HANDS ON THEANO NIKITAS
Sony finished 2017 on a high note
with the release of the $3,200,
full-frame a7R III. Although built
around the same 42-megapixel sensor as its
a7R II predecessor, the a7R III utilizes a new
processing pipeline to deliver improved
image quality and expanded dynamic range,
among other benefits. Sony has also pumped
up the performance, increased battery life and
added some welcome new features, including
dual card slots, a Pixel Shift mode and a
ABOVE: With its high resolution, full-frame sensor
and incredible performance, this just might be
the mirrorless camera of your dreams.
joystick for focus point selection. And that’s
just scratching the surface.
Sony also released the 24-105mm f/4 G
OSS lens at the same time, the glass I used
most often when testing the a7R III. Other
lenses included the FE 12-24mm f/4 G and
the FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM.
IMAGE QUALIT Y
Initial impressions of the a7R III’s image
quality were based on high-resolution JPEGs
simply because RAW processing wasn’t
available at the time. No problem there—
straight out of the camera JPEG images were
impressive. Test shots were sharply detailed
with accurate colors. Exposures were, for the
most part, accurate, although I tend to very
slightly underexpose (a personal preference).
Dynamic range was excellent, especially when
processing RAW files in Capture One Pro. I
was amazed by how easy it was to pull out
extreme shadow details.
If you switch to Pixel Shift Multi Shooting,
you’ll capture four RAW files, with a one-pixel sensor shift between each capture.
They’re combined using Sony’s new (and
free) Imaging Edge software to create a
high-resolution file (169.6 megapixels) for
exquisite details as well as noise and artifact
reduction. It’s a great option for architectural,
landscape and studio photography. But even
subtle camera or subject movement may
cause ghosting in the final image, especially
since the shortest duration between pixel shift
capture is one second. The camera’s native
ISO range has been increased to up to 32,000
(expandable to ISO 50 and 102,400). The
best results came with the ISO set to 6400
and lower, but details were relatively well
maintained up to about ISO 12,800.
Full-frame 4K video is equally as
impressive as the quality of the a7R III’s still
images. Responsive and accurate autofocus
and the camera’s five-axis image stabilization
also contribute to excellent footage, even
when filming handheld.
At 1 pound 7. 2 ounces (with the battery
and memory card) and measuring 5 x 3 7/8
x 3 inches, the camera is nicely compact and
feels well balanced in the hand.
At first glance, you won’t notice much
difference between the a7R III and the Mark
II, but look more closely and you’ll see a long
overdue joystick for focus point selection.
Back-button focus users will appreciate the
new AF-On button and all will welcome the
camera’s deeper grip. Dual SD card slots is
another notable addition, although only one
slot supports speedy UHS II cards.
Complementing the large and bright
EVF is a 2.95-inch touchscreen LCD. The
screen is tiltable for high/low angle shots
and offers manual brightness control and a
Sunny Weather mode, which you’ll need in
super bright conditions. As expected, the
a7R III is highly customizable, so once you set
up your shooting parameters, you’ll have to
spend less time digging through the camera’s
overwhelming menu system. There is a My
Menu option so you can create a single list of
favorite settings within easy reach.
SONY’S A7R III
This new mirrorless sets the benchmark
for resolution and performance.
PICTURED: Sony’s a7R III
easily kept pace with
dancer Mietta Gornall’s
leaps, turns and twists
in the studio. Eye-AF
kept focus on her eyes,
even as the flour flew
around the set.
PHOTO © THEANO NIKITAS