How Versatile Are Raw Files From the Sony a7r IV? We Tested Them

We tested the raw files from the Sony a7r IV. Take a look at the results.

The Sony a7r IV ($3,498 usually) is a fantastic camera: no doubt about that. Our gripes with it weren’t about the image quality, and we’re proving that with our in-depth look at the RAW File versatility. The camera has a sensor with over 60MP: it’s the highest of any full-frame camera currently on the market. So we wanted to take a closer look at just how versatile the RAW files are. In summary, we still found that good exposures are needed, but this sensor is really pushing the limits of what’s capable with full-frame sensors.

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“We shot an image at ISO 6400 and printed it at 17×22 on our office’s Canon Prograf 1000 printer. The print came out surprisingly clean.”

Our Sony a7r IV Review

Sony a7r IV High ISO Output

One would think that at higher ISOs, you’d start to see super grainy images, but at ISO 6400, the photos we saw were immaculate. For photographers who might worry, don’t lose sleep over this. Not only that, but the RAW file versatility at this output is still pretty intact. It’s not as good as lower ISOs, but the colors are there. We were able to change the white balance of an image and then use it to separate the different parts of the scene. Have we seen cleaner high ISO files? Of course. We’ve also seen more detailed files as well, although the 61MP sensor in the camera is no slouch.

“The combination of 61 megapixels with 15 stops of dynamic range means that the RAW files produced by the Sony A7R IV will give you a lot of information to work with during post-processing.”

Our Sony a7r IV Review

Sony a7r IV Dynamic Range

The dynamic range is really what impressed us. It’s capable even beyond what the standard editor in Capture One Pro allows. In the video, we make a mask over an area to try to get details back. While we’re not sure this is so important for portrait photographers who use off-camera lighting, it’s essential for landscape photographers. You’ll be able to get a ton of details from the shadows, but when it comes to the highlights, you’re going to be lacking a bit. You need to find a way to underexpose the scene and then bring it back in post-production. That’s how Sony has operated for years, and also sort of how slide film worked. But instead of the exactness of slide film, you’re getting the versatility negative film provided.

Sony a7r IV Color Depth

Lastly, we took a look at how good color depth is with the Sony a7r IV. In a nutshell, it’s terrific. Some colors are better than others, but this also depends on your exposure and your white balancing. I honestly feel like the Sony a7r IV is highly capable when it comes to the RAW file output, but realizing its fullest potential is pretty challenging to do in post-production.