While I only spent a short amount of time with the Sony A7 IV, it already seems this camera marks an exciting upgrade for the versatile A7 series.
The Alpha 7 IV (or A7 IV) is the latest mirrorless camera in Sony’s A7 series.
The camera is the fourth in the range, following in the footsteps of the A7 III which launched all the way back in 2018. Here at Trusted Reviews we awarded the A7 III four and a half stars, with reviewer Michael Topham calling it “the finest example of the most affordable full-frame camera on the market” at the time.
The camera has certainly stood the test of time as it still has a spot on our best cameras list in 2021 as the best full-frame all-rounder on the market.
So, what about its successor?
Pricing and availability
The Sony A7 IV is priced at £2400/€2800 for the body only, or £2600/€3000 with the 28-70mm zoom lens. The camera will be available to buy from December 2021.
Design and display
The Sony A7 IV looks a lot like the A7 III. The camera features the same compact design with straight edges and sharp corners as the previous model, along with the same interchangeable lens mount that supports Sony’s over 60 E-mount lenses.
However, the grip has gotten larger once again to give you better hold on the camera and there are a number of new buttons found on the A7 IV.
These include a dedicated Still/Movie/S&Q dial. The dial is stacked beneath the usual dial, allowing you to toggle between the photo, video and slow & quick modes separate to Auto, P, A, S, M and MR.
I found this made toggling between the three modes incredibly easy, allowing me to adjust the menus and button assignments at the flick of the dial, though I did need to go into the settings to fine-tune the S&Q options.
The C1 button has also moved from the top of the camera to above the top right corner of the display. I had the custom button set up to trigger the animal eye-detection setting so I could switch modes quickly whenever I saw Edmund the cat roaming the gardens I tested the camera in.
There’s also a customisable rear dial R where the exposure compensation dial used to be which offers quick access to a variety of settings.
On the top, there’s a 3.68 million-dot Quad-VGA OLED viewfinder around 1.6x the resolution of that on the A7 III. There’s also a side-opening vari-angle rear 3.0 type 1.03 million dot LCD monitor with touch support for focussing and a 3:2 aspect ratio.
I found the display to be sharp and the adjustable angle made it easy to see what I was doing regardless of where I held the camera.
Performance and features
The A7 IV is powered by the same BIONZ XR processing engine found inside Sony’s flagship A1, a mirrorless camera significantly more expensive than the A7 IV.
The processor is accompanied by the newly-developed 33-megapixel 35mm Exmor R CMOS sensor. The sensor is full-frame, back-illuminated and has a wide ISO sensitivity range of 50 to 204800. It also marks a large upgrade from the 24.2-megapixel sensor in its predecessor.
Among its advantages, Sony claims the sensor offers accurate colour reproduction. I found that colours produced by the camera appeared vibrant and true-to-life from the bright and saturated flowers to the more muted but still warm skin tones.
Images are sharp and detailed thanks to the camera’s 15-stop dynamic range and there was very little noise to contend with, though I did test the camera outdoors on a sunny day so the ISO wasn’t pushed too far. I’d be interested in seeing how the camera performs in lower light settings.
The A7 IV also takes advantage of some advanced autofocus features, with around 94 percent of the frame covered with 759 phase-detection AF points.
Sony uses AI in its cameras to detect and track the eyes and face of a human, animal or bird track that subject while they move in real-time.
With the A7 IV, the A7 series has seen a 30 percent improvement in human eye tracking, better animal eye detection and support for bird eye detection in videos as well as stills.
I found the human eye tracking to be a really useful tool for portraits, as I was able to latch onto the model’s eye and change the angle of the shot quite a bit without losing my focus point.
I noticed less of a difference when using Real-Time Eye AF on the cat that wandered the grounds.
The first time I saw Edmund I took photos using the regular focus mode, before switching over to the animal setting the next time we crossed paths. The cat’s eyes do seem slightly clearer, but I’m not sure the difference is all that obvious.
One new AF feature is the Focus Map view, which displays a coloured map on your screen to help you better visualise the depth of field while you focus your shot. This is something I can see being very useful when setting up a shot or for when the focus point isn’t all that clear.
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As far as video recording goes, the A7 IV is capable of capturing up to 4K footage at 60p and there’s support for full-frame 7K oversampling at up to 30p. Recording video is as easy as moving the new dial over to the Movie (or S&Q) setting and hitting the dedicated record button on the top of the camera.
While I didn’t get a chance to try the camera with Sony’s Imaging Edge Mobile app, you can use Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to transfer photos and videos, along with USB and high-speed wired LAN with a USB-Ethernet cable.
The camera also supports UVC/UAC standards meaning you can host 4K livestream with a USB connection without downloading any additional software. This is another feature I didn’t test out myself but I can certainly see coming in handy for vloggers who need a camera they can use at home and on the go.