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Gear & Apps

Sony a7Riii | The Much Anticipated Successor Brings Some A9 Power With High Resolution & More

By Kishore Sawh on October 25th 2017

The Sony a7RII was released over two years ago and promptly rewrote the rulebook on what could be expected from a mirrorless camera, and cameras in general. It was beyond what anyone had expected in the day, with more megapixels, more stabilizing power, and more tech than we’d previously seen in a tangible ILC. And now it’s been superseded by the A7RIII.

Key Stats:

  • 35mm Full-Frame 42.4 MP Back-Illuminated Exmor R™ CMOS Image Sensor with Evolved Image Processing
  • Continuous Shooting at up to 10 fps with either Silent Shooting or Mechanical Shutter and full Auto Focus/Auto Exposure tracking
  • 399 phase-detection AF points covering 68% of image area, 425 contrast AF points and approximately 2 times more effective Eye AF
  • 5-axis optical in-body image stabilization with a 5.5 step shutter speed advantage
  • High Resolution 4K Movie Shooting with full pixel readout and no pixel binning
  • Completely redesigned for professionals, including upgraded Auto Focus, Dual SD Card Slots, Extended Battery Life, SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.1 Gen 1) USB Type-C™ Terminal and more Compact, Lightweight body at only 23 oz.

Image Quality Focus

The A7RIII is a new mirrorless camera that builds on where the a7RII left off, and does so largely by borrowing some of the tech of the A9. The result is a camera that looks almost identical to the a7RII, but with totally revamped innards, and a few much welcomed additions, like dual SD card slots (UHS-II, UHS-1), a focus-point multi-selector (joystick), and though they initially said it couldn’t be done, Sony has enabled the A7RIII to now use the same high-capacity battery found in the A9.

The A7RIII can also take the same battery grip as the A9, and the same 3.7 million dot OLED electronic viewfinder of the A9, and a rear LCD which can be used for focus as an AF touchpad.

While the sensor remains the same, Sony has been able to squeeze more out of it, and they have said that’s because the processing and circuitry tech available 2 to 3 years ago didn’t allow for anything more, but now the more powerful Bion Z X processor paired with the front-end LSI allows for much quicker data processing and transfer.

Paired with the newly designed shutter mechanism the A7RIII is capable of 10FPS across the range, and what that means is you can shoot 10FPS on essentially every setting and get the most out of it. That means you can shoot the highest fps with every AF setting in either mechanical or electronic / silent shutter mode. And you can do that for 87 compressed raws or 28 uncompressed. Singular uncompressed files are 14 bit with a whopping 15 stops dynamic range, and drop to 12 bit when shooting at the highest fps.

Beyond that there is the IBIS system of image stabilization which remains the same 5 axis but performs to a higher standard giving an extra stop of relief. This, combined with the new shutter mechanism helps the A7RIII actually realize the potential of the sensor by reducing shutter shock – a major problem in high res cameras. You just can’t get the most out of a high res sensor without stability and reduction of shock.

New Tech

In the quest for better and true resolution the A7RIII has a new Multi-shot pixel-shift resolution mode, which shoots a full four images and will move the sensor at the micron level to ensure each pixel position gets the full red, blue, and green pixels. This eliminates de-moisaicing and realizes 170 million pixels of data to make a single 42 MP file. The benefits of this are much truer color, and overall a more ‘true’ resolution (keep in mind that the resolution your camera puts out isn’t generally more than 1/4 of what’s stated and the rest is interpolating etc.).

Then of course the video capabilities which will do full sensor 4K and ‘5k’ in Super35 mode. Video also gets all the benefits of the updated AF system and the stabilizing system, and the A7RIII gets a Hybrid Log Gamma feature and SLog-3.

Then of course there’s the multi-USB ports, including a microUSB and for the first time a USB 3.1 type-C port, both of which can be used simultaneously for different functions – such as tethering and powering at once.

We’ll be hands on with the A7RIII in just a few hours and we’ll be bringing you much more about the new items as tomorrow unfolds.

Cost: $3,199 – available November.




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Terms: #Viewfinder

A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. adam sanford

    The good:  Cake, and eating it too.  Very D850 / A99 II like in speed + detail value proposition.  Yowza.

    The bad:  Folks who wanted more detail were just handed more fps instead.

    The ugly:  A7/A9 body design.  The #1 thing they had to fix goes begging.  The grip remains too small and too close to the mount for comfortably wielding GM lenses all day (if fingers could cry, they would), and it limits how much battery they can cram in there.  Sony continues to marry Ferrari specs with enthusiast ergonomics.

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    • adam sanford

      Why a tiny grip saves you no space and should be abandoned (crude Photoshoppery, but you get my point).  They should just go big with the grip — better controls on top, more battery and a comfortable handling of bigger lenses.

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    • adam sanford

      Can’t post photos or edit/delete posts?  Since when?


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    • Dave Lyons

      I was going to say something similar. People don’t think they’ll get as fatigued but you will, just in a different way

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    • Dave Lyons

      “Why a tiny grip ” They designed it for Trump I guess

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    • adam sanford

      I can’t post pics but I can post a link to one from TDP:

      So beyond the grip size is the grip location:  it’s too close to the lens mount for 77mm+ outer barrel lenses (like the GM glass).  Expect this kind of situation if you shoot fast glass.

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    • Michael Anthony

      I’ll agree with you on the a7 grip, but the A9 has a larger grip and imo is the perfect ergonomics for a mirrorless body, I really don’t mind the front weight of the lenses because I shoot with two hands on every lens I can think of.  Hoping this feels more like the a9 when I get it in my hands. :-)

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    • adam sanford

      Michael, surely it will: the A7R3 has the same ‘thicker’ body as the A9.  You may be fond of how it handles, but I strongly prefer a chunkier grip + grip further from the lens mount.  This new body does not offer that.

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  3. Matthew Saville

    Well I was right; a whole lot of A9 buyers are going to be selling their cameras real quick since this camera has dual card slots and a bigger battery for only $3,200. I tried to tell them if they didn’t need the FPS and the autofocus they should wait but they didn’t listen to me.

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    • Gareth Roughley

      They claim this camera has much of the same tech as the A9 for autofocus. Not sure if that is true or not?

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    • adam sanford

      +1.  If you paid $4500 just to get a second card slot (in a 20 fps sports rig you probably don’t need), some patience might be in order!

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    • Dave Lyons

      Did they ever fix the star-eater problems yet?

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    • Matthew Saville

      Dave Lyons …I guess we’ll have to wait until someone at the Sony A7R3 press event takes the camera outside on a starry night. Hope we don’t have to wait long!

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  4. Josh Leavitt

    I’ll be curious to see how Sony handles the image stitching of the multi-shot mode. It can’t do it in camera, and Sony supposedly has a new “Imaging Edge” application they’ll use to bring the files together on a PC. But will it output a RAW file, or will it be a TIFF?

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  5. Ray Sawyer

    Im moving to Sony from canon next year so I’ve been watching the rumours of the A7RIII. Just in time for me jumping ship. Looking forward to getting my hands on one

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    • Dave Lyons

      Have you ever had your hands on one? If you haven’t I’d suggest you rent or borrow one and carry it around for a day or do a mock wedding and see how it feels, not fun to hold imo.

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    • adam sanford

      100% agree with Dave.  It’s loaded full of tech, but all that sensor hotness and feature set may not be worth it if:

      EVFs and your glasses don’t coexist well
      If you have large hands
      If you don’t like the menus/interface
      If you can’t customize the controls the way you want

      The A7R III might be perfect for you, but caveat emptor, yo.  Shoot with it for a weekend before you move in with it.

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    • Ray Sawyer

      yeah im gonna get one to trial 1st. I shoot with my glasses off usually as my eyes aren’t majorly terrible lol and i have little girl hands unfortunately so i should be ok for grip haha.

      excited to give it a go.

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    • Dave Lyons

      Ray, your lil hands might help but they’d not even the solution. With a big dslr when you hold it your hands, arms and body str spread wider and more open which helps distribute or absorb the weight, much like a bridge does. Holding a lil mirrorless thingy your fingers and hands go from a gripping/holding position to pinching/grasping position and it tilts your arms and shoulders inward which focuses the stress right into and thru your body core. After awhile you realize you’re really tightened up and then the small/poor ergonomics start screwing you up.

      Now if it’s just going on a tripod for landscapes that’s one thing (unless you shoot astro where it will eat a ton of your stars) but will be a great camera but weddings and such… naw.  See a lot of wedding shooters jump on that bandwagon and it usually doesn’t take long for them to go back. 

      If you have phone about the same size as the sony, just hold it up and watch how your body contorts.

      but if its what you want, get it and love it. It will be a beast. I’d rather have the fuji though or a Pentax.  Just my opinion though. Good luck and let us know how it turns out

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