A look at the design and ergonomics of the new Sony A7 IV

User experience greatly affects the quality of the cameras we use. How has that changed for the new Sony a7 IV?

Sony finally unveiled the new a7 IV just over a week ago. The a7 series is widely known for being the jack of all trades in the Sony system, as the a7R range focuses on high resolution stills and the a7S has dedicated features for producing high quality videos. The a7 III was released in mid-2018 and has been a favorite among photographers and videographers, professionals and hobbyists.

The Sony a7 IV was found to contain many improvements from the three-year-old a7 III. It features a 33-megapixel 35mm full-frame back-illuminated CMOS sensor with an ISO range of 100 to 51,200, expandable to 50 to 204,800, covering a dynamic range of over 15 stops. For video recording, it is capable of shooting in 4K at 60p in Super 35 crop mode or in 4K 30p without cropping, upsampled from 7K resolution. It brings S-cinetone to the a7 series with internal 10-bit 4: 2: 2 color sampling.

In addition to all of this, there are a number of other important changes, such as a higher resolution viewfinder, video eye autofocus, gyro data stabilization, and focus breathing compensation. developed, among many other improvements. In this article, however, let’s take a look at the physical and ergonomic changes the a7IV has over its predecessor.

As a warning, I got early access to this a7 IV unit as a Sony brand ambassador in my country. However, like all other equipment related items, any opinions expressed here are in no way dictated by the brand.

An almost identical twin

The a7 IV looks a lot more like the a7S III than the older a7 cameras. As Sony calls this camera model the one created for hybrid shooters (that is, those who take both photos and videos), it is no surprise that there are many ergonomic changes to be made. observed for a better handling of the videos. Many of the changes and features that we can see on this camera are also features that we have seen on recent models, such as the Sony a1, a7C, and of course the a7S III.

Sensor protection function

Before all the features related to ergonomics and user experience, some photographers might be pleased to see that this inherits the handy sensor protection feature of the Sony a1 and a9 II which closes the shutter when the camera is on the go. is off. This may be an irrelevant feature for some, but for photographers and videographers who change lenses a lot in the field, it will greatly reduce the risk of having annoying dust or moisture on the bare sensor.

Folding screen and indicator light

This new a7 camera features a flip-up, variable-angle display that now appears to be the new standard for Sony full-frame cameras. This 3.0-inch monitor has a resolution of 1,036,800 dots and is touch-sensitive for focus and parameter selection. This type of screen has of course been seen on all cameras released since the a7S III, such as the a7C and even the smaller ZV-1 and ZV-E10 cameras.

Another feature of the screen that the a7 IV inherits from the a7S III is the highlighted recording indicator on the screen. Although technically this is just a simple firmware feature, many users of the camera appreciated its availability due to the simple but common mistake of forgetting to start recording. This tally light feature highlights the edges of the frame in red so that the user has no problem making sure the camera is recording

Buttons

Perhaps the most significant physical change to the a7 IV is the placement and layout of buttons and dials. The most obvious (and expected) change is the location and size of the video record button. Another similar aspect to the a7S III and a7C in which the video buttons are placed right next to the shutter button for easier access. For this reason, the C1 custom button was moved to where the button was, while the C2 button remained right next to the record button.

Wheels and dials

While the front and rear wheels remain the same, the two main dials on the top panel have both changed significantly. The EV dial, which was standard for many generations of a7, a7S, and a7R cameras, has been transformed into an unmarked dial with a lock button. This dial now allows full customization of its function via the menu and can be programmed to change depending on the mode you are in.

The main mode dial lost dedicated video and S&Q stops. Instead, this fashion dial now has a sub-dial underneath with an unlock button. This sub-dial toggles the camera between still, video, and S&Q modes, while the main dial toggles program / priority settings. This switching is of course combined with how the menu system has been simplified to some extent.

Menu system

Another aspect common with the a7S III is the new Sony menu system. Although still quite rich in options, the organization in folders and sub-folders allows easier navigation. With the presence of the mode sub-dial, the menu options on image quality and other mode-related settings change when they switch to a different mode, dramatically reducing the number of unrelated options. the user currently does.

Side ports and memory card door

A big change in terms of memory card compatibility on the a7 IV is the additional compatibility for type A CFexpress cards.The old SD card configuration of the a7 III is now a dual SD but with a hybrid slot for welcome the new type of card. However, a less noticed change is that the memory card door now takes up more of the side panel and requires a slightly different movement to open. From the previous slide switch, it now takes a reverse L-motion to slide the switch and pull the door out before it opens.

On the other side are the various mini-doors to access the ports with the significant addition of a USB-C port that can be used for data transfer, charging, as well as plug-and-play USB streaming. play. Along with this, the a7 IV now has a full-size HDMI port instead of the previous standard compatibility with micro-HDMI cables.

Sony has taken its time to develop this new camera, and the physical and functional attributes prove it. Although the specs and features have been announced around the world, there is still a lot to be seen on the actual performance of the Sony a7 IV.

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About Cecil D. Ramirez

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