a7 IV Sony A7 IV Memory Card Guide

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Timothy Mayo

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Since memory card questions come up on a regular basis especially in the Facebook Groups, I've put together a pretty comprehensive guide that includes in-camera speed tests of 19 different memory cards so far.

You can find all of the results in the blog article:


Here's a short summary, well as short as I can make it! :)

For a UHS-II card I'd recommend the Kingston Canvas React Plus UHS-II SDXC. They are only a fraction slower in-camera than the Sony SF-G Tough cards (246 MB/s vs 247 MB/s) but they are typically priced around 40% less for a 64GB card and also include a UHS-II card reader. They are also V90 rated for video.

If you want to shoot in S&Q Mode with the file format XAVC S-I 4k, a record frame rate of 25p/30p and a frame rate of 50fps /60fps then you will need a CFexpress Type A card. The a7 IV will not let you record in this specific format with a V90 card, even though the actual write speed with these settings is within V90 limits, so it's a little odd.

If you shoot a lot of continuous bursts in uncompressed raw format then you will hit the buffer when using the Kingston or Sony SF-G UHS-II cards after only 26 shots, but it clears in 3.85 seconds so it’s rarely an issue. With compressed raw you’ll hit the buffer in around 67 shots. If you shoot JPEGS you’ll never hit the buffer. You’ll need a CFexpress card if you don’t want to hit the buffer shooting compressed or uncompressed raw.

If you shoot simultaneously to both slots you will always be limited by the speed of the slowest card. If you shoot compressed or uncompressed RAW to slot 1 and JPEGS to slot 2 you won't hit the buffer if you use a CFexpress Type-A card in slot 1 and a fast UHS-II card like the Kingston or Sony SF-G in slot 2.

If any of you have some of the older Sony SF-M series, SF-M series TOUGH specification, and SF-G series TOUGH specification SD cards, you might find that they don't work at all in the a7 IV I'm afraid. If you purchased them before the middle of 2020 there's a good chance they won't work. There is a replacement program running for these cards due to a different issue, so I'd suggest replacing them before it expires on Mar. 31, 2022.

It would be good to hear about what cards you are using in your own a7 IV and whether or not you have run into any problems with them.

Please let me know if you have any memory card related questions.
 

Reciprocum

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I am using Sony SF-G128T (R300/W299) on slot 1 (compressed RAW), Sony SF-M64T (R277/W150) on slot 2 (FINE JPEG), no issues.
21-12-17 16h02m19s #0001 S.jpg
 
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Kevriano

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I have Sony Tough 64gb 277/150mb/s. The only issue I have is that shooting burst mode, especially in full frame mode, the write speed still isn't fast enough to prevent buffering which can delay a change in settings if you need to. Whether the 300 would fix this I don't know, but I don't suspect so, at least not significantly, but I would, with hindsight, buy that now instead. They were a lot more money at the time.
I have a Lexar 64gb 250mb/s 1667x in my second slot, I never get to the point of needing it, but have used it when I left the tough at home once. It's performance is identical to the Sony in real time use.
Both cards are extremely reliable. I would never use Sandisk, I've had 2 crap out on me in the past, the only brand ever to fail me (same with flash drives)
 

Timothy Mayo

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I have Sony Tough 64gb 277/150mb/s. The only issue I have is that shooting burst mode, especially in full frame mode, the write speed still isn't fast enough to prevent buffering which can delay a change in settings if you need to. Whether the 300 would fix this I don't know, but I don't suspect so, at least not significantly, but I would, with hindsight, buy that now instead. They were a lot more money at the time.
I have a Lexar 64gb 250mb/s 1667x in my second slot, I never get to the point of needing it, but have used it when I left the tough at home once. It's performance is identical to the Sony in real time use.
Both cards are extremely reliable. I would never use Sandisk, I've had 2 crap out on me in the past, the only brand ever to fail me (same with flash drives)
Guess you are referring to your a7R IV Kev and not the new a7 IV? This guide is just for the a7 IV. Even with the faster Sony SF-G cards you'll still get buffering with those massive files from the a7R IV. I've yet to test all of my memory cards in the a7R IV like I have with the a7III and a7 IV, but it's on my to-do list.
 

Kevriano

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Guess you are referring to your a7R IV Kev and not the new a7 IV? This guide is just for the a7 IV. Even with the faster Sony SF-G cards you'll still get buffering with those massive files from the a7R IV. I've yet to test all of my memory cards in the a7R IV like I have with the a7III and a7 IV, but it's on my to-do list.
Ahh, stupid Sony naming system :D That said, the same will no doubt apply to a lesser extent.
 
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Reciprocum

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Ahh, stupid Sony naming system :D That said, the same will no doubt apply to a lesser extent.
"lesser extent" indeed only if because M4 does not lock you out of making settings changes while the buffer is being flushed/cleared to the SD card (as is the case with R4). But with the smaller (than R4) res a 150mb/s write card in slot 2 for JPEGs (not for RAWs on slot 1) is quite enough with this camera.
I might still sell my legacy (M3 first cards) 2 SF-M64T 277/150 SD cards and get another SF-G128T (300/299) only not to have to worry witch card can go into witch slot of my 2 cameras. The only limitation will be not being able to stick the CF-A into M4's slot 2, but I don't have to remember that, the slot will physically remind me that I am trying to do a silly thing.
 

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