Last Updated on 10/25/2017 by Chris Gampat
The Sony a7r III has the workhorse capabilities that a Canon 5D does
It hasn’t been a person secret of mine that I’m incredibly excited about the new Sony a7r III, but in all honesty I feel like I need to share with excitement why I’m so incredibly stoked about this camera. At eight years into running Phoblographer, I’m genuinely not writing this because I’m on a paid press event with Sony but instead because this is the camera that I’ve been waiting for years now and is finally here.
And the biggest factor: It’s got all the capabilities of being your next major workhorse camera.
Better Battery Life
The Sony a7r III has the same battery as the Sony a9–which is significantly better than the craptastic batteries that the Sony a7 and a6000 lineup has had for years. That battery life means that I can use it for extensive amounts of time on shoots and that the running gag of a person buying a Sony camera, two lenses and 20 batteries is finally coming to an end. One or two batteries will last me quite a while and if I combine that with dimming the screen, not having the camera render the image preview at the highest resolution, and putting it in airplane mode until I need to use the WiFi, the battery life will last me a long time.
I built this website originally with the Canon 5D Mk II, and it’s taken a while for mirrorless to finally catch up. But it’s now at the point where it is more than good enough.
Better High ISO, Color Rendition/Gradation, More Dynamic Range
The Sony a7r III has the same sensor as the Sony a7r II but there are processor-side magic happenings that expand the dynamic range. Granted, that dynamic range is only at lower ISO settings and even that isn’t so clear yet. Sony is also promising better high ISO output. But most importantly, there’s better color rendition and gradation options with something like Pixel shift technology. Sony’s a7r II was already good but now you’ll be able to get more and better colors at each pixel.
It isn’t the X Trans sensor, but I’m very optimistic–and I hope that I’m not overhyping it. With that said, Sony RAW files will also work flawlessly with Capture One!
Significantly Improved Autofocus
It really amazed me when I found that the Sony a9’s autofocus was better than the Nikon D850’s. And that same autofocus is coming to the Sony a7r III. That will be great for Eye AF for portraiture, shooting in low light, etc. That’s a welcome addition as Sony’s options with manual focusing and their focus peaking hasn’t always been the best unless you use the magnification.
4K 24p Video
This is an absolute industry standard at this point. In addition to that, having working microphone and headphone jack ports are also important and having them be industry standard ports (which I didn’t encounter with the Fujifilm X-T2 without buying the grip) is also a big plus. 24p video will be great for creating more YouTube content or even creative stuff like cinemagraphs.
Perhaps one of my biggest requests for years now was that autofocus selection point joystick. It lets you have more direct access to the AF points vs pressing a button, then moving the selected area around. On top of that, Sony is letting the users have direct AF control via the touchscreen. It won’t offer other touch applications, but that’s good enough.
A Major Lineup of Lenses
Sony has a massive lineup of FE lenses now. Just look at the guide that we’ve done! There are not only first party lenses but also some from Zeiss, Tokina, Voigtlander, etc. If you need something, it’s really easy to get your hands on it either natively or with an adapter. DSLRs can’t do that.
Sony’s weather sealing hasn’t always been up to par with Olympus, Panasonic’s and Fujifilm’s. But it surely can do a good enough job in most situations. I probably won’t take it out into New York’s equivalent of monsoon season, but I know that if I have a weather resistant lens on the camera body that it will be able to handle the environment pretty darn well.
It’s Full Frame
You know, in 2017 it really shouldn’t be an issue, but the fact that it is a full frame camera is pretty nice. I personally work with medium format all the time and the larger sensor is surely an advantage when it comes to colors, high ISO, and dynamic range. Can I do great work without a full frame sensor? Absolutely, and that should go without saying. But something that makes the Sony a7r III really like the modern day Canon 5D camera is that full frame sensor that allows most working photographers to really be, well, working pros.
Because of all that resolution, I can put crop sensor lenses on the camera and still got a whole lot of detail. Would I do that? Maybe with something special or completely different from anything else out there. But likely not.