2018 was the defining year for Sony with the launch of the Sony A7 III. It received universal praise; pro, amateur, ardent DSLR user and even the brand devout all had to agree that the Sony A7 III was pretty damn good.
The Sony A7 III may be the star of the show but it’s backed by one of the strongest product lines from any manufacturer; The A7R III, or the one for resolution junkies, The A7S II, the one for filmmakers and the A9, the one we aspire to.
Best Sony camera for amateurs
No camera has gained quite as much interest as the Sony A7 III, although at the latter end of the year you could say the Nikon Z series has had a good try.
The Sony A7 III is the camera that has raised the bar, in the same way, that the Canon EOS 5D Mark II did when it arrived a decade ago. It packs in the features around its full frame 24mp sensor.
What’s impressed many photographers from amateur all the way through to pro is the incredible sensitivity range which can be expanded from ISO 50-204800 making ideal for landscape as well as low light work.
The AF System features 693 ultra-fast phase detection and 425 contrast detection AF points and this is coupled with a fast shooting rate of 10fps ideal for sports and wildlife.
Video makers will also be happy with the 4K and 1080p video capture.
The Sony A7 Mark III packs in the features and with the support of the now extensive Sony E mount lens range has become a firm favourite for pros and amateurs alike.
Best Sony Camera for Portrait and Landscape photographers
42MP in a camera the size of the A7R III is groundbreaking and ideal for any resolution junky.
What makes this camera remarkable is the fine balance of the features, size and build quality. The A7R III feels from the outset that it has been designed as a workhorse.
Aside from the resolution, the specifications of the A7R III and A7 III are close, but it’s the robustness of build that set the two cameras apart. Dials and port covers are all more robust and better suited to anyone out in the field or in the studio porting their camera into a computer for tethered shooting.
Landscape photographers can make use of the expanded sensitivity range of between ISO 50 to 102400, for deep rich colour and detail to capture desert sands or utilise the cameras uppermost sensitivity when shooting the aurora borealis.
Back in the studio the 399-point focal-plane phase-detection AF and 425-point contrast-detection AF will ensure pin-sharp portraits and all the control you’d expect from a pro camera.
Capture One a firm favourite in Pro studios has even released a Sony specific version of the software confirming the A7’s place in the professional studio.
Best Sony Camera for video
12MP may seem a like a kickback to the past, but with Sony’s experience in the film and broadcast industries you know there has to be a reason.
The Sony A7S II is the camera to own if you’re a filmmaker. The low-resolution sensor has been fine-tuned for the video to ensure maximum quality and is regularly used as a lightweight broadcast camera.
Essentially the 12MP sensor enables full pixel readout without pixel binning so making maximum use of the sensor.
With features and layout more akin to a stills camera than video it makes the transition for today’s generation of photographers to easily transition between stills and video.
It also packs in pro log colour modes such as S-Gamut3.Cine/S-Log3 which makes it easy for video editors and directors to seamlessly blend footage from multiple cameras.
Of course, ensuring that you’re able to capture the best possible quality video it has options to shoot at 4K, 30fps and 1080p, 120fps.
Being small and lightweight makes the A7S II ideal for handheld use and here the camera features 5-axis images stabilisation to ensure smooth, fluid handheld footage.
Best Sony Camera for professionals
The camera features a 24mp stacked CMOS processor and BIONZ X image-processor that enable the camera to achieve ultra-fast processing of data unseen before in a camera of this size.
20fps is double that of the A7 range with AF/AE tracking and plenty of buffer space to ensure that you capture the image.
As there is the option to switch to full electronic shutter, with no mechanical shutter to slow the camera down there’s no blackout through the viewfinder. This means that you can keep your eye on the subject while shooting, no blackout so you can keep up with fast moving objects.
Adding to the speed is the ability to select electronic shutter speeds of up to 1/32000 something that just isn’t possible with conventional shutter technology.
The other feature that people have raved about with the A9 is the 4D focus. This offers 693 AF points that cover approximately 93% of the image area.
As with the other Sony A cameras, the Sony A9 features high-end video capabilities with the ability to shoot 4K video. This captured as full-pixel readout with no pixel binning, this sees every pixel condensed to approximately 2.4 times offering high-quality video capture.