Photographers who saw the announcement of the fifth iteration of Sony’s coveted a7R series might be forgiven for being a bit underwhelmed. The a7R IV had gained an eye-watering 20-or-so million pixels over its predecessor—61MP as opposed to 42MP—while the sensor was unchanged in the Mark V. By the same token, the a7R IV could still shoot 10fps bursts like the Mark III (despite that huge bump in resolution), and well, the Mark V also tops out at 10fps. Indeed, the only spec that really stood out was the Mark V’s vastly bigger buffer—a staggering 500-plus uncompressed RAW files—but it’s perhaps not the kind of spec that still shooters might have gotten all that excited about.
So what is the big deal about the Mark V if not improved resolution or continuous shooting speed? Well, if you pay attention to Backscatter’s comprehensive review of the Mark V, you’ll find out—autofocus. As CEO and reviewer Jim Decker tells Media Producer Robin Dodd, “They have a whole new AI engine in the camera specifically dedicated towards focus. I can say now that this is probably the best focusing camera that I’ve used.” Jim points out that while the autofocus on the Mark IV and its predecessors was competent for wide-angle scenes, it was severely lacking for macro—something we also found in our a7R III review. Now, it seems, the Mark V has finally fixed that.
As it turns out, while autofocus is the big, significant upgrade, there are, in Jim’s view, quite a few other smaller enhancements that add up—including much improved white balance capabilities, an electronic viewfinder with impressive dynamic range, and 4K/60p video on offer (albeit with a moderate crop). Ultimately, there seems little doubt that for Backscatter, the fifth incarnation of the a7R retains the best stills camera crown.
For Jim’s in-depth analysis of the a7R V, check out the video below or the full review on Backscatter.
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