The New Sony a7III! “The Mini A9” In Hand! Samples! First Look!

FIRST LOOK at the NEW SONY a7III! In Hand! Samples!

By Steve Huff

Pre Order the new A7III STARTING WEDNSEDAY AT 11AM ET at B&H Photo HERE. Ships APRIL 2018

Hey everyone! Yep, I am here in Las Vegas for the new Sony Camera announcement and what a release it is! Yes indeed, to me, even with the a9 (review) and a7RIII (wrap up here) out there this may just be the biggest deal in 35mm full frame mirrorless..well..ever.

1st look QUICK video with some thoughts on the new a7III!

Sony has created a baby or “mini” A9 in the new a7III and the good news is that we get most of the a9 speed, as well as features from both the a9 and a7RIII, trickled down in to this body which comes in at $1999 US. 

Out of Camera JPEG – Vegas Baby. A7III at ISO 200 with the new 24-105

Yep, under $2k and you get a killer speed demon full frame 24 MP camera with an all new advanced sensor (from the kings of sensor technology) that also does amazingly well in low light AND is about as versatile as it gets in this price range. In fact, this may be Sonys new low light king. ISO up to 204k and my guess is that it will be usable at pretty high ISO.

Wouldn’t you love to own a Sony that gives you 90% of the A9 performance and almost all of the RIII performance (minus some resolution) for thousands less? THIS IS HUGE IMO!

The price point is fantastic.

At the extremes…Not ISO 10k, but ISO 128K

I will admit that when I first saw the new camera announced, those 1st few moments, I was a little disappointed as It thought it was just another rehash but then it hit me and I realized why this will be such a hot seller for Sony, and appreciated by so many photographers. (The Price for what you get). The specs are incredible for photographers or videographers.

Bottom line: This is giving much of the performance of the a9, has an ALL NEW sensor for enhanced color and IQ and low light capabilities, gives us the dual card slots, 4K video, close to a9 AF speed and all for under $2k! Yes, I feel that this will be the biggest seller between the newer cameras just due to price alone. What’s even better is one can now get the older A7II for a STEAL. See that amazing deal HERE. 

Yes the A9 has that last 5-10% of performance but it will cost you an extra $2500. Hmmm. Diminishing returns have never been so clear.

A7III out of camera JPEG with the lovely 85 1.8 Lens

Yes indeed, it seems we are always swarmed with new camera releases. Sony, Fuji, Olympus, Panasonic and other are releasing cameras at a blistering pace as always but man they do somehow manage to improve them all of the time. In this case, I have never seen a more powerful mirrorless for under $2k.

You MUST click these images to see them correctly and much sharper and better! out of camera JPEGS on all images here. 

Honestly, it appears that this a7III kind of blows past the new Fuji in specs for just a little more money, and it is full frame which to some is a pro, and to some a con (some prefer APS-C for DOF reasons). No, you do not get the Fuji color vibe but you will get a fast, responsive and well-built solid camera that can do anything one needs. This camera can be used for sports, this can be used for portraits, this can be used for street, weddings, and yes, it would be the perfect companion for those of you who shoot M lenses with this new sensor hitting that 24MP sweet spot. Low light, whatever you need it seems this one can deliver.

Of course full testing is required as I have just been handed the camera just a couple of hours ago and shot off a few JPEG’s. I will be using it heavily this week so will have reports as I can find the time to write them. I will also try the Voigtlander 40 1.2 M mount on this camera just because I have it and an adapter with me.

Elvis taking a snap of Marilyn with the new A7III! Lol.

I am still shooting and evaluating the a7RIII and now I have this one to shoot, crazy times for camera releases but as I have said for years now…Sony is going after mirrorless full frame domination and they have it. I will be shooting with this camera for the next two days in Las Vegas. Models, Grand Canyon, and who knows what else. Be sure to come back as my A7III coverage has just begun. Video coming as well.

As for build and feel? It feels just like the A7RIII in hand. It looks like an a7RIII. But yes, it is $1200 less in cost while sacrificing 18 MP of resolution. I have always thought 24MP was the sweet spot, so for those who do not need 42MP, this one can save some cash which means more cash for a great lens.

PRE ORDER THE NEW a7III STARTING WEDNESDAY at 11AM ET!

Here are some details and features of this new incredible under $2k camera:

AUTO FOCUS: 

The new camera has 425 contrast AF points that work with a 693-point focal-plane phase-detection AF system inherited from the acclaimed α9 model.  This innovative AF system covers approximately 93% of the frame, ensuring reliable focusing and tracking for even the most difficult to capture subjects. 

AF response and tracking has also been greatly improved in the new camera, with almost 2xii the focusing speed in low-light condition and 2xii the tracking speed compared to the previous model as a result of the faster image sensor readout.  This allows complex and unpredictable motion to be captured with far greater precision and accuracy. 

The acclaimed Eye AF feature is also available in the new camera, even in AF-C mode, which is extremely useful for situations where the subject is turning around, looking down or otherwise obstructed.  It also works when the α7 III is being used with Sony’s  A-mount lenses with an optional LA-EA3 adaptor[x].  Additional improvements in focusing flexibility include the addition of a multi-selector or ‘joystick’ for moving focusing points quickly, the addition of touch focusing capability, AF availability in Focus Magnifier mode, an ‘AF On’ button and much more. 

NEW SENSOR:

The newly developed 24.2MPi back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS image sensor is paired with a front-end LSI that effectively doubles the readout speed of the image sensor, as well as an updated BIONZ X™ processing-engine that boosts processing speed by approximately 1.8 times compared to the α7 II.  These powerful components work together to allow the camera to shoot at faster speeds while also enabling its impressive ISO range of 100 – 51200 (expandable to ISO 50 – 204800 for still images) and an overall 1.5 stopix improvement in image quality.  The camera also features a massive 15-stopii dynamic range at low sensitivity settings, ensuring outstanding overall performance at all settings and in all shooting conditions, with significant advancements in accurate color reproductions of skin tones and the vibrant colors of nature. 

This new full-frame model can also output 14 bit RAW format even in silent and continuous shooting modes, and is equipped with a 5-axis optical image stabilization system that results in a 5.0 stepv shutter speed advantage.

AND MORE SPEED…

The new α7 III is equipped with an updated image processing system that allows it to shoot full resolution images at up to 10 fps with continuous, accurate AF/AE tracking for up to 177 Standard JPEG images, 89 compressed RAW images or 40 uncompressed RAW images. This high speed mode is available with either a mechanical shutter or a completely silentshooting, adding to the immense flexibility of the camera.  The camera can also shoot continuously at up to 8 fps in live view mode with minimal lag in the viewfinder or LCD screen. 

For added convenience, while large groups of burst images are being written to the memory card, many of the cameras key functions are operable, including access to the ‘Fn’ (Function) and ‘Menu’ buttons, image playback and several other menus and parameters including image rating and other functions that facilitate on-location image sorting. 

Additionally, if there is fluorescent or artificial lighting present in a shooting environment, users can activate the Anti-flicker function to allow the α7 III to automatically detect frequency of the lighting and time the shutter to minimize its effect on images being captured.  This minimizes any exposure or color anomalies that can sometimes occur at the top and bottom of images shot at high shutter speeds. 

VIDEO AND 4K:

The new α7 III is an outstanding video camera as well, offering 4K (3840×2160 pixels) video recording across the full width of the full-frame image sensor.  In video mode, the camera uses full pixel readout without pixel binning to collect about 2.4x the amount of data required for 4K movies, and then oversamples it to produce high quality 4K footage with exceptional detail and depth. 

An HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma)  picture profile is available on the α7 III as well, which supports an Instant HDR workflow, allowing HDR (HLG) compatible TV’s to playback beautiful, true-to-life 4K HDR imagery.  Further, both S-Log2 and S-Log3 are available for increased color grading flexibility, as well as Zebra functionality, Gamma Display assist and proxy recording.  The camera can also record Full HD at 120 fps at up to 100 Mbps, allowing footage to be reviewed and eventually edited into 4x or 5x slow motion video files in Full HD resolution with AF tracking.

BUILD: 

Sony’s newest full-frame camera is equipped with a variety of enhanced capabilities that were first implemented in the α9 and then again in the α7R III.  These include dual media slots, with support in one slot for UHS-II type SD memory cards.  Users have a variety of options for storing their content in each of the cards, including separate JPEG / RAW recording, separate still image / movie recording, relay recording and more.  Battery life has been greatly extended as well – with a CIPA measurement of up to 710 shots per charge it offers the world’s longest battery life of any Mirrorless camera, as the new camera utilizes Sony’s Z series battery NP-FZ100 that have approximately 2.2 times the capacity of the W series battery NP-FW50 utilized in the α7 II.

EVF…

The α7 III features high-resolution, high-contrast, fast-start XGA OLED Tru-Finder™ with approximately 2.3 million dots for extremely accurate, true-to-life detail reproduction.  “Standard” or “High” display quality settings are also available for both the viewfinder and monitor as well.  It also is capable of seamlessly transferring files to a smartphone, tablet, computer or FTP server via Wi-Fi, while also offering a SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.1 Gen 1) USB Type-C Terminal for increased flexibility in power supply and faster image transfer speed during tethered shooting.

The α7 III model also comes with Sony’s new software suite “Imaging Edge”, which extends the creative capabilities of the entire shooting process – from pre-processing to post-processing.   “Imaging Edge” provides three PC applications called ‘Remote’, ‘Viewer’ and ‘Edit’, available for free download, which support live-view PC remote shooting and RAW development.    In the latest Version 1.1, several improvements have been implemented including about 10% faster data transfer speed for remote shooting from PC (PC tether shooting) and about 65% improvement in the response speed for RAW image editing.

PRICE: 

The Sony α7 III Full-frame Interchangeable Lens Camera will ship this April for about $2000 US for the body and $2200 in a kit with the FE 28‑70 mm F3.5‑5.6 kit lens.  In Canada, it will be sold for $2600 CA for the body and $2800 in a kit with the FE 28‑70 mm F3.5‑5.6 lens.  The camera and kits will be sold at a variety of Sony authorized dealers throughout North America.

 

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59 Comments

  1. I own a GH2 and have been waiting forever for the E-M5 mk ii. As I read more of Steve Huff’s reviews I was leaning toward the E-M1 mk ii and the 17mm f1.2 pro lens. I like the idea of 12-40mm f2.8 pro but I am concerned about the equivilent f5.6. I like the 5 axis image stabilization, the weather sealing and the compact size. But along comes the A7iii. It seems Sony’s larger sensor in a compact housing limits the ability to match Olympus’s stabilization ability. And Sony’s weather sealing is not definitive. The camera bodies appear relatively the same size but the lens size and cost will be greater for the A7iii. But I always seem to drift back to the A7iii photos and video IQ. Wow! And the Sony A7iii auto focus for video is excellent. Should I wait for the E-M5 mk ii? Will Olympus respond to the Lumix G9 and the Sony A7iii with the E-M5 mkii? Should I be more protective of my camera with regard to rain and dust and go with the A7iii? Should I purchase a more packable tripod instead of reliance on IBIS and go with the A7iii? Put me out of my misery!

    Yes, please find some time for an E-M1 MKii comparison with the A7iii.

    Thank you.

  2. Hello
    I am going to be using exclusively legacy glass-M42, OM, Rokkor, leica M and pentax on a digital system. Still coming back to A7III for all the reasons everyone else is BUT-Is it really a usable EVF? Can it make full time legacy manual focus lens shooting truly workable? I simply don’t have a frame of reference to tell. It’s the only remaining issue keeping me from pulling the trigger. Much as I love Fuji-getting 1:1 crop factor with my old glass and arguably 1-2X better low light performance is worth the lesser build quality and lesser “analog” feel of the the SONY A7III. But it all comes down to the usability of the evf….HELP!

    • Yes I used my A7R2 for over a year with only Leica M glass and manual focus, before getting any native glass…. In some ways it’s easier than native glass if you are used to a manual camera… Focus peaking works great, just do your 50’s manual lens trick always focus at wide open then stop down as desired for the shot. I had a Fuji previously sent it back because of poor performance on focus peaking… an early model so they likely fixed that. The Fuji did have better color/contrast profiles the film emulation was great.

  3. Hello
    I am going to be using exclusively legacy glass-M42, OM, Rokkor, leica M and pentax on a digital system. Still coming back to A7III for all the reasons everyone else is BUT-Is it really a usable EVF? Can it make full time legacy manual focus lens shooting truly workable? I simply don’t have a frame of reference to tell. It’s the only remaining issue keeping me from pulling the trigger. Much as I love Fuji-getting 1:1 crop factor with my old glass and arguably 1-2X better low light performance is worth the lesser build quality and lesser “analog” feel of the the Fuji. But it all comes down to the usability of the evf….HELP!

  4. Other reviewers have mentioned an issue with the dual card slot on the 7iii. Apparently each card numbers the files with the same number. This would be a nightmare when importing images unless you want to spend time renumbering.

  5. Steve,
    I shoot birds often in low light and crop when needed. Which camera is more suitable, Sony a7rlll or Sony a7lll . I have Sony lenses

  6. Hello Steve. I do equestrian work with a D750 and 70- 200 2.8. Would this camera be good for this kind of photography and does it have advantages over the D750 for action? Thank you.

    • It will be faster for continuous AF than a D750 and even beats the D850 slightly for continuous AF speed in extensive tests I have witnessed. It has the same AF system as the A9 but since it does not have the A9 sensor it is not quite as fast as the A9 but very close.

  7. Steve,
    How is the stabilization of the A7III vs. EM1Mk II? Which has better AF? For the average person who takes family vacation pictures, etc…, which of the 2 would you recommend? A7III or EM1Mk II? Assume he would eventually get a wide angle, portrait, and tele lens.

    • Olympus has the best 5 AXIS IS in the business, period. I never thought Sony’s implementation if it was any good to be honest, which is why I never speak of it. Olympus you can see it work. Sony, hmmm, well, not so much.

  8. HI Steve, the EVF looks on par with the EVF in the a7sii. Which brings me to my question. Do you feel the high ISO on the a7iii is on par or better with the a7sii? I’m talking at ISO’s like 10k, 20, and 30k?

    • Well, I’d say 10k is probably same or could be a little better than the SII. I have not shot with the SII in a long while but the a7III would be close. 10k looks great just as it does on the SII. Sounds like a good side by side comparison to do.

    • These days I suggest if using M lenses wider than 35mm or even 50mm, you will get better results on a Leica M or even SL. The best camera, hands down, for M glass is the M10. The SL is good but doesn’t work the magic on them like the M10 does. I can use a 50mm M lens on a Sony and it can be equal to what the SL does. If I go with a 21, there could be soft corners or smearing on the Sony (any Sony).

        • Rocky, it depends what adapter you intend on shooting with. Improved Phase AF system of A7iii will not mean much for manual focus, but (probably) would go long way on using TechArt or Fotodiox Pronto AF adapters that rely on Phase sensors. I find AF performance to be good on A7ii when the subject is in Phase Detect area, and A7iii promises such a wider PD area that I am thinking to upgrade just because of that.

  9. I had a deposit for the Fuji X-H1 but moved it onto the A7iii. This camera seems the perfect compromise between size/weight/sensor size. I resisted Sony for as long as I could but this camera just forced me to change.

    • I think you made a wise choice. The X-H1 is nice, and I messed with it at WPPI. It felt and looked like a mini GFX, which is an odd design choice, and it was quite large IMO. Still a nicely made camera. This Sony will give you the latest Sony full frame sensor, more dynamic range, better low light usability, faster AF and Tracking AF, Eye Af, even in continuous AF mode and a slew of other advancements. Enjoy it!

  10. Wow, looking at these comments it’s crazy how spoiled everyone got in just a few years, but good sign of how the industry is really pushing forward and keeping competition high.

    This looks like it’s going to be such an efficient tool at a fantastic price. The eye auto focus alone is great, but now you’re getting all these other features from their top models. And it’s not this small incremental step over its predecessor, this is a huge leap.

    Can’t wait to get my hands on one and start shooting.

    • Well, totally different camera. This camera, the A7III can not compete with the Leica in build quality, menu system, EVF, precision, weather sealing, etc. Sony wins low light, as the SL is not very good by todays standards in low light. Needs a sensor update. Sony wins in speed, and AF speed. Sony wins in price and smaller size. Sony wins in video.

  11. OK – so I’m an enthusiast enjoying the heck out of my Oly EM1MK2 w the fabulous pro lenses. BUT – this sucker is cheap, small form factor and FF.

    I totally dig the high ISO performance and low light capability, but reflecting, all of MY low light pics typically include a lit subject…which the Oly handles great. The Oly Pro lenses provide good Bokeh and the 4/3 provides nice DOF.

    The thing that could make me add this to the shelf along side the Oly, would be if it had that killer Oly build quality.

    I know….that’s dumb, but so what…I’m just a recreational shutterbug and I would add this FF super gadget if it had that fab bld quality that made it great to reach for.

    Does it?

    • I also enjoy my Olympus Equipment, i like the EM1Mk2 and love my EM5Mk2 (titan ver) and the latest Pro lenses are really really good.
      Size, weight, handling and overall performance are top notch for me.

      I agree with you here, i also consider the new Sony A7 III as something that would be nice to have. Especially since i got to know the Voigtlander Lenses, the 40mm f1.2 and the 65mm f2.0 Apo. These two lenses, for me, are a big factor buying back into the Sony system, because i like using my Voigtlander for mft mount a lot.
      Biggest reason i don’t buy into Sony system are the native lenses, the GMaster lenses are too expensive for my taste, despite having the quality i desire to have.

      So i don’t find it dump to have a FF camera alongside the Oly/Mft System.

      I’m gonna wait some time until the dust has settled and the prices have gone a bit lower.

  12. Could you compare the silent mode banding from the a7riii to the new a7iii? I shoot shows let with LED lighting and video projectors. If they eliminated the banding you get with the a7riii, I’m definitely getting a a7iii.

  13. The EVF is a bit of a disappointment, as great EVF is essential when it comes to having a functional “basic” mirrorless camera. I would rather they put better EVF than USB C or Dual SD slots.
    Video… with smartphone cameras shooting 4K 60fps @ 10 bit with HDR10, Sony’s 30fps @ only 8 bits is pretty lame. A $2k camera cannot be outperformed by a smartphone. The Panasonic GH5 records 4K @ 10 bit and with bitrates of 400mb/s, four times more than any Song camera today.

    • I think you forgot about the difference in the size of sensors and this is a big difference, just like light sensitivity and dof. Full frame sensor size camera is porbably 10x times bigger than that on your mobile phone

  14. So for practically the same price why would someone who was considering a Fuji X-H1 not want this new sony instead. Want to switch from DSLR to mirrorless and was considering the new fuji but now that I see this…well the sony looks like the better bang for the buck. The fuji body is actually larger and heavier.

    • Personal preference. A sony feels very different in actual use than a fuji. Both produce extremely high quality, splitting hairs to tell the difference, The user experiences are very different though. You will most likely prefer one to the other.

  15. Why can Sony never get skin tones accurate? Hopefully, the RAW files are good and PP can fix that. But these OOC pictures show how poorly skin tone is handled

      • Thanks. Have you noticed the issue raised by DPReview? what do you think about?
        “The Sony a7 III is certainly capable of delivering sharp, crisp images; however, we continue to notice issues with backlit scenes, wherein flare can introduce striping behind images due to the phase detect autofocus pixels (particularly obvious in our models’s face here and in the lights above and to the right of her face here). This might be a concern to those shooting portraits or concerts where backlighting may be integral to a composition.”
        https://www.dpreview.com/samples/9120111657/sony-a7-iii-sample-gallery

        • I have only shot maybe 100 frames with it so far, and so far I have not seen this issue. THOUGH, I have had the camera freeze up on me twice. Had to remove the battery once, and that is something I never had happen with any Sony. I did not ask if this s final firmware though, which it may not be.

  16. Very good news indeed. I agree with your assessment that this is extremely good value. I prefer APS-C but that doesn’t mean I can’t see how amazing this camera really is.

    10fps might be only half of the A9, but really, sports shooters were happy with the Nikon F3 and F4 with between 5 and 7fps. The D4 is 10fps, and a lot of people are still using that camera.

    ISO 128k looks awful, but most phone cameras are that bad at ISO 2000 anyway. You really can’t complain about this camera at all.

  17. Hi!

    I lost interest in digital about five years ago, shooting exclusively film.

    I thought the Sony’s like the A9 were too expensive. fot $3,500 I ‘d buy about 600 films.

    Now, this camera hits my price point; I think I’ll buy one.

    In September, I’ll be at Fleet Week in San Francisco where the Blue Angels will fly past the Golden Gate bridge. I would have left shooting that to the people with camera’s with ten images a second. Maybe now, I’ll give it a try.

    Bye,

    Dirk.

  18. I’m so glad that I sold my Sony gear that updated every month it’s like computer more than a camera these days!
    that Sony cameras are so uninspiring!
    Keep on with your game Leica!!!

    • You updated every month? If you sell a camera thought you bought that met your needs just because another was released, your silly. Sony inspires plenty it’s objective, your are not the arbiter of inspiration. So glad you chose to not take part in such a tremendous value camera brought to you by the one maker who has pushed the entire industry into the future. Cannon would have never moved past ancient mirrors without Sony.

    • In short, you are scared of innovation that brings high end features to those without offshore bank accounts?

  19. Besides all the goodies the ‘old’ EVF from the M2 series is a bit of a disappointment. As a manual focus lens shooter I was hoping for the 3.6 mdots EVF, that is described as an improvement for manual focusing. Besides, if we talk mirrorless we talk EVF. But this essential feature had to stay where it was. No good decision IMHO.

  20. Wow this a7lll looks like a game changer. Would love to see/hear your thoughts /comparison with the em1 mk2, especially with their similar price tags. I use and love Olympus but low light shooting has had me thinking about a switch but was never really enticed until now.

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