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Sony unveils the new alpha 7 IV full-frame camera

The a7 IV is here. (Source: Sony)
The a7 IV is here. (Source: Sony)
Sony has just announced that its latest camera is none other than the latest alpha 7 (or a7) full-frame unit. The OEM touts it as a true "hybrid" shooting machine, in that it has optimized the new device for stills as well as videos - and live-streams. Furthermore, the a7 IV boasts a raft of updated hardware updates, which include its rear-mounted touchscreen.

Sony has just made the α7 IV official, introducing some potentially important new features along with this latest full-frame unit. Its magnesium-alloy body (replete with dust- and water-resistance seals) is built around a new 33MP Sony Exmor CMOS sensor, powered by the same BIONZ XR processor found in the α7s III and α9 II, not to mention the same heat-management system for external recording.

This silicon supports up to 4K/60fps recording (in Super 35mm mode); up to 4K/30fps recording (in full-frame mode, with the option of oversampling to 7K (7032x3958); or FHD/120fps. This might be shot in up to 10-bit 4:2:2 color and codices such as XAVC S-I or XAVC HS H.265.

Sony has noted that the user can set options such as S-Cinetone for "cinema-grade" skin-tone accuracy, AF Assist for smart switching between manual and automatic focusing, or Focus Map to detec depth of field. The α7 IV also supports 15 or more stops of dynamic range for color-grading and 10 Creative View settings presets, although the user can develop their own based on one of these.

The α7 IV also features 5-axis optical in-body stabilization, rated for an improved shutter speed of up to 5.5-steps (albeit in some still modes and possibly with certain lenses only), as well as a Multi-Interface shoe that might allow first-party mics to work without cables.

The new camera also reprises Sony's award-winning Eye Auto-Focus (or Eye AF) for humans or animals, and is thereby rated for advanced tracking when recording or shooting these subjects, regardless of how or where they move. However, and most importantly, the Mark IV brings Eye AF for Birds to the α7 line, which might work out well for those notoriously difficult subjects.

The user can visualize them through the unit's 3.68 million dot QVGA viewfinder, or its third-gen ~1.03 million dot LCD touchscreen - which has evolved into a flip-out in this iteration. The α7 IV also allows for "beyond basic" flexibility in terms of adjustments and settings while in use through its plethora of new dials, buttons and knobs. Their functions can also change for stills, movies or slow-and-quick modes, easily switchable through their new dedicated slider.

Accordingly, Sony asserts that the α7 IV works as well for movies as it does for images. It has also been developed with the demands of live-streaming in mind, with a choice of connecting to a PC as necessary via "Simple" USB (via a 10Gb/s type-C port), Bluetooth or Wi-Fi that might be dual-band in certain markets.

Furthermore, the α7 IV supports simultaneous recording to SD card with the USB option. It has also announced that the camera's "high-quality" live feed can support modes such as Soft Skin if necessary. The camera also has a CFExpress type A slot for other modes, as well as a full-sized HDMI ports and jacks for mics and audio.

Sony has also unveiled plans for a new AI service, by which users can upload to, and even edit files in, a cloud, that should become available soon. This new offering, which lacks a final product name at present, should complement new live-video-focused units such as the α7 IV as their use-cases take over.

The Sony α7 IV will start at an RRP of US$2,500, or $2,500 with a new FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS zoom lens, from December 2021 at the OEM's authorized dealers.

Alternatively, grab an α7 III on Amazon.


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Deirdre O'Donnell, 2021-10-21 (Update: 2021-10-21)