Sony Announces 33mp Sensor a7 IV with Innovations from Top-End Cameras

Sony a7 IV mirrorless camera

The fourth-generation Sony a7 IV ($2,498 from B&H Photo | Amazon) adds an all new 33mp Exmor R CMOS sensor and Bionz XR Image Processor to extend innovation from Sony’s top-end Alpha 1 and a7S III cameras to larger user base of advanced amateur and professional hybrid shooters and content creators. Designed for connectivity and streaming, a7 IV supports a simple plug-and-play live streaming directly from the camera when connected to a computer via USB.

New 33mp Exmor R CMOS Sensor

Reflecting user requests for a bump in resolution, Sony a7 IV features a new 33mp Exmor R CMOS Sensor backside-illuminated sensor with 15-stop dynamic range. This breaks the industry standard resolution which hovered around 24mp for the past decade which has been a good choice for most users, but over the past couple years I’ve heard an increasing number of users asking for more. The jump to 33mp is big enough to be noticeable improvement in resolution yet not too much for those who want to keep file size manageable. I’d call it a ‘Goldilocks.’

Bionz XR Image Processor

Sony a7 IV also features the upgraded Bionz XR Image Processor introduced in Alpha 1 & a7S III. While processor upgrades never get the same love that sensor upgrades and new features – this is the key to all those cool new features.

759 Point Phase Detection AF

Sony a7 IV features the same 759 Point PDAF system covering 94% of the sensor used in Alpha 1, though because it’s backside illuminated – not stacked it can’t offer the same AF speed of Alpha 1 or a9 cameras with their extremely pricey stacked-sensor design. Hybrid AF also includes 425 Point Contrast AF.

Lowlight AF Sensitivity down to EV -4

Thanks to Bionz XR Image Processor hardware upgrade, a7 IV offers a one-stop improvement in lowlight AF performance effective down to EV -4.

Real Time Tracking and PDAF down to F22

Thanks to use of the Bionz XR Image Processor, a7 IV is able to use PDAF all the way down to F22 which is great improvement from the previous generation and welcome news with slower telephoto lenses stacked with teleconverters.

Real Time Human/Animal/Bird Eye AF

The added processing power enables Real Time Tracking with Human/Animal/Bird Eye AF with a major speed and accuracy improvement from Human/Animal Eye AF in a7 III

5.5 Step IBIS with Optical “Active IS Mode”

The camera also gets upgraded 5.5-stop effective 5-axis SteadyShot image stabilization system from Alpha 1 and a7S IV that compensates for five different types of camera shake for sharper handheld still and video, even adapted lenses. There is also an “Active IS Mode” specifically for video, that adds even more precise stabilization methods for even smoother footage straight out of camera

Improved Buffer Depth

Improved Buffer Depth and faster cards allow up to 828 continuous Uncompressed RAW + Jpeg and thanks to the improved Bionz XR Image Processor power, it’s possible to access Menu functions while the camera is writing to card.

Color Science from a1 & a7S III

A7 IV includes 10 Creative Looks for Still & Video from a1 & a7S III

3.68 Million Dot EVF

EVF is improved to 3.68 million dots approximately 1.6x higher in resolution than a7 III’s 2.36 million dot EVF for sharper, clearer viewing. This viewfinder supports both standard 60 fps and 120 fps frame rates for smooth motion rendering and its physical design has a long 23mm eye point, 0.78x-magnification, and 37.3° field of view.

New Improved Grip

Sony a7 IV includes a new more ergonomic grip for easier hand holding.

Passive Cooling Heat Sink

For improved cooling, a7 III features the Passive Cooling Heat Sink from a1 & a7S III

Dual Memory Card Slots

Dual memory card slots allows flexible file saving and handling and can be configured to partition file types or can be used for overflow recording. Both card slots support UHS-II memory cards for faster transfer speeds and Slot 1 accepts either CFexpress Type A or SD-type memory cards.

Sony a7IV memory card slots and ports

Fullsize HDMI Type-A port

Like a1 & a7S III, a7 IV features a fullsize HDMI Type-A port for more reliable connection when working with external recorders instead of the Micro HDMI used in the previous model. Side port access also includes a USB-C port, Micro USB port, headphone and mic jacks.

Top Panel Controls

Sony a7IV top panel controls
Sony a7 IV top panel controls includes a larger dedicated red Movie Record Button. The EV Compensation Dial is now assignable to other functions and for that reason it’s no longer marked with EV compensation marking. This will be good news to users who asked for assignability – but you’re not going to like this if you regularly used the EV Compensation Dial to adjust exposure.

Redesigned Menu Structure

Redesigned menu structure is more intuitive and complements having different workflows and settings selections for movie recording and stills shooting. The menu system also works in conjunction with the touchscreen design of the rear LCD.

Anti-Dust Function

Like the Alpha 1, a7 IV offers users the option to close the shutter to cover the sensor when the camera is turned off. If you choose to enable this, please be aware that shutter is MUCH more delicate than the glass covering the sensor – and far more expensive to repair if you damage it.
Menu > Setup > Setup Option > Anti-dust Function > Shutter When Power Off > On

Advanced External Flash Control

Sony a7IV HVL-F43RM F60RM2 flashes

Sony also introduced a pair of new wireless radio flashes Sony HVL-F46RM ($398) with a two-second full power recharge time and capable of shooting up to 60 consecutive times at 10 fps and HVL-F60RM2 ($548) W with 1.7 second full power recharge time and capable of shooting up to 200 consecutive times at 10 fps and up to 20 fps continuous shooting with Sony a1.

Coupled with Sony a7 IV the newly introduced wireless radio flashes add the following flash performance improvements:

• P-TTL Flash Metering for Every Frame in Lo, Mid & Hi Continuous Shooting Mode
• Reduced Flash Triggering Lag Time

File Sizes

Compressed Raw (12 bit)
Fullframe: approx 33.9 MB / APS-C: approx 15.4 MB

Lossless Compressed Raw (14 bit)
Fullframe: approx 35.4 MB / APS-C: approx 17.6 MB

Uncompressed Raw (14 bit)
Fullframe: approx 64.8 MB / APS-C: approx 29.4 MB

VIDEO FEATURES

Full Pixel Readout Without Pixel Binning

Sony a7 IV offers full pixel readout without pixel binning from either full sensor width (7K oversample) or Super35 (4.6K oversample)

360 degree Tilt Screen LCD

If you like the flippy LCD you’ll be happy. If you don’t you won’t. Side-opening 3.0″ 1.44m-dot vari-angle articulating screen benefits working from high and low angles as well as a front-facing position for vlogging or other self-recording needs. This LCD is a touchscreen, too, for intuitive shooting control and menu navigation.

Digital Audio Interface

Digital Audio Interface allows you to take advantage of digital audio recording with Sony ECM-B1M Shotgun Microphone which delivers a digital audio stream directly to the camera for cleaner quality with low noise. Or for even more advanced audio control, Sony XLR-K3M XLR Adapter Kit is a dual-channel digital XLR audio adapter for connecting external microphones to the camera while still benefitting from the digital audio interface.

4:2:2 10-bit Recording

4:2:2 10-bit Recording to SDXC and CFexpress Type A cards

Color Science from a1 & a7S III

Sony a7 IV includes S-Cinetone to deliver distinct colors and healthy-looking skin tone rendering that matches the FX9 and FX6 cameras, along with the a1 and a7S III, based on technology from the Sony VENICE professional Cinema Line cameras. This color profile offers natural mid-tones, soft colors, and especially well-controlled highlights.

HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) support permits recording within a wide color gamut for producing HDR-ready content directly from the camera.

15+ Stop Dynamic Range with Color Grading

Sony a7 IV offers SLog2, SLog3 for 15+ Stop dynamic range with increased grading control in the shadow to mid-tone regions of the image.

Wide AF coverage

Sony a7 IV offers 759-point Phase Detection Video AF coverage across nearly of almost entire frame

Real Time Video Human/Animal/Bird Eye AF

Sony a7 IV offers Real Time Video Eye AF for Human, animal and birds

Video AF Assist

A feature carried over from the FX6 digital cine camera, AF Assist lets you intuitively switch over to manual focus control for adjusting focus position when working with AF. This is a quick way to shift selective focus between various subjects in a scene while recording.

Focus Mapping

Focus Mapping allows depth of field to be pre-visualized in a similar way to peaking with a colorful overlay of the scene that indicates which parts of the scene are in front of and behind the focus point depending on the chosen aperture

Breathing Compensation

Breathing Compensation for consistent angle of view when racking focus, Focus Breathing compensation will automatically smooth focus transitions and maintain a consistent field of view when changing the focus position during a shot. This mode crops into the image slightly and corrects for any detected shifts in composition when focusing is happening. Breathing Compensation is available for the most recent native E-mount lenses at shooting rates up to 60p.
Menu > Shooting > Image Quality > Lens Compensation > Breathing Comp

HYBRID FUNCTIONS

Still/Movie/S&Q Dial


A first for a7 IV is a Still/Movie/S&Q Dial located right below the Mode Dial which allows you to assign different menu settings and assign functions to the Custom Function Buttons differently for stills, video and S&Q depending in this selection.

CONNECTIVITY

Improved Connectivity with Imaging Edge Mobile

Dropped Connections have been a big issue with Imaging Edge Mobile. Sony hears you and is working to address those issues for a more stable connection.

Faster WiFi Connection up to 5GHz

Built-in Wi-Fi enables the remote camera control and instant sharing of imagery to mobile devices for direct sharing online, and support for both 2.4 and 5 GHz bands also enables wireless tethered shooting support.

Direct USB Streaming

Sony has simplified streaming with direct USB 4K and HD streaming eliminating the need for an HDMI capture card or software plug-in solution. Sony a7 IV offers four options for USB streaming resolution & frame rate
Menu > Shooting > USB Streaming > Res Frame Rate > 4K (2160) 15p / HD (1080) 60p / HD (1080) 30p / HD (720) 30p

Bear in mind that streaming services may also limit the data rate so the 20 members of your Zoom Boozy Brunch won’t be able to clog the interweb with simultaneous 4K streams….

You can also choose to record internally simultaneously while streaming in case you lose your connection
Menu > Shooting > USB Streaming > Moving Recording > Enable / Disable

Creative Look & Soft Skin Effect

When streaming, you can also select any of the ten Creative Looks and/or Soft Skin Effect (High, Medium, Low)

Digital Audio

Digital Audio is also enables for video streaming using Sony ECM-B1M Shotgun Microphone or Sony XLR-K3M XLR Adapter Kit delivering a digital audio stream directly to the camera for cleaner quality with low noise.

CAMERA SPECS:

Lens Mount: Sony E
Sensor Type: Full-Frame CMOS
Sensor Resolution: Effective: 33 Megapixel
Crop Factor: None
Aspect Ratio: 1:1, 3:2, 4:3, 16:9
Image File Format: JPEG, Raw, HEIF
Bit Depth: 14-Bit
Image Stabilization: Sensor-Shift, 5-Axis
ISO Sensitivity: 100 to 512000 (Extended: 50 to 204800)
Shutter Speed: Mechanical Shutter 1/8000 to 30 Second, Bulb Mode
Metering Method: Center-Weighted Average, Highlight Weighted, Multiple, Spot
Exposure Modes: Aperture Priority, Manual, Program, Shutter Priority
Exposure Compensation: -5 to +5 EV (1/3 EV Steps)
White Balance: Auto, Cloudy, Color Temperature, Color Temperature Filter, Custom, Daylight, Flash, Fluorescent (Cool White), Fluorescent (Day White), Fluorescent (Daylight), Fluorescent (Warm White), Incandescent, Shade, Underwater
Continuous Shooting: Mechanical Shutter Up to 10 fps at 33 MP for up to 828 Frames (Raw) / Unlimited Frames (JPEG)
Interval Recording: Yes
Self-Timer: 2/5/10-Second Delay
Recording Limit: Unlimited
Video Encoding:NTSC/PAL
Audio Recording: Built-In Microphone (Stereo), External Microphone Input (Stereo)
Audio File Format: AAC LC, Linear PCM (Stereo)
Live Streaming: Yes
Webcam Functionality: Yes
Focus Type: Auto and Manual Focus
Focus Mode: Continuous-Servo AF (C), Direct Manual Focus (DMF), Manual Focus (M), Single-Servo AF (S)
Autofocus Points: Phase Detection: 759
Autofocus Sensitivity: -4 to +20 EV
Viewfinder Type: Electronic (OLED) 3,680,000 Dot
Viewfinder Eye Point: 23 mm
Viewfinder Coverage: 100%
Diopter Adjustment: -4 to +3
Monitor Size: 3.0″
Resolution: 1,030,000 Dot
Display Type: Free-Angle Tilting Touchscreen LCD
Built-In Flash: No
Flash Modes: Auto, Fill Flash, Hi-Speed Sync, Off, Rear Sync, Red-Eye Reduction, Slow Sync
Flash Compensation: -3 to +3 EV (1/3, 1/2 EV Steps)
Dedicated Flash System: TTL
External Flash Connection: Hot Shoe
Media/Memory Card Slot 1: CFexpress Type A / SD (UHS-II) Slot 2: SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-II)
Connectivity: HDMI A (Full Size), USB Type-C (USB 3.2 Gen 2), USB Micro-B (USB 2.0), 3.5mm Microphone, 3.5mm Headphone
Wireless: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
GPS: No
Operating Temperature: 32 to 104°F / 0 to 40°C
Battery: 1 x NP-FZ100 Rechargeable Lithium-Ion, 7.2 VDC, 2280 mAh
Dimensions (W x H x D): 5.2 x 3.8 x 3.1″ / 131.3 x 96.4 x 79.8 mm
Weight: 1.4 lb / 658 g (Body with Battery and Memory)

WHAT’S IN THE BOX

Sony a7IV camera what's in the box
Sony a7 IV Mirrorless Digital Camera, Sony NP-FZ100 Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery (2280mAh), Sony ALC-B1EM Body Cap for E-Mount Cameras, USB Type-C to Type-A Cable, Shoulder Strap, Accessory Shoe Cap, Limited 1-Year Warranty

Order Sony a7 IV from B&H Photo | Amazon
Order Sony HVL-F46RM Wireless Radio Flash from B&H Photo
Order Sony HVL-F60RM2 Wireless Radio Flash from B&H Photo

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7 thoughts on “Sony Announces 33mp Sensor a7 IV with Innovations from Top-End Cameras”

  1. Thanks for the great info of everything!!! It is not yet on the Sony Camera website so you can not look at the web Help Guide or the PDF site, both way better the little hand books! The one very great option, that I know must be included, is Bright Monitoring!!! Every since the Mark 2’s no one ever covers that option, yes you have to pin it to a button and have to be in manual focus and a dark place. When I am out at night doing Milky Way’s or Blue Hour before sunrise or after sunset or spelunking or just some stars over the ocean this function if selected is like night vision and great for framing a shot vs the old way of using a flashlight to see how things are and other camera users nearly faint when I turn it on out there in the dark (I think it sold some cameras). With the A7iii, A7rii and the new A7Siii when on you can actually see the MW (a little dim and color grainy) and walk and frame and yes will capture in the mode and will stay on BUT settings used will be different from on and off mode. Not really good for night cityscapes because of the lights BUT on a beach or out in the wilds with city glow all about it works fine and if pointing to a light source while on it goes off and if going back to a darker area it come back on automatically.
    Another is the bracketing option 5 @ upto +/- 3ev, the 3ev is great for getting a small in focus moon SS/ISO (equal) 125 and f/8 to f/11 for sharpness (did this before PS and other blending SW, BUT the +/- 2ev is great for blue hour instead of silhouettes you get what your eyes see and sunrise/sets before you get foreground and when sun is up you get a small sun (not blown out) and great color.
    Only one thing I wish Sony would bring back that was on the original A7 and A7ii models is the on camera apps from Sony Playmemories, one I use a lot is the filter app no need for carrying filters and holders everywhere also, one reason I will have my A7s/A7rii forever. There are many more that you also may also find on cell phone cameras.
    Fun to watch all the reviewers who never go to a dark place or do sunrise/sets the real sell points!!! It is always about sharpness of the more pixels!

    1. Thanks Ed. I’ll certainly pass along your comments about Bright Monitoring, but I seriously doubt camera apps will ever come back. Sony wasn’t very good at them. A better way to achieve what you’re after would be combining separate exposures in Photoshop – either with a simple gradient mask like the digital filter app – or with the ability to utilize more complex masking between land and sky.

  2. As a Sony A1 user, jealous of the Focus Mapping and Direct USB Streaming and Soft Skin Effect since when in the office use my A1 as the most expensive Web Cam ever. Have wanted Focus Mapping, have to assume that’s coming via firmware update to Sony A1 since have to assume it’s more than powerful enough if this lower end camera can do it. Has Sony confirmed Focus Mapping coming via Firmware. For Direct USB Streaming, assume that is based in hardware, but I’ve been asking for a long time to have a Web Cam mode which they could do via Firmware. Currently you have to change to settings every time in settings when using it as a web cam with the Mac. Having a single mode that can be set via a custom button or such would greatly simply that.

    1. Hello Chris. Sony NEVER comments on what might be added in future firmware updates. Not even privately.

      But…what you’re suggesting is not an unreasonable expectation since a1 and a7S III share the same imaging processor with a7 IV.

  3. Sony made new steps.
    10+ years ago, mirrorless age was introduced by Sony (mentioning the production shift). There were many sceptics, some of them using baseless arguments against mirrorless tech, saying it will never become mainstream, must say, had a very sharp discussions at the time (should I say now: “I told you so”?!).
    Today, all big players are at the mainstream = mirrorless. Surprised?
    The new generation of the A7 may not bring something spectacular, as specs are showing number of improvements, none of those are “revolutionary”, but still, the image results in everyday’s use will show the real power of it.
    Two years ago, I bought smartphone with Sony IMX586 sensor, just to use it’s camera (never used it as a phone). Together with one of the most powerful CPU at the market (for fast, immediate processing photos), I have to say that image results are amazing. RAW capabilities, usable manual focus, live ISO levelling, stabilization and focusing, and, at the end: image results; reviews at photo sensors specialized sites show that the research and development of sensors, shifted during previous years. Massive production of sensors for smartphome cameras (quantity) previously used experiences from digital cameras (quality). Now, it can be seen that the technical experiences are being exchanged in both directions.
    Having both Sony A7II and (sadly underestimated) Sony A3000, must say that it’s easy to be seen in some specs, during years, that Sony (R&D) is leader of innovations. Years ago when I bought those cameras, it was clearly visible that others (bigshots) will just follow (I am not underestimating any other company, just saying that part of the issue is the conservative approach at most of the industry).
    Today, same with the Sony A7IV.

  4. Hi Brian, thanks for the in-depth coverage. I have a quick question: the battery charger BC-QZ1 is shown in the “What’s in the Box” photo but not mentioned in the caption text for said photo. Is that also included with the camera, or no?

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