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Sony A7 IV Camera Review: Beyond Basic?

Imaging Resource field tests Sony's affordable new full frame mirrorless camera
Photo of Sony A7 IV

Sony unveiled the new Alpha a7 IV this morning with the tagline that this lower-end full frame mirrorless camera was “beyond basic.” Retailing for $2500, the Sony A7 IV is certainly one of the more affordable high-resolution full frame interchangeable lens cameras out there. But this 33-megapixel camera comes with a raft of high-end features that our colleagues at the Imaging Resource, Digital Photo Pro‘s sister site, tested out in their new review of the Sony A7 IV.

So, is the Sony A7 IV a winning combination of performance and price? Here’s what William Brawley, Imaging Resource‘s managing editor, had to say in his A7 IV review.

Photo of Sony A7 IV

“Overall, the Sony A7 IV is an impressively versatile camera,” Brawley wrote. “The A7 IV features an improved design and ergonomics, as well as an all-new imaging pipeline and autofocus system. The new 33MP sensor offers excellent image quality with fantastic fine detail performance, great higher ISO quality, and the autofocusing system is fast, accurate and responsive.”

Brawley added that the Sony A7 IV should appeal to a wide range of photographers and creators, particularly because it does so well for capturing both still photos and videos.

Photo of Sony A7 IV rear

“If you’re a landscape or portrait photographer, you’ll appreciate the high-resolution sensor as well as the Eye AF tracking. And if you shoot wildlife and nature, the Animal and Bird Eye AF is amazingly helpful, as is the wide AF area coverage and completely silent shooting mode,” he wrote.

“Video creators, of course, will appreciate the improved video specs, higher quality video, more frame rates, vari-angle screen and improved sustained recording time — as well as the easier live streaming functionality. The only real negative I can think of for this camera so far is the 10fps burst speed for the electronic shutter. Something a little faster would perhaps have been nice, but I think this for most users 10fps is plenty fast for most action, sports and wildlife subjects. At least for me it is.”

Photo of Sony A7 IV top

Other features Brawley appreciated in the new Sony A7 IV include the camera’s updated 759-point hybrid autofocus (AF) system with real-time tracking and Eye AF, its abundance of new video options – including 4K 60p – and its side-swiveling vari-angle LCD on back of the camera. The A7 IV also boasts faster memory card support – dual card slots for CFexpress Type A + UHS II (slot 1) and UHS II (slot 2) – easier live-streaming capabilities and faster wireless connectivity for easy sharing and mobile content production. 

“The ergonomics of the A7 IV have been subtly but pleasingly improved with a deeper, more comfortable grip and larger, easier to operate buttons and dials,” he reports. “For video shooters, the two-way tilting LCD screen has been swapped for a fully articulating screen.”

Photo of Sony A7 IV

One of the biggest gripes about the previous model, the Sony A7 III, were the lower resolution rear LCD screen and electronic viewfinder (EVF). Those two features have been improved on the new camera.

“The electronic viewfinder on the A7 IV gets a bit of an upgrade over the previous model, upping the QVGA OLED screen resolution from approximately 2.3 million dots to 3.68 million dots,” Brawley writes. “The refresh rate also gets a boost, with the camera offering both a normal 60fps frame rate as well as now a faster, smoother 120fps for improved usability when tracking fast-moving subjects. In use, much like with the camera’s overall design and controls, I really have no complaints about the EVF on the A7 IV. It’s bright, sharp and offers a large, clear view of the scene.”

test photo shot with Sony A7 IV
Shot with the Sony A7 IV and FE 100-400mm GM lens at 400mm, f/5.6, 1/500s, ISO 400. Click for the full-size image. (Note: Camera is using pre-production firmware.)

So, does the Sony A7 IV live up to the hype as a budget-friendly version of Sony’s flagship Alpha A1 camera? Well, you should check out Brawley’s full review to read everything he has to say about the camera. You should also visit a gallery of his full-resolution test images captured with the A7 IV.

“I think A7 IV might take the crown from A7R IV as Sony’s most versatile camera ever,” he concludes. “The sheer amount of features this ‘new basic’ model inherits from the flagship A1 and A7S III is quite impressive while still coming in at a much more wallet-friendly price point. Resolution, performance, and price. I don’t know about you, but to me, the Sony A7 Mark IV feels like the Alpha 1 for the rest of us.”

The Sony A7 IV goes on sale in late December 2021 for $2500 (body only) or $2700 with FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS zoom lens. You can pre-order the A7 IV at B&H here.

Test photo shot with Sony A7 IV
Shot with the Sony A7 IV and FE 100-400mm GM: 268mm, f/5.6, 1/320s, ISO 1250. Click for the full-size image. (Note: Camera is using pre-production firmware.)
Test photo shot with Sony A7 IV
Shot with the Sony A7 IV and FE 100-400mm GM lens at 303mm, f/5.6, 1/320s, ISO 3200. Click for the full-size image. (Note: Camera is using pre-production firmware.)

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