The Sony A7RIII in a Helicopter! Loads of new image samples and video!
By Steve Huff
Hey hey hey! I am back home from being in Sedona AZ for the last few days with Sony Camera and 50 other friends and journalists to use the Sony A7RIII for a couple of days. What a time, and it was extra cool as I live only 90 minutes away from Sedona, so I was able to drive in and it’s such a great time of year for a small road trip. The weather is cooling down and I had a chance to escape the 90 degree sun of Phoenix and slip into the 60’s and 70’s of Sedona. Was very nice, and what was really nice was using the Sony A7RIII camera once again. Even if it were for a couple of days, it gave me a chance to realize even more that this camera is about as close as one can get to a perfect full frame digital camera.
I have already talked at length about the features of the A7rIII in several posts and articles, so I will not rehash this info again. Also, there are loads of reviews that will be starting to pour in starting NOW, so all of the features and rehash of what the camera can do will be everywhere. BUT be sure to watch the short video below to see the A7RIII in action…
A MUST SEE video as I take the A7RIII up in a Helicopter! Click below to watch it as it goes over the camera more and includes some gorgeous scenery in Sedona!
For now, I just want to talk a bit today about photography, life and yes, the A7RIII and what it may be able to bring you if you decide to go down that route. I will say right off the bat that if you own the Original A7R (see my old review here) or the A7RIII (review here) then without question, if you are wondering about upgrading and if it is worth it, then YES INDEED IT IS. I will answer that without hesitation. The A7RIII is a result of going through two generations of the camera to arrive at this version, which will not be the last but for now is certainly the best.
The A7rIII with the Voigtlandr 40 1.2…yes, I also shot with the 24-105 and 16-35 G Master as well as a few shots with the 100-400 GM. But below, it is all 40 f/1.2 wide open. Click them for larger!
NO matter what you shoot, you can shoot it with the A7RIII. But what about action and sports, which is where the Sony flagship A9 rules the day? Can the A7RIII do what the A9 does with sports or extreme fast action? Well, no. The focus tracking of the A7RIII lacks a but compared to the A9, and after testing it for myself I did have some missed with the A7RIII with some moving subjects. The A9 never misses for me, ever. It locks on like a bee to honey and never lets go. The A7RIII does lose it’s subject from time to time with fast moving subjects. So for that the A9 still rules the day.
For everything else? The A7rIII can do it, and do it very nicely. Portraits? A7RIII will rule the day. Weddings? Street? Wildlife? Landscape? A7RIII will rule the day. While you CAN shoot sports with this camera, and do it better than most cameras out today, that is the only area where I would say that if you shoot sports for a living or even if it makes up 30% of what you shoot, do yourself a favor and get an A9. If you want the best VLOGGING camera made today IMO, while overkill, the A9 rules as my A9 Vlogging setup kicks ass. I love it. The A7RIII would not match it, though it gets close, for video AF. Yes, I use AF for video, as I use it for VLOGS where I need FAST and SNAPPY AF for product demos. So again, unless you are crazy like I am and use an A9 for mostly Vlogging and video work, or shoot sports a lot, go for an A9.
The 100-400 shooting in the desert on the RIII
EVERYTHING ELSE? Go for an A7RIII if you are looking to move up the chain in full frame.
I mean, this camera is gorgeous. It has delicious color as well, right out of the camera. It seems there have been some debates lately on the YouTube about JPEG vs RAW. I will say that if you shoot JPEG (and sometimes it is indeed nicer to shoot JPEG if you have a camera that can handle it). For example, if I am going on a family vacation or even shooting silly things that I never intent to print, display or sell…it’s JPEG for me. When I am serious about a shoot, or intend to print I go RAW 100%. But let me be clearer…I shoot JPEG and RAW at the same time, and I would say 35% of the time I use the JPEG. So JPEGs have a place without question and the A7RIII has a beautiful JPEG output.
An out of camera JPEG with my now fave lens for my A9. It’s also quite gorgeous (even more so) on the A7RIII as you can see here. The color is sublime. Click it for larger and better version!
BTW, A Thank You to YOU.
I remember back 10 years ago when I started this website/blog. SO many attacked me back then, saying there were enough review sites (we had like 6) and I was an idiot for trying to start one. I took so much BS for starting this website back then, and luckily I am not one to back down from trolls and people telling me what I can and cannot do. Here I am 10 years later and I feel so blessed, I feel blessed beyond belief actually. For ten years, I have been able to take my passion for photography, cameras, gear and make it a career. I have held workshops over the years and met many you, and all have been wonderful. I have traveled the globe with camera in hand to shoot and test lenses and new gear, and it is all due to you, my readers who make this possible. Those who go back to 2010 remember that I went though an awful tough time in life, where I did not think I would make it out. Well, I have, and it was again, thanks to you, my readers.
SO THANK YOU ALL for reading what I write and watching what I do. You allow me to live my dream every day, and while it took a lot of hard work and dedication, without you, my reviews and this website would not exist today.
As I was on the helicopter I was thinking how blessed I really was and while it was not my 1st Helicopter ride, it was my favorite as I was holding a truly remarkable camera, was with great friends whom I have known for years now, and I was shooting in one of my favorite places on earth, seeing it as I have never seen it before.
Below is a 100% out of camera JPEG shot from a Helicopter at ISO 1000. While I could save the sky by processing the RAW file, you can see the detail in this image with the 24-105 G lens, at ISO 1000. Click it and look at it full size. While not ideal at high ISO, it is still incredible for the detail it is delivering. I had Noise Reduction OFF in camera to keep detail.
SO why ISO 1000? I was using an f/4 lens, and wanted to keep my shutter speed high to avoid blur as we were in a moving helicopter. So with a fast shutter speed, and an f/4 lens, the camera needed ISO 1000 to create a sharp image here, or I should say to “guarantee” a sharp image. The lens that would have been better here is the 16-35 GM.
OK, so what did I discover about the A7RIII this time around (BTW, I still plan on getting one for 2 weeks to do a full review, though it may be a shorter post due to the fact that I have written about this camera a few times already) is that while it is not as all out fast as the A(, it is almost as fast and faster with video AF that I originally thought. The Speed does get close to the A9 but to be clear, it is not an A9. The A9 will offer a better feeling body. In my hands the A9 fits really well, and it just has an overall feeling of being solid and nice. The A7RIII feels great as well but my A9 feels better to me. The A9 also has the new control dial up top to avoid menu diving, and it also has the true no blackout EVF of which the A7rIII does not have. It has the 20 FPS vs the 10 of the RIII and to be honest, 10 is plenty for me, and most. Hell, I normally shoot one frame per minute ; )
But overall the A7rIII is a HUGE winner. When using the camera, it will most likely do WHATEVER it is you want. Wether you are using flash, natural light, or shooting a puppy dog, your mother or a wedding, there really is not much this camera can not do. With battery life allowing me to shoot for 2 days with 35% life left on my 1st and only batter used and charged, you will not have to worry about battery life unless you shoot off 10k frames in an hour and chime constantly. Me, I do not ever chimp, and I do not shoot at high FPS. Some on this shooting trip were getting 700 shots on a battery, others 1300, and some probably less. So it all depends on your use but either way, it’s a huge step up from the old battery giving IMO 4-5X the life even though Sony says it is 2.2X.
A trio of images with the A7rIII. The 1st one with the 16-35 GM, 2nd with th 24-105G and the last with the 16-35 G master (cropped).
It all comes down to DETAIL, and how much you want.
For now, 42MP is still very high res for 35mm digital. While I feel more is coming down the road (60-65MP), this camera hits a sweet spot for many. The sensor is phenomenal and while it is the same sensor as in the MKII, Sony has improved (according to Sony) the Dynamic Range which now offers 15 stops at base ISO. They have improved the start up time, shutter and so many things. It feels and shoots like an all new camera and if you are coming from an A7RII, you will be WOWED when you start to shoot it just from the response and quickness of the camera. What Sony has done is pretty amazing here.
But if you want high res and want smaller and want 35MM full frame and want to spend less than $5k, this camera at under $3200 is truly a great buy, and some would say a bargain.
WANT TO BE AMAZED? Click the image below to see an OOC JPEG with the A7RIII and 24-105G. See the 100% crop and remember, this is an OOC JPEG. The RAW would be even better the processed.
BELOW IS a full 100% crop you can click on to see. It’s an out of camera JPEG again and again, this is a 100% crop from a full image. 24-105G
So there ya go. This shows that with this camera you just about get it all, and in fact, it is the only MIRRORLESS camera option that gives you so much. Speed, IQ, DR, Resolution, Beautiful Video, Versatility with Lenses (Use almost any lens made on this camera via adpaters) and battery life. It offers so much to the photographer, hobbyist, amateur or pro.
I love this camera and remember, I get to shoot with and use or test almost ANY camera I desire. I only and have always only written about the cameras I truly enjoy and like. When I do not like a camera I do not review it, and just send it right back. I’m not a believer in negativity, which is why you will never see that here. So for me, it’s all positive in life, as I find that is a great way to live life. The Sony A7RIII is a camera that I not only like, I LOVE it. The reason is simple and I have stated the reasons over and over, but what it comes down to is that it is one of the best cameras in 35mm full frame digital that I have ever used. I mean, I found NO REAL faults though no camera is perfect. For example, you may get some rolling shutter with video here. The A9 eliminates that. But you will get some with the A7rIII in some scenarios. While no perfect camera exists, this is pretty close. My only wish for Sony is that they minimize the menus some. Sometimes it is like going into a computer to change a setting or even find a setting. Sometimes Sony tries to cram too many new features in to a camera, like the new Pixel Shift option. I feel Sony added this because other cameras now have it. Me, I would most likely use it maybe once per year. For you? Maybe it will be something you use much more than that.
While I love simplicity in a camera (which is why I love Leica, Hasselblad, etc) at this cost, at this price point, there is no better camera in the 35mm digital format mirrorless world. You can quote me on that. I should be getting an A7RIII soon for an extended time, so more will be coming from this camera.
BUY THE A7RIII:
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A few more photos below…
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