Sony A7 IV review: The best all-round full-frame mirrorless camera

Sony’s new A7 The Full Frame Mirrorless Camera IV is one of the best “entry level” mirrorless cameras on the market. Yes, there are higher-resolution sensors and you won’t find high-end video features, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a better all-around mirrorless camera. and video camera.

This update adds a new 33MP sensor, insane and nearly unlimited buffer capacity, meaning you can pretty much keep shooting uncompressed RAW/JPG until the battery runs out, a system much improved autofocus with better eye tracking and more video support. capture modes including Hybrid Log Gamma for playback on HDR TVs.

What’s up

Physically, the A7 IV isn’t much different from its predecessor, although the grip is considerably larger, giving the camera a bulkier feel. The new grip is very similar to that used by the A7S III. I found it less comfortable than my A7RII, but the feel will depend on the size of your hands. I suggest you check one out at your local camera store if you can. Despite its increased size, it’s still one of the more compact full-frame cameras in our mirrorless camera guide.

Photo: Sony

The controls on the back stay pretty close to what you’ll find on other recent A7 series cameras. There’s a four-way multi-controller that can also act as a dial, a joystick for positioning the autofocus point, and six buttons that are all programmable. There are enough external commands to ensure that you really only need to dive into the menus once to set everything up the way you want. That’s a good thing, too, because Sony’s menu system is still labyrinthine, and the less time you spend there, the happier you’ll be.

What’s new and remarkable about the A7 IV is mostly inside. The A7 IV uses a new 33-megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor, which offers higher resolution and potentially better image quality in low-light situations. The new sensor is a step up from the A7 III (which had a 24-megapixel sensor), as well as what you’ll find in rivals like the Canon R6, Nikon Z6II and Panasonic S1.

At the same time, the A7 IV is still the entry-level camera in Sony’s lineup. In terms of resolution, the A7R IV, with its 60-megapixel sensor, remains in a class of its own. It’s worth noting that we’ll probably see the A7 IV’s sensor in the A7C’s successor, which I’d expect later this year – you should wait for that if you want a smaller camera body.

Although the sensor is new, the A7 IV’s processor comes from the video-focused Sony A7S III, where it stood out for its dynamic range. The A7 IV receives a similar boost, offering 15 stops of dynamic range, which opens up an incredibly rich range of post-processing possibilities. The new processor also makes the A7 IV a bit faster than its predecessor. (Sony claims it’s up to eight times faster.) I didn’t have an A7 III to compare the two to, but I never felt like the A7 IV was bogged down.

Auto Focus Power

Along with the processor and sensor, Sony’s new autofocus system, first seen in the flagship A9, is finally coming to the A7 range. The improvement here is hard to overestimate. This system, which Sony calls “real-time tracking”, is really smart and very fast.

I test half a dozen high-end mirrorless cameras a year, each promising to be faster in autofocus, but most are largely indistinguishable judging by the results. I confess that in my spare time, I only shoot with manual focus lenses. I’ve been shooting manually since I picked up my first Minolta SR-T in 1988, and I’m pretty quick at this point. In most situations, with the exception of wildlife and sports, I get less blurry images when focusing manually than with the latest and greatest autofocus. That is to say up to the A7 IV.

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