The Sony α7 IV is the fourth iteration of its popular Alpha 7 mirrorless camera, following 2018's Sony α7 III. It offers some nice quality-of-life upgrades, including a revamped menu system with touch navigation, more dials and customization options, and sturdier build quality, albeit at the expense of a slightly larger body. Sony also stepped up the camera's video features, with advanced internal recording specs that make the latest α7 a true hybrid camera. That, along with its top-of-the-class autofocus system and a new 33-megapixel sensor, make this a worthy successor to one of Sony's most popular cameras, particularly for those interested in video as well as photography.
The Sony α7 IV is good for travel photography. Though it isn't the most portable camera, its high-resolution full-frame sensor delivers remarkably sharp, high-quality images, even in low light. The camera also has an incredible autofocus system that can keep up with subjects in a variety of situations. It feels very comfortable to shoot with, with superb build quality and weather-sealing, along with plenty of physical controls and customization options. While this camera can take stunning photos, it may be overkill for those who simply want a portable camera to take wherever they travel.
The Sony α7 IV is great for shooting landscapes. Its 33-megapixel full-frame sensor captures an incredible amount of detail and delivers sharp, pleasing photos straight out of the camera. It also gives you a bit more leeway to crop your photos or make prints. In RAW format, it has a very wide dynamic range to capture a broader range of highlight and shadow detail in busier or more high-contrast landscape shots. Also, while its high ISO noise performance is a tad worse than some comparable cameras, it still performs amazingly well here for low-light situations where you need to bump the ISO. Unfortunately, it isn't the most portable camera for longer hikes or shoots in remote locations.
The Sony α7 IV is a great camera for sports and wildlife photography. It's sturdy and weather-sealed, and it features two SD card slots, with an integrated CFexpress Type A slot, so you can have a backup ready for more intensive shoots. It also has a respectable 10 fps burst rate when shooting JPEG. If you're shooting in uncompressed RAW, it can only shoot at 6 fps, which is disappointing if you want to get the most out of the camera's sensor for faster-moving subjects.
The Sony α7 IV is good for vlogging. It has a fully articulated screen so you can monitor yourself while recording. It also offers tons of frame rate options that let you capture high-speed action and incorporate slow-mo footage. There's no recording time limit, which is fantastic for longer shooting sessions. It also has a remarkable autofocus system with face and eye tracking to ensure you always stay in focus. It has in-body image stabilization, which does an excellent job smoothing out camera shake in videos. That said, it's a fairly large camera, so it isn't the best option for walk-and-talk style vlogs. Its battery life in video also isn't as long as its predecessor's.
The Sony α7 IV is a fantastic option for studio video. Unlike its predecessor, it can record 10-bit 4:2:2 video internally to capture more color information and give you more to work with in post. It also supports a wide range of Log profiles, meaning you can take advantage of the sensor's full dynamic range. There's a full set of inputs and outputs, including a headphone jack, microphone input, and a full-sized HDMI port. Autofocus performance and video quality are top-notch, and Sony has also greatly improved the menu's ease of use compared to the previous model, so you can more quickly find and adjust settings. There's also no recording time limit when shooting video, and the battery doesn't overheat even when shooting at its highest quality settings. While its video battery life could be a bit longer, the camera supports use while charging over USB, which is handy for long shooting days.
The Sony α7 IV isn't meant for action video. It isn't waterproof and isn't designed for mounting to a helmet or chest rig. It isn't the most portable camera either. 4k frame rate options are also a bit limited for action video since it can't record at high frame rates in 4k and can only shoot 4k / 60 fps with a large 1.5x crop. It has IBIS and does a good overall job smoothing out camera shake, but you still need a gimbal to get smooth action footage.
The Sony a7 IV isn't as portable as the Sony a7 III because of its slightly larger handgrip and more robust build, including a full-sized HDMI port. However, it's still decently portable for a full-frame camera, and the body isn't overly heavy.
The Sony a7 IV feels very well-built. It's a step up from its predecessor, with hinged, weather-sealed doors covering all of its inputs and outputs, as well as locking doors for its battery compartment and memory card compartment. The dials feel sturdy and turn without slack. The shoulder strap attachment points are also rigid, so they won't rattle around and make unwanted noise when shooting video. However, the buttons feel somewhat mushy.
The Sony Alpha 7 IV has four command dials: a front dial that controls aperture by default, a rear dial that controls shutter speed, an unmarked exposure compensation dial with a locking function (which you can customize to control other functions), and a customizable rear control wheel (which also acts as a directional pad to navigate the menu).
The camera also has four different custom buttons, a custom menu for your most-used settings, and three custom shooting modes on the mode dial. The mode dial features a separate switch to quickly toggle between 'Photo', 'Movie', and 'S&Q' (Slow and Quick) modes, and you can set the three custom shooting modes differently within each of those modes.
The Sony Alpha 7 IV feels very comfortable to shoot with. The handgrip is large enough for most hand sizes to hold comfortably, though the camera starts to feel uncomfortable when shooting for longer periods. The texture on the grip feels nice and provides a secure hold on the camera. Most of the buttons provide decent physical feedback, although the shutter button feels very mushy with an overly shallow half-press, so it can take some getting-used-to if you're used to shutter buttons that provide more tactile feedback.
The electronic viewfinder (EVF) is quite large, with a fairly high resolution, so you get a clear image when shooting through the viewfinder. There's very little, if any, lag when shooting. The rubber around the eyecup isn't the softest or most comfortable.
Unlike the Sony a7 III, the a7 IV has a fully articulated screen, which lets you monitor what's being recorded when the camera is facing you but takes up more space when fully deployed compared to a tilting screen. Thankfully, you can now use the touchscreen to navigate the menu instead of just selecting focus points like previous models. The screen has a slightly higher resolution, allowing you to clearly see details when reviewing your images on the monitor.
In keeping with newer releases like the Sony a7s III, Sony has thankfully brought its updated menu system to the Sony a7 IV. It's a well-organized interface with clearly delineated submenus and settings. Unlike previous iterations like the Sony a7 III, the screen is also fully touch-capable, meaning you can navigate it with touch as well as with the joystick or directional pad. It also includes a custom 'My Menu' tab, making it very easy to access frequently used settings.
The Sony a7 IV has a wide array of assistance functions available in both photo and video mode. You can't have them all activated at once, but these include a level display, a histogram, and a focus peaking feature, among others. These can help you fine-tune framing, exposure, and/or focus as needed.
The battery life on the Sony a7 IV is excellent. It uses the same battery as older Sony Alphas like the Sony a7 III and the Sony α7C, though it's rated for fewer shots according to CIPA standards. Take the CIPA rating with a grain of salt, but the camera is likely to last throughout a day of use, depending on how you use it and what settings you choose. When it comes to video, shooting extensively will drain the battery a bit more quickly when compared to the other two Alpha 7 cameras.
In addition to the standard JPEG format, the Sony a7 IV also offers HEIF format, which has similar image quality with a more efficient compression algorithm, meaning you can get smaller image files without sacrificing quality. However, you'll need Windows 10 or macOS High Sierra or later to open and view HEIF files.
The Sony a7 IV can shoot at a respectable max continuous shooting speed, which is useful for capturing fast-moving subjects like birds or athletes. However, it maxes out at 6 fps when shooting uncompressed RAW files, which makes it harder to get the highest-quality captures when shooting moving subjects.
We tested the camera with both a Sony CFexpress Type A card and a V90 UHS-II SD card. With the CFexpress A card, the buffer never filled up, whether shooting in RAW or JPEG. With the SD card, however, the buffer filled up after about 23 photos when shooting in RAW, and it took about four seconds for the buffer to empty once full.
The Sony a7 IV has a fantastic hybrid autofocus system that uses both phase-detection and contrast-detection technology. While autofocus performance can vary depending on lots of factors, including your subject, lighting conditions, and settings used, this camera has a ton of different AF modes and settings to fine-tune its performance, so it has no trouble keeping up in a variety of shooting situations.
As far as our tests go, it seamlessly keeps track of objects and subjects moving front to back at a moderate pace. It has a sophisticated face- and eye-tracking feature that detects subjects quickly and accurately, and it does an impressive job of following human faces even as they move around the frame. However, in rare instances, it can occasionally jump to other subjects or lose track of its intended target. Overall, it's an incredibly reliable AF system that you can expect to perform well in a variety of shooting situations and lighting conditions.
The Sony a7 IV has in-body image stabilization (IBIS), called 'SteadyShot' by Sony. We tested the camera with an optically stabilized lens, which works in conjunction with IBIS to reduce camera shake. It does an alright job of stabilizing handheld photos. The 24-104mm f/4 G lens we used isn't the most lightweight option and is larger and heavier than the Sony FE 28-70mm f3.5-5.6 lens we tested with the Sony a7 III and the Sony FE 28-60mm f4-5.6 lens we tested with the Sony α7C. This can result in more fatigue when shooting for longer periods.
The Sony a7 IV has excellent dynamic range, giving you tons of latitude when processing your photos. Pushing the exposure of a photo results in no visible noise, which is great if you want to pull out more shadow detail or correct an underexposed image.
JPEG photos taken straight out of the camera are very sharp and detailed. With its high megapixel count, you can expect nicely detailed photos even when punching in on your images.
Sony adjusted its color science on the Sony a7 IV, mostly due to user complaints about skin tones on older models. The result is colors that are technically less accurate than previous models in the lineup, including the Sony α7C and the Sony a7 III. In general, the colors look slightly more muted than they do on the α7C, for instance. Skin tones are a bit more neutral-looking, especially when compared to the warmer skin tones of Canon cameras like the Canon EOS R6. Certain colors, like blues, reds, and greens, also don't look as vibrant as they do on the a7C. That said, color science is a matter of preference, and you may prefer one camera over another, regardless of their relative accuracy.
The Sony a7 IV has incredible noise processing for JPEGs. Though noise is apparent at the highest ISO settings, photos at moderate and even higher ISO levels look remarkably clean for low-light shooting.
The Sony a7 IV has amazing RAW noise handling, so you can shoot at higher ISO settings in low-light situations without introducing too much noise. The higher megapixel count means smaller individual pixels, resulting in more noise at higher ISO settings than you get with competitors that have lower-resolution sensors, like the Canon EOS R6.
The Sony a7 IV supports Log recording to take advantage of the full tonal range of the camera's sensor and give you more control over the exposure and color of your videos when processing your footage. The camera includes a ton of flat picture profile options for Log recording, including:
This camera also includes a 'Breathing Compensation' feature to correct focus breathing. It prevents the field of view from shifting as you focus the lens. That said, it's compatible primarily with higher-end lenses, like the Sony 24-105mm f/4 G lens we tested the camera with.
The Sony a7 IV supports 4k video up to 60 fps, which is great for capturing high-speed footage and fast-action. However, shooting at 4k / 60 fps incurs a significant 1.5x crop, just like the Panasonic Lumix DC-S5.
This camera has superb internal recording capability. When using a Sony CFexpress Type A card or an SD card with a V90 rating, you can capture footage at bit rates of up to almost 600 Mbps.
It can record 10-bit 4:2:2 video internally, matching up with competitors like the Canon EOS R6 and the Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 and giving you much more latitude to make color and tone adjustments in post. There's no recording time limit, which is fantastic for filmmakers or videographers who want to shoot longer-form content.
We tested the camera with 'Auto Power OFF Temp' set to both 'Standard' and 'High'. When set to 'High', the camera stayed on during the entirety of the recording period and didn't overheat, although it did feel warm to the touch. When set to 'Standard', the camera preemptively powered itself off after about 15 minutes of recording.
The Sony a7 IV has fantastic autofocus when shooting 4k video. The camera has integrated face and eye tracking that can differentiate between humans, animals, and birds, and it quickly and accurately finds its subject in most situations. You can let the AF find its subject automatically by using the 'Wide' area mode, or if you want more control over the focus, you can use a smaller AF zone or spot area mode. It also has settings to fine-tune how quickly it shifts focus from one subject to another. When tracking a specific subject, it sticks with them even when they move around or pop in and out of frame, and it rarely loses track or shifts focus outside of its intended target. All in all, it's an incredibly feature-dense and reliable AF system.
The Sony Alpha 7 IV does a good job stabilizing 4k video. In video mode, you can choose between 'Standard' and 'Active' stabilization. Note, however, that Sony's IBIS works in conjunction with Optical SteadyShot (OSS), so if you're using a Sony lens with OSS, you need to enable it on the lens to access stabilization settings; otherwise, the 'SteadyShot' menu is greyed out. When using a lens without OSS, the IBIS will compensate, and you'll still have access to 'SteadyShot' settings.
'Active' gives you a bit of added stability but also incurs a slight 1.1x crop. In situations that involve more camera movement and shake, like walking or running, 'Active' SteadyShot is recommended. However, you can probably get away with using 'Standard' for shots with simpler camera movements where you just want to remove excess jitter but still maintain a handheld feel.
The camera also has gyro stabilization that lets you stabilize your video after the fact by using gyroscopic metadata to stabilize footage through Sony's Catalyst Browse software.
Video quality is fantastic in 4k. Footage looks sharp and retains an excellent amount of fine detail. In low light, 4k videos look amazing, retaining a ton of shadow detail and sharpness without too much noise.
If you'd like to compare the test scene extract with other cameras, we also shot the test scene with the camera pulled back farther to get comparable framing and get around the 1.5x crop imposed by the camera at 60 fps. You can see that here.
Unfortunately, rolling shutter is pretty disappointing. There's a lot of noticeable skewing of vertical lines, especially when panning the camera very quickly.
The Sony a7 IV has a wide range of frame rate options in 1080p. It can shoot at up to 120 fps, which is great if you want to incorporate slow-motion footage into your videos.
Internal recording specs are superb on the Sony Alpha 7 IV. It can record 1080p video at remarkably large bit rates to capture more information and give you more to work with when editing, albeit at the expense of larger video files that take longer to transfer and process. The max bit rate is only achievable when shooting in 'XAVC S-I' format. The default FHD format gets up to around 46 Mbps. As with 4k, the camera supports 10-bit 4:2:2 video capture in 1080p, allowing more leeway when color grading and editing your footage.
Autofocus is fantastic in 1080p. It has no trouble keeping up with moving subjects thanks to its sophisticated face- and eye-tracking, which can follow people or animals as they move around the frame and even when they pop in and out or turn around. The general subject or object tracking performs just as well, rarely slipping out of focus or jumping to another subject.
The Sony a7 IV does a great job smoothing out camera shake in 1080p. It's especially effective when moving at a slower pace. As with 4k, you can use either 'Standard' or 'Active' SteadyShot, with 'Active' reducing shake to a greater degree at the expense of a slight 1.1x crop.
Video quality is excellent in FHD. Video looks sharp and detailed, even in low light.
Rolling shutter is much better in 1080p resolution. Skewing and distortion are far less noticeable than in 4k.
This camera has two SD card slots, which is great for those who want a running backup or for video shooters recording large video files. The first slot also takes CFexpress Type A cards if you want to take advantage of faster read and write speeds, though you can only have one type of card in that slot at a time, whether it's SD or CFexpress Type A.
The Sony a7 IV has a full set of inputs and outputs, including a full-sized HDMI port, which video shooters will be happy with. There's also a headphone jack and microphone input.
The Sony a7 IV comes in one color variant: 'Black'. You can purchase the body only or get it bundled with a Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS kit lens. However, we bought and tested the camera with the Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS lens, which you can find bundled with the camera body at certain retailers like B&H Photo Video. You can also find it paired with other lenses depending on the retailer.
Let us know if you come across other variants, and we'll update our review.
You can see our unit's label here.
The Sony a7 IV is a mid-range hybrid camera aimed at enthusiasts. It sits at a slightly higher price point than its predecessor, the Sony a7 III, which remains a great option for those looking to get a full-frame mirrorless camera and don't necessarily need the latest video features offered by the a7 IV. With a larger 33-megapixel sensor, a newer processor and an updated autofocus system, along with a fully-articulated screen and more advanced video features, this is a great all-around photo and video camera that bridges the gap between the older a7 III and both the video-oriented Sony a7S III and the higher-resolution Sony a7R IV.
The Sony α7 IV replaces the Sony α7 III. It has a new, higher-resolution 33-megapixel sensor and improved autofocus system. Physically, the α7 IV is a little bigger and includes two UHS-II SD card slots, one of which has an integrated CFexpress Type A slot and has a fully articulated touchscreen and improved menu system. The α7 III, on the other hand, has two SD card slots, but only one of them is rated for UHS-II cards and has a tilting screen and more confusing menu. While both are fantastic cameras for photography, the α7 IV supports 10-bit 4:2:2 video recording internally and can capture video at exceptionally high bit rates, making it the better option for videographers. If you're mainly interested in photography, the α7 III still offers a lot of value.
The Sony α7 IV and the Sony α7C are both mid-range mirrorless cameras from Sony. They share some similarities, including incredibly sophisticated autofocus systems that reliably track moving subjects, as well as high-resolution full-frame sensors that deliver sharp, detailed photos and perform well in low light. However, the α7C is much more compact, making it easier to travel with but means it has fewer physical buttons and dials, a much smaller viewfinder, and just a single SD card slot. The α7 IV also has better internal video recording specs, making it a better option for more advanced video work.
The Sony α7 IV and the Fujifilm X-T4 are both great hybrid photo/video cameras, but they use different-sized sensors. Because the Fujifilm uses an APS-C sensor, it's more portable than the Sony, but both cameras are well-built, weather-sealed, and have fully articulated touchscreens. The Fuji also has a faster max burst rate and better overall stabilization. On the other hand, the Sony's full-frame sensor gives it better low-light and high-ISO performance and better dynamic range. When it comes to video, both cameras can shoot 4k / 60 fps, although the Sony incurs a larger crop at this frame rate, and they can both record 10-bit 4:2:2 video internally. While the higher-resolution full-frame sensor on the Sony offers some advantages over the Fujifilm, the Fuji is still competitive, especially if you prefer a more compact form factor.
The Nikon Z 6II and the Sony α7 IV are both excellent full-frame cameras, although the α7 IV has a bit more to offer when it comes to autofocus performance and video features. Unlike the Nikon, the α7 IV can record 10-bit 4:2:2 video internally, meaning it can capture more color information and give you more leeway when editing and grading your footage. When it comes to photography, both take sharp, high-quality photos with a wide dynamic range and excellent noise handling. The Sony is a great option for landscapes thanks to its 33-megapixel sensor, giving you a bit more room to crop in without losing quality. However, the Nikon is better suited to sports and wildlife photography since it can shoot uncompressed RAW photos at 10 fps, whereas the Sony is limited to 6 fps.
The Sony α7 IV and the Canon EOS R6 are both excellent full-frame hybrid cameras aimed at enthusiasts. They're similar in size and build, though the Canon has slightly better ergonomics. Both deliver sharp, high-quality photos, but the Sony has a higher resolution sensor that gives you more leeway to crop your photos. On the other hand, the Canon's sensor has better noise handling at higher ISO settings. The Canon can also shoot RAW photos at up to 12 fps, while the Sony is limited to 6 fps in RAW. When it comes to video, both cameras can record 4k 10-bit 4:2:2 video internally for higher-quality video capture. However, the Sony doesn't impose a recording time limit, and it doesn't have issues with overheating the way the Canon sometimes does. While the Canon imposes a slight 1.07x crop on 4k video, the Sony doesn't, except when shooting 4k at 60 fps, which unfortunately incurs a significant 1.5x crop.
The Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 and the Sony α7 IV are both great full-frame mirrorless cameras that perform well in photo and video. They can record 4k 10-bit 4:2:2 video internally at up to 60 fps. Both have fully articulated screens and sturdy, weather-sealed bodies and are similar in size and weight. That said, while the Panasonic has better overall stabilization performance, the Sony has a significantly better autofocus system, takes CFexpress Type A cards as well as UHS-II SD cards, and can shoot at 120 fps in 1080p.