Sony A7 IV overview: An almost excellent hybrid digicam powerhouse

Sony A7 IV review: A nearly perfect hybrid camera powerhouse

Almost 4 years after Sony launched its extremely profitable A7 III hybrid full-frame mirrorless digicam, it lastly launched a comply with up. The A7 IV brings a raft of recent options and enhancements like a higher-resolution 33-megapixel sensor, improved video specs and up to date AI-powered autofocus. Nonetheless, at $2,500 it’s additionally $500 greater than the A7 III was at launch.

So much has modified over time between the 2 fashions. Sony now has to take care of formidable rivals like Canon’s EOS R6 and the Nikon Z6 II. It itself has additionally launched new high-end fashions just like the A7S III, A7R IV and A1 loaded with the most recent know-how.

Professionals

  • Glorious picture high quality
  • 4K 60p 4:2:2 video
  • Unbelievable autofocus
  • Nice dealing with

Cons

  • Rolling shutter
  • Comparatively sluggish taking pictures speeds
  • Excessive worth

With all that, I used to be in fact curious to see how the A7 IV would stack up in a class it dominated for fairly just a few years. How does it measure up towards rivals, significantly with regards to video? How a lot new tech from the high-end fashions has made it to the mainstream A7 IV? And is it appropriate for skilled use? Let’s dive in and discover out.

Design and dealing with


Sony’s A1, A7S III and A7R IV all had substantial physique modifications in comparison with their predecessors, and the A7 IV follows the identical script. It has the identical good large grip, so that you by no means really feel you’re going to drop it, even with an enormous lens. Nonetheless, it has picked up some heft and dimension, weighing in at 699 grams in comparison with 650 with the AIII. It’s 7mm thicker, too.

It has related controls to the A7 III, with the largest distinction being that the report button has moved from the again to an easier-to-access place on high. The buttons and dials additionally usually really feel higher and extra exact, and the joystick is grippier and simpler to make use of. It lacks sure dials in comparison with the far costlier A1, just like the taking pictures mode and autofocus dials. The lockable publicity compensation dial is identical, however lacks the graphics as a result of it’s designed to be programmable.

In a method, nonetheless, the A7 IV’s physique is a step up from the A1. The rear contact show can absolutely articulate and never simply tilt out, so it’s rather more sensible for low-angle taking pictures in portrait orientation. That additionally makes it much more helpful as a vlogging digicam.

It has the identical well-organized menu system because the A1 and A7S III, although some controls is usually a bit tough to search out. As with all different fashionable digicam then, it’s time effectively spent to arrange the perform menu, customized menus and handbook controls to your liking. Total, although, Sony’s menus are actually among the many finest, and higher organized than on Canon’s EOS R6, for instance.

Sony A7 IV full-frame mirrorless camera review

Steve Dent/Engadget

The three.69-million dot EVF is way clearer than the two.68-million dot one one on the A7 and on par with equally priced rivals. Nonetheless, the rear show is smaller and has decrease decision than the one on the R6. That may make handbook focus tough, although the A7 IV has a brand new characteristic that may assist there – extra on that shortly.

The A7 IV has a dual-slot card system that helps each SD UHS II and far quicker CFexpress Kind A playing cards. Nonetheless, in contrast to the slots on the A1 and A7S III, it solely has a single dual-slot, with the opposite being SD UHS II solely. Kind A CFexpress playing cards aren’t fairly as quick as common CFexpress playing cards, topping out at 800 MB/s in comparison with 1,700 MB/s. They’re additionally solely utilized in Sony cameras, so that they’re comparatively exhausting to search out and fairly costly.

Different options embrace a USB-C port that may energy the digicam throughout operation, together with a full-sized HDMI port, thank God. It makes use of Sony’s new NP-FZ100 battery that delivers as much as 580 pictures on a cost, or about 2 hours of 4K video taking pictures. Lastly, the A7 IV can shut its mechanical shutter when the digicam is turned off, defending it from mud once you change lenses. That’s a characteristic that first appeared on the EOS R, so thanks for beginning that pattern, Canon.

Efficiency

Sony A7 IV full-frame mirrorless camera review

Steve Dent/Engadget

Sony’s mirrorless cameras are famend for his or her autofocus speeds and AI smarts and the A7 IV isn’t any exception. Nonetheless, Sony made some compromises that have an effect on efficiency.

The brand new 33-megapixel sensor is back-side illuminated however not stacked just like the sensor on the A1, so readout speeds are comparatively sluggish. Because of this, taking pictures speeds are 10 fps just like the A7 III in both mechanical or digital shutter modes for compressed RAW pictures, and drop to six fps for those who use lossless or uncompressed RAW, as many photographers choose to do.

That’s nonetheless spectacular contemplating the decision is up almost 50 p.c. By comparability although, the Sony A1 can shoot 50-megapixel pictures in digital mode at as much as 30 fps, displaying the pace advantages of a stacked sensor.

Whereas burst speeds aren’t improved, you’ll be able to seize extra pictures at a time, as much as 1,000 within the uncompressed RAW format. Should you use CFexpress Kind A playing cards from Sony or ProGrade, you’ll be able to successfully shoot eternally with out filling the buffer.

Sony A7 IV full-frame mirrorless hybrid camera review sample images

Steve Dent/Engadget

One other disadvantage with the A7 IV’s sluggish sensor readout speeds is rolling shutter. If you wish to shoot silently in digital mode, you’ll must hold the digicam regular and your topic can’t transfer shortly both. In any other case, you’ll see slanted traces and different artifacts that may be unhealthy sufficient to damage pictures. Utilizing the crop mode helps loads, however then you definitely lose the advantages of a full-frame sensor.

The A7 IV is Sony’s most superior digicam but with regards to autofocus. All of Sony’s new AI tips add as much as make it the simplest to make use of and most dependable digicam I’ve ever examined in that regard.

Not like the A7 III, face, eye and physique monitoring works in all focus modes for animals, birds and other people. Except you flip it off, it’ll robotically decide up your topic’s eyes, face or physique and observe them even when they flip or disappear from body.

Whether or not you’re monitoring sports activities, birds or automobiles, the monitoring spot will keep tenaciously locked to your topic in most conditions. All you must do is contact the topic you need to observe and the digicam will take it from there.

Sony A7 IV full-frame mirrorless camera review

Steve Dent/Engadget

The A7 IV’s autofocus can simply sustain with the digicam’s burst speeds for sports activities or fowl taking pictures. However extra importantly, the A7 IV persistently nails focus in different tough conditions, significantly with folks. In some chaotic conditions with a number of topics and complicated lighting, I ended up with only a few unusable pictures. Needless to say optimum focus efficiency requires Sony’s newest lenses, however it labored effectively with current Sigma fashions as effectively.

Focus is only one a part of the equation. It persistently nailed auto-exposure and auto white stability in tough conditions with a mixture of lighting. That labored effectively in a bar with a mixture of studio and sensible lights, or in entrance of the well-known Paris division retailer animated home windows with all types of colours of lights.

In-body stabilization improves a half cease over the A7 III to five.5 stops with appropriate lenses, however neither comes near Canon’s claimed 8 stops on the EOS R6. That’s considerably balanced out by Sony’s superior excessive ISO efficiency, nonetheless. I used to be nonetheless capable of get fairly sharp pictures right down to a half second with some care.

Picture High quality


A giant enchancment with the A7 IV is with picture high quality. You’d count on extra sharpness with the additional decision, and it definitely delivers that. Nonetheless, you may also suppose that the smaller pixels would make A7 IV worse in low gentle, however nope. In actual fact, by a lot of its ISO vary, the A7 IV performs higher even than Sony’s low-light champ, the A7S III.

Photographs are clear and usable in most low-light conditions proper as much as ISO 12,800, with loads of element even in underexposed pictures. In actual fact, the A7 IV has the least noise I’ve ever seen in that ISO vary. Appropriately uncovered pictures are usable as much as ISO 25,600, however noise turns into a severe subject after that.

Sony has improved its shade science with each new digicam currently, and the A7 IV has maybe its finest setup but. The inexperienced solid we’ve seen on earlier fashions is gone and colours are correct proper out of the digicam and simpler to stability in submit than ever earlier than.

JPEGs look nice straight out of the digicam with a pleasant stability between element and noise discount. The 14-bit RAW pictures ship as much as 13 stops of dynamic vary, supplying you with loads of room to raise shadows and claw again highlights. Total, Sony’s A7 IV delivers maybe the most effective pictures of any of its cameras, with an ideal stability between element, excessive ISO efficiency and shade accuracy.

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