I’ve been using the Sony A7R V for 6 months, and I’ve shot a destination wedding in Peru and Colombia, taken this on some client shoots, and used it for my YouTube videos. This video wont be going over the specs, but I’ve been writing down my experiences with this camera as I’ve been using it. So this is my review of the camera, based on the past 6 months of using it.
Where this camera falls into my line up, is this is my main photo camera, but if I have a video job, I need a camera that I can rely on to not overheat and be able to keep up with my FX6 and A7S III.
Starting off, with shooting photos with this camera.
The 61-megapixel elephant in the room are the huge photos the Sony A7R V produces. The RAW photos have been a joy to work with, and you can choose between uncompressed or 3 levels of compressed RAW photos. I’ve shot both, and the uncompressed raw photos have a lot of room to crop and adjust levels and colors. Just be prepared to store a 130-megabyte RAW file per photo. I shot medium-compressed RAW photos for a wedding and had no problem cropping and adjusting levels, and I was shooting on a backlit pier, so the lighting difference between the interior and exterior sunlight was pretty bright.
I’ll talk more about autofocus in the video section, but for photos the autofocus has been awesome to work with. It is incredibly locked on to your subjects, the biggest upgrade I noticed while using it was less jumping around when something goes in front of the subject. For example, someone walking in front of you while your locked onto a person. The camera was able to stay locked onto the subject, if it was around 1 or 2 seconds of disruption, and the af shift and sensitivity settings were left at default medium settings. It was a life saver for event and wedding photography.
When it comes to video, the unlimited video recording time with no overheating in 4K is a big advantage, especially over the A7 IV that I had before the Sony A7R V.
I tested the 4K30 for 14 hours using a massive V-mount battery, and it didn’t overheat once, however, when I was filming in 8K, I was only able to get an hour before it overheated. I immediately shut the camera off, turned it back on, and started recording, and could film for 20 minutes before it overheated again. I left the camera alone for 20 minutes, did the test again and got the same results.
Speaking of the 8K, the file size is huge, the rolling shutter is pretty bad, and your stuck to only filming in 24 frames per second. There are limitations to the 8k, and if you’re moving the Sony A7R V around at all you’ll notice the rolling shutter, but filming in controlled settings with the camera locked off, the 8K can look very nice.
The 4k video features of the Sony A7R V make it feel like it can fit in with my more video-centric cameras as well. The HS, S and I codec options with 10-bit color and high megabit per second
When it comes to crops, the 4K 24, 30 and all 1080p modes have no crop but 4K 60 and 8k 24 has a 1.24 times crop. And if you’re using active stabilization, and focus breathing compensation, there are additional crops. So if you’ll be filming a lot of high frame rate or 8k, those are some things to keep in mind.
It can even send 4K RAW to an external recorder, but you wont get higher frame rates or 8k.
Eye autofocus works great, and can even select animal, bird, cars, trains and planes. I’ve used human for eye detect and have had fantastic results, particularly the human body tracking. If your subject turns away, it will anticipate the focus on the subject, then snap back to face or eye af when they turn back around. That change has been great when paired with newer Sony lenses with the XD linear motors. The focus breathing compensation has also been a great addition.
You can register a face, I haven't found the need to do that yet, but if I’m filming a busy wedding, I will definitely be using this to register the bride’s face for autofocus. With photos, the wide or flexible spot autofocus delivered great results, so I didn’t find the need to register the bride or grooms face for that shoot.
When it comes to battery life on the A7R V, I was able to shoot photos of an entire wedding on 2 batteries. I had more batteries just in case, but it was great to not have to worry about battery life, especially in a chaotic scene like a wedding.
The screen has really grown on me, and I don’t notice how good it is until I got to my other cameras and try to tilt or flip the screen in a direction that it doesn't turn. Especially if you’re using this on a gimbal or top down shots.
And it also keeps the flip screen from hitting the USBC port if you’re charging it.
The EVF’s resolution is great as well.
The menu system is something that I’m familiar with from the FX3 and FX30, I like using the tile menu for quick adjustments.
Also love the selector between photo, video and S&Q mode. Customizing the 1, 2 and 3 dials allows for quick switching of settings.
Most of the text on the edges of the screen when shooting video. The majority of the text is off screen, but not all of it. I got used to this with my FX30 and A7R V, so when I go to my A7S III it feels like I’m looking through the menu options to see my feed.
Onto stabilization, and image stabilization makes shooting video easier. The enhanced active stabilization in this camera has made getting quick shots without a tripod or gimbal way easier and this is the point where I’m actually reaching for my gimbal less and less.
I tested this walking down the road with my 50mm, and the footage turned out almost like I was filming it on a gimbal. You can still notice the shake, but at 50mm’s I honestly expected a much shakier frame. The stabilization does an even better job at wider focal lengths since the shake is even less apparent when the field of view is wider.
In a pinch, this can help with your low-light situations as well. If you keep the Sony A7R Vrelatively still, you can rely on image stabilization and lower your shutter slightly to let in more light. This isn’t as good as the A7S III or FX6, but I have noticed being able to slow down my shutter a little bit more if I’m handheld, thanks to the enhanced stabilization. If it’s too dark, I’m still using a tripod, but the larger megapixel sensors often come with trade-off of readout speeds and low light performance, but I’m ok making that sacrifice in this camera.
When it comes to the A7R V, this takes all of the good things of the A7 IV and improves them even further. The Sony A7R V is the camera I pick up when it comes time to shoot photos, or even a B or C camera to my primary video camera. It’s not the greatest in low light, the 8K needs some work, but the other features and no overheating make this a viable video camera.
For photos, the RAW and different compressed RAW options, stabilization, screen and AI-assisted autofocus make the Sony A7R V a marvelous mirrorless!
I'm a designer from Cleveland, Ohio and love to shoot photos & videos. I made my first website in 2004 to show friends photos & videos (before YouTube/Flickr/Instagram were things) and have been shooting and designing ever since! I have a deep passion for making and helping others create.
Digital products that make workflows easier and faster, so you can get more done.
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