Sony Alpha 7R III review


Nikon is billing the 45.7MP D850 as two cameras in one, a high resolution camera combined with a fast shooting model. The same can also be...

Nikon is billing the 45.7MP D850 as two cameras in one, a high resolution camera combined with a fast shooting model. The same can also be said for the Sony a7R III, as its full-frame back illuminated sensor has 42.4 million effective pixels yet it can shoot at up to 10 frames per second with continuous auto focusing and exposure metering the D850 can hit 9fps with the optional MB-D18 battery pack or 7fps as standard. It’s worth noting, however, that when you’re shooting at 10fps (Hi+) with the a7R III, the viewfinder doesn’t show a live view and moving subjects can be hard to follow; dropping to 8fps (Hi) gives a live view image. Sony has been able to achieve that fast shooting rate by putting an LSI on the sensor, helping the enhanced Bionz X processor deliver a 1.8x increase in processing speed over the a7R II.

Sony Alpha 7R III review

Like the camera it replaces, the a7R III has 399 phase-detection AF points on its imaging sensor, but the number of contrast detection points has been boosted to 425, which means the vast majority of the imaging frame can be used for focusing. In addition, focusing speed has been roughly doubled in low light in comparison with the Mark II camera. Sony has also enhanced the Eye AF system, making it better at detecting and tracking eyes which is highly useful for portrait and social photographers.

While it’s Sony’s highest-resolution mirrorless camera, the a7R III has an impressive video specification with 4K (3,840 x 2,160) capability. In Super 35mm format, which is smaller than full-frame, the camera actually records in 5K (15MP) and then outputs in 4K to give better image quality. In addition, S-Log mode is available to capture flat footage with wide dynamic range something that’s not possible with the Sony a9. Alternatively, it’s possible to shoot using an HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) profile to produce footage suitable for viewing on the new breed of HDR televisions.

Sony has made the internal frame plus the top, front and rear covers of the a7R III from magnesium alloy, and it gives the camera a good solid feel in your hand. There’s also sealing throughout in order to keep moisture and dust at bay.

Sony introduced a handy multi-selector control with the a9 that looks and works like a mini joystick, making AF point selection much easier when you’re looking in the viewfinder. Happily, this multi-selector has also appeared on the back of the Sony a7R III, and it’s just as useful.

Also like the a9, the a7R III’s screen is a three-inch, 1,440,000-dot unit with White Magic technology. This provides a good, clear view in all but the brightest conditions, and its touch sensitivity enables you to set the AF point or zoom in to check focus with a tap (or double-tap) on the screen. It’s a shame that Sony hasn’t made more use of the touch sensitivity, because it would be handy to be able to navigate the menu and select settings, or swipe through images using it.

Sony is responsible for supplying many of the sensors in current cameras, so it comes as no surprise that the a7R III has a high quality chip. Those 42.4 million pixels enable a high level of detail to be captured, but perhaps more impressively, the a7R III is able to keep noise under control very well. Even the results at the top expansion setting (ISO 102,400) are half-decent not that we’d recommend using that value unless you really, really have to. In fact if you can, we suggest keeping to ISO 16,000 or lower, as this ensures that there’s lots of detail without excessive noise (or noise reduction).

Sony claims the a7R III has a maximum dynamic range of 15EV, and it’s certainly capable of capturing a wide range of tones within a single image, which is great news for landscape photographers. Furthermore, if you underexpose RAWfiles for any reason, you’ll find they have a lot of latitude and can be brightened by in excess of +3EV and still retain good colour and noise control, depending on the camera.

In Wide, Zone AF or Lock-on Expand Flexible Spot and Continuous Autofocus mode, the a7R III does a great job of identifying a moving subject and tracking it, which makes traditionally difficult subjects relatively easy to photograph. You may notice it straying away from the subject if it’s motionless, but it usually gets it when it’s in motion. If you want more control and precision, however, the Centre and Flexible Spot options are also very good for this purpose.

One area where the a7R III struggles a little is in artificial light. There are three Auto White Balance options: Standard, Ambience and White. In theory, the White option should remove any cast, and while it may, there are occasions when a Custom White Balance setting does a much better job. To be on the safe side, it’s a good idea to ensure that you’re shooting RAWfiles, as these are far more able to stand up to adjustment than the a7R III’s high-ISO JPEGs.

Sony Alpha 7R III review

Pixel Shift MultiShooting

The a7R III has a new Pixel Shift Multi Shooting (PSMS) mode that enables you to create composite images with the same dimensions but greater fine detail and better tonal gradation. Once the shutter release is pressed with this mode activated, the camera fires the electronic shutter four times with an interval that can be set to between 1 and 30 seconds. Four RAW files are automatically recorded and tagged as PSMS images. They can be edited as normal in your preferred RAW processing software if you like, but they have to be composited in Sony’s Imaging Edge software.

Sony Alpha 7R III review

Sony Alpha 7R III Features

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    • The a7RII is notoriousfor its short battery life,but the MarkIII uses Sony’s NP-FZ100 battery and has a life of 530 stills when using the viewfinder.

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    • The a7RIII has a claimed compensation value of 5.5EV; that’s like hand holding the camera at 1/10sec instead of 1/500sec.

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    • Switch to Silent Shooting in the menu and the a7RIII shoots completely silently, even at 10fps–useful for wedding photography or shooting sports like golf.

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    • In Full HD mode the a7RIII can shoot at up to 120/100fps (NTSC/PAL) for slow motion play back or at 1fps for up to 60x scene mode selection.

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    • When Touch Pad AF is enabled you can set the AF point with a finger on the screen while using the view finder,using the whole screen or just a section.

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    • MY MENU
    • The My Menu screen in the standard menu is helpful, allowing upto 30 of your most frequently used features to be accessed in your preferred order.

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    • Megapixels (effective)
    • 42.4

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    • Max resolution
    • 7,952 x 5,304

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    • Sensor information
    • Full-frame(35.9x24.0mm), ExmorR CMOS

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    • Shutter speed
    • 1/8,000-30sec, Bulb

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    • ISO sensitivity
    • ISO100–32,000 expandable to ISO 50–102,400 for stills

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    • Exposure modes
    • PASM, Auto, Scene, Movie, Custom 1, 2 and 3

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    • Metering options
    • Multi-segment, Centre-weighted, Spot (Standard/ Large),Entire Screen Average, Highlight

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    • Connectivity
    • FlashSync, Multi Micro USB, USB Type - C, Mic, Headphone, HDMI micro,PC remote, Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth, Multi interface Shoe.

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    • Weight
    • 657g (with battery and card)

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    • Dimensions
    • 126.9 x 95.6 x 73.7mm

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    • Batteries
    • NP-FZ100 rechargeable Li-ion supplied

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    • Storage
    • Dual SD ports, UHS-II, UHS-I

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    • LCD
    • Tilting 3-inch TFT LCD with 1.4K dots and White Magic

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    • Viewfinder
    • 0.5-inch type OLED with 3,686,400 dots

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    • ##check-square## The Verdict
      • FEATURESHigh resolution and fast shooting plus great video credentials gives thea7RIIIbags of appeal. 5 Stars.

        It feels solid and is comfortable to hold, butSonyis vague about the weather-proofing level. 4 Stars.

        There’s a very high degree of customisation but the menu could still be better organised. 4 Starts.

        Noise is controlled very well for such a high resolution camera and there’s no shortage of detail. 5 Stars.

        VALUE FOR MONEY: An expensive camera, but no more so than the DSLRcompetition. 4 Stars.

        OVERALL: Its combination of features, fast responses, accurate AF and impressive image quality make the Sony a7 RIII one of the very best cameras available at the moment. 5 Stars.



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Photography Workshop: Sony Alpha 7R III review
Sony Alpha 7R III review
Photography Workshop
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