My Sony A7R III Hands On! Samples, Thoughts and Video! This camera…WOW.

My Sony A7R III Hands On! Samples, Thoughts and Video! This camera…WOW.

By Steve Huff

You can now pre-order the Sony A7RII. It will ship end of November 2017. Get it at B&H Photo HERE. Amazon also is selling it via PRIME HERE. 

I just made it back home from NYC and am working with three hours sleep over the last 48 hours. So if I sound strange in this review, I blame it on lack of sleep ; ) The reason for the lack of sleep was because I was in NYC trying out the new Sony A7R MKIII for a full hands on experience. So what you will see and read here is only my FIRST LOOK, hands on. This is not a review! A full review will be coming 3rd week of November, so be on the lookout for that.

For now, I want to share my thoughts on the camera, as well as some JPEGS from the camera. As of now, there is now way to process the RAW files, so it’s all JPEG here. Keep that in mind.

Before I get going, check out this full size JPEG from the A7rIII with the beautiful Voigtlander 40 f/1.2. You must click it to see it correctly.

Full size OOC JPEG at MEDIUM Quality (not even highest) from the A7RIII taken at f/1.2 with the 40mm Voigtlander E Mount. (My review HERE)

Not bad for f/1.2 with a manual focus lens and a JPEG from camera.

TIHS CAMERA IS SPECIAL. Yes, it really is. 

The new Sony A7RIII is an interesting camera. In use, it almost felt like a high res Sony A9. While not as all out fast with AF and response I would say that in my first use it felt like 80% of the A9 speed. I am not sure if it is at that level, that is just what it felt like. While it is housed in the same A7RII body, it does bring over a lot of the A9. The A9 EVF is here. The A9 Z Battery system is here. The A9 Auto Focus tech is inside the A7RIII (though it is not as fast as the A9 with AF due to the sensor). Dual SD slots are now in the A7RIII, just like the A9. When I asked Sony “why didn’t you just use the A9 Body and call it an A9R” they did not answer me. Maybe they will have a $5000 A9R in a year at 60 MP, who knows.

NEW VIDEO WITH MORE THOUGHTS AND AF DEMO!

What I do know is that at $3199, this A7RII is really priced RIGHT. What you get here is special for this price. The old version was also priced at $3199 so the price has not been raised, and IMO, a camera like this, for me and many others is a much better choice than something like a Nikon D850. Size is much smaller, lenses are indeed lighter and this camera gives us High res while being improved in every way over the old version. No longer will you have ANY lag at all. This guy is FAST in standard AF, continuous/tracking AF and everything in between. I was shocked at how good the tracking was. Again, it almost felt like my A9 and with EYE AF being improved by 2X as well…all I will say is if you have not tried EYE AF, you will be blown away by it in use. It nails focus for portraits every time.

ALL JPEGS from the camera are below. Just click them to see them much larger and much better. 

In the hand, it feels EACTLY like the A7RII. But inside, this baby is now a HOT ROD. With the tech from the A9 inside, I am telling you guys now…you will not be disappointed with the speed and response. I tested it with the Brand new 24-105 f/4 G lens, and that lens rocked as well. Focus was fast, the lens was light feeling (though a tad large) and it delivered on the IQ in these JPEGs. The A7RIII now has a touch panel LCD as well as that amazing battery life from the A9. One artisan said he was getting 2200 shots per charge. THAT is incredible. Me? I shot it all day, also for video and had 69% at the end of the night last night at around 11PM. So yea, the main weakness of the old A7 was the battery and no dual SD slots. We now get that here. 5 Axis IS has also been tweaked and now delivers a half of stop improvement.

Three more JPEGS below. NO RAW’s yet..those will be in my full review in 3 weeks. 

VS THE a9?

As you guys know, I own the A9 and I LOVE IT. I use it for video and photo and need the AF speed for some of my video work. It never fails, and always delivers the goods. It has been solid ever since I bought it. When I first handled the A7RIII and shot it, and saw that it was $3199 I was a but disappointed that I did not wait. Then by the end of the night and shooting video with my A9 I realized I have bonded with that A9 because I get so much use out of it, and for video, it simply rocks if you want to use AF. I feel the A7RIII would deliver better video quality but if you are one that uses AF with video, the A7RIII will not be the same as the A9. See what I mean in this video HERE. 

What the A7RIII will bring is more resolution and better dynamic range (15 stops) and probably better color performance. The A7RIII…man, it is one hell of a capable camera and as I sit here and wonder what they could have done to make it better, the ONLY thing I can think of is that if they used the A9 Body it would have been a 100 out of 100. Grand Slam. As it is, it is a Home Run and an 98 out of 100 from what I have seen so far. I never do number ratings so do not expect to see those coming in, but from my 1st use, I see nothing I would want for in this camera besides the A9 top dial setup for more ease of use without menu diving.

I mean, it is responsive, has a fantastic modern day EVF, has insane battery life, incredible focus and tracking performance, deep 14 bit color depth and the proven 42 MP sensor from the MKII. But as Sony said, just because they are using the same sensor, do not be fooled. IQ has improved in every way.

A Short Interview with Sony Artsian Brook Shaden who has used the A7RIII. Hear her thoughts. 

So I love my A9, and will be keeping it for sure. If I can swing it I will also buy the A7RIII since the MKII was my most used camera for the last 2 1/2 years. See why it was in my “10 reasons video”…HERE.

More JPEGS…I can not wait to process the RAW files from this camera. They are going to be DROOL WORTHY. 

High ISO?

Low light has been improved as well but I will have to wait for the RAW files to truly evaluate what high ISO can do. But for now, see this 102K ISO shot in a low light restaurant …

I am going to make a prediction and usually I am pretty spot on with these. I am going to say that this A7RIII will be the most successful Sony A series camera EVER. It will sell more than the A7RII did and the previous gen and IMO, even the A9. The price is right, the performance is incredible and the camera is taking things to the next level, yet again.

ONE MORE FULL SIZE JPEG – f/1.2 40mm Voigtlander

My full review will be in 3 weeks as I will be shooting with this camera more in a wonderful location VERY soon. I will test the pixel shift performance, low light high ISO, and should be able to process RAW files as well. Keep an eye out for that here! I hope. you enjoyed my 1st look and 1st thoughts as much as I enjoyed bringing it to you. Three hours of sleep over the last 48 hours was worth it to experience what the A7RIII can do. Now…off to take a nap ; )

PRE ORDER THE A7RIII

Pre Order at B&H Photo HERE

Pre Order at Amazon (Prime) HERE

Order the Voigtlander 40 1.2 E Mount HERE

Leave comments below if you want to talk about it…


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59 thoughts on “My Sony A7R III Hands On! Samples, Thoughts and Video! This camera…WOW.

  1. Hi Steve, do you remember what jpeg settings you used when you took these pictures? I’m experimenting at the moment to see what works best for portraits and general photography. Thanks…

    1. I usually have it set to standard or if I want color pop, I go for Vivid. But these are mostly all from RAW, in which case the profile does not stick to the RAW file. I edit to taste per image in the RAW conversion.

    1. Yes, impressive numbers..But….unlikely anything above 1600 or 3200iso max will satisfy a ‘no noise iq seeker’. I did a few pics indoors with low lighting (living room lamps etc) and at 6400 the skin had these aweful noise artifacts – little black ’grain’ speckles.
      A7R iii, 55/1.8, raw file viewed in Camera one.

      1. I made a large pro print of an A7rII file at ISO 12800 and it looks stunning. It was shot in insanely low light. No visible noise at all and NR was OFF. I never use NR as that smudges up higher ISO shots and adds artifacts. The III will be just the same as it offers similar ISO performance. But for pixel peepers, I do not consider anyone who does that to truly love photography, but rather, the gear moreso than what it is made for. It’s a strange thing, but satisfy a pixel peeper? That’s not possible.

  2. Hi,

    I’m curretly using Leica SL + M lenses and I love the color the pair produce. What’d like to know is, with A7Riii’s color improvement, whether the color of the images from A7Riii are now closer to that of Leica’s or it’s improved BUT it will never be the same, even with M lenes, because Sony just uses different color scheme/approach?

    1. Each brand will always have their own signature look with their own color, contrast, DR, ect. The Sony A7RIII look is different from the A7RII but keeps the Sony signature “feel”. The Sl is finally showing its age IMO, and I found that out when using it in lower light where it could not hang with the Sony A9. With sensor tech so amazing today, and Sony is leading the way in sensor tech IMO, the Sony system is solid.

    1. No idea who Bill is but I spoke with 5 pros who shot with the camera for their work, and when I asked them what they noticed first about the new camera, they ALL said the extended DR was instantly noticeable when processing the RAW files. Then they mentioned the color improvements. There is also some improvements to high ISO, 5 Axis, etc. With all this camera packs in (A9 EVF, A9 Focus Architecture, Touch LCD, Blistering accurate and fast Eye AF, A9 Battery, Dual Slots, etc etc) even if there were no difference in IQ over the RII it would be an amazing buy. But there are improvements, as Sony would not state it as fact if it were not true, and pros would not be saying one of the main advantages they saw was the extended DR. Sony only states this improvements at lower ISO though, at higher I do not think there is any improvement. But the A7RII IQ is stellar as is, so add in all of these improvements and make it super fast, responsive, and with much better user experience due to the A9 features and you have one hell of a camera.

      1. Thx Steve. My question wasn’t a criticism and I don’t have much faith in testing the DR of pre-production raws, but I’m encouraged by what other pros are finding. My quick play with the tiff files I got from converting with rawdigger look mighty impressive so my own observations also correlate with your and others findings. Thx, Richard.

  3. Hi Steve
    Comment on the model – are her irises tattooed? Or is that a really weird reflection. Obviously the camera resolution is first class as you can see grey dots on the irises. Would love to see a lossless format of the same images.

    1. I think she had colored contacts in but yea, these are all just JPEGS and honestly? At mid quality, not even max. I saw that Sony had given me a A7rIII set standard to medium quality JPEG. I look forward to testing the RAW files.

  4. Just a thought: there’s no reason why the A7rIII can’t be a sports camera. Remember that sports shooters used manual focus up until the late ’90s, and they had cameras with 5-7fps most of the time. How our expectations change. 😉

  5. Sony added Low vibration shutter, real battery life, USB 3, USB charging, Dual cards, joystick & touch focus, pixel shift, A9 AF, 4k EVF, beefed buttons and on and on… Wow, this is a dream camera if the IQ and DR matches or bests the D850.

  6. Do you still have your Hasselblad X1D? It could be fun to see how close the new A7R3 is compared to X1D side by side in RAW. My dream camera is Hasselblad X1D for landscape surrealistic photo manipulation in Photoshop for large print up to 180x130cm but it is a lot of money. Anyways, I’m looking forward to the review, because I’m considering A7R3.

    1. Been using it at least 5 days a week for video ever since launch. LOVE IT and have no regrets on buying it. The A7RIII can not replace the A9 for my use, but doesn’t mean I do not want an A7RIII for the photos. I can see my collection whittled down to X1D, Sony A9, Sony A7RIII.

  7. Hi Steve.

    If you happen to have some time to spare, perhaps you’ll provide some input (or anyone else who might read this.)

    I’d say that I am an average photo enthusiast, mostly family/kids photos, extended family gatherings, and soloed a single wedding for free for my brother-in-law.

    I own the Canon 6D, 24-105L, 35L II, 135L, and the 85 1.8, and a couple old lenses. Used to also have the 50 1.8, but gave it away to someone together with my T2i.

    Lately I’ve been contemplating switching from Canon to Sony, especially with the news of the A9 making the EyeAF a real deal in all shooting situations. It is a feature that is VERY attractive to me, because 80% of my photos are of people.

    The 4500$ price tag was quite a big pill to swallow, and I didn’t need all the fps, so I was looking to see what an A9R or an A7Riii would bring to the table. So the announcement of the A7Riii was a pretty big surprise. Especially since all the rumors were saying that it wouldn’t be out for at least 6 more months or so.

    So I am looking to grab the A7Riii sometime in the next few months (love the A9 features on it, and the 3200$ price is a lot easier to talk my wife into), along with a few lenses. I was thinking of the 24-70mm 2.8 GM and a 85mm prime, but having used mostly the 35 f1.4, I was not too excited about constantly using a 850g lens.

    Here’s where I’d definitely need some input 🙂

    My plan is to use this for personal family pictures, and for the perspective of trying to get into the family portrait/wedding business down the road.

    I am now considering grabbing 2-3 lighter primes instead.

    The first one I am thinking of is the Sony 55mm 1.8. Reason being, I rather liked the nifty 50 on the Canon, and even though I bought the 35 1.4 a bit over two years ago, and have been using the 35 a lot since then, it always irks me a bit, having to be mindful of my framing for portraits with it, to avoid putting people too far off center. It’s fine with kids, but with adults, its always just a bit of a chore.

    That is why the 55mm 🙂 Light, supposedly super sharp, and a more comfortable FL than the 35mm is to me. I know you are not an avid fan of the 55, but the 50 1.4 is too heavy for my liking, and I am not looking at manual focus lenses at the moment.

    Where my choices split big time, is the wide and the telephoto choices.

    On the wide end, I have narrowed it down to either the 28mm f2, or the Batis 25mm F2, and I am really torn on which way I should go. The purpose would be mostly for biger group shots (the 35mm indoors was a bit too narrow for that), for dedicated environmental portraits (again, the 35 wasn’t wide enough for some environmental portraits, but too distorted for my liking for regular portraits), and for theoretical wedding work. Would love some convincing, one way or the other.

    On the longer end, unless Sony comes out with a sub-1500$ 135mm 1.8 or 2.0, I am looking at either the Sony 85mm 1.8, or the Batis 85mm 1.8. Here again, I am really torn on which way to go.

    Sorry for such a long post, but I figured better give more info than less.

    Any and all input would be greatly appreciated.

    1. I would recommend…A7RIII without question.

      Lenses? If you want AF lenses only, I would go with the 28 f/2 (love this lens, and while not a pro or super high quality it has a nice rendering and is plenty sharp) if you want small and quick. If you want a step up in IQ, the Batis 25 is gorgeous and offers better IQ over the 28 f/2. But it is larger and more expensive. Great color though. The 50 1.8, many dislike that lens. I found it to be good, but now “wow” good. The 50 1.4 is in a different class. The 24-70 GM is large, and longer than the 50 1.4. The 85 Batis is also gorgeous.

      If it were me and I was using the camera as you would be, Id go

      25 f/2 Batis
      50 1.4
      85 Batis

      I know you said the 50 1.4 was too large but that three lens combo right there would bring you wide angle, one of the best 50’s made today IMO and a gorgeous 85. The basis lenses are light as well, not bricks. They may be larger than the tiny primes but they are light. The 55 1.8 is nice but yea, I never fell in love with it as I found it sterile in rendering and color.

      But the A7RIII is one hell of a camera that no one would be unhappy with. It’s probably the best overall camera Sony has ever made, and unless one wanted the A9 Body (which is nicer) and the A9 all out crazy speed, the A7RIII is it. Priced right as well.

      PS – If you ever want to try manual focus, that Voigtlander 40 1.2 is gorgeous and made for the Sony E Mount.

  8. I’m fond of everything about the A9 except image quality and resolution…both of which are certainly adequate but IMO, fall short when compared to the D850. Enter the A7RIII which might be the best do all, be all, full frame camera ever made by any manufacturer. Add to that, the ability to adapt just about any lens on the planet and you have an extraordinary piece of kit. TAKE MY MONEY! 😉

  9. Oh wow. These 40/1.2 and 24-105/4 sample images are outstanding. I might have to get both…

    I recently sold my 24-70/4. I’m happy I did. This 24-105 definitely looks like an upgrade. I just need to figure out whether 16-35/4 or 24-105/4 fits better into my workflow.

    Oh man, so many good FE lenses on my wishlist now. I’m also really liking the 50/1.4 and 100-400.

    1. The 24-105 is much better IMO than the older 24-70 f/4, in all areas of IQ. The 50 1.4 is AMAZING, reminds me of an improved Leica 50 Summilux ASPH. Good stuff all around. Thank you.

        1. The G Master will be a much better lens in construction, aperture speed and color and IQ. The 24-105 is a G lens, f/4 and fantastic quality but not G Master quality. I would take the 24-70 G Master over the 24-105 if there was no budget or weight concerns.

  10. I”m interested in seeing how much better or worse this camera is for adapted lenses. Been waiting for this a while and will be using it with my Leica lenses to keep the kit size small.

    1. Probably the same as the RII for adapted lenses. Nothing will use a Leica M lens as good as a Leica M. This has been shown. But where that comes into play is the corners. Softer when adapted. I am sure this will be the same. If using a 35 and up though, should be no real issues at all as there are none on my A9.

  11. The color coming from the jpegs are pretty amazing. This sensor captures the energy of the scene properly unlike the A9. Can’t wait to see your review and maybe some Leica lenses on it.

    1. The A9 captures the scene just about like this one does in my experience, color wise. The color of the A9 was improved over the A7RII from my experinece and delivers, for me, superb color. What you gain with this over an A9 is simply resolution from what I can see and have seen. You lose some speed, you lose the newer body of the A9 and new top dial (which IMO is better) and I think that is about it. If you do not need that extra 20% of the speed and response of the A9, this would be your camera. Same EVF, same Battery but with higher resolution, more DR and 4k HDR video if that is your thing. Myself and others were commenting on how it does feel like an A9 in use but with more resolution and Dynamic Range.

  12. Hi Steve,
    I have the A9 and i want to ask about your opinion about the a7r3. I dont really need the 20 fps of a9 but i do enjoy the fast af that a9 offers. But right now im tempted to switch because of the iq that the a7r3 offers. Do you think that a7r3 is worth the move from a9? Thank you before for your help

    1. The A9 is still the Sony Flagship camera. It offers the newer body and all that comes with that as well as faster AF all around, and response. The RIII is probably 80% there speed wise. You gain more DR and more Resolution with the RIII. Everywhere else, the A9 would be technically better. I own the A9 and will not switch because I need the A9 for video (I use AF and the speed is perfect for what I need, the RIII is not as snappy with the AF in video but close) but if I had the funds, I would buy an RIII and make the A9 strictly video and RIII strictly photos. I may be able to swing that in a few months. Comes down to this. If you want more resolution, and dynamic range, the RIII is better than the A9 in those areas.

      1. I own both the A9 and A7Rii and don’t see any discernible difference in dynamic range in real work shooting. DXO Mark measure the A9 at 13.3 stops vs the A7Rii at 13.9 stops. Early tests indicate that the A7Riii is the same as the A7Rii.

        1. No one has tested the DR of the III yet but it is 15 stops at base ISO shooting RAW. The RII and A9 are not 15 Stops. So it should be more like my X1D in the DR dept. I saw some who said the A9 had less DR than the RII, and I see a SLIGHT slight drop myself between the two but nothing drastic at all. SO there are differences but most would never see them. Where one sees this DR advantage is when processing the RAW files. So far I have not been able to do that with the RII but the pros who have shot it for pro work said the #1 thing they notices was the DR increase and color depth increase. Along with the speed, battery, etc.

  13. Hello,
    I’m not sure you’re aware, but your site is slow to load, and every time I click on a photo and then click the back button, it takes several seconds to go back.
    Best regards

      1. On my Android phone it loads fast. On Safari on my MacBook pro there’s a circle animation that shows for few seconds while the page loads.

  14. The new Sony A7r III… aka, the camera that will reveal models’ eye color contacts! Dang… zooming 100% into the eyes of that last model was trippy! At first I thought the JPEGs from the camera were damaged or something!

  15. So, the 24-105G is pretty nice, too? I’ve been waiting for that lens to come out — hope it was worth the wait.

    Have to say I’m a bit disappointed to hear that the RIII is that good — was hoping I’d be happy sticking with my RII! Anyway, great pics — thanks for sharing!

  16. I have what seems like an obvious question: why is it called A7RIII and not A9R? does that mean we should expect a A9R and A9S?

      1. I think the naming issue is due to purely marketing decisions. If they called it “A9R” it would have been strange:
        a) It would have been seen as an update to the A9 coming too soon (the “R” is seen as an udpate to the “plain” model, as in the A7 > A7R), which could have upset A9 owners
        b) Given the above, it would have been weired to sell it at the present price point
        c) It would have upset owners and fans of the A7 line, which would have lacked an upgrade for too long
        This way, the A7Riii, at least formally, belongs to the A7 line: A7 owners have their upgrade, A9 owners still have paid premium price for top of the line tech, and Sony can still make another camera – the A9R – with possibly the exactly same speed feature of the A9 coupled with a super high resolution sensor (42 or even higher), and sell it for likely whatever price north of 7000 USD.

  17. Steve, what is the magnification of the jpegs here when you hit the + button? I see unpleasant moiré in the model’s R eye (it’s a pattern interference in her iris); and it’s not an artefact of my retina screen (I adjusted the magnification up an down to test this).

    And looking forward to seeing the Raw versions too, at some point. Thanks, KL

    1. Probably sized at 2200 pixels wide – but the 1st one is full size from the camera, a JPEG. That MAY have been her colored contacts as when I was speaking with her I noticed her eyes looking like that, her contacts. I could be wrong but that’s how I see it. But it could be Moire as just like the RII no AA filter (which is good).

  18. The video quality of the A7Riii cannot exceed the A9 and will be much the same as the A7Rii since it uses the same sensor/architecture. Since the A7Riii does pixel binning in full frame 4K video it will result in potential moire/aliasing. To achieve the best video quality, the A7Riii needs to be shot in APS-C mode, just like the A7Rii. The A9, on the other hand, oversamples (with no pixel binning) in both full frame and APS-C mode.

    1. Sadly, no panning in the video sample either -was hoping to see if Sony’s improved the Rolling Shutter Skew performance, at least to the same standard as the Nikon’s and Pentax’s that use Sony sourced sensors.
      It’s the last hurdle they need to climb.

      1. Jello, rolling shutter, electronic shutter distortion, moire/aliasing will be identical between the A7Rii and A7Riii. They share the same sensor architecture with a sensor read speed around 1/15s. The A9 has a 1/150s sensor read speed, hence the massive improvement with the above issues.

  19. The size of the new Sony A7R3 combined with the 24-105mm f4 compared to the Olympus EM2 Mk2 with the 12-100mm f4 looks likely to be the same. Weight probably 200g more ? (if the data from camerasize com is not wrong)
    Looks like a nice combo for a walk around.

    Well im already putting lots of thought into getting back to Sony by achieving the A7R3 and keep my Oly EM5 Mark II as backup =)

    Would it be ok for you Steve, to compare the JPEG Quality of the new Sony with the ones from the Olympus EM1 Mark II and give us your personal thought about ?
    Because i quite like the output of the Olympus Jpeg’s.

    Cheers

    1. Well JPEG quality will be good on both. All images here are JPEG. You can look at my EM1 II review and see mostly all JPEGS as well. The Sony will offer richer color, better high ISO noise levels (by far) and its about as fast or maybe faster than the EM1 MKII (not scientific here, just going by feel) as far as response and AF speed goes. The A7R3 is a better camera for all out IQ. The Olympus and Sony also have their own color signatures, so therefore that is where the difference will lie (also more resolution with the Sony).

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