The Sony a7 IV Is Out, but Don’t Call It Entry-Level

Sony has unveiled the Alpha 7 IV, the successor to the extremely popular Alpha 7 III that features a 33-megapixel sensor, up to 10 frames per second shooting, and a host of video features that Sony says make it a true hybrid full-frame system.

The Alpha 7 IV takes “basic” to the next level for full-frame cameras with excellent image quality and performance, redefining the lofty standards set by the acclaimed Alpha 7 III. The new model features many of Sony’s most advanced imaging technologies, including the latest BIONZ XR processing engine and advanced AF capabilities from the flagship Alpha 1 combined with streamlined operability and enhanced reliability for photos and movies, making it the perfect all-around camera for today’s imaging enthusiasts and professionals. The Alpha 7 IV also boasts a 33MP image resolution, rich movie expression, and various features to support the growing demand for remote communication, bringing new meaning to what a “basic” camera can accomplish.

“Since its introduction over three years ago, the Alpha 7 III has made a tremendous impact in our industry, completely redefining the expectations for what can be accomplished with a ‘basic’, or entry-level full-frame camera,” said Yang Cheng, Vice President, Imaging Solutions, Sony Electronics Inc. “Now, it’s time to break through all existing boundaries again. The Alpha 7 IV brings together the best of Sony imaging technologies in both photo and video to deliver a high-end experience to a wider range of customers. This gives today’s creators a new level of freedom to capture, create and share in ways that they’ve never been able to before, no matter the situation in which they find themselves.”

Thanks to a newly developed 33MP full-frame back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS image sensor, superior image quality and wide ISO sensitivity range expandable to ISO 50 – 204,800 is achieved. The high resolution enables the Alpha 7 IV to express smooth gradation, fine details, and textures of the subject while reducing noise, and its 15-stop dynamic range allows a wide expressive range while Creative Look settings can help create original looks effortlessly for both stills and video.

The latest BIONZ XR processing engine is the same that is used in Sony’s flagship Alpha 1, delivering high-speed AF, uninterrupted continuous shooting up to 10fps with AF/AE tracking, and a large buffer for a prolonged shooting experience. The Alpha 7 IV tracks subjects with tenacious Real-time Tracking and 759 phase-detection AF points in a high-density focal-plane phase-detection AF system that covers approximately 94% of the image area. Additionally, for the first time, Real-time Eye AF can now track birds’ and animals’ eyes for both still images and movies, in addition to humans. The Alpha 7 IV also has the face and eye detection accuracy for humans that is improved by approximately 30% compared to the Alpha 7 III.

The Alpha 7 IV inherits technology taken from real-world movie production, including the S-Cinetone picture profile adopted from Sony’s highly regarded Cinema Line cameras. This delivers a rich, cinematic look that has become popularized by a broad range of cinematographers and filmmakers who are shooting on Sony. A high-quality movie is achieved with 4K 60p recording in Super 35mm mode and up to 4K 30p recording with 7K oversampling is available in full-frame mode. The new camera also features 10-bit depth 4:2:2 color sampling to enable natural gradation, XAVC S-I intra-frame encoding for more efficient editing workflows, and XAVC HS H.265 Long-GOP for doubled compression efficiency.

To meet the growing need for precise autofocus performance when shooting videos, unique AF features are achieved when using the Alpha 7 IV with a Sony E-mount lens, including AF Assist that supports focus transitions when using AF, and Focus Map that visualizes depth of field. For the first time in the Alpha series, the new camera features Breathing Compensation to combat focus breathing and maintain a consistent angle of view throughout focus changes and can be switched on or off.

The Alpha 7 IV is a hybrid still and video camera with outstanding operability and reliability that easily allows the user to switch from photo to video and back at their convenience. New to Sony’s lineup of Alpha cameras is a dual-layer mode dial, with a lower layer for selecting Still/Movie/S&Q and a top layer for Auto/P/A/S/M and MR (Memory Recall), enabling users to quickly select and switch between the dedicated settings. It also has 5-axis optical in-body image stabilization for a 5.5-step shutter speed advantage, an improved grip for greater comfort, and a CFexpress Type A compatible media slot to support media with faster writing and clearance. Additionally, the 3.68 million-dot OLED Quad-VGA viewfinder is 1.6 times the resolution of the Alpha 7 III viewfinder, benefiting users with an upgraded live-view image quality that minimizes false color and increases resolution.

Videographers can record 4K 60p 10-bit 4:2:2 video continuously for more than an hour thanks to the camera’s heat-dissipating structure. Optical ‘Active Mode’ image stabilization further stabilizes movie shooting. They can also benefit from the 3-inch (3.0-type) 1.03 million-dot side-opening vari-angle touch-panel rear LCD monitor, top-panel REC button, and high-capacity Z-series battery.

The Alpha 7 IV body is built with magnesium alloy to achieve robustness while minimizing its weight. In addition, the redesigned structure and lens lock button contribute to enhanced dust and moisture resistance.

Here are some sample pictures taken by Sony Artisan Chris Burkard:

Sony has specifically built multiple features into the Alpha 7 IV to support easier wireless or wired connections as well as streaming capabilities. One small but likely appreciated change is that the camera will recognize when it is plugged into a computer and immediately offer to connect for streaming. Speaking of streaming, it supports 4K 15p UVC/UAC streaming functional with a simultaneous internal recording of up to 4K at 60 frames per second.

Quick sharing and file transfer is done with Imaging Edge mobile app, which can stay connected to the camera continuously, connected via Bluetooth and transfers data via WiFi — it no longer breaks the connection while shooting. Once paired, it will be able to send files without needing to repair the app and phone with the camera.

The a7 IV will be available from late December 2021 at a recommended price of $2499, a $500 increase over the launch price of the a7 III.

More info on Sony’s website.

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