First pic of the 'new' Sony A7R IVa

First pic of the 'new' Sony A7R IVa
Spot the difference: Sony A7R IV (left) next to the 'new' Sony A7R IVa (Image credit: Sony Alpha Rumors)

UPDATE: Sony stealth-launched the 'new' Sony A7R IIIa and Sony A7R IVa at the start of April, and we've just had our first real-world look at the latter. 

As you can see, the Sony A7R IVa looks almost identical to the Sony A7R IV – as does the Sony A7R IIIa look almost identical to the Sony A7R III. Aside from some very minor technical differences, the only physical difference is the absence of the Sony logo beneath the larger, higher-resolution screen. 

(Image credit: Sony)

ORIGINAL STORY (07 Apr): In a surprise announcement so ninja-like that it may as well have worn a hood and tabi boots, Sony has dropped two new camera models: the Sony A7R IIIa and Sony A7R IVa. However, these do not appear to be 'official' new models set to replace the existing ones. 

The "a" suffix on most camera names typically denotes a modified astrophotography body. In this case, however, the Sony A7R IIIa and Sony A7R IVa seem to be new product codes indicating slightly upspecced versions of the high-resolution Sony A7R III and Sony A7R IV

• Read more: Highest resolution cameras 

The all-important megapixel counts of both cameras remains unchanged, so the A7R IIIa retains the same 42.4MP image sensor as the base model while the A7R IVa keeps the 61MP of its 'predecessor'.

Nor are there any apparent changes made to ISO performance, continuous shooting speed, video recording options or any other core features. Instead, the upgraded specifications seem to relate entirely to the physical construction of the two cameras. 

According to Sony Alpha Rumors, the revamped specs amount to the following:

• LCD screen resolution has increased from 1.44 million dots to 2,359,296 dots
• The Sony logo under LCD monitor has been removed
• Both cameras now support USB 3.2
• There are also small changes in their battery life

Regarding the battery life, it seems that the increased resolution of the LCD screens has reduced performance slightly when using the monitor; the Sony A7R IIIa delivers 640 shots compared to 650 on the A7R III, while the Sony A7R IVa achieves 660 shots instead of the 670 on the A7R IV.

It seems like a curious time to tinker with these bodies, especially with the A7R III having been released back in 2017, but we certainly welcome the addition of better screens and improved USB support. 

Was it an act of altruism, or simply Sony facing a parts shortage and having to use different components? We're inclined to think that it's the latter. Either way, with these 'new' bodies seeming to covertly replace the old ones, it might become very tricky to pick up the right model unless retailers are very specific in their listings. 

Read more: 

Best Sony cameras
Sony A7R III review
Sony A7R IV review
Best Sony lenses

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James Artaius
Editor

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.