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Should I wait for the Sony A7 IV?

Should you wait for the Sony A7 IV?
(Image credit: Sony/Digital Camera World)

The Sony A7 III has been Sony’s mainstay entry-level full frame mirrorless camera for some time now. We say ‘entry level’, but there’s nothing basic or limited about this camera. 

Its 24MP sensor is not groundbreaking, or its 4K 30p video capture, but Sony’s AF tech has become legendary, and this is a camera that can shoot continuously at 10fps, with a 693/425-point hybrid AF system and a 610-shot battery life.

In short, the Sony A7 III is a powerful camera in its own right, and a top choice for both stills shooters and videographers who don’t want or need the 42MP or 61MP resolution of the A7R series, or the 8K video and huge price tag of the Sony A1.

3 reasons to get the Sony A7 III now

1. We all know the Sony A7 IV is coming, and this is driving down the price of the A7 III. This is a properly powerful camera that’s the cheapest it’s ever been. We’re not saying it might not get cheaper still, but we wouldn’t count on it.

2. Can Sony’s AF get any better? The A7 III already has a very advanced and powerful AF system with 693 phase detect AF points and 425 contrast detect, with real time eye AF and animal eye AF added via a firmware update back in 2019. The A7 IV’s AF may be better still, but does the A7 III leave any significant room for improvement?

3. 24MP will be fine for lots of stills shooters, and the sensor resolution doesn’t matter for video. If the A7 IV has more megapixels, will it affect the frame rate and will it bring a crop to the 4K video mode? Probably not, since Sony will no doubt add the processing clout to cope, but will it be able to deliver the same high ISO quality as the A7 III? 

The Sony A7 III is a very good camera that still ranks amongst the best in its class today. (Image credit: Sony A7 III)

4 reasons to wait for the Sony A7 IV

1. If the rumors are true, the Sony A7 IV will come with a newly-developed 33MP sensor. That’s a significant step up from the A7 III’s 24MP, and would take the A7 IV clear of its direct Nikon and Panasonic rivals too, for stills photography at least.

2. Sony’s mirrorless cameras seem to have been stuck on 4K 30p video capture for a very long time, and it’s only at the top end of the range that the Sony A7S III takes a massive leap to 120p. If the rumors are true, the Sony A7 IV could offer 4K 60p capture, which would be a definite step up from the A7 III.

3. The A7 IV may get 5.5-stop IBIS, plus Sony’s Active Stabilization mode. That’s only a 0.5 stop increase over the A7 III’s IBIS, which suggests some algorithm tweaks rather than new hardware. Worth having, but not worth buying the camera for on its own.

4. There’s also the idea of ‘future-proofing’. Most of us would rather have the latest kit than the previous generation, and while Sony is pretty good at supporting older models with firmware updates, there will surely come a point where the A7 III just gets bug-fixes and maintenance updates and all the good stuff goes to the A7 IV instead.

Sony's older cameras are still right up there with the best. We're still raving over the old Sony A7R II, for example, which is now two generations behind. (Image credit: Sony)

So what’s the answer?

There are pros and cons to both sides. The fact is, though, that the Sony A7 III is the cheapest it’s ever been, and everything we think we know about the Sony A7 IV is rumor – even down to when it might arrive.

It’s always tempting to get the latest kit, but Sony’s practice of keeping older models on sale means you can get some great deals, and some of these older models still stack up really well, even today.

For example, the Sony A7 II is still on sale, and at knock-down prices that make it just about the cheapest full frame camera you can buy. And while the Sony A7R II drifts in and out of availability, when it does appear you can get this 42.4MP 4K camera with IBIS at prices that make it the bargain of the century.

So while your heart might say wait for the Sony A7 IV, your head (and your wallet) might be reminding you that the A7 III is a great, great camera you can get right now.

Read more:

Best Sony cameras
Sony A7 III review
Sony A7 IV latest
Sony A7 II review
Sony A7R II review

Rod Lawton

Rod is the Group Reviews editor for Digital Camera World and across Future's entire photography portfolio, with decades of experience with cameras of all kinds. Previously he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more.