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One Year Later With The Sony a7 IV

One Year Later With The Sony a7 IV

One year ago, I finally received my Sony a7 IV after a long wait from my local camera store. In this article, I explain what I like about the camera and where I think it could improve.

In February 2018, Sony shook the camera world with the announcement of the Sony a7 III as a $2,000 "basic entry level full frame camera," but this camera was not basic at all. It was packed full of features, which took the photography and videography world by storm with an incredibly affordable price tag. 

Fast forward to October 2021, and the highly anticipated Sony a7 IV was announced, would this camera live up to the same hype as it's predecessor? After owning both cameras, for me, I believe that the a7 IV is a fantastic upgrade over the a7 III but it is not for everyone.

Sony A7IV

Wildlife Photography Is Where It Shines for Me

I want to start with where I think this camera excels and why it was worth the upgrade from the a7 III. As a hobbyist wildlife photographer, the a7 IV has several features that have made photographing wildlife much easier. The improved eye autofocus for animals has been fantastic, along with the new addition of bird eye autofocus, which works well. The autofocus is not without its faults, though. Sometimes, it still struggles to find a subject, even with decent separation between the subject and background. I find myself zooming to 200mm to find the subject and then zooming back out once found to find my composition.

For those looking to use the camera for filming, the camera can record up to 4K 60p; however, 4K 60p is cropped. For some, this was a dealbreaker when the camera was announced. However, for wildlife filming, having a crop is not a bad thing! 

The Vari-angle screen has also been a blessing, allowing me to photograph and film from different angles. The tilt screen on the Sony a7 III was always one feature that frustrated me while Canon was releasing cameras with the Vari-angle screen. So, I was very happy that we finally got this function on the a7 IV. 

Lastly, the increase of megapixels, going from 24 to 33, is a great boost and allows more wiggle room for cropping images, which is very often useful in wildlife. The ability to upscale resolutions in software now also enables us to make the most of this.

Arctic Fox in Iceland

Worthwhile Upgrade?

For photographers who have the Sony a7 III and are shooting other styles of photography, the upgrades in this camera may not be worthwhile. The a7 III is still a beast of a camera and still extremely capable to this day, with a cheaper price tag brand new or even secondhand. 

The a7 IV does boast improved focusing, new autofocus types for subjects, the Vari-angle screen, etc., as previously mentioned. These may be a selling point for others, but if you aren't too fussed about these features, then there might be no need to upgrade just yet. They can wait for the Sony a7 V or opt for the new a7R V or a7S III.

That being said, the a7 IV has performed almost flawlessly for me in multiple other situations such as landscape, astro and wedding photography. 

Aurora at Holmsberg Lighthouse, Iceland

What Could Be Improved

My wishlist for what could be improved on the a7 IV may or may not be farfetched, but I hope some of these things could be improved with firmware updates (although sadly, this is one area that Sony is very poor in and should improve).

My first request is more hardware,based and that would be an improved EVF and rear LCD screen. The resolution on both of these is low compared to the competition and would make a great improvement going forward in future models. 

For software upgrades, I would love for this camera to have several features, such as the ability to set longer exposure times than 30 seconds without an intervalometer and in-camera focus stacking (like on the new a7R V).

Another great option would be to have a higher burst speed. The camera currently maxes out at 10 fps. However, this can be lower when shooting uncompressed raw, etc. The Canon EOS R6 Mark II, however, is a similarly priced camera and shoots up to 40 fps in electronic.

I believe with some of these features, Sony could and should deliver these in a firmware update. However, as touched on before, Sony is unfortunately very reluctant to improve features on existing camera bodies.

What would you like to see from Sony either in firmware for this body or in the next generation? Let us know in the comments below.

Greg Sheard's picture

Greg Sheard is a Scottish based photographer, focusing on wildlife, landscape and portrait work. Greg's mission in life is too help those who suffer with mental health issues and be a voice for the millions of people around the world who need that care, attention and awareness.

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I went from a7iii to a7iv as well. I also mainly use mine for wildlife and agree with the points you've said. Issue with the a7iv is the Facebook owners group has a lot of folk who don't read manuals or fiddle with their camera, they expect the answer given to them! I guess since this is seen as "entry" budget for some, they just expect it to be like using an iPhone. Great article summerising it.

Hey Max, thank you for your comment. Im glad you agree with the points raised and hopefully Sony can give us the firmware updates we want!

I guess all camera groups probably have similar issues as the internet and cameras are a learning curve for some. Hopefully they will find the answers they seek somewhere along the way.

I am slowly looking at upgrading from canon dslr. The canon r are great cameras but the lens prices are ridiculous. The Sony looks good but the only thing that I miss is focus bracketing. We do a lot of macro photography. You mentioned that and many others have as well. It actually surprises me that focus bracketing has not become a standard feature of Sony yet. The canon r, the Fujis and Panasonic have it.

Hey Eliyahu, it is disappointing that Sony has not pushed the focus bracketing out to all of their models. Currently it is only the a7 RV which has this feature but I hope they will release firmware updates for the other bodies. At the very minimum, going forward all new Sony cameras should also have this feature now too

a7III user here. About the improvements; does it show full screen over exposure blinking at playback like my Canon SLR's did?
Big design mistake and i can't understand why Sony still didn't fix this.

Hi Leo, it doesn't automatically and I'm not honestly sure if that is a feature available to turn on in the settings. I'll have to check my settings on the camera and see if there is something to that effect.

Thanks. In the 7III there are several playback modes (like in all camera's). The thing is.. there's a full screen without showing blinking overexposed parts. And there's also a mode with a very tiny image showing those parts blinking (the rest of the screen is filled with rib levels.
I want this warning full screen so i can check everything; are the eyes of the model not closed, how is the general feel and composition AND the exposure warning (if the model got closer to the flash or something).
So i'm not talking about zebra which only shows the available light. I need the playback for flash. I don't check it all the time, but when i do i don't want to loose contact with the model by scrolling through the modes all the time. Again... i find this a huge design error by Sony and the crazy thing is it doesn't seem to bother anyone.

I've had a look on the Sony Website and the A7IV does have over exposure blinking however, it looks unlikely to be on the full screen by what they say below.

I do get where you are coming from though and having it full screen on playback could be a very handy feature. It's not something I've used personally, but I certainly can see the appeal for it.

Thanks for your effort.
Yes, that's still the same. Only in the middle image of those 3. That's very tiny and not usable for general feel, composition and especially look of the model's face.
As a result you have to scroll through modes which is very bad for the workflow and contact with model. And that's why i dom't use that mode with the risk of over exposure when something changes.
Again; why Sony? It doesn't make sense. Something so easy. All the specs aside these are real working situations.

No worries at all.

Hopefully it's something that can be addressed in the future, and maybe with any luck these comments might be spotted and taken into consideration.

Hi Greg,

Nice article. A lot of people had concerns about rolling shutter when this camera was released. Was this something you experienced and how big an issue was it for you?

I have the A9 but am interested in the additional resolution. An A7RV is just not in the cards for me at this time.

Appreciate your thoughts.


Hi George,

Rolling shutter is certainly an issue on this body if filming fast paced motion. Its not something I typically have an issue with personally due to my shooting style but I know others do. I believe Gerald Undone recently talked about it and compared some cameras rolling shutter performance in his A6700 video so might be worth checking out