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May 01

Review: Sony A7 III

Conclusion

Pros

  • Improved body design still feels incredibly solid
  • Deeper grip and refined controls further improve ergonomics and make the camera a joy to hold and shoot
  • Dramatically improved autofocus, with great speed and accuracy in lower light and with tracking action
  • Focus joystick makes AF point selection much faster and easier.
  • EyeAF is very accurate and is a revelation for portrait photographers
  • Extremely responsive camera with low shutter lag and speedy operation
  • Exceptional customizability with a full complement of shooting features
  • Viewfinder is clear and extremely large, at 0.78x magnification
  • In-body image stabilization has improved from previous generation
  • Outstanding dynamic range and tonality
  • Natural color response
  • Excellent noise control from low to high ISO
  • WiFi+Bluetooth makes camera connectivity simpler and more reliable
  • Near-perfect Auto ISO implementation
  • Very good battery life that is dramatically better than the previous generation
  • Very high quality 4K and HD video with a wide range of options and output
  • Silent shutter for completely silent shooting
  • Continuous shooting at 8fps with live view and up to 10fps with focus tracking is a huge upgrade over the A7 II
  • Very deep image buffer for continuous shooting
  • Dual SD card slots
  • Exceptional Value

Cons

  • Rear touch screen is lower resolution, a bit dim and touch implementation is limited
  • Battery charger is not included and USB charging is slow.
  • Included MicroUSB cable causes interference with port cover when charging (recommend USB-C for charging)
  • PlayMemories App store has been removed, but core functionality wasn’t added back in its place
  • Remote shooting doesn’t allow you to move focus point remotely
  • Still no in-camera RAW conversion capability
  • Viewfinder is still using last generation 2.4M dot panel
  • Only one of the SD Card slots supports UHS-II speeds, and writing to both cards restricts speeds to UHS-I.

While the A7 III is by no means a flawless camera, it gets so much right that any minor flaws are extremely easy to live with. There are some annoyances, such as the lack of an external battery charger and the removal of the PlayMemories Apps without proper replacement for interval shooting and some limitations in remote shooting.  The dual card slots are nice to have, but it would be even nicer if both could write at UHS-II speeds. There’s still no in-camera RAW conversion capability, and while the A7 III gains a touch screen, Sony put in a mediocre panel to use for this functionality.

But when you look at the positives, the list of them is extremely long and varied.  The A7 III gains one of the very best autofocus systems in any camera, with nearly the same capabilities as the more expensive A9.  The EyeAF functionality is outstanding, and the overall responsiveness of the camera is on a very high level.  The new image sensor sees gains in almost every area, with outstanding low-light performance and excellent dynamic range and color response.  Add in the excellent Sony feature set, improved ergonomics, the focus joystick, an expansive viewfinder, 10 fps shooting and a deep buffer and the A7 III becomes that rare beast: a jack of all trades that is a master of most.

When you look at the whole package and the modest $1,998 price tag, the A7 III also becomes an exceptional value.  A $2,000 camera is not cheap by any means, but it is extremely affordable when considering the enormous capabilities and feature set of this camera.  Sony is going to sell millions of these, and with good reason.  It’s an extremely capable camera for any type of shooting, and while Sony regards this as its ‘basic’ model, the truth is that it’s the camera in the Sony full-frame lineup that most everyone should be considering.

Those who print huge or crop a lot may lean to the A7R III, while those who demand high speed silent shooting, slightly better continuous AF and ultra-high speed 20 fps shooting will lean towards the A9.  For everyone else, the A7 III will more than satisfy. It’s an exceptional camera, and one that will give most shooters all the camera they will need for years to come.

Image Samples

Click on an image to enlarge.

Devil's Bathtub, Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio - Sony A7 III with Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS @

Devil’s Bathtub, Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio – Sony A7 III with Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS @ 28mm, f/16, 20s, ISO 100

Ohio Statehouse - Sony A7 III with Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS @

Ohio Statehouse – Sony A7 III with Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS @ 16mm, f/8, 1/8s, ISO 1600

Underpass - Sony A7 III with Voigtlander 35mm f/1.4 Nokton Classic @

Underpass – Sony A7 III with Voigtlander 35mm f/1.4 Nokton Classic @ f/11, 1/40s, ISO 1600

Blossoms - Sony A7 III with Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 @ 400mm, f/6.3,

Blossoms – Sony A7 III with Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 @ 400mm, f/6.3, 1/500s, ISO 250

Lower Falls, Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio - Sony A7 III with Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS @

Lower Falls, Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio – Sony A7 III with Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS @ 18mm, f/16, 1.6s, ISO 100

Statehouse Hallway - Sony A7 III with Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS @

Statehouse Hallway – Sony A7 III with Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS @ 22mm, f/8, 1/8s, ISO 3200

On the Dock - Sony A7 III with Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 @ f/1.8,

On the Dock – Sony A7 III with Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 @ f/1.8, 1/1600s, ISO 100

Columbus Morning - Sony A7 III with Voigtlander 35mm f/1.4 Nokton @

Columbus Morning – Sony A7 III with Voigtlander 35mm f/1.4 Nokton @ f/11, 1/100s, ISO 100

Chickadee - Sony A7 III with Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 @

Chickadee – Sony A7 III with Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 @ 400mm, f/6.3, 1/1600s, ISO 2000

Central Cascade, Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio - Sony A7 III With Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS @

Central Cascade, Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio – Sony A7 III With Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS @ 35mm, f/14, 15s, ISO 100

Main Street Bridge - Sony A7 III With Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS @

Main Street Bridge – Sony A7 III With Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS @ 24mm, f/10, 1/30s, ISO 100

National Museum of the US Air Force - Sony A7 III With Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS @ 16mm, f/4,

National Museum of the US Air Force – Sony A7 III With Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS @ 16mm, f/4, 1/15s, ISO 4000

Blue Columbus - Sony A7 III with Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS @ 20mm, f/6.3,

Blue Columbus – Sony A7 III with Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS @ 20mm, f/6.3, 10s, ISO 100

Standing Guard - Sony A7 III With Sigma 100-400mm + 1.4x TC @ 560mm, f/14, 1/200s, ISO 200

Standing Guard – Sony A7 III With Sigma 100-400mm + 1.4x TC @ 560mm, f/14, 1/200s, ISO 200

Bunny - Sony A7 III With Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 @ 400mm, f/6.3,

Bunny – Sony A7 III With Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 @ 400mm, f/6.3, 1/400s, ISO 800

Thunderbirds - Sony A7 III With Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 @

Thunderbirds – Sony A7 III With Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 @ f/1.8, 1/50s, ISO 2500

Ohio Statehouse - Sony A7 III With Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS @

Ohio Statehouse – Sony A7 III With Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS @ 16mm, f/8, 1/8s, ISO 3200

Lower Falls, Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio - Sony A7 III With Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS @

Lower Falls, Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio – Sony A7 III With Sony FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS @ 27mm, f/16, 1.6s, ISO 100

Moon Baby - Sony A7 III With Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 @

Moon Baby – Sony A7 III With Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 @ 330mm, f/8, 1s, ISO 100

Tiger - Sony A7 III With Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 @ 100mm,

Tiger – Sony A7 III With Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 @ 100mm, f/5, 1/60s, ISO 25,600

If you enjoyed this review, check out my other reviews in the Review Index

About the author

Jordan Steele

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Admiring Light; Photographer; Electrical Engineer and Dad

17 comments

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  1. Dennis Laska

    Excellent review as always Jordan!

  2. Ludwig

    Thank you for an informative review—and your great photos 🙂

  3. James Landers

    This has to be the best review of the A7III I’ve read to date. Clear, concise and relevant. Thanks

  4. Jesse

    Minor typo in par 2 of the “Battery Life” section — “cmaeras”

    Great review. Really fantastic looking camera. Lens options are still too rich for my blood however.

    1. Jordan Steele

      Thanks! Fixed.

  5. Sunayan

    Thanks for the great review! Would you mind commenting on skin tones of in-camera JPEG images? Did you find them to be to your satisfaction? Or did you notice any greenish cast?

  6. Florent

    Great review, thanks Jordan.
    How would you rate ergonomics versus the Fuji-X system (say a Fuji X-T2)?
    Between the two, which one do you enjoy the most shooting?
    I find that the connection with the camera and the joy of taking pictures is actually more important that pure specs given the very high IQ we get on any camera these days.
    Thanks in advance for your feedback.

    1. Jordan Steele

      I agree that it is often among the more important considerations in a camera….it’s why it’s on the first page in my reviews.

      But also, ergonomics are very personal, so what I like and what you like may not align. I think the ergonomics on the A7 III are outstanding, with a nice deep comfortable grip, a very nice think rest and easy access to all controls. That said, I love the Fuji controls and find the X-T2 grip to fit perfectly in my hand. I do think most would prefer the deeper grip of the Sony, but for me they’re about equal in comfort.

      1. Florent

        I realize I didn’t formulate my question properly.
        I mentioned ergonomics but what I really meant to say was more the control of the camera in terms of operations.
        In terms of controls, how would you rate the A7III compared to the Fuji X-T2 for instance?
        Thanks, Jordan.
        I always find your reviews and opinion very insightful.

        1. Jordan Steele

          I generally prefer Fuji controls, as I like the aperture ring, but again, this is more personal preference. As I stated in the review, the A7 III has really well laid out controls that are all within easy reach. It’s a well refined system that works well for my use, but everyone is different.

          1. Florent

            Thanks for the precision, Jordan.

  7. David

    Great review, like always.

    -When you select a min shutter speed in auto-ISO, will the camera adhere to that regardless of exposure or will it go below when raising the ISO isn’t enough? I thought it was a hard limit and was a bit surprised when I recently upgraded to a used A7rii from the A7 and A6000.

    -“Those who print huge or crop a lot may lean to the A7R III, while those who demand high speed silent shooting, slightly better continuous AF and ultra-high speed 20 fps shooting will lean towards the A9. For everyone else, the A7 III will more than satisfy.” is a truth in many scenarios but perhaps not for every (euro)shooter on a budget.

    While the Swedish enkrona (SEK) has been a bit mangled by the USD lately the current retail A7iii price is SEK24000(USD 2727) while I purchased an A7rii used for SEK15500(USD 1750). That is a hefty price difference. I love the A7rii sensor and the AF is a nice upgrade from the A7.

    (Though the camera is a little vampire both when shooting and when being turned “off”, even in airplane mode)

  8. Scott

    Hi Jordan: Fantastic review! There have been many A7RIII v D850 shootouts. Invariably, the D850 edges out the RIII for sports, mostly due to the ocean between the two cameras buffer clearing capability and slight AF tracking advantage in certain directions. Can you comment as to whether or not the A7III’s AF system has resolved these deficiencies? Also, did the A7III resolve the ongoing Posterization problem that has plagued the series since the beginning? I was leaning toward the RIII for my next purchase however I think I would be willing to forgo the extra resolution and better EVF/LCD in favor of the A7III if the items I mention above have been improved upon significantly? Thank you.

    1. Jordan Steele

      I have not used the D850 (or really any Nikon DSLR), so I can’t really comment. I know that the AF is improved from the A7R III, but I don’t really have experience with that camera, so I can’t say by how much.

      As to the posterization problem, I can’t say I have ever had an issue with posterization on any of my Sony bodies, so I’d say that any ‘problem’ in that regard is pretty massively overblown. However, for the extremely rare instances where it may crop up, my understanding is the Uncompressed RAW option that is available in the mark II and III bodies eliminate any posterization. But again, I can’t really comment as I’ve honestly never noticed it to be a problem in any of the tens of thousands of shots I’ve taken on my Sony bodies.

  9. Harry

    I had the 7III for 2 Weeks with different lenses (12-24 -100-400 – 24-240 etc).
    I find the viewfinder in comparison to Pana G9, Oly E-M1II, Fuji X-T2 so bad (no tones, no real colors, no right contrast in overcast daylight) that I got my money back.
    7RIII Viewfinder is ok, not great, far away from perfect, but ok.
    It is a long way to the first good Sony camera for a fair price.
    Can’t understand why you rate the finder as good.

    1. Jordan Steele

      Did you have your JPEG settings set to something extremely flat, or Setting effect turned off? The EVF is affected by your JPEG settings. I don’t think it’s as good as the G9 or X-T2, but it’s still a very nice finder, and I think at least on par with the X-T1, and it’s the same finder (with a few tweaks) as the A7R II. Something may have been off with your copy, or perhaps we just have different expectations.

      1. Harry

        I am aware of the settings and tried different 7III models in the shop and let my friends and family look through Sony 7III – Panasonic G9, Olympus E-M1II, Fujifilm X-T2 – at this comparable price level –
        and nobody of my photofriends would like to use the Sony viewfinder – it is to bad – for these days in such a price range.
        If you know nothing else, it might be ok but it is not competitive and even dpreview noted that the viewfinder is behind competition.
        Sony A9 and 7RIII is a different thing – but working with 7III is no fun – even with best full frame sensor and good lenses in mind. It is like falling back to Panasonic GH1.
        In the sun and even at a cloudy day you can’t enjoy your picture taking.There is not dynamic range, the only way is to activate the histogram. Even the backside monitor is not great.
        A camera for me is more then sensor and programmable gimmicks.

  1. Sony A7III in Stock at BuyDig (new review at Admiringlight) - sonyalpharumors sonyalpharumors

    […] Jordan Steele from Admiringlight published his full A7III […]

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