Sony Alpha 7R V Review

Sony Alpha 7R V
In-Depth Review

The Sony Alpha 7 IV was an outstanding camera model, featuring extremely high full-frame resolution at the top of its competence list. I still own this camera as of a7R V review time.

The "V" designation makes obvious that the Sony Alpha 7 V is the upgraded model. Less obvious is what this upgrade features, especially with the version IV's imaging sensor re-utilized.

No worries because a solid upgrade list is easy to assemble.

Summary of Sony Alpha 7R V Features

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  • 61.0MP full-frame back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS image sensor, Sony’s highest resolution in an Alpha camera
  • New AI processing unit dedicated to AI-based image recognition in addition to the BIONZ XR image processing engine, itself a significant upgrade from the BIONZ X
  • Next-generation AF Real-time Recognition and tracking AF in still and movie modes utilizing detailed information about human form and pose estimation to dramatically improve recognition accuracy beyond systems that only detect face and eye
  • AI subject recognition subject types added, including animals, vehicles, and insects (Human, Animal/Bird, Animal, Bird, Insect, Car/Train, and Airplane available)
  • Faster and more precise wide-area, high-density AF system
  • 8-stop image stabilization system — most effective ever offered in a Sony Alpha camera
  • Continuous shooting at up to 10 fps with AF/AE tracking; silent, vibration-free shooting at up to 7 fps
  • Continuously shoot up to 583 compressed RAW images at high speed
  • Focus Bracketing
  • 8K 25/24p video, 4K 60p, 4K video oversampled from 6.2K without binning, a high-efficiency MPEG-H HEVC/H.265 codec, all intra recording, 10-bit 4:2:2 recording, breathing compensation
  • In-body Active mode image stabilization for smoother on-the-go recording (slight image crop in Active mode, Active mode not available when recording XAVC HS 8K or using a frame rate of 120 (100) fps)
  • Improved heat dissipation for extended recording times
  • New 4-axis multi-angle LCD monitor that combines the utility of a conventional tilting monitor with side-opening vari-angle flexibility
  • Upgraded Pixel Shift Multi Shooting, taking advantage of the precision in-body image stabilization system control for up to 240.8MP resolution
  • Pixel Shift Multi Shooting subject motion correction via Imaging Edge Desktop v3.5
  • Anti-flicker for stills (100 Hz or 120 Hz) and variable shutter function for stills and movies (higher than 100 Hz or 120 Hz)
  • Lossless RAW image compression and selectable RAW image sizes
  • Creative Look settings for stills and videos in camera
  • High-quality HEIF images with high compression efficiency
  • 0.64" (1.6 cm), 9.44 million dot OLED electronic viewfinder
  • Dual CFexpress Type A and SDXC compatible media slots
  • New menu system with touch control and a wide range of customizable functions
  • Support for UVC/UAC, allowing direct streaming of up to 4K (QFHD) with audio
  • Dust and moisture-resistant design
  • ISO 100 to 32000, extended 50 to 102400
  • 15-stop dynamic range at low sensitivities

Again, the imaging sensor remains the same. But, that imaging sensor is an outstanding one for stills, so the same is not bad in this case.

AF is the performance feature seeing the biggest upgrades in current generation cameras. With a dedicated AI-based image recognition processor working with the faster BIONZ XR imaging processor, the a7R V gets a huge upgrade in that regard.

The rest of the differentiating bullets add up to a significant upgrade from a7R IV.

Sony Alpha 7R V Front

Sensor and Image Quality

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Hyped for the Sony a7R IV was a brand new, record-setting "61.0" MP back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS image sensor creating 9504 x 6336 px images. That record is still held and now shared in the a7R V.

Here is a chart showing mostly imaging sensor-relevant specs.

ModelFOVCFSensorPixel SizePixels/MegapixelsDLA*
Canon EOS R51.0x36.0 x 24.0mm4.4µm8192 x 546445.0f/7.1
Canon EOS R6 Mark II1.0x36.0 x 24.0mm6.0µm6000 x 400024.2f/9.6
Sony a11.0x35.9 x 24.0mm4.2µm8640 x 576050.1f/6.7
Sony a9 II1.0x35.6 x 23.8mm5.9µm6000 x 400024.2f/9.6
Sony a7R V1.0x35.7 x 23.8mm3.8µm9504 x 633661.0f/6.1
Sony a7R IV1.0x35.7 x 23.8mm3.8µm9504 x 633661.0f/6.1
Sony a7R III1.0x35.9 x 24.0mm4.5µm7952 x 530442.4f/7.2
Sony a7R II1.0x35.9 x 24.0mm4.5µm7952 x 530442.4f/7.2
Sony a7 IV1.0x35.9 x 23.9mm5.1µm7008 x 467233.0f/8.2
Sony Alpha 7C R1.0x35.7 x 23.8mm3.76µm9504 x 633661.0f/6.1
Sony Alpha 7C II1.0x35.7 x 23.8mm3.76µm9504 x 633661.0f/6.1
Sony a7C1.0x35.6 x 23.8mm5.9µm6000 x 400024.2f/9.6
Sony Alpha 67001.5x23.3 x 15.5mm3.76µm6192 x 412826.0f/6.1
* Learn more about DLA (Diffraction Limited Aperture)
View the full Sony Alpha 7R V specifications to compare additional cameras.

Those stepping up from a Sony a9 II or similar resolution camera will see a dramatic increase in resolution.

Those stepping up from a Sony a7R III or Sony a7R II should expect to see a moderate increase in resolution. This is that difference.

The Sony Alpha 7 IV received a healthy resolution upgrade, but, a warning, the a7R V's Ultra-high resolution is addicting.

Here is the Alpha 7R V and Alpha 1 resolution comparison.

To cross brands, I'll share the Sony Alpha 7R V and Canon EOS R5 comparison.

Does everyone need 61 megapixels of resolution? No, but from an image quality perspective, I can't think of a negative reason for having too many pixels. All other aspects remaining equal, more is better. It takes no more effort to press the shutter release on an ultra-high resolution camera than on a low-resolution camera.

Still, there are some negative aspects to ultra-high image resolution. More specifically, higher resolution magnifies things you don't want to see, including:

  1. Lens aberrations (high-quality lenses will make the best use of the resolution available)
  2. Subject motion (an increased pixel density means that details will cross over individual pixels at a higher rate of speed, meaning that a slightly faster shutter speed will be required to avoid increased blur at the pixel level)
  3. Shortcomings in your technique including camera shake (you will need slightly faster shutter speeds for sharp handheld images — image stabilization and use of a tripod becoming more necessary)
  4. Focusing errors are magnified
  5. Environmental issues such as heat waves are magnified
  6. Diffraction

The details of diffraction do not need to be understood. However, all photographers should be aware that, as the aperture opening decreases (higher f/number), images become less sharp at the pixel level beyond the approximate aperture we refer to as the Diffraction Limited Aperture ("DLA", included in the table above). As resolution increases, that point of visible degradation occurs at a wider aperture, slightly negating the higher resolution advantage. While you will want to use apertures narrower than the DLA at times, the decision to do so should happen with the understanding that pixel-level sharpness becomes a compromise. Those wishing to retain maximum sharpness in their ultra-high resolution, very deep DOF images may decide that tilt-shift lenses and focus stacking techniques are especially attractive.

I've mentioned "pixel-level" very frequently here. I want to emphasize that when the final output size matches that from lower resolution imaging sensors, the entire list of magnification issues just presented is negated, and the oversampling that comes with downsizing to a lower resolution has benefits.

Large file sizes require large amounts of storage, cause increased file transfer/load times, and require increased computing cycles. Buying higher-capacity memory cards and drives and getting a faster computer, if necessary, are good ways to mitigate the drawbacks of larger file sizes.

The advantages of the increased detail captured by a higher resolution imaging sensor abound and include output at a larger size or to crop while retaining high resolution. I often find myself using the entire image dimensions to frame the final composition, attempting to have the most detail for viewing or printing large. While this strategy is usually a good one, sometimes that tight framing gets me in trouble, such as when I clip wingtips, need a bleed edge for printing, or need to format the image to a non-3:2 ratio such as for an 8x10 print. Having significant resolution available provides the freedom to frame subjects slightly looser, better accommodating such needs with high resolution not being sacrificed by moderate cropping. Birders especially will love that ultra-high pixel density imaging sensors effectively increase the "reach" of all lenses. With this much resolution, there is often the potential to crop a variety of final compositions from a single image.

Need more than the 61 megapixels delivered by RAW L? Pixel shift multi shooting delivers up to 240.8 MP via a 16 image composite. I'll explore this feature below. Prefer less resolution, perhaps for a smaller file size? The RAW M and RAW S have 26 MP and 15 MP respectively via down sampling.

Low-resolution cameras (if I can refer to 24 MP imaging sensors as low resolution) are often referred to as being ideal for low light. With a higher signal-to-noise ratio, the larger photosites on lower resolution imaging sensors produce lower noise levels at the pixel level. This difference is primarily noticeable when photographing at high ISO settings and directly comparing at the pixel level. However, to equalize the comparison, the higher resolution image must be reduced to the lower resolution image's pixel dimensions (or vice versa if the higher resolution is required). Reducing image dimensions includes the benefit of oversampling, a benefit often touted by manufacturers when describing video recording capabilities. The higher resolution camera typically performs at least similarly to the lower resolution camera in an equalized comparison, placing it on par with the camera thought to be the low light king.

Like the other Sony Alpha cameras, the a7R V imaging sensor has a native 3:2 aspect ratio. Other aspect ratios available are 1:1, 4:3, and 16:9.

The a7R V has the ISO 100–32000 range available, and expanded ISO settings from ISO 50 to ISO 102400 are available in still image mode. The entire range is selectable in 1/3-stops.

Let's take a closer look at noise and dynamic range.

Sony Alpha 7R V ISO Noise Comparison

With the Sony Alpha a7R V noise test results from 180 different test images available, much can be discerned. The smoothly colored Kodak color patches test chart subject combined with no noise reduction processing (key point) makes noise especially noticeable compared to detailed scenes that better hide noise levels. As always, noise reduction processing can improve upon the noise level seen in these images, but noise reduction can be applied to images from every camera, reducing its differentiation. So, avoiding noise reduction in the comparison levels the playing field. Unless otherwise noted, the Sony RAW-captured noise test images utilized the Lossless Compressed RAW setting and were processed in Capture One with the natural clarity method and the sharpening amount set to 30 (on a 0-1,000 scale).

As the ISO setting increases from 100 through 800, noise levels grow slowly, from negligible to modestly noticeable, as expected from a modern, high-resolution full-frame imaging sensor. At ISO 1600 through ISO 3200, noise levels become more obvious though images retain a high quality at these settings. By ISO 6400, images show noticeable impact from noise, and by ISO 12800, the noise is strong. ISO 25600 through 51200 results look bad unless significantly downsized, and ISO 102400 results look terrible.

Do not expect pixel-level noise performance from an ultra-high-resolution imaging sensor to match that from the same size, similar generation low-resolution imaging sensors such as that in the Sony Alpha 9 II. However, if the lower resolution works for you, the higher-resolution images can be considered oversampled and processed to smaller dimensions.

With the a7R V, Sony promised a repeat of the a7R III, a7R IV, and a1's impressive up to 15-stops of dynamic range at lower ISO sensitivity. One way to look at a camera's DR capabilities is to over or under-expose images and adjust them to the correct brightness in post-processing.

Increase the exposure by 3 stops and pull it back by the same amount in Capture One to get an idea of the dynamic range available. In that comparison, a7R V appears to deliver the same dynamic range as the a1. Try higher ISO comparisons to see that these two cameras produce similar results and retain excellent dynamic range at high ISO settings. Images from both cameras have lost the color information in the brightest color blocks with the colors becoming gray, but both appear to have lost a similar amount of color detail. At higher ISO settings in this comparison, notice the reduced noise advantage of this form of oversampling. Also, look at the ISO 50 comparison to see the reduced dynamic range available at this expanded setting. Both cameras are looking outstanding with the chart overexposed by two stops.

It is similarly interesting to look at underexposed images with brightness increased by the offsetting amount. In the -3 EV comparison, the a1 turns in very slightly lower noise levels than the a7R V, though the a7R V has additional resolution available for oversampling. Underexposing when using the a7R V involves little or no noise penalty vs. selecting a higher ISO setting in the first place. A real advantage of this capability is that shadow details can be pulled out of a very high dynamic range scene that is otherwise properly exposed, and it is also important when an HDR technique cannot be used or is not desired.

Noise reduction can make a huge difference in the results, but not all of it is positive. Noise reduction is destructive to fine details and must be applied carefully for optimal results. The same applies to sharpening, and a stronger amount of sharpening may be needed when noise reduction strength is increased, boding well for Sony's default over-sharpening.

Sony's imaging sensors are among the best available. The a7R IV delivered outstanding image quality, and the a7R V repeats this performance, featuring high-resolution, modest noise levels, and excellent dynamic range.

Sony Alpha 7R V Christmas Sample Picture

The Sony FE 14mm F1.8 GM Lens teamed with the a7R V to capture this Christmas scene.

Pixel Shift Multi Shooting

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So, this camera's 61-megapixel resolution likely has your attention, but how does 240.8 megapixels sound? This camera has that option.

Back in 2014, I asked Canon for a pixel shift feature ("Ultra-High Resolution Via Multiple Shots"). Sony answered my request.

It started with the Sony a7R III. This camera arrived with an intriguing new feature called Pixel Shift Multi Shooting. That feature came back in an improved form in the a7R IV, was featured in the a1, and now the a7R V has this feature.

I had requested a higher resolution final image to be created from the shifted sensor, but Sony's original decision in the a7 III was to enhance the existing resolution. With the Pixel Shift Multi Shooting feature enabled (now implemented with Shoot 4 Shots selected), the camera rapidly captures four images to be composited together during post-processing. The big deal is that the sensor is shifted between each image capture, resulting in the pixels moving in a square pattern.

Each pixel on the Bayer sensor (no high-pass filter is present) is filtered to capture either red, green, or blue light (only). The shift allows each pixel in the final composited image to have input from a pixel well filtered for each color (green gets double coverage), without demosaicing. While the native sensor resolution is retained, the result is a considerably sharper image, with noticeably lower noise and moiré essentially eliminated.

In the a7R III review, I suggested that Sony shift the sensor 1/2 pixel in each direction to implement my enhanced resolution concept as well. Apparently, they were listening, the a7R IV came with that superpower, and that feature returns in the a7R V.

New with the a7R IV and returning with the a7R V is a Shoot 16 Shots option that captures images with the sensor moved 1/2 pixel between captures. This technique provides the benefits of clarifying the Bayer sensor while substantially increasing the resolution. Process the 16 images into incredibly high-resolution 240.8 MP images. The difference is dramatic.

Pixel Shift Multi Shooting is a great concept, but not one without downsides. The first and perhaps biggest downside is that both the camera and subject must remain motionless while capturing the 4 or 16 images. Essentially, PSMS requires tripod-based shooting and still subjects. Even heat waves can prevent optimal results, and with the then-current processing options, areas not identical between images result in a strong, fine band pattern. That said, the latest Sony Imaging Edge version now resolves movement between images.

Pixel Shift Multi Shooting creates either 4 or 16 normal RAW image files that can be individually used. Processing is required to combine these files into the enhanced or enhanced and enlarged result. At review time, processing options I am aware of are Sony's Imaging Edge (formerly named Image Data Converter) and PixelShift2DNG. I still need to give Sony's software another chance, but it has been kludgy (to be kind), and I struggled to process the a7R IV files (with error messages preventing the saving of edited .ARQ files, the combined RAW image). PixelShift2DNG was easy to use, but I need to spend more time working the results up to the sharpness I want.

Hours spent on processing Pixel Shift files have taught me that some editing prowess is required, especially related to sharpening. If the source files are over-sharpened, the final results will show jaggies and other artifacts. If the source files are under-sharpened, the final results will not be sharp.

I'll share some comparison examples from the a7R IV below.

Sony a7R III

60 MP | 240 MP   60 | 240 MP

It is not hard to see the Pixel Shift Multi Shooting advantage in the 100% crops. Look closely at the lettering on the small round label on the candle and at the stitching detail in the flag fabric. The increased resolution is outstanding.

The difference made by the Pixel Shift capture and processing is dramatic. If shooting a scenario with no moving subjects, consider using the 4 or 16-image Pixel Shift Multi Shooting options. Aside from some storage space, there is little to lose. If the result does not work out, simply delete all except one of the RAW files as would have been otherwise captured.

Those with advanced processing skills can utilize 4-shot Pixel Shift Multi Shooting more frequently, even when some subjects move (such as tree branches). The shifted image can be processed and layered in editing software along with one of the source images. Show the single-source image (try using layer masks in Photoshop) in sections having movement problems to potentially salvage most of the shifted image quality. Utilizing this technique for 16-shot capture is more challenging, requiring the up-sizing of a base image.

In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS)

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Camera shake directly impacts image quality for both still images and movies, and Sony's 5-axis Optical In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS) was a difference-maker, providing up to a 5.5-stop shutter speed advantage, and the stabilized viewfinder was also quite advantageous. I say "was" because the a7R V has an improved 8-stop IBIS system, the highest rating ever for a Sony camera, and matching the rating of the review-time-latest Canon MILC, the EOS R6 Mark II.

Many of Sony's lenses, including the Sony FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II Lens, have image stabilization included, OSS (Optical Steady Shot), and in-lens stabilization can be better tuned to the focal length in use. However, IBIS also has advantages. For example, in-lens stabilization cannot correct for rotation as IBIS can.

With select OSS lenses, the a7R V features image stabilization with Body–Lens Coordinated Control when specific lenses are mounted. At review time, these four lenses, with their latest firmware versions installed, are on this list:

Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS Lens
Sony FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II Lens
Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS Lens
Sony FE 200-600mm F5.6-6.3 G OSS Lens

To test the a7R V's IBIS, I mounted the non-stabilized Sony FE 35mm F1.4 GM Lens. With the camera in Tv mode, starting at 1/15 sec., 10 shots were captured handheld, and the next longer shutter speed was selected. Repeat testing until you get bored at 2-second exposures.

The first slightly blurred image finally showed up at 0.4-seconds. 70% of the .6-second exposures, 60% of the 0.8-second exposures, and 50% of the 1-second exposures were sharp. The keeper rate dropped quickly at longer exposures.

That performance is impressive.

Sony Alpha 7R V Memory Card Door Open

File Size and Media

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With its non-lossy raw images weighing in at 117.0MB, the Sony a7R IV had a voracious appetite for memory cards and drives. Since that camera introduction, Sony has introduced an efficiently compressed non-lossy raw image format, delivering a significant file size reduction. The new lossless raw file format retains the ultimate image quality while dramatically reducing memory card and drive storage requirements for a win-win.

Are there downsides to the new Sony lossless compressed RAW format? Smaller files read and write faster from and to memory cards and disk, but compute cycles are required for compression and decompression. The image compression does not appear to challenge the Alpha a7R V's BIONZ XR processor. In regard to decompressing RAW files, the overall performance difference will depend on the speed of the processor. I have not found decompression performance to be an issue.

The lossy compressed file format available on previous Sony cameras is still a good option, and it remains available, as does the massive uncompressed RAW option. In addition, "The Alpha [7R V] includes the HEIF (High Efficiency Image File) format for smooth 10-bit gradations that provide more realistic reproduction of skies and portrait subjects where subtle, natural gradation is essential." [Sony]

The following table shows comparative RAW file sizes for a photo of a standard in-studio setup with a moderately high amount of detail captured with the referenced camera.

Model / File Size in MB @ ISO:(MP)100200400800160032006400128002560051200102400204800
Canon EOS R5(45.0)51.653.153.655.657.760.163.066.470.575.179.5 
Canon EOS R5 CRAW(45.0)28.129.329.931.533.335.536.235.936.036.937.7 
Canon EOS R6 II(24.2)28.729.430.
Canon EOS R6 II CRAW(24.2)16.216.717.318.018.819.719.819.319.018.819.417.8
Sony a1(50.1)102.2102.2102.1102.1102.2102.5102.4102.6103.4103.4104.4
Sony a1 Comp(50.1)64.064.765.767.169.171.674.478.280.896.093.9 
Sony a1 Lossy(50.1)54.454.454.354.254.454.654.554.755.655.656.4 
Sony a9 II(24.2)
Sony a7R V(61.0)124.0123.0124.0124.0124.0126.0126.0126.0128.0129.0132.0 
Sony a7R V Comp(61.0)80.775.976.978.580.483.186.991.196.299.2105.0 
Sony a7R V Lossy(61.0)65.765.665.665.765.866.266.867.568.170.171.4 
Sony a7R IV(61.0)117.0117.0117.0117.0117.0117.0117.0117.0117.0117.0117.0 
Sony a7R IV Comp(61.0) 
Sony a7R III(42.4)81.981.981.981.981.981.981.981.982.082.082.0 
Sony a7R II(42.4)82.882.882.882.882.882.882.882.882.882.882.8 
Sony a7 IV(30.0)43.143.444.144.946.147.750.052.555.958.660.764.6
Sony a7 III(24.2)
Sony a7C(24.2)
RAW file sizes increase with 1. Resolution 2. Bit Depth (more is better/larger) 3. Detail (noise adds detail, so high ISO file sizes increase) 4. Lack of compression. Memory and disk are cheap – buy more.

RAW file sizes increase with: 1. Resolution 2. Bit Depth (more is better/larger) 3. Detail (noise adds detail, so high ISO file sizes increase) 4. Lack of compression. Memory and disk are cheap – buy more.

At ISO 100, the Sony non-lossy compressed RAW format results in a huge file size reduction, from 124.0MB down to 80.7MB, a 35% reduction. More noise results in less compression efficiency, and the compression savings is significantly reduced at the higher ISO settings.

The lossy compressed file size is, as expected, smaller than the non-lossy compressed file size. However, the difference is small enough at all except the highest few stops of ISO settings that I see a low incentive to drop down to the lossy option (aside from a frame rate requirement I'll discuss soon).

As mentioned before, shooting a smaller overall resolution is another a7R V option, with RAW M (26 MP) and S (15 MP) sizes available.

The Sony Alpha 7R V has dual media slots, both supporting SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-II) and CFexpress Type A memory cards.

Files can be written to both cards simultaneously (for redundancy), alternately (for increased performance), sequentially (for increased capacity), and sorted (by file type).

Compared to CFexpress Type B memory cards, the CFexpress Type A cards available at review time are slower, considerably more expensive, and not available in capacities nearly as high. Still, they are smaller, and the ability to use SD cards in both slots is a huge advantage. The primary advantage of CFexpress Type A cards over SD cards is speed.

Understand that the highest a7R V video recording formats and framerates require relatively fast memory cards. At 8K, SDXC V60 and CFexpress VPG200 are the minimum speed requirements. Recording XAVC S-I 4K or XAVC S-I HD increases the SDXC requirement to V90 or higher and the CFexpress Type A requirement is again at least VPG200. Slow- and quick-motion movie shooting also requires fast cards.

A (minor-for-most) memory card performance-related issue to mention is the SD memory card format time. Sony's format process is relatively long, taking about 3 seconds with a V90 card. However, 3 seconds is considerably faster than the 10 seconds previous models timed at. Consider formatting your Sony-destined memory cards during shoot preparation instead of during a shoot.

Sony Alpha 7R V Top Angle

Frame Rate, Buffer Depth, Shutter

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The Sony Alpha 7R V's continuous shooting speeds are: Hi+: 10 fps, Hi: 8 fps, Mid: 6 fps, Lo: 3 fps.

The H+ 10 fps speed is quite fast and adequate for even sports action. However, the "+" usually indicates a deficit of some form, and this camera's H+ mode does not support uncompressed or lossless compressed RAW formats. You need to know this limitation because the camera does not tell you. It simply limits the framerate if the acceptable format is not selected.

ModelFPSMax JPGMax RAWShutter LagVF Blackout
Canon EOS R512/2035087/18050msn/a
Canon EOS R6 Mark II12/401,000+11050-84msn/a
Sony a110/3040023820-42ms0ms
Sony a9 II10/2036123920-33ms0ms
Sony a7R V101000+583 n/a
Sony a7R IV10686820msn/a
Sony a7R III10762820msn/a
Sony a7R II5242320msn/a
Sony a7 IV10Full1,000+  
Sony Alpha 7C R8483620ms 
Sony Alpha 7C II10884420ms 
Sony a7C10213+115+20ms 
View the full Sony Alpha 7R V specifications to compare additional cameras.

The full list of approx. recordable frames are: JPEG Extra fine L: over 1000 frames, JPEG Fine L: over 1000 frames, JPEG Standard L: over 1000 frames, RAW: 583 frames, RAW & JPEG: 184 frames, RAW (Lossless Compressed): 547 frames, RAW (Lossless Compressed) & JPEG: 159 frames, RAW (Uncompressed): 135 frames, RAW (Uncompressed) & JPEG: 88 frames.

With a freshly formatted Lexar 256GB Professional 2000x 300 MB/s UHS-II V90 SDXC Memory Card installed, the a7R V with a fully charged battery captured up to 103 compressed (black) RAW images in H+ (10 fps) mode and cleared the buffer in 22 seconds.

Switch to the larger lossless compressed RAW format, dropping the frame rate to 7 fps, and the continuous image count declines to 73 images.

Expect better performance from a CFexpress Type A card.

With the full electronic shutter selected, this camera does not produce sound during image capture. The electronic shutter is perfect for use during quiet events such as weddings, when photographing skittish wildlife, and during audio capture. The full electronic shutter has advantages and disadvantages.

With no mechanical shutter used, there are no moving parts, there is no shutter vibration, shutter failure is highly unlikely, and again, the camera operates in near silence.

With no sound or other haptic feedback, knowing precisely when the image is being captured can be problematic, and adding a "beep" is counter to the goal of the silent shutter. In many modes, the a7R V has a viewfinder display blackout that makes the shutter release obvious. However, in H+ mode, there is no indication of continuous frame capture (minimally with the default settings).

Some features are disabled when the full electronic shutter is selected.

Additional downsides of an electronic shutter are related to the current technology line-by-line reading of the imaging sensor. Fast side-to-side subject or camera movement can result in an angular-shifted image with vertically straight lines becoming noticeably slanted (with the camera in horizontal orientation). Understand that the second curtain of a mechanical shutter chasing the first curtain can produce the same effect. Still, the difference between mechanical shutter (with electronic first curtain shutter, about 3.5ms) and electronic shutter performance in this regard has historically been big.

The Sony a7R V's tested imaging sensor readout speed is a long 99.3ms that will show strong rolling shutter effects when the camera or subject is moving during the image capture. Here is a table of imaging sensor readout speeds.

Model (times in ms)Electronic1st Curtain Mechanical
Canon EOS R516.33.5
Canon EOS R6 Mark II14.53.4
Canon EOS R814.53.4
Canon EOS R1035.02.8
Canon EOS R5035.32.4
Sony Alpha 13.82.4
Sony Alpha 7R V99.33.5
Sony Alpha 7R IV99.33.7
Sony Alpha 7C R8483620ms 
Sony Alpha 7C II10884420ms 
Sony a7C10213+115+20ms 
Sony Alpha 67001110005920ms 
Tested imaging sensor readout speeds are accurate to approximately +/- 0.2ms.

Certain light pulsing (including from others' flashes) can influence electronic shutter-captured results, creating troublesome banding. Here is an electronic shutter banding example from another camera:

Electronic Shutter Banding Example

Note that this image was captured at a fast 1/8000 sec. shutter speed and high 6400 ISO setting. However, the light source was a good quality battery-powered video light.

Shutter speeds up to 1/8000 sec. are available, and X-sync speeds are 1/250 sec. (full-frame) and 1/320 sec. (APS-C). Bulb timer and interval shooting are available.

Sony Alpha 7R V Baby Feet Sample Picture

The a7R V and Sony FE 135mm F1.8 GM Lens teamed for the baby feet image.


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Precise focusing is mandatory for the ultimate image quality, and the latest MILC AF systems are showing massive improvements over cameras even a few years old. Headlining for the a7R V is a new AI processing unit driving AI-based image recognition and working with the fast BIONZ XR image processing engine. "State-of-the-art AI processing uses detailed information about human forms and postures to dramatically improve the camera's subject recognition accuracy and make full use of its potential resolution." [Sony]

That processing power facilitates impressive subject detection and tracking capabilities, giving this camera Sony's best AF performance to date.

Recognizable subject selections are: Human, Animal, Bird, Animal (40% improved recognition, including facing backwards) or Bird, Insect, Car or Train, or Airplane, and the range of subjects can be limited. The human pose estimation capability is especially interesting.

Detailed settings for each recognition target are configurable.

Tracking Shift Range restricts the subject recognition distance from the tracking frame (1-5).

Tracking Persistence Lvl "Sets the sensitivity for whether to continue tracking around the subject or shift the focus to another subject that is closer in shooting distance when a recognized subject is lost. When set to 5 (Locked On), even under conditions where a recognized subject is lost, such as when the subject that you want to shoot is temporarily hidden by another object, the camera continues to track the area around the subject. When set to 1 (Not Locked On), under conditions where the camera cannot continue to track a recognized subject, such as when the subject is moving fast, the camera cancels tracking and quickly shifts the focus to another subject that is closer in shooting distance." [Sony]

Recognition Sensitivity (1-5) sets the sensitivity of subject recognition. Lower settings prevent false recognition and higher settings recognize subjects that are normally difficult.

Recognition Priority Set. enables subject type prioritization when animals and birds are recognized at the same time.

Note that only [Recognition Priority Set.] is available in movie mode.

The a7R V can be limited to recognize only specific parts: Eye/Head/Body, Eye/Head, Eye, or Follow Individual, and recognition Part Select can be assigned to a custom key. A subject recognition frame can be enabled to show the eye, face/head, or body of the subject (only entire body of insects and front of car, train, or airplane).

Up to seven faces can be registered for optional priority detection and tracking. Pressing the multi-selector changes the face to track when multiple options are present. Auto, right eye, or left eye can be selected for human and animal subjects, with the switch available as a custom key function.

Many other autofocus parameters are available.

The Sony Alpha 7R V's AF system is remarkably good at identifying even small-in-the-frame subjects and tenaciously stays on its target.

Focus bracketing is available with step width (1-10), number of shots (2-299), and order (current focus distance to far or current focus distance plus a closer and a farther image captured (3 shots, number of shots parameter ignored) parameters.

The a7R V's phase detection AF point count is 693, and the low light AF capability is to EV -4 (very dark, but not as dark as some other MILCs support).

Does the a7R V always defocus and refocus in single shot mode (AF-S)? Yes, but focusing is fast.


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The a7R V gets a solid set of movie options. Here are the details:

Recording Format: XAVC S, XAVC HS

Video Compression: XAVC S: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, XAVC HS: MPEG-H HEVC/H.265

Audio Recording Format: LPCM 2ch (48kHz 16bit), LPCM 2ch (48kHz 24bit), LPCM 4ch (48kHz 24bit), MPEG-4 AAC-LC 2ch

Color Space: Rec. ITU-R BT.2100 standard compatible (BT.2020 gamut)

Picture Profile: Yes (Off / PP1-PP11) Parameters: Black level, Gamma (Movie, Still, S-Cinetone, Cine1-4, ITU709, ITU709 [800%], S-Log2, S-Log3, H LG, HLG1-3), Black Gamma, Knee, Color Mode, Saturation, Color Phase, Color Depth, Detail, Copy, Reset

Movie Functions: Audio Level Display, Audio Rec Level, PAL/NTSC Selector, Proxy Recording (1280 x 720 (Approx. 6 Mbps), 1920 x 1080 (Approx. 9 Mbps), 1920 x 1080 (Approx. 16 Mbps)), TC/UB, Auto Slow Shutter, Gamma Disp. Assist, RAW Output (HDMI)

Creative Look: ST, PT, NT, VV, VV2, FL, IN, SH, BW, SE, Custom Look (1-6)

7680 x 4320 (4:2:0, 10bit, NTSC) (Approx.): 24p (400 Mbps / 200 Mbps), 7680 x 4320 (4:2:0, 10bit, PAL) (Approx.): 25p (400 M bps / 200 Mbps)]

3840 x 2160 (4:2:0, 10bit, NTSC) (Approx.): 60p (150 Mbps / 75 M bps / 45 Mbps), 24p (100 Mbps / 50 Mbps / 30 Mbps), 3840 x 2160 (4:2:0, 10bit, PAL) (Approx.): 50p (150 Mbps / 75 Mbps / 45 Mbps), 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, NTSC) (Approx.): 60p (200 Mb ps / 100 Mbps), 24p (100 Mbps / 50 Mbps), 3840 x 2160 (4: 2:2, 10bit, PAL) (Approx.): 50p (200 Mbps / 100 Mbps)

3840 x 2160 (4:2:0, 8bit, NTSC) (Approx.): 60p (150 Mbps), 30p (100 Mbps / 60 Mbps), 24p (100 Mbps / 60 Mbps), 3840 x 2160 (4:2:0, 8bit, PAL) (Approx.): 50p (150 Mbps), 25p (100 Mbp s / 60 Mbps),3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, NTSC) (Approx.): 60p (200 Mbps), 30p (140 Mbps), 24p (100 Mbps), 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, PAL) (Approx.): 50p (200 Mbps), 25p (140 Mbps)

1920 x 1080 (4:2:0, 8bit, NTSC) (Approx.): 120p (100 Mbps / 60 M bps), 60p (50 Mbps / 25 Mbps), 30p (50 Mbps / 16 Mbps), 24p (50 Mbps),1920 x 1080 (4:2:0, 8bit, PAL) (Approx.): 100p (100 Mbps / 60 Mbps), 50p (50 Mbps / 25 Mbps), 25p (50 Mbps / 16 Mbps),1920 x 1080 (4:2:2, 10bit, NTSC) (Approx.): 60p (50 Mbp s), 30p (50 Mbps), 24p (50 Mbps),1920 x 1080 (4:2:2, 10bit, PAL) (Approx.):50p (50 Mbps), 25p (50 Mbps)

3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, NTSC) (Approx.): 60p (600 Mbps), 30p (300 Mbps), 24p (240 Mbps), 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, PAL) (Approx.): 50p (500 Mbps), 25p (250 Mbps)

1920 x 1080 (4:2:2, 10bit, NTSC) (Approx.): 60p (222 Mbps), 30p (111 Mbps), 24p (89 Mbps),1920 x 1080 (4:2:2, 10bit, PAL) (Approx.): 50p (185 Mbps), 25p (93 Mbps)

Slow & Quick Motion rates:
NTSC mode: 1fps, 2fps, 4fps, 8fps, 15fps, 30fps, 60fps, 120fps, PAL mode: 1fps, 2fps, 3fps, 6fps, 12fps, 25fps, 50fps, 100fps

USB Streaming: MJPEG or YUV420 at 3840 x 2160 (15p / 12.5p) / 1920 x 1080 (60p / 50p / 30p / 25p) / 1 280 x 720 (30p / 25p), Audio Data Format: LPCM 2ch (16bit 48 kHz)

8K, 4K 60p/50p, and Slow & Quick modes are cropped (about 1.2x). 4K video is oversampled at 6.2k without pixel binning.

Additional features:

  • Real-time Recognition AF
  • S-Gamut3.Cine
  • S-Cinetone
  • 14+ stops of latitude
  • 16-bit RAW output
  • SteadyShot Active mode image stabilization
  • Breathing Compensation (slight crop may be present)
  • AF Assist, Focus Map
  • Marker Display and Gamma Display Assist
  • Soft skin effect
  • Shockless white balance
  • Simultaneous internal recording

The biggest a7R V movie drawback is the slow imaging sensor readout speed, showing rolling shutter effect with panning and subjects moving across the frame.

Exposure/Metering System

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All current Sony Alpha cameras calculate exposures accurately, and like the a1, the a7R V features 1200-zone evaluative metering at EV -3 – EV 20, with +/- 5.0 EV exposure compensation available. Visible light and IR sensors utilize the AI processing unit to improve autoexposure and white balance accuracy.

The a7R V features optional anti-flicker shooting when the mechanical shutter (only) selected.

Available metering modes are Multi, Center, and Spot (standard and large), Entire Screen Average mode (stable auto-exposure through composition changes), Highlight (detects the brightest area in the frame to (strongly) avoid blown highlights).

Viewfinder and LCD

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The Sony Alpha a7R V features a huge 0.64-type OLED electronic viewfinder with extreme 9.44 million-dot Quad-XGA resolution, the same size and resolution as the Alpha 1's EVF and an increase from the Alpha 7R IV's 0.5" (1.3 cm) 5.76 million dot UXGA OLED EVF. The image displayed by EVF is beautiful.

The magnification is .90x, the eyepoint is 25mm, and the refresh rate options are 120 or 60 fps.

This is not a blackout free EVF implementation, and tracking a moving subject in the viewfinder while shooting is challenging.

Sony Alpha 7R V LCD Open

The a7R V's rear LCD is also sweet — a 3.15" (8.2cm) TFT, 4-Axis Multi-Angle Touch Screen, with approx 2,095,104 dots. That dot count is up from 1.44 million dots on the a7R IV and down slightly from the a7R IVA's 2.36 million dot LCD.

Sony Alpha 7R V LCD Open Side

Do you prefer Sony's classic pull back and tilt vertically LCD or the LCD type that hinges on the side and then rotates vertically? What if you could have both options on the same LCD? Sony made that happen.

Sony Alpha 7R V LCD Open Front

The a7R V's LCD will still pull straight back and tilt vertically (98° up, 40° down), but via a pair of hinges on the left side, it will also pivot 180° outward and then rotate 270°, with over 360° of total vertical rotation available. The only physical penalty for this design appears to be a slightly thicker overall LCD implementation.

That the outward positioned LCD clears an L-bracket and cables throughout the full rotation is highly advantageous, and the front-facing capability facilitates vlogging. Overall, I love the flexibility this LCD positionally provides.

Sony Alpha 7R V LCD Fully Open

I do not find Sony's camera menus easy to navigate, and Sony first addressed this issue with the a1 and a7S III. "Touch-responsive main and function menus with menu tabs on the left of the display, and related parameter groups and parameters on the right, make for easy navigation and tracking control." [Sony]

Until recently, Sony's LCD touch capabilities were limited to touch AF point selection when the rear LCD was active and touchpad functionality for AF point selection when using the EVF. Now, use tap, pinch, swipe, etc., to navigate the camera.

Change requires acclimation, and I've used the new menu layout in my a1 for a significant amount of time, long enough to become accustomed to it. I find Sony's new menu system to be an improvement but still somewhat daunting to navigate.

"The menu provides a subset of the camera’s shooting settings related to the selected shooting mode, facilitating settings for stills and movies." [Sony] This feature makes switching between stills and movie mode settings efficient.

I find the viewfinder graphics, especially the level indicator's two large superfluous semi-circles and the AF point box's thick sides, consuming too much space. These features sometimes cover subject details. For example, it is sometimes difficult to see if a catchlight is present in an animal's eye.

If reviewing an image, fully pressing the shutter release does not start an exposure. A half press must be momentarily held or a second shutter release press is required to capture the picture. Please make the camera shoot priority, Sony.

Physical Design

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Sony maintains similar camera designs, and those familiar with Sony's Alpha series cameras will readily familiarize themselves with the a7R V. Similarity reduces the acclimation effort required to learn a new camera and makes using multiple Alpha camera models easier.

The a7R V body has a full array of professional controls, featuring a design nearly identical to that of the Sony Alpha 7 IV. The a7R V's viewfinder and rear LCD protrude slightly more, and its mode dial has a lock button.

To visually compare the Sony Alpha 7R V with many other camera models, use the site's camera product image comparison tool.

As you review the product images for this camera, keep in mind that a huge number of customizations are available. If what you see is not your preference, you can probably customize it to be so.

Sony Alpha 7R V Back

Back of the Camera

The Sony a7R V primarily features large, raised buttons set in raised plastic surrounds. These simple design features make most buttons easy to tactilely find.

The a7R V's movie start/stop and C1 buttons have traded locations from the a7 R IV's design, with the movie button now optimally positioned on top. The top positioned record button better facilitates use from all sides of the camera, including for self-recording.

Did you notice the stacked mode dial on top of this camera? You'll see the release and lever used for this adjustment in the top view. The movie and S&Q modes were moved to this dial from the mode dial, a positive change that works great.

The well-designed 8-way multi-selector joystick is back and easy to use.

The rear control dial is a useful feature; however, I will offer a minor complaint about Sony's implementation. The edges of the control are not as grippy as I'd like (perhaps the surrounding plastic is raised too much), the dial presses in all directions (like a joystick) but only has 4 accepted press directions. It would be nice if the directional movement was confined only to those 4 directions and the clicks better defined.

The programmable function button provides quick access to 12 common functions assigned to still photo mode and a different 12 assigned to movie mode. By default, ISO settings are easily accessed via the rear control wheel.

Overall, a solid set of easy-to-find back of the camera controls is provided in a mature layout.

A recessed area at the bottom corner of the LCD facilitates opening, even with gloves on. The increased LCD depth of the 4-axis design also aids in that capability.

Sony Alpha 7R V Top

Top of the Camera

The top of the a7R V features a significant number of versatile controls, including two unmarked dials readily accessed by the thumb in addition to the front dial. That the lockable exposure compensation dial lost its labels opens this feature to other functions via customization. The downside to this change is that easy visual confirmation of the current setting is foregone (the viewfinder provides this piece of info).

The rear and front dials have soft click positions.

I mentioned the stacked mode dial. In this view, the lever and release button are visible. These controls function very nicely.

The modes that professionals (and anyone serious about photography) have come to expect are included: M, S, A, P. Those who want to take advantage of a great camera without a learning curve (and those who want the camera to decide what settings are required in an instant) have the intelligent auto mode ready for immediate use.

Three custom mode options are again provided, ready to store your most-used settings for immediate recall. Note that the a7R V is also capable of saving and reading camera settings to and from a memory card.

S&Q, referring to "S"low and "Q"uick, is the mode used for Slow and Quick Motion movies.

A single programmable custom button is provided within convenient reach of the grip hand's index finger.

The a7R V's power switch, surrounding the shutter release, is conveniently positioned, allowing the camera to be powered on or off with the grip hand's index finger while the camera is in hand.

Again, and as usual for Sony Alpha cameras, the a7R V provides a considerable number of controls, availing quick setting changes. Once acclimated to the Sony control positioning and feature locations, this camera is easy to use. This camera's controls (except perhaps the rear control dial) have a high-quality overall feel.

Sony does not include a top LCD on the latest Alpha camera models, and I don't want for this feature when using these cameras.

Sony Alpha 7R V Left Side

Side of the Camera

Ports on the left side of the camera from the top-right, moving clockwise, are: mic and headphone (3.5 mm Stereo minijack), SuperSpeed USB Type-C (USB 3.2 Gen 2), multi-terminal USB (Micro), flash sync terminal, and HDMI Type-A (full-size port).

Sony Alpha 7R V Right Side

Noticeable on the camera's right/grip side is the new memory card door release that includes an a1-like slide lock.

Sony Alpha 7R V Body

Front of the Camera

The front of the a7R V is relatively featureless. The ubiquitous lens release button, the AF assist lamp, and light sensor are provided.

Sony Alpha 7R V Bottom

Size of the Camera

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One of the big attractions to the Sony MILCs is their small size and light weight. Small is great in many respects, but too small has a potential downside regarding the grip of a frequently used camera.

When you want to have full control over something, you grasp it with your entire hand. You don't hold a baseball bat, tennis racket, or golf club with just your fingertips. The same is true for a camera grip. While I'm not swinging my camera in the same way as those sporting implements, I still want total control over my camera and an attached lens.

The initial Sony Alpha camera grips were too small for me. Despite its grip being about 2.5mm deeper than the II's, the a7R III grip didn't seem much improved. The a7R IV grip iteration was a significant improvement. The increased palm swell was immediately felt when picking up the camera.

The a7R IV grip extends forward noticeably farther than the a7R III grip, providing the depth needed to fill fingers, and many will find their pinky remaining on the grip vs. sliding under it. While the a7R IV's grip is much more secure and comfortable in hand, the lens clearance issue was not addressed in this update. I've often complained about Sony's larger lenses uncomfortably impacting my first two fingers' (non-cushioned) joints (I have medium/large hands). With the grip not being moved outward away from the lens, the a7R IV still has that issue.

The a1 grip measures an additional about-1.6mm in depth (varying slightly depending on where measured) from the a7R IV grip. While this difference is slight, the lens impact pressure difference is noticeable. I'm not ready to call the issue completely resolved, but it has significantly improved.

The a7R V's grip feels identical to the a1 and a7 IV grips, equating it to the best Sony grip available.

ModelBody DimensionsCIPA Weight
Canon EOS R55.5 x 3.8 x 3.5"(138.0 x 97.5 x 88.0mm)26.0 oz (738g)
Canon EOS R6 Mark II5.5 x 3.9 x 3.5"(138.4 x 98.4 x 88.4mm)23.6 oz (670g)
Sony a15.1 x 3.9 x 3.3"(128.9 x 96.9 x 80.8mm)23.7 oz (673g)
Sony a9 II5.1 x 3.9 x 3.1"(128.9 x 96.4 x 77.5mm)23.7 oz (673g)
Sony a7R V5.3 x 3.8 x 3.3"(131.3 x 96.9 x 82.4mm)25.6 oz (723g)
Sony a7R IV5.2 x 3.9 x 3.2"(128.9 x 96.4 x 77.5mm)23.5 oz (665g)
Sony a7R III5.0 x 3.9 x 3.0"(126.9 x 95.6 x 73.7mm)23.2 oz (657g)
Sony a7R II5.0 x 3.8 x 2.4"(126.9 × 95.7 x 60.3mm)22.0 oz (625g)
Sony a7 IV5.2 x 3.8 x 3.1"(131.3 x 96.4 x 79.8mm)23.0 oz (650g)
Sony Alpha 7C R5.0 x 2.9 x 2.5"(124.0 x 71.1 x 63.4mm)18.0 oz (509g)
Sony Alpha 7C II5.0 x 2.9 x 2.5"(124.0 x 71.1 x 63.4mm)18.0 oz (509g)
Sony a7C4.9 x 2.8 x 2.4"(124.0 x 71.1 x 59.7mm)18.0 oz (509g)
Sony Alpha 67004.9 x 2.8 x 3.0"(122.0 x 69.0 x 75.1mm)17.4 oz. (493g)
View the full Sony Alpha 7R V specifications to compare additional cameras.

Overall, aside from the a7C, there is little size and weight difference between the Sony Alpha full-frame camera models. All are small. All are light. Those are features few will complain about, especially when carrying, either in a case or in hand, for long periods.

The Sony Alpha 7R V is a relatively small camera that is comfortable to hold for long periods.

Sony Alpha 7R V Magnesium Alloy Chassis

Ergonomics, Build Quality, and Durability

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Built on a lightweight, high-rigidity magnesium alloy chassis, the Sony Alpha 7R V is solidly built, with a high-quality feel – very similar to the a1.

Most of the buttons, dials, and switches have nice haptic feedback, and the fun-to-use factor is again very high.

ModelShutter Durability Rating
Canon EOS R5500,000
Canon EOS R6 Mark II400,000
Sony a1500,000
Sony a9 II500,000
Sony a7R V500,000
Sony a7R IV500,000
Sony a7R III500,000
Sony a7R II500,000
View the full Sony Alpha 7R V specifications to compare additional cameras.

The a7R V has significant dust and moisture-resistance, though it is not waterproof.

Sony Alpha 7R V Weather Sealing

Additional Features

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"Sharing and connectivity with Sony's Imaging Edge Mobile app is now even easier and more powerful. Quickly configure camera Wi-Fi settings using the low-power Bluetooth connection, and enjoy greater control over automatic image transfers." [Sony]

The a7 V's wireless LAN functionality includes the faster 5GHz band in addition to the conventional 2.4GHz band.

Background FTP file transfer enables sending files to a remote FTP server over a wireless LAN, high-speed wired LAN (compatible USB Type C to Ethernet adaptor cable required), or a USB-tethered smartphone.

An "Anti-dust system for efficient dust removal" [Sony] is provided.


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Highly convenient is that the a7R V shares the Sony NP-FZ100 battery pack power source with many other recent Alpha series models. This relatively compact battery is rated for approx. 440 shots (viewfinder) or 530 shots (LCD monitor) (CIPA standard). Real-life experience is that battery life usually exceeds CIPA ratings and dramatically exceeds CIPA ratings when shooting in continuous modes.

As usual for Sony Alpha cameras, the battery door is spring-loaded, but the switch is not. It must be slid into the locked position after closing the door.

The Sony BC-QZ1 Battery Charger is included. USB PD (Power Delivery) is supported, and the battery can be charged in-camera via the USB port and a USB power adapter, with a 2' (.6m) USB cable provided.

Sony Alpha 7R V with VG-C4EM Grip

Sony VG-C4EM Vertical Battery Grip

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Like the a1, a7R IV, and a7 IV, the a7R V is compatible with the Sony VG-C4EM Vertical Grip.

The vertical grip provides improved handling, especially with larger lenses and especially in vertical orientation, where it provides the same grip and controls as the built-in grip. The VG-C4EM permits using two NP-FZ100 batteries, doubling the number of shots per charge.

Aside from the purchase cost, the biggest downside to the grip is the size and weight it adds to the camera. The grip is easily removable, creating flexibility in its use. Remove the battery door via a spring-loaded switch to enable the grip to mount. As with most battery grips of this type, the removed door clips into the space provided on the side of the grip area that inserts into the battery compartment.

The VG-C4EM features magnesium alloy construction with dust and moisture resistance matching the a1 (minimally equivalent to the a7R V's sealing). This accessory is well-built and well-matched — I have one in my kit. If I'm photographing people or wildlife, the grip is usually installed.

If two installed batteries are insufficient for your needs, get the Sony Multi Battery Adaptor NPA-MQZ1K. That device holds four batteries.

Sony Alpha 7R V Street Sample Picture

Which Lens Should I Get for the Sony Alpha 7R V?

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When deciding which camera brand to purchase, consider the available accessory system. If your needs are light, a few good lenses may be totally adequate. However, professionals with more complex needs are not as easily satisfied. In this regard, Sony covers far more than the basics and regularly adds impressive models to their E-mount lens lineup.

A high-quality lens is required to take full advantage of the camera's image quality. What is the best lens for the Sony Alpha 7R V? The lens is a required accessory, and most will find the Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 GM II Lens (used for the sample image above) or the Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS Lens to be the best general-purpose lens option for the a7R V. For the longer focal length needs so often encountered, the Sony FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS II Lens is a great choice, and the Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM II Lens is an excellent option for wide-angle needs.

The site's Best Sony Lenses page is a great starting point for the latest advice, including more affordable options. The Best Sony General-Purpose Lens, Best Sony Telephoto Zoom Lens, and Best Sony Wide-Angle Lens pages feature recommendations for these top 3 lens types.

Check out the site's Sony Zoom Lens Reviews and Sony Lens Reviews for in-depth coverage of all of Sony's lenses.


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The Sony Alpha 7R V is a relatively high-priced camera. However, the features, including the outstanding AF system and exceptional image quality, make the a7R V a good value, especially when compared to the far more expensive Alpha 1.

Wrap Up

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Keeping a review of the incredibly feature-laden a7R V concise but complete is a difficult balance to find, and this review is not a complete description of every feature available.

The 535-page owner's manual is linked to at the top of this review. It is worth, minimally, browsing to understand the extensive features available in this camera.

The a7R V used for this review was online/retail acquired.


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Should I get the a7R V?

As the dust from the Sony Alpha 7R V review is settling, I have a decision to make. Do I keep my Sony Alpha 7R IV / IVA or upgrade to the 7R V.

Check out the Sony a7R V vs. a7R IV specification comparison along with the visual comparison of these cameras.

What are the differences between the Sony Alpha 7R V and the Alpha 7R IV? Here is a summary:

  • New AI processing unit dedicated to AI-based image recognition
  • BIONZ XR processor, a significant upgrade to the BIONZ X
  • Next-generation AF Real-time Recognition and tracking AF in still and movie modes utilizing detailed information about human form and pose estimation to dramatically improve recognition accuracy beyond systems that only detect face and eye
  • AI subject recognition subject types added, now including animals, vehicles, and insects (Human, Animal/Bird, Animal, Bird, Insect, Car/Train, and Airplane available)
  • 8-stop image stabilization system — most effective ever offered in a Sony Alpha camera, a noticeable improvement from the a7R IV's IBIS
  • AF Working Range expanded to EV -4 – 20 vs. EV -3 – 20
  • 0.64" (1.6 cm), 9.44 million dot OLED electronic viewfinder vs. 0.5" (1.3 cm) with 5.76 million dots
  • New 4-axis multi-angle LCD monitor that combines the utility of a conventional tilting monitor with side-opening vari-angle flexibility
  • 3.15" (8.2cm), Touch Screen with 2,095,104 dots vs. 2.95" (7.5cm) non-Touch Screen with 1,440,000 dots (the IVA has 2,359,296 dots)
  • 8K 25/24p video, 4K 60p, 4K video oversampled from 6.2K without binning vs. 4K 30p
  • Breathing compensation
  • Focus Bracketing
  • Stacked mode dial and exposure compensation dial is customizable
  • Movie start/stop button moved from back to top
  • In-body Active mode image stabilization for smoother on-the-go recording (slight image crop in Active mode, Active mode not available when recording XAVC HS 8K or using a frame rate of 120 (100) fps)
  • Improved heat dissipation for extended recording times
  • Upgraded Pixel Shift Multi Shooting, taking advantage of the precision in-body image stabilization system
  • Variable shutter function for stills and movies (higher than 100 Hz or 120 Hz)
  • Lossless RAW image compression and selectable RAW image sizes for storage efficiency
  • High-quality HEIF images with high compression efficiency
  • Dual CFexpress Type A and SDXC compatible media slots
  • New menu system with touch control and a wide range of customizable functions
  • Support for UVC/UAC, allowing direct streaming of up to 4K (QFHD) with audio
  • a7R V has shorter battery life — Viewfinder: 440 vs. 530, LCD: 530 vs. 670
  • a7R V is slightly heavier: 25.6 vs. 23.5 oz (723 vs.665g)

The primary factor against this upgrade is that the 61.0MP full-frame back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS image sensor, Sony’s highest resolution in an Alpha camera, remains the same. While there were surely cost factors involved with the decision to stay with this imaging sensor, it is a high-performing one, and the latest technology available may not warrant an upgrade.

If the acquisition cost, selling a used camera and buying a new camera, was not a factor, this decision would be extremely simple. For many, the improved AF performance alone justifies the upgrade, but my decision is further complicated by having a Sony Alpha 1 for higher performance demands. I'm still contemplating this decision at review time.

Sony Alpha 7R V Angle


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The image quality, featuring 61 MP resolution, from the a7R V's imaging sensor is impressive, and Sony's best-ever AF and IBIS systems ensure that the ultimate image quality is realized. The viewfinder is huge with high resolution, and the 4-axis LCD has great flexibility. This camera's feature and capabilities list is lengthy.

Overall, the Sony Alpha 7R V is an outstanding camera. While the a7R V's fastest frame rate and viewfinder blackout make it less than ideal for sports and other fast action, and video-primary shooters have better options, this is a superior camera for most other uses.

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