The Basic Model
Sony‘s newly announced A7III has been rocking the photography world when it was announced at WPPI last week. We were able to get our hands on it and do some quick tests to see if this new camera is up to snuff.
Sony described the camera as the ‘basic model’ which usually means it’s the bare minimum. But they surprised everyone with an outstanding feature set that all the competitors should take some notice to.
Here is the full feature set:
- 24 megapixels
- Du0-SD Card slots
- Internal 4K @ 100mb/s
- Super slow-mo 1080p @ 120fps
- S-Log 3
- 10 fps shooting
- 5-Axis stabilization
- 3″ tilting touchscreen
- 693-Point hybrid AF system
- Built in wi-fi and NFC
There are a lot more features, but these are the main ones. You can check out the full specs here.
Sony announcing the A7III as a ‘basic’ model should signal to all the other companies that what is being expected out of a baseline model is a lot more nowadays.
What’s the Catch
It seems like Sony is going full-speed ahead with their mirrorless lineup. The a7III brings some specs from the a9 and the a7RIII that we loved, but cuts some of the unnecessary specs like higher megapixel count. This could be the camera for wedding photographers, people who are looking to finally switch over from a DSLR, or anyone looking for a fabulous full-frame option – the a7III should be on your radar.
Eye-Tracking Auto Focus
Kenneth and I were lucky enough to test out this new camera at the Sony booth at WPPI. There were some great set-ups to show the abilities of the camera, including this set piece where we tested the eye-tracking capabilities of the camera. This isn’t a new feature, but it supposedly has been greatly improved on since the last model.
Our subject walks closer to camera and the a7III does an amazing job of keeping her eyes in focus at all times. It was a really good scenario to test this feature out because the lighting is different on her than it is on the background. So the camera had to work harder to track the focus. Normally on other cameras, this feature does a mediocre job of tracking and in some frames you get the nose or ears in focus and not the eyes like we want.
In this test we were also wide open at f/2.8 so the depth of field is very shallow.
ISO Still Frame Test
The Sony A7 series is typically remarkable in low-light conditions. And the a7III is no exception. We started our test at ISO 400 and there is no noticeable noise in the image. Here are all of our test shots. We didn’t see any significant noise until 3200, and it’s still a pretty good image. Defiantly still getting great ‘printable’ images at 6400 ISO.
ISO Video Test
I had similar great results in our video tests. Nothing noticeable until 3200 ISO. With some de-noising and cleanup, you could even use some 6400 ISO images! Color starts to shift starts after 6400 ISO.
Overall performance is wonderful, especially considering that this is a ‘base line’ model. The type of things this camera is able to do at this price point is insane!
In our tests, it seems like the Sony camera has at least a one stop advantage over comparable Nikon and Canon models.
This camera has a new burst mode called ‘high plus’ which allows you to shoot more frames per second. All you have to do is hold down the shutter. This is great for sports, or when you want to get action before, after and during the thing you’re trying to capture. So not only getting someone jumping in the air, but also getting the shot of the bride walking down the aisle, or your kid blowing out the candles of their cake.
Here are a few examples of the images we were able to grab.
Full Frame vs Crop
For most cameras, shooting with the crop sensor when filming usually means a cleaner image. For this camera, when you shoot full-frame, you’re actually downscaling a larger image so we didn’t think the difference was that noticeable. There’s no pixel bending or line skipping. Here are the two imagers side-by-side. You can decide for yourself!
The crop can help you extend your telephoto lens and rolling shutter.
We were very impressed with the color rendition of the Sony a7III. Sony has struggled in this category before, but there are significant improvements in this model. Skin tones looked natural, vibrant and real-life accurate. The colors are warmer but look more realistic.
DSLR vs Mirrorless
We were hesitant to jump on the mirrorless boat since we’ve been on the DSLR train for so long. There really isn’t any reason to not switch now. Sony has proven that EVF and sensor capabilities can hold their own and the mirrorless cameras are able to give you better read-outs and higher frames per second. They’re lighter and faster. What more do you want?
Is this the Camera for You?
If you don’t already own a full-frame camera, this should be on your radar for the best full-frame camera that you can buy right now. Don’t let the ‘base line model’ fool you. The a7III is packed with features that other cameras more expensive don’t offer. Sony is really pushing the boundaries here and we are so excited to have this camera in our arsenal.