Sony also launches two new flashes to evolve powerful Alpha Lighting System
Sony has announced three new additions to its imaging line-up — the interchangeable-lens camera ALPHA 7 IV with newly developed 33- megapixel (approx., effective) full-frame image sensor and two new flashes, the HVL-F60RM2 and HVL-F46RM.
The ALPHA 7 IV takes ‘basic’ to the next level for full-frame cameras with excellent image quality and performance, redefining the original standard set by the Alpha 7 III. The new model features many of Sony’s most advanced imaging technologies including the latest BIONZ XR processing engine and advanced AF (autofocus) capabilities based on the flagship Alpha 1 model, combined with streamlined operability and enhanced reliability for photos and movies, making it the perfect all-around camera for today’s imaging enthusiasts and professionals who shoot all scenarios. The ALPHA 7 IV also boasts 33 MP resolution, rich movie expression and various features to support the growing demand for remote communication, bringing new meaning to what a ‘basic’ camera can accomplish.
“With the introduction of the Alpha 7 III, we set the baseline for what full-frame cameras should deliver and now it is time to redefine those boundaries,” said Yann Salmon Legagneur, director of product marketing, Digital Imaging, Sony Europe. “The ALPHA 7 IV brings together the best of Sony imaging technology to deliver a fantastic experience in both stills and video, meaning that users will be able to capture exactly the content that they want, in whatever situation they find themselves in.”
ALPHA 7 IV: Innovation never ends
The new ALPHA 7 IV is the ultimate hybrid camera packed with outstanding still image quality and evolved video technology with advanced autofocus, enhanced operability and workflow capability. The model was also developed with environment in mind by using Sony’s original recycled plastic SORPLAS for the camera body and the packaging with recyclable[i] materials and less plastic.
Outstanding image quality
With a newly developed 33MP full-frame back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS image sensor, superior image quality and Wide ISO sensitivity range expandable to ISO 50-204800 is achieved. The high resolution enables the camera to express smooth gradation, fine details and textures of the subject while reducing noise. Its 15-stop dynamic range allows a wide expressive range while Creative Look settings can help to create original looks effortlessly for both stills and video.
Next level AF performance
The latest processing engine BIONZ XR used in the flagship Alpha 1 delivers high-speed AF, uninterrupted continuous shooting at 10fps[ii] with AF/AE tracking and a large buffer for a smooth shooting experience. ALPHA 7 IV tracks subjects with tenacious Real-Time Tracking and 759 phase-detection AF points in a high-density focal plane phase-detection AF system that covers approximately 94% of the image area. Additionally, for the first time, Real-time Eye AF can now track birds and animals’ eye for both still images and movies, in addition to humans. The detection accuracy for human face and eyes is also approximately 30% more improved, compared with Alpha 7 III.
Evolved movie technology
The ALPHA 7 IV inherits technology taken from real-world movie production including S-Cinetone – adopted from Sony’s highly regarded Cinema Line cameras used by a broad range of filmmakers and content creators – to deliver a rich, cinematic look. High quality movie is achieved with 4K 60p recording in Super 35mm mode and up to 4K 30p recording with 7K oversampling in full-frame mode. The new camera also features 10-bit depth 4:2:2 colour sampling to enable natural gradation, XAVC S-I intra-frame encoding for more efficient editing workflows and XAVC HS for doubled compression efficiency.
To meet the growing need for precise AF performance when shooting videos, unique AF features are achieved when using the ALPHA 7 IV with a Sony E-mount lens, including AF Assist[iii] that supports focus transitions when using AF and Focus Map that visualises depth of field. For the first time in the Alpha series, the new camera features Breathing Compensation[iv] to combat focus breathing and maintain a consistent angle of view throughout focus changes and can be switched on or off.
Advanced operability as a genuine hybrid model
The ALPHA 7 IV is a hybrid still and movie camera with outstanding operability and reliability that easily allows the user to switch from photo to movie and back at their convenience. New to Sony’s line-up of Alpha cameras is a dual layer mode dial with the lower layer for selecting Still/Movie/S&Q and the top layer for Auto/P/A/S/M and MR (Memory Recall), enabling users to quickly select and switch between the dedicated settings. It also has 5-axis optical in-body image stabilisation for a 5.5-step[v] shutter speed advantage, as well as an improved grip for greater comfort and a CFexpress Type A compatible media slot to support media with faster writing and clearance. Additionally, the 3.68 million-dot (approx.) OLED Quad-VGA viewfinder is 1.6 times the resolution of the Alpha 7 III viewfinder, allowing users to benefit from the upgraded live-view image quality that minimises false colour and increases resolution.
Videographers can record 4K 60p 10-bit 4:2:2 video continuously for more than an hour thanks to the camera’s heat-dissipating structure. Optical ‘Active Mode’[vi] image stabilisation helps optimum video shooting. They can also benefit from the 3.0-type 1.03 million-dot (approx.) side-opening vari-angle touch-panel rear LCD monitor, top-panel REC button and high-capacity Z-series battery.
The ALPHA 7 IV body is built with magnesium alloy to achieve a robustness while minimising its weight. In addition, the redesigned structure and lens lock button contribute to enhanced dust and moisture resistance.[vii]
Enhanced workflow capabilities
By offering a variety of connectivity options, the ALPHA 7 IV enables on-the-spot streaming and sharing of high-quality content to meet the growing need for remote communication in real-time without sacrificing excellent image and sound quality. The connection between the camera and mobile application Imaging Edge Mobile[viii] is simplified via Bluetooth, and fast data transfer is possible by 5 GHz/2.4 GHz Wi-Fi.
The camera also has a new feature called “Shot Mark” to enable easy access to the marked scenes in a video clip, within camera and on Sony’s Catalyst Browse/Prepare applications.[ix]
What’s more, the camera has a range of new features to support live streaming and remote communication without the need of dedicated software. UVC (USB Video Class) and UAC (USB Audio Class) turn the ALPHA 7 IV into a high-performance live streaming camera when connected to a computer or smartphone. High image quality such as 4K 15p and 1080 FHD 60p deliver realistic video for remote sharing and the ALPHA 7 IV’s digital audio interface can be paired with a range of mics and accessories to deliver high quality sound.
Finally, Sony plans to offer a new cloud service, “AI Video Editing Studio”, for automated editing with AI technology. To allow creators to focus on more creative tasks, “AI Video Editing Studio” automatically performs initial editing in the cloud, using AI technology.
Sony will continue to strive to offer a wide variety of imaging experiences and services through the active integration and advancement of cameras, cloud, and AI.
Designed with the environment in mind
According to Sony’s environmental efforts based on the “Road to Zero“, environment was an important factor in the development of ALPHA 7 IV’s design, production and packaging. The camera uses recycled plastic, SORPLAS™, which does not depend on non-renewable resources and is produced at the sites using renewable energy such as solar power generation. The product packaging also adopts recyclable[x] plastic-reduced materials.
HVL-F60RM2 and HVL-F46RM: Powerful flashes to evolve Alpha Lighting System
The HVL-F60RM2 with GN 60 and 20-200mm[xi] coverage and HVL-F46RM with GN 46 and 24-105mm[xii] are powerful wireless flashes that offer precise control, enhanced high-speed and intuitive operability. They are designed to meet the needs of both professional and advanced content creators when shooting with a Sony Alpha camera, including the ALPHA 7 IV, to offer the ultimate Alpha Lighting System by the detailed communication between cameras.
Both flashes have upgraded continuous shooting flash performance, up to 200 times at 10 frames per second[xiii] for the HVL-F60RM2 and 60 times for the HVL-F46RM. The optimised flash algorithm ensures both flashes are overheat-resistant, and a set of four Ni-MH (Nickel-metal hydride) batteries can power up to 240 flashes with a 1.7 second recycle time for the HVL-F60RM2 and up to 320 flashes with a 2.0 second recycle time for the HVL-F46RM[xiv].
When used in combination with an Alpha camera, they allow users to experience the unique communication and system benefits of the Alpha Lighting System.
For example, with the ALPHA 7 IV, P-TTL flash control metering for every frame in Mid, and Hi continuous mode has become possible in addition to Lo continuous mode. The flash release time lag is also shortened to capture momentary facial expressions and movements of the subject.
With the Alpha 1, the HVL-F60RM2 achieves a phenomenal up to 20fps of continuous shooting[xv] and approximately 20 flashes per second can be produced for more than 10 seconds with the external flash battery adapter FA-EBA1. When Alpha 1 is used with Sony’s flashes including HVL-F60RM2 and HVL-F46RM, users can sync up to 1/400 second shutter speed to expand expressive capabilities when shooting in full-frame mode. In addition, with the silent electronic shutter of the camera, silent flash shooting is possible when absolute silence is required.
Other system benefits of HVL-F60RM2 and HVL-F46RM with an Alpha camera include:
- Flash parameters controlled directly from the menu of a compatible camera[xvi]
- Flash control linked to camera face detection[xvii]
- Automatic correction of white balance based on the colour temperature information from the flash
Both flashes also feature improved robustness and operability. The Multi Interface shoe with Sony’s unique metal shoe foot with rugged side frame significantly increases strength and reliability. Shoe sealing helps the flashes to be more dust and moisture resistant.[xviii] The HVL-F60RM2’s original rotating head mechanism, “Quick Shift Bounce” that enables flexible positioning and optimum lighting control has also been improved to prevent unintended change in the bounce angle.
They support wireless radio communication and can control up to 15 flashes and/or receiver units in 5 groups via wireless radio communication for enhanced lighting control versatility.
Pricing and Availability
- The new ALPHA 7 IV will be available in December 2021, at a variety of Sony’s authorised dealers, for an estimated retail price of £2,400/€2,800 for body only and £2,600/€3,000 for lens kit (SEL2870). The accessory VX9518 (PCK-LG2) Screen Protect Glass Sheet will be available at the same time.
The camera is also compatible with the Camera Remote Software Development Kit (SDK).
- The HVL-F60RM2 flash will be available in November 2021, at a variety of Sony’s authorised dealers, for an estimated retail price of £550/€650.
- The HVL-F46RM flash will be available in November 2021, at a variety of Sony’s authorised dealers, for an estimated retail price of £370/€430.