Sony A7R III Review

The Alpha 7R III is Sony’s new full-frame resolution flagship. Although its resolution is nominally only as high as that of the Alpha 7R II, there have been improvements in the coating of the low-pass filter, in autofocus and image processing, including a much more powerful continuous shooting function. Last but not least, the housing was revised. It should now be more robust and ergonomic, the operating concept is similar to the Alpha 9. Our test shows how the changes affect the camera and what it does, not only in terms of image quality.

Sony A7R III Review

Sony A7R III Review

 

The Sony Alpha 7R III has a very robust magnesium alloy body, which is protected against splash water and dust in essential places.

Short evaluation

Pros

  • High-quality processed light metal housing
  • Very good ergonomics
  • Fast response times (autofocus, continuous shooting function)
  • Excellent image quality up to ISO 400, very good up to ISO 3,200

Cons

  • Touch screen not usable for most functions
  • Viewfinder shaded with glasses
  • Strong image trimming for video recordings
  • No image processing functions in the camera, not even raw data development

While the Alpha 9 impressed with extremely fast series pictures in summer 2017, the new Alpha 7R III focuses on high resolution and dynamic range. But Sony doesn’t lose sight of the high speed of the series: it takes ten series pictures per second including focus tracking. The 42 megapixel resolution 35 mm sensor is movably mounted for image stabilization and is designed to achieve a dynamic range of up to 15 f-stops.

The heart of the Sony Alpha 7R III is the advanced rear-exposed Exmor R CMOS sensor in 35mm size, which resolves 42 megapixels. The sensor not only has a seamless microlens system for better light yield, but also, for the first time, a nanocoating that is intended to guarantee significantly more efficient light detection through reduced reflections. This not only minimizes image noise, but also increases the dynamic range. Sony promises up to 15 f-stops at low sensitivities. This is made possible by 16-bit data acquisition and processing in the first step. The regular sensitivity range goes from ISO 100 to 32,000 and can be extended to ISO 50 to 102,400. In order to guarantee the highest possible resolution, Sony does without a low-pass filter.

The Alpha 7R III is equipped with a front-end LSI, which offers a large buffer memory and supports the image processing of the Bionz X image processor, so that the data can also be processed with fast readout at ten serial images per second. It processes the 16-bit images and reduces the color depth to 14 or 12 bits depending on the requirements (untreated sensor raw data would be as much as raw images, which has not been the case for years or never was). Compared to the predecessor model, the processing speed could be increased 5.5 times thanks to the front-end LSI. But that’s not all: The sensor is movably mounted for image stabilization and should therefore allow up to 5.5 f-stops longer exposure times without shake, which represents a new record value. Sony has also thought about reducing vibration in the 1/8,000-second shutter. It still works even at ten continuous shots per second. The flash sync time is 1/250 second. With the help of the image stabilizer, Sony also enables a pixel shift function to increase the resolution analogous to Ricoh/Pentax and Olympus. Four images are taken, each with an image sensor shifted by one pixel, and processed into a photo with a resolution of almost 170 megapixels.

For autofocus, the image sensor is also the central element. Here Sony has integrated 399 phase sensors on 68 percent of the sensor surface, which still work at up to -3 EV. In addition, there are 425 phase autofocus measuring points and an eye autofocus that is 1.8 times faster. In dark environments, the autofocus should even work twice as fast as the previous model, and the subject tracking is now twice as precise. For autofocus control, an AF-On button, joystick and touch screen control are now available for maximum flexibility.

The continuous-advance function achieves a maximum of ten frames per second, adjusting focus and exposure. The photographer has the free choice between the mechanical shutter and the silent electronic shutter. 28 uncompressed raw files with 14-bit color depth can be captured at maximum continuous shooting speed. In JPEG or compressed raw data format there are even 76 images at a time. A fast SDHC or SDXC memory card with UHS II is required. However, only one of the two memory card slots supports this fast standard, the second slot is a combined SD and MemoryStick slot that supports SDHC and SDXC only with UHS-I standard. However, the ten continuous frames per second do not work with the live image display in the viewfinder or on the screen. In order to be able to use them with minimal delay, you have to switch down to eight continuous shots per second.

While writing continuous images to the memory card, the camera functions are only available to a limited extent. Sony points out, however, that the most important camera functions are still available. This should include the Fn button, the menu button, the image playback including image evaluation function and some other functions. The anti-flicker function, which automatically detects flickers at 100 and 120 Hz in artificial lighting situations and adjusts the exposure time accordingly for correctly exposed photos, is also extremely useful for continuous shooting.

The Alpha 7R III is also suitable for videographers as it records in 4K resolution. The image sensor is used in its full width. On request, the Super 35 mm format can also be used, which works with 5K readout (and therefore reads every pixel 1:1) and calculates 4K images with special depth and accuracy. New is the HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) recording function, which supports the direct HDR workflow and enables 4K HDR playback on corresponding televisions. S-Log 2 and S-Log 3 are also supported for high flexibility in colour gradients. In Full HD, up to 120 frames per second can be recorded in slow motion with four to five times the slow motion effect.

The electronic OLED viewfinder operates with a quad VGA resolution of 3.7 million pixels. It is the same model as the Alpha 9, but with a refresh rate of either 60 or 120 frames per second. With a 0.78x magnification factor, the viewfinder offers a large image, thanks to T* coating it should be very clear and the fluoride coating of the exit lens makes cleaning easier. The rear screen is a touch screen with a resolution of 1.44 million pixels. White pixels are supposed to provide an improved brightness. The screen folds 107 degrees up and 41 degrees down.

The robust metal housing, which is sealed against dust and splash water, underlines the professional standard of the camera, which is relatively light with a weight of 650 grams ready for operation. The camera is also compact as usual. The NP-FZ100 rechargeable battery with Info-Lithium technology is now used for an extended recording duration. Compared to the previous NP-FW50, it has 2.2 times the power. With the electronic viewfinder, 530 CIPA-standard shots are possible, with the rear screen even 650. The optional VG-C3EM portrait handle also accommodates two of the batteries. In addition, the USB-C interface not only ensures a high data transfer rate, but also allows the power supply, e.g. on the road via external batteries. NFC, Bluetooth and WLAN are on board for wireless communication, which can be used not only to transmit images, but also to remotely control the camera. Regarding remote control: Sony offers the corresponding PC software as a free download. However, the Sony Alpha 7R III also has a hefty price of 3,500 euros.

Ergonomics and workmanship

The Sony Alpha 7R III weighs in at just over 650 grams, which puts it right between its predecessor, the Alpha 7R II, and its sports flagship, the Alpha 9. The new housing corresponds almost 1:1 to that of the Alpha 9, except that the knob on the left of the viewfinder hump is missing on the 7R III. Compared to the Alpha 7R II, there are some changes, such as the new focus joystick, for which other buttons had to make room and moved a bit. However, the changeover should not be too difficult for a transfer passenger.

The case is made of a robust magnesium alloy, the reinforced bayonet is now held by a full six screws. Even a lens that weighs twice as much as the camera now sits bombproof. Sony is a bit spongy when it comes to splash water and dust protection. This has definitely been improved compared to the Alpha 7R II, so there are now seals on the battery and memory card compartments. At the interfaces, however, no trustworthy seals were used. Sony also writes of extensive moisture and dust protection, but points out that the camera is not completely protected. Other manufacturers advertise there more offensively with a better protection, one should definitely not hold the Sony under a faucet, but the one or other rain shower it will surely survive without complaint.

Especially the case itself now looks a bit thicker, but also more robust. In addition, the handle is even more pronounced and now reaches an ergonomic size. Nevertheless, the little finger only barely fits on the handle, so an Alpha 7R III is still quite compact for a full format camera. Thanks to the hollow for the ring finger and the generous leathering with a grained rubber it lies very securely in the hand, a thumb hollow on the back does the rest. The index finger can easily reach the release button. The shutter release is soft, but offers a well noticeable first pressure point. Sony has definitely made improvements here compared to earlier models.

Sony A7R III Review

Sony A7R III Review
On the back, the Sony Alpha 7R III now offers a focus joystick, just like the Alpha 9. Alternatively, the touch screen can be used for this purpose, but the menus can only be operated with the keys

Sony was able to fit three dials, eleven buttons, a joystick, two dials with fixed functions and a four-way controller on the case without the controls appearing too crowded. All keys are easy to feel and offer a tidy pressure point. The upper thumbwheel as well as the front wheel are also easy to use, but the third wheel, which surrounds the four-weapon, is not as handy as we would like it to be. We also don’t like the exposure correction wheel one hundred percent. It snaps quite loudly, but not firmly enough, so it happened that it occasionally unintentionally disguised itself. The program selector wheel, on the other hand, is locked, but this lock cannot be deactivated, so you must always press the knob in the middle to turn it. Here other manufacturers show that it works even better with a lock that can be deactivated. Because the program selector wheel does rest firmly enough.

Many of the keys can be programmed with functions. Although they are preset, they are only labeled C1, C2 etc.. Important functions such as AEL, AF-On, ISO and the continuous-advance mode are located on appropriately labelled buttons. You have to familiarize yourself a little with the operating concept, but then you’ll be fine. The keys are supplemented by a quick menu (Fn key), which can be assigned preferred settings if you do not like the manufacturer’s default settings. The main menu is divided into six tabs, which in turn offer up to 14 numbered menu pages. This is not always quite clear, but the menu can be quickly browsed and one of the main categories contains a favorites menu, which can be occupied with preferred menu items. So you should take some time to get to know the camera and its rich functions and individualization possibilities.

The rear screen can be folded up and down, but fits nicely into the design when folded up. The fact that it is a touch screen is almost unnoticeable, as the touch function is used exclusively to select the autofocus point as an alternative to the joystick. No functions or menus or the camera playback can be operated by touch, which is really a pity. If you like, you can switch off the touch interface completely. With its diagonal of 7.5 centimeters, the screen is sufficiently large and delivers a fine resolution of 1.44 million pixels. If you set the display brightness to sunny, your retina will be burned away, as the screen will shine extremely brightly with 1,140 cd/m². The function should really only be activated in very bright environments, and not in the editorial office on a cloudy afternoon. Then the screen can also be read wonderfully in sunshine.

Sony A7R III ReviewSony A7R III Review

The exposure correction wheel of the Sony Alpha 7R III is a bit loud and doesn’t rest firmly enough. The program selector wheel, on the other hand, has a non-deactivatable fuse.

The electronic viewfinder is also a real feast for the eyes. Thanks to the proximity sensor, it activates automatically as soon as you take the camera to your eye. A folded screen conveniently deactivates the eye sensor. While the viewfinder is in use, i.e. when the screen is turned off, the touch function can remain active to move the autofocus point. This works well, especially since you can limit the touchpad function to one of the two halves of the screen so as not to prick your finger into the closed eye. With a magnification of 0.78x, the viewfinder image is pleasantly large, but despite the 23mm exit pupil, it cannot be completely overlooked with the glasses on. Good for the one who can use the far-reaching dioptric correction instead of glasses.

With 3.7 million pixels, the viewfinder image is extremely fine-resolution, and is colourful, rich in contrast and quick to react. Both brightness and color can be adjusted. The frame rate is up to 120 frames per second. It is recommended to activate the High-Quality mode, which displays a finer and more natural viewfinder image, which requires more energy and therefore reduces the runtime a bit. In the live image, a spirit level, grid lines with different patterns and a live histogram can be displayed on the monitor as well as in the viewfinder. There is also an exposure preview. If you like, you can also use the viewfinder to view the images and operate the menus here.

The equipment with interfaces is also extensive. On top of the camera is a multi-interface flash shoe for TTL system flash units and other accessories. In addition, a studio flash unit can be connected via the synchronous socket on the side. Furthermore, there is a stereo microphone connection, a headphone socket and a micro HDMI interface with Clean-Out for external video recording or for a control monitor. There are even two USB interfaces: a normal Micro-USB socket and a modern USB-C socket with USB 3.1.

Both sockets can be used to charge the battery, which can also be charged externally in the supplied charging cradle. Practically, the USB power supply also works while the camera is running. With the help of a power bank the battery life can be extended. In addition, the USB-C interface allows particularly fast data transfer. A remote release cable can also be connected via the micro-USB interface, and Sony even offers an infrared remote release with a corresponding receiver. Thanks to the two USB interfaces, remote release cable and USB power supply can be connected simultaneously. However, the interface flaps on the left side of the housing are quite “windy” and don’t do justice to the high-quality workmanship of the camera.

Sony A7R III Review

The Sony Alpha 7R III’s 42 megapixel full-frame sensor is coated with an anti-reflective coating to increase light output and dynamic range.

The double memory card slot is located on the handle side. Slot 1 is compatible with SD, SDHC and SDXC as well as UHS II and writes very fast with a good 150 megabytes per second, but the one year old Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II with 170 MB/s still holds the record. Slot 2 of the Sony, on the other hand, only handles UHS I, this is probably due to the compatibility with the MemorySticks, which can still be used as an alternative to an SD card.

The battery is removed from the bottom of the camera. This is the large NP-FZ100 with 16.4 Wh. It provides juice for 650 CIPA-standard shots when using the monitor, while the electronic viewfinder is more energy-hungry and allows a maximum of 530 shots per battery charge. Thanks to the percentage-accurate charge level display, you are always perfectly informed about the charge level. The metal tripod thread is located in the optical axis and is sufficiently far away from the battery compartment so that it can also be opened easily with a tripod exchange plate. In addition, Sony offers a portrait handle that not only improves the operation in portrait format, but also takes up two batteries and thus significantly extends the battery life.

Equipment

The program dial of the Sony Alpha 7R III has a fully automatic position in which not even the exposure compensation wheel is active. With it you can take a snapshot wonderfully carefree and fast. The mirrorless system camera certainly unfolds its full potential when using the creative programs P, A, S and M, where for example semi-automatic or manual exposure is possible. In addition, preferred settings can be saved and called up as a user program – the Sony offers three of them, which can be called up directly via the program selector wheel. The ISO sensitivity or the corresponding automatic can be adjusted in behavior and also works in manual exposure mode. The exposure-compensation dial remains active.

Sony A7R III Review

Sony A7R III Review

The interface flaps of the Sony Alpha 7R III are somewhat windy and not worthy of the otherwise very good workmanship. There are even two USB ports and there’s nothing else to complain about.

We miss the classic panorama function a little bit, the inventor of which is Sony. On the other hand, those who like to shoot series of exposures will get their money’s worth. Up to nine pictures can be taken with up to one EV exposure distance between each other, with up to five pictures even two or three EV exposure distances are possible. This is a great base for computer generated HDR photos. Photographers without an HDR program can easily use the 7R III’s HDR mode, which is hidden in the “DRO” setting. The “software” solution DRO optimizes the dynamic range of a photo. If you select HDR here, you can rely on an automatic or manually select exposure distances from one to six EV, whereby the camera always takes three pictures and calculates them automatically.

The autofocus is extremely powerful. The 399 phase AF sensors mounted on the image sensor already work down to -3 EV and reliably track subjects over a large area of the image field. A contrast autofocus with 425 measuring fields is available to support this. The menu also allows you to adjust how the autofocus reacts when tracking the subject. The Sony also offers face recognition with eye autofocus, whereby face recognition still works even when the face is partially concealed or when looking downwards. In this way, portrait photos succeed without having to place the focus points on the face beforehand. With the FE 24-105 mm standard zoom, you can focus and release from infinity to two meters within just over 0.3 seconds – virtually independent of the selected focal length. The pure release delay without focusing is only 0.02 to 0.03 seconds, an excellent value.

But the Alpha 7R III can not only focus quickly, the continuous shooting mode is also much more powerful than its predecessor. It takes ten continuous shots per second, continuously tracking autofocus and exposure. The buffer is sufficient for a good 80 images. The high performance is made possible by the front-end LSI, which is connected between the sensor and the Bionz X image processor. It helps with data processing and, above all, intermediate storage. Interestingly, the Sony gets to work faster with a full buffer in raw format than with JPEG. This is probably due to the extensive image processing including the correction of optical lens errors. The camera shoots 3.7 continuous frames per second in Raw with a full buffer, but only 0.7 frames per second in JPEG.

Emptying the full buffer takes only 20 seconds in Raw, but a full 90 seconds in JPEG. Fortunately the camera can be operated almost completely during this time. Unfortunately, there is no live image at the highest continuous shooting speed, unlike with the Alpha 9, instead the last photo taken is always displayed. However, if you switch down to eight continuous shots per second, you can also create a live image during recording. This is especially useful when you have to pan the camera with the subject, which is difficult when you’re just seeing the past. There are only short dark phases left, which one perceives more as flickering. Despite the high resolution, the Alpha 7R III is very well suited for action shooting, which is a real advance.

Sony A7R III Review

Thanks to WLAN and Bluetooth, the Sony Alpha 7R III also connects wirelessly, for example with a smartphone. This enables GPS signal transmission, sending of images and remote control of the camera.

The closure is also new and has been specially dampened to minimize vibrations. However, the shutter is not exactly quiet, with a shortest exposure time of 1/8,000 second but fast. The flash sync time is only 1/250 second (the Alpha 7R III unfortunately doesn’t have an integrated flash). The use of the electronic first shutter curtain is recommended in any case, as this further reduces vibrations. If you like, you can also trigger the shutter fully electronically and thus completely silently, but the shortest shutter speed remains at 1/8,000 second even then.

Sony has also improved the image stabilizer by means of movable image sensors. It also compensates for camera shake on five axes (including rotational movements) and should now allow longer exposure times of up to 5.5 f-stops than without a stabilizer. In fact, the image stabilizer is very effective, we were able to keep much longer exposure times freehand. However, one should note that at full magnification at 42 megapixels even the smallest blur can become visible, so that the old rule of thumb that the exposure time should not be longer than the reciprocal of the focal length no longer applies, but one should expose much shorter. This is where the stabilizer helps, even if you may not notice it so obviously.

Another new function related to the Stabilizer is the Pixel Shift multi-shot function. We would have liked to have tested their resolution gain in the lab, but unfortunately it only works with raw data recording and processing with special software from Sony, so no direct comparison to our normal lab measurements in JPEG was possible. In any case, one should work with a tripod and a camera remote control for this function in order to minimize camera shake. In purely visual terms, there is a gain in detail in static motifs. The function captures four images and thus theoretically achieves just under 170 megapixels. In practice, the pixel shift captures the full color information at each pixel so that it no longer has to be interpolated from the information of the surrounding pixels, as is usually the case with the Bayer sensor.

Videographers also get their money’s worth with the Sony Alpha 7R III. The Sony films in 4K resolution at up to 30 frames per second and in full HD at up to 60 frames per second. A big disadvantage, however, is the strong image trimming. In the video mode, it switches to the Super 35mm format. By the way, here the scanning is done in 5K, which is downsampled to 4K for a better image quality. The Alpha 7R III offers an integrated stereo microphone, level control, an external microphone connector and a headphone jack for evaluating the film sound. The HDMI interface can be used for an external control monitor or for external video recording. Internally, Sony records in MP4, AVCHD or XAVC S, the latter offering the highest video quality. There is also a timecode function, a gamma control, S-Log etc.. Like S-Log, the HLG function enables 4K-HDR video recording, but, unlike S-Log, does not require color matching in post-processing. Autofocus and image stabilization remain active if desired. In addition, the sensitivity of the autofocus can be adjusted in the same way as the continuous-advance function.

Sony A7R III Review

The tripod thread of the Sony Alpha 7R III is located in the optical axis. It is also far enough away from the battery compartment.

As with all newer cameras, Sony does not add PlayMemories apps to the Alpha 7R III. The image post-processing options are correspondingly spartan: There is none, not even a function, to develop raw images. Only a rotation of the images is possible. There is an evaluation function for this, which simplifies the later image selection on the computer.

The wireless connectivity, on the other hand, is good, no extra app has to be installed on the camera, but on the smartphone it does. Thanks to NFC and QR code, the connection can be set up very easily. Thanks to Bluetooth, it can also remain energy-saving in the long term. This is especially useful because the GPS data can be transferred from the smartphone to the camera and stored directly in the images during recording.

Somewhat curious is the fact that we couldn’t remote control the Sony Alpha 7R III with a Sony Xperia XZ smartphone, because the app is currently not yet compatible with Android Oreo, the operating system on the Sony smartphone. Here the left hand of the Sony group obviously doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, because the Oreo update took place a good time ago. With other smartphones, whether from Apple or with older Android operating systems, however, the connection works without problems. Practical is the live image transmission and the fact that you can continue to operate the camera and do not have to do this via app. Important exposure parameters such as ISO sensitivity, aperture and exposure time can also be controlled by the app, as long as the camera is in the right program.

Picture quality

We have tested the image quality of the Sony Alpha 7R III not only in practice, but also in our laboratory. The new Sony FE 24-105 mm F4 G OSS (SEL24105G) was used as standard zoom. By the way, we have tested numerous Sony and Zeiss lenses on the Alpha 7R III and Alpha 7R II, the results can be found in our lens test section..

Sony A7R III Review

In the test with DxO, the Sony Alpha 7R III actually achieves a higher dynamic range than the Alpha 7R II and the image quality at high ISO sensitivities is also slightly better.

The optical correction of the 24-105 mm is convincing in the test laboratory. The edge darkening amounts to a maximum of 0.6 f-stops and is barely noticeable due to the gentle slope towards the edge of the picture. The distortion is surprisingly low. At wide-angle it is less than one percent barrel shape, at medium focal length it is less than half a percent cushion shape and is practically non-existent in telescopic position. Even colour fringes occur only to a very small extent and are not visually conspicuous.

The resolution at 50 percent contrast reaches an excellent maximum of over 80 line pairs per millimeter (lp/mm), but only in the wide angle in the center of the image, but here from the open aperture. Beyond F8, diffraction begins to reduce resolution, but only beyond F16 does it drop below 70 lp/mm. At medium and long focal lengths, a very high resolution of up to 70 lp/mm is also achieved, whereby in telescopic position one has to fade out by one step. Also here applies: Beyond F8 diffraction limits the resolution, but remains up to F16 on a very high level.

The edge resolution at all focal lengths at F4 is just over 50 lp/mm (which is good enough for 30 x 45 centimetre prints) and increases significantly when dipping down. This is especially true for the wide angle, where the edge resolution at F8 even climbs above 70 lp/mm, while at long focal lengths at F11 or at medium focal lengths even at F16 the maximum of 63-64 lp/mm is reached. This means that very even resolutions up to the edge of the image are possible with all focal lengths, whereas an edge drop of up to almost 40 percent occurs with open apertures.

Sony A7R III Review

The large battery of the Sony Alpha 7R III is sufficient for 650 (monitor) or 530 (viewfinder) shots. Only slot 1 of the dual memory card slot is compatible with the fast UHS-II cards.

The signal-to-noise ratio of the Sony Alpha 7R III is well over 40 dB up to ISO 400 and remains within the acceptable range of over 35 dB up to ISO 3,200. Brightness noise becomes visible from ISO 6.400 and becomes increasingly clear with increasing sensitivity. From ISO 25.600 it becomes very strong and dominant. Color noise, on the other hand, plays no role and becomes visible only at the highest sensitivity of ISO 102.400. The noise always remains very fine-grained, i.e. does not tend to form blocks. Up to ISO 3.200 there is practically no loss of detail due to noise reduction. At ISO 6.400 the first losses are measurable, at ISO 12.800 they are somewhat stronger, but the images become really soft only at even higher sensitivities. All in all, the Alpha 7R III is at the same level as its predecessor Alpha 7R II with these measured values or is a breath better.

The differences in dynamic range are greater. Here the new sensor brings almost one f-stop more dynamic. At ISO 100 there are twelve f-stops, up to ISO 800 the value hardly drops to about 11.5 f-stops. After that it goes down a bit, but even at ISO 12.800 there is still a good ten f-stops dynamic range to register. Then it goes down to nine f-stops at ISO 51.200 and eight f-stops at ISO 102.400.

The tonal value curve is divided for an emphasis of the image details with medium contrasts, which makes the images appear more crisp. The re-sharpening, on the other hand, is carried out cautiously and the artefact rate remains low at less than ten percent. The output tonal range is almost perfect at ISO 50 and 100, using almost all of the possible 256 brightness gradations. Up to ISO 400 there are over 224 steps and at ISO 1.600 the value of 160 steps is still good. The output tonal range remains acceptable up to ISO 12,800, above which there are only less than 96 brightness gradations.

The Alpha 7R III colours are much more neutral than the Alpha 7R II. The deviations are smaller and concern almost exclusively the saturation, which is slightly raised with warm colors. Only green still shows a small deviation towards yellow. Also the color range is very good. Up to ISO 400 there are around eight million colours, up to ISO 3,200 over four million and even at ISO 12,800 a good value of two million is still achieved.

Sony A7R III Review

The handle of the Sony Alpha 7R III is well embossed and offers with its hollow for the middle finger a particularly good ergonomics.

Altogether the Alpha 7R III delivers a very high resolution (we have even reached a maximum of almost 90 lp/mm with another lens) and an excellent image quality up to ISO 400. Up to ISO 3.200 the image quality is very good and up to ISO 12.800 good.

Bottom line

The Sony Alpha 7R III is a superbly crafted and thanks to splash water and dust protection robust mirrorless full frame system camera. It offers a very good ergonomics with many adjustment possibilities to the personal preferences. The autofocus works quickly and reliably even when tracking moving subjects, the continuous shooting speed and endurance is enormous despite the high resolution. You can also rely on the effective image stabilizer. Videographers are also offered many functions, but the strong image editing is unpleasant. The image quality is excellent, especially at low sensitivities up to ISO 400, but you can easily increase the image quality up to ISO 3,200 without having to worry about large losses. Even at ISO 12.800 there are still good image results to get out of the Alpha 7R III. Fortunately, there is now also a large selection of lenses in a quality that makes use of the Sony’s high resolution.

Fact sheet

Fact sheet
Manufacturer Sony
Model Alpha 7R III
Sensor CMOS 35mm 36.0 x 24.0 mm (crop factor 1.0
)43.6 Megapixel (physical)
42.4 Megapixel (effective)
Pixel pitch 4.5 µm
Resolution (max.) 7.952 x 5.304 (3:2)
Video (max.) 3.840 x 2.160 30p
Lens Sony FE 200-600 mm F5.6-6.3 G OSS (SEL200600G) (zoom lens), Sony FE 24-105 mm F4 G OSS (SEL24105G) (zoom lens)
Video viewfinder EVF, 100 % field coverage, 3,686,400 pixels resolution, 0.78x magnification (sensor-related), 0.78x magnification (KB equivalent), diopter compensation (-4.0 to 3.0 dpt), -4.0 to 3.0 dpt)
Monitor 3.0″ (7.5 cm)
Disbandment 1.440,000 pixels
tiltable yes
rotatable
swivelling
Touchscreen yes
AV connector HDMI Output Micro (Type D)
Fully automatic yes
Automatic motif control yes
Motif programmes 9
Program automation yes
Program shift yes
Aperture priority yes
Aperture priority yes
Manual yes
Bulb long time exposure yes
HDR function yes
Panorama function no
Exposure metering Matrix/multi-field measurement (1,200 fields), center-weighted integral measurement, spot measurement
fastest shutter speed 1/8.000 s
Flash
Synchronous time 1/250 s
Flash connection Hot shoe: Sony Multi Interface, standard centre contact
WLAN yes
NFC yes
GPS external, permanent smartphone connection
Remote release yes, cable trigger, infrared trigger, Bluetooth trigger, remote control via Smartphone/Tablet
Interval shooting
Storage medium
SD (SDHC, SDXC, UHS I, UHS II)
Slot 2
Memory Stick (Duo, Duo Pro)
SD (SDHC, SDXC, UHS I)
Sensitivity
automatic ISO 100-32.000
manually ISO 50-102.400
White balance
automatic yes
manual measurement yes
Kelvin input yes
Fine correction yes
Autofocus yes
Number of measuring fields 399 Line sensors425
Contrast sensors
Speed 0,30 s
AF auxiliary light LED
Dimensions (mm) 127 x 96 x 74 mm
Weight (ready for operation) 652 g (housing only
)1.310 g (with lens)
Tripod socket in optical axis
Zoom
Zoom adjustment manual on lens
Battery life 650 images (according to CIPA standard)
– = “not applicable” or “not available”

Short evaluation

Pros

  • High-quality processed light metal housing
  • Very good ergonomics
  • Fast response times (autofocus, continuous shooting function)
  • Excellent image quality up to ISO 400, very good up to ISO 3,200

Cons

  • Touch screen not usable for most functions
  • Viewfinder shaded with glasses
  • Strong image trimming for video recordings
  • No image processing functions in the camera, not even raw data development

Sony Alpha 7R III Datasheet

Electronics

Sensor CMOS sensor 35mm 36.0 x 24.0 mm (crop factor 1.0
)43.6 megapixels (physical) and 42.4 megapixels (effective)
Pixel pitch 4.5 µm
Photo resolution
7.952 x 5.304 pixels (3:2)
7.952 x 4.472 pixels (16:9)
5.168 x 3.448 pixels (3:2)
5.168 x 2.912 pixels (16:9)
3.984 x 2.656 pixels (3:2)
3.984 x 2.240 pixels (16:9)
2.592 x 1.728 pixels (3:2)
2.592 x 1.456 pixels (16:9)
Picture formats JPG, RAW
Colour depth 24 bits (8 bits per color channel), 42 bits (14 bits per color channel)
Metadata Exif (version 2.31), DCF standard (version 2)
Video resolution
3.840 x 2.160 (16:9) 30 p
3.840 x 2.160 (16:9) 25 p
3.840 x 2.160 (16:9) 24 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 120 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 100 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 60 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 60 i
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 50 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 50 i
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 30 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 25 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 24 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 120 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 100 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 30 p
Video format
XAVC S (Codec H.264)
AVCHD (Codec H.264)
MP4 (Codec H.264)

Lens

Lens mount
Sony E

Focusing

Autofocus mode Phase comparison autofocus, autofocus working range from -3 EV to 20 EV, contrast autofocus with 425 measuring fields
Autofocus Functions Single Auto Focus, Continuous Auto Focus, Tracking Auto Focus, Manual, AFL Function, AF Assist Light (LED), Focus Peaking, Focus Magnifier (12x)
Focus control Depth of field control, Live View

Viewfinder and Monitor

Monitor 3.0″ (7.5 cm) TFT LCD monitor with 1,440,000 pixels, anti-reflective, brightness adjustable, inclinable 107° upwards and 41° downwards, with touch screen
Video viewfinder Video viewfinder (100 % field coverage) with 3,686,400 pixels, 0.78x magnification factor, diopter compensation (-4.0 to 3.0 dpt)

Exposure

Exposure metering Center-weighted integral measurement, matrix/multi-field measurement over 1,200 fields, spot measurement, AF-AE coupling
Exposure times 1/8,000 to 30 s (Auto
)1/8,000 to 30 s (Manual)
Bulb Function
Exposure control Fully Automatic, Program Automatic (with Program Shift), Aperture Priority, Aperture Priority, Manual
Bracketing function Bracket function with maximum 9 shots, step size from 1/3 to 1 EV, HDR function
Exposure compensation -5.0 to +5.0 EV with step size from 1/3 to 1/2 EV
Sensitivity to light ISO 100 to ISO 32.000 (automatic
)ISO 50 to ISO 102.400 (manual)
Remote access Remote triggering, cable trigger, infrared trigger, Bluetooth trigger, remote control via smartphone/tablet
, remote control from computer: certain functions
Motives Landscape, Macro, Night Scene, Night Portrait, Portrait, Sunset, Sports/Action, 2 additional scene modes
Picture effects High Key, high contrast monochrome, miniature effect, retro, black and white, sepia, softer, toy camera, 7 more image effects
White balance Auto, Clouds, Sun, White balance bracketing, Fine tuning, Shadow, Flash, Underwater, Fluorescent lamp with 4 presets, Incandescent lamp, from 2,500 to 9,900 K, Manual 3 memory locations
Color space Adobe RGB, sRGB
Continuous shooting Continuous shooting function max. 10.0 fps at highest resolution and max. 76 stored photos
Self-timer Self-timer 10 seconds apart, special features: or optional 5 or 2 seconds, 3 or 5 shots after 10, 5 or 2 seconds, bracketing Self-timer (2, 5 or 10 seconds)
Shooting functions AEL function, AFL function, live histogram

Flashgun

Flash no built-in flash availableFlash shoe
: Sony Multi Interface, standard centre contactFlash connection socket
: F-plug
Flash range Flash sync time 1/250 s
Flash functions Auto, Fill-in flash, Flash on, Flash off, High speed sync, Slow sync, Flash on second shutter curtain, Manual flash output, Red eye reduction, Flash exposure correction from -3.0 EV to +3.0 EV

Equipment

Image stabilizer Sensor shift (optical)
Memory
SD (SDHC, SDXC, UHS I, UHS II)
second memory card slot
Memory Stick (Duo, Duo Pro)
SD (SDHC, SDXC, UHS I)
GPS function GPS external (permanent smartphone connection)
Microphone Stereo
Power supply no power supply connectionUSB continuous power supplyUSB charging function
Power supply 1 x Sony NP-FZ100 (lithium ion (Li-Ion), 7.2 V, 2,280 mAh
)650 CIPA-standard images
Playback Functions Image rotation, Protect image, Highlights / Shadow warning, Playback histogram, Playback magnifier with 20.0x magnification, Image index, Slide show function
Face recognition Face Recognition, Face Recognition (8 faces)
Picture parameters Sharpness, Contrast, Saturation, Noise Reduction
Special functions Electronic spirit level, Grid can be displayed, Zebra function, Orientation sensor, Live View, User profiles with 3 user profiles
Ports Data interfaces: Bluetooth, USBUSB type
:USB 3.1 SuperSpeedPlusWLAN
: present (type: B, G, N)
NFC: present
AV connectors AV output: HDMI output Micro (Type D
)Audio input: yes (3.5 mm stereo microphone jack)
Audio output: yes (3.5 mm stereo jack (3-pin))
Supported direct printing methods DPOF, Exif Print, PIM
Tripod socket 1/4″ in optical axis
Case Splash guard
Features and Miscellaneous Dynamic Range Optimizer (1-5 levels
)picture Profiles (11 settings)
Video functions: Level indicator, level control, AF tracking sensitivity, AF speed, slow shutter, HDMI info, time code, dual video recordingVideo
color space: xvYCC StandardClean
HDMI output:

NTSC 3,840 x 2,160 (30p/24p), 1,920 x 1,080 (60p/24p), 1,920 x 1,080 (60i), YCbCr 4:2:2; PAL: 3,840 x 2,160 (25p), 1,920 x 1,080 (50p), 1,920 x 1.

0

80 (50i), YCbCr 4:2:2 Eye AF Lens Correction

(Vignetting, Chromatic Aberration, Distortion)
Quiet Shutter ModeFlash BracketExposure BracketImage Profiles

(10 Profiles)
5-Axis Image Stabilizer with 5.5 f-stopsAudio Capture FunctionTime CodeAnti Flicker

on Video CaptureFinder
allows maximum 120 fps (NTSC) or 120 fps (NTSC) respectively

100 fps (PAL)
Touch AFMultiplex Shooting
with

Pixel Offset and Resolution EnhancementBravia
Sync

Size and weight

Dimensions W x H x D 127 x 96 x 74 mm
Weight 652 g (ready for operation)

Other

included accessories Sony BC-QZ1 Charger for special rechargeable batteriesSony
NP-FZ100 Special rechargeable batteryHousing cap
, eyepiece cap, accessory shoe cap, USB type C cable, shoulder strap
optional accessory Sony FA-CS1AM Flash Unit AccessoriesSony
HVL-F20M Slip-on Flash with Swivel ReflectorSony
HVL-F32M Slip-on Flash with Swivel ReflectorSony
HVL-F43M Slip-on Flash with Swivel ReflectorSony
HVL-F45RM Slip-on Flash with Swivel ReflectorSony
HVL-F20MSlip-on
Flash with

Swivel ReflectorSony
HVL-

F

60M Slip-on flash with swivel reflectorSony
HVL-F60RM Slip-on flash with swivel reflectorSony
HVL-MT24AM Macro flashSony
HVL-RLAM Macro flashSony
RMT-P1BT (Bluetooth remote control)
Sony XLR-K2M (microphone adapter)

Firmware update 3.0 for Sony Alpha 7 III and 7R III available: Significantly improved autofocus and new features

As promised by Sony in January 2020, the firmware update 3.0 for the Alpha 7 III and Alpha 7R III is now available. In addition to a Real Time Eye AF for humans, the update also includes an eye autofocus for animals. The update also includes an interval shooting function that allows you to set the start time, interval, and exposure adjustment speed, as well as the number of shots of up to 9,999 photos in a row. Furthermore, this firmware update ensures compatibility with the new Bluetooth remote trigger.

Eye autofocus not only focuses on the eyes of people or animals (but not both at the same time), but also tracks them with the shutter-release button pressed halfway or the AF-on button pressed. In addition to the interval recording function and compatibility with the Bluetooth remote release RMT-P1BT, the update also offers the option of calling up the menu on any programmable key and menu tab operation is possible with the Fn key.

The firmware update 3.0 for the Alpha 7R III and 7 III is available for download from the Sony support website and can be installed by the user himself. If you don’t have the confidence to do so, you can contact your dealer or Sony support.

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