Sony A7 III vs A7 IV – The Full Comparison

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Sony A7 III vs A7 IV – The Full Comparison
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Since its release in 2018, The A7 mark III has become the most popular full-frame camera, with its excellent quality, amazing performance, and competitive price. Sony’s new a7 IV includes a series of upgrades but it’s also seen a price increase.

Given how good the Sony a7 III was, we wanted to answer two questions: Which camera is the better buy, and is there any sense in upgrading?

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at these two full-frame cameras to see how they differ and try to help you work out which is the better choice for you.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Specifications
  1. Comparison
  2. Comparison summary
  3. Conclusion

Sony A7 III vs A7 IV

  1. Specification

Sony a7 III

Sony A7 III camera body

 

Sony a7 III Specs 
Announced27/02/2018  
Sensor24.2MP 35mm format BSI Exmor R CMOS
Lens systemE-mount
Weather proofYes
Internal StabilisationYes (5-axis)
Autofocus Hybrid with 693 phase and 425 contrast detection points
Continuous shooting3fps to 10fps with AE/AF Tracking
ISO Sensitivity100 – 51200 ISO (pull 50, push 204800)
Shutter Speeds1/8000 to 30s, Bulb
Viewfinder0.5in OLED with 2.36M dots, 23mm eye point, 0.78x magnification and 60fps refresh rate
Rear monitorTilting 3″ LCD (0.92M dots) with touch sensitivity
Movie recording4K up to 30fps, Full HD up to 120fps, S-Log and HLG gamma
Built-in FlashNo
Extra FeaturesWiFi, Bluetooth, Bracketing, Intervalometer, Tethering, Dual SD slots
Dimensions126.9 x 95.6 x 73.7mm
Weight650g (including battery and memory card)


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Sony a7 IV

Sony A7 IV camera body


Sony a7 IV Specs 
Announced23/12/2021  
Sensor33.0MP 35mm format BSI Exmor R CMOS
Lens system E-mount
Weather proofYes
Internal StabilisationYes (5-axis)
Autofocus Hybrid with 759 phase and 425 contrast detection points
Continuous shooting3fps to 10fps with AE/AF Tracking
ISO Sensitivity100 – 51200 ISO (pull 50, push up to 204800)
Shutter Speeds1/8000 to 30s, Bulb
Viewfinder 0.5in OLED with 3.69M dots, 23mm eye point, 0.78x magnification and 120fps refresh rate
Rear monitorMulti-angle 3″ LCD (1.04M dots) with touch sensitivity
Movie recording 4K up to 60fps, Full HD up to 120fps, 10-bit 4:2:2 internal, S-Log, Cinetone and HLG gamma
Built-in Flash No
Extra FeaturesWiFi, Bluetooth, Bracketing, Intervalometer, Wifi Tethering, USB streaming, Dual SD slots
Dimensions131.3 x 96.4 x 79.8 mm
Weight658g (including battery and memory card)

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  1. Comparison

2.1. Sensor and Image Quality

The A7 III features a 24.2MP sensor. The sensor was new with a faster readout and a back-illuminated structure (BSI) than the previous models.

The A7 IV comes with a brand-new chip that increases the resolution to 33MP and uses a BSI design as well. It also features a faster image processor, the BionZ XR (8x time faster than the BionZ X on the A7 III, according to Sony)

  • Resolution

The extra megapixels on the A7 IV are not very big, but it will give you an extra option for cropping your photos when required.

  • ISO Sensitivity

The A7 IV retains the same ISO range as the A7 III

  • Dynamic Range

The A7 IV has the option to choose a third compression option for the RAW files: Lossless Compressed. On the A7 III, it’s either Compressed or Uncompressed.

  • Colors and profiles

In addition to Sony’s latest color palette that the company introduced with the A7S III, The A7 IV has a brand new color palette set called Creative Look.

Concerning the Auto White Balance, the A7 IV has a new setting called Shutter AWB Lock, which allows you to lock the white balance when the shutter button is half-pressed, or at the first shot of a burst sequence.

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2.2. Autofocus system

The A7 III features 693 phase-detection points and 425 contrast-detection points. The phase area covers approximately 93% of the sensor surface. The A7 IV increases the AF coverage slightly with a total of 759 phase-detection points. The contrast detection points remain the same (425).

  • Single AF

Sony says that autofocus has been improved not only in continuous mode but also in S-AF mode, in which the phase detection points have been optimized to make focus acquisition quicker and more responsive.

  • AF Tracking

The Sony a7 IV model sees a significant boost when it comes to autofocus software and machine learning. It has real-time tracking and real-time Eye AF that works for humans and animals, including birds. Eye AF works for video as well (including for animals and birds). Overall, Sony says that the accuracy of Eye AF has improved by 30% in comparison to the A7 III.

A man playing football

     The photo is credited to depositphotos

  • Eye AF for Birds

Eye AF works reliably with a vast range of humans and animals. On the A7 IV, Sony has added the possibility of doing the same with a bird’s eye.

bird eye
The photo is credited to depositphotos
  • AF Performance for Video

The A7 III doesn’t have Eye AF for video, only face detection. There is some issue when shooting a video of a person walking towards or backward the camera, it loses focus for a few seconds. While the mark IV model does not has this issue and is more accurate.

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2.3. Drive Speed and Buffer

The two products feature a mechanical, an electronic first curtain, and a fully electronic shutter mode. They can take pictures up to 1/8000s. Activating the electronic shutter doesn’t raise the speed further as it happens on other models.

The shutter sound is quieter on the mark IV model which makes the camera a bit more discreet when using the mechanical mode.

  • Continuous Shooting

Both cameras have a maximum continuous shooting speed of 10fps, and they can maintain autofocus and exposure tracking at that speed.

  • Buffer

Sony states that the A7 IV has a large buffer that allows you to save more than 1,000 JPG, lossless compressed or compressed RAW, or more than 800 uncompressed RAW files when using a CFexpress card. While the A7 III can save 182 JPGs, 76 compressed RAW or 40 uncompressed RAW images, using a UHS-II SD card.

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2.4. Image stabilisation

Both cameras feature in-body image stabilization (5-axis). The A7 III has a rating of 5 stops of compensation, whereas the A7 IV has 5.5.

The IBIS mechanism works for video too, and both cameras deliver similar overall performance.

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2.5. Build quality

The A7 IV has the same design upgrade seen on the A7S III, which is very similar to the A9 II and A7R IV.

  • Size and Grip

The A7 IV is a bit larger in comparison to the A7 III and is a bit thicker because it features a heat dissipation structure (the same as the A7S III), which allows it to record 4K video for long periods of time without overheating.

Both the A7 III and A7 IV are dust, moisture resistant, and they have nearly the same weight.

  • A7 III: 126.9 x 95.6 x 73.7mm, 650g

Sony A7 III dimensions

  • A7 IV: 131.3 x 96.4 x 79.8 mm, 658g

Sony  A7 IV dimensions

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2.6. Viewfinder

The resolution of the electronic viewfinder goes up to 3.69M dots on the Sony a7iv, while a7iii has a 2.36M panel.


2.7. LCD screen

The A7 III has an LCD screen that can tilt up and down, whereas the A7 IV has a variable angle mechanism that allows you to flip it to the side and rotate it 180˚. The resolution hasn’t changed much, however (0.92M and 1.04M dots respectively).

Sony A7 III vs A7 IV Lcd screen types

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2.8. Memory cards

types of memory cards

Both cameras feature two memory card slots that accept SD cards. On the A7 III, slot nb.1 is UHS-II compatible, whereas slot nb.2 is UHS-I only.

On the A7 IV, both slots can work with the faster UHS-II SD cards, and, what’s more, slot nb.1 also accepts the CFexpress Type A card, which provides faster writing and reading speed, and gives you a larger buffer memory.

 Sony a7IIISony a7IV
Slot 1UHS-II UHS-II Cfexpress
Slot 2UHS-1UHS-II

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2.9. Interface and Battery

Interfaces port in both Sony a7 III and a7 iv

The A7 IV is compatible with the digital audio interface (via the multi-function shoe) which allows recording at 24-bit with 4 channels when using compatible microphones. It also has a full-sized HDMI port (vs Micro size on the A7 III).

Both products have a 3.5mm microphone input, 3.5mm headphone output, and a USB C port.

Finally, the battery is the same for the two cameras (NP-FZ100) but the A7 III retains a better rating (CIPA): 710 frames versus 610 on the mark IV model (when using the LCD screen).

Both cameras accept USB charging and power delivery.

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2.10. Video features

There are a lot of interesting improvements on the new camera when it comes to video.

  • Frame Rate and Resolution

There is no crop with the A7 IV when recording 4K up to 30p. The A7 III uses the entire width of the sensor at 24p and 25p but applies a 1.2x crop when working at 30p.

  • Colour Depth and Bitrate

The A7 III can only work in 8-bit, while the A7 IV has the below capabilities:

    • 10-bit 4:2:2 internal
    • 10-bit 4:2:2 external (via HDMI and compatible recorder)
    • XAVC HS codec option (H.265)
    • All-Intra compression option (H.264) with a maximum of 600Mbps
  • Recording Limitation

The A7 III has a 30-minute recording limitation per clip, while the A7 IV has a record time of more than 1 hour of uninterrupted 4K 60p footage.

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2.11. Extra features

The A7 IV has extra settings and features you won’t find on A7 III

  • Anti-dust Function: it allows you to keep the shutter curtains closed when the camera is powered off, to protect the sensor from dust when changing lenses for example.
  • Aspect Ratio: in addition to 3:2 and 16:9, you can select 4:3 and 1:1
  • USB Streaming: you can use the camera as a webcam with a USB-C connection.
  • Wireless LAN: it works at 5Ghz, as opposed to 2.4Ghz on the A7 III.
  • RAW transfer: you can send RAW files to your smartphone (in addition to JPGs).
  • FTP transfer while shooting: you can connect the camera to a server via Wi-Fi, wired LAN (with USB C adapter), or a USB-tethered smartphone, and send images and video files while working. For the A7 III, only the Wi-Fi option is possible.

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  1. Comparison summary

Image quality: the A7 IV has more resolution, a bit more dynamic range, and updated color profiles with better skin tones

Autofocus: the addition of real-time tracking and Eye AF for Birds is a major improvement. Eye AF also works in video mode, unlike the A7 III.

Continuous shooting: the two cameras have the same 10fps burst speed, but that decreases to 6fps with uncompressed RAW on the A7 IV.

Video: there are a lot of improvements on the A7 IV including no recording limit, and 4K 60p (crop mode).

Image stabilization: the Active mode for video on the A7 IV is useful when walking with the camera.

Build quality: the A7 IV is more comfortable to hold and also has a better menu system.

Viewfinder: more resolution and frame rates.

Monitor: the A7 IV has a multi-angle LCD screen and more touch capabilities.

Memory cards: dual SD card slots on both cameras. The A7 IV can also use one CFexpress card (type A).

Price: the A7 III is less expensive.

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  1. Conclusion

The a7 IV is better than the a7 III regarding its higher performance and everyday usability. If you’re looking for a new camera we believe that the selling price of a7iv is fair for the performance you will get.

However, if you already have an a7 III and thinking of upgrading to an a7 iv the situation is a bit different. You only will benefits from the upgrading if you shoot fast-moving subjects, and you are shooting a lot of videos.

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