Tech

Sony’s a7 IV sees big upgrades and a 33-megapixel sensor

Sony’s ‘basic’ full-frame mirrorless gets serious with impressive specifications…

The a7, Sony’s supposedly ‘basic’ version of the full-frame mirrorless camera is basic no longer as the brand announced the fourth generation of the popular camera – and this time around the a7 gets some serious upgrades.

Grabbing the headlines is a big jump in resolution with the a7 IV boasting a newly developed 33-megapixel full-frame sensor – up from 24-megapixels on the a7 III. The huge leap in resolution will be of great interest to landscape photographers, who crave detail and the ability to print images at large sizes.

The a7 IV also packs Sony’s latest BIONZ XR processor (the same image engine that’s found in Sony’s flagship Alpha 1 camera), enabling the a7 IV to offer a vast expandable ISO range of 50-204,800 and a whopping dynamic range of 15-stops. 

Sony introduces the a7 IV…

Built to suit a wide range of photographic needs, the impressive resolution is backed up by a speedy continuous shooting mode of up to 10 frames per second. Now, while 10 fps may not be enough to bother Sony’s dedicated professional action cameras such as the a9 II or Alpha 1, it’s still a decent rate for a camera that offers such high resolution and will be more than enough for everyday sports and wildlife photography. 

The impressive burst rate is backed up by an advanced autofocus system that offers users no less than 759 phase-detection AF points that cover around 94% of the image area, along with Sony’s Real Time Tracking technology that, in another nod to the a7 IV’s wildlife credentials, Real-time Eye AF that can now track birds’ and animals’ eye for both still images and movies, in addition to humans. 

Not all the specifications are stills-based and the a7 IV also packs plenty to keep videographers happy. Ultra high-quality at 4K 60p can be captured (albeit with a Super 35mm crop) and the camera includes the highly desirable S-Cinetone from Sony’s line of cinema cameras such as the FX3. 4K 30p recording with 7K oversampling is available in full-frame mode and 10-bit depth 4:2:2 color sampling is present too, flagging the a7 IV as a genuine B-camera for videographers.

Other features include a 5-axis optical in-body image stabilisation (IBIS) system that offers up to 5.5-stops of compensation to help keep shots steady and the inclusion of dual SD card slots (one of which that can be used to take a CFexpress Type A) card too enables photographers to make an instant back-up of their images or choose to save stills to one card and video to the other.

Sony shooters will also be pleased to hear that unlike the a7 III, which features a tilting LCD design, the a7 IV upgrades this to a fully articulating design that is not only great for lining up awkward high/low compositions, but will also come in handy when shooting video, too. Available from December, the Sony a7 IV is very competitively priced and will cost from $2,500 / £2,399.