Updated: Oct 25
Sony just announced the new Alpha 7 IV, which has an improved 33MP full-frame image sensor and the latest BIONZ XR processor.
The Alpha 7 IV sees changes in various aspects such as autofocus performance, image quality, video recording capabilities and more. Aside from that, the body of the camera is made with the company's original recycled plastic called SORPLAS and the device is packaged with recyclable materials and less plastic.
As for AF performance, you can expect that the latest BIONZ XR processing engine will let the camera achieve high-speed AF. Similar to the A7 III, the A7 IV supports Real-time Eye AF for videos and photos. The A7 IV's autofocus should be even more accurate than its predecessor as it has an improved 759 phase detection AF points in a high-density focal plane phase detection AF system that covers approximately 94% of the image area.
Sony claims that there will be a 30% increase in accuracy compared to the A7 III and all this is made possible with the latest BIONZ XR processor, which is up to 8x faster.
Another improvement is the Real-time Eye AF feature that can now track birds and other animals' eyes. Unfortunately, this function is only available for photography.
The Alpha 7 III didn't have Real-time Eye AF for both stills and movies as well as Animal Eye AF for images when it first launched, but Sony added these features through the Version 3.0 firmware update in 2019.
The camera can achieve image quality and an ISO sensitivity range that's expandable to ISO 50-204800. Now with a newly-developed 33MP full-frame back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS image sensor, the camera's ISO can be pushed up to 204,800 for video and photos but we doubt anyone will want to do that. Sony did say that the new camera will be able to provide smoother gradation, finer details and textures of the subject with less noise.
The camera is also now capable of 4K 60p recording in Super 35mm mode and at 4:2:2 colour depth in 10-bit. It also can record 4K 30p with 7K oversampling in full-frame mode.
With the help of the camera's heat-dissipating structure, you can shoot 4K 60p 10-bit 4:2:2 video continuously for over an hour. Meanwhile, the new "Active Mode" image stabilisation can optimise stability when shooting videos. The new LCD monitor has better image quality and it is also more flexible. It is now a 3-inch, 1.03 million-dot display that can be fully articulated. The touchscreen has also been improved.
The camera also has the new Breathing Compensation feature. This can be switched on or off and it combats focus breathing and maintains a consistent angle of view when the camera's focus changes.
Offering multiple connectivity options, the Alpha 7 IV allows for on-the-spot streaming and sharing of content. The camera connects to the Imaging Edge Mobile app via Bluetooth but you can also choose the connect using USB-C 3.2 for a better and more stable connection. The Alpha 7 IV also includes the Shot Mark feature that lets you easily access marked scenes in a video clip within the camera and on Sony's Catalyst Browse or Catalyst Prepare software.
The camera also supports live streaming and remote communication without the use of dedicated software. USB Video Class (UVC) and USB Audio Class (UAC) allow the Alpha 7 IV to operate as a live streaming camera when you connect it to a computer or smartphone. During the live stream, you are also allowed to record.
The HVL-F60RM2 and the HVL-F46RM flash.
Sony also unveiled two new wireless flashes, the HVL-F60RM2 with GN 60 and 20-200mm coverage and the HVL-F46RM with GN 46 and 24-105mm. They are capable of precise control and improved high-speed operability. The company said that both cater to the needs of professional and advanced content creators when they shoot with a Sony Alpha camera.
Both flashes boast better continuous shooting flash performance, up to 200 times at 10 frames per second for the HVL-F60RM2 and 60 times for the HVL-F46RM. The flash algorithm allows both flashes to be overheat-resistant and a set of four Nickel-metal hydride batteries can power as much as 240 flashes with a 1.7 second recycle time for the HVL-F60RM2 and as much as 320 flashes with a 2.0 second recycle time for the HVL-F46RM.
When the flashes are used with an Alpha camera, users can experience the benefits of the Alpha Lighting System. For one, with the Alpha 7 IV, P-TTL flash control metering for every frame in Mid, and Hi continuous mode is a possibility in addition to Lo continuous mode. Aside from that, the flash release time lag is shortened to capture momentary facial expressions and movements of the subject.
Both flashes support wireless radio communication and can control up to 15 flashes and/or receiver units in five groups through wireless radio communication, allowing for enhanced lighting control versatility.
Starting December 2021, the Alpha 7 IV will be available at selected retail shops and online shops in Singapore. Details on the camera's price have not been released. The same goes for the HVL-F60RM2 and the HVL-F46RM flash, which will be available at selected retail shops and online shops in the country beginning late November 2021.
Written by Sophia Lopez