Where does the Sony “α7R V” excel?

Sony's newest alpha series camera has a lot of impressive features, but which ones are those that stand out above the rest?

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Table of Contents
  • Introduction
  • Realization of camera shake correction active mode
  • Completely defeated by Fast Hybrid AF
  • Overwhelming resolution of all pixel readout 8K24P
  • excellence of the lens
  • Incredible built-in mic
  • Difficulties with recording media
  • Will it be the camera you should buy?

Introduction

The “α7R V” is one that I have been interested in since the information came out. In fact, before using RED KOMODO, I was shooting with the α7 series, so I can’t help but worry about it every time Sony releases a new model.

In fact, the Nagasaki A-bomb survivor oral history documentary film “a hope of NAGASAKI gentle people” was shot with a single α7 III. Originally, I started filming not to make a movie, but to leave the atomic bomb survivors in an archive. It was distributed by 13 companies.

The α series is also used for independent feature films and feature films at some sites, and even at large sites. It is also used in situations where there is not enough space to accommodate a particularly large cinema camera, such as second or third. Used in shooting, the single-lens type mirrorless and full-size sensor greatly expands shooting variations, so I’m inevitably worried about the video shooting standards rather than the evaluation as a still camera.

In fact, this α7 series has transferred four units. Starting with the a7 III, then the a7R IV, the a7S III, the a7 IV and so on. There was a time when I used two cameras, the α7R IV and the α7S III, for a while, and in a sense I am writing this review as an homage to the α7 series. However, there will be plenty of other people’s reviews about image quality and resolution, and since it’s a good and obvious model, this time I’ll summarize it in a review based on usability.

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Test machine and 2 lenses

Realization of camera shake correction active mode

The most interesting point in reviewing the α7R V this time is the “high-performance image stabilization active mode that strongly supports handheld shooting” that the manufacturer claims. If I can say this far, I’m at a loss as I’m shooting with one operation. In the field, if the subject moves during the interview, you have to be prepared for blurring in the initial movement in order to follow the movement.

In fact, if there is an important message in a blurred cut, I use it without hesitation, but to be precise, I have no choice but to use it. If you have a Steadicam, you can take super-smooth images, but how nervous would you be if you stood in front of an ordinary person in that outfit? It will be a different image than what you should have originally shot. From that point of view, I am very interested in whether this camera can bring me closer to my ideal shooting.

So this time, I brought it to the site of “Dog and People” to be released in March 2023. Since the dog is the subject of the shot, it’s natural that the movement is unpredictable, and it’s inevitable that there will be a lot of camera shake. At KOMODO, we are striving to solidify our position in line with the camera shake correction on the lens side (RF), but when movement comes into play, we enter the realm of “it can’t be helped.” Now, when I turned the camera while wondering what it was like, what I thought was that the memory of the past began to come back.

The monitor’s brightness is lacking.. The 4-axis multi-angle LCD monitor has a strange movement, and it is excellent that you can check the monitor even at an impossible angle to some extent, but when shooting outside, you will want an external monitor with high brightness. So I decided to check the image after I got back. Also, if you play back on a small monitor, you won’t know how blurry it is. I also took it out in the city on another day, and tried shots of walking briskly up the stairs and hand-held shots of flowers swaying in the strong wind.

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The 4-axis multi-angle LCD monitor has a surprisingly high degree of freedom

A strange thing happened here. When playing back with QuickTime Player, the movement seems to skip frames, but when put on Davinci Resolve, it is a phenomenon that it becomes smooth. The processing method on the software side may be different, but QuickTime Player (for Mac) is easy to check easily, so it may be dangerous to judge only there. The reason is that I had the impression that it might be better not to use image stabilization in active mode when checking playback with QuickTime Player.

However, in the case of Sony, I would like to add that there is a powerful helper “Catalyst Browse” for image stabilization. It uses clip metadata to stabilize the image, but like any other editing software, you have to be prepared for post-correction cropping. However, the point that powerful post-processing correction is possible with Catalyst Browse is a salvation.

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Cropped and zoomed greatly in correction of shaking when climbing stairs while walking fast
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Crop zoom was large even when corrected according to the movement of the dog
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Returning to the main topic, if you are asked about the camera shake correction of the α7R V, it may not be as expected if you are looking for a correction similar to that of action cameras such as the recently popular GoPro. However, if you put emphasis on distortion correction and image quality, an overwhelming difference will come out. In the first place, it’s not a place to compare, but action cameras and smartphone videos are the ones you see most often on YouTube, so if your eyes are accustomed to them, you may feel uncomfortable. be.

In order to make full use of this active mode, it will be necessary to keep the correction level in mind and handle it while suppressing as much movement as possible. It’s more effective than a normal camera, so if you take advantage of it and swing it around too much, you’ll regret it. When using a full-size sensor with 61 million pixels and a telephoto lens that is higher than the standard lens at 8K, I think that active mode should be considered a talisman based on the idea of ​​holding the camera firmly.

Completely defeated by Fast Hybrid AF

Also, as with camera shake, focus is very important. KOMODO’s autofocus is still in the beta version, so it’s difficult for regular use. The autofocus of the α7R V while getting used to it is a word of “bad”.

It helps you focus on what you want to aim for. It is a pleasant feeling that you can buy it just for this point. I am very grateful that I can concentrate on the subject because I do not have to worry about focusing during shooting. When there is a certain amount of light and you want to capture the whole subject, you narrow down the aperture to deepen the depth of field, but the wider focus range can sometimes lead to confusion. In particular, if you pass through focus peaking, it will feel as if it is in focus on the monitor.

The shallower the depth, the more concentrated I am facing the monitor, so although my feelings are tight, there is a sense of security. In fact, there are times when I regret my lack of focus, but with this camera, I am freed from that hesitation and may want to shoot more dynamic shots. “Equipped with fast hybrid AF that quickly captures the subject and tenaciously follows it” can only obtain the exact result, which is a very high point. I realized again the accuracy of the α series. It is also amazing that it can shoot at a level of 61 million pixels.

I tried chasing a taxi to the subject, and it was so good that I could feel that it was in focus. When I was panning, I got caught in an obstacle (a light pole) and momentarily lost tracking on the monitor.

Moreover, when the tracking is lost, there is no focusing to search for the subject, and refocusing is performed while maintaining the same focus. Rather than actually readjusting, it might be an expression that predicts the future and does not change the focus. Excellent.

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Chase the taxi without focusing on the pillar standing in the center. After the taxi disappeared, the focus shifted to the building in the back.
*Click the image to enlarge.

Overwhelming resolution of all pixel readout 8K24P

8K shooting is becoming commonplace in this class, but I feel that the durability has improved, although I haven’t been able to measure it. At the time of the α1, I was worried about the restriction of shooting time due to heat problems and the process loss from cooling down to recovery. To be honest, I wasn’t able to shoot for a long time this time, but I didn’t feel much anxiety because I felt the heat coming from the body while I was holding it.

The image quality is already crisp. It’s clear enough to use as a still photo for capture, but on the contrary, you don’t need the functions on the photo side, do you? I thought, but the freshness of the moment is probably the photograph.

Previously, when I reviewed 8K models, there was also a problem with the machine specs, but I felt that the editing was unsophisticated, and I wondered if they would go as far as 8K. I was asking myself. Anyway, I thought it would be difficult to work because the preview was stuttering, and I felt that even if I could see it so clearly, it would just tire me out. It’s still too crisp and tiring, but there is no jerky preview and you can play without stress, so your impression of 8K is changing. The fact that the output is 4K and it shoots in 8K means that even if you crop it to 1/4 and take a zoom shot, you can still maintain 4K resolution, so you can think of it as insurance.

Moreover, the processing power of the Mac (M1 Max) has improved dramatically, so 8K material is not difficult. The fact that it’s not RAW also plays a big role, but the α7R V’s 4K data size is 13MB per second, and 8K is 26MB per second, while KOMODO’s 4K RED RAW is 48MB per second, so it’s smooth. It may be natural to preview to. If you do a simple calculation, it seems that 16K can be managed in the current editing environment, so 8K shooting is becoming closer, although not RAW.

Excellence of the lens

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The splendor of the Zeiss bokeh is outstanding.
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The lenses I tried in combination this time are FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM and Planar T * FE 50mm F1.4 ZA. Isn’t this combination the best? The α series will be upgraded and upgraded with each model change, so the time will come when the lower models will catch up with the α9 and α1. In terms of money, it is natural that the lower-end models are cheaper, and the latest sensors and programs catch up with the top-end models. However, the lens does not have the same model change cycle as the main body, and the quality is fixed at the time of release. So, as a matter of course, we will be able to secure quality even ten years from now, and we will put out something that does not look inferior.

And since the E-mount lens has settings and quality that match Sony models (cannot be used with anything other than Sony), the image will naturally improve as the body improves. On the lens side, on the other hand, no compromises can be made during the development stage. If the sensor gets better, you can see the hole on the lens side, so I imagine that pretty severe work is being done. With that in mind, I think the Planar T * FE 50mm F1.4 ZA is particularly wonderful when I use the test machine. Of course, it would be nice to get out of G MASTER, but the feeling of being attracted to Zeiss became stronger.

I really like this combination

The blurring of the image and the moist feeling without being blurry are good, but the operability is also outstanding. G MASTER is the best choice if you want to fully enjoy the deliciousness of autofocus mentioned above, but when considering manual operation for movie shooting, it is appreciated that the iris can be adjusted on the front side of the lens. Since the focus dial is wide, it absorbs some deviations in hand movement.

It’s common to confuse the iris and focus dials on zoom lenses. In particular, if you concentrate too much on the subject when changing lenses, it’s easy to mistakenly assume that the tactile feel of the dial is the same as that of the manual operation. There are times when the exposure suddenly changes or the focus shifts.

However, changing the shape recklessly and making it ugly will lower the tension when you hold it. In addition, the smoothness of the focus dial is exquisite, and it can be stopped exactly where I intended, so it was possible to make fine adjustments without having to rotate the focus 270 degrees like with a cine lens.

Zeiss is very good in terms of appearance, stance, and operability, and the material has a very luxurious feel, so it has become a favorite. On the other hand, the FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM is an honor student, and I think it’s a lens that can capture anyone’s shots. Especially if the α7R V’s autofocus and full sensor angle of view can be easily shot with high quality. If you have enough money in your wallet, I think that if you have the α7R V and these two lenses, you will be able to guarantee a certain level of quality when shooting movies.

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It looks crisp even without sharpening
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Even fallen leaves blown by the wind can be instantly captured without blurring the outlines.
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Incredible built-in mic

The unexpected blind spot was the goodness of the built-in microphone. One doesn’t expect a mic inside the camera to be of excellent quality in the first place, so it didn’t bother me until I put it in Davinci Resolve, and I didn’t realize that was the point. I was just surprised when I played it, so I decided to write it down.

It says “selectively reduce wind noise.” I think the wind was blowing a little when the photo was taken, but it may have been processed with wind blowing noise to make my memory vague. Normally, I would lower the LOW to cut the wind, but the sound would inevitably become lighter. I didn’t feel that much, and it was able to collect sound to some extent, and I didn’t feel the lightness of the built-in microphone so far. Of course, setting up an external microphone would definitely be better, but if it’s an insurance concept, it seems to be able to fulfill its role. This is where I was quite surprised.

Difficulties with recording media

Recent high-end models use CFexpress Type A memory cards as standard. If the memory side becomes sluggish, such as writing a huge amount of data such as 8K shooting, it will collapse, so there is no choice but to become a medium with a high transmission speed.

However, there are many types of SD cards, such as CF cards, XQD cards, and SD cards. Moreover, there are three types, A, B, and C, and there is no doubt that the types are too wide and the burden on the user side is increasing. As with the mounting problem, each company may have its own strategy, but I would like the industry to unify the standard.

None of the cameras I own use a CFexpress Type A memory card (Sony type), and the demo unit didn’t come with a reader, so when I tried to capture it, I thought, “I’m done…”. If you buy it, it will be a one-time-only thing, and no matter how hard you try, you can’t read it with an SD card reader. She was wondering what to do when he spotted the Imaging Edge Desktop app.

When I installed it and paired it, it was a real-time transfer (remote shooting), and the data that had already been shot could not be transferred. I was stuck again, but I remembered there was an easier way to capture it. All you have to do is transfer it via USB. There is no feeling of inconvenience in terms of speed, is a card reader necessary? I had a moment of suspicion. Of course, the camera cannot be used during reading, so it is definitely necessary in the field, but if you can transfer it after returning home for general shooting, I feel that direct connection transfer is sufficient. does

Will it be the camera you should buy?

This is a camera that I think would be easy if I had one. There is no doubt that it is capable as a main machine, but it is a luxury to own as a second or third cinema camera, but it is a very attractive existence. The overwhelming resolution and the lightening of the shooting burden without sacrificing quality are compatible, so you can relax yourself and it will be easier to follow the subject.

In particular, the elimination of the unpredictable movement of animals and the burden of focusing when you want to blur the background up close is a pretty big point. This review started because I wanted to check the camera shake correction, but there is no doubt that it is the latest model packed with more “usable”. Moreover, there is no doubt that the image is beautiful, and talking about it becomes unrefined. After that, it is essential to consult with your wallet.

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Color appearance and sharpness are compatible
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I wonder if you can feel the atmosphere.
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Original Japanese author: Kazumi Matsumoto (mkdsgn)|Profile

Based in Tokyo and Asahikawa, Hokkaido, he produces films centered on social films and documentary films. From directing to shooting, he is also pursuing the possibilities of a single operation. In August 2021, a documentary film about the testimony of the atomic bomb survivors of Nagasaki will be released in theaters. From April 8, 2022, “The Beginning of a Journey”, which features children’s whereabouts, will be released in theaters such as Cine Libre Ikebukuro. In the summer, the second documentary film about the testimony of Nagasaki A-bomb survivors and the documentary film about the testimonies of Hiroshima atomic bomb survivors will be released. Together with the Theater Cinema Group, we will also launch the “SDGs Share Project,” and first of all, we will make films about social issues with the theme of “getting to know”. The first one is “Tabi no Hajimari,” and we will release several titles every year in the future.

mkdsgn

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