Sony Unveils the a7R III

Sony has just announced the new full-frame a7R III mirrorless camera, a follow-up to the highly acclaimed a7R II that set new standards for sensor quality. The camera features the same 42.4MP sensor as its predecessor, but everything around it has been changed or upgraded.

From a distance, it’s basically impossible to tell the difference between the A7R III and the two-year-old camera that preceded it. That doesn’t mean the small changes to the A7R’s body aren’t notable: there’s finally a joystick for flicking through menus, and a touch-sensitive screen for picking focus points.

The star of the show undoubtedly is the back-illuminated full-frame 42.4-megapixel EXMOR R sensor powered by a BIONZ processor. Despite its high megapixel count, the a7R III is fast with a continuous shooting speed of up to 10fps with full AF/AE tracking — this is twice as fast as the 5fps offered by the a7R II. In the past you needed to pick if you wanted resolution or speed, you couldn’t have both. While the A7R III isn’t the fastest, nor the highest resolution, it does appear to be an incredible combination of the two.

Sony also went with two USB ports: the microUSB port is still around for accessories, but the camera draws power over a USB-C port. Additionally there are now also two SD card slots.

The 5-axis in-body image stabilization has been improved to compensate for up to 5.5 steps — the world’s highest ever for an image stabilization system in a full-frame camera. Better mirror shock handling and better shutter shock handling, combined with the updated 5-axis stabilization, gives better than ever shooting results for hand-holding a high-megapixel camera.

Utilizing this stabilization system is the new Pixel Shift Multi Shooting mode, which the a7R II didn’t have. When activated, the a7R III captures 4 separate photos shifted by 1-pixel each to capture 169.2 megapixels of data. These are then composited in Sony’s new Imaging Edge software to create a single photo with “overwhelming resolution” and an “unprecedented level of color accuracy.”

The focusing system of the a7R III features 399 focal-plane phase-detection points that span 68% of the image area and 425 contrast AF points — this is 400 more contrast points than the a7R II, which had 25. The result of this upgrade is that the a7R III can lock in focus at about half the time in low-light situations compared to its predecessor, and tracking and Eye AF are 2 times as accurate and effective.

4K HDR recording is here on the a7R III. The camera features HLG (hybrid log gamma) support for an “instant HDR” workflow with compatible Sony television.

Recording video shares the same autofocus features from stills shooting. Video has full pixel readout with no binning, and can be shot with full width frame capture or Super 35 crop mode. New to the a7R-series cameras is the ability to shoot 120 fps in Full HD. Slog3 is also included in the picture profiles for 14 stops of dynamic range. Another new addition is the Slow and Quick motion video modes for super slow-mo movies.

The Sony a7R III is priced at $3,199.99. Pre-ordering will begin on October 26 at 10 a.m. EDT and start shipping to customers on November 30th.