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Sony A7 IV review

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The Sony A7 IV mirrorless all-rounder is one of the most powerful available. Although it is not as powerful as the Sony A1 or as fast as Canon EOS 6, nor as affordable as Fujifilm XT4 the A7 IV offers a remarkable combination of video flexibility and photographic power. It combines two cameras into one and is the best example of hybrid convenience modern mirrorless cameras have ever offered.

The A7 IV is three years after the original A7 III. It features a new 33MP sensor and Bionz XR processing, as well as significantly improved video skills. The A7 IV also has the most advanced autofocus system that we have seen, besides professional sports cameras. The Sony A7 IV is a great choice for video and photos. It locks focus onto the subject, and in the case with animals and people, it does a fantastic job.

It is not the best video camera, with a cropped 4K/60p setting and rolling shutter issues. It does provide enough flexibility and quality for photographers who are being asked to shoot a similar amount of video.

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There are small compromises with the A7 IV, as is usual for all-rounder cameras. The A7 IV’s image quality isn’t much better than the Sony A7 III. However, the increased resolution makes it more detailed. There is also some noise at higher ISOs. The A7 IV’s battery life, in body image stabilization, and burst speed are all average. They don’t have the best of class. The A7 IV is not a discreet camera that can be used for street photography or travel, nor is it a lightweight one that can be used for long hikes in the landscape.

  • Sony A7 IV (Black) at Amazon for US$2,498

Sony A7 IV specs

Sensor: 33MP full-frame

AF points: 759-point hybrid phase/contrast-detect

Video: 4K/30p or 4K/60p when combined with the Super35 crop

Viewfinder 3.69 Million-dot Quad VGA AVF

Memory Cards: 1x/SD UHSII, 1xSD UHSII

LCD: 3 inch fully articulating touchscreen, 1.04m dots

Max burst 10fps, maximum 828 raw+JPEG with CFexpress Type A Card

Connectivity: WiFi, Bluetooth

Size 131.3 x 95.4 x 79.8mm

Weight 658g (with battery and card)

The price tag is another factor. It’s priced at $2,499 / PlayStation2,400 / AU$$4,299 body only, which is a significant increase over the entry-level A7III. It’s not the best choice for those new to full-frame cameras. The Nikon Z5 is $1,699 / PSP1,719/ AU$3,099. The Panasonic Lumix is $1,999 / PSP1,799/ AU$3,199. You could purchase a great lens for your preferred style of video or photography with spare change.

The Sony A7 IV is a great choice if you shoot a balanced mix of video and photos, and want a hybrid camera that will last for many years. The Sony A7 IV has the latest G Master lenses from Sony to maximize the 33MP resolution. This gives it a pro-level quality that is almost equal to the Canon EOS 5 and Canon EOS 6. Even though they offer faster burst-shooting speeds. It is undoubtedly one the best camera for photography and a great choice for video. For our complete Sony A7 IV review, please read on.

Release date and price of the Sony A7 IV

  • Now available to purchase for $2,499/PS2,400/AU$$4,299
  • A price increase from the Sony A7 III
  • The Canon EOS R6 is priced similarly to

In December 2021, the Sony A7 IV was on sale for $2,499 / PlayStation2,400 / AU$$4,299. The stock levels at the beginning were low and it was difficult to find stock in certain countries like the UK.

The A7 IV’s cost is approximately 20%-30% higher than the Sony A7 III depending on where you are located. This pushes it away from its ‘entry level’ full-frame heritage. However, it still remains an affordable all-rounder that the Sony A1.

This premium might cause many videographers and photographers to pause before clicking the “Buy” button. Especially since lower-powered, but still impressive options like the Nikon Z5 are half the price.

The A7 IV’s impressive hybrid power and upgrades across the board make it a very affordable option. The Canon EOS R6 (AU$4,499) is its closest competitor. It is smaller at 20MP but has faster burst speeds of 20fps.

Sony A7 IV review: design

  • Modern 3.69-million dot electronic viewfinder
  • A vari-angle touchscreen that works with the latest UI from Sony.
  • Accepts CFexpress Type A Cards, which are more rare than Type 

Although the Sony A7 IV may look a lot like its predecessor, there are many subtle improvements that make it an even more enjoyable camera.

The top of the EVF is an upgraded electronic viewfinder (EVF). It has a 3.69 million dot resolution and a 120fps refresh speed. This viewfinder is fairly common at this price, but you can find an almost identical one on the Canon EOS R6. It is a much-needed upgrade that performs especially well when tracking moving subjects

A new vari-angle touchscreen is located below the EVF. It can pivot to face the direction that you are shooting in. This is a huge advantage for solo video shooters. The Sony A1’s tilt-screen may be more appealing to photographer

You’ll notice that the menus are also equipped with the latest UI from Sony, which was first introduced on the Sony A7S III. These menus are significantly btter than the old labyrinthine ones on older Sony Alpha cameras. They also respond to touch.

The A7 IV’s grip is more solid than the predecessor. However, it will feel comfortable in the hand and be familiar to all who have used an Alpha camera before. Below the mode dial is a new ring which allows you to switch between stills, movies, and ‘S&Q’ mode (for slow-mo footage or timelapses). A dedicated red button,’record’ for video shooting, and an exposure compensation dial lockable are also available.

Everything else is as you would expect, including a well-balanced joystick to select AF points and a prominent AF-On button to back-button focus. A rear scroll wheel has a useful resistance that will stop you accidentally changing the shutter speed.

Sony’s Multi-Interface hotshoe is an additional benefit to the A7 IV. You can connect external microphones such as Sony’s ECM–B1M or ECM–W2BT to the A7 IV without requiring any additional cables or power source. This is a significant improvement on the A7 IV’s video-shooting capabilities, as compared to its predecessor.

The news about the A7 IV’s slot for cards is a bit more mixed. It now has a CFexpress Type A slot, unlike the Sony A7 III. These cards offer write speeds up to 700MB/s which gives you unlimited buffer for continuous shooting.

However, CFexpress Type A cards can be more expensive and rarer than Type B cards favored primarily by Nikon, Canon, and Panasonic. You’ll need to decide if you really need them. You may be able to use UHS-II SD cards quickly, but the second slot on A7 IV does not support SD cards.

Review of the Sony A7 IV: Features and Autofocu

Although the Sony A7 IV may not be as revolutionary for full-frame mirrorless cameras than its predecessor, its upgrades make it nearly the Canon EOS R6. This makes it a great choice for wildlife photographers and wedding photographers.

These performance gains are made possible by the Bionz XR processing unit, which is identical to the one found in the Sony A1. The Sony A7 IV does not have a stacked sensor like the Sony A1, so it cannot achieve the same burst-shooting performance. The two most notable improvements to this processor are Sony’s new autofocus technology and a significantly improved buffer depth for burst-shooting.

The Sony A7 IV now has a 33MP resolution. Its top burst-shooting speed (10fps), is the same as that of the A7 III. This speed drops to 5fps and 6fps if you wish to shoot lossless raw files. It is significantly slower than the Canon EOS R6, with a maximum speed of 20fps if you use its electronic shutter. The buffer and autofocus speeds of the A7 IV do much to compensate.

The buffer is larger than most people will require, and we tested the A7 IV’s burst shooting abilities with a UHSII card. The A7 IV managed to shoot JPEGs at speeds of over 9fps for more than a minute. The A7 IV also shot raw files at the same speed for eight seconds. After eight seconds, it dropped to a decent 6-7fps. Both cases showed it heading towards the 828 shots Sony claimed for CFExpress cards before our memory card ran out.

You won’t be shooting for long periods of time, as the A7 IV’s autofocus skills ensure that you get a high hit rate. Sony’s most recent AF system is included, which allows you to use Eye AF for humans and animals, both in stills and video. This is a significant upgrade to the A7 III. It is also the most reliable AF system available in any camera. It adheres to subjects like glue, even when there are distracting foregrounds.

While the A7 IV is a great stills camera, what about video? You can make even greater leaps with it here. The jump to 10-bit 4/2:2 color sampling (from eight-bit on A7 III) is huge for filmmakers who color-grade videos. You can now shoot 4K/30p video with the entire width of the sensor, which has a video bit-rate of 600Mbps.

The only disappointment with the A7 IV’s 4K/60p mode, is the fact that it only comes with a Super 35 crop (which is roughly the same size as an APS-C sensor). Sony is urging video shooters to upgrade cameras to the Sony A7SIII. However, this might still be a disappointment for those who were expecting a fully uncompromising hybrid camera.

Sony includes a number of bonuses with the A7 IV video package, including a Focus Map (similar to focus peaking but it uses colored blocks to show what’s in focus) as well as the S-Cinetone profile picture profile that mimics the look and feel of Sony’s cinema cameras. The Sony A7 IV, like all great hybrid cameras is equally at home shooting video as still images.

 

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