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Sony a7 IV vs a7 III Whats New

With the release of the updated a7 IV hybrid full frame mirrorless camera in October 2021 we thought it would be useful to compare the Sony a7 IV vs a7 III and see what’s new. We have a full specs comparison, video review by Gareth, together with sample images.

The all new Sony a7 IV camera review and comparison

Who is the Sony a7 IV aimed at?

The a7 IV camera falls into Sony’s hybrid full frame Alpha 7 series aimed at professionals as well as beginners and enthusiasts who shoot a combination of stills photography and videography. The a7 series is an excellent choice for general content creation, with the new mark IV really pushing the boundaries for both stills and video capture.

The new design makes this an excellent choice for anyone from beginners through to professionals. It is not a basic camera by any means, quite the opposite as it harnesses flagship technology in-line with the best Sony has to offer. Beginners can enjoy the a7 IV because it has both Manual and Auto settings, with a choice of JPEGS, RAW and easy to user pre-colour graded video settings if desired. Content creators and professionals benefit because the new body design is aimed at creating a fast workflow. The camera is also easier to use than the mark III and includes a top panel video record button and a new control dial with Stills/Movie/Slow and Quick Motion. The LCD is now a flip out fully articulating LCD touchscreen and the electronic viewfinder is better than before with 3.68 million dots vs 2.36 million. The grip has also been enhanced for better handling, which all combine to make better ergonomics and a camera which is seriously fast to use for anyone, including serious pros.

Making video with the Sony a7 IV

What subjects can I shoot with the a7 IV?

The a7 IV takes superb pictures and some of the best video available on a Sony mirrorless camera at the time of launch. There are no limits as to what subjects you can shoot with this upgraded model. This is in part thanks to the combination of a new high resolution 33 megapixel sensor combined with the fastest processor available – the BIONZ XR. Typically users will enjoy using this camera for:

  • Video (including streaming and vlogging)
  • Portraits
  • Weddings
  • Street photography
  • Night and astro
  • Events
  • Documentary

You can also comfortably shoot sports, wildlife, landscapes, cityscapes, travel and just about anything you can think of, although Sony does make cameras specifically tailored to these genres.

Sample photo  with FE 50mm f/1.2 GM Lens. Exposure: 1/1600 sec. f/2. ISO 200

Sample photo with FE 50mm f/1.2 GM Lens. Exposure: 1/1600 sec. f/2. ISO 200

What technology is new over the mark III?

The a7 IV has been literally packed with the latest technology Sony has available and has been updated in virtually every single way possible. This goes from the new sensor and flagship processor through to the stabilisation system and exterior design. The body itself has been updated with better ergonomics, new control dials and more. Here’s what’s new on the outside of the a7 IV camera body:

  1. A deeper grip with better handling.
  2. New video record button on the top panel.
  3. New control dial for quick access to video and stills with slow and quick motion selection.
  4. The LCD has been updated and now uses the same vari-angle touchscreen as found in the a7S III. This is flip-out so you can record selfie, vlogs and is excellent for shooting at difficult angles. The screen is also clearer in Live View mode with better image quality.
  5. The body design has better heat dissipation, which is essential for video and continuous fast frame rate shooting.
  6. The hotshoe now features Sony’s Digital Multi Interface (MI). This lets you use compatible flash, digital mics and other accessories which draw camera power and don’t need any cables. This is found on the a7S III and flagship Alpha 1 and is so welcome it’s unreal. No more forgotten batteries, low power, cables to get broken, just a single connection which just works.
  7. The dual card slots now feature one CFExpress Type A media slot which captures data faster than any SD cards are capable of.
  8. Connectivity is also improved which warrants its own list! These include a new HDMI Type-A terminal. A USB Type-C connector which gives you up to 10Gbps and this also 1000Base-T Ethernet for fast wired FTP. There’s also 5GHz wireless LAN connectivity.

100 percent crop from image above

100% crop from image above. Check those juicy details from 33 megapixels

Internal technology updates include:

  • Brand new 33 megapixel sensor
  • The fastest processor available, which is the BIONZ XR. This enhances not only the overall experience but buffer size, buffer clearing, data transfer and more, with a noticeable speed improvement
  • Improved body stabilisation (up to 5.5 stops) with pitch, yaw and roll. This also features active stabilisation now.
  • Wider sensor AF coverage (94%) with more AF points
  • 30% AF-S speed improvement
  • Real time AF tracking is new and adds Bird AF
  • Larger buffer with 828 shots of uncompressed RAW + JPEG and essentially uninterrupted shooting with JPEGS or compressed RAW files.
  • New menu system which is easier to navigate
  • New touch control and image transfer from the Edge Mobile app Version 7.6 or later

Dials on the a7 IV camera body with new design

Movie upgrades include:

  • 4K/60p in S35 Crop, over 4K/30p
  • 10 bit / 4:2:2 colour sampling
  • XAVC-HS / H.265
  • New S-Cinetone profile and S-Log3
  • The AF system now handles breathing compensation and focus map for movies
  • New livestream menu when connected to a computer. This is a very nice automated feature for anyone who streams live content.

Sony a7 IV vs A7 III Specs Comparison Table

 

Sony a7 iii

Sony a7 iv

Processor

BIONZ X

BIONZ XR

Megapixels

24

33

Max ISO

204,800

204,800 (Stills) / 102,400 (Movie)

Continuous Shooting Speed

10fps

10fps

Continuous Shooting Buffer

182 JPEG

828 JPEG + RAW

IBIS

5 steps

5.5 steps

AF Points

693 Focal Plane

759 Focal Plane

Eye AF

Human / Animal

Human / Animal / Bird

Real Time Tracking

No

Yes

4K Max Frame Rate

4K30p

4K60p (S35 Crop)

4K Colour Sampling

8 bit / 4:2:0

10 bit / 4:2:2

Picture Profile

S-Log3

S-Log3 / S-Cinetone

Stabilisation

Standard

Standard / Active Mode

Viewfinder Resolution

2.36 million dot

3.68 million dot

LCD Screen

Tiltable

Touch Focus

Vari-angle

Touch Focus / Menu

Memory Card Slot

UHS-II x2

CF Express Type A / UHS-II + UHS-II

HDMI

HDMI Type D

HDMI Type A

Superspeed USB

5Gbps (USB 3.1)

10Gbps (USB 3.2 Gen2)

Battery Life

710 shots (LCD)

610 shots (LCD)

We’ve compared the main specifications between the a7 IV with the previous model and you can see that virtually every single aspect is not only better but comprehensively so. Even where both cameras are capable of 10fps the newer model will shoot substantially more photos before the buffer fills, then clear the buffer faster. The single spec which the a7 III really wins is battery life, which is predominantly affected by the upgraded processor. That said this camera beats even the flagship Alpha 1, which manages around 530 shots on a single charge vs 610 for the A7 IV.

Sample photo with FE 50mm f/1.2 GM Lens. Exposure: 1/125 sec. f/1.2. ISO 1000

Sample photo 2 with FE 50mm f/1.2 GM Lens. Exposure: 1/125 sec. f/1.2. ISO 1000

Sony a7 IV Video Review

Gareth got his hands on the new camera, watch his review right here.

Conclusion

The Sony a7 IV is a seriously impressive camera in every respect, not just as a significantly evolved upgrade, but as a thoroughbred hybrid camera in its own right. The 33 megapixel resolution is high enough to satisfy even landscape photographers and will handle fairly aggressive cropping for sports or wildlife shooters. Buffer speeds are seriously quick and you can shoot it like a machine gun if you need it to.

full crop from bove image showing detail even at ISO 1000

100% crop from bove image showing excellent detail even at ISO 1000 thanks to updated noise performance.

Movie features have also been considerably enhanced with a range of options from 4K/60p with a new colour profile, better colour sampling and even breathing compensation has been added. You get a menu pop up for live streaming when it’s connected to a computer and the camera can be remote controlled using the latest version of the Imaging Edge Mobile app paving the way for content of all types.

Connectivity is better, for example the multi interface shoe is a cable-free and battery-free joy to use. It’s all been upgrade from the new EVF and articulating LCD screen through to HDMI and USB ports.

It’s not just about a huge list of features and specs though. It’s the overall speed, ergonomics, menus and useability that make this a truly great camera. It’s fast, fun and extremely capable, reminding you of why you love being a creator. The update is so comprehensive it is a whole new tool in every respect and deserves to be considered whatever you have currently.

I could see professionals with an A1 using it as a second body, wedding photographers as a primary and backup camera. It’s perfect for vlogging and content creation naturally, with everything you need in one device. But it’s also perfect as a general camera for anyone who loves photography and is getting into movie making, whatever level they are. I spoke with our video creator Gareth and he is pretty desperate to get his hands on an a7 IV to keep for his very self, which is saying something as he gets to play with all of the latest and greatest models.

Sony has been busy lately with the recent release of one of their most popular full frame lenses which could accompany this camera perfectly – read the Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS mark II Lens review here if you want to be tempted. We also have a 50mm f/1.2 GM Lens review here and three new Sony lenses reviewed here, all of which could make the perfect partner to this camera unless you are tempted by the lens kit which was released simultaneously – the Sony a7 IV Digital Camera With FE 28-70mm Lens Kit.

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By Nick Dautlich on 21/10/2021

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