One of the more interesting comparisons among Sony cameras is the a7 IV versus the a7S III. It’s interesting because the a7 IV is newer and more advanced in some ways, but also less expensive. Meanwhile, the Sony a7S III is a highly specialized camera and not for everyone, but it also has some valuable features targeted squarely at professionals. Here’s what you need to know if you’re deciding between these two cameras!
Sony a7 IV vs Sony a7S III Specifications Comparison
|Camera Feature||Sony a7 IV||Sony a7S III|
|Announced||October 2021||July 2020|
|Sensor Type||BSI CMOS||BSI CMOS|
|Image Processor||BIONZ X||BIONZ XR|
|Resolution||32.7 MP||12.1 MP|
|Sensor Dimensions||35.9 x 23.9 mm (Full Frame)||35.6 x 23.8 mm (Full Frame)|
|Sensor Pixel Size||5.12µ||8.4µ|
|Low Pass Filter||No||Yes|
|IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilization)||Yes||Yes|
|Base ISO||ISO 100||ISO 80|
|Max Native ISO||ISO 51,200||ISO 102,400|
|Extended ISOs||ISO 50-204,800||ISO 40-409,600|
|High-Resolution Sensor Shift||No||No|
|Focus Stack Bracketing||No||No|
|Pre-Shoot Burst Mode||No||No|
|Fastest Shutter Speed||1/8000||1/8000|
|Longest Shutter Speed||30 seconds||30 seconds|
|Continuous Shooting (Mechanical Shutter)||10 FPS||10 FPS|
|Continuous Shooting (Electronic Shutter)||10 FPS||10 FPS|
|Notes for High FPS Shooting||Compressed raw at 10 FPS (uncompressed and lossless compressed raw at 6 FPS)||None|
|Buffer Size (Raw)||Unlimited||Over 1000 frames (10 FPS)|
|Autofocus System||Hybrid PDAF||Hybrid PDAF|
|Low-Light AF Sensitivity (f/2 Lens, ISO 100)||-4 EV||-6 EV|
|Standard Flash Sync Speed||1/250||1/250|
|Curtain to Protect Sensor at Shutdown||Yes||No|
|Maximum Video Bit Depth (Internal)||10 bits||10 bits|
|Maximum Video Bit Depth (External)||10 bits||16 bits|
|Raw Video||No||Yes, externally|
|4K Maximum Framerate||60 FPS||120 FPS|
|1080P Maximum Framerate||120 FPS||240 FPS|
|Additional Video Crop Factor||1.5x crop at 4K 60p (4K 30p has no additional crop)||1.1x crop at 4K 120p (otherwise no additional crop)|
|Video Recording Limit||No limit||780 min|
Physical and Other Features
|Slot 1 Type||CFExpress Type A, or SD (UHS-II)||CFExpress Type A, or SD (UHS-II)|
|Slot 2 Type||SD (UHS-II)||CFExpress Type A, or SD (UHS-II)|
|Rear LCD Size (Diagonal)||3.0 in||3.0 in|
|Rear LCD Resolution||1.04 million dots||1.44 million dots|
|Articulating LCD||Fully Articulating||Fully Articulating|
|Viewfinder Resolution||3.69 million dots||9.44 million dots|
|USB Type||Type C 3.2 Gen 2||Type C 3.2 Gen 1|
|Battery Life (Viewfinder)||520 frames||510 frames|
|Battery Life (Rear LCD)||580 frames||600 frames|
|Weight (Body Only w/ Battery + Card)||658 g (1.45 lbs.)||699 g (1.54 lbs.)|
|Dimensions (LxHxD)||131 x 96 x 80 mm (5.2 x 3.8 x 3.1″)||129 x 97 x 81 mm (5.1 x 3.9 x 3.3″)|
|MSRP, Body Only||$2500 (Check Current Price)||$3500 (Check Current Price)|
|Used Prices||Sony a7 IV Used Prices||Sony a7S III Used Prices|
Summary and Recommendations
The most obvious difference between the Sony a7 IV and the Sony a7S III is the resolution of the sensor. While the Sony a7 IV has a 32.7 megapixel sensor, the Sony a7S III has just 12 megapixels. That’s a meaningful difference, especially if you plan to make large prints or you ever need to crop extensively!
Despite the higher resolution, the Sony a7 IV is able to match the Sony a7S III in terms of frames per second (both shoot 10 FPS) and buffer size, which is effectively unlimited on both cameras. Likewise, the two cameras both have Sony’s high-end 759-point autofocus system, which is excellent for sports and wildlife photography.
So, what makes the Sony a7S III technically the higher camera (and why does it cost $1000 more)? Part of the answer lies with video features. While the Sony a7 IV has respectable video output, the a7S III has better capabilities overall. Whether you need to film raw video, 4K slow motion, or ultra-low-light video, the a7S III is definitely the way to go.
Speaking of low light, the sensor on the Sony a7S III is optimized for usage at high ISO values, so if you’re constantly photographing events in near-darkness, the a7S III is definitely the way to go. But broadly speaking, the Sony a7 IV is the more versatile camera here. Unless you film a lot of video or constantly shoot in low light, I recommend saving the $1000 (or whatever it may be on the used market) and going with the Sony a7 IV.
What does the Sony a7 IV offer over the Sony a7S III?
- 2.7 times more megapixels (32.7 MP vs 12.1 MP)
- Much lower price, costing $1000 less – you could get a nice lens for that price!
What does the Sony a7S III offer over the Sony a7 IV?
- Better video features, including external raw video and great video quality even at high ISOs
- Higher resolution rear display and electronic viewfinder, making photography more enjoyable
- Cleaner images in low light at ultra-high ISO values
Questions? Go to our forum, where you can start a conversation and talk to photographers about these two cameras!