Sony Alpha A7 III Review

Best Full-frame Mirrorless Camera

Sony Alpha A7 III is a mirrorless camera for photographers unique for its brilliant array of features, great performance and image quality. No doubt this is due to Sony using the flagship A9 and A7R III and using it as a foundation, extracting the best from them to create the Sony Alpha A7 III.

Most of its features seem to be extracted from the A7R III, and the best in the Alpha series; the Alpha A9. Also considering the price rate, this camera is far from basic; this is well equipped and impressive camera.

The Sony Alpha A7 III is the most recent member of the Sony A7 line of cameras. Even though it has a 24MP resolution below that of the A7R III, it certainly is the real deal especially when you consider the better battery life, video resolution, and burst speed.

See also: 10 Best Mirrorless Cameras

Pros: This camera ticks the boxes especially in these areas:

• Better ‘Z-type’ battery life even better than A9
• 693-point AF system excellent and very responsive.
• 15-stop dynamic range
• Uncropped 4K video
• Great value for the money
• Compact and durable body.

Nevertheless, A7 III certainly need some improvement on:

• The touchscreen controls,
• Buffer depth.
• UHS-II cards are compatible with just one SD card slot.
• Some issues with the ergonomics (the port area are not weather protected)

Common Specification of this versatile camera include:

• 24.2MP (quite below the A7R III)
• 3.0 – inch tilt- angle touchscreen with 921,000 dots
• A Full frame back-illuminated CMOS sensor.
• Sony E lens mount.
• Electronic viewfinder
• 10fps burst shooting
• 693-point autofocus
• Comes with Wi-Fi, and NFC connectivity
• 4K video resolution
• Battery life of 710 shots.

The A7 III is specially made to suit enthusiast and professionals. Even though it is not a DSLR, as a photographer looking for a very versatile and camera that serves a general purpose and not so expensive, then the A7 III is the one camera you should go for.

See also: Sourcing for a Camera in 2018

Features:

• 24MP full frame BSI CMOS sensor
• 4K video capture from the full width 6K
• 93% autofocus coverage (693 phase detection points)
• 5-axis image stabilization
• 10fps burst shooting
• ‘Z-type’ battery; battery life rated 710 shots
• AF joystick
• Dual SD card slots
• USB 3.1 Type C

Resolution:

The A7 III has a 24.2MP resolution like the A7 II and even though this is below the A9, it comes with a completely new sensor with a back-illuminated design. This improves on the noise performance at high sensitivities. The sensitivity increases because the sensor is supported with a BIONZ X image processor and LSI which allows it to shoot faster and handle a lot of data. This is reflected in the improved continuous shooting of 10fps which is better than the A7 II.

Another area to take note of is the max. sensitivity. The ISO ceiling of 204,800 is far better than the 25,600 of A7 II and similar to the A9. There is also the ISO 100, 50, 64 and 80 for the extended settings.
Also, the A7 III delivers 15 stops of dynamic range at base ISO with 14-bit raw files. This makes it easy to record large amounts of shadow and highlight information into the 14-bit raw files.

Another area of improvement is the EVF with a 2.3m dot EVF and 0.78x magnification. Not so attractive. The magnification is higher and better magnification on the A7 II (0.71x magnification) but similar to the A7R II. The electronic viewpoint has a Zeiss T* coating that is essential in reducing obtrusive reflections. Also, there is the 3’ 922k-dot LCD touchscreen. You can now browse through your images quickly and set the focus point, the only problem here is that you don’t get to do some quick navigation of the camera’s menu.

There are two SD card slots behind the EVF, but only one of it supports the fast UHS-II cards. Other additional features are the Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity. You can now easily transfer images.

Autofocus System and Video Quality:

There are the 693 phase-detection points on the A7 III and 425 contrast-detection points. This autofocus system offers a 93% coverage of the frame. This is better than the A7 II autofocus with 117 phase-detection, similar to the A9. Also, the autofocus advancement mirrors that of the Sony A9 with a combination of fast image sensor readout and AF tracking.

It also focuses well as low as -3EV for dark scenes and focuses easily on a fast-moving subject. With the LA-EA3 mount adapter, you can quickly focus correctly with the A-mount lenses.

The A7 III records 4K video capture from the full-width 6K. The HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) profile in the camera supports an Instant HDR workflow. The 4K HDR footage can be played back using the HDR (HLG)-compatible TV’s. There are the S-Log2 and S-Log3 gamma modes that are for increased color grading (it retains much dynamic range for easier color grading). You can also shoot Full HD footage at a max. of 120fps.

Body Design:

In terms of design, the A7 III is similar to the A7R III, featuring similar refinement and modification of control as the A7R III. There is also the improved handling; camera handgrip making it easier to handle.

There are certain features seen on the body such as the multi-selector joystick. The handgrip which is a bit enlarged allows for a very large battery. Speaking of battery, there is an improved battery life on the A7 III; the NP-FZ100 battery which has a span of 710 shots and 610 for EVF. The A7R III, A9 and A7 III all accept the same battery grip, hence accepting two NP-FZ100 batteries

 

The multi-selector joystick allows for better handling of the camera with the AF point selection. You can easily select or shift focus point when working under pressure. Notable though is the large dial extending from the body for cycling through images.

On the rear part of the body is the AF-On button at the left of the exposure compensation dial for back-button focusing. It aligns very well with the fast AF response and fast shooting ability. There is the AEL button below the exposure compensation and the C3 button after the menu button.

Construction:

The body of this camera is a bit thicker than the A7 II in terms of touch that is why it is easier to hold. Like the A7R III, it is constructed with weatherproof magnesium alloy especially the front and top cover to withstand harsh conditions while the back panel is made of plastic.

Most of the buttons and dials on this camera sealed from weather elements. There is hardly any way it could come in contact with water, moisture or dust. One problem though as earlier stated is that the ports or doors around the A7 III for access to camera terminals are not well sealed and protected from weather. Hence you’d have to check them frequently and make sure they are close especially when shooting in bad or harsh weather.

Performance:

The truth remains that the A7 III is capable and delivers anytime-anywhere better than its predecessor. This is all the more encouraging considering the price.

In terms of burst shooting, it gets the better of the A7 II, offering double of the 5fps the A7 II can shoot. It shoots at 10fps thanks especially to the Front End LSI processor for the increased performance.

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In the buffer system, there is room for improvement especially compared to the Sony A9. It allows 177 JPEGs, 89 RAW files compressed and 40 uncompressed RAW files. Though this performance is impressive. You can also shoot silently with the help of the electronic shutter with shooting speed remaining at 10fps.

There is also the 5-axis image stabilization, an improvement on the A7 II which has 4.5 stops. With this 5-axis IS, it can easily resolve the pitch and yaw movements, corrects camera movements sideways and vertically. You could shoot at lower shutter speed and still deliver perfect shots. The fifth axis corresponds with the rotational correction around the lens axis.

There is an improved battery life on the A7 III; the NP-FZ100 battery which has a span of 710 shots and 610 for EVF. This is even better than the A9 (480 shots).

Image Quality:

Sony’s range of full-frame mirrorless camera offers a great amount of details. The Sony A7III is not an exception. At 24.2MP you get to shoot images with a great amount of details.

The sensor has an optical low-pass filter, unlike the A7R III which it uses to reduce moire and aliasing effects. The sensor also is back-illuminated to guarantee the user a greater ISO performance. At base sensitivities, images are very clean with less noise.

At ISO100, the sensor resolves 32001/ph. At ISO6400, images are still ok with much of the details still clear and safe, but grain-like noise starts to appear. The ISO6400 resolves 28001/ph. Above this point (ISO6400), to ISO12800 level of details reduces and luminance noise start appearing prominently, chroma is very visible, though this is easily eliminated while editing.

Also, the A7 III also delivers 15 stops of dynamic range at base ISO with 14-bit raw files. The A7R III gets the better of A7 III in this area. The dynamic range takes a new twist though, you can easily recover large shadow details while post-processing.

See also: Nikon D850 Review

Verdict and Conclusion:

The Sony A7 III is a real deal for photographers especially enthusiast looking for a full-frame camera around the £2000 price range. It certainly ticks the boxes considering the impressive features that come with this camera at this price notably the 693-point AF system, the 10fps shooting speed, the 4K video, and the resolution. You still get sharp images within the ISO range.

See also: What Camera Should I Buy For beginner Photography

Even though some alpha series seems to be better, for example, the high resolution of A9 and A7R III, there is obviously room for improvement in the touchscreen control and weather-sealing protection it does give you a guaranteed performance, never disappointing. It is even far better than the A7 II. Gone are the problems of battery strength, slow focusing and lack of silent mode which we see in the A7 II.

Verdict:

My advice is this, whenever you feel discouraged, consider the features in this camera. It is also better than its supposed competitor Canon EOS 6D Mark II, the Nikon D750; smarter, faster, portable and more sophisticated.
This is the best full-frame mirrorless camera reasonably excellent for the money, as Sony has put all the best from its previous A9 and A7R III and put them in this camera as reflected in the average performance, resolution and image quality.

Author: Arinze

A Photography enthusiastic. I work with a group of other professional photographers to provide you tips on photography

About Arinze

A Photography enthusiastic. I work with a group of other professional photographers to provide you tips on photography

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