Sony A7R III Real Life Review

Sony A7R III Real Life Review

First and foremost I have to say that I am thoroughly impressed with the Sony A7RIII. The image quality is superb and Sony's colour profile is very good now. I don't see them lagging behind Canon in this department anymore. As with any camera this one has some idiosyncrasies that I endeavour to explain below. 

Sony-A7R-III-Body.jpg

Ergonomics

I dreamed of using this camera in its compact form with no extended grip, but the reality is that for any prolonged shoot I miss the additional support of the longer body, and the G-Master lenses are quite big an heavy in relation to the size of the body, so this creates a bit of a conundrum when shooting all day. Using the Zeiss 35mm 2.8 this camera is compact enough to be a go to camera, but for all day shooting at events or in the studio I would opt to use this in its bigger form with the extended grip. 

Exposure Compensation Dial

This is probably my single biggest beef with the A7R3. It is very easy to knock the exposure compensation (EV) dial out of place when putting the camera in and out of the bag. In manual mode this doesn't really matter, but when shooting in any of the program or priority modes it can be a major annoyance. I wish that it was just a little harder to turn the dial then this would not be an issue. 

G-Master 24-70mm F2.8

There is some weird electronic artifacts with this lens when shooting into the sun where you can see some sensor array or pattern. I can't really explain, but here's an example below. Otherwise the lens is sharp and offers some decent bokeh...if you're into that kind of a thing. 

Silent Shooting

This is a great feature for taking pictures of your kids while they're sleeping, or creeping on unsuspecting people in the street. It does not work particularly well in shots with a lot of motion. I'll leave it at that. I don't use it that much, but it can be very useful. Generally speaking though the camera is fairly quiet and focuses silently also. 

 

Flip Out Screen

While the range of motion for the monitor is limited, I do like that I can get a low angle without lying on the floor, and that I can kind of see what's happening if I hold the camera above my head. 

Latitude / Dynamic Range

This camera has an incredible dynamic range. Forgetting the number of stops etc, because I don't really know, the ability to bring up areas of shadow, or kill highlights and retain some otherwise blown out sky is great. It can mitigate the need for an ND filter and doesn't look like an HDR photo or that it's been post-produced to death. This only really works in the high quality RAW setting though. 

File Size

The file sizes when shooting in the highest quality RAW setting are massive. Roughly 100mb per picture so 640 pictures per 64GB card. I've been chewing threw hard drive space like it's going out of style with this camera. 

Battery Life

Again this is impressive and makes me wonder why the A7R2 was so bad! The batteries on the former camera would be lucky to shoot an hour long video interview or a couple of hours worth of still shooting. I have shot 2 hours of video on one battery, and on still shoots I have yet to need a second battery. Pretty impressive!

Burst Shooting

The 10fps burst is pretty awesome. The only camera that can really trump this is probably the Sony A9, but 10fps seems pretty fast to me at the moment. 

Menus

The Sony menu is a bit ridiculous, but once you use it for a while it becomes more familiar. There are too many pages though. The only saving grace here is the ability to create a fairly large repertoire of saved menu items in the favourites tab, which can save time on repeat tasks. 

Lens Cap

I don’t know what it is about the cap on the 24-70mm lens, but it is utterly useless. I can’t get the thing to stay put to save my life.

Conclusion

I think there is a reason why Sony is leading the charge in the mirrorless category. This camera is extremely well thought out and performs still and video tasks exceptionally well. Nikon and Canon purists tend to sneer at me with my Sony, but I also own gear from both of those other companies. Personally at the moment I like the Sony and have no problem investing in it. As a hybrid video / stills shooter this camera ticks a lot of boxes for me and has also aided in creating the perfect small documentary video kit. This is an exceptionally versatile camera and going back to an SLR camera like my Canon 5D Mark III after using this feels like going back to the stone ages. I'm sure the future mirrorless offerings from Canon and 

Pricing:

B&H Photo Video | Amazon

 

 

 

Chris Stenberg is a Canadian researcher, filmmaker and photographer specializing in the expression of cultural understanding through film and photography. He is the founder of VideoResearch, a documentary research and production agency; and The Photo Lesson, a place to learn photography online.