Sony has just presented its new hybrid device, the Alpha 7 IV. The full-frame body features a new 33-megapixel sensor and promises versatility, with improvements in both photo and video.
The Alpha 7 III made an impression as soon as it was formalized in February 2018, then during its visit to Labo Fnac. Qualified as an excellent full-frame camera, this versatile hybrid remains cited among the benchmarks despite its advanced age. Launched more than three and a half years ago, it did not yet have a successor, while the Japanese giant has dusted off other versions in recent months with the successive announcements of the Sony A7R IV, A7S III and the A7C . These three models all claim a specialty, the A7R version being geared towards professional photo use, while the A7S is geared towards video. Finally, the A7C is the most compact of the range.
New 33 megapixel sensor
The classic model, the Alpha 7, is finally affected by a renewal with the presentation of the Alpha 7 IV. Sony’s new full-frame hybrid wants to follow in the footsteps of its predecessor by being equally at home in photos and video. The Japanese brand offers a new back-illuminated Exmor R 33-megapixel CMOS sensor, almost 36% more compared to the 24-megapixel sensor of its predecessor. The camera offers an ISO range of 50 to 204,800 ISO and 102,400 ISO for video.
It is also equipped with the dual processor Bionz XR already used by Sony on professional cameras like the Alpha 1. This new model still claims a burst shooting up to ten frames per second with tracking AF and AE, but with a particularly ample buffer memory. During its presentation, Sony mentioned a number of burst shots at 828 JPEG and RAW, against 182 JPEG for the Alpha 7 III. The autofocus is also evolving with its 759 phase detection points on 94% of the image, against 693 points for its predecessor. For the first time, Sony adds that real-time Eye AF, which can track the eyes of birds and other animals in both stills and video. They are added to those of humans, while the Japanese giant claims to have improved by about 30% (compared to the Alpha 7 III) the detection accuracy of human faces and eyes. Note that the box also benefits from 15 stops of dynamic range, in photo as in video.
Sony updates the “classic” of its Alpha 7 series in Mark IV version. © Sony
On the video capture side, there are also new developments, with the possibility of recording in 4K at 60p in Super 35 and recording up to 4K at 30p in full format with oversampling on 7K. The box proposes to encode this video stream in 4: 2: 2 on 10 bits, against 4: 2: 0 8 bits for the previous model. By associating the Alpha 7 IV with a Sony E-mount lens, the firm adds several functions such as the AF Assistant which manages focus transitions or the Focus MAP to visualize the area of sharpness and depth of field. This model also offers Focus Breathing compensation that Sony describes as a solution to compensate for the slight change in focal length depending on the focusing distance. The goal is to maintain a fixed frame during the stitch transition sequence.
In terms of ergonomics, the case has undergone a few adjustments and is equipped with a two-level mode selector dial. The lower one lets you choose photo, video, or slow & fast motion mode, while the upper one offers Auto / P / A / S / M shooting modes or custom settings. There is also a mechanical stabilization system on five axes with a gain of 5.5 IL, as well as an improved grip. The camera can accommodate a CFexpress Type A card and features an approximately 3.68 million dot Quad-VGA OLED viewfinder, roughly 1.6 times the definition of the Alpha 7 III. A 3-inch, 1.03 million-dot touchscreen LCD, which can be rotated sideways, is also present.
The Alpha 7 IV wants to convince in photo and video. © Sony
Finally, the Alpha 7 IV boasts trendy connectivity options with the ability to stream content. The connection between the camera and the Sony application is made via Bluetooth, and the transfer can be carried out via 5 GHz or 2.4 GHz WiFi. Thanks to the USB Video Class (UVC) and Audio Class (UAC), it is possible to transform the Alpha 7 IV into a streaming camera, with Full HD at 60p or 4K at 15p.
Pricing and availability
The Sony Alpha 7 IV will be available in December, priced at 2,800 euros for the bare body or 3,000 euros for the kit version with the 28-70mm FE. On the sidelines of this announcement, the manufacturer has also launched two new flash dedicated to the Alpha range. The HVL-F60RM2 will be marketed in November at a price of 650 euros and the HVL-F46RM flash will be displayed at the same time at a price of 430 euros.