Sony Expands Full-frame Mirrorless Lineup with the α7 III

Sony spent 2017 releasing pricey powerhouse cameras such as the A9, but today the company announced one which appears nearly as great at half the price. The brand new full-frame a7 III splits the difference between the pixel-packed a7R III and the a7S II, their low light and video king.

At the core of the a7 III is a new 24.2-megapixel back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS Sensor. The back-illuminated image sensor is coupled with a front-end LSI that effectively doubles the readout speed of the image sensor. An updated BIONZ X processing-engine boosts processing speed by approximately 1.8x when compared to the a7 II. The ISO range of 100 – 51200 (expandable to ISO 50 – 204800 for still images) is an overall 1.5-stop improvement in image quality. The digital camera also features 15-stop dynamic range at low sensitivity settings.

The camera features a continuous shooting speed of 10fps with both the mechanical shutter and while silent shooting with the electronic shutter. The a7 III shoots stills at up to 10 frames per second in RAW or JPEG, having a buffer of 177 images for JPEGs, 89 images in compressed RAW, and 40 images in uncompressed RAW.

The new a7 III is undoubtedly an fantastic video camera as well, offering 4K (3840×2160 pixels) video recording across the full width of the full-frame image sensor.  In video mode, the camera uses full pixel readout without pixel binning to collect about 2.4 times the quantity of information necessary for 4K movies, and after that oversamples it to generate high quality 4K footage with exceptional detail and depth. The a7 III does not only shoot 4K HDR video, but will also shoot 120 frames per second high speed footage at 1080p, and includes the ability to capture in the more cinematic S-Log 2 and 3 color profiles.

The autofocus system features 693 phase-detection AF points which cover 93% of the frame and 425 contrast AF points. Autofocus is reliable down to EV-3. The acclaimed Eye AF feature is additionally available in the brand new camera, even in AF-C mode, which can be particularly useful for situations in which the subject is turning around, looking down or otherwise obstructed. Sony says the a7 III can autofocus twice as fast in low light and track twice as fast when compared to the a7 II. 5-axis in-body image stabilization provides 5-stops of shake compensation.

Sony added a9 functionality into the a7R III including dual media slots, with support in one slot for UHS-II type SD memory cards. Battery lifespan has been extended which has a CIPA measurement as much as 710 shots per charge on Sony’s Z series battery NP-FZ100. It provides roughly 2.2 times the capacity of the W series battery NP-FW50 on the a7 II.

“We are continually pushing to deliver more for our customers – more versatility, more functionality and most importantly, more innovation,” said Neal Manowitz, Vice President of Digital Imaging for Sony Electronics.  “With the new a7 III, we’ve taken many of our newest and most advanced imaging technologies from the acclaimed a9 and a7R III models and paired them with an all-new 24.2 MP back-illuminated sensor to deliver the ultimate full-frame camera for enthusiasts, hobbyists and professionals alike.  It’s a camera that punches far above its weight class in every capacity.  Combined with our impressive selection of 26 native full-frame E-mount lenses, it provides a level of performance that is simply unmatched in the industry.”

Sony continues to be at the forefront inside the mirrorless camera segment, and has been fighting their way in particularly hard at the full-frame market, that is still ruled by DSLRs. But Sony passed Nikon in full-frame product sales this past year, and a camera such as the a7 III will probably assist  Sony in attempting to claim the top spot.

The Sony a7 III Full-frame Interchangeable Lens Camera will ship this April for about $2000 US for the body and $2200 in a kit with the FE 28-70 mm F3.5-5.6 kit lens. The α7 III will ship in Europe in March, 2018 priced at approximately €2300 (body only) or €2500 in a kit with the SEL2870 lens.