With their long line of full-frame Mirrorless DSLR-killers, Sony’s A7 series has been the bane for traditional camera giants like Nikon and Canon. Eliminating some heft and bulk in exchange for an electronic viewfinder (EVF) that accurately reproduces the image your sensor is seeing, Sony’s full-frame mirrorless A7 family is leaps and bounds ahead of its competition, with its full-frame sized sensor. Other mirrorless options like the Olympus OM-D, Fujifilm X, Canon EOS M, have all APS-C (1.5x crop) or Micro Four Thirds (2x crop) factors.
In its third iteration, the Sony Alpha A7 III combines all the latest technologies into a compact package many photographers have grown to love.
Its newly-developed 24.2-megapixel back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS image sensor is paired with a Large-Scale Integrated (LSI) processor, effectively doubling the readout speed of the sensor. Its updated BIONZ X processing engine boosts processing speed 1.8 times of the A7 II. These components are essential to blazing-fast speeds of the A7 III, and also enable its impressive ISO range of 100-51200 (expandable to 50-204800 for still images). It also boasts an overall 1.5 stop improvement in image quality. At low sensitivity settings, the A7 III promises a massive 15-stop dynamic range, coupled with advances made to ensure accurate reproduction of skin tones and vibrant colours like that seen in nature. These are all complemented by its 14-bit RAW output, ensuring the maximum amount of detail preserved in its files.
A 5-axis In Body Image Stabilisation (IBIS) system allows for a 5.0 step shutter speed advantage, allowing for incredible sharpness in low light.
Its autofocus has been greatly improved over its previous iteration, with the introduction of 4D Focus capabilities. With 425 contrast AF points working in conjunction with a 693-point focal plane phase detection AF system that featured on the acclaimed Sony A9, this innovative AF system covers approximately 93% of the frame, ensuring reliable autofocus and tracking even on the most challenging subjects.
With almost 2x the focusing and tracking speed in low light, complex and difficult-to-capture subjects would be no issue. The Eye-AF feature nails portrait photography even in AF-C mode, or when the subject is moving or obstructed. A multi-selector ‘joystick’ enables quick and efficient AF focusing point adjustment. Additional improvements hone the autofocusing experience: amongst them the implementation of touch focus, AF availability in Focus Magnifier mode, and an ‘AF On’ button.
For action and sports photography, the image processor of the A7 III allows it to shoot full resolution images at up to 10 fps (8 fps in live view mode) with continuous AF/AE tracking. An expanded buffer allows continuous shooting of up to 177 standard JPEG images, 89 compressed RAW and 40 uncompressed RAW images. This will be available with both the mechanical shutter and the silent electronic shutter. Access to key camera functions will be made available during the writing process, eliminating the freeze that marks the end of each long burst.
An anti-flicker function prevents fluorescent or other lighting conditions from affecting the images by automatically detecting the frequency of the banding.
4K video returns with 3840×2160 pixel recording across the whole full-frame image sensor, without pixel binning to collect 2.4x the amount of data needed for 4K movies. It then oversamples this data to produce high-quality footage.
A Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) picture profile will support instant HDR workflow, allowing for beautiful, true-to-life 4K HDR imagery on HDR/HLG compatible TVs. S-Log2 and S-Log3 will also be available for colour grading flexibility, along with Zebra functionality. Full HD can also be recording at 120 fps at up to 100 Mbps.
Dual card slots with a slot supporting UHS-II type SD memory cards have also been implemented, an absolute essential in any pro-grade camera. Battery life has been greatly extended, with a CIPA measurement of up to 710 shots per charge – the world’s longest battery life of any mirrorless camera. It does this by Sony’s Z series battery, the NP-FZ100, which offers approximately 2.2x the capacity of the battery used in the A7 II. The camera is both dust and moisture resistant.
A new menu system allows quick access to 30 menu items through ‘My Menu’ functionality. Star ratings can be applied to still images for easier playback and review; the first three characters of each file name can be renamed for easier cataloguing. 81 functions can be mapped to 11 custom buttons for ultimate flexibility and customizability.
A 2.3 million dots XGA OLED Tru-Finder Electronic Viewfinder reproduces a high resolution, high-contrast image, and inbuilt Wi-Fi allows for seamless transfer of files to a smartphone, tablet, computer or FTP server. A SuperSpeed USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C terminal allows for greater flexibility in power supply and greater image supply speeds during tethered shooting.
Sony will include its new “Image Edge” software suite with the A7 III, which aids live-view PC remote shooting and RAW development. IT allows 10% data transfer speeds when remote shooting from PC via tether, and an 65% improvement in the response speed for RAW image editing.
The A7 III will be compatible with all Sony E-mount lens and accessories, including the BC-QZ1 battery charger and the VG-C3EM vertical grip.
Prices have yet to be announced, but the A7 III and the SEL2870 lens will be available in seleted Asia Pacific countries in March 2018.