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Review: Is the Sony A7IV the best generalist camera for 2022?8 min read

Wanderlust Pulse
Sony A7IV Review

Sony A7IV

$2,699.99
9.1

Value over A7III

8.0/10

Casual Use

10.0/10

Imaging

9.5/10

Video

9.0/10

Pros

  • Still Extremely Compact
  • Fantastic Image Quality
  • Durable Without Being Clunky
  • Fantastic LCD / Physical balance
  • True Hybrid Camera

Cons

  • Significantly Pricier than Previous Models
  • LCD Screen is Subpar to Competitors
  • Sony-only Lens Ecosystem

Sony rocked the photography world several days back with the fresh announcement of their new entry in the popular A7 series, appropriately named, the Sony A7IV. If you’ve been following us for a while then you’ll know that we were big fans of the Sony A7III and it shouldn’t be a surprise that we’re ecstatic about this announcement. The A7 series have always been great cameras for hobbyists and enthusiasts alike, and this is a timely facelift to the 2018 A7III.

Honestly people had been talking about a A7IV release date in 2021 for almost a year now, but now that we have the official word, and official specs, it’s time to take a closer look at the Sony A7IV and see what it can do.

Sony A7IV Release Date

According to the announcement, the Sony A7IV is going to be available to SONY retailers in December 2021, and is expected to run about €2800 if you bring your own lens. This makes it quite a bit more expensive than the Sony A7III was on release, running about a thousand euro more, which is a steep ask.

That said, if you don’t have a Sony lens for this camera, you are saving a bit by purchasing the ‘Lens kit’. It comes with a SEL2870 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 which is a fantastic generalist lens. The lens kit package is only going to be €3000 despite the SEL2870 being a €500. It’s not huge savings, but it’s something.

The Best Sony Lenses

Are you still looking for other alternatives? We tested many different Sony lenses, rated their performance, and reviewed their quality to help you pick the right lens so you can create a unique photograph during your next trip.

Still Photography with the Sony A7IV

The Sony A7IV has a strong legacy to live up to when it comes to still photography, but it absolutely delivers out of the box. One of the first things I noticed was that the raw resolution of the camera is powerful. The Sony A7IV sports a solid 34MP sensor at its heart, which is a hefty jump from the 24MP of the previous series. In fact, this even trumps some new releases from other companies like the Canon R3. Of course, the raw resolution numbers aren’t everything, but a 33% increase is certainly a strong start when it comes to justifying the upgrade.

One thing that is absolutely wonderful when compared to the previous model is the integration Eye tracking and similar features when it comes to auto-focus. Though the A7III was fine when it came out, the AF of the camera was one of the most dated parts of the machine. This is fixed in the A7IV in two huge ways. The first is that the power of eye tracking is generally integrated, no longer needing a separate button on the back to issue the command. The second is that their Real Time Tracking Autofocus that released with the A9 has made the jump to the A7 series, which is a welcome addition for getting crisp in-focus shots every time.

Travel Photography with the Sony A7IV

When it comes to specific travel photography, the biggest changes and victories for the Sony A7IV mostly appear in the form of quality-of-life additions to the camera that are really going to rock on the road. These features might not sound like game-changers, but they are when you need them.

A small but critical feature is that the Sony A7IV comes with a ‘close shutter when powered down’ setting for the camera. This might not sound like a lot, but as long as you’re willing to wait three seconds after powering down, this makes it significantly safer to swap lenses outside of your hotel room. Typically, if you’re out and about, dust, water and anything else in the air can make it impossible to safely swap, but this prevents particles on the sensor and doesn’t ruin your day.

Really quickly we do have to mention that the shutter guarding the sensor is… well a shutter. It’s not made to take any form of punishment so, while it’s good for swapping, you’ll generally want additional cover if you plan on doing anything extreme with the camera.

New Screens for Travel with the A7IV

I’m typically a viewfinder man, but sometimes getting your face right behind the camera gets in the way of the perfect shot. To solve this, the Sony A7IV comes with a fully articulating LCD screen that you can use as a viewfinder. Because this screen covers the full 360 degrees it’s fantastic for getting the right angle, or the right selfie, in the moment.

The LCD also comes with complete touch functionality for any menu fiddling you need to do on the go. That’s great, and luckily for us traditionalists Sony didn’t leave that as the only option for handling the menus, with a solid joystick that’s nice and beefy for people who prefer old school buttons. That said, similarly to the full articulation, when you need it, the touch-capability is nice.

My one gripe is that the resolution of the screen leaves a little bit to be desired. At 1k dots it’s lackluster and falls solidly in the category of ‘fine, I guess.’ Considering the rest of the camera tends to excel it’s actually really disappointing to see it fall short of something you’ll be staring at all day. Like I mentioned, I’m a viewfinder guy, so it wouldn’t be a deal-breaker for me, but if you’re planning on using this as a vlogging camera, that screen resolution might not cut it.

Videography with the Sony A7IV

According to Sony, they wanted the A7IV to be a hybrid camera and as a general statement, they succeeded. The camera breezes through shooting in 60fps 4k and can even leap up to a whopping 7k 30FPS for oversampling which almost feels audacious.

The camera is also built to really let you swap back and forth between video and stills without really worrying about the details. Alongside a dedicated physical switch (halleluiah), the camera has the added function to ‘remember’ what settings you want to share between stills and video. This seriously lowers the time it takes to switch between the two modes, because as soon as you know the settings you like for a certain shoot, you can swap between them freely instead of constantly reminding yourself to change the ISO by 400 between stills and video.

Additionally, the camera can shoot at 4k 60FPS for over and hour thanks to the new heat sinks that Sony added to the camera. Considering I’ve played with cameras that can barely manage half of that before turning into a furnace, it’s a welcome feature.

Sony Alpha 7 IV announcement

The Body of the Sony A7IV on Release

The Sony A7IV has a lot going for it in the tech department, and it doesn’t stop there. Pretty much everything about the camera’s body is a fair upgrade from the old models, and a lot of the models on the market.

One of the things I personally love is that the body itself is both sturdy and surprisingly lightweight. I feel like it’s always tempting for companies to make each iteration of a camera bigger and bigger but the Sony A7IV adds less than 0.5cm to each dimension of the camera over the compact A7iii. Even more impressive is that the slightly larger camera only weighs 8 grams more than its predecessor. If you love the feeling of the A7 line in your hands, it’s not changing here, and this is a camera that isn’t going to get in the way while you’re on the go.

Additionally, alongside the big improvements to the video, the Sony A7IV finally has a full-size HDMI port on the bottom of the camera. Now, you were either very excited about that, or it means nothing to you, but honestly if Sony had skipped the HDMI it would have been a big miss, so thank goodness.

Sony A7IV Battery Life

The battery life of your camera is always critical, and the Sony A7IV has decent stats. According to the CIPA the battery should stay alive for about 670 shots, and honestly, I’ve typically seen it go a bit further. Either way that will last as long as you need it considering you’re not constantly holding down the shutter, but I still suggest bringing along a backup to anywhere you want memories.

Additionally, I just need to hammer home again that this thing can shoot continuous video for an hour. That’s not the battery talking but it’s crazy.

A7IV - Review: Is the Sony A7IV the best generalist camera for 2022?

Should You Buy the A7IV on Release?

The Sony A7IV is a huge win for the line in my book. Earlier in the year I pointed out that the Sony A7III was worth buying despite being three years old, and that’s still true, but the A7IV honestly takes a dominant position in my books as long as you can stomach the price increase. Honestly, I feel like I’ll be writing about this camera in 2025, and telling all of you that it’s still worth buying. It’s a premium generalist camera.

Pros

  • Still Extremely Compact
  • Fantastic Image Quality
  • Durable Without Being Clunky
  • Fantastic LCD / Physical balance
  • True Hybrid Camera

Cons

  • Significantly Pricier than Previous Models
  • LCD Screen is Subpar to Competitors
  • Sony-only Lens Ecosystem.

New to photography?

If you are new at photography, you want to look into these free guides.

  1. Understand exposure and how it influences your pictures. 
  2. How to compose and create unique pictures
  3. How to drastically improve your photos by editing them in Lightroom
  4. Bonus: a list of 5 simple apps to help you planning landscapes, time-lapses, and sunrises

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