The Alpha A7 III is the entry-level model in Sony’s line of full-frame mirrorless cameras. It was created to appeal not just too amateur photographers but also to those who work in the industry.
Compared to the A7R and A7S series of cameras, the A7 series has always been considered the less desirable option. The A7 series of cameras have always been considered entry-level models since they provide a feature set that is reliable but unimpressive. This contrasts the more recent ranges, which tend to steal the show with their high pixel counts and sophisticated video capabilities.
It seems as though all of that could be subject to change with this third-generation A7 camera. The Alpha A7 III does not appear to be a simple camera because it has taken numerous features from the most advanced model of the Alpha series, the Alpha A9 and the Alpha A7R III.
Sony a7 III Features
The resolution of the Alpha A7 III remains the same as that of the Alpha A7 II at 24.2 megapixels (MP), since Sony has not been persuaded to raise it. With an extended ISO ceiling of 204,800 (the same as the Alpha A9), it is three stops better than the A7 II’s limit of 25,600. However, the sensor is entirely new and features a back-illuminated design. This, combined with the latest BIONZ X image processor, sees the sensitivity range greatly improved over the older model. Additionally, Sony claims it has reached a dynamic range of 15 stops with 14-bit raw data.
Although the electronic viewfinder (EVF) on the Alpha A7 III does not receive an increase in resolution to match the A7R III’s 3.8 million dots, the EVF on the Alpha A7 III does receive a slight increase in magnification factor, going from 0.71x to 0.78x, which is an improvement over the older model.
Sony a7 III Build Quality.
Because the Alpha A7 III and the Alpha A7R III share the same body, the new camera has the same refined control structure as its higher-resolution stablemate. Because of this, the new camera is a worthy successor to the Alpha A7 III.
Even while the Alpha A7 III does not have a separate drive mode dial or focus mode selector as the Alpha A9 does, it does benefit from adding a multi-selector joystick. This feature was introduced with the Alpha A9.
We noticed that the joystick improved the handling of the camera, making AF point selection much quicker when used in the field. This was the case with the A7R III as well.
The Alpha A7 III now has a dedicated AF-On button on the back of the camera, which makes it much simpler to focus using the back button of the camera. This is another piece of positive news. The button is in an appropriate location, but we think it would be helpful if it were a touch more prominent so that it could be pressed with more ease.
Sony a7 III Autofocus
It’s not often that you see a company take the autofocus technology from its flagship camera and put it in a camera that costs less than half of what the flagship model does, but that’s precisely what Sony has done with the Alpha A7 III.
The great 693-point phase-detection autofocus mechanism seen in the Alpha A9 is also included in the Alpha A7 III.
This is a significant improvement over the relatively cumbersome 117-point system found in the Alpha A7 II. The new system provides an incredible 93% coverage throughout the frame and includes 425 contrast-detect points to assist with focusing. Additionally, it can focus in light levels as low as -3EV.
The Alpha A7 III comes with a broad array of autofocus (AF) modes, giving you the ability to make things as straightforward or complex as necessary, depending on the context of the shooting circumstance.
Sony a7 III Performance
The Alpha A7 II was only capable of shooting at a modest 5 frames per second, but the new Alpha A7 III can shoot at a very rapid 10 frames per second. This is partly because Sony improved the performance of the Alpha A7 III by installing a Front End LSI pre-processor. This enabled Sony to enhance the camera’s performance in several different areas.
The camera has a remarkable buffer capacity of 89 compressed raw files (or 40 uncompressed files), and the Alpha A7 III can shoot at 10 frames per second for 177 JPEGs, which is a significant improvement over the A7 II’s buffer capacity of 52 JPEG files. At this price range, it’s safe to assume that the burst shooting capability shouldn’t be something that many photographers are disappointed by.
You can switch to the electronic shutter on the Alpha A7 III and take advantage of its silent shooting mode if you need to shoot discretely or in quiet environments. However, the camera’s performance is not compromised in any way, as the burst shooting speed remains at 10 frames per second (fps).
Sony a7 III Image Quality
The sensor is capable of providing photographs that have exceptional levels of detail, as we discovered while using Sony’s second full-frame mirrorless camera, the Alpha A9, which has a resolution of 24.2 megapixels. The Alpha A7 III is an excellent choice if you do not intend to generate prints larger than A2, in which case you will value the more densely packed 42.2MP sensor found in the Alpha A7R III.
Even though the sensor does not benefit from the stacked construction of the Alpha A9, the back-illuminated architecture of the A7 III enables it to achieve excellent ISO performance. At the most fundamental levels of sensitivity, the files seem astonishingly clear and free of any trace of noise. Even when scrutinized, the images obtained with an ISO setting of 6400 hold up rather well. There is some excellent luminance noise (which looks like grain), but it does not affect the image negatively.
Sony a7 III Specs
|Body type||SLR-style mirrorless|
|Body material||Magnesium alloy|
|Max resolution||6000 x 4000|
|Other resolutions||6000 x 3376, 3936 x 2624, 3936 x 2216, 3008 x 1688, 3008 x 2000|
|Image ratio w:h||3:2, 16:9|
|Effective pixels||24 megapixels|
|Sensor photo detectors||25 megapixels|
|Sensor size||Full frame (35.8 x 23.8 mm)|
|Color space||sRGB, AdobeRGB|
|Color filter array||Primary color filter|
|Boosted ISO (minimum)||50|
|Boosted ISO (maximum)||204800|
|White balance presets||11|
|Custom white balance||Yes|
|CIPA image stabilization rating||5 stop(s)|
|JPEG quality levels||Extra fine, fine, standard|
|File format||JPEG (DCF 2.0, EXIF 2.3)RAW (ARW 2.3)|
|Image parameters||Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Clear, Deep, Light, Portrait, Landscape, Sunset, Night Scene, Autumn Leaves, Black & White, Sepia, Style Box (1-6), (Contrast (-3 to +3 steps), Saturation (-3 to +3 steps), Sharpness (-3 to +3 steps))|
|Optics & Focus|
|Autofocus||Contrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View|
|Autofocus assist lamp||Yes|
|Digital zoom||Yes (4)|
|Number of focus points||693|
|Lens mount||Sony E|
|Focal length multiplier||1×|
|Screen / viewfinder|
|Minimum shutter speed||30 sec|
|Maximum shutter speed||1/8000 sec|
|Exposure modes||AutoProgramAperture priorityShutter priorityManualScene SelectionSlow & Quick MotionMovie|
|Scene modes||Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sports Action, Sunset, Night Portrait, Night Scene|
|External flash||Yes (via Multi Interface shoe)|
|Flash X sync speed||1/250 sec|
|Drive modes||Single, continuous, speed priority continuous, self-timer, bracketing (AE, white balance, DRO)|
|Continuous drive||10.0 fps|
|Self-timer||Yes (2 or 10 sec; continuous (3 or 5 exposures))|
|Exposure compensation||±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)|
|AE Bracketing||±5 (3, 5 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV, 2 EV steps)|
|Resolutions||3840 x 2160 (30p, 24p) 1920 x 1080 (120p, 60p, 60i, 24p), 1440 x 1080 (30p), 640 x 480 (30p)|
|Format||MPEG-4, AVCHD, XAVC S, H.264|
|Videography notes||Supports XAVC S codec (100Mbps), S-Log2 and S-Log3, and HLG|
|Modes||3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 100 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 24p / 100 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 60 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 24p / 60 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 120p / 100 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 120p / 60 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 50 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 30p / 50 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 24p / 50 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 25 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 30p / 16 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 60i / 24 Mbps, AVCHD, MTS, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 60i / 17 Mbps, AVCHD, MTS, H.264, Linear PCM|
|Storage types||SD/SDHC/SDXC, Memory Stick Duo/Pro Duo/Pro-HG Duo|
|USB||USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 GBit/sec)|
|HDMI||Yes (micro-HDMI port with 4K still, uncompressed video output)|
|Wireless notes||with NFC and wireless control via PlayMemories Mobile app|
|Remote control||Yes (wired)|
|Battery description||NP-FZ100 lithium-ion battery and charger|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||710|
|Weight (inc. batteries)||650 g (1.43 lb / 22.93 oz)|
|Dimensions||127 x 96 x 74 mm (5 x 3.78 x 2.91″)|
Sony a7 III Verdict
Although the Alpha A7 III cannot quite compete with the sheer astounding performance or resolution of its more expensive brothers, it is a great camera that will meet the needs of many photographers and fulfill a lot of their requirements.
Sony has condensed some of the most impressive aspects of its flagship Alpha A9 and A7R III cameras into a single camera that provides an excellent balance of performance, picture quality, and cost.
The 693-point autofocus system is breathtaking, and competing cameras that cost roughly the same cannot even match its level of sophistication. Meanwhile, the 10 frames per second burst shooting speed ought to be sufficient to meet the requirements of the vast majority of users. The full-frame 24.2-megapixel back-illuminated sensor produces outstanding results across the whole ISO range, and the available dynamic range is just as impressive as the images it has.
Sony a7 III Pros & Cons
- The compact and long-lasting body design
- 693-point AF system
- 10 frames per second of rapid fire
- Uncut video in 4K resolution
- 15-stop dynamic range
- 5-axis picture stabilisation
- There is some “tearing” in the EVF
- Only a limited amount of control through the touchscreen
- -There is just one SD slot that is compatible with UHS-II cards.
- Inadequate protection from the elements provided by the circular accessory port