The Sony a9 II and the Sony a7 IV may be aimed at different audiences, but both are excellent cameras with a lot of strengths, and they’re more similar than you may think. Head to head, the winner is not immediately obvious – in part because the Sony a9 II is aimed at a more advanced audience, but it’s two years older than the a7 IV, which caught up a lot in the meantime! Read on to find out which one is right for you.
Sony a9 II vs Sony a7 IV Specifications Comparison
|Camera Feature||Sony a9 II||Sony a7 IV|
|Announced||October 2019||October 2021|
|Sensor Type||Stacked CMOS||BSI CMOS|
|Image Processor||BIONZ X (front-end LSI)||BIONZ X|
|Resolution||24.2 MP||32.7 MP|
|Sensor Dimensions||35.6 x 23.8 mm (Full Frame)||35.9 x 23.9 mm (Full Frame)|
|Sensor Pixel Size||5.9µ||5.12µ|
|Low Pass Filter||Yes||No|
|IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilization)||Yes||Yes|
|Base ISO||ISO 100||ISO 100|
|Max Native ISO||ISO 51,200||ISO 51,200|
|Extended ISOs||ISO 50-204,800||ISO 50-204,800|
|High-Resolution Sensor Shift||No||No|
|Focus Stack Bracketing||No||No|
|Pre-Shoot Burst Mode||No||No|
|Fastest Shutter Speed||1/32000||1/8000|
|Longest Shutter Speed||30 seconds||30 seconds|
|Continuous Shooting (Mechanical Shutter)||10 FPS||10 FPS|
|Continuous Shooting (Electronic Shutter)||20 FPS||10 FPS|
|Notes for High FPS Shooting||Compressed 12-bit raw at 20 FPS (uncompressed 14-bit raw is available at 12 FPS)||Compressed raw at 10 FPS (uncompressed and lossless compressed raw at 6 FPS)|
|Buffer Size (Raw)||239 frames (20 FPS)||Unlimited|
|Autofocus System||Hybrid PDAF||Hybrid PDAF|
|Low-Light AF Sensitivity (f/2 Lens, ISO 100)||-3 EV||-4 EV|
|Standard Flash Sync Speed||1/250||1/250|
|Curtain to Protect Sensor at Shutdown||Yes||Yes|
|Maximum Video Bit Depth (Internal)||8 bits||10 bits|
|Maximum Video Bit Depth (External)||8 bits||10 bits|
|4K Maximum Framerate||30 FPS||60 FPS|
|1080P Maximum Framerate||120 FPS||120 FPS|
|Additional Video Crop Factor||No||1.5x crop at 4K 60p (4K 30p has no additional crop)|
|Chroma Subsampling||4:2:0, 4:2:2 (External)||4:2:2|
|Video Recording Limit||780 min||No limit|
Physical and Other Features
|Slot 1 Type||SD (UHS-II)||CFExpress Type A, or SD (UHS-II)|
|Slot 2 Type||SD (UHS-II)||SD (UHS-II)|
|Rear LCD Size (Diagonal)||3.0 in||3.0 in|
|Rear LCD Resolution||1.44 million dots||1.04 million dots|
|Articulating LCD||Single Axis||Fully Articulating|
|Viewfinder Resolution||3.69 million dots||3.69 million dots|
|USB Type||Type C 3.2 Gen 1||Type C 3.2 Gen 2|
|Battery Life (Viewfinder)||500 frames||520 frames|
|Battery Life (Rear LCD)||690 frames||580 frames|
|Weight (Body Only w/ Battery + Card)||678 g (1.49 lbs.)||658 g (1.45 lbs.)|
|Dimensions (LxHxD)||129 x 96 x 78 mm (5.1 x 3.8 x 3.1″)||131 x 96 x 80 mm (5.2 x 3.8 x 3.1″)|
|MSRP, Body Only||$4500 (Check Current Price)||$2500 (Check Current Price)|
|Used Prices||Sony a9 II Used Prices||Sony a7 IV Used Prices|
As you can see, each camera has some advantages of its own. The Sony a9 II is a faster camera with a maximum frame rate of 20 FPS compared to “just” 10 FPS on the Sony a7 IV. It also has a voice memo feature, which will be very useful for event photographers trying to keep track of who they’re photographing.
Meanwhile, the Sony a7 IV pulls away in terms of video specs, where it’s clearly ahead of the Sony a9 II in most respects. It also has a somewhat higher-resolution sensor (32.7 megapixels compared to 24.2) and a fully-articulating rear LCD, both of which are welcome features for landscape photographers.
Summary and Recommendations
If you’re a sports and wildlife photographer, the Sony a9 II is my recommendation. The fast 20 FPS burst rate is great for photographing quick action and catching moments that last fractions of a second. That said, the Sony a7 IV is no slouch for sports and wildlife photography, either. Because it’s less expensive than the a9 II, you should still consider it if you’re on a budget. The Sony a7 IV plus a great lens will surely outperform the Sony a9 II with a basic kit zoom.
As for other genres of photography, the comparison leans more in the direction of the Sony a7 IV. Landscape photographers, for example, will probably prefer the a7 IV’s higher-resolution sensor and fully articulating rear LCD. Videographers will also have more to appreciate on the a7 IV, including the ability to record 10-bit internal video, which the Sony a9 II lacks.
Maybe you’re getting the sense that both cameras are really good, and not too different from each other – and that’s exactly right! You can go with either one and get great photos, and neither camera has any major weaknesses. Although my general recommendation is to get the a9 II if you’re a sports/wildlife photographer, and the a7 IV otherwise, that recommendation could completely change if you find a good deal on either camera.
What does the Sony a9 II offer over the Sony a7 IV?
- Faster maximum frame rate of 20 FPS
- Voice memo feature is helpful for sport and event photography
What does the Sony a7 IV offer over the Sony a9 II?
- 1.35 times more megapixels (24.2 MP vs 32.7 MP)
- Much lower price, with an MSRP that’s $2000 less—you could take a trip with this savings!
- Better video features overall, including slow-motion 4K and internal 10-bit recording
Questions? Go to our forum, where you can start a conversation and talk to photographers about these two cameras!