Hearing the calls from desperate photographers asking for meaningful firmware updates, Sony has obliged with the option for Sony a7 IV users to add up to four custom gridlines to their cameras for a $150 fee.
The “Custom Gridline License” allows a7 IV users to import up to four custom, original gridlines into the camera that can be displayed on the electronic viewfinder or the rear LCD for what Sony says allows for the creation of more consistent photos.
“For example, staff at schools, photo studios, theme parks, cruise ships, malls, etc. will now have the ability to update their cameras with ease and utilize this tool for quick and precise, more professional shots,” the company says.
“Imported customized gridlines are replaceable and color gridlines are available. Once gridlines are registered, it can be displayed with HDMI output as well. After shooting, users can check the images with the grid lines overlayed on EVF and LCD.”
While that is the primary purpose, Sony says that not only can these be used as gridlines but they can also be used as partially filled transparency masks.
Sony’s upgrade has received the backing of multiple organizations in its press release, including Inter-State Studio and Publishing, Strawbridge Studios, Inc., the School Photographers of America (SPOA), and the School Photographers Association of California (SPAC). The target, obviously, is squarely what is often described as “turn and burn” photo jobs that are high volumes of consistent portraits.
“The ability to import customized gridlines into a mirrorless camera is an essential feature for all of our photographers to capture images consistently,” says Frank Lombardo, National Photography Manager for Inter-State Studio and Publishing, for example. “These simple gridlines keep head sizes the same for all our products and improve our production time. They also allow us to know where the edge of print will be during capture.”
It should be noted that this one function is the entirety of the $150 license. For context, Panasonic’s optional S1 filmmaker upgrade costs the same and that adds 4K 60p 4:2:2 10-bit HDMI live output, 4K 30p/24p 4:2:2 10-bit in-camera recording, LUT support, and V-log.
The Sony a7 IV gridlines license will be available for $149 directly from Sony’s Upgrade and License Management Suite starting in Spring of 2024. Sony says it will add the upgrade option to more cameras “in the future.”
Image credits: Sony