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  • Soon Kai Hong

Sony A7IV Review - The Budget A7SIII Alternative?

One of the things that we found really interesting about the Sony A7IV was that the build quality and overall ergonomics was now much more similar to that of the Sony A7SIII. Now of course, the A7SIII is Sony's flagship in the lineup that is extremely video focused whereas the A7IV is the successor to the A7III which has always been the do-it-all hybrid camera. But could the new A7IV have improved so much that it can now be considered a budget A7SIII alternative?

So today, let's talk a look at the Sony A7IV and yes as mentioned, it is a hybrid camera. Meaning it can do both videos and photos relatively well. We've had the camera for about 3 weeks now and we even had the opportunity to film a car commercial with it. So we would say that we did have quite the comprehensive and in-depth testing period with the camera, seriously putting it through its paces.

On that note, we even had friends asking if the A7IV is a budget alternative to the A7SIII and honestly, the A7IV does bring about quite a number of new features and upgrades to the the standard A7 lineup. But first, let's talk about the design.

If you've seen a Sony camera, if you've probably seen them all. To be very frank, the A7IV looks not that much different from its predecessors. It still features that same iconic look. But in comparison to the A7III which it replaces, this has borrowed some great design elements from its bigger brothers, the A9 and the A1. The grip is now much larger and can accommodate larger hands with relatively ease. The body is made out of magnesium alloy and if you do load it up with a battery, an SD card and a CFexpress Type A card, it'll weight in around 658 grams.

But perhaps the most noticeable and biggest upgrade is in the sensor department and the display. The A7IV adds an additional 9MP to the 24MP of the previous, bring the total number up to 33MP. Full-frame, of course. As for the display, instead of getting the tilt mechanism that many of us probably are already familiar with, we now get a fully articulating display which is such a joy to use. There's a few other aesthetic and ergonomic changes such as the dial and button placement and whatnot.

There is one new dial functionality this time around. Instead of finding the usual exposure compensation dial that you would on previous alpha cameras, this has been replaced with the R-Dial. Basically, it's a multi-function dial that can be reprogrammed to whatever function you would want to have instead. This is quite handy and to be very honest, most of us don't actually use the exposure compensation dial... almost ever.

In terms of I/O, you will get your trusty headphone jack and microphone input, along with a USB-C port which will support charging and a multi-connection port. The best upgrade however has got to be that full-size HDMI. Gone are the days where you would exactly break the micro-HDMI cable on your A7III. The new A7IV takes card of that.

As for the battery, it uses the same NP-FZ100 battery just like before, which promised pretty good battery life. You need not worry too much about it draining while on standby either.

The A7IV is able to do 10 frames per second on both the mechanical and electronic shutter and will be able to record in 14-bit Sony ARW, 10-bit HEIF and of course the standard JPEG.

Autofocus is great on this camera, as it should be given that it is a Sony. We've barely had any issues with it whatsoever. Just do remember to use the correct autofocus modes for your situation and needs. In terms of facial and object recognition, do note however that the A7IV will only come with human, animal and bird. Vehicle autofocus is not included in this camera which isn't too surprising given the fact that the camera can only do 10 frames per second no matter the drive mode.

ISO capability is wide. The A7IV can go from an ISO of 50 all the way up to 204,800. We do have some sample photos and footage available so definitely do check out the video for a more in-depth look.

But now let's talk video.

The A7IV can shoot up to 4K60p and 1080p120p at many varying bit-rates. We must however say that should you intend to film on 4K60p, you will be forced into a 1.5x crop. This has both pros and cons. If you're looking to get more reach out of your lens, this will help immensely. Conversely if you need to film indoors, that 1.5x crop will be a hassle for sure.

Sony has however made sure that even with a 1.5x crop, not a single pixel was lost and you will still be getting a true 4K image out of the cropped portion, partly thanks to the new 33MP sensor.

The main drawback we encountered with this camera however was the overheating issue. It truly is perplexing and initially, we blamed it on our hot Singapore weather here near the equator. However, even when using the camera indoors with AC no less, the camera would still overheat with mixed usage of both photo and video. At this point, we remembered that you could toggle the temperature tolerance via the system menu and finding Auto Power OFF. Temp. By default, it will be set on standard but you can change it to high.

Unfortunate to say but it didn't really help. True, we could go on for slightly longer but ultimately and eventually, it still overheated. We cannot confirm if this was an issue with the unit we had, but we've also heard of similar issues amongst our friends and the forum as well. So at this point time, we can't say for sure.

Now we can on and on and talk more about the camera and our overall thoughts about it. But this is a camera we're talking about. Perhaps it might be more visually enticing to watch our review instead! Especially when we went and did a real world testing portion and a short comparison between the various color profiles including the new S-Cinetone.

In any case, should you like to know more, please do head over to our YouTube and give it a look. You won't be disappointed.

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