Sony A7 IV – What We Know So Far

The Sony A7 III is one of Sony’s best and most popular mirrorless cameras. When it was released in February of 2018, it set the tone as the camera to have in that 20-30 MP range. It came equipped with star specs, that at the time, led the market for a camera of its type – excellent autofocus, dynamic range, noise handling, and video capabilities.

I remember when the A7 III first came out, I was using a Nikon D810 at the time, but I seriously considered picking one up as a second body.

Now, why does all this backstory on the A7 III matter? Well, Sony has registered multiple new cameras and most of those are expected to be announced in 2021. One, the Sony A1, was already announced and if it’s any indication of what Sony has in store for the year – then wow, it’s going to be a great year for Sony.

Another one of those registered bodies is expected to be the successor of the A7 III. A Sony A7 IV is expected in 2021 and rumors have it slated for an announcement in either Q2 or Q3, I’m hoping it’ll be sooner rather than later…some have said it could even come in late February.

The A7 IV is a camera that I am super excited about and I’m hoping it’ll be just like the A1 and really knock our socks off in terms of its specs and package. I shoot Nikon, but I actually think if the A7 IV is really impressive, that I will be buying one.

The A7 III is STILL great today. It still competes with the new releases from Canon and Nikon (the Canon R6 and Nikon Z6 II), but it is undoubtedly ready for a makeover. And I think Sony is eager for a new model since it’s such a popular segment of the market, and now there is much more competition than there was in 2018.

So, let’s talk about what’s expected and what I’m hoping for with the A7 IV. Here are some rumored specifications, and note that these are from the same source who reported A1 specifications that turned out to be dead on. 

Rumored Specs

  •   New sensor! 30-32 MP
  •   Upgraded EVF to 3.69M-dot
  •   New LCD – but, rumors describe it as ‘on the cheap side’…
  •   4K/60p video (potentially 1080/240p)
  •   $2,499

 The two big things for me are the new sensor and processing engine, plus upgraded video features from the A7 III.

Sensor
I think 30-40 MP is a sweet spot for resolution. The Nikon D810 was one of my favorite cameras and it featured a 36.3 MP sensor. It seems today we either have cameras in the 20-25 MP range or ultra-high resolution monsters from 45-60 MP. I think a 30-32 MP sensor would be a slam dunk for the A7 IV. It’s an excellent balance between file size, quality, and processing features like burst rate and video.

Processor
The A7 IV will feature a new processor. No one’s sure if it’ll be the same as the A1 or something totally new. Whatever it is, the processing engine should allow Sony to pack in some great new features and make this an excellent hybrid camera and that’s why it interests me so much. It should be excellent for landscapes and wildlife, as well as stills and video. The new processor will make everything better – burst rate, focus, stills, and video.

Autofocus
We should see an updated AF system comparable to what’s available in Sony’s recent models (A7s III, A7r IV, A1) and hopefully some updated tracking algorithms. Sony has intense competition with Canon and Nikon when it comes to AF, and Canon’s R5 seems to be leading the pack.

Regardless, the AF system should be excellent and I expect this to pair with a really nice burst rate due to the enhanced processing engine. I’d love to see the A7 IV hit 20 fps. That paired with the ~30 MP sensor and AF system would make it a slam dunk for nature photography.

Screen & EVF
There are reports that the A7 IV will have a similar screen to the A7s III. It will be at a lower resolution, but if reports are true, it should be fully-articulating, which seems minor, but it’s a really nice feature to have.

The bump up to 3.69M-dots for the EVF would be an upgrade and put it online with the likes of the Canon R6 and Nikon Z6 II, which are sure to be its main competitors.

Video
Now, video has become a more important spec to me, I know not everyone is interested in it, but the cool thing about all these mirrorless systems is that they have the potential to create stunning cinematic-level video. The A7 III is great, but now recent releases, such as the Sony A1, Canon R6/R5, and Nikon Z6 II/Z7 II are all compelling options if you want professional still and video quality.

One thing I’m really hoping for is internal 10-bit recording capability. The large sensors on full-frame cameras make that very difficult to achieve – it takes A LOT of processing power so fingers crossed for this new engine.

If the A7 IV has 10-bit 4K/60p and Full HD/120p internal recording, I will almost most definitely be buying. Until the R6/5 line, it was nearly impossible to find 10-bit internal capabilities outside of a Micro Four Thirds system. And, 10-bit makes a huge difference when it comes to processing video.

Menu
Sony makes excellent cameras, but the knock against them seems to be the user interface and menu system…especially when compared to Canon and Nikon. It doesn’t bothersome and I’ve found the menu system to be fine to navigate, albeit confusing at times.

A new menu system debuted with the A7S III and it addressed a lot of the qualms with the old layout. The new menu system is featured in the A1 and it will definitely be in the A7 IV.

Summary
Overall, I think whatever the A7 IV brings will be amazing. It is one of my most anticipated cameras for 2021. This year could really end up being ‘The Year of the Cameras’, we are going to get a lot of awesome releases from everyone, not just Sony.

But, the overall package of the A7 IV is rumored to really interest me. A low or mid-30s MP resolution with amazing hybrid capabilities for stills and video – that’s a winner for me.

I’ve been considering purchasing a Z6 II to either pair or replace my Z7, but I’m going to wait to see what the A7 IV brings because it could be a perfect fit for me – and many others!

Matt Meisenheimer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matt Meisenheimer is a photographer based in Wisconsin. His artistry revolves around finding unique compositions and exploring locations that few have seen. He strives to capture those brief moments of dramatic light and weather, which make our grand landscapes so special.  Matt loves the process of photography – from planning trips and scouting locations, taking the shot in-field, to post-processing the final image. Matt is an active adventurer and wildlife enthusiast as well. He graduated with a degree in wildlife ecology and worked in Denali National Park and Mount Rainier National Park as a biologist. He also spent 6 months working in the deserts of Namibia before finding his path in photography. Matt’s passion for the wilderness has taken him to many beautiful places around the world. As a former university teaching assistant, Matt is passionate about instruction. It is his goal to give his students the technical and creative knowledge they need to achieve their own photographic vision. He truly enjoys working with photographers on a personal level and helping them reach their goals. You can see Matt’s work and portfolio on his webpage at www.meisphotography.com

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