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What Do You Want to See in the Sony a7 IV?

The Sony a7 III is a great camera, but it is a few years old now, and creatives are starting to wonder what the company will offer in the a7 IV. What would you like to see?

Coming to you from Gerald Undone, this interesting video essay discusses what he would like to see from the Sony a7 IV mirrorless camera. I was a big fan of the Sony a7 III when I reviewed it, as it was one of the most well-balanced bodies available at the time, but a few years on from its release, the mirrorless landscape is significantly different and far more competitive now, with Canon and Nikon having firmly established capable professional mirrorless lines, with other manufacturers like Panasonic, Olympus, and Fujifilm offering impressively capable cameras as well. That being said, Sony is still widely respected for its mirrorless cameras, with bodies like the a1 and a7R IV offering class-leading image quality and performance. While we do not yet know much about the a7 IV, it is coming at some point, and as the company's most balanced mirrorless camera, meant to be a bread and butter body for many photographers and filmmakers, there will be many creatives keeping an eye on what the company eventually offers. What would you like to see in the a7 IV?

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Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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What Do You Want to See in the Sony a7 IV?
A Canon R5

Am I the only one who doesn't care at all about video features? Isn't anyone making dedicated video cameras for this market anymore?

Really not much point for dedicated video cameras for the masses anymore. There are too many choices now for cameras that take great images and 4k 60 fps video. Why not have both?

I guess when these two guys do a 20 minutes about video features they want in what I consider a still camera, I start to wonder where things are going. I never shoot video, so I have no issue with all those features being taken off my camera. One of the guys in the video said he never shoots stills and the other guy said he rarely shoots stills. So that just left me feeling like I'd watched a 20 minute video and got very little out of it, even though the video was about a camera in which I have a lot interest. I was wondering if I'm the only one feeling the way I feel. I would not miss 4K 60fps and would not be in the least impressed by 8K 120fps. It's just not something I ever use.

The Sony A7 line of cameras has become the professional entry point for videographers. If you think Sony are going to just give up on that market you'll be waiting a long time. Video technology moves a lot faster than photo, all these rapid updates from manufacturers are based around better video, sure they might bump up the stills fps a little, but photographers aren't running out and buying the newest model for an extra 3fps or whatever. Video shooters are still searching for that perfect run and gun camera.

A lock on the exposure compensation wheel. That thing turns so easily on its own. How many times, when I'm trying to run and gun, have I had to stop to turn the dial back to zero? I even put a sticker on the back of my battery grip that says "Check dials" so I'm reminded to either look at the dial or check the exposure on screen.

40 megapixels photo and 4k/120p 10 bit video with cinetone

Just get the A1 at that point then.

An improved... sony A7R3 with in order of importance:

The same resolution(42Mp) cause I like croping a lot while retaing detail
A higher AF points coverage
Possibility to chose FROM COLOR OPTIONS of the AF zone
AF zone registration
That's all.Think it wouldn 'be too hard to carry out!
I'm not interested in video features.

I'd like to see:

1. Change the color of the focus box
2. a9 or a1 auto focus performance
3. Dedicated ISO dial
4. View level and histogram at the same time.
5. 50 fps (kidding!)

4k60 with down sampling 6k or if line skipped, using the a7S3 ibis improvements. I'm perfectly fine with 4k120 staying on the higher end lines.

I'd like to keep it 24mp with the improved dynamic range, color science, rolling shutter and auto focus of the a7S3 and A1.

I'd like a true 10 fps in raw shooting with full exposure and AF unlike how they currently dumb it down going from 8 to 10 fps. Maybe even a bump to 12 fps mechanical.

I'd also like the better shutter of the A7R or A1 series. Not necessarily the speeds, but the sound. There's a huge difference between my A73 and those cameras or even a a6600.

The rear screen and viewfinder both need a serious quality and resolution bump. The 600x400 or whatever garbage they have is unacceptable nowadays. At least a 720 screen on the rear and higher resolution viewfinder. It doesn't have to quite be the higher end series of cameras but I should be able to tell if I nailed focus on my camera and not have to see it on a computer to know for sure.

If also like the A7S3 flip out screen. I do a lot of portrait orientation shooting above my head and at ground level and basically shoot blind with the current screens.

I'm fine with them keeping just UHS2 card slots but a faster and larger buffer would be nice.

The locking dials of the A1 make life a lot easier. I find the dials move a lot taking my A7III in and out of bags or on and off my Peak Design Capture clip when I'm hiking. The locking dials fixed this.

As for price I'd say somewhere between $2k and 2500 is fine as that's the range of the Z6 II, R6, and S1 prices.

With some of these features I think sony would be justified charging on the higher end. I think it puts it on par or even a little ahead of the competition in some cases and leaves enough separation between the base A7 and the higher end models whether you want more video focused features, resolution, or action photography features like the a9.

Nice list of features. I rather see a very fast, great autofocus, great iso performance, 12fps+ shooting 24mp camera then the battle for higher and higher mp's.

I was trying to keep in mind the need for separation between the a9 and a7 lines so I didn't want to get too greedy with the fps, especially considering the price point. My biggest annoyance so far is that sony drops it AF in 10 fps mode so it makes it essentially pointless.

You literally nailed what I'm looking for in this camera. Updated screen/EVF, AF, and price point are my biggest factors. I've got an a7RIII for when I need higher resolution.

Now I`m thinking of minimum the DR & color reproduction of the A7RIV sensor, in camera focus stacking, dual super-rapid card slots and a better constructed multi input for remote controls.

Oh yeah, I've heard some horror stories about their inputs breaking. That definitely needs an update. I think the A7S3 has a better DR than the A7R4. The A1 definitely does and some images I managed to pull off in a single exposure blew me away. In the raw of this image, the lava rocks are almost completely black and I was able to recover all the details.

Super nice image! A7S3 has a different 12mpix sensor that is slightly under the dr and color capabilities of the A7R4 from what I`ve read. However the A7S3 has a new more efficient image processor but it`s oriented more into videography.

Interesting, I'd like to see some testing on that as I wasn't impressed with the A7R4s DR performance personally. I shot the 200-600 wide open for wildlife in a forest and even with pushing the shutter speed down to 1/100 hand held, the iso ended up needing to be 10k and noise made it essentially useless.

It depends quite a bit in how much light was in your scenes and what settings you used. I usually use the spot metering mode for wildlife unless I need control on the exposure of a lot of foreground or background elements, and that one can influence your exposure metering and the ISO values. I didn`t have these problems with the A7R4 on wildlife until now, but I haven`t tested it so much either, just a few times.

As an a7iii owner (I'm a photo only guy), the only things I'd like over what I currently have in my camera are:

-A better screen. It's honestly terrible. I think my super old Canon T2i screen is better. It's really a travesty.
-Faster refresh rate EVF. Panning gets a bit rough
-New body. I need a pinky extender on the Gen 3 cameras but I'm somehow good with the Gen 4 ones
-(Part of a new body) Better feeling buttons and control wheel
-Lossless compressed Raw files
-Real-Time Tracking AF
-Faster readout for better electronic shutter only shots.

Otherwise, I'm more than happy with my camera. I probably won't upgrade my camera for a few generations anyway (just don't need to), but it'll be interesting to see how the public responds to the camera. The a7iii was apparently the best-selling FF digital camera (I'd like a source if anyone has one), so it's going to be a tough act to follow no matter what.

10 Bit 422 colour and a decent video codec are my only 2 requests. I can live with everything else.

A mirror

Honestly, FOCUS FREE lenses with IN-BODY FOCUSING.
This should have been done from day one going back to the NEX-3/5/7. There is no reason to have AF lenses when you can keep lenses simple and fixed on infinity, then just move the sensor back and forth to achieve focus. Back in the manual SLR days almost every lens focus by moving ALL the elements forward and back in unison.
Internal focusing lenses only became vogue because it is impractical and slow to move the entire stack of glass elements in an SLR lens with an AF motor, and equally impractical to move the shutter, mirror box, pentaprism, film transport and view finder back and forth with a motor. Not that both approaches haven't been tried -- see early screw drive, external focus, AF Nikkors and the Contax AX respectively.
With mirrorless cameras and an EVF, it is a piece of cake to move the sensor back and forth to achieve focus. In fact, they are already moving the sensor on a 5-axis platform to perform in-body image stabilization. It's relatively straight forward to move he entire platform back and forth to achieve focus. If anything it is simpler and faster than moving element(s) in the lens.
The benefits of sensor plane focusing? Firstly, the lenses can be very simple; no AF mechanism with all elements fixed in place. Hence they can be made extremely precisely or more economically or both. Secondly, when used with existing AF lenses, the inbody AF serves as an extension tube granting every single lens some degree of extra macro or close focusing capability. Finally, it turns all manual focus (like the Zeiss Loxias) and adapted lenses into AF lenses.