Sony A7 IV review: A near-perfect hybrid camera powerhouse

Deepak Gupta
Deepak Gupta January 20, 2022
Updated 2022/01/20 at 6:16 PM

Nearly four years after Sony released its wildly successful A7 III hybrid full-frame mirrorless camera, it has finally released a follow-up. The A7 IV brings a host of new features and improvements, such as a high-resolution 33-megapixel sensor, improved video specs and updated AI-powered autofocus. Yet, for $2,500 it’s also $500 more than the A7 III was at launch.

A lot has changed over the years between the two models. Sony now has to face formidable rivals like Canon’s EOS R6 and Nikon Z6 II. It has also launched new high-end models like the A7S III, A7R IV and A1 loaded with the latest technology.



  • Excellent image quality
  • 4K 60p 4:2:2 video
  • amazing auto focus
  • great handling


  • roller blind
  • Relatively slow shooting speeds
  • High Price

With all that, of course I was curious to see how the A7 IV would excel in a category it dominated for a few years. How does it stack up against rivals, particularly when it comes to video? How much new technology from the high-end models made it to the mainstream A7 IV? And is it suitable for professional use? Let’s dive in and find out.

design and handling

Sony’s A1, A7S III and A7R IV have had substantial body changes compared to their predecessors, and the A7 IV follows the same script. It has the same great grip, so you never feel like you’re going to drop it, even with a big lens. However, it gained weight and size, weighing in at 699 grams compared to 650 with the AIII. It’s 7mm thicker, too.

It has similar controls to the A7 III, with the biggest difference being that the record button has been moved from the back to an easier-to-access position at the top. The buttons and dials generally look better and more accurate, and the joystick is more grippy and easier to use. It lacks certain dials compared to the much more expensive A1, such as the shooting mode and autofocus dials. The lockable exposure compensation dial is the same but lacks the graphics because it was designed to be programmable.

In some ways, however, the A7 IV’s body is a step ahead of the A1. The rear touchscreen can be fully swiveled and not just tilted, so it’s much more practical for low-angle shooting in portrait orientation. This also makes it much more useful as a vlog camera.

It has the same well-organized menu system as the A1 and A7S III, although some controls can be a little difficult to find. As with any other modern camera, it’s time well spent to configure the function menu, custom menus and manual controls to your liking. Overall though, Sony’s menus are now among the better and more organized than on Canon’s EOS R6, for example.

Sony A7 IV full-frame mirrorless camera review

Steve Dent/Ploonge

The EVF of 3.69 million points is much clearer than the 2.68 million points on the A7 and on par with similarly priced rivals. However, the rear screen is smaller and has a lower resolution than the R6. This can make manual focus tricky, though the A7 IV has a new feature that might help – more on that soon.

The A7 IV has a dual-slot card system that supports much faster SD UHS II cards and CFexpress Type A cards. However, unlike the slots on the A1 and A7S III, it only has a single dual slot, the other being just SD UHS II. Type A CFexpress cards are not as fast as regular CFexpress cards, reaching 800 MB/s compared to 1,700 MB/s. They’re also only used on Sony cameras, so they’re relatively hard to find and quite expensive.

Other features include a USB-C port that can power the camera during operation, along with a full-size HDMI port, thank goodness. It uses Sony’s new NP-FZ100 battery that offers up to 580 shots on a charge or around 2 hours of 4K video recording. Finally, the A7 IV can close its mechanical shutter when the camera is turned off, protecting it from dust when changing lenses. This is a feature that first appeared on the EOS R, so thanks for starting this trend, Canon.


Sony A7 IV full-frame mirrorless camera review

Steve Dent/Ploonge

Sony’s mirrorless cameras are known for their autofocus speeds and AI intelligence, and the A7 IV is no exception. However, Sony has made some compromises that affect performance.

The new 33-megapixel sensor is backlit, but not stacked like the A1’s sensor, so read speeds are relatively slow. As a result, shutter speeds are 10 fps like the A7 III in mechanical or electronic shutter modes for compressed RAW photos, and drop to 6 fps if you use lossless or uncompressed RAW, as many photographers prefer to do.

This is still impressive considering the resolution has increased by almost 50%. In comparison, though, the Sony A1 can take 50-megapixel photos in electronic mode at up to 30fps, showing the speed benefits of a stacked sensor.

While burst speeds are not improved, you can capture more photos at a time, up to 1,000 in uncompressed RAW format. If you use Sony CFexpress Type A or ProGrade cards, you can shoot forever without filling the buffer.

Sony A7 IV full-frame hybrid mirrorless camera review sample images

Steve Dent/Ploonge

Another downside with the A7 IV’s slow sensor read speeds is the rolling shutter. If you want to shoot silently in electronic mode, you’ll need to keep the camera steady and your subject won’t be able to move quickly either. Otherwise, you’ll see slanted lines and other artifacts that can be bad enough to ruin photos. Using crop mode helps a lot, but you lose the benefits of a full-frame sensor.

The A7 IV is Sony’s most advanced camera when it comes to autofocus. All of Sony’s new AI tricks add up to make it the easiest to use and most reliable camera I’ve tested in this regard.

Unlike the A7 III, face, eye and body tracking works in all focus modes for animals, birds and people. Unless you turn it off, it will automatically catch your subject’s eyes, face or body and track them, even if they rotate or disappear from the frame.

Whether you’re tracking sports, birds or cars, the tracking location will remain firmly locked onto your subject in most situations. All you have to do is tap on the subject you want to track and the camera will take you from there.

Sony A7 IV full-frame mirrorless camera review

Steve Dent/Ploonge

The A7 IV’s autofocus can easily keep up with camera shutter speeds for sports or bird photography. But most importantly, the A7 IV consistently stays focused in other tricky situations, particularly with people. In some chaotic situations with lots of subjects and complex lighting, I ended up with very few unusable shots. Keep in mind that optimal focusing performance requires the latest Sony lenses, but it also worked well with recent Sigma models.

Focus is only part of the equation. He consistently got the auto exposure and auto white balance right in tricky situations with mixed lighting. This worked well in a bar with a mix of studio and practical lights, or in front of Paris department store’s famous lively windows with all sorts of light colors.

In-body stabilization improves by half a stop over the A7 III to 5.5 stops with compatible lenses, but none of them come close to Canon’s claimed 8 stops on the EOS R6. This is somewhat balanced by Sony’s high superior ISO performance, however. I was still able to take reasonably sharp shots up to half a second with some care.

photo quality

A big improvement with the A7 IV is in the image quality. You’d expect more sharpness with the extra resolution, and it certainly delivers. However, you might also think that smaller pixels would make the A7 IV worse in low light, but no. In fact, across much of its ISO range, the A7 IV performs better than even Sony’s low-light champion, the A7S III.

Images are clean and usable in most low-light situations up to ISO 12,800, with plenty of detail even in underexposed shots. In fact, the A7 IV has the lowest noise I’ve seen in this ISO range. Properly exposed photos can be used up to ISO 25,600, but noise becomes a serious issue after that.

Sony has improved its color science with each new camera lately, and the A7 IV has perhaps its best setup yet. The green cast we saw on previous models is gone and the colors are accurate right in the camera and easier to balance in the post than ever before.

JPEGs look great straight from the camera with a good balance of detail and noise reduction. 14-bit RAW images offer up to 13 stops of dynamic range, giving you plenty of room to lift shadows and restore highlights. Overall, Sony’s A7 IV offers perhaps the best images of any of its cameras, with a great balance of detail, high ISO performance and color accuracy.

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