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Sony A7 III vs A7R IV

The Sony Alpha A7 III and the Sony Alpha A7R IV are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2018 and July 2019. Both the A7 III and the A7R IV are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The A7 III has a resolution of 24 megapixels, whereas the A7R IV provides 60.2 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Sony A7 III   Sony A7R IV
Sony A7 III Sony A7R IV
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Sony E mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
24 MP, Full Frame Sensor 60.2 MP, Full Frame Sensor
4K/30p Video 4K/30p Video
ISO 100-51200 (50-204800) ISO 100-32000 (50-102400)
Electronic viewfinder (2359k dots) Electronic viewfinder (5760k dots)
3.0" LCD, 922k dots 3.0" LCD, 1440k dots
Tilting touchscreen Tilting touchscreen
10 shutter flaps per second 10 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
610 shots per battery charge670 shots per battery charge
127 x 96 x 74 mm, 650 g 129 x 96 x 78 mm, 665 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Sony Alpha A7 III and the Sony Alpha A7R IV? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Sony A7 III and the Sony A7R IV is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Sony A7 III vs Sony A7R IV
Compare A7 III versus A7R IV top
Comparison A7 III or A7R IV rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A7R IV is somewhat larger (2 percent) than the Sony A7 III. Moreover, the A7R IV is slightly heavier (2 percent) than the A7 III. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Sony FE Lens Catalog. Mirrorless cameras, such as the two under consideration, have the additional advantage of having a short flange to focal plane distance, which makes it possible to mount many lenses from other systems onto the camera via adapters.

The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, which can be very convenient when travelling.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Sony A7 III» 127 mm 96 mm 74 mm 650 g 610 Y Feb 2018 1,999 i i Sony A7 III
 
Sony A7R IV« 129 mm 96 mm 78 mm 665 g 670 Y Jul 2019 3,499 i i Sony A7R IV
 
Canon 6D Mark II« » 144 mm 111 mm 75 mm 765 g 1200 Y Jun 2017 1,999 i i Canon 6D Mark II
 
Nikon Z6« » 134 mm 101 mm 67 mm 675 g 310 Y Aug 2018 1,999 i i Nikon Z6
 
Olympus E-M1 II« » 134 mm 91 mm 67 mm 574 g 440 Y Sep 2016 1,999 i i Olympus E-M1 II
 
Panasonic G9« » 137 mm 97 mm 92 mm 658 g 400 Y Nov 2017 1,699 i i Panasonic G9
 
Panasonic GH5« » 139 mm 98 mm 87 mm 725 g 410 Y Jan 2017 1,999 i i Panasonic GH5
 
Sony A7R III« » 127 mm 96 mm 74 mm 650 g 650 Y Oct 2017 3,199- i Sony A7R III
 
Sony A9« » 127 mm 96 mm 63 mm 673 g 650 Y Apr 2017 4,499 i i Sony A9
 
Sony A7R II« » 127 mm 96 mm 60 mm 625 g 290 Y Jun 2015 3,199- i Sony A7R II
 
Sony A7S II« » 127 mm 96 mm 60 mm 627 g 370 Y Sep 2015 2,999 i i Sony A7S II
 
Sony A7 II« » 127 mm 96 mm 60 mm 599 g 350 Y Nov 2014 1,999- i Sony A7 II
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The A7 III was launched at a markedly lower price (by 43 percent) than the A7R IV, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.

 

Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Sony A7 III and Sony A7R IV sensor measures

With 60.2MP, the A7R IV offers a higher resolution than the A7 III (24MP), but the A7R IV has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.76μm versus 5.94μm for the A7 III). Yet, the A7R IV is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 4 months) than the A7 III, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Sony A7R IV implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the A7R IV for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 47.5 x 31.7 inch or 120.7 x 80.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 38 x 25.3 inch or 96.6 x 64.4 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 31.7 x 21.1 inch or 80.5 x 53.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Sony A7 III are 30 x 20 inch or 76.2 x 50.8 cm for good quality, 24 x 16 inch or 61 x 40.6 cm for very good quality, and 20 x 13.3 inch or 50.8 x 33.9 cm for excellent quality prints.

Unlike the A7 III, the A7R IV has the capacity to capture high quality composite images (241MP) by combining multiple shots after shifting its sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).

The Sony Alpha A7 III has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 51200, which can be extended to ISO 50-204800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A7R IV are ISO 100 to ISO 32000, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-102400.

A7 III versus A7R IV MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Sony A7 III» Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.7373096Sony A7 III
 
Sony A7R IV« Full Frame 60.2 9504 63364K/30p----Sony A7R IV
 
Canon 6D Mark II« » Full Frame 26.0 6240 41601080/60p24.411.9286285Canon 6D Mark II
 
Nikon Z6« » Full Frame 24.3 6048 40244K/30p25.314.3329995Nikon Z6
 
Olympus E-M1 II« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.712.8131280Olympus E-M1 II
 
Panasonic G9« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p----Panasonic G9
 
Panasonic GH5« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p23.913.080777Panasonic GH5
 
Sony A7R III« » Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p26.014.73523100Sony A7R III
 
Sony A9« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.913.3351792Sony A9
 
Sony A7R II« » Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p26.013.9343498Sony A7R II
 
Sony A7S II« » Full Frame 12.0 4240 28324K/30p23.613.3299385Sony A7S II
 
Sony A7 II« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.913.6244990Sony A7 II

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (4K/30p).

 

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under review are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the A7R IV offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the A7 III (5760k vs 2359k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Sony A7 III, the Sony A7R IV, and comparable cameras.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Sony A7 III»2359 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y Sony A7 III
 
Sony A7R IV«5760 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y Sony A7R IV
 
Canon 6D Mark II« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.5 n n Canon 6D Mark II
 
Nikon Z6« »3690 Y 3.2 2100 tilting Y 1/8000s 12.0 n Y Nikon Z6
 
Olympus E-M1 II« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 1/8000s 18.0 n Y Olympus E-M1 II
 
Panasonic G9« »3680 Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 20.0 n Y Panasonic G9
 
Panasonic GH5« »3680 n 3.2 1620 swivel Y 1/8000s 12.0 n Y Panasonic GH5
 
Sony A7R III« »3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y Sony A7R III
 
Sony A9« »3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 20.0 n Y Sony A9
 
Sony A7R II« »2400 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y Sony A7R II
 
Sony A7S II« »2400 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y Sony A7S II
 
Sony A7 II« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y Sony A7 II

The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, both cameras under consideration feature an electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).

The Sony A7 III and the Sony A7R IV both have an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.

The A7 III writes its imaging data to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards, while the A7R IV uses SDXC cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. However, while the A7R IV supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s) on both slots, the A7 III supports UHS-II only on its first slot and UHS-I (data transfer speed up to 104 MB/s) on the second one.

 

Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Sony Alpha A7 III and Sony Alpha A7R IV and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Sony A7 III»YstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYYSony A7 III
 
Sony A7R IV«YstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYYSony A7R IV
 
Canon 6D Mark II« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon 6D Mark II
 
Nikon Z6« »YstereomonoYYmicro3.1Y-YNikon Z6
 
Olympus E-M1 II« »YstereomonoYYmicro3.0Y--Olympus E-M1 II
 
Panasonic G9« »YstereomonoYYfull3.0Y-YPanasonic G9
 
Panasonic GH5« »YstereomonoYYfull3.1Y-YPanasonic GH5
 
Sony A7R III« »YstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYYSony A7R III
 
Sony A9« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YYYSony A9
 
Sony A7R II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7R II
 
Sony A7S II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7S II
 
Sony A7 II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7 II

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Sony A7R IV (unlike the A7 III) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the A7 III and the A7R IV are recent models that are part of the current product line-up. The A7 III replaced the earlier Sony A7 II, while the A7R IV followed on from the Sony A7R III. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Sony website.


Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Sony A7 III and the Sony A7R IV? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A7 III:

  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (43 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2018).


Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A7R IV:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (60.2 vs 24MP), which boosts linear resolution by 58%.
  • High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
  • More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (5760k vs 2359k dots).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1440k vs 922k dots).
  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 4 months) more recently.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the A7R IV is the clear winner of the contest (6 : 2 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

A7 III 02:06 A7R IV

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Sony A7 III and the Sony A7R IV place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the A7 III and the A7R IV in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Sony A7 III»+ +89/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2018 1,999 i i Sony A7 III
 
Sony A7R IV«+---- Jul 2019 3,499 i i Sony A7R IV
 
Canon 6D Mark II« »+80/1004.5/54/54/5 Jun 2017 1,999 i i Canon 6D Mark II
 
Nikon Z6« »--4.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2018 1,999 i i Nikon Z6
 
Olympus E-M1 II« »+ +85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2016 1,999 i i Olympus E-M1 II
 
Panasonic G9« »+ +85/1005/55/55/5 Nov 2017 1,699 i i Panasonic G9
 
Panasonic GH5« »+ +85/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2017 1,999 i i Panasonic GH5
 
Sony A7R III« »+ +90/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2017 3,199- i Sony A7R III
 
Sony A9« »+ +89/1005/55/55/5 Apr 2017 4,499 i i Sony A9
 
Sony A7R II« »+ +90/1005/54.5/55/5 Jun 2015 3,199- i Sony A7R II
 
Sony A7S II« »+-4.5/55/55/5 Sep 2015 2,999 i i Sony A7S II
 
Sony A7 II« »+82/1004.5/55/55/5 Nov 2014 1,999- i Sony A7 II
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Sony A7 III:
Check Amazon price
Sony A7R IV:
Check Amazon price

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Sony A7 III vs Sony A7R IV

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Sony A7 III Sony A7R IV
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Sony E mount lenses Sony E mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2018 July 2019
    Launch Price USD 1999 USD 3499
    Sensor Specs Sony A7 III Sony A7R IV
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS BSI-CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 35.6 x 23.8 mm 35.7 x 23.8 mm
    Sensor Area 847.28 mm2 849.66 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 42.8 mm 42.9 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 24 Megapixels 60.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6000 x 4000 pixels 9504 x 6336 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.94 μm 3.76 μm
    Pixel Density 2.83 MP/cm2 7.09 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 4K/30p Video 4K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100-51200 ISO 100-32000 ISO
    ISO Boost 50-204800 ISO 50-102400 ISO
    Image Processor BIONZ X BIONZ X
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 96 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 25.0 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 14.7 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 3730 ..
    Screen Specs Sony A7 III Sony A7R IV
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.78x 0.78x
    Viewfinder Resolution 2359k dots 5760k dots
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 922k dots 1440k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Sony A7 III Sony A7R IV
    Autofocus System On-Sensor Phase-detect On-Sensor Phase-detect
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/8000/s 1/8000/s
    Continuous Shooting 10 shutter flaps/s 10 shutter flaps/s
    Electronic ShutterYESYES
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inIntervalometer built-in
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium MS or SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Dual card slots
    UHS card support Single UHS-II Dual UHS-II
    Connectivity Specs Sony A7 III Sony A7R IV
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash no PC Sync PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 3.1 USB 3.1
    HDMI Port micro HDMI micro HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port External MIC port
    Headphone Socket Headphone port Headphone port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in NFC built-in
    Bluetooth Support Bluetooth built-in Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs Sony A7 III Sony A7R IV
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type NP-FZ100 NP-FZ100
    Battery Life (CIPA)610 shots per charge670 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 127 x 96 x 74 mm
    (5.0 x 3.8 x 2.9 in)
    129 x 96 x 78 mm
    (5.1 x 3.8 x 3.1 in)
    Camera Weight 650 g (22.9 oz) 665 g (23.5 oz)

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