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Sony a7R III 42.4MP Full-frame Mirrorless Interchangeable-Lens Camera
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- 42.4 MP back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor with gapless on-chip lens design
- New front-end LSI and updated BIONZ X processing-engine for maximum processing speed
- Advanced Hybrid AF system with 399 focal-plan phase-detection AF points cover 68% of the image Plane and 425 contrast AF points covering 47% of the image area
- 10 fps with continuous and accurate AF/AE in either mechanical or silent shudder mode
- Dual SD media card Slots ; Operating Temperature:32 - 104 degrees F / 0 - 40 degrees C
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From the manufacturer
Sony a7R III 42.4MP Full-frame Mirrorless Interchangeable-Lens Camera
Thanks to an evolutionary leap in image processing power and efficiency, the a7R III combines a high-resolution 42.4 MP back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS image sensor with impressive shooting speeds at up to 10 fps1 with full AF/AE tracking, as well as beautiful 4K2 HDR3 video qua0lity, wide 15-stop4 dynamic range and high sensitivity with noise reduction of almost a full stop4 (shown here with the Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM Lens).
Spectacular 42.4MP full-frame resolution
The 42.4MP high-resolution, back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor utilizes a gapless on-chip lens design and AR (anti-reflective) coating on the surface of the sensor’s seal glass to dramatically improve light collection efficiency. This results in high sensitivity with low-noise performance and wide 15-stop4 dynamic range. No optical low pass filter maximizes resolution, while also having the ability to output 14 bit RAW15 format even when shooting in silent or continuous mode. Nothing less than spectacular images.
Evolutionary leap in image processing power
The a7R III features a new front-end LSI that effectively doubles* the readout speed of the image sensor, as well as an updated BIONZ X processing-engine that boosts processing speed by approximately 1.8 times compared to the a7R II. These powerful components work together to allow the camera to shoot at faster speeds while also enabling its impressive ISO range of 100 - 32000 (expandable to ISO 50 – 102400 for still images) and massive 15-stop4 dynamic range at low sensitivity settings. This ensures outstanding overall performance at all settings and in all shooting conditions.
Up to 10fps1 with Silent or Mechanical Shutter
The a7R III is equipped with a refined image processing system that allows it to capture full 42.4MP images at up to 10 fps1 with continuous and accurate AF/AE (autofocus and auto exposure) tracking for up to 76 JPEG / RAW images or 28 uncompressed RAW images11. This high speed 10 fps mode is available with either a mechanical shutter or an electronic shutter for completely silent shooting, adding to the immense flexibility of the camera. The a7R III can also shoot continuously at up to 8 fps1 in live view mode with minimal lag in the viewfinder or LCD screen. These high speed options ensure that fast moving subjects can be captured with extreme accuracy and incredible image detail.
Incredible hybrid autofocus system
The upgraded focusing system of the a7R III is comprised of 399 focal-plane phase-detection AF points that cover approximately 47% of the image area in both the horizontal and vertical directions and 425 contrast AF points which cover approximately 68% of the image area (an increase of 400 points compared to the a7R II). When combined, both contrast and phase detection AF points form the hybrid AF system for wide, fast, reliable AF that locks on and stays locked on. This advanced system delivers AF acquisition in about half the time as the a7R II in low-light conditions with tracking that is approximately 2 times more accurate as well. The acclaimed Eye AF feature is also approximately twice as effective4, and is available when utilizing Sony’s A-mount lenses with an adapter12.
5.5-step7, 5-axis in-body image stabilization
The 5-axis in-body SteadyShot image stabilization system has been fine-tuned to support high-resolution shooting capacity, resulting in the world’s highest10 compensation performance for an image stabilization system at 5.5 step7 shutter speed advantage. Camera shake is effectively compensated on 5 axes: pitch and yaw that have the largest overall impact on image quality; X and Y shift that is most apparent at high magnification, and roll that can ruin night shots and movies. Stabilization is applied to the live-view image, making it easier to frame fast-moving subjects. Effective stabilization is provided for movies as well as stills, and for A-mount lenses attached via a mount adapter12.
Low-vibration high-reliability shutter
Thanks to a new shutter unit with a fast-response coreless motor and a brake system, front and rear curtain mechanical shutter vibrations that can cause blur, is subdued to a minimum, while allowing high-speed continuous shooting at up to 10 frames per second. The shutter is also quiet, and has been tested for durability in excess of 500,000 shutter cycles4. Low-vibration high-reliability shutter helps to maximize 42.4 effective megapixel performance and enables 10 frame per second shooting with high speed studio strobes.
Pixel Shift Multi Shooting8
In a 'normal' digital capture each pixel represents just one color: red, green, or blue. The surrounding pixels are used to supply the necessary extra information required to interpolate and reproduce the remaining two primary colors. Pixel Shift Multi Shooting8 takes advantage of the advanced in-body image stabilization system. It precisely shifts the sensor in 1-pixel increments to capture four pixel-shifted images containing a total of approximately 169.6 million pixels8 that are later composited using supplied software running on a personal computer to achieve overwhelming subjective resolution in a single 42.4MP image. Still images of subjects such as architecture and art are captured with true-to-life details, texture, and color.
Secure and versatile dual SD media slots
Two SD media card slots are provided for still and movie storage (one slot for SD cards or Memory Stick) with the lower card slot being UHS-II compatible for fast write speed. Still or movie data can be simultaneously recorded to both cards for backup, or RAW images can be recorded to one card while JPEG images are recorded to the other. It is also possible to record stills and movies to different cards. Data can be copied between cards while in the camera, for convenient back-up. Sony SF-G series UHS-II SD cards are ideal for situations where maximum transfer speed is required.
High Quality 4K2 HDR3 for the Video Professionals
The a7R III is exceptionally capable as a video camera, offering 4K2 (3840x2160 pixels) video recording across the full width of the full-frame image sensor. When shooting in Super 35mm format, the camera uses full pixel readout without pixel binning to collect 5K (15-megapixels) of information, oversampling it to produce high quality 4K footage with exceptional detail and depth. Both S-Log2 and S-Log3 are available for increased color grading flexibility, while HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma)3 is included to support an Instant HDR (High Dynamic Range) workflow, allowing HDR (HLG) compatible TV’s to playback beautiful, true-to-life 4K HDR imagery. The a7R III can also record Full HD at 120 fps at up to 100 Mbps*, allowing footage to be reviewed and eventually edited into 4x or 5x slow motion13 video files in Full HD resolution.
Long-lasting Z battery
The high-capacity NP-FZ100 Rechargeable Battery has approximately 2.2x the capacity of the NP-FW50 W-series battery for more than double the stamina of the W series as used in the a7R II. The optional VG-C3EM vertical grip houses two batteries and when you need serious stamina for long sessions there’s the NPA-MQZ1K Multi Battery Adaptor Kit that can hold up to four batteries. The NP-FZ100 also supports InfoLITHIUM technology, which makes it possible to view the remaining battery power as both a percentage display and five step icon on the camera’s LCD screen.
Eye AF automatically detects and focuses on the subject’s eye. It has been notably improved in the a7R III, providing approximately twice as effective compared to the a7R II, even when shooting a moving subject in continuous AF mode. Face detection has also been updated for higher reliability when the subject is looking away from the camera, when the face is in partial darkness, and other challenging situations.
3-inch 1,440K-dot tiltable LCD screen with touch AF
The tiltable 3-inch (1,440k dots) Xtra Fine LCD Display makes it easy to photograph over crowds, or objects close to the ground or maybe you just want to get a different perspective. The screen can swivel up approx. 107° and down approx. 41° and features a convenient touch AF function for fast intuitive focus. The large display delivers brilliant-quality still images and movies thanks to WhiteMagic technology that nearly doubles the brightness of the display through a unique RGBW pixel structure for easier checking of the focus and image details.
1 Up to 10 fps in continuous 'Hi+' mode, and up to 8 fps in continuous 'Hi' mode. Maximum fps will depend on camera settings.
2 A Class 10 or higher SDHC/SDXC memory card is required for XAVC S format movie recording. UHS speed class 3 or higher is required for 100 Mbps recording.
3 Connect this product to an HDR (HLG) compatible Sony TV via a USB cable when displaying HDR (HLG) movies.
4 According to Sony test conditions.
5 ISO range of 100 - 32000 (expandable to ISO 50 – 102400).
6 In Super 35mm mode.
7 CIPA standards. Pitch/yaw shake only. Planar T* FE 50mm F1.4 ZA lens. Long exposure NR off.
8 Requires use of supplied Imaging Edge software application for compositing. Image compositing may not be successful if camera or subject movement causes blur. The use of a tripod is recommended, as is the use of PC tethered control or a remote commander where possible. Uncompressed RAW and silent mode are automatically selected for Pixel Shift Multi shooting. Some restrictions apply to flash and other devices. Image size after compositing is approx. 42.4 million (7952 x 5304) pixels. Refer to the Sony support site for details.
9 Not guaranteed to be 100% dust and moisture proof.
10 Among digital cameras with a full-frame image sensor. As of October 2017 press release, based on Sony research.
11 'Hi+' continuous mode with UHS-II compatible SDXC memory card. Sony test conditions.
11 Only 100 Hz and 120 Hz flicker is detected. Continuous shooting speed may decrease. Flicker-free shooting is not available during silent shooting, BULB exposure, or movie recording.
12 With SSM or SAM lenses only. With the LA-EA3 mount adapter. Eye AF not supported for movie recording. AF-C can only be used when the 'Phase detection' AF system is selected, but focus is fixed at the first frame during continuous shooting in any mode other than 'Continuous: Lo' (Hi+, Hi, Mid).
13 Sound not recorded. Class 10 or higher SDHC/SDXC memory card required.
14 In NTSC. 50fps or 100fps in PAL.
15 When uncompressed RAW is selected. Limited to 12 bits during compressed RAW continuous shooting, BULB exposure, or when Long Exposure NR is On.
Thanks to an evolutionary leap in image processing power and efficiency, the a7R III combines a high-resolution 42.4 MP back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS image sensor with impressive shooting speeds at up to 10 fps with full AF/AE tracking, as well as beautiful 4K HDR video quality, wide 15-stop dynamic range and high sensitivity with noise reduction of almost a full stop.
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For perspective, I was a long-time Sony/Minolta shooter in the days of traditional SLR and dSLR. As Sony started to abandon the dSLR format, I transitioned to Nikon with the Nikon D750. At that time, 2014 -- I considered Sony mirrorless but decided the platform was just not prime-time ready. Focus systems were mediocre, the lens line up was poor. Then come late 2017 -- 3+ years into the D750 as my primary camera, I started to get the upgrade itch. I was all set to buy the Nikon D850... but I started to dread the potential extra weight. And I know that Sony has some great features that I really like, that are missing from Nikon. So after some hard thought, I started selling off my Nikon lenses....
and now I'm happily shooting with the A7riii.
And the verdict -- I love it even more than I thought I would. I had high expectations and it blew away my expectations.
If you are considering the A7riii versus the Nikon D850, here is my basic comparison review based on experience with Nikon and extensive research on the D850.
Viewfinder: OVF (optical) vs EVF (electronic) - This becomes the big issue for most people. There are people who use EVF, who love the "What you see is what you get" aspect of it and claim they could never go back to using an OVF. There are OVF devotees who claim they would never want to look at an electric image in the viewfinder.
I'm agnostic, I'm happy using either. But in general, the A7riii EVF is fantastic. It is large (larger than the D850), it is bright. It is fast and responsive. It is very easy to forget that you're not looking at an OVF. The only downside of the EVF in general is at camera start up. A camera like the Nikon D850 is already ready to instantaneously shoot. The A7riii and the EVF need a moment to turn on or to wake up if the camera has gone to sleep. It's very very quick, must faster than older models. I would say it is about 1 second, definitely less than 2 seconds. But it is there when you first turn on/wake up the camera.
Image quality: Look at the many reviews out there, IQ differences will be trivial between the D850 and A7riii. The small resolution difference is meaningless.
In general, the A7riii image quality is simply mind-blowing amazing. In terms of low light/high ISO capability, I'm getting top quality at ISO 6400-16000.
Also compared my prior Sony cameras, JPEG rendering is much improved. I always hated the straight out of the camera Sony JPEGs.. no longer. And if you do shoot raw, you are rewarded with extremely malleable files.
Body/Ergonomics -- This is the most cited aspect by dSLR lovers. Some will say that the Sony mirrorless cameras are "too small.. too uncomfortable to hold.. the buttons are too small." The A7riii grip is virtually identical to the Nikon D750 grip. Thus, for my medium sized hands, it is equally comfortable to hold. Button placement and size is improved. It really has become a comfortable body with good ergonomics.
There is no top LCD plate -- so that's a small check in favor of the D850.
The build quality is excellent, but probably not quite as rugged as the D850. I wouldn't hesitate to use the A7riii in a light rain, but I'd be more comfortable with the D850 in a downpour.
Prior Sony cameras all had ridiculously bad battery life -- I've taken hundreds of images in a day and battery hasn't gone below 50%. I'd still buy 1 extra back up battery, but you're rarely going to need it with the A7riii.
Most important to me --It weighs about a pound less than the Nikon D850. When paired with the right lenses, it is a relatively compact system. My back and neck already appreciate the improvement from the D750.
Autofocus -- This is the big one. The D850 has a fantastic autofocus system taken from their flagship sports camera. Traditionally, mirrorless autofocus was inferior.
No longer. Autofocus is evaluated by many different measures, but by most measures, the A7riii autofocus is superior to dSLRs. It is the best autofocus system I have ever used, better than the D750.
For starters -- Nikon's great autofocus system only works with the viewfinder. If you resort to video or the LCD, you get very poor AF.
Sony has a fantastic AF system that can seamlessly go between the viewfinder and the LCD. It is super fast and more importantly, super accurate.
When set up correctly, you get "eye-AF" on the Sony cameras. This is an amazing feature -- even with very narrow depth of field (blurring background), you will get absolutely perfect focus on the eyeball in almost every portrait/person shot. dSLRs are affected by back and front focus issues -- the focus often being off by a centimeter or so. Not a big deal, but at high resolution you can notice it. On the A7riii... you get absolutely perfect focus more often.
Meanwhile, the focus points cover a big portion of the frame. The thumbstick and the touch screen make it very easy to move the AF point around (this was VERY tedious on prior Sony cameras).
So some other features and pros of the A7riii:
-Pixel shift -- Create a composite of 4 images based on shifting the sensor by just 1 pixel at a time. It has very limited functionality. Must have completely still subjects. Must shoot on a tripod. And must combine the images using Sony software on a computer. But in those limited cases, it is a way to achieve noticeably more detail than you get with normal shooting.
-IBIS and hybrid stabilization. I don't have the steadiest hands. I've always needed some degree of stabilization or high shutter speed for sharp images. While many dSLR lenses are stabilized these days, many ultrawide and prime lenses remain non-stabilized. With the A7riii, EVERY lens becomes stabilized. For some, it is a hybrid system between the lens and the camera. For those lenses, I am getting an unbelievable degree of stabilization. I was shooting easily at 105mm and 1/10th of a second. Shooting with the 12-24mm lens at 12mm (this lens doesn't have lens stabilization, so it is IBIS only), I was getting sharp images at 1/2 of a second.
- Dual SD cards. Some have complained that only 1 card slot supports the super fast UHS-II cards, so you get slowed down by the other slot. I have the "slow" slot set to write JPEGS (smaller files), while RAW goes to the fast card. They both end up writing at about the same fast speed.
- Camera mostly remains responsive even when writing images to card -- Prior Sony cameras would mostly lock up when writing to the card. The A7riii remains mostly accessible.
- 10 fps, 8fps with live view. Shooting at 10 fps, you get a slide show effect -- the view finder shows the last image taken, putting you 1/10th of a second behind the action. But you can shoot 8fps with minimal black out while maintaining a live view.
- Silent shooting -- Including at 8 to 10 fps. Want to discreetly take candid photos without people posing for the camera? Put on face detect, silent shooting, 8 fps... shoot bursts from the hip, and you'll get lots of great candids. (or street photography, etc).
- GPS location tagging via bluetooth -- Simple set up with your phone and then works well.
-Customization --- A camera like the D850 is better out of the box. The buttons and menus mostly make a lot of sense. Sony leave far more open for customization. Once you spend a couple hours fully customizing the buttons, the FN menu, and the new "myMenu"... it becomes a far far better camera. The default menus are messy and unwieldy.. But once customized, you can have a fantastic layout.
A word on the Sony lens lineup -- The lineup does cost a little more than Canon and Nikon. The quality of most of the lenses is absolutely top notch. If you shoot between 10mm and 200mm, other than price, there is nothing to really complain about. For super telephoto shooters, Sony's lineup remains somewhat limited.
So my review has been glowing... but that's not to say there aren't some negatives with the camera. Just most of the negatives are very very minor things. So the negatives, especially when compared to a camera like the D850:
- Difficult to delete both memory cards. When you go into the delete function, it is only deleting from the chosen playback card. To make it delete from your second card, you need to go through more menu options and change the chosen card.
- There is no built-in intervalometer. You can buy a cheap external intervalometer for time lapses, but it really should be built in.
- No lossless compression option. Nikon gives you a wealth of options for RAW file handling. Sony only gives you compressed or uncompressed. Uncompressed files are too big for most uses. I stick to compressed -- in 99% of situations, you won't see any loss of image quality. But a lossless compression option would be good to have.
-The "star eater" issue -- You will find this written about on the internet. Basically, when doing astro-photography... when you have stars that are very very small (1 pixel), the camera mistakes them for hot pixels and deletes them. So instead of seeing 1,000 stars, you may only see 950 in the photograph. For me, a non-issue. For a dedicated astro-photographer, it could be an issue.
Off the top of my head, I can't think of any other noteworthy negatives. The camera really is that good.
Because of the fantastic eye-AF, I think this is the best portrait camera you can buy. Combining the fantastic eye-AF with the silent shooting and the live view -- it is the best event/wedding camera you can buy.
The image quality, high resolution, pixel shift -- make it a stellar landscape camera. I can't say it is better than the D850 for landscapes, but it's up there.
For anybody concerned about camera size, the A7riii still isn't tiny. But relatively speaking, it can save you a noticeable amount of bulk and weight.
So for those who want a general use camera with the best possible image quality, it is very easy to recommend the A7riii.
Now I have the A7RIII. I will not go into all of the bells and whistles and exact tech specs. I will assume most folks reading this have viewed at least one of the many detailed video reviews already out there. I will point out what most A7RII users want to know because that is what I would want.
1. Focus speed - I am no longer nervous or disappointed when the sun goes down or I head indoors. The focus speed in general is so much faster and more reliable. But for me it is the low light improvements. This alone almost made my upgrade worth while.
2. Battery life - No more fumbling through my camera bag every couple of hours for another battery that seemed to lose a bar by simply turning the camera on. Battery life is now right there with Canikon. Yet another feature that almost warrants the upgrade for me. Update: I went on vacation and shot nearly 4000 photos in one week. I purchased 3 batteries just in case. Long story short, I never needed more than one battery per day. I never even got below 30% on a single battery in a day and that was with large zooms on board.
3. Brighter and higher resolution EVF makes manual focus enjoyable now. Huge difference
4. The joystick is very welcome. It and the other buttons and dials feel so much more refined and professional for lack of a better word.
5. The very slight increase in grip size makes more difference than I though it would. This camera just feels good in the hands.
6. Buffer speed and general increase in processor speed is extremely noticeable and welcome
7. Dual card slots are great as I can specify Slot 2 to be used if Slot 1 fills up. My preferred use
8. Now having a customizable My Menu is also much appreciated. Most of the menu items I loathed drilling down to are now a button press away.
**** Here is a big one for me. With only a 2 frame difference in FPS between this and my A6500, I am no longer in need of having two cameras in my bag. Being able to sell both my A7RII and my A6500 nearly pays for my upgrade. I can't overstate how nice it is to have a one camera solution. Much of my sport shots are in low light gyms. The A6500 has no anti-flicker. The A7RIII now has anti-flicker and is actually better for my situational sports shooting than my A6500 minus the 2 frames per second. Yet another huge win for me. Some may argue about APS-C vs Full frame depth of field and perceived distance. I find it easy to adapt to these differences via lens choice and being more careful in my framing. I used my A7RIII today for an indoor BBall game and had zero issues. It performed flawlessly. At no point did I miss the A6500. I simply found myself using my 85mm 1.4 more than my 50mm 1.4 lens.
As you may have heard, Sony has removed the Play Memories applications. This omission is probably mine and many others biggest gripe. Having to carry around an intervalemeter is annoying. It just makes no sense. I will not ding the camera for this. I ding Sony for this. Here is to hoping that Sony brings it back with a firmware upgrade. In the scheme of things, I can deal with this without losing any sleep.
I am also aggravated that Sony has not implemented a fully functional touch screen in that the menus can also be navigated.
While there was more love than hate, I indeed had a love/hate relationship with the RII due to some of it's glaring faults. It was without a doubt a ground breaking pioneering camera. Myself and many others believed in Sony's vision and made the leap believing that the next iteration would get at least most of it right. I would venture to say that they got it all right. Now it is an all love relationship with my RIII. This camera coupled with my stable of impressive Primes and GM lenses leaves me in camera nirvana. I have never in my life felt like I had the perfect kit for my needs. This is the first time. Thank you Sony. This is a big deal for me. Even if you do price gouge. ;-)
*** Rolling shutter. I love the idea of a silent shutter. Unfortunately it does have it limitations. These limitations in my experience have not been fully mitigated by any camera available to date. The slow sensor readout time results in warped images when shooting fast action. It is my experience with both the RII and the RIII that rolling shutter becomes quite apparent at 1/650th and faster shutter speeds. I simply can not use it for stop action sports. The A9 is more suited for silent shutter as it does indeed have a faster sensor read. But even the A9 suffers from this phenomenon although to a lesser extent. The other issue is using silent shutter under artificial light. This more often than not leads to non-correctable banding in my photos. Silent shutter is really only useful and dependable to me for street photography where I am typically well below 1/500th and under natural light. In this situation, silent shutter really shines and can lead to some wonderful candid photos. Again, this is not a fault that is particular to Sony cameras. I have yet to find a camera that has conquered these limitations. It will come in time when technology allows for near instantaneous sensor reads. Until that time, I will use it where it works for me.
*** I purchased my camera from a 3rd party. That does not make my review less relevant. I purchase a great deal of equipment on Amazon and am happy to share my thoughts with fellow Amazon customers that might appreciate my input regardless of where it was purchased. I have included a picture to help "verify" my purchase.
*** This moon shot was taken with the 100-400 GM coupled with 1.4 Extender. I did not use pixel shift as the moon moves too fast.
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I've been using Sony mirrorless cameras for a number of years.Read more