Sony A7IV First Impressions
Three years ago Sony released the groundbreaking Sony A7III. I still remember that time very well. This camera set the standard for mirrorless. It improved the previous Sony cameras in so many important ways: great dynamic range, great low light performance, lots of video functionality and it also introduced the new battery which fixed the ‘bad’ battery life of the earlier Sony A7 generations. Now three years later its successor is finally released.
As a Sony ambassador I only got to play with the camera a couple of days but I still want to give you my first impressions in this article. This article will be updated in the upcoming months with more real world footage.
Now, you know me for my real world reviews and that’s exactly what you’re going to get in this (rather short) article. I’m sure upon releasing this article you can find countless of comparisons and tech tests everywhere online but that’s not what I am here for. I simply take photos with the gear and tell you what I like (and don’t like) about it.
Upon holding the camera for the very first time you’ll immediately see and feel that the body is similar to that of the A7SIII. I think it’s a little bit bigger than the original A7III. It feels sturdier and more solid. The grip is also bigger and it feels better holding with (my) big hands. One thing I immediately had to get used to was the record button on top instead of the c1 button. I normally use c1 to change white balance but now every time I press it the camera starts recording video. But I could solve that easily by changing it into the custom button menu. Another interesting change is the top right dial which does not have the + and - exposure markings anymore.
The Sony AIV paired with the Sony 24mm GM lens
Comparison : Left - Sony A7III, Right - Sony AIV
Then there’s the screen which is now fully articulating. Another thing I had to get used to. It’s actually great, but for someone like me who is simply used to using the flip screen (for years) while often having the camera low to the ground, it definitely took some time to get used to flipping out the screen to the side and using it that way. What I liked is that if I wanted to take some quick video of myself, I could now finally just flip the screen and see myself easily.
Some other nice functions are the new 3.69m dot EVF which looks great, the 2 card slots where one slot can take CF Xpress cards (compared to only SD in the original A7III) and the new menu system (similar to that of the A7SIII). It looks like body wise, this new body is the body we are going to see in all new future Sony Alpha cameras.
So how does it perform in the field? Simply said: Like you would expect from a new Sony Alpha camera. I quickly set it up through the menu (which now has the new menu) like all my other cameras and it was immediately good to go.
It was the start of autumn with beautiful misty mornings in the Netherlands : some great mornings to take the camera out for a spin. The thing I noticed first was how fast the A7IV was. And by fast I do not only mean the burst speed. The handling of the camera is super fast. Viewing photos instantly after shooting or zooming in on them goes instant (takes much longer with my A7RIV) and handling in general is a much faster experience than with my A7RIV.
Sony A7IV - Sony 24-105G - 82mm - f/14 - 3.2s - ISO 100
Sony A7IV - Sony 12-24GM - 24mm - f/11 - 0,5s - ISO 200
Sony A7IV - Sony 12-24GM - 22mm - f/11 - 1s - ISO 200
Sony A7IV - Sony 24-105G - 24mm - f/8 - 2.5s - ISO 200
Sony A7IV - Sony 12-24GM - 24mm - f/14 - 2,5s - ISO 200
The new sensor has 33 Megapixel, that’s 40% more than the original A7III. I would say the Dynamic range seems quite similar to that of the A7III (which was very good). The same goes for the high ISO performance, which I am very curious about. I couldn’t test these 2 aspects to the fullest because I couldn’t get the maximum out of the RAW files yet simply because there was no RAW converter. I was able to open the images with Sony’s Imaging Edge software and then export it to TIF so I could edit them in standard editing software, but the TIF exports didn’t have the full RAW dynamic range data.
If the DR and high ISO performance are similar to that of the A7III (or better) combined with 33 Megapixel and all the nice functions of the A7IV I will definitely have this camera in the bag in the future. My primary camera for landscapes and cityscapes is still the A7RIV because of the amazing detail and high megapixel count, but I always keep another camera in my bag. 33 Megapixel is a great resolution for the second body and it also shoots great (4k60) video.
Sony A7IV - Sony 24-105G - 38mm - f/14 - 1/3s - ISO 100
Sony A7IV - Sony 12-24GM - 12mm - f/11 - 1/4s - ISO 100
Sony A7IV - Sony 12-24GM - 23mm - f/14 - 1s - ISO 200
If you're interested how I process my photos, I have a full editing course available explaining my full workflow. We also have a private group with many people helping each other and giving feedback :)
When the A7III came out I was recommending it to everyone as the best all rounder camera on the market. With the right price, the A7IV now took over and is (in my opinion) the best allrounder camera on the market in this price category. It’s super complete, has all the newest (Sony) functions, has super fast AF and even Animal AF and so much more. Should you upgrade if you have an older Sony Alpha camera? Yes. If you have a Sony A7, A7II, A7III, A7R, A7RII (or anything older) and if you’re looking to upgrade, you should 100% upgrade to the A7IV. Even the A7RIII if you can accept the loss of 9 megapixels (from 42 to 33) is a nice upgrade with the new body, autofocus and all the new functions.
Sony released another great camera and I’m sure lots of people are going to be excited about this one. I know I am. The A7RIV which is my main camera is now already 2 years old. I don’t even need more megapixel. If Sony can put this camera in the A7IV body including all the functions with top Dynamic Range and ISO performance, I will be a very happy photographer. Which camera will be next?
Sony A7IV - Sony 24-105G - 88mm - f/8 - 1/60s - ISO 400
Sony A7IV - Sony 24-105G - 31mm - f/13 - 0,4s - ISO 100