5 Reasons Why I’m Still Obsessed With The Sony A7 IV 10 Months On

5 Reasons Why I’m Still Obsessed With The Sony A7 IV 10 Months On

I was extremely excited to get my hands on the Sony a7 IV last December. It promised to be a camera with a lot to offer and for me, felt like a huge upgrade from my much loved Sony a7 II. As the successor to the successful a7 III, expectations couldn’t be higher, so it certainly had a lot to live up to. 10 months of heavy use later, I couldn’t be happier with it. Here’s five of the many reasons I’m completely obsessed with the Sony a7 IV.

1. Image Quality

Sony promised upgrades in both the photo and video departments of the Sony a7 IV. They brought a new 33-megapixel sensor and stunning autofocus system, which has made photography a dream. Despite this, I was more excited about the upgrades brought to the video side of things, especially in an era where we are seeing video content more prominently than ever. The video quality of the Sony a7 IV is absolutely top notch. The 4K image, downsampled from 7K, is sharp and incredibly detailed. Paired with the new 10-bit color, you have yourself a beautiful image. Sony also made notable improvements from their previous cameras when it comes to their colors, removing the magenta tint that many users disliked. It’s a camera that has made me fall in love with the color-grading process, as it gives you so much more freedom than the 8-bit footage that previous cameras offered. The image quality has held up incredibly well in the wide variety of scenarios I’ve put it through and genuinely still makes me smile every time I review my footage. 

This is a frame from a recent motorsports video. I was so happy with the image quality, I edited this frame as a still image. 

2. Autofocus

The Sony a7 III already had a pretty solid autofocus system, so this wasn’t an area that necessarily needed all that much improvement but Sony brought an upgrade anyway and I am definitely not disappointed. The autofocus system in the a7 IV is one of my favorite things about it. Both in photo and video, the focus is quick, accurate, and intelligent. The ability to track eyes and faces in all photo and video modes completely relieves the stress of checking your subjects are in focus. It's particularly noteworthy to mention that Eye AF Tracking is available in S&Q modes, which cannot be said for some of Sony’s much more expensive cinema line cameras, such as the FX6. For sports creatives, this camera can also keep up with fast subjects with ease. Once tracked, the autofocus sticks on to your chosen subject very accurately, even in complicated circumstances. The AF was flawless over my several trips to motorsport events so far and continues to amaze me every time I head out to shoot. 

The new 33 MP sensor along with the incredible AF system is brilliant combination

3. Battery Life

There is little more frustrating for a creator than a camera with poor battery life. Luckily, this hasn’t been the case with the Sony a7 IV. I did have some worries given my experience with the Sony a7 II, which had less than favorable battery life. However, consider the more efficient system along with the same battery as the a7 III and you can easily get a solid 3-4 hours out of it, the only exception being when shooting continuously in 4K 60fps where you’ll burn through your battery life a little quicker. This has contributed to creating a really positive experience using the a7 IV out and about. It’s always nice to not have to constantly monitor your battery levels so you can focus your attention on the creation at hand. 

The battery life has been very solid on the A7iv. It’s always nice not to have to carry too many batteries around with you. 

4. Form and Build Quality

Given my previous experience with the Sony a7 II, I was definitely excited for the improved form factor of the a7 IV. One of the downsides of the smaller mirrorless cameras has certainly been the less ergonomic grips we’ve seen, particularly on the Sony lineup. Luckily, each generation of Sony Alpha camera has brought improvements in this aspect, and with the a7 IV, I believe they found the sweet-spot. The grip is large enough to comfortably hold, even for those with big hands. However, it also isn’t out of proportion with the camera. This results in a very comfortable user experience and less strain on your wrists, as you no longer have to clutch the camera as tightly as previous models. Other updates to the form of the camera are the new buttons. In simple terms, they feel more “clicky” and require a little more travel to depress fully. This gives the camera an overall higher-quality build and more assurance to the user when they’ve pressed a button.

The button layout on the Sony A7iv is also much improved.

5. Creative Freedom

The camera works so well that it allows me to completely focus on creating, rather than worrying about making sure the camera is doing what I need it to do. This is more important than any particular spec or upgrade. I can depend on the image quality and dynamic range. I can depend on the autofocus to keep my subjects in focus, and I can depend on the battery to last me all day or for a full shoot. I’ve found this creative freedom to allow me to produce better art, in both photos and video. This camera has helped me improve my own skills and produce what I envision in my mind, helping me translate it to moving or still images. For me, that is the sign of a great camera.

There’s not much more I want from this camera but it isn’t perfect. But it’s not far off either. 

Conclusion

Before I get too soppy or I have to re-title this article “A Love Letter to the Sony a7 IV,” I should mention that despite all its high points, it’s not a perfect camera. The camera does get warm shooting in 4K 60 (although I’ve never had a warning or any shut-offs), and it would be better if it didn’t have a 1.5x crop. I do wish the screen was higher resolution and the huge video file sizes almost make me cry. But overall, it does 99% of the things I need and want to do. There isn’t a perfect camera for everyone, but this one certainly gets close enough for me. If it wasn’t already clear already, I highly recommend the a7 IV. Hopefully, you’ll love it as much as me.

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24 Comments
Felix C's picture

The video quality of the camera is not top notch, it is horrendous, a nauseating video maker because of the horrendous rolling shutter. This is 2022 and many cameras now have very little rolling shutter except for the A7iv.

Lucas Johnson Faustino's picture

I think that may affect some more than others, depending on your use case. It's rarely affected any of my videos at all. Agreed, would be nicer without it, however it isn't a deal breaker for me.

Patrick Hall's picture

As a user of the A7IV, I need to do a test on this. I haven't noticed it all that much. I do know the stabilization on the Sony isn't as good as our Panasonics.

Lucas Johnson Faustino's picture

If you look for it, in 4K 24fps you’ll definitely find it. But without actively searching or looking out for it as a viewer, you’ll probably never think twice about it. That’s my take anyway!

Ken Yee's picture

Try vlogging...it's super obvious if you look at the background in any of the reviews...

Alex Herbert's picture

What are you shooting where you notice it the most?

Lucas Johnson Faustino's picture

If you move the camera quickly in a panning kind of motion is when you see it most. Other than that it’s not really apparent.

Alex Herbert's picture

Oh I know, I own an A7iii, but I was asking Felix C specifically what he was shooting that was rendered "horrendous" and "nauseating" by the rolling shutter. Because I feel like he's reading specs and making wild accusations having never actually used the camera for any work.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

You are correct. Felix C has been sounding off like a broken record since Oct 2021 basing his knowledge off some bloggers. https://fstoppers.com/comment/699505

Barry Strawbridges's picture

I've reverted back to my A7RII. My camera was plagued with the eye-AF issue, which focuses on the eyebrow or lash instead. After screwing up some paid jobs, the A7IV is relegated to the backup camera. One negative of the A7IV is the firmware and the rate at which it comes out. The eye-AF issue lingered until March with 1.01. Even then, it still isn't perfect. The more recent August 1.10 update botch, which bricked some cameras and later scrubbed from the Sony website, is another issue. I'm hoping that I can go back to it, but for now A7RII it is.

Before I bought the camera, I was thinking about getting an A7RIV. Both cameras were relatively close in price range. However, I didn't really need 61MP. I wanted a fully articulating screen, the better ergonomics, and the new menu system.

Lucas Johnson Faustino's picture

Thats a shame! I haven't had those issues myself. I'm sure they will eventually fix it. Agreed, the updates do roll out much too slow!

Bjarne Solvik's picture

As I understand Sony fixed this with 1.10 firmware update?

Bhargav Sharma's picture

I am not a seasoned professional by any stretch of the word. But I have managed to get my hands on a number of cameras across different brands and shot in a variety of different situations both personal and professional. I know people have had Eye AF issues, the 4k60 crop and rolling shutter. However like the author I absolutely fell in love with the A7IV from day one. These issues never seem to have occured for me or atleast haven't been noticable enough to bother me. The extra resolution, the 4k60p(10 bit) and the improved grip made it a must have for me. And I agree with the author 100 percent. It is a fantastic camera. It may not be for everyone, but I recommend anyone considering it to rent, to not be discouraged by the negative words and see for themselves if its a good fit for them.

Lucas Johnson Faustino's picture

No camera is perfect, and on paper they may have small bits that you may think will hinder your experience. However until you've tried it and realised that these small things don't hugely affect your experience you come to understand this camera is absolutely fantastic.

Bhargav Sharma's picture

I am not a seasoned professional by any stretch of the word. But I have managed to get my hands on a number of cameras across different brands and shot in a variety of different situations both personal and professional. I know people have had Eye AF issues, the 4k60 crop and rolling shutter. However like the author I absolutely fell in love with the A7IV from day one. These issues never seem to have occured for me or atleast haven't been noticable enough to bother me. The extra resolution, the 4k60p(10 bit) and the improved grip made it a must have for me. And I agree with the author 100 percent. It is a fantastic camera. It may not be for everyone, but I recommend anyone considering it to rent, to not be discouraged by the negative words and see for themselves if its a good fit for them.

Lucas Johnson Faustino's picture

Thank you for the kind words!

James Grider Lee's picture

My goodness, I hope all of the dissatisfied users are finding good resale value for their terrible Mark IV systems. Please contact me with your asking price and I might take them off your hands, if you still own the crummy thing.

Our Studio is not terribly busy, but we encounter many varied situations from primarily a still photography perspective. We had used the Mark III since 2018, and the IV is noticeably better in several respects.

It boots more quickly, the eye focus is fast & a great improvement even with “legacy” A type lenses. (Requires an adapter)

The larger, pre-set array of color/contrast settings are helping us create eye popping results for our customers. The menu is better and our particular camera has more memory settings 1-3, ( mark III only had 1-2) which we employ as follows: in-Studio w/flash, Video, outdoors. Each setting requires some tweaking sometimes, but all-in-all we are now less error prone, especially on those days when we have back-to-back assignments.

Remember, we’ll consider any offer to take the terrible Mark IV off anyones hands. I hate hearing about people suffering from buyers remorse, especially when folks were widely warned in the photographic press the “rolling shutter” was the BIG “Achilles tendon” of the Mark Four. But let’s face it, reading Photographic Technical articles can be sooo boring!

Bhargav Sharma's picture

Indeed. If you hear about any dissatisfied photographers looking to get rid of their A7IV, do tell me. I'd be willing to take it off their hands. For a price;)

Lucas Johnson Faustino's picture

I totally agree! But it won’t be for everyone, they are certainly missing out though!

Christopher Carl's picture

I'm sure you can find lots of people who says the same things about their favorite camera..

Lucas Johnson Faustino's picture

Just sharing my favourite parts.

Desmond Stagg's picture

As an avid Sony user, I was thrilled at the announcement of their latest model. I spoke to my supplier and told him to put one on hold.
In the meantime, I was made aware that the new Sony was NOT manufactured in Japan, but in China.
That is an absolute no-go for me, so I cancelled the order. I am NOT paying European prices for goods manufactured in low wage countries.
Nothing against China, but it is the principle. I am even thinking of dumping my Mac IT system and returning to windows. god help me!

And, my new camera, Nikon Z7II

Desmond Stagg's picture

Re: better if it didn’t have a 1.5x crop
I don't understand this. APS-C has a 1.5 crop, full format does not! What does the author mean??

Lucas Johnson Faustino's picture

When recording in 4K 60Fps the camera crops by 1.5x