in portrait shots. 

Despite the absence of a built-in flash system, both offer robust and highly capable flash integration options that are sure to satisfy the needs of even the most demanding photographers.

Key Takeaways

FeatureSony a7R IIISony a7R IV
Built-in flash systemNoNo
Hot shoe for external flash unitsYesYes
Flash compensationYesYes
Flash bracketingYesYes
Slow syncYesYes
Eye reduction modeYesYes

Overall, neither camera is better than the other in terms of flash integration, and I can choose either camera with confidence that I will get the desired results for my flash photography needs.

Memory Cards: a7R IV Wins

Basic memory card functionality is identical across these cameras, with both of them supporting UHS-II interfacing.

That’s not the fastest on the market (UHS-III and SD Express both beat it), but it’s comfortably fast enough for most needs as long as you have the right cards.

The III has two memory card slots, one of which handles UHS-II and the other limited to UHS-I.

The IV is slightly better here, with both slots compatible with either memory card style.

While the memory cards are essentially the same, the IV has some other advantages regarding data storage.

Notably, the IV can tether to a computer and send files directly over Wi-Fi, with my choice of 2.4 or 5 Ghz for the connection.

Transferring files takes a short time, but if I have wireless access, that’s functionally unlimited storage.

In my experience, using multiple SD cards is still better for individual photoshoots and traveling around, such as through a city or a zoo.

However, tethering can be advantageous if I stay in one area and take an unusually high number of pictures.

The IV supports transferring files from its SD card over Wi-Fi without turning the entire camera on, which is a nice touch that can help save battery life.

Expect to use Sony’s Imaging Edge software (possibly including its mobile variant) for these features.

As a minor feature, I can save camera settings from the IV to a memory card and upload them to other IV cameras.

I don’t think most people will use that, but it’s an interesting touch.

Key Takeaways

Sony a7R IIISony a7R IV
Basic memory card functionality is identical, supporting UHS-II interfacingBasic memory card functionality is identical, supporting UHS-II interfacing
Two memory card slots: one UHS-II and one limited to UHS-ITwo memory card slots, both compatible with UHS-I and UHS-II

Overall, while the basic memory card functionality is similar between the two cameras, the a7R IV offers some added conveniences that make it a compelling choice for photographers who require more advanced data storage options.

Battery Life: a7R III Wins in Endurance

Both cameras use the NP-FZ100 battery, a rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack.

The NP-FZ100 is a popular and reliable battery pack, and casual users probably won’t notice a difference in overall charge time between the cameras.

In most cases, I can probably take over two thousand images on either camera from a full charge, assuming relatively normal settings.

However, if I am using continuous autofocus, I can expect the battery life to decrease somewhat.

On the other hand, the IV has more features like that than the III, so its battery will usually last a little longer.

For context, two 30-minute video clips will probably consume about a third of the battery, so bring spares if you expect to shoot a lot of videos.

I can charge up the batteries through a standard USB connection, but Sony also offers a battery grip for each camera.

These differ between the III and IV, so expect to buy the grips separately if I want to own both cameras.

Either way, I can probably get a full day of power at minimum with the grips.

Key Takeaways

Battery PackCharge TimeBattery LifeBattery Grip
Sony a7R IIINP-FZ100NormalOver 2,000 shotsAvailable separately
Full day with grip
Sony a7R IVNP-FZ100NormalOver 2,000 shotsAvailable separately
Full day with grip

Overall, the III wins on battery life on strictly technical grounds; for me personally; it wasn’t enough of a difference to be considered as deciding factor.

Price: IV Is Pricer Than III

Prices vary over time and by the retailer, so this information may be a little outdated when you go shopping.

With that said, I usually see the a7R III go for around $2500, although I’ve occasionally seen it drop to around $2100, especially for people selling used models.

Sony is focusing on other cameras now, so it may be harder to find a brand-new unit unless you look in the right stores.

The a7R IV is noticeably more expensive, usually retailing around $3500.

That’s a fairly steep jump, and while the IV is a better camera overall, I’m not sure it’s better enough for everyone to justify the price difference.

I also feel like the menu is the biggest difference for some buyers, which is strange to use as a reason to pay more.

I’ve seen the IV retail for closer to $3200 new at some stores and, interestingly, about $2000 for a used model in decent condition.

That’s lower than a used III, so if you’re looking for a used camera, you may get lucky here.

Of course, neither price includes extra lenses, cases, tripods, flash systems, or other accessories.

I think most people considering these cameras will already own peripherals, but for anyone who doesn’t expect to pay far more than the cost of the camera to get set up.

As an extra point of comparison, Sony’s a7R IV, the newest model at the time of this review, goes for around $3900.

Key Takeaways

Camera ModelRetail Price (new)Used Price (approx.)
a7R IIIAround $2500Around $2100
a7R IVAround $3500Around $2000

Questions and Buyer’s Guide

Now that we’ve looked at the specifications and details about these two cameras, let’s take a closer look at some of the specific things you should know before buying them.

What is the a7R line good for?

The a7R line of cameras is part of Sony’s broader Alpha 7 cameras, but they’re especially good for taking photographs where you need to capture a lot of details.

This line is especially good for photoshoots, macro photography, and wildlife shots. Some people also use these cameras for taking pictures of sporting events.

What counts as a high-detail subject is a little subjective. Some photographers want to capture every hair on a pet’s body, while others think it’s fine to get close enough.

Similarly, some people want to get every crack and dent in a building, but others don’t.

If you think more detail is better, the a7R line is the right choice for this family.

For comparison, the basic a7 line is essentially an introductory camera.

They work best for everyday photography but can suffice for things like portraits and wedding shots. Even these basic cameras offer video recording.

The a7S line is specifically more video-focused, with a low megapixel count that helps to reduce noise.

The a7S line is relatively bulky but features extra-large batteries and better stabilization to help with recording on the go.

The a7C is a compact hybrid camera, and it’s surprisingly good for 4k videos.

Is the a7R IV discontinued?

Yes. Sony has discontinued the original a7R, though you can still find some new and used versions.

Its replacement is the a7R IVA, which is almost entirely the same despite having a better resolution on its LCD screen.

I don’t think the differences between the IV and IVA are significant enough to worry about when shopping for a camera.

What are the best accessories for an a7R IV?

Professional-grade cameras need many accessories to get the most value from them, and the a7R IV is no exception.

Screen Protectors

I like the debous screen protector, a hard-tempered anti-scratch glass option that doesn’t negatively impact touchscreen input. The screen is one of the more sensitive areas of a camera, so any extra protection you can offer is good.

Memory Cards

Modern phones need good memory cards to take advantage of their full capabilities. One of the best options for the a7R IV is Sony’s Tough line, which is available in 32, 64, and 128-gigabyte options. These cards have a writing speed of 299 MB/s, which is plenty for most recording needs.

For context, the Tough cards have a V90 rating for 4k video recording, significantly higher than the base V30 speed required.

That means they can comfortably handle even the most intense video recording you can do with this camera.

I also recommend looking into a memory card case if you have a lot of memory cards. Kiorafoto has an excellent 40-slot case with number organizers and a place to write down what you have on each memory card.

The right amount of space depends on what you’re doing with your camera. I’ve used the same card for weeks during a quieter period, but I’ve gone through larger cards in days when taking a lot of photos.

That’s not even getting into how much space 4K video eats up. I recommend organizing your cards as early as possible, so you don’t lose track of things.

Air Cleaner

It’s easy to overlook the importance of cleaning tools when you’re new to photography, but I recommend a good air blaster like the Giotto AA1900 to anyone buying a professional camera.

Air blasters are simple tools that feature a large air container that you can squeeze to shoot out a stream of compressed air.

It’s similar to the cans used for cleaning electronics, but since it refills from ambient air, you don’t have to worry about running out.

Air blasters are often the best choice for removing dust and other debris. Camera sensors and lenses are delicate, so the less you have to touch their glass, the better. (Seriously, repairs usually run several hundred dollars minimum for professional equipment.)


MindShift’s TrailScape 18L is a full-size photography backpack with an adjustable velcro interior that lets you customize it to your exact camera needs.

That’s a major point in its favor and something I like much more than fixed-interior backpacks.

The whole bag fits about 18 liters of stuff, with mounting systems for your tripod and a quick-access smartphone pocket so you can stay connected. A rain cover helps protect things if you’re out in a storm.

My experience with cameras is that I tend to have more and more things I want to bring along.

The TrailScape 18L is enough for most jobs, but when I need a lot of equipment, one backpack isn’t enough, and two aren’t realistic.

As an alternative to bags, I suggest a hardshell travel case. These are basically luggage bags, but something like the Nanuk 965 offers tons of space to carry almost anything you could need.

You can buy this case with foam inserts that you can cut to fit your gear and ensure maximum protection.

I like this case because it’s impressively waterproof, with an IP67 rating.

For those unfamiliar with waterproofing notations, it’s totally protected from dust and water and immersion of up to 1 meter down for a while.

Of course, it’s not protected for long-term immersion, but no typical storm will be a problem.

Battery Grip

If you need more battery life, look at Sony’s VG-C4EM vertical grip, which is their official battery grip and maintains the overall look and feel of the camera outside of its obvious increased size.

You may find some third-party battery grips, but I prefer official products because they tend to have better compatibility.

The official grip holds two NP-FZ100 batteries, effectively doubling the operational time.

However, the grip is quite expensive compared to the batteries, so it may be worth buying batteries separately. The question here is how much uninterrupted time you need with the camera.


The BC-QZ1 is the official charger for the a7R IV’s battery. You should get one of these with the camera if you’re buying it new, and most decent used sellers will include it as well.

However, if you expect to use a lot of batteries, it may be worth investing in at least a second charger so you can recharge more than one at once.

Charging multiple batteries at the same time can help ensure you never run out of power, even on longer excursions.

The chargers are much faster than direct charging over USB and will fill a battery in about two and a half hours.


Filters can make a big difference when taking shots, and I don’t have enough room in this guide to cover all of my thoughts on them.

However, if you’re looking for a UV filter, I recommend Breakthrough Photography’s X4 lens, which is easily one of the most advanced on the market. Its coating helps repel dirt and water, making it much easier to clean.

As with all filters, I recommend ensuring that it fits your camera. You may be able to get an adapter to help the filter fit lenses of smaller sizes.


Flash systems are often essential for taking good shots, especially indoors. That said, neither the a7R III nor the a7R IV has integrated flash, so you must buy separately.

Sony’s HVL-F45RM is a good mid-range option for these cameras, compact and light enough to be usable on most tripods while also bright and durable enough to support long sessions.

For something outside the usual, consider the Godox V1-S flash instead. I was quite surprised the first time I saw this, but its round shape is an interesting twist on the rectangle that most flash systems offer.

The difference is noticeable, with a softer spread that can significantly change the final look of an image.

Mount Adapter

The a7R IV uses Sony’s E-mount system, which isn’t compatible with A-mount lenses. The solution, of course, is an adapter like the LA-EA5.

This will fit any A-mount lenses you have and helps adjust for a wide range of automatic focus and support systems that the a7R IV offers.

I know some people have trouble keeping track of the lenses when they’re new, so just remember that A-mount lenses have a name that starts with SAL, and E-mount lenses start with SEL instead.

These are usually printed on the lenses themselves. If you have any A-mount lenses, you need a mount adapter to ensure they work.

Remote Control

If you want to take photos at a distance, the RMT-P1BT (also known as the Wireless Remote Commander) is Sony’s official remote control. Although it has an unassuming appearance, this is a Bluetooth controller that doesn’t rely on light to reach your camera.

Sony’s official remote works up to about 60 feet away from the camera in normal conditions, regardless of whether you’re indoors or outdoors.

Its controls include a shutter, focus, and lock switch options, plus movie recording and digital zoom. A built-in LED can clash to indicate camera status.

Overall, I find this a surprisingly robust tool for taking photos.


I sometimes have nightmares about dropping my camera. I can’t speak for anyone else, but the idea of shattering thousands of dollars of equipment through one reflexive loosening of my grip is just awful.

Luckily, the camera industry isn’t stupid, so we have solutions for that.

Peak Design’s Slide Lite strap is an excellent option that you can wear as a sling, a shoulder strap, or a neck strap as you prefer.

The nylon design has a smooth side for the sling version and a grippy side for the shoulder setup.

The straps are durable enough to let you keep your camera close to your wrist, and its design helps indicate any wear and tear.

Don’t bother with the full-size straps, which are too much for a camera like the a7R IV. I tried those, and they don’t work. The 32mm Slide Lite, however, is a great size.


Tripods are an essential tool for most photographers. I like the Manfrotto Befree, which is available in a range of styles to suit your photography needs.

Its range of height controls lets you get steady shots on practically any terrain while it’s light enough to carry almost anywhere.

For a deluxe option, there’s also Manfrotto’s MT055CXPRO4, a lightweight but exceptionally durable carbon fiber option.

I don’t recommend this for amateur photographers, but the carbon fiber tripods can handle significantly more weight (i.e., camera accessories) than a basic aluminum option. It will also last basically forever.

I always suggest buying the equipment that meets your needs. I go for quality even when it’s more expensive, so I like the carbon fiber tripod more, but it’s too much if you’re not going into rougher environments or dealing with a bunch of camera accessories.

Sony a7R III vs a7R IV: a7R IV Wins

Overall, I think Sony’s a7R IV is the winner of these two cameras.

Although it’s more expensive than its predecessor, its additional features and ease of use mean that it performs significantly better over time, even if most people won’t notice the difference in image quality.

The use over time is my real focus here. I think the cameras are near-equal for basic photography, but if you expect to take a lot of photos in different conditions, the ability to customize your controls and quickly swap between things makes an incredible difference.

The III is still a little better in low-light photography, though, and you can expect its battery to last just a little longer.

The III also has a slight advantage for continuous shots, which is worth considering for some lines of work.

If you’re looking for an a7R IV, you can buy it through Amazon (with your choice of many extras).

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