Sony a7 IV Hands-On: 9/10 a7S III for 2/3 the Price

Are you an avid photographer or videographer looking for a high-performance camera without breaking the bank? Look no further than the Sony a7 IV, the latest addition to the acclaimed a7 series lineup. Boasting an impressive 9/10 similarity to its predecessor, the a7S III, but at a fraction of the price, this camera is a game-changer for both professionals and enthusiasts alike. With its cutting-edge technology, exceptional image quality, and versatile features, the Sony a7 IV is set to revolutionize the industry. In this hands-on review, we will delve into the key aspects that make this camera a standout choice, exploring its functionalities, performance, and what sets it apart from its competitors. Get ready to capture breathtaking moments like never before with the Sony a7 IV.

Sony a7 IV Hands-On: 9/10 a7S III for 2/3 the Price


Hey guys, Claudia and I are in the middle of packing and about to head out to lead our Streets of New York photography workshops. But we just got the Sony a7 IV in yesterday from Federal Express. It’s a bit of a crunch to put together a full review of it given that we’ll be basically 24/7 doing street photography for the next 11 days, especially given the timing of the embargo lift and when you’ll actually be seeing this video. So, I’m going to limit my comments now to a set of preliminary but well-informed conclusions. apologize in advance for doing less show and more tell than usual, but I promise when we’re back from New York, I’ll follow up with more details because we’ll have more experience. But hey, bottom line, barring unforeseen circumstances, we’re buying one to replace our a7S III. How’s that for a kick in the head?

The Impressive Sony a7 IV

Hey everybody, I’m Hugh Brownstone for Three Blind Men and an Elephant, and here’s the thing, I’m just not going to take you through all of the myriad details of Sony’s just announced a7 IV, though I will tell you that it is an impressive list with real-world implications. Sony has not been snoozing. I will also cut to the chase right now – for most of us, it really is as simple as this, and why, as I just said, we intend to buy one. The a7 IV is basically an a7S III with a brand new 33-megapixel sensor. This is not simply a spec. Hold that thought. A number of kaizen-style improvements and a few novel, to boldly go where no camera company has gone before experiments, you might call them, or perhaps first-generation initiatives that are very interesting, clearly indicative of where the company is headed, all for a lot less dosh. Specifically, the a7 IV uses an a7S III shell with almost three times the megapixels at what could be as low as two-thirds the price. Sony couldn’t give us precise numbers during our briefing, and as I just said, I had to record this well before the embargo lift, but they did say then that it would fall somewhere between $2,500 and $2,800 body only, $2,700 and $3,000 US with the kit lens. More importantly, I think it’s fair to point out that the body to which one compares the a7 IV, a7S III or plain Jane a7 III, will determine whether you see the IV as a very real bargain relative to the S III or a stretch that will make sense to some of us interested in a major video upgrade, may make less sense to those of us looking for a major stills upgrade. I’m talking relative now to the basic 3. After all, the jump from 24 megapixels to 33 megapixels is hardly the stuff of legend, especially for photography. It doesn’t match the first, second, or third-generation a7R series, never mind the current a7R IV, and isn’t being touted by Sony itself as offering any significant advantage in terms of dynamic range or IS performance. Then again, leveling up from an a7 III to an a7R with its 61-megapixel sensor and 5.7 million-dot EVF will set you back $3,500. Moving from an a7 III to the 24-megapixel, mega-burst-rate, mega-buffer, mega-autofocus performance a9 II will set you back $4,500. And buying a third-generation, third-and-a-half generation a7R III-a refresh-will probably cost about the same as the a7 IV. At which point one has to wonder if the incremental 9-megapixel advantage of the R III over the basic 4 is worth it or if the advances in the a7 IV, especially in the arena of autofocus and operability across both modes-video and stills-make more sense.

A Decontented a7S III

In any case, let’s give Sony credit. The company is taking a risk of cannibalizing its own product line before someone else does. Or perhaps somebody knows something we don’t-that higher spec, more expensive cameras are simply no longer selling at the volumes they need. Their target audience exhausted by the reduced gig opportunities for image makers across the globe, economic casualties of the pandemic. Or maybe the rest of the market is about to catch up. Or that we’re approaching the limits of what traditional technologies can do and the next S-curve really is all about computational imaging, like we see on smartphones, and it has arrived. Duh. Of course, returning to the here and now, there is no such thing as a free lunch. And while you give up absolutely nothing, except price, in moving from the a7 III to the a7 IV and gain a great deal, you do give up a number of things that you get with the S III. And that’s where we’ll focus right now. Got a pen and a piece of paper? I’ll wait.

Features and Trade-offs

Ready? 4K 60p, no crop. 4K 120p, just a 1.1x crop. The 9.44-million-dot EVF. Dual CFexpress Type A/USH-II SDXC card slots. ProRes RAW. Maybe modestly less performance thermal management. Maybe at the risk of oversimplifying, for 99% of us, 99% of the time, that’s kind of it. ProRes RAW really doesn’t matter for the work we do. Neither do dual CFexpress card slots nor hours and hours of continuous 4K 60p. We never used 120p, let alone 180p on our GH5. Of course, your mileage may vary, and that’s fine. What you get in their place, however, are these: 10-bit 4:2:2 4K 60p in Super 35 mode. Full-width readout, no pixel binning. Up to 200 megabits per second. But okay, yes, I’d prefer no crop because the crop does mean one is likely to need at least one additional lens for the wide end and will likely have to switch in the middle of a run-and-gun shoot, which is a seventh-level pain. But let’s not get piggy. The a7 IV does have 120p without a crop. 8-bit 4:2:0 in 1080p. So, how often do you need 4K 120p really? Two, a 3.7-million-dot OLED EVF, which is a nice upgrade over the original a7 III. A more modest upgrade, but still very real, over the same resolution but older EVF of the a7R III. Three, a few features in particular which are showing up for the first time on an Alpha camera, two of which have never shown up on any Sony camera: focus assist, focus mapping, and focus breathing control. And four, a new emphasis, as just intimated, on streaming. But hold those last two thoughts because I first want to dig deeper into why I think the a7 IV should be recognized as a decontented, lightly decontented, a7S III rather than an upgraded basic 3. Does the a7 IV, for example, literally have the same body as the a7S III? By all outward appearances, yes. Does the a7 IV have the top plate recording button of the a7S III? Yes! Yay! Does it have the flippy screen of the a7 III? Yes, which you may prefer if you are more of a video shooter, may not prefer if you’re more of a photographer. The grip of the a7S III? Yes. Heat dissipation architecture of the a7S III, according to Sony? Hells yeah, which is why there’s no official recording limit in 4K 24p. I…

Sony a7 IV Hands-On: 9/10 a7S III for 2/3 the Price – FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions – Sony a7 IV Hands-On

1. What is the Sony a7 IV?

The Sony a7 IV is a professional-level mirrorless camera that offers exceptional image quality, advanced features, and impressive performance. It is the fourth iteration in the acclaimed Sony a7 series.

2. How does the Sony a7 IV compare to the a7S III?

The Sony a7 IV offers similar performance and image quality to the a7S III, but at around two-thirds of the price. It provides a great value for photographers and videographers alike.

3. What are the key features of the Sony a7 IV?

The Sony a7 IV comes with several notable features, including:

  • Full-frame 33-megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor
  • 4K video recording at 120p
  • Up to 15 stops of dynamic range
  • Advanced autofocus system with real-time eye tracking
  • Impressive low-light performance
  • Built-in image stabilization
  • Flexible LCD touchscreen
  • Dual memory card slots

4. Can the Sony a7 IV be used for professional photography?

Absolutely! The Sony a7 IV is designed for professional photographers and offers all the necessary features and image quality required for various genres of photography, including portrait, landscape, wildlife, and more.

5. Is the Sony a7 IV suitable for videography?

Yes, the Sony a7 IV is an excellent choice for videographers as well. Its 4K video capabilities, high dynamic range, and advanced autofocus system make it ideal for producing high-quality videos for various purposes.

6. What are the available lens options for the Sony a7 IV?

The Sony a7 IV is compatible with Sony’s E-mount lenses, offering a wide range of options to suit different shooting styles and preferences. You can use both Sony’s own lenses and third-party lenses that are compatible with the E-mount.

7. Does the Sony a7 IV have weather sealing?

Yes, the Sony a7 IV features weather sealing, making it resistant to dust and moisture. This allows photographers to confidently shoot in challenging outdoor conditions without worrying about the camera’s durability.

8. What are the connectivity options of the Sony a7 IV?

The Sony a7 IV offers various connectivity options, including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for easy image transfer and remote control. It also has a USB-C port, HDMI output, microphone input, and headphone jack for enhanced usability.

9. Is the Sony a7 IV suitable for beginners?

While the Sony a7 IV is a high-end camera, it can still be used by beginners who are passionate about photography. It offers user-friendly features and intuitive controls that help beginners learn and navigate through the camera’s functions.

10. What accessories are compatible with the Sony a7 IV?

The Sony a7 IV is compatible with various accessories, including external flashes, wireless remote controls, additional batteries, battery grips, and more. These accessories can enhance your shooting experience and provide additional functionality.

I hope you find useful my article Sony a7 IV Hands-On: 9/10 a7S III for 2/3 the Price, I also recommend you to read my other posts in my blog at this link.

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