At about $2999 right now, the Sony A7R IV is an outstanding value compared to the about $6499 Sony A1. So anyone contemplating a move to Sony might consider the A7R IV first, unless there is some priority feature (like 8K video) that demands the A1.
For landscape, architecture, and many other uses, the Sony A1 isn’t going to float your boat any better than the Sony A7R IV—with the A1 you’re paying full price for a super speed sports and wildlife and 8K video camera, and certain niceties like the 9 megadot EVF. If those matter, then by all means. But otherwise, the A7R IV remains a great camera.
Roy P writes:
Sony is supposed to be introducing five new cameras this year...
We already got the first on the list, the Sony A1. Now there’s a $500 price drop in the Sony A7R IV, so it’s almost certainly an inventory flush. I suspect Sony will have a new A7R V, a landscape-special camera. It makes sense – probably an 80 MP sensor, maybe even a 100 MP sensor to slam the door shut on resolution bragging rights for now.
But even if the resolution remains at 60MP, my guess is they will have a much better multi-shot high res mode in this camera, at least matching if not surpassing the Panasonic S1R/S1 mode. To implement this well, it takes custom silicon that includes motion estimation / compensation, as well as in-camera integration. It becomes too unwieldy to include this kind of functionality with 30 fps, etc. in the A1. So this is best done as a separate system. If there will be two high end cameras this year, almost certainly this would be #2 on the list.
The other three cameras on the list are not “Higher End”, so that probably means no A7M Monochrome for now. If I had to guess what these are, I’d pick a new A7, the rumored RX with a curved sensor + matched lens, and perhaps a refresh of the RX10, with a more rugged body with weather-proofing, bigger battery, a much faster 24-600 zoom, and some of the A9 II / A1 autofocus / tracking technology. This camera has been dormant for a good 4 years or so, so it is in need of an upgrade. This would be perfect for capturing the wildlife / bird shooters who don’t want to buy big gun full-frame lenses.
DIGLLOYD: a Sony A7R V would make a lot of sense, if only updated with EVF and so on. Sony would just keep the IV in the product line along with the III and the II. But if Sony does introduce a Sony A7R V, I wonder if the price will creep up to the $4K range.
Sony is aggressively eating its own young, which is what any well-run company must do in any field of competition. Witness that 3 generations of the Sony A7R series are still in production (Sony A7R IV/III/II, similar for other models).
Do you see any other camera company (35mm format) doing this? The winner is the company that constantly outcompetes its own offerings. This is the brand you want to go with. Those that fail do embrace this strategy quickly become losers. We see similar strategy with Fujifilm, with the Fujifilm GFX100S undercutting the Fujifilm GFX100 by $4000 even as the Fujifilm GFX-50S and Fujifilm GFX-50R also remain in production. Ditto for its Fujifilm X line.
I distinguish the Panasonic and Olympus the style multi-shot-high-res mode from pixel shift because they work very differently in terms of processing. Multi-shot-high-res mode as done by Panasonic is very sophisticated in its handling of motion, whereas pixel shift goes to crap (out of register) with the slightest motion or lighting change.
Roy P writes:
Very true [eating its own young]. Actually, Sony does this to cover its flanks. Once they have gone through the manufacturing learning curve and cost reductions, when they introduce a new model, they drop the price on the older models and keep selling them to block low cost competitors.
At one point, Sony had all SIX of its RX100 models available concurrently: the original RX100, the II, III, IV, V, and VI. That changed after they came out with the VA and the VII. Now they no longer have the original RX100 and the II, but I believe they still have the III, IV, VA, VI and the VII. The models IV through the VII all use the same sensor and deliver identical IQ, they just have different features.
Ah, the joys of owning your own image sensor technology! Sony was very smart to go for broke and massively invest in its image sensor technology some 12-13 years ago, at a time when the leading sensor makers were Sharp and Samsung. IMO, owning its own sensor technology has been one of the key strategic strengths of Canon as well in competing with Nikon and other DSLR makers. Sony must have recognized this competitive advantage very early on.
Today Sony supplies image sensors to Phase One, Fujifilm and Hasselblad at the high end (medium and semi-medium formats) all the way down to Apple for iPhones. I’d say they are ahead of everyone else in the sensor game by at least a couple of years, if not longer. It’s no coincidence that Sony has the most powerful technology roadmap for cameras.