The Sony A7RIII in a Helicopter! Loads of new Image Samples and Video!

The Sony A7RIII in a Helicopter! Loads of new image samples and video!

By Steve Huff

Pre Order the Sony A7RIII: B&H PhotoAmazon

Order the 24-105 G Lens

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!

So thanks for watching that, it was an amazing time and so much fun to shoot the camera in a variety of situations. I will have even more images here in this post, including full size OOC JPEGS from a Helicopter.

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.


If you use my links here to click over to Amazon or B&H Photo and purchase the camera, or ANYTHING it helps me continue on this journey. It keeps the reviews, the content, the videos and everything coming. Over the years you guys have clicked my links and it kept wish website surviving as it’s not cheap to keep this up every month. So thank you in advance if you use the links below to order your A7RIII, a lens or whatever. Thank you. The A7RIII is $3198 and will ship end of November 2017.

Buy the A7RIII at B&H Photo

Buy the A7rIII at Amazon

Buy the new 24-105 G Lens

Buy the Voigtlader 40 1.2 for a wonderful Manual lens on the camera. 

I HIGHLY recommend the 16-35 G Master as it’s the best 16-35 I have shot with, ever. I am saving for one. 

A few more photos below…




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  1. Steve, thank you for writing a great review and even more so for your invaluable insight to Sony and Leica over the years. I Shoot weddings in the UK and find myself at a crossroads. I’ve done Fuji and whilst great for some it wasn’t for me. I shoot Canon 5d3 & 6d but my passion and creativity has come from my Leica M9. Today as much as it pains me my Leica just has too many drawbacks, I love the lenses, size and manual focus buts it’s time to trade in. It’s a process of shooting which is in my blood. My question therefore is; Sony A9 or a7r3? (price is almost the same where I am) I want use the Sony as my main wedding camera I Shoot close and fast paced mainly at 35mm. Importantly I’ll miss the Leica and am desperate to retain the option of shooting manual where the opportunity arises and bring the character of m mount lenses that my work (I have kept my 35mm Nokton 1.2 ) from an Af speed and manual focus perspective using Evf what is your advice and lens recommendation?

    • Well, both are amazing. The A9 will give you less Megapixels, but faster speed which mainly comes into play for tracking, which in weddings is probably not used much if at all ; ) For weddings, it would be the A7RIII for me, hands down. It’s fast, has great battery life, produces beautiful files, is reliable and works great with M glass using an adapter. EVF is lovely, and, well, it does what it is designed to do with precision and speed. Best 35mm full frame on the market right now IMO.

  2. Hi Steve, thanks for what you do, a wonderful blog. A very big question for me:
    – To upgrade from 7r2 to 7r3 I’d need to fork out around 1.400 usd more. My current lens arsenal is 16-35 gm and zeiss batis 25 f2 and 85 f2.8. I am planning on selling the batis 25 and a7r2 and fork out a bit more to get the a7r3. Do you think it is worth it ? A7r2 is still serving me fine, but I’d always appreciate a joystick and faster af. I am not a professional in any way, just somebody who loves taking pictures.

    Once again, thanks for your input.

    • Well yuo will gain a ton with the RII. I feel this is one upgrade that is 100% worth it. The battery life alone, to me, is worth it! Then add the improvement across the board. Af speed nearing A9 levels, response time faster, no lag at all, new EVF, etc. It’s a worthwhile upgrade for sure. Everything is better with the III and I feel it is Sony’s best camera ever.

  3. Hi Steve,
    One final question. Given the drop of pricing in A7R2, the combination of A7R2 plus the 24-70 2.8 GM is the same as the A7R3 and the 24-105 F4 G lens. Given that this will be the biggest investment in photography for me and I would for a year at least if not more not make any more investment, would you recommend one combo over the other? I know the ideal answer is “it depends” but do you have a gut feel preference in general for an advanced enthusiast/non professional?

    • Well, Glass is always a better investment but in this case, I would go with the A7RIII and the 24-105 or even a prime or two over a zoom. The III is so much better in almost every way and when in use you really can appreciate these changes. The battery for one, was not good on the II. You will need at LEAST three, preferably five batteries. With the III you need one, but I recommend two. The EVF is much nicer, the speed and response now feels like a pro level camera, and the other improvements really make the RIII a worthy upgrade over the II. For the long haul, the III will be a better bet than the II. If it were me, I would buy the III over the II without hesitation, even if it meant I had to skimp on a lens to start. The 24-105 is very sharp, all you lose out on over the 24-70 GM is the aperture, and the slightly richer color from the GM lens.

      • Steve, between the A7Riii and the A9, which camera would you chose if Photography is your main purpose. Not much into the video aspect. I see that you have the A9 as your camera of choice, not sure if you plan to go to the A7III or you still think A9 is a overall better camera for photography. Just looking for some guidance, and leave cost out of the equation.

        • Well for photos, and for mostly anything I would recommend the A7rIII over the A9. It’s $1200 less in cost, 85% as fast with AF, high res, and can be used for anything. The A9, I love mine and will be keeping it as I need that extra fast AF for video (for what I use it for) and I appreciate the extra top dial as well. I would recommend the A9 over the A7RIII only if you shoot sports on a regular basis OR need the fastest AF for video. The RIII would be what I recommend to you.

          • Steve, thanks for the advice, but can you elaborate a little more on the Extra Top Dial of the A9….

          • It’s the extra control dial where you can choose your frame rate, self timer, of teh focus modes (Af S, AF C, etc.). This way you never ever need the menu to make any settings. The RIII does not have this dial, or the A9 body though it is almost like a hybrid between the A7RII and A9. You gain the joystick, the battery, dual slots and A9 AF Algorithms. But you do not get the dial or the real true blackout EVF (which only is needed when shooting 20FPS IMO) option on the A7RIII. Even so, those are not dealbreakers. I will be getting an A7RIII and a 24-70 GM and 50 1.4 on FRIDAY. I will be doing some side by sides with the A9 – Photo tests, video tests, and my full review of the A7rIII will be up probably two weeks from Friday.

          • Could you compare the A7Riii with the Sony 24-70 f2.8 vs. Sigma 24-70 f/2.8 + MC-11 adapter?
            Also the Sony 24-105 f4 vs the Sigma 24-105 f/4 + MC-11 adapter?

          • I do not own any Sigma lenses and Sigma doesn’t send me lenses to review so that test is unlikely but I will say that if you are comparing the G Master 24-70 vs a Sigma Adapted lens, will be no contest. The Sony G Master would win with AF speed, and IQ. The Sigma lenses are VERY nice, up there with the best actually but a good native lens, especially a G Master, will outperform an adapted lens from anyone. The 24-70 GM is the best 24-70 I have ever used or tested. I have seen no flaws with that lens and it beat a Canon 24-70 II when I shot both side by side. But if you own those Sigma lenses already, they will be beautiful on the camera.

  4. Hello Steve , Is that I should change to use A7RIII if I using A9 now in your view if looking for higher resolution .

    I am not sure beside the resolution and speed .A7riii is same with A9 Image quality?
    If same quality , I may consider switch to A7riii .
    If A9 is better , I may just wait A9r


  5. Have you tried any Leica lenses? It seems like the removal of the anti-aliasing filter should produce better results. Also, same question as above: is the Leica SL pointless now?

    • I have not tried any Leica lenses as I am liking the 40 f1.2 better than most Leica lenses I have around to try and its made for the Sony. But I will try M lenses soon, and am sure they will do just as they did on the RII. Which IMO was very good and in line with the SL unless we went really wide or shot stopped down, where corners suffered a little. The SL..what is has going for it over the Sony A7rIII? The EVF is nicer, the build is superior in all ways, and the menu is so much simpler and nicer IMO. Color will be different with the SL so that is persona pref. BUT for AF lenses, the Sony takes it as the SL lenses are SO HUGE. I could never use them on a daily basis due to that. Sony’s lenses, even the G master lenses are smaller and while magybenot as nice as the Leica 24-90 and 90-280 and 50 Lux, they are close while being cheaper, smaller, etc.

      I still really like the SL, and would love to always have one with M glass of even the 50 Lux, which is gorgeous. But technically the Sony is a better camera without question. Heart and Soul always go to Leica. But the smarter money is spent on the RIII over an SL, today in 2017. All persona preference. It’s not like the A7RIII makes the SL obsolete. Instead it offers more choice. There are those who will still buy an SL over a Sony just due to the fact they like a premium made body, and simplistic controls and menus. Or they just love Leica and have the cash to spend.

  6. The image quality coming from the A7R Mark III is stunning, particularity the color … way better than the A9. So glad I waited…the one or two things that the A9 allegedly does better than the A7R Mark III AFwise and the extra top knob are simply not important to me, especially when weighed against the superior image output and resolution coming from the A7R III…no contest I’m afraid.

    • The color is the same between my A9 ad A7rIII actually. They pretty much match up in that regard. All you lose with the RIII is the no blackout EVF mode, the extra control dial up top that allows you to set everything externally, and the 20FPS and faster AF speed (which is not HUGE between them). But the color is the same between the two. The A7RIII may not be the flagship but I feel it is probably the best in the lineup when taking price into consideration.

        • Sorry but I go by real world use, and in real world use the cameras put out identical color, without question. In my A7RIII review I will show this clearly. Thank you.Also, those companions are showing they were off with white balance as the RIII files there have a slight yellowish cast to them, the A9 does not. But when you shoot them side by side, in a real world way with real subjects the color is the same. I should know, I have now used both extensively and have files from both. Thank you.

  7. @Steve: “My only wish for Sony is that they minimize the menus some.”
    I believe you can create your own menu setup with the “my-menu” 76 of the manual.

    • Yes but that is not what I meant. When I shoot a Leica or the X1D, the menu system is so nice. Small, clean, easy. It only offers what we need to shoot photos. Nothing more, nothing less. I’d like to see that as the entire menu system in a Sony but it would never ever happen. The Sony A7RIII and A9 are some of the best digital cameras on the market but for me, and others I have spoken to, the do not do the “inspire you to use it” kind of thing very well. They do not motivate me to use them. While they get the job done, they are kind of sterile in design and use. I’d love to see Sony release a one off kind of camera…with brilliant design, minimal menu, and top quality all the way around. Something special that inspires one to use it.

  8. “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.”

    Hi Steve,
    Just seems like you got the logic mixed up a bit here. Shouldn’t it be “…go for an A7RIII”?
    Just my twopence worth.

    • No, I meant what I said.

      If you are like me and want to use a top end camera for vlogging and AF video work, or shoot mostly sports go for the A9 as it will do better than the RIII. You will never miss focus with action with an A9, you can with the the RIII as tracking is not as solid. So yes, if you want a camera with the fastest snappiest AF for video or for fast action photo shooting when using tracking, the A9 is superior to the RIII.

  9. I was looking forward to your review of the Sony FE 24-105, but I believe you have convinced me more about getting the Voigtlander 40 f/1.2 (coupled with the Sony FE 28 f/2, a perfect duo sized well for street shooting). Agree with another respondent that the model in the Bel Air photo is stunning, with a slightly retro IQ, that I don’t seem to see as much in the other Sony/Zeiss FE normal lens offerings. One issue that concerns me about the 24-105 zoom is that the lens almost doubles in size when zoomed out and a touch conspicuous for my liking. Looking forward to more reviews on the same, and thanks.

      • It’s the same EVF as the A9, which I have said all along. But what is not the same is the EVF blackout when shooting. The A9 has ZERO blackout in electronic mode. The A7RIII does not have this same mode. But the EVF is the same as the A9.

        • Thanks Steve. As (if I do this) I’ll only be using it with manual focus lenses, and not concerned with speed (vf blackout), did you notice the improvement in resolution in the EVF over the Sony 7rii? Is it easier/better to MF with?

          • It’s a better EVF, yes indeed. I have been using the A9 since it was released so have become used to it and now do not full remember the RII EVF but do remember when I went to the A9 how much clearer and nicer it was. So yes, there is a nice improvement over the RII EVF. I find it quite easy to MF with wether using magnification or even peaking. But yes, it’s quite nice. Not to the level of the Leica SL EVF which I still find nicer but it’s the 2nd best I have worked with.

  10. Hi Steve,
    Thanks for your reviews. I have bookmarked your link to Amazon. I am moving up from APSC to full frame and have pre-ordered the A7RIII. As my first, all purpose lens, would you recommend the 24-105 f4 based on the experience you have had so far? I cannot afford the weight of the 24-70 f 2.8 GM nor the cost for that matter. How close does the 24-105 f4 come to the 24-70 f2.8 GM in performance. I recognize that the GM is in its own league but would appreciate feedback based on your user experience with the 24-105. Your 100% crops with the 24-105 are awesome.

    • The 24-105 is MUCH better than I expected to be honest. The 24-70 is .4lbs heavier than the 24-105 but you gain the f/2.8 aperture and nicer colors. The 24-105 though offers PLENTY of sharpness and detail, and it only slightly lacks in color and of course aperture speed VS the G Master. If 24-105 is in a range you shoot often, it’s a great lens.

      • AWESOME!! Thanks Steve, I find 70 to be a little short so 105 hits the sweet spot and of course the price difference between the 24-105 G and 24-70 GM is huge since I don’t do paid work yet. I was concerned that the 24-105 G may get mixed reviews for A7R3 as the 24-70 f4 Zeiss has received for the A7R2 but that does not seem to be your impression, which is perfect. Thanks again.

  11. “For example, you may get some rolling shutter with video here. The A9 eliminates that”
    Is that true for video recording with A9? From videos posted online the rolling shutter doesn’t look much improved from the A7sII and far away from the performance of A9 in stills mode. I do hope I am wrong though 🙂
    If there is a way to use the fast readout in video from a stacked sensor, it should definitely be implemented in the A7sIII…

    • Well, this is what SONY says, and I shoot the A9 all over the place with video, and have never seen it. But I use cameras in a real world way, by using them for what they are made for. I do not go out TRYING TO FORCE issues like some do. Not saying that is what you saw but many out there, for views, traffic, and controversy TRY to force issues on cameras to get views. I can force issues on ANY camera made. The truth is though I have NOT seen rolling shutter with ANY footage from my A9, at all. So for me I believe what Sony says when they say it is almost eliminated. I do not think it is 100% eliminated but very close.

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