Oh, hello A7R III. What a pleasant surprise!
This year, Christmas comes early. Sony just announced the release of the A7R III DSLR camera out into the world on the tail end of November this year, and what a beauty it is! To start off let’s look at some of the big specs of this guy:
- 42.4MP back-illuminated Exmor R full-frame sensor
- BIONZ X processor and new front-end LSI
- 4K video recording with full pixel readout, Full HD up to 120fps
- 10fps burst shooting (with autofocus and auto-exposure)
- 5-axis image stabilization system with 5.5EV-stop compensation
- 399-point phase-detect AF and 425-point contrast-detect AF systems
- ISO 100-32,000 (exp to ISO 50-102,400 equivalents)
- 3in tilting touchscreen LCD, 1.44 million dots
- Quad-VGA OLED Tru-Finder, 3.69 million dots
- Two SDHC/SDXC cardc slots (inc. support for UHS-II in one slot)
- Pixel Shift Multi Shooting Mode
- 650-shot battery life
- USB 3.1 port
So, what does this all mean?
Well in short, the A7R III is looking like a great bridge between the A7S II, the A9, and the old generation A7R II. In keeping the familiar buttons of the A9, throwing in the great autofocus of our beloved A6500, and enhancing lowlight functionality to compete with the A7S II, the A7R III is really looking like the all in one camera for filmmakers and photographers of all back grounds, but let’s stay focused on the big day!
Speaking of focus, let’s talk about that 42.4MP sensor. While this is the same as found on the Mark II, Sony boasts that the autofocus is up to 2x faster when paired with the new software. Not only did we keep our 399 phase-detect points, we now have 400 more contrast detect points than the A7R II. The crazy uncle will only bust out the worm for a limited time only. So, did we catch that on camera? Yeah we did! And in focus too.
Winter is coming and the darkness is creeping in earlier and earlier. Grandma always said nothing good happens in the dark. With lowlight capabilities down to -3 EV with a F2 lens, we now can catch that on camera. Even when cranking up the ISO, the improved JPEG color and noise reduction should be able to catch every detail while keeping the noise down.
Personally, we have been primarily using the A6500 as our gimbal camera: the autofocus is incredible and allows so much versatility in the heat of a wedding day to just run and gun. However, our biggest gripe is the limited ISO adjustment of this camera. After about 1250 ISO the image really falls apart. Having a camera like the A7R III that more than doubles this range while presenting great autofocus and lowlight all in one makes me want to adopt this camera as our primary gimbal camera.
From a user standpoint, think of the A7R III as the cousin to the A9 which some are cleverly nicknaming it the “A9s” since it mirrors the A9 both in physical form and in much of its software. While keeping the muscle memory intact with similar button placement, they improved the haptic feedback making them heftier and easier to control. Becoming fluent in its operation won’t need the Rosetta Stone. The Movie Record button has also been placed in a much more natural setting, which is a blessing for all videographers such as myself.
The addition of an extra SD slot allows me to hit said Movie Record button as much as I want, letting me worry less about running out of room and focus more on getting every important moment of the full day. Another thing I won’t have to worry about? My battery dying. The A7RIII really buffed up its battery life, expanding from the 290-shot life on the Mark II to a mind-blowing 650 shot rating. If this still isn’t enough for you, an optional battery grip will double this. Simple math takes this up to 1300 shots.
The A7R III has a starting price point of $3,198 which is about $1,200 less than Sony’s flagship A9. The A7R III having the additional features of lowlight and autofocus make it a great choice for those looking for a solid camera without breaking the bank as much as the A9. While it may not beat out the A9 completely and it won’t have the same lowlight capability as the A7S II it is a great stop gap between both bodies.
Some folks critique that Sony is too quick to pop out new tech, however I commend such fast innovation and we all love that they take each new generation of cameras (as a response to their user’s needs and requests) to listen to community feedback of pros/cons. The surprise release of the A7R III is one I would easily welcome into my camera bag.
To find out even more we have a few links below where you can see some early tests of the camera in action:
Sony A7R III 4k Footage
Sony A7R III 4k HDR Footage
Random Trivia: Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005) - This film is a sequel to a remake of a film that was based on a book that was based on a true story. This means it is four steps away from its source material.