Sony A7R III Review. Sony alpha 7r iii

Sony A7R III Review

Credit: Trusted Reviews

  • Verdict
  • Pros and Cons
  • Key Specifications
  • What is the Sony A7R III?
  • Sony A7R III
  • Sony A7R III
  • Sony A7R III
  • Sony A7R III
  • Sony A7R III
  • Sony A7R III
  • Sony A7R III
  • Sony A7R III
  • Why buy the Sony A7R III?
  • Verdict
  • Trusted Score


Quite simply, the Sony A7R III is a ludicrously brilliant camera, and one of the very best on the market.


Key Specifications

Editor’s note: Sony has just announced the Sony A7R IV. We’ll be bringing you our first impressions of that new model soon, but in the meantime here’s our review of the Sony A7R III.

What is the Sony A7R III?

The Sony Alpha 7R III is Sony’s latest high-resolution, full-frame mirrorless camera. It offers impressive all-round specifications, with a 42.4MP sensor, 10fps continuous shooting, a hybrid AF system that employs 399 phase-detection points covering approximately 68% of the frame, and 4K video recording. It costs £3200 body-only.

It’s now four years since Sony unveiled the world’s first full-frame mirrorless cameras, in the shape of the 24MP A7 and 36MP A7R. A year-and-a-half later, we saw the updated A7R II, with a groundbreaking 42.4MP sensor, built-in 5-axis image stabilisation, and a much-improved body design. Now it’s time for round three, in the form of the Alpha 7R III.

Sony has clearly decided to stick to what it knows best and kept to a very familiar template, with a compact, SLR-styled body and central electronic viewfinder. But it’s taken the A7R II design and added many of the best features it debuted on the Alpha 9 earlier this year, with the aim of addressing those aforementioned weaknesses. The result is a very impressive camera with a remarkable combination of resolution, shooting speed and high-ISO image quality.

Of course we’ve seen something very similar recently, with the Nikon D850 earning high praise as the best DSLR we’ve reviewed to date. The two cameras are priced in the same ball-park (£3200 for the A7R III, £3500 for the D850) so they’re bound to be closely compared; they’ll surely also leave Canon users pondering the value of the similarly-priced but comparatively under-spec’d EOS 5D Mark IV. The question, though, is can the mirrorless A7R III genuinely compete with such an exceptional DSLR?

Sony A7R III – Features

Sony has employed essentially the same excellent 42.4MP back-illuminated full-frame sensor as the A7R II, with on-chip phase detection for autofocus. However it’s now been teamed up with the latest Bionx X processor and front-end LSI, bringing a slightly extended standard sensitivity range of ISO 100-32,000, expandable to ISO 50-102,400. The camera is said to offer fully 15 stops of dynamic range at ISO 100, which can be recorded into its 14-bit RAW files even during continuous or silent shooting (where the A7R II fell back to 12-bit raw).

Speaking of which, the A7R III is substantially faster than the previous model, capable of shooting at 10 frames per second (rather than 5), or 8 fps with live view between frames. It also has a considerably larger buffer, which means it can shoot 28 uncompressed RAW files in a single burst, or alternatively 76 compressed RAW or JPEG files. This counts as a rare combination of resolution and speed, surpassed only by Sony’s own Alpha 99 II electronic-viewfinder DSLR. A new shutter unit promises low vibration, and is rated for 500,000 cycles; a silent fully-electronic shutter is also on hand for those occasions when you want to shoot as discreetly as possible.

Autofocus uses a hybrid system covering most of the image area, with 399 phase-detection and 425 contrast-detection points, a considerable increase on the 25 CDAF points in the A7R II. Sony says that it’s incorporated the autofocus algorithms it developed for the Alpha 9, promising a ‘quantum leap’ in AF performance, with 2x faster focusing alongside big improvements in FOCUS tracking and Eye-AF performance.

Like its predecessor, the A7R III includes 5-axis in-body image stabilisation that works with practically any lens. But thanks to improved algorithms, it now promises blur-free hand-held shooting at shutter speeds 5.5 stops slower than would otherwise be possible. According to Sony, this is the most effective image stabilisation system yet employed by a full-frame camera.

In a very welcome addition, the A7R III uses the same uprated NP-FZ100 battery as the Alpha 9, offering over twice the capacity of the old NP-FW50. It’s specified for 650 shots using the LCD, or 530 with the EVF, according to CIPA standard testing. The A7R III also gains twin SD card slots, one of which is of the faster UHS-II type, and can automatically switch between them when one fills up.

The NP-FZ100 battery is specified for 650 shots using the LCD, or 530 with the EVF

Sony has also added a couple of features that are completely new to the A7R III. Alongside the conventional Micro-USB port, there’s a high-speed USB-C, which allows tethered operation via Sony’s new free Imaging Edge software. Alternatively, you can charge the camera through one USB port while using a cable release with the other.

In a much-requested addition, it’s now possible to protect images in-camera during playback, or assign them star ratings that are recognised by Adobe Lightroom and Bridge. Another neat touch is that bursts of images can be grouped together in playback, making it quicker to browse through your day’s shooting. I’ve found these features to be particularly useful.

The two SD slots are behind a single door, with the lower one being fast UHS-II

Wi-Fi is built in for connection to a smartphone or tablet, using Sony’s free PlayMemories Mobile app for Android and iOS. This enables full remote control of the camera, complete with a live view display. Sony also makes it particularly easy to transfer images from the camera to your device, simply by pressing the Fn button on the camera’s back during playback. You can also geotag your pictures as you shoot using your phone’s GPS, via the newly-added Bluetooth connection.

However a few features are missing compared to what I’d expect at this price. For instance there’s no in-camera raw conversion, which almost every other brand now offers. Nor is there a built-in intervalometer, and with Sony having apparently abandoned its downloadable PlayMemories camera apps, no option to add one. So if you want to shoot time-lapse, you’ll have to make use of an old-fashioned remote release or a third-party solution such as the Cascable 3 Wi-Fi app. This is disappointing for a £3300 camera.

Sony A7R III – Build and handling

At 126.9 x 95.7 x 73.7mm and 657g, the A7R III is essentially the same size as its predecessor, but it has a slightly deeper grip to accommodate the larger battery. As a result it feels subtly better in your hand, offering a very positive hold even with larger lenses such as the FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM. There’s very little to complain about in terms of build quality, which feels every bit as solid as Canon and Nikon’s full-frame DSLRs. The main question mark in terms of build hangs over the somewhat slight plastic covers for the connector ports, and whether they will provide as good sealing in really difficult conditions as the thick rubberised covers on the likes of the D850.

While the A7R III uses essentially the same top-plate control layout as the previous model, on the back it resembles the A9. So in a hugely welcome move it gains an AF-on button and AF-area selection joystick, along with a much better-positioned movie button and a larger, easier-to-use rear dial than the older model. All of the controls can be easily adjusted with the camera to your eye, with the joystick being especially well placed.

Indeed with the option to use separate dials for each of the main exposure parameters (shutter speed, aperture, ISO and exposure compensation), the A7R III does a great job of placing the most important settings at your fingertips. It also has plenty of user-configurable custom buttons, which can be assigned to different functions during stills and video shooting or playback. It’s even possible to program up to seven different camera set-ups for recall from the mode dial, and three specific subsets of shooting parameters that can be temporarily engaged by pressing down a custom button (for instance, to change FOCUS and drive modes for when a subject starts moving). This makes the camera incredibly customisable, however it’s also pretty bewildering when you’re first getting to know it.

The control layout gains some welcome features from the Alpha 9

Unfortunately, though, the A7R III doesn’t inherit the A9’s top-plate drive and FOCUS mode dials; instead these functions are accessed from external buttons. Presumably Sony assumes users will change these settings less often than on the action-focused A9. It’s not a huge problem, but it means the A7R III is a bit less fluid to use than it could be.

Shooting with gloves on chilly winter days reveals another flaw – the handgrip is placed too close to the lens mount. As a result, with anything other than thin gloves, you’ll struggle to squeeze your fingers into the gap. In such situations I wished Sony had used a slightly larger body design more like the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II or the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5. Photographers who prefer using back-button FOCUS may also find the AF-ON button to be awkwardly-placed too close to the viewfinder, especially if they shoot left-eyed.

All the connectors are on the left side of the body, behind three thin plastic covers

Sony’s relative inexperience also tells in the layout of the camera’s connector ports. Oddly the headphone and microphone sockets aren’t behind the same cover; instead if you want to use them while recording video, you’ll end up exposing the PC sync and HDMI ports too. Likewise, the corner-mounted micro-USB remote release port is awkwardly located for use with the L-brackets beloved by landscape photographers. Again, though, these are irritations rather than deal-breakers.

Sony A7R III – Viewfinder and screen

Like the A9, the A7R III employs a large, high-resolution 3.69-million-dot EVF, which provides a bright, detailed view that’s as large as any full-frame DSLR’s. Depending on your preferences, it can be set to either 60fps or 120fps display modes, with the latter promising more fluid motion at the expense of increased viewing artefacts such as moiré or jaggies. You can chose to overlay a wide range of additional information, but in one of Sony’s on-going failings, it’s not possible to see a live histogram and electronic levels simultaneously. Even so, the EVF is so good that I used it for the mast majority of the images I shot.

On the back the LCD has been upgraded to 1.44-million dots, with Whitemagic technology for improved brightness. It’s also touch-sensitive for setting the FOCUS point and examining magnified images in playback. Sadly though, Sony has insisted on sticking with its relatively inflexible tilt-only design. This has the advantage of being very compact and not interfering with connector ports, but it becomes useless the moment you switch the camera to portrait format. I’d have preferred to see a dual-axis tilt or fully-articulated design, as on other top-end mirrorless cameras.

Sony A7R III – Autofocus

Like other mirrorless models the A7R III uses the main image sensor for autofocus, employing a combination of phase and contrast detection. This has a number of advantages compared to DSLRs; the FOCUS area covers a much wider area of the frame, and there’s no need to program in micro-adjustments for each of your lenses to fine-tune accuracy. As a result it’s much easier to get consistently sharp images.

Sony’s Eye AF works brilliantly for portraits. Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM, 1/8000sec at f/1.8, ISO 3200

As usual from Sony you get an array of FOCUS area modes to choose from. In Wide mode the camera will try to identify the subject wherever it may be in the frame, while Zone restricts it to smaller areas. In Flexible Spot mode you can position the FOCUS point manually almost anywhere in the frame; with Expand Flexible Spot, surrounding FOCUS points are used to assist the camera in focusing. For shooting portraits, Sony has included its impressive Eye AF mode, which detects and focuses specifically on your subject’s nearer eye. This works remarkably well, acquiring correct FOCUS with ease even when you’re shooting off-centre subjects with fast lenses, where DSLRs tend to struggle.

When set using the touchscreen, the FOCUS area is highlighted in an easy-to-see orange

However most users will, I suspect, spend a lot of time in Flexible spot mode, setting the FOCUS point using either the touchscreen or the joystick. With the former the camera behaves entirely sensibly, highlighting the AF area in orange so you can see where it is. But if like me you prefer to use the joystick, the FOCUS area is drawn in a dull mid-grey that makes it essentially invisible, which defeats the point of adding that control in the first place. It’s remarkably incompetent of Sony not to have fixed this from the Alpha 9, and a serious failing if you prefer to position your AF point manually. This may sound like a minor niggle, but I found it impacted on the majority of shots I took. It’s a serious flaw and in real need of a firmware fix (which should be trivial for Sony to deliver).

When set with the joystick, though, the AF area is drawn in a near-invisible grey

This is a shame, as the autofocus is really very good indeed. It’s genuinely fast, which means that unlike with the A7R II, you don’t find yourself constantly feeling just that little bit held up by the camera. As usual accuracy is spot on, just as long as you pay close attention to where you place the FOCUS area. The AF also continues to work very well in low light. The camera’s impressive performance isn’t just restricted to static subjects, either – it’s also capable of keeping up with those that move. It’s perhaps not as unerringly reliable and accurate as the Alpha 9, but it’ll usually keep your subjects acceptably sharp over the course of a burst, and works especially well in concert with Eye AF.

Sony A7R III – Video and 4K HDR

Like its predecessor, the A7R III is capable of recording 4K video, using either the full width of the sensor or a Super-35 crop. In the latter mode it oversamples rather than pixel-bins, giving sharper, more detailed footage. Those hoping for high frame-rates in 4K will have to wait – the maximum is still 30fps – but what the A7R III does bring to the table is 4K HDR using Hybrid Log Gamma, allowing high dynamic-range playback on compatible TVs, with no need for any additional processing. The camera can also simultaneously output low-resolution proxy footage, which simplifies editing for videographers who use low-powered mobile devices on the move.

Recording is initiated using the red button beside the viewfinder, and there are dedicated video and SQ positions on the mode dial

Naturally Full HD recording is also available at frame rates up to 120fps, while microphone and headphone sockets are built-in for better-quality sound recording. There’s a huge array of other video-specific features available too, including zebra pattern over-exposure warnings, a customisable peaking display for manual FOCUS, and S-Log gamma for easier colour grading in post-processing. Sony has also included its SQ (Slow and Quick) mode, allowing Full HD recording at rates from 1fps to 100fps – in effect from one-quarter-speed slow motion, up to 8x-speed quick motion.

It’s not just the video specs that are impressive: the Alpha 7R III delivers excellent quality footage that’s full of detail. The in-body image stabilisation also does an excellent job of smoothing out the shakes from hand-held shooting. If you want to shoot video as well as stills, it’s an incredibly capable camera.

Sony A7R III – Pixel Shift Multi Shooting

Sony has introduced a new ‘Pixel Shift Multi Shooting’ mode that uses the IS system to take four frames of the same scene while shifting the sensor precisely one pixel between each, rather like we’ve previously seen on Pentax DSLRs. It writes four standard ARW raw files to card, which can then be combined to a new ARQ format using Sony’s Imaging Edge software on a laptop or desktop computer. This produces a composite file with full-colour sampling at each pixel location, which can be output in either JPEG or TIFF format.

In Pixel Shift Multi Shooting mode, the A7R III resolves astonishing detail. FE 24-105mm f/4G OSS at 24mm, 1/125sec at f/8, ISO100

In the camera’s default setup, the mode can only be engaged from the menu, but I added it as a shortcut to the Fn menu in place of FOCUS mode (which has its own external button). One disadvantage is that the camera has to wait a second or more between frames, which causes problems in scenes where any part of the subject is moving.

Pixel shift multi shot mode (right) compared to a single raw file processed using Sony Imaging Edge

This kind of multi-shot mode is pretty much a known quantity now, and Sony’s version brings no big surprises. So you get substantially higher-quality images compared to conventional single-shot mode, with vastly improved tonality and fine detail when viewing your images at the pixel level. You can see this in the example above, although it must be said the Sony Imaging Edge hasn’t done a great job on the single raw file, and you could tease more detail out using other software such as Capture One.

Pixel shift multi-shot (right) compared to a single raw

However, this quality is maintained only if nothing moves between exposures; if it does, you end up with an unholy mess. In the crops above, you can see some nasty grid-like artefacts on the out-of-FOCUS waves, along with ugly rendition of the stones on the beach. With most landscapes, you’ll see this kind of thing all over your images, and quickly realise just how rare it is for anything to stay absolutely still. It can be remedied in some cases by combining the single-shot and multi-shot images in Photoshop and masking away the worst artefacts, but with complex landscapes it’s not really an option (or at the very least, a huge amount of work!).

This all means that, just like other manufacturer’s similar modes, Pixel-Shift Multi-shot is great for product photography or still life, but has no chance of working for portraits or almost any landscape. In those situations where Pixel Shift mode does work, however, the A7R III gives some of the most finely-detailed images I’ve seen from any camera.

Sony A7R III – Performance

When it comes to in-the-field use, the A7R III is clear improvement on its predecessor, which could often feel a little sluggish. Indeed it’s now a very snappy performer that simply gets on with the job with minimal fuss. Most notably, its considerably upgraded autofocus and continuous shooting abilities make it a credible option for high-speed action work. Shooting wildlife in full resolution raw at 10 fps, I found I was able to rattle off repeated bursts practically at will, at least until I ran out of space on my UHS-II card.

The A7R III is quick enough to FOCUS on skittish wildlife, even using an adapted lens. Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM at 300mm with Sigma MC-11 adapter, 1/1000 sec at f/5.6, ISO 12,800

Battery life is much-improved over the A7R II too, with the NP-FZ100 providing sufficient juice for a fairly intensive day’s shooting. This is still a mirrorless camera, of course, so you have to learn to treat it differently to a DSLR, flicking the power switch off when you’re not using it. But it doesn’t need anywhere near the same degree of babying and obsessive power conservation as before, and I suspect most photographers will find the A7R III’s stamina to be perfectly satisfactory.

The A7R III resolves insane amounts of detail, especially for subjects amenable to pixel shift multi shot. Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS at 105mm, 1/800 sec at f/8, ISO 100, pixel shift mode

Image quality is, as we’d expect, exceptional. While Sony’s 42.4MP sensor is a few years old now, it’s still one of the best on the market, matched solely by the 45.7MP unit in the Nikon D850. It provides an exceptional blend of high resolution at low sensitivities with very low noise when the ISO is raised. Dynamic range is truly astonishing, especially at ISO 100, with the ability to pull an immense amount of detail from deep shadows without excessive noise. This allows you expose to retain highlight detail in extremely high-contrast scenes, then process the raw file to bring up the shadows.

The auto while balance produces attractive colours in JPEG mode. Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS at 64mm, 1/250sec at f/8, ISO 800

On the whole the camera’s automated systems do a very good job. The metering is generally very reliable in its multi-pattern mode, and it’s easy to visualise in the viewfinder when the camera will overexpose and dial in the requisite corrections. Alternatively the highlight-metering mode can be handy in high-contrast situations where you want to be sure of retaining detail in the brightest regions of the frame. I’ve also found the auto white balance to be less prone to introducing odd colour casts compared to previous Sony models, with the A7R III generally providing more attractive colour output as a result. Indeed in my couple of weeks shooting with the camera, it’s barely put a foot wrong.

Slow shutter speeds let you use low ISOs for maximum dynamic range. Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM, 1/2sec at f/2.8, ISO 100

Special mention should be made of the in-body image stabilisation, which is extremely effective, particularly when used in concert with Sony’s optically-stabilised lenses. But it also lets you shoot hand-held at slow shutter speeds with unstabilised lenses such as fast primes, and quite simply lets you get sharp shots over a much wider range of conditions. In the example above I exposed for the area around the light, and was able to shoot hand-held at 1/2sec, and therefore use ISO 100. The JPEG file was almost completely black, but I was able to bring up lots of detail out of the shadows by processing the raw file in Capture One. Overall I think the in-body IS is the A7R III’s single biggest advantage over DSLRs like the Nikon D850, and reason enough to choose it instead.

Sony A7R III – Image quality

Sony has used the same 42.4MP BSI CMOS sensor as we previously saw in the Alpha 7R II, and just as in that camera, it gives absolutely superb results. Not only does it provide stunning levels of detail at low sensitivities, it also provides perfectly usable images at much higher settings than you might expect, with ISO 12,800 or even ISO 25,600 being perfectly feasible. The raw files are highly malleable too, and it’s possible to extract a lot of extra detail from deep shadows in post-processing without also bringing up excessive noise.

High ISO image quality is remarkable – I shot this at ISO 40,000. Canon EF 70-300mm f/.4-5.6 IS USM at 300mm via Sigma MC-11 adapter, 1/1000sec at f/9, ISO 40,000

Sony A7R III – Resolution

With its 42.4MP sensor and now low-pass filter the A7R III gives really impressive results, resolving at least 4800 l/ph before the lines of our test chart start to blur together. Some false detail is rendered at higher frequencies, which can give the impression of even higher resolution in real-world shooting, although at the risk of maze-like aliasing and false-colour moiré. The camera’s impressive noise performance also means that resolution doesn’t drop appreciably even at ISO1600. At higher ISO settings noise has an increasing impact, but even at ISO12,800 the sensor delivers at least 3,200 l/ph. Naturally the top settings aren’t so great, but a reading of 3,200 l/ph at ISO 102,800 is still pretty impressive.

Here our chart was shot from twice the normal distance due to the A7R III’s sheer resolution, so in the crops below multiply the number below the lines by 400 to get the resolution in lines/picture height.

Sony A7R III resolution, ISO 50, raw Capture One

Sony A7R III resolution, ISO 1600, raw Capture One

Sony A7R III resolution, ISO 12800, raw Capture One

sony, review, alpha

Sony A7R III resolution, ISO 102400, raw Capture One

Sony A7R III – ISO and Noise

At low ISOs the Alpha 7R III gives truly stunning results, with huge amounts of detail and no visible noise. What’s more, there’s mot that much change at ISO 1600, with just the finest low-contrast textures starting to blur away, and it’s only at ISO 6400 that the image really starts to visibly degrade. By ISO 25,600 most pixel-level detail has blurred away and shadows start to block up, but colours are still strong. At extended ISO settings detail and colour suffer considerably, but even at ISO 51,200 the remarkably clean shadows mean that images are still usable at a pinch.

Sony Alpha 7R III, ISO 50, raw Capture One

Sony Alpha 7R III, ISO 1600, raw Capture One

Sony Alpha 7R III, ISO 25600, raw Capture One

Sony Alpha 7R III, ISO 51200, raw Capture One

Sony Alpha 7R III, ISO 102400, raw Capture One

Why buy the Sony A7R III?

With the Alpha 7R III, Sony has done a fine job of developing the A7R II design. It’s retained the same absolutely stunning image quality, but added substantially faster autofocus and continuous shooting. Throw in the larger battery and improved control layout, and it feels like a camera that can handle practically anything that’s asked of it.

Indeed it’s difficult not to conclude that the Alpha 7R III is the best mirrorless camera yet made. It may not have the out-and-out speed of the Sony A9 or the sublime handling of the Fujifilm X-T2, but it’s still very quick, and works very well too – certainly much better than its finicky predecessor. Alongside the Nikon D850, it’s one of the best all-rounders you can buy.

The A7R III’s remarkable capabilities belie its small size

Compared to the D850, though, the A7R III has all the usual advantages of mirrorless, including a truly accurate viewfinder preview, a more reliable and accurate autofocus system and a considerably smaller body, along with much better 4K video capability. But to me, its trump card is its in-body stabilisation, which is highly effective and works with every lens. Combine this with the on-sensor AF and vibration-free mirrorless design, and it’s simply much easier to get consistently sharp shots that make full use of the sensor’s remarkable resolution and dynamic range.

This might-time shot was hand-held at 1/5sec, and processed in Capture One. Samyang AF 35mm f.2,8 FE, 1/5sec at f/2.8, ISO 800

Perhaps the A7R III’s main disadvantage lies in its handling; it’s very much better than its predecessors, but still has a few quirks and weaknesses. In contrast, Nikon has refined its high-end DSLR design over many generations to near-perfection on the D850. Some photographers may also find the A7R III too small for comfortable use, while Sony’s fondness for making huge lenses partially negates the camera’s size advantage.

The A7R III’s size advantage over the Nikon D850 is partially offset by Sony’s tendency to make large lenses

Of course there are lot of DSLR users with considerable investment in lenses who are unlikely to switch systems right now. But there is no doubt the future is mirrorless, and the Alpha 7R III emphasises just how far ahead of the competition Sony is right now, at least in terms of the core technology. It’s an exceptionally capable camera that cements Sony’s domination of the high-end mirrorless market.


Quite simply, the Sony A7R III is a ludicrously brilliant camera, and one of the very best on the market.

Sony A7R III

When we first wrote our Sony A9 Review a few months back, there was a whole lot of tension in the video production and gear community. Or maybe it was more of an excited anticipation. Whatever you call it, this force had the power to overshadow the Sony A9 completely, despite the A9 being only a few months old, and despite the A9 being hailed as the greatest camera Sony has ever made.

This force was the Sony A7R III. And it was about to destroy everything in its path.

We like to write about gear a few months after the dust has settled. Primarily, it gives us time to use new gear in a variety of real world production environments. But it’s also a good way to avoid the emotional lure of the shiny new thing. So we can form reasonable opinions about new products, rather than jump on a FOMO train.

So now that the A7R III has been out for a little while, where does it stand? Has it indeed become the camera to get in 2018? Our friends at BH Photo loaned us an A7R III so we could try it out for ourselves.

Sony A7R III specs

First, let’s go over some of the A7R III specs. Sony is known for throwing in a ton of technology into their mirrorless A7 line of cameras, so the spec sheet is where they really shine.

The A7R III uses the same 42.4 MP sensor as the previous version, so overall ISO sensitivity and resolution doesn’t change. You still have the option to shoot both full frame as well as in Super-35 mode, which gives you different options for crop and final resolution output (more on that below).

The body is slightly bigger than the A7R II body, and it’s now more similar in size to the A9 body. In the grand scheme of things, these are all quite compact, well-built cameras. The big addition is a bigger and better battery, which was always a crippling issue in the previous A7R. This new battery has approximately 2.2x the capacity of the former battery, so you can comfortably shoot for up to 3 hours.

The A7R III also features the much improved EVF from the A9, along with a touch screen LCD, and dual SD slots. The secondary SD slot can now record both in dual slot record for backup, as well as relay recording for long captures.

In addition to dual slot recording, the A7R III has a proxy option that can record to either slot. One of the major barriers to using small DSLR or mirrorless cameras in a professional environment is a lack of a dependable backup recording, in case of a card failure. So here, the A7R III really shines.

Slot 1 and Slot 2 accept different cards, so you have to be mindful of what speed of card you’re getting, and what slot the cards go into. It’s the same, slightly frustrating issue we ran into with the A9. Once you have the proper cards, you’ll be fine, but the initial search for the right cards can be a wild journey. Don’t wait until the last minute​ to try/buy cards for this camera before a shoot.

Because it’s a photographer’s camera first, video second, the A7R III has a load of features that are very attractive for stills shooters. For example, the buffer memory and speed allow a whopping 76 images in continuous shooting, at 10 fps, with both AF/AE tracking. Nature/wildlife photographers will appreciate these specs.

But since we’re most interested in the video capabilities of the A7R III, how does the A7R III fare for primarily video shooters?

Sony A7R III Video Specs

The debate between the A7R and A7S has often come to the question of: do you care about stills some, a lot, or not at all?

Often the reason to pick up the A7R over the A7S is because you care about stills a lot. 42 Megapixels of full-frame imagery is the sort of feature that is overkill for casual photographers, especially if that packing that much megapixel processing into such a small body ends up cutting into more practical video features.

So for the most part, the A7R III continues that trend of photography first, video second. And there continues to be some important video specs that are still lacking in this current model.

First and foremost, the A7R III can still only record a maximum of 4k UHD at 30 fps, using 100 MB/s bitrate, in a 4:2:0 8-bit XAVC codec.

So if you’re shopping for cameras because you want the ability to shoot a 4K at 60fps or you want 4:2:2 10-bit. or gasp both 4k/60 and 4:2:2 10-bit. this camera is not for you.

It’s frustrating for us to have to buy and use the Canon 1DX Mark II in 2018, simply because we need 4k/60 for commercial applications. We don’t want to use a DSLR for video anymore, and yet, Canon is slow, so use a DSLR we must. But Sony typically doesn’t shy from offering all the best specs they have in every subsequent new mirrorless camera announcement.

So why limit the resolution or gamma/color output of the A7R III? Probably because this is a photographer’s camera first, and video-only shooters have plenty of other Sony cameras to look at for their needs. (Hint: maybe the A7S III will be the magical unicorn?)

Of course, specs aren’t everything, and even with a limited data bucket, the A7R III can capture some amazing video​. Here’s Sony’s official release video, featuring footage from Alaska. After having lived and shot in Alaska for almost a decade, we can appreciate both the challenges and rewards of shooting the Alaskan landscape.

Crop Sensor / Pixel Binning on Sony A7R III

Admittedly, if you want to go into pixel peeping detail about this camera’s sensor readouts, there are a myriad of forum posts out there offering a lot of information that you may find useful. For us, we mostly look at the big picture, and the user experience. So yes, the A7R III has a Full Frame mode and a Super 35 Mode for shooting video. In full frame at 24fps, you can get a full field-of-view readout of your lenses, with no pixel binning. At 30fps, you get 1.2x crop.

And in Super 35mm Mode, you get 1.5x crop. Which can be a blessing or a curse, depending on what you’re trying to achieve.

And to complicate the discussion, a lot of Sony shooters are using Metabones Speed Boosters with Canon lenses, which further changes the FOV and crop ratios, as well as the quality of pixel bining.

Most video shooters appreciate options, except when they start to weigh down your shooting flow. However, we appreciate the ability to stretch lenses in both directions. to make them wider as well as longer. So we’ll give this feature a plus for the A7R line.

​With a Metabones adapter and a few standard Canon zoom lenses, you’ll now have the ability to shoot in a wide array of resolutions and field-of-view crops. In addition, you add the ability to digital zoom, or as Sony calls it, Clear Image Zoom, which make your lenses even more versatile.

Again, there is the danger of too many shooting options becoming more of a crippling ​frustration during production. But we appreciate the options nonetheless.

S-Log on the A7R III

Log shooters will rejoice now that they can choose Slog3 on the A7R3. Slog3 has an even flatter curve than Slog2, which means more control in the edit room, plus potentially a better matching experience with other cameras.

Does Slog3 provide more dynamic range? Perhaps, but the practical limitation of 4:2:0 8-bit and 100 Mbps bitrate means that there is still only so much room in the data bucket, and something has to be compromised in order for you to capture more highlights, for example.

What usually happens with Slog2/3 on an 8-bit camera is that you get a lot of noise in the shadows, in order to capture a little more information in the highlights. Which means you have to crush the shadows to black when you color correct, or you have to apply noise reduction.

This is disappointing for us because we really enjoy working with shadow details. Many cameras are fantastic in broad daylight, but in mixed lighting or in darker conditions, the shadows to us are a more important area to get right, than having the ability to capture a few more clouds in a blown sky.

On a Sony 8-bit camera, you are in deep trouble if you underexpose your image at all. The noise and clipping that occurs in the shadows is unreal. Here is an unedited screen grab from the A7R III, shot in 4k at 100mbps bitrate.​ You can click on the image to see it at full resolution.

Here’s another 4k screen grab. this is not a zoomed in crop. It’s a full resolution screen grab of an underexposed frame, which is slightly out of FOCUS so you can better see the noise. We then color corrected it slightly, by bringing up highlights and bringing down shadows.

You can see just how much damage is done if you underexpose an Slog2/Slog3 image on the A7R III. There’s no bringing it back. Again, you can click on the image to see it at full resolution. Actually, we encourage you to do so, and then make sure it’s zoomed to full view in your browser.

You can reduce the noise with Neat Video, but if you’ve ever edited a project with Neat Video applied to even just a couple clips, you’ll know that it can bring your computer to its knees. Essentially, you want to steer far away from cameras or editing workflows that require noise reduction plugins. In an emergency, yes, it’s quite useful to apply Neat Video, but it’s not something you should ever walk into a project expecting to use.

sony, review, alpha

So for our buck, neither Slog2 nor Slog3 are recommended in this camera. But if you must, Slog2 is still preferable because it is less flat and doesn’t create as much shadow noise as Slog3 does.

Sony A7R III Autofocus

Apart from the battery life and the elimination of overheating problems, the A7R III’s most notable improvement on paper is its autofocus.

It’s no secret that the Canon 1DX mkII has the best autofocus of any DSLR or mirrorless camera out there today. It’s admittedly not as good as the Cinema C200 and C300 mkII, but it’s a smaller camera with a smaller processor.

Apart from the 4k/60 capability, the autofocus is the primary reason we shoot with the 1DX Mark II as our B-cam and gimbal cam. However, the autofocus on the A7R III has been rumored to be so good that we’ve been tempted to finally make the switch to Sony, if only as a gimbal cam. on that in a bit.

But how good is the AF really? In our use of the camera, the autofocus on the A7R III did seem like a substantial improvement from earlier Sony offerings, as claimed. That said, if you’re used to the dual pixel autofocus on cameras like the 1DX, C100, 200 or 300 it’s just not as good. Not terrible, but not as good.

The Canons can follow a subject, even at a very shallow depth of field, as well as completely shift FOCUS between relatively low contrast focal points, and do it insanely fast. The A7R3 is capable, but it just doesn’t have the same incredible accuracy and crispness of the Canons. If you’re not already a Canon shooter, this may not be such a big deal for you. For us, it’s hard to go back to the old days of hunting.

The other rub with Sony’s autofocus has always been that third party lenses don’t work, and so you must invest in Sony lenses. This is a bummer for most people who use Canon or Nikon lenses with Metabones Speed Boosters, which in 2018 is many of us. Over the past few years, Sony has really upped their lens game. but they’re still not as cheap and ubiquitous as good old Canon glass.

But in this video, you can see just how well the Sony A7R III autofocus works with a Canon lens.

The Brotographer specifically tests out the face and eye tracking feature on the A7R III, using a Canon lens. This excites us the most, because most often when we rely on autofocus. for use on a gimbal or simply on very quick productions. we are focusing on people subjects, not object subjects.

Sony A7r III As A Gimbal Camera

If you’ve read our DSLR Gimbal article, you’ll know that even in 2018, there is a severe distinction between using a gimbal with a camera under 4lbs, and then escalating quickly into heavy duty and complex gimbal systems for any camera/lens combo that is over 4lbs.

Even the Canon 1DX Mark II, which is seemingly perfect as a gimbal cam, with excellent AF and simple form factor, is on the edge of being too big and bulky for simple gimbal systems. We have managed to fit our 1DX on a Pilotfly H2, but only by removing all the safety screws and pushing the balance points to the far ends of the available space. It still barely fits and doesn’t have free movement all the way around.

Today, most gimbal manufacturers are leaning toward more one-handed gimbals intended for small cameras, rather than creating a simple two handed solution for average-sized DSLRs, Cinema cameras, or Mirrorless cameras with standard lenses.

And so, the Sony A7R III is looking like an important camera for any shooter today who is intending to use their camera on a gimbal. It has the right combination of size and autofocus capability.

A7R III vs A7 III as a gimbal cam

The question is, how much does the A7R III offer in terms of user experience, image quality, and AF performance, over the even smaller and more affordable Sony A6500? Or better yet, how does it compare to very similar. but much cheaper. Sony A7 III?

For our buck, if you are only planning to rig this camera onto a small gimbal and use it as a dedicated gimbal cam, it doesn’t make sense to invest in a camera like the A7RIII, which has incredible photography features that you’re paying for, but likely not using on a gimbal, such as the extreme resolution or the excellent EVF.

If you’re only out for a gimbal cam, the Sony A7 III is probably the better choice today. How much better is it than the A6500 on a gimbal is a more difficult consideration, since they are much less related than the A7 III and the A7R III.

Its compact size and purported improvements to the autofocus make the A7 III an attractive option for a gimbal cam. That is, on paper. There are always compromises in a similar but cheaper camera model. (For example, the A7 III doesn’t even come with a battery charger.)

Zeiss Batis Lens on A7R III

For our tests run, we paired the A7RIII with the Zeiss Batis 18mm lens. We chose this lens because it’s a relatively light weight, high quality lens which seemed suitable for a small gimbal set up. We also looked at the Sony FE 12-24mm f/4 G Lens, both of which were available for rent from our local camera shop, Focal Point Photography.

While the 12-24 is an attractive solution, it is also quite heavy at 1.24 lbs, compared to the 18mm at 11.64 oz. Basically, the 18mm is roughly half the weight, which made for an more easily balanced camera with more space for the screen to flip out on the gimbal sled.

Would our autofocus experience have been better if we went with a Sony manufactured lens? Perhaps. But, in our experience with Canon cameras and dual-pixel autofocus, who produced the native mount lens rarely has much bearing on FOCUS performance and reliability.

The 3” rear touch screen is mounted in the usual Sony style, and screen articulation leaves a little to be desired on many of the smaller gimbals. like our Pilotfly H2. where the roll axis motor is located directly behind the camera. It’s not unworkable, but the older style flip out found on many Canon DSLRs definitely gives you more options for usable angles of view.

One could also make the argument for using an external monitor, like our SmallHD FOCUS. But any gains there come with serious trade-offs, such as increased rig size, need for a secondary battery, and a relatively fragile connection via the A7R’s micro HDMI input. For us, the point of using a smaller cam like this is to keep weight down in a smaller overall package. making this kind of rig-size-creep a nonstarter.

A little Sony camera body gets dwarfed with an external monitor

Touch screens are becoming a standard on prosumer and professional cameras like the A7R, but when using a gimbal we prefer to be able to easily access necessary controls (ISO, Aperture, Autofocus toggle) on a physical button or dial. It’s really an issue of speed and accuracy to keep up with the usual pace of our style of shooting.

Overall, dial and button access on the A7R seems improved over its predecessors. One great feature the A7RIII has, perhaps much more useful than the touchscreen, is the ability to assign buttons. Because we were using a 18mm Zeiss Batis prime lens for this test we were a little more limited than we typically are with our gimbal-friendly Canon 10-18mm lens.

Being a full frame camera, the 18mm gave a nice wide angle of view. but we found ourselves wanting for more options. By setting up the assignable buttons offered on the A7R we were able to switch quickly between full frame and APS-C size Super 35 Mode crop, which gave us both 18mm and 27mm fields of view.

This was probably one of the coolest things about the setup on a gimbal. If there were image quality issues with using the Super 35 mode, we didn’t notice in this limited test. Had this feature been buried in the menus, as it had been on previous camera iterations, we likely wouldn’t have used it at all.

And finally, many gimbal shooters disagree on the use of image stabilizers during active gimbal use. In our experience with Canon cameras, in-lens optical image stabilization is actually a great tool. When it comes to the Sony A7R’s IBIS 5-way Sensor-shift, the jury is still out for us.

In the limited time we had to test, it seemed to work fine, with any real complaints being more focused on the laggy and sometimes hunting autofocus. In a purely handheld shooting style, IBIS worked great. even when paired with the non-optically stabilized Zeiss Batis 18mm.

Final Thoughts

It seems like each time we review a new Sony mirrorless camera, there is less and less to talk about. The initial hype has worn off, and each subsequent model has notable improvements, but without a complete redesign or transformation from the previous models or other cameras in Sony’s lineup.

But isn’t that a good thing? The Sony A7R and A7S brought shockwaves to the video world when they were first released. Now, they’re getting more refined, and features such as proxy and dual slot recording are making the camera more dependable for all types of conservative videographers, not just early buyers who enjoy using cutting edge gear.

The main concern is that we’ve placed so much expectation on Sony wow-ing the world with specs and innovation, that perhaps we’re a little disappointed when they give us something like the A7R III, which is fantastic but not earth shattering.

Since the A7R III was announced, and the hype died down, camera gear enthusiasts have turned to other potential “game changers” like the Panasonic EVA1, or the Canon C200, or in the mirrorless world, the Panasonic GH5S. recently, the Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera 4K stole the show at NAB 2018.

So while the A7R III is only a few months old, we have already moved on to anticipating other exciting cameras, even from Sony’s own chute. The A7 III is a basic full-frame camera that satisfies 95% of what the A7R/A7S/A9 lines do, but at a more affordable price point. Certainly that will be a very popular camera for one-man-Band videographers and hobbyists.

But for pro shooters and production houses, we have yet another magical unicorn to anticipate. Sony’s A7S III has the potential to become the camera of the year, possibly for several years to come. Will it feature everything that Sony has offered thus far, in one solid package? Or will it reveal an entirely new generation of features, as it hops over the end of the current lineup and to the beginning of a new status quo?

Who knows what the A7S III will do. In the meantime, we’re looking forward to seeing what talented video producers are creating with their A7R III.

Sony Alpha A7R III review

The Sony Alpha A7R III is not only the most well-rounded mirrorless camera you can buy today, but one of the best cameras out there right now.


  • 10fps at 42.2MP
  • Advanced 5-axis IS system
  • Large and bright EVF
  • Fast AF performance
  • Improved handling


  • – Battery life could still be better
  • – Limited touchscreen control
  • – Only one SD slot supports UHS-II cards
sony, review, alpha

Why you can trust TechRadar

We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

The Alpha A7R III is Sony‘s latest high-resolution mirrorless camera, and an update of the excellent Alpha A7R II, which was responsible for tempting many a photographer away from the comfort of their Canon and Nikon DSLRs.

This latest model looks to draw on many of the technologies used in the speed-orientated Sony Alpha A9, which is just as well, because with the likes of Nikon’s brilliant D850 offering a tempting combination of high resolution and high performance the Alpha A7R II was beginning to look a little pedestrian.

With some impressive boosts to performance, as well as tweaks to handling and the peace of mind of a five-year guarantee, could the new Alpha A7R III see even more second-hand Canon and Nikon DSLRs appearing on the shelves of camera stores as more photographers make the switch to Sony?


While many might have expected Sony to boost the amount of pixels to match or exceed DSLR rivals like the D850 and Canon EOS 5DS, it’s actually opted to stick with the same count as the Alpha A7R II.

At the core of the A7R III then is a 42.2MP back-illuminated full-frame Exmor R CMOS sensor, although Sony has borrowed some of the innovations from the 24.2MP Alpha A9 and integrated them with this more densely populated chip.

There are gapless microlenses and a new anti-flare coating for starters, while the Alpha A7R III features a new front-end LSI that almost doubles the readout speed of the sensor. It also takes advantage of the latest BIONZ X image processing engine, and combined, these enhancements deliver a boost of up to 1.8x in processing speeds compared to the A7R II.

Along with the EVF, the rear tilt-angle display has also been upgraded over the outgoing model; it now has a resolution of 1.44 million dots, and, just as we’ve seen with recent models like the RX10 IV, offers touchscreen functionality.

Also as with the A9, Sony has shunned the XQD card format (even though it’s now the sole manufacturer of that format), instead opting for dual SD card slots on the Alpha A7R III, with only one of those supporting UHS-II type cards.

The Alpha A7R III offers 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels) video capture, with the option to use either the full width of the sensor or Super 35mm format mode, with the latter using the full pixel readout without pixel binning to collect 5K of information, and oversampling this to produce what promises to be even crisper footage.

As well as this, the Alpha A7R III now features a new HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) profile that supports an Instant HDR workflow, allowing HDR (HLG) compatible TVs to play back 4K HDR footage, while both S-Log2 and S-Log3 are also available.

If you want to shoot Full HD footage you can capture this at up to 120fps, while there are ports for both a microphone and audio monitoring.

The (Almost) Perfect Autofocus of the Sony a7R III: a Hands-On Review

Focus is one of the most important concepts for a photographer. It can make or break an image. Whether you’re a pixel peeper like me who always looks for technical critical FOCUS or an image maker who uses specific FOCUS points to tell a story, how the camera focuses is everything.

That’s why the newest addition to the Sony Alpha series is so conversation-worthy. With the 399 FOCUS points on the Sony a7R III, and its ability to track FOCUS like no other, the company touts it’s hard to get a shot that’s out of FOCUS. This camera is like an artificially intelligent robot – it can predict and figure out exactly what you want in FOCUS on.

With the thumb joystick on the back of the camera, you can quickly and easily change your FOCUS point. And its AI Servo is out of this world. It could figure out the entire outline of a subject and hold on to it for dear life.

I take varying images – shooting animal action sports, live concerts, and everything in between. So I took all the boasting I’ve heard about this camera and put it to the ultimate test.

About the Sony a7R III

The a7R III is one of Sony’s newest and flashiest addition to its impressive mirrorless line of cameras. According to its website, the Sony a7R III sports the following drool-worthy perks:

  • 42.4 MP 35mm full-frame Exmor R CMOS and enhanced processing system
  • Standard ISO 100-32000 range (upper limit expandable to 1024005, with a lower limit of 50)
  • Fast Hybrid AF with 399-point focal-plane phase-detection AF and 425-point contrast-detection AF. The FOCUS modes include:
  • AF-A (Automatic AF)
  • AF-S (Single-shot AF)
  • AF-C ( Continuous AF)
  • DMF (Direct Manual Focus)
  • Manual Focus
  • Face Priority in AF (On/Off)
  • Face Priority in Multi Metering (On/Off)
  • Regist. Faces Priority (On/Off)
  • Face registration (m ax. number detectable: 8)

The camera is compatible solely with Sony E-mount lenses, including G-Master and Zeiss lenses (sought after in the Sony world). The aspect ratio is 3:2, and the camera can record still images in JPEG, (DCF Ver. 2.0, Exif Ver.2.31, MPF Baseline compliant) and RAW (Sony ARW 2.3 format). The images are quite large: a 35mm full-frame image is 42MP (7,952 x 5,304 pixels), which in uncompressed RAW format takes up about 80MB of storage.

The camera also has built-in noise reduction software you can turn on or off as needed.

But what really set this camera apart (and why I fell in love with it) is the autofocus.

The Sony a7R III Autofocus Features

The a7R III allows for silent shooting at up to 10fps with AF/AE tracking – great for those who do wildlife photography. Shooting at 10 FPS yields up to 76 images at a time (when shooting JPEG).

Its phase-detect points cover around 47% of the sensor area. When you combine that with the contrast-detect sensor areas, the total AF coverage is nearly 68% of the frame.

Advanced algorithms provide high AF precision down to light levels as low as.3 EV for more reliable autofocus in dark scenes. The enhanced Fast Hybrid AF speeds up AF approximately two times faster under dim lighting conditions. The camera’s infrared technology allows it to autofocus even in extremely low or difficult lighting situations.

The camera also has an ‘eye autofocus’ setting. You read that right: it can find eyes on your subject and lock FOCUS on them with the push of a button. This is photographic witchcraft and I love it. The a7R III’s Eye AF evolves with twice the effective eye detection and tracking, even when shooting a moving portrait subject. It’s touted by the company to work when:

  • the subject’s face is partially hidden
  • the subject is looking down or wearing glasses
  • the subject is backlit
  • the lighting is dim or low
  • the subject is far away.

The a7R III includes a touchscreen that provides touch AF, FOCUS point dragging and FOCUS racking features. T he AF-C ( continuous autofocus) option feature is extraordinary. The camera can keep tracking the subject even if it’s changing direction erratically or an object gets in the way.

Tip: The ‘Expand Flexible Spot’ mode is a good one to start from, and works well with the AF joystick for quick adjustments to the preferred FOCUS area.

Real Life Use

This camera is fast and accurate. With my DSLRs, I usually have to refocus multiple times. But I didn’t have to do it once on the Sony a7R III. I think mirrorless cameras really outshine most DSLRs in the autofocus department.

Here’s how it did in various scenarios:

Action and Sports

I photograph a lot of action, and when I first bought this camera I took it to a Frisbee dog competition to test it out. I was absolutely blown away by the autofocus. The camera even recognized a dog’s face with its facial tracking autofocus and maintained FOCUS on the dog’s face throughout its trick-induced performance. When the dog moved further away the FOCUS changed to the animal’s entire body, which I appreciated.

Regardless of how spontaneously the dog moved, the FOCUS remained locked.

I typically use my Canon 7D Mark II for animal sports photography due to its speed and the fact the body is intended for action. But I now prefer the a7R III due to its superb tracking. The 7D tends to get lost when there isn’t much contrast between the subject and the other objects in the frame, such as photographing in the fog. (Many of these dog sporting events happen around 7am when the fog rolls onto the field.)

The Sony mirrorless clearly identified the subject despite the lack of contrast. It can even refocus on dogs running at me without needing any prompting or additional technique.


Portraits are an absolute breeze with this camera. From face tracking to eye tracking, it’s almost impossible to take an out-of-FOCUS image unless you have your settings wrong. As I mentioned earlier, the eye tracking feature is said to work in problematic scenarios (the face is partially hidden, the subject is looking down, etc.)

Well, I can confirm that what Sony promises is true. It works in all of those scenarios. Even when I shot a model wearing unnatural contacts and bright glittery makeup, the camera had no issue.

Dimly-Lit and Golden Hour Portraits

Much like the camera’s success with well-lit portraits, the Sony a7R III can FOCUS on portraits in dim light as if they were lit to perfection. I’m happy to say there was absolutely no difference between the two. Night portraits were a breeze.

The golden hour portraits were just as easy (not to mention exquisite). My other cameras have focusing issues when the sun is low and hitting the lens at an angle. But the a7R III breezed through and held FOCUS on the subject no matter how the sun was hitting the lens glass.

Live Concerts

Dogs may wake me up in the mornings, but it’s the rock stars who keep me awake at night. I n the evenings you’ll probably find me shooting a live concert with an arsenal of camera equipment to get me through the job.

Live concerts are extremely difficult focusing situations. In fact, they’re like a low-light sports situation. For the most part, you’ll have limited lighting, and have to deal with colored bulbs that can paint the subject with a very saturated color (such as the dreaded red hue).

Live concerts are also high-energy and filled with action as the guitarists swing their guitars and the drummer pounds away. You may not always have enough contrast to work with, and plenty of annoying obstacles to get in the way of whatever musicians you’re photographing.

Much like I found success in dog sports photography, the Sony a7R III does mighty well at maintaining FOCUS on the subject despite erratic movement or instruments getting in the way. If the light is low but even, the camera does a splendid job of finding the subject thanks to its Advanced AF algorithms.

Unfortunately, live concerts are also where we hit a bit of a snag. As venue goers know, most music venues (especially small indie ones) don’t have consistent lighting on the stage. It can be uneven, sporadic, and wild. Some genres of music (e.g. metal and rock) really love using strobe lights on the stage as well.

And this is where the Sony a7R III flops terribly.

The moment strobes are used, the camera completely loses its ability to FOCUS or find the subject. It’s a negative I haven’t seen covered in other reviews and one that keeps me from bringing this camera to a live concert (after having a particularly bad experience at a recent show).

When strobes were involved, none of the autofocus settings or adjustments worked. The camera began to hunt and then failed to FOCUS at all. This happened with other native and non-native lenses. My guess is the infrared technology is affected by the strobing effects, but that’s just an assumption.

Non-Native Lens with an Adapter

As an avid 16-year Canon user with an army of L lenses, I have no plans on switching brands anytime soon. When I added the Sony a7R III to my kit, I immediately looked for ways to adapt my L glass to the Sony camera. (That way I’d need to buy only buy one native lens for the Sony and use the rest of my existing kit.)

After testing out several adapters I found that the Metabones Smart Adapter worked best.

Now it was time to test the autofocus on a non-native lens.

Although some of the autofocus features (e.g. eye-tracking) are disabled on non-native lenses, the facial recognition and AF-C ( continuous autofocus) features worked like a charm. Once I’d calibrated the adapter to my lenses I didn’t experience any lag, searching or loss of FOCUS. And despite certain features being unavailable, the camera was just as fast with non-native lenses as it was with native ones – even in low light. (I took this set up out for a spin during a club event.)

But the strobing issue was still there, which is why I’m convinced it’s a camera issue rather than a lens issue.

Final Thoughts

I have no regrets investing top dollar in this mirrorless camera. I find myself using it as much as my DSLRs, and I have three of them. I’ll often pick the mirrorless for more complex shoots simply because of its exquisite face tracking with autofocus.

Have I got you salivating? Think the Sony a7R III might be your next camera? Let’s talk about it in the Комментарии и мнения владельцев.

| Denial of responsibility | Contacts |RSS