Sony A7R V vs Sony A1

Sony has a history of stuffing more power, more features and more speed into every model, pushing the envelope in all directions at once. That’s certainly the case with the Sony A7R V, the ‘resolution’ specialist in the Sony Alpha range – which benefits from an upgrade on virtually everything EXCEPT resolution!

The great titles of Sony A7R V are a new 8K video capture capability, 10fps continuous shooting now with huge buffer capacity and a new AI processing unit which, among other things, takes subject recognition and tracking to a new level .

All of this clearly puts the A7R V on a collision course with the mighty flagship. Sony A1a camera that costs over 50 per cent more and on paper seems to fall behind the A7R V in several respects.

So if you want it best sony camera you can get now, or the best camera for professionals, you have a little dilemma. After all, the Sony A7R V is one of the highest resolution cameras on the market.

So let’s take a look at the key differences between the Sony A7R V and the Sony A1 to see where one beats the other and what that means for photographers.

Sony A7R V vs Sony A1

1. Sensor

The Sony A1 derives its speed from its stacked sensor design and dual BIONZ XR processors. (Photo credit: Sony)

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• Sony A7R V: 61 MP back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor, 240 MP pixel shift
• Sony A1: 50.1-megapixel stacked Exmor RS CMOS sensor, 199-megapixel pixel-shift

These cameras may look similar overall in resolution, but they use two different types of sensors. The Sony A7R V uses the same 61MP back-illuminated sensor design as its predecessor, the A7R IV. Some will have hoped that Sony would up the resolution on the new model, but in all honesty, 61MP is probably plenty. That’s certainly more than the more expensive Sony A1’s 50MP.

However, the A1 uses a faster and more advanced “stacked” sensor design, which allows it to offer much faster burst shooting speeds and more advanced video options, even though they look similar on the paper. More information on this shortly.

2. ISO range

• Sony A7R V: ISO 100-32000 (exp 50-102400)
• Sony A1: ISO 100-32000 (Exp ISO 50-102400)

Surprisingly, perhaps, the Sony A1’s stacked sensor design and slightly lower resolution don’t extend the ISO range further. Both go up to ISO 32,000 or ISO 102,4000 in extended mode, so while they’re both perfectly capable of shooting in low light, that’s not exactly their speciality.

3. Raw formats

• Sony A7R V: Raw uncompressed, compressed, lossless 61MP/26MP/15MP, APS-C 26MP/15MP
• Sony A1: Raw uncompressed, compressed, lossless 50MP/21MP/12.4MP, APS-C 21MP/12.4MP

The Sony A1 offered plenty of raw flexibility, with uncompressed raw, compressed raw, and lossless raw options. The latter has a choice of L (50MP), M (21MP) and S (12.4MP), the latter also available in Super35/APS-C crop mode.

But the A7R V matches all those options, and the higher-resolution sensor brings benefits across the full size range. Compared to the Sony A1, it offers L (61MP), M (26MP) and S (15MP) sizes, with the latter two also available for APS-C crop mode. These 26MP and 15MP M and S sizes are a bit more attractive than the A1 alternatives.

4. Continuous shooting

At 10 fps, the A7R V matches the A1 and has a newer AF system. The A1, however, can go up to 30 frames per second. (Photo credit: Sony)

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• Sony A7R V: 10 fps mechanical and electronic, compressed raw 583 buffer
• Sony A1: 10 fps mechanical, 30 fps electronic, buffer 400 JPEG/238 raw compressed

Both cameras have 10fps mechanical shutters and both have electronic shutters as well – but while the A7R V’s electronic shutter captures at the same 10fps frame rate as its mechanical shutter, the The A1’s electronic shutter goes up to 30 fps. And while we haven’t had a chance to do side-by-side testing, it seems almost certain that the A1’s electronic shutter will show much less rolling shutter distortion thanks to that stacked sensor.

However, 10fps is still a lot, and plenty for all but the most demanding sporting uses, so the A7R V holds its own very well, especially with its huge new buffer capacity. Sony doesn’t quote like for similar burst/buffer rate figures, so the figures above are only a guide – but the A7R V at least looks like the equal of the A1 for burst depth . Not bad for a ‘resolution’ camera!

5. Auto Focus

• Sony A7R V: 693 selectable focus points, 79% coverage, -4EV sensitivity, AI processing unit
• Sony A1: 759 selectable AF points, 92% coverage,

The Sony A1 naturally has Sony’s latest and greatest real-time subject tracking AF – or at least until the release of the Sony A7R V. That’s because the A7R V has an all-new processor Dedicated AI that takes subject recognition and tracking to a new level. The Sony A1 still has a few more phase-detection AF points covering more of the frame area, but it lacks the A7R V’s new AI-powered autofocus.

6. Video

The A7R V box shoot in 8K but only at 24p with a 1.2x crop. The A1 is a more powerful video camera. (Photo credit: Sony)

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• Sony A7R V: 8K 24p, 4K 60p
• Sony A1: 8K 30p, 4K 120p

It might seem like the Sony A7R V and A1 are on par, since they both shoot 8K video, but the devil is in the details, as they say. The A7R V is clearly at its limits with 8K, operating at 1.2x crop and limited to 24p capture, which won’t work if you prefer a 25p, 30p or 60p timeline. Worse, if you want the best quality oversampled 4K video, you have to shoot in APS-C/Super35 crop mode.

The Sony A1, while not a video specialist either, does much better, capturing full-width 8K 30p and 4K up to 120p with a modest 1.13x crop. The 4K recording options are very impressive in a camera with such high native resolution, and it’s clearly a step (or more) above the A7R V for video.

7. Stabilization

Sony has tweaked the A7R V’s IBIS to offer up to 8 stops of shake compensation, which is 2.5 stops more than the A1. (Photo credit: Sony)

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• Sony A7R V: 5 axis IBIS, compensation up to 8 stops
• Sony A1: 5-axis IBIS, compensation up to 5.5 stops

The Sony A1 might earn bragging rights for its video capabilities, but takes a hit with its image stabilization. Sony rates the A1’s 5-axis stabilizer as providing up to 5.5 stops of compensation. The bad news for the A1 is that Sony has reworked its IBIS system for the A7R V to offer up to 8 compensation stops. That’s a pretty big leap by anyone’s standards. Additionally, the A7R V has a new and improved dust reduction system, which will hopefully solve long-lasting sensor dust issues for many Sony owners.

8. Poster

The A7R V matches the A1’s 9.44m-dot EVF and tops its display with a larger, sharper multi-articulating screen. (Photo credit: Sony)

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• Sony A7R V: 9.44m-dot EVF, 2.1m 3.2-inch 4-way multi-angle screen
• Sony A1: 9.44m-dot EVF, 3-inch 1.44m-dot tilting screen

The Sony A7R V, as part of its upgrade from the previous version, gets Sony’s latest and greatest 9.44 million-point EVF, putting it on par with the Sony A1. But what is it ? The A7R V also features an all-new 3.2-inch 2.1m multi-angle 4-angle rear display that combines tilt and flip-down vari-angle pivot action. This makes the simple 3-inch tilting screen on the rear of the A1 weak, especially as it only has 1.44m dots. This screen seemed like a mistake when the A1 first came out, and even more so now that the A7R V’s screen is bigger, sharper and better.

9. Storage

Both cameras offer two SD UHS II/CFexpress Type A memory card slots. (Photo credit: Sony)

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• Sony A7R V: 2x SD UHS II/CFexpress Type A
• Sony A1: 2x SD UHS II/CFexpress Type A

Both cameras use two card slots, each of which can accommodate both UHS II SD cards and CFexpress Type A cards. CFexpress card support is more likely to benefit the A1 with its shooting speeds. faster view and playback, but the bottom line is that neither camera has an advantage here.

10. Dimensions and design

They’re similar in size but the A1 has a better grip and a stacked drive/focus mode dial on top. (Photo credit: Sony)

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• Sony A7R V: 131.3 x 96.9 x 82.4mm, 723g
• Sony A1: 128.9 x 96.9 x 80.8mm, 737g

The Sony A7R V and the Sony A1 are so close in size and weight that they are virtually identical. The A1 is slightly smaller but feels larger and slightly heavier. Both feel like they need the extra grip of a battery grip when used with larger lenses, although the A1 has a better grip and control layout on the on it with a stacked drive mode and AF mode dial where the A7R V just has empty space.

Sony A7R IV vs. Sony A1: conclusions

(Photo credit: Sony)

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When we tried the Sony A7R V, we thought Sony had pushed it so far towards the capabilities of the A1 that it might be in danger of cannibalizing sales of its flagship camera. This detailed specification comparison brings this home even more clearly.

The Sony A1 still wins for sensor read speed, fast continuous shooting and video capabilities, but it can no longer be considered the “ultimate” Sony camera when equaled or even beaten in some respects by the Sony A7R V.

The A7R V offers more resolution than the Sony A1, it can match its continuous shooting capabilities and 10fps buffer capability, it has improved in-body stabilization, and it has a Newer and more advanced AI autofocus system. Admittedly, its 8K video title hides a pretty deep video limitation. You’ll almost certainly choose the Sony A1 over the A7R V for video, but it’s over 50% more expensive.

The Sony A1 seemed overpriced when it was released, and even more so now. The problem with being the best is that you have to STAY the best, and the A1’s crown is definitely slipping.

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