Sony announces AI-powered 61MP A7R V

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Sony has announced the A7R V, which keeps the 61 megapixels of 2019's A7R IV, while pairing it with a new dedicated AI processing unit with 'deep learning' technology, alongside a host of other improvements to stabilisation, image capture, transfer and video.

The $6,199 full frame mirrorless camera will be available in November. 

Image: Sony
Image: Sony

Let's start with the autofocus. Although the AF on the A7R IV was no slouch, Sony says the 'state-of-the-art' AI processing system in the A7R V takes it one step further by using detailed information about human form and pose estimation to dramatically improve recognition accuracy, well beyond rival systems which it says can only detect faces and eyes.

Central to this is what Sony calls 'human pose estimation', which is capable of identifying 20 different points in the body and anticipating and tracking where the eye of a human is supposed to be.

Sony says the A7R V's autofocus can accurately focus on the eye of a subject that’s partially obscured or turned in profile, while also tracking the same subject even if another person or object crosses in front.

In addition, Real-time Recognition AF, using AI subject recognition, now includes several subject types, including Humans, Animals, Birds, Insects, Cars & Trains, and Aircraft. A faster and more precise wide-area, high-density AF system should also improve image capture, while silent shooting at 7fps and continuous shooting up to 583 compressed RAW images is also possible, along with continuous shooting at up to 10fps with flash in JPEG or Lossy compressed Raw. 

Image: Sony
Image: Sony

Built around the same 61MP BSI CMOS sensor as used in the A7R IV, the A7R V uses Sony's newest BIONZ XR image processing engine, with much of what the A7R V offers over its predecessor stemming from these more powerful processors in the new camera. 

Speaking of the sensor, Sony says the A7R V gains the most effective eight-stop image stabilisation system ever offered in an Alpha camera.  Unlike other brands, this has been achieved without combining in-body and in-lens stabilisation. The advantage of this is it should mean the eight stops of stabilisation is maintained even with shooting with non-IS lenses.

Image: Sony
Image: Sony

This IBIS system also powers an upgraded Pixel Shift Multi Shooting mode which, although you'll need to use a computer to combine the files, is capable of capturing a whopping 240MP image (19,008 x 12,672 pixels). In addition, the latest version of Sony's Imaging Edge Desktop software can correct for small pixel-level movements, such as a shift in a subject’s position or leaves on a tree, to improve image sharpness. 

The A7R V also becomes the first Sony camera to feature a built-in focus bracketing function. It's selected as a drive mode and can be refined to adjust the step-width between the different focus distances and the number of shots the camera takes, up to 299.

The A7R V's magnesium alloy body appears similar to that of the A7S III, and features a new 4-axis multi-angle LCD monitor which can be turned for front-facing recording, along with a new and much higher resolution 9.44 million dot (2048 x 1536 pixel) OLED display EVF.

In addition, there are two CFexpress Type A/SDXC compatible media slots and a brand-new menu system with touch control. 

The A7R V can capture UHD 8K video at up to 25p from a 1.24x cropped region of its sensor, with 4K video oversampled from 6.2K without binning. There's also 10-bit 4:2:2 recording including S-Log3, S-Cinetone and HLG, and video modes can take advantage of the improved autofocus technology and in-body image stabilisation. The camera has the same heat-dissipation technology as the A7S III, allowing it to record 30 minutes of 8K if temperature limits are relaxed.

Finally, data can be transferred over Wi-Fi (802.11ac) 2x2 MIMO or via a USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps) USB-C port, while new USB streaming features support UVC/UAC, allowing direct streaming from the camera in 4K (QFHD) resolution with audio as well.

The A7R IV will be available in Australia from November 2022, with an RRP of $6,199.

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