Review: Sony A7 IV, The Ultimate Camera For Video & Photo


The Sony a7 IV is an incredible photography camera, but it’s also an incredible video camera. Coming in at $2,500, this is not a cheap camera. This is a professional camera. And it’s probably the best hybrid camera that you can buy for the price. But there’s a catch.

There are a few things you need to know before buying the Sony a7 IV. For some of you guys it might be a deal breaker, and for others you might not care at all. So let’s get right into the video. You gotta just press record. – Hey guys, my name is Nolan Molt with Think Media and I’m gonna share 25 things I love about the Sony a7 IV.

Most of these things have to do with video because that is how I use these cameras, is for video. But if you’re a photographer, it’s OK, hang in there, because I have my buddy Omar on the Think Media team sharing his thoughts on using the Sony a7 IV for photography, so stay tuned for that. But as a YouTuber and video creator, this camera, as far as the video features go, has excited me a lot. Now, of course, there’s those two things I’m gonna cover at the very end, but let’s get into number one.

Easy way to Select the Best Sony A7 IV

Number one, it just feels so good in the hand.

The grip is nice and big. It really reminds me of the Sony a7S III. It’s very easy to grab and just get handheld shots with this camera. Number two is you get that flip-out screen, and I love that Sony is moving towards these flip-out screens rather than just the swivel screens that you get on the back of most of their cameras. Now we’re getting some flip-out screens, and that’s no different on the Sony a7 IV.

Now, you do get the dual SD-card slots, just like on the Sony a7 III, but there has been an upgrade.

Both those slots are gonna be compatible with just your normal SD-card slots, but one of those card slots is also compatible with their CFexpress Type A cards. Now, the reason you’d want the CF Type A card is because it can read and write a lot faster than your traditional SD card. And you might need that CF Type A card if you’re planning on shooting in 10-bit, 4K, 60 frames per second. All that kind of stuff, we’re gonna be covering a little bit later.

Now, you’re also gonna get the Sony NP-FZ100 battery on this camera, and I really love using these batteries with these cameras. The Sony a7 IV really lasts a long time when you’re vlogging. If you’re shooting YouTube videos, you can get by with a lot with just one battery. On the side of the camera, you do have an option for USB-C so you can charge your camera while shooting, or even power your camera indefinitely if you wanna plug in through there.

Another thing I love is how easy it is to livestream on this camera.

So through the USB-C port, you can plug this straight into your computer. It’s gonna give you a prompt and all you have to do is select what you want to do. There’s gonna be a few options. You’re gonna hit livestreaming, and it just connects flawlessly straight to your computer. And then, at this point, you can use it like a webcam.

You can livestream, use it for meetings, whatever you wanna do, but it’s really easy, really simple. And there’s been some big improvements for livestreaming with this camera through USB-C. Previously on the Sony cameras, through USB-C you could only go up to 720p, but now you can do 1080p up to 60 frames per second, which is a huge upgrade.

You’re also able now to record video while you are livestreaming. So when you’re plugged in, you can still hit the record button on the camera.

And you’re able to record videos even if you’re livestreaming or you’re on a Zoom call. You can do both at the same time. Now, on top of the camera, you’re gonna see a new little dial switch, and this is for photo and video mode. And you can change this, which really opens up a lot more options. Since this is really a hybrid camera, meaning it’s meant to shoot photos and shoot videos on, having this has been a game changer.

This allows you to really treat this camera as a photography camera with all your settings and all your setups that way, but also change it to video mode and now all your function buttons can be different.

All your presets, one and two dials, all those can be different. Now, also on top of the camera, the exposure wheel is now customizable, so you can change this. You can leave it as exposure wheel, but you can also change it to white balance or shutter speed, whatever else you want to do. If you just wanna move it with your thumb, make it really easy to do so.

Personally, I never really use the exposure wheel, but you’re able to change that now.

There’s also now a close-shutter option so if you power down your camera, the shutter is going to close and protect that sensor. This is something that I’m really glad that Sony is implementing into their new cameras. Now, you also get the electronic viewfinder, and typically you see the photographers kind of holding it up to their eye and taking photos, but this is actually really nice for videographers outside when they’re shooting in the sun. Being able to put your eye up to this and have a really clear image of what you’re shooting is super nice.

Now, back on the side of the camera, you do have a full-size HDMI port. You also have a mic jack, a headphone jack, and this camera is going to be weather sealed. Now, all that stuff is really about the hardware of the camera, but there is a lot going inside of this camera and with the image that I wanna talk about.

This is the stuff that really, really excites me. And as I’m shooting this video, I keep getting reminded of the things I love about this camera.

So there’s probably gonna be more than 25 things by the time I get to the end of this list, but, hey, that’s a good thing. All right, now let’s talk about some of the internal things specifically for video that I love about this camera. And then, after this, I’ll have Omar share his thoughts on the photography side of things.

First of all, the image quality. It is absolutely beautiful.

When I went out and I got footage with this camera, it looked just like my Sony a7S III. Literally, side by side, I could not tell you which one was different. And the Sony a7S III costs $8,000 more. And when you’re shooting on this thing, especially something like this, you’re not gonna be able to tell which camera is which. Now, before I talk more about this camera and show you even more footage, I wanted to talk about today’s sponsor, which is Epidemic Sound.

Now, if you’re someone who is making YouTube videos, or you’re just making video for the internet, then you need music for your videos and you wanna make sure to use copyright-free music, and that’s why we use Epidemic Sound. So the music that you heard at the beginning of the video was from Epidemic Sound.

And we love using Epidemic Sound for a lot of reasons, but one of the reasons is, on their website, it’s super easy to find the music that you need. Now, for most of Think Media’s videos, literally what I do is I just go on to epidemicsound.com.

I type in “hip-hop” into their search, and then, for the mood, I type in “laid back.” And from here, we have tons of results. Any of these music options are gonna work really well in our videos. I really appreciate the quality of music that they have on their site.

It’s actually really, really good music that you can use for tons of different stuff.

And another reason I love using Epidemic Sound is because of their sound effects. You can go to their sound-effects library and, just like the music, you can search for the sound effects that you need. If you wanna get your first month for free, you can go to ThinkMediaSounds.com, or you can check the link in the description. All right, now let’s jump right back into the a7 IV review.

Now, I know people are going to ask. This was actually shot on the Sony a7S III with a 20-millimeter 1.8 lens. Sadly, I had to return this camera. I had it for two weeks and I shot on it as much as I could.

So just know I wasn’t able to do every single test that I wanted to do on that camera, but I was able to do enough. I shot a ton of video with that camera, and enough to tell you that it is going to look just like these higher-end Sony cameras, like the a7S III, like the FX3. You are gonna get a great image out of the a7 IV. And one of the reasons that you’re able to get such a beautiful image out of this camera is because you can shoot in 10-bit. Now, previously, on the older Sony cameras, you could only shoot in 8-bit color depth.

Basically 10-bit just means there’s gonna be more colors, so when you’re shooting in flat picture profiles, something like S-Log3, it’s really easy to grade, it’s really easy to mess the colors around, without having any weird artifacts happening or tons of noise happening in the shot. Now, that is a super-basic way of explaining it. I’m sure there’s a lot more videos explaining 10-bit versus 8-bit, so go and check that out if you’re still confused on that.

But basically you’re able to shoot now in S-Log3 on this camera because of that 10-bit color depth. On other Sony cameras that only have 8-bit options, it’s a bit harder to shoot in log profile so typically people will shoot in S-Log2, but they can’t really shoot in S-Log3 because it just doesn’t work so well. The image starts to fall apart.

And even if you have something like a Sony a7C, shooting in S-Log2 in that flat picture profile with the 8-bit color depth, it’s actually kinda hard to get the image just right. And this is because you have to overexpose and then grade it later and make sure there’s no noise. And if it’s too dark and your ISO is too high, then you can’t shoot in S-Log2.

It’s really just a mess.

But now everything has changed. We’re getting 10-bit on these Sony cameras and we’re able to shoot in log picture profiles and, honestly, it’s easier to shoot in S-Log 10-bit 3. Yes, it’s gonna take up a little bit more space, but it is so much easier to actually go out and get a nice shot. Really what this means is, when you go with the a7 IV and you wanna get a very high-quality picture quality, it’s pretty easy to do so. You can just shoot how you would normally shoot.

You don’t have to overexpose your image or do anything weird like that. You just shoot everything in S-Log3 at the native ISO and you’re getting really clean, really good-looking images.

Now, on this camera, you’re also able to shoot in S-Cinetone which is kind of a newer thing that the cheaper end of Sony cameras have started to implement into their cameras. On this camera, we also get the new Sony menu system which I much prefer over the older menu system. And there’s actually a few new features found in this menu system that you can use on this camera that isn’t available to other cameras.

I think they’re gonna release it out to the a7S III and other higher-end Sony cameras in the future. I sure hope so. But, right now, these are just found on the Sony a7 IV, and that is focus breathing. And this is a really cool effect that the a7 IV can do, which basically just crops your lens in a little bit so that there is no more focus breathing in your lens. Now, this shot right here is focus breathing turned off and, if you look at the edges, it’s gonna jump around a lot as it is focusing.

Now, this is not a zoom lens. This is a prime lens, but as it focuses it almost looks like it’s zooming in and zooming out a little bit.

Now, when we turn on the focus-breathing assist, it’s gonna crop in just a little bit. But when we move in this action figure, we can see that there is no more focus breathing. And for me, as a videographer, this is such a cool thing to see them adding into their cameras.

Now, the autofocus is the best it has ever been. It goes up there with the Sony a1. This thing is literally gonna keep you in focus. It has that eye autofocus. It even has the animal-eye autofocus that some of the higher-end cameras don’t have.

This one has all the good stuff, all the autofocus stuff you’re gonna need. Another one of these new features is focus mapping. So if you’re in manual focus, instead of your traditional peaking that you would see on the screen, this is kind of a new way to see what is in focus.

Now, I love the idea of this feature, but, to me, it is way too hard to see. It kind of feels like a beta version that they shouldn’t have released.

It just doesn’t work so well. I can’t see myself actually using it. So this is definitely a feature that I’m excited to see get developed, and I just hope that they make it better and better because this is something I would use if it didn’t look all blocky and chunky and hard to see, but eventually I can’t wait to use this feature.

You also get dual-native ISO on this camera. So in S-Log3, when you’re shooting, 800 is gonna be your native ISO, and then this jumps up to 3,200 ISO for your second native ISO.

All this means is that when you’re shooting video and you start jumping up your ISO, instead of it getting grainier and grainier, it’s still gonna happen, but once it hits 3,200 ISO, it’s going to reset and it’s gonna look perfectly clean again.

The a7 IV also has incredible IBIS, which is that in-body image stabilization. So that sensor is actually going to stabilize. So even if you have a lens that doesn’t have that optical stabilization, you can get really steady shots with this camera. Personally I really love the in-body image stabilization.

It’s literally saved me so many times. And this is gonna work in every single mode, 4K, 30, 24, 60, 120 frames per second. Whatever you’re shooting in, you can use the IBIS. Previously, on the a7 III, if you had an external monitor plugged in, basically you’d lose a lot of features and the autofocus wouldn’t work so well.

But that’s not the case anymore.

When you plug in an external monitor to this camera you still have the autofocus, you still have everything working perfectly. However, the only thing Sony has not fixed on their cameras, which I hope they do this in a firmware update because I think they could, I mean, I don’t know, but I think they could, which is to make it that when your HDMI info displays to the external monitor, your screen goes black.

And this is normal on all Sony cameras. What you do is, when you plug in the external monitor, you just don’t have the HDMI info displayed so you have a clean feed on your monitor. Now, this actually isn’t one of the two things that I don’t like.

I just wish that they would fix it in a firmware update, but you get that on all the Sony cameras right now. Now, I also love that you can connect the camera to an app. If you’re a solo shooter, you can connect it to your phone. And they have a free app that you can use, and it’s pretty low latency. So this is really perfect for the solo creators.

If you’re trying to set up a shot of just yourself, you’re able to connect this to your camera and get a really clean feed.

I love this on the Sony cameras. I love using it all the time for me, as a solo creator. And so that is a huge hack with this camera. Now, another frustrating thing about older Sony cameras is when you shoot in 4K at 30 frames per second, there is a little bit of a crop there.

So on my Sony a6600, even on the Sony a7 III, when you shoot in 4K, 30 frames per second, you have a crop. But on this camera, there is no more crop at 4K, 24 frames or 30 frames per second. There’s also a cool feature for autofocus assist. So in autofocus mode if you want to turn your lens to manual focus, you can do this without touching any buttons, changing any settings, as long as you have the autofocus assist turned on. Now, after using the a7 IV for a few weeks, there was this one feature that I really liked using, and then when I jumped back to my Sony a7S III, I was like, “Wait a minute.

Does the Sony a7S III have this feature?” And it didn’t. And I was kinda shocked because I was used to using this feature and I really enjoyed it.

And that is the APS-C crop mode. So on the a7 IV, if you’re vlogging, if you’re shooting video, you can actually set this to a custom button.

And this is gonna crop in and you can still shoot in 4K, but you are in crop mode so you can get a tighter shot. And this was super useful when I was vlogging ’cause I just brought one zoom lens with me and if I wanted to get in a little bit tighter then I could do that with that button. Now, the last thing that I love about this camera, and, honestly, I probably left certain things out so I’ll make sure to comment down below if I left anything out. And I also would love to hear your thoughts on this camera. Let me know if you’re thinking about picking one of these up, or maybe if this is a camera you’d love to upgrade to eventually, let me know in the comments.

I’d love to chat to you there. But what I love about this camera, and a lot of people dog on this, is the 4K, 60 frames per second.

So you can actually shoot in 60 frames per second in 4K in 10-bit on this camera. And honestly it looks good. These shots right here were shot in 4K at 60 frames per second, and I think it’s beautiful.

I love that we still get that 10-bit footage, the 4K, it’s all crispy, it’s all clear, but there’s a catch. And that catch is that when you’re shooting in 4K, 60 frames per second, you do get a crop.

So basically it’s like turning on that APS-C crop. It’s a 1.5 crop.

Now, before you even really get into crop and ways to avoid it, as well as another thing I don’t really like about this Sony a7 IV, we are gonna talk about the photography with this camera. So I asked Omar on the Think Media team to give us his thoughts on the photography capabilities with this camera. So, Omar, it’s all yours. – Thanks so much, Nolan. And, yes, I absolutely love the Sony a7 IV for photography as it’s a phenomenal photography camera.

And I know Nolan’s talked about some of the video specs. But, man, let me tell you, if you are a photographer, this is a camera to look out for as well. And I’ll talk about the reasons why, but just to show you some examples of some photos I was able to take from our Think Media leadership retreat here in Las Vegas. It just performs so good in so many different situations and circumstances. And, you know, one thing I absolutely love about this camera for photos particularly is its megapixel count.

It gives you 33 megapixels, which I believe is a sweet spot. I think the last time I actually messed with photos with around that much was when I had an a7R II that had around 40 megapixels or so.

And what I loved about having this megapixel count was for a few reasons, one being that you can crop into your image and retain a lot of detail because at 33 megapixels, you’re gonna get a lot of detail even when you crop in. So maybe you’re doing it for social media, or you’re doing it for other things. It’s just nice to have that flexibility.

The other level of flexibility you get because of the megapixel count is the dynamic range. With over 15 stops of dynamic range, you could take a photo with lighting behind you and have enough detail that you can actually bring down the highlights of the bright areas and bring up the shadows, and you would think that a light is hitting the subject that you’re taking.

And it’s something I love about my previous Sony cameras, and so I love that Sony was able to push the limits when it came to the megapixel count. And I don’t think it’s overkill because the Sony a7 IV, coming in at over $1,000 more than this camera, has a 61-megapixel count, which I think is just way too much for most people. But 33, what a sweet spot.

Most cameras come in at around 24 megapixels, so that extra notch is gonna be really nice.

The next thing that I love about this camera for photography is its autofocus capabilities. This camera has a fast hybrid autofocus system that really could be trusted whether you’re shooting humans, dogs, or even birds. Yes, you would lock in on the eyes of humans, dogs, and birds, which, that’s crazy. So if you’re into landscape and things like that, it’s phenomenal for that, but if you’re shooting people, you know, with a camera, of course, it’s gonna be a great time saver because you’re gonna nail the shot right when you take it ’cause it’s gonna lock into their face.

Which is super nice for people just getting into photography. And then the next thing that I absolutely loved kinda came with the ergonomic factor of the camera, just how they built the switches on the top to transition from photo to video. It’s something I absolutely love. No longer do I have to go into a menu or switch a dial a million different ways. It’s just one switch and then you’re in photo mode, which is so awesome and makes it so easy to use.

So it’s really crazy how they’re really giving you professional features with the ease of use because of the autofocus and the ergonomics as well. But I really had a joy using this camera. I’m excited to actually use this camera for legit work, like weddings and portraits and things like that ’cause I know it’ll crush. But all I have to say, a phenomenal camera for photography. And I think it’s just really something to consider when you’re investing into a camera or a camera body, is, “What am I getting out of this camera?

” In many cases, you’ll buy a camera that’s really good with just video and doesn’t really shine in photography, or vice versa. But what I love about the a7 IV is it’s the perfect hybrid camera.

But passing it back to you, Nolan, to talk more about this camera. – Thanks, Omar, for chiming in on the photography side of things because I definitely don’t do photography as much as I can, and you’re just a beast. But I totally agree with Omar.

I think this is the best hybrid camera you can buy. It’s definitely the best camera a content creator could buy. If you’re looking for a camera that’s under $2,500, you will not find a camera with these specs that is this good, looks this good, just has so much to offer.

And I really wanted to throw that in there before I tell you the two things that I don’t like about this camera. And, honestly, it might not even affect you.

Maybe it will, depending on what you’re shooting. So let’s talk about that, because for some of you, you might not see an issue. Maybe you don’t shoot in 60 frames per second often.

Maybe you just do talking-head stuff like this, well, that’s gonna be perfect for you. But I know, for a lot of people out there and for people like me, you do shoot slow motion, whether it’s for B-roll or certain short films or music videos.

Whatever you’re doing using this camera, you are gonna need some slow motion. And it is really nice to have 4K resolution at 60 frames per second.

But if you wanna have that full-frame look, you do need to jump down to 1080. However, I’m really glad that the option is there for 4K, 60 frames per second because most of the time I would wanna try and get that shot to work first because that extra resolution just makes it so much sharper. It gives you the ability to stabilize or crop into your shot, and so I do wanna shoot in 4K when I can.

So really the work-around for this would be to get some wider-angle lenses for this crop mode, which kinda sucks to try and get a lens specifically for a crop mode, but you could do this. And the nice thing about this, though, is you can get the APS-C lenses made for the crop-sensored Sony cameras, like the SIGMA 16 millimeter 1.4. You could throw that onto your a7 IV and use that lens. And there won’t be any vignetting if you’re shooting in 4K, 60 frames per second because it crops in and it’s gonna give you the same look as something like a ZV-E10.

And, honestly, getting a lens like that might just be the way to go if you’re shooting a lot of 4K, 60 frames per second. However, I think a lot of people are going to upgrade from this camera from something like a ZV-E10, or something like the Sony a6600, a6400, because this is just a much more professional camera. I know a lot of people who have those cameras, who have the APS-C-size sensors, and they wanna upgrade to a Sony full-frame system. Now, the a7C has been an option, but that didn’t have 10-bit and the a7S III was just a bit too expensive. And so this camera really is that perfect middle ground.

It’s a fantastic camera to upgrade to if you want to shoot high quality videos and photos, shoot in S-Log3, have all that dynamic range, all the beautiful colors. And so this camera makes a lot of sense for upgrading from an APS-C-size camera.

Now, the reason I make this point of the upgrade from the smaller lens to the bigger lens is because those people can just look at shooting 4K, 60 frames per second, as shooting on an APS-C-size sensor, but in 4K, 60 frames per second, in 10-bit color depth. Now, just imagine if the Sony ZV-E10 had 4K, 60 frames per second, or even if it had 10 bits. A lot of people would be using that camera.

So I think for a lot of people… Oh, hi, Willow. Hi.

So I think for a lot of people like me, who may be disappointed by the 4K-60 crop, there are workarounds and it’s definitely worth still getting this camera even though it has the crop. Now, the second thing I really don’t like about this camera is the rolling shutter. Basically, when you move your camera really quickly, it’s gonna give you this Jell-O effect. Now, if you own something like the Sony a6000 series, the ZV-E10, even the a7 III, you are familiar with this rolling shutter.

And so, if you’re used to it and you don’t really care or don’t really find it an issue, then this is an easy upgrade for you.

However, if you are someone who shoots a lot of videos where the camera is moving very fast and jittery, and you do notice the rolling shutter kinda ruining some of your shots, then this might not be the camera to upgrade to.

You might need to save another $1,000 and just get the Sony a7S III, because that camera does not have that crazy rolling shutter. Now, I think there is a large percentage of people, though, who rolling shutter is never going to affect their work. If you are someone making online content and videos, you’re probably gonna have your camera on a tripod like this, talking to the camera, for a lot of the stuff that you do. Or maybe you throw it on a tripod and you get some panning and tilting, or you get it on a gimbal, and all this stuff really.

.. The rolling shutter isn’t going to affect this footage because the camera’s not moving side to side or up and down really fast. But if you are someone who’s going to vlog a lot and maybe you’re shaking the camera around a lot, you are going to notice this. And when I was vlogging on the camera, I did notice some of the rolling shutter.

For me, when I was vlogging on the camera, most of the time I never had an issue or even noticed the rolling shutter, except when I was setting up my shots to vlog or setting ’em down.

You could see that it looked a little bit Jell-O-y. But I used this camera all day long at the Think Media leadership retreat, and I was getting B-roll and just different shots of people, and I didn’t notice any issues with the rolling shutter. So, yes, you can vlog on the Sony a7 IV, and turning on the stabilization with IBIS is actually going to help a bit with that rolling shutter and kinda get rid of that. So most people aren’t going to have an issue with the rolling shutter.

However, if this camera really didn’t have any rolling shutter, it would be an easy buy for me rather than getting the a7S III.

I would just get the Sony a7 IV. Overall this camera has absolutely leveled up in almost every single category. It’s a fantastic photo camera, a fantastic video camera. It still blows my mind that you can literally compare this footage to something like the Sony a7S III and not tell a difference.

I love to see it. But if you’re still not sure if you should get the a7 IV, the Sony a7S III, or the Sony a7C, I have a video just for you. It’s the Sony Full Frame Buyers Guide. Which one should you buy for video? Click on the screen.

As found on YouTube

Matt Hewett

Assistant Strength Coach, at Tennessee Tech University Director of Athletic Performance TN Tech Crossfit Affiliate Cupx3 Owner @opengym linktr.ee/opengym Matt holds a Master’s in Sports Science and a Bachelor’s in Exercise Science. During his time with the company, he served as the Fitness and Training Editor at staplifestylewear. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and has spoken at state conferences on the topics of writing in the fitness industry and building a brand. Live in: Cookeville, Tennessee Hometown: Dresden, Tennessee Favorite Exercise: Deadlift
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