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Review First impressions of the Sony A7 III!

Discussion in 'Reviews, Tests, & Shootouts' started by Jonathan F/2, Apr 25, 2018.

  1. * Cross posted on TalkEmount

    I just received my A7 III last night and I just wanted to chime in with my first impressions! The box comes with just the bare essentials. It didn't come with a separate charger and despite having USB 3.0, it only comes with a USB 2.0 plug and power adapter. The battery came almost fully drained and requires some time to charge it. The actual camera, feels very similar to the A7 II and shares almost the same dimensions. Though the mark III definitely feels heavier due to the bigger battery.

    Regarding the menu, it's even more complicated and convoluted. I highly recommend programming your custom functions right away and start adjusting your muscle memory. The handling feels similar to the mark II, but with more buttons. The live-view implementation is decent and slightly better than the II.

    Now to the actual image quality! It's definitely an improvement and from the test I shot it's more than capable hitting the high ISO numbers. Absolutely no complaints and it matches the D750 while improving on the overall capabilities.

    Regarding the handling and output of the camera it's definitely an improvement. The A7II in comparison is a bit basic. The only reason I mention setting up your custom functions right away is due to the amount of options available. It'd be a bit tedious going back and forth if you haven't set the camera properly. Honestly I don't know if I'd recommend this camera to a beginner though, there's so much tech packed into it, I almost feel like it's aimed at current and former DSLR switchers who need high customization. So far everything like Eye AF, silent shutter and 10fps are the real deal. EVF and LCD live view is a bit more smoother than the A7II.

    If I had only one complaint it's the fact that Sony doesn't provide a separate battery charger. I wouldn't mind if Sony used something like a magsafe style charger, but a mini USB 2.0 port is like the worst way to charge a camera, considering how easily they can break. I ordered a separate charger off of Ebay and I'm going to wait and see how the battery market pans out before picking up some third party batteries or if I can snag another OEM battery for cheap.

    Also I don't buy into that notion you need to completely switch systems like all these ridiculous Youtube switch videos. People keep forgetting Sony has adapters and I can adapt all my Nikon lenses onto the Sony. My Commlite and Techart AF adapters work great on the A7III and I can seamlessly use both systems together. Maybe I should make a Youtube video telling people you can run two systems with one set of lenses or something like that! :D 

    I'll post pictures soon, but here are a few gear shots of the A7III next to the A7II -

    My street setup:
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    a7iii_02 by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr

    My portrait setup:
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    a7iii_01 by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Growltiger

    Growltiger Administrator Administrator

    Do you mean that the USB socket is not USB-C? Surprising that they wouldn't use the improved socket.

    Sony seem to be making steady progress. Looking at those cameras I think of Nikon and shake my head at how they are letting Sony eat their lunch.
  3. No it comes with USB-C and mini USB 2.0 ports. Sony only provides a mini USB charger though for the A7III. Saying that, I don't like messing with my ports unless I need to. Hence the battery charger is necessary I think for most heavy duty shooters.

    Regarding Sony, I don't think mirrorless is for everyone and the DSLR still has it's place, but the DSLR also isn't the go-to camera nowadays for all photography. Sony definitely has taken a different approach. I don't really consider it a photography ecosystem, but more of a photography platform that allows the user to tailor it to their needs. Sony isn't perfect, but it's definitely implemented disruptive technology and companies like Nikon will need to adapt.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2018
  4. Interesting report, Jonathan.

    Why would a D750 user want one of these? (playing devil's advocate:devil: )
  5. I'm getting more jobs doing video, also I'm doing quite a bit of environmental portraits where the accurate wide open AF and in-body stabilization makes a big difference in performance. I'm still keeping my Nikon kit because I still do event work, I'm already invested with Nikon speed lights and the zoom lenses are still cheaper on the Nikon side. Also with AF adapters, the Sony acts like a Nikon F mount body. On top of that I discovered M mount lenses and have used those predominantly for my street work due to the small size while being fast on the Sony bodies.

    Different tools different uses!
  6. Looks like a very nice camera. I should near a store tomorrow (Portland) where I can see one.
  7. Vastly superior video quality & options, fully silent shooting modes, 10-FPS shooting with improved C-AF features, shooting with legacy FF lenses.

    I’m sure there are other reasons as well, but those are the ones that jump to the front of my mind.

    Like Jon said, I still think there is a place for the DSLR, but the D750 could do with a refresh to compete with the A7-III.
  8. Portland, Oregon? If so make sure to go to Pro Photo Supply, they're my go-to place up there!
  9. Another vote for PPS.
  10. I seldom do video and have little need for fast FPS, so those don't interest me. Neither of you mentioned the one feature I might find attractive: smaller size and weight.
  11. It's small as long as you stick to slower lenses like 1.8 primes and f4 zooms. I also have to say the Sony kit lens is really good. I normally don't say that about kit lenses either, but it's solid.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2018
  12. Owning two Olympus E-M1 II's in addition to my D500, one thing I will say is that everybody loves to talk about the smaller size of mirrorless cameras, but IMO there comes a point where a camera is too small. With the E-M1 II for example, everybody over on the m43 forum was bitching about how "big" the camera was. The problem is that the camera still wasn't tall enough for my pinky finger to comfortably fit on the camera grip (and I don't have large hands by any means, I wear a size M nitrile glove). In order for the camera to be truly comfortable in my hand, I needed to add the RRS base plate, which now makes the camera the perfect size for my hands, and extremely comfortable to hold.

    With a camera like the D750 (or D500 in my case), no such accessory is required to ensure all of my fingers comfortably fit on the camera grip. In fact, with the newest generation of Sony "A" mirrorless cameras, they've created a grip extender (Sony GP-X1EM, it just rolls off the tongue...) to solve this issue, which Sony will gladly sell to you for $128 (not including any discounts).

    Regarding the weight, the A7 III is ~250g lighter than the D750, which is appreciated, however it depends what lenses you mount on the camera. If you buy a mirrorless camera for the weight savings, and then go mount a 24-70 2.8 or 70-200 2.8 lens on the camera, the "weight savings" (as a percentage) is pretty minimal. If you use small f/1.8 or f/2 primes, then it makes a bit more sense.

    The D750 is still a great camera, but there's no denying that it's missing some key features in today's marketplace that the A7 III has. Whether those features are enough to make an individual switch systems is down to their personal preference and financial standing.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. Been there many times, I like the folks that work there. One of the purposes of this trip is to visit them, they have a lens I want to look at, spoke with them a couple of times last week about it.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. Went out for a little shooting today at LA's Grand Central Market bringing the A7III + Techart Pro Adapter + Voigtlander 15mm f4.5 Heliar II lens!

    This lens was slow to focus on my A7II, but on the A7III it's actually quick on the TAP. Also the BSI sensor fixes the color shifting corners that was seen on my A7II. My initial impressions is that I don't see much difference at the lower ISO range, but at higher ISO ranges DR stays intact. I'd have no hesitation shooting this camera at 3200 ISO and above. I also have a NR profile that I use in ACR that cleans up nicely on the A7III. The silent shutter is awesome and the A7III also has a 'My Menu' section that you can add your custom menu settings. I set it up almost similar to my Nikon bodies! I'm going to have to line up a photo shoot soon and test it out in a portrait session!

    Check out the shots!

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    180425_A7III_VOIGTLANDER_15II_FRIOLO_018 by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr

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    180425_A7III_VOIGTLANDER_15II_FRIOLO_016 by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr

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    180425_A7III_VOIGTLANDER_15II_FRIOLO_004 by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr

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    180425_A7III_VOIGTLANDER_15II_FRIOLO_009 by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr

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    180425_A7III_VOIGTLANDER_15II_FRIOLO_003 by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr

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    180425_A7III_VOIGTLANDER_15II_FRIOLO_001 by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2018
  15. Growltiger

    Growltiger Administrator Administrator

    How fast is the readout on the electronic shutter compared with the E-M1 II?
    (I have had cases with distortion when someone runs past very close and fast.)
  16. The A7III doesn't have the same fast read out as the A9, so you'll still get distortion from fast movement, possible artifacts and issues with artificial light. Saying that, I usually leave it on the e-shutter and for what I shoot, it hasn't been an issue.

    To be honest, I'm seriously considering changing my kit and make Sony my main system now. This camera is amazing on all fronts.
  17. I did a little more shooting with this camera. Handling-wise it just feels more refined and you don't have to worry about sensor performance. It's solid in most lighting conditions. Battery is also excellent!

    Shots from the A7III + TAP + CV 40, edited through ACR:
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    180428_SONY_A7III_CV40 by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr

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    180428_SONY_A7III_CV40 by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr

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    180428_SONY_A7III_CV40 by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr

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    180428_SONY_A7III_CV40 by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr

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    180428_SONY_A7III_CV40 by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr
  18. Growltiger

    Growltiger Administrator Administrator

    I can't remember what else you are using in addition to Sony?

    I recently acquired a Pen-F with a Panasonic 12-32 as a separate small kit, for when I don't want to take the E-M1 II. That lens is tiny and the whole thing is quite inconspicuous and harmless looking for taking pictures in the street.

    I think the main weakness of just having Sony would be the size and weight of telephoto lenses, which are surely just as large and heavy as Nikon or Canon. But perhaps you don't do wildlife photography and don't need a 600mm lens?
  19. I only have my Sony and Nikon kit, both FF. I sold my Pen-F and E-M1. At one point I had a pretty comprehensive M43 kit, but I sold it. I think what convinced me to switch was using Leica mount M lenses which were just as small as M43 glass, but had better DOF control and light gathering. Also I tested the Sigma 100-400mm C with a Sigma MC-11 Sony adapter and AF performance was spot on with sharp images. It wasn't very big and much cheaper than something like the Panasonic 100-400mm.

    If I need something really small nowadays, I just use my phone.
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