In February 2018 Sony announced the A7 III and it’s proving very popular. But how do its specifications compare with those of the A7 II? You’ve come to the right place to find out.
How it began
When Sony’s A7 series of full-frame mirrorless cameras were introduced, the A7 was billed as the intermediately model between the high-resolution A7R series and the video-centric and low-light capable A7S line.
While all three models were upgraded to Mark II, the Sony A7R II and A7S II outshone the A7 II. In addition to an impressive video spec, the A7R II’s 42.4 million pixel sensor delivers images with huge levels of detail. Meanwhile, the Sony A7S II, which has a 12.2Mp sensor, has proved a very popular choice for dedicated videographers.
The 24Mp A7 II sat in the middle having a significantly lower price.
With a 24Mp sensor, it felt like the A7 II should be the fast and versatile model in the series. But the 124-point Hybrid AF system with 99 phase detection points and 25 contrast detection points wasn’t up to the task of shooting fast action. Now it seems like this has been remedied as the Sony A7 III has a similar autofocus system as the blazingly fast Sony A9.
Now let’s take a look at the key differences between the A7 III and the older A7 II:
The A7 II has a full-frame sensor with 24.3 million effective pixels while the Mark III has a 24.2 million pixel device. What’s more significant, however, is that the A7 III’s sensor is back-side illuminated which makes it more light efficient. It also has a front-end LSI and this boosts the read-out speed and as a consequence improve the autofocus speed.
The A7 III has 693 phase detection AF points covering 93% of the imaging area. This means that subjects can be followed across almost the entire frame.
According to Sony, the faster readout speed of the A7 III’s sensor helps give it faster focusing in low light than the Mark II. Sony claims it’s around 2x faster. In addition, the tracking speed of the A7 III is said to be twice that of the A7 II.
One issue with mirrorless cameras, especially full-frame models, is that they are power-hungry. This makes it advisable to carry a spare battery or two with the Sony A7 II. Sony has updated the battery for the A7 III to an NP-FZ100 and it extends the shooting life to 710 shots.
Video Record Button
Sony has seen the light with the location of the video record button on the A7 III. Instead of being on a corner of the body like on the A7 II, it’s within easy reach of your right thumb, just to the side of the viewfinder.
One of the bugbears of the A7 II was the clunky method of AF point selection. Thanks fully that has changed for the A7 III with the arrival of the mini joystick control that was first seen on the A9. This falls conveniently under your thumb and allows quick changes to be made.
Sony is getting on-board with touch-control for its full-frame cameras and as such, the A7 III has a touch-sensitive screen. This is useful for setting the AF point and zooming into images to check focus. Unfortunately, it can’t be used for scrolling through images, navigating the menu or making setting selections.
While the A7 II’s screen may not be touch-sensitive, with 1,228,800 dots it has a higher resolution than the 921,600 screen on the A7 III.
Memory Card Ports
While the A7 II has a single SD-type card port, the A7 III has two. Of these slots, one is UHS-I/II compliant while the other is UHS-I compliant.
These ports can be used to separate jpeg and raw file recording. Alternatively, you can separate still image and movie recording or use them relay/overflow recording.
At 10fps the A7 III has double the continuous shooting speed of the A7 II. But if you want an uninterrupted live view you have to drop to 8fps. Those speeds can both be achieved when using the mechanical or the electronic shutter. Using the latter gives you fast, silent shooting.
Sony A7 III vs Sony A7 II: Key Specifications Compared
|Sony Alpha 7 III||Sony Alpha 7 II|
|Date announced||27th February 2018||20th Nov 2014|
|Price at launch||£2000/$1,998 (body only), £2,500/$2,198 with 28-70mm lens||£1,599 (body only)|
|Sensor||Full-frame (35.9 x 24mm)||Full-frame (35.8 x 23.9mm)|
|Effective pixel count||24.2Mp||24.3 million|
|Lens/Mount||E (FE)||E (FE)|
|Processor||Bionz X||Bionz X|
|Sensitivity range||ISO 50-204,800||ISO 50-25,600|
|Reflex AF system||N/A||N/A|
|Live View AF system||693-point wide area phase detection AF||124-point Hybrid (99 phase detection points, 25 contrast detection points)|
|Max shooting rate||10fps with full AF and metering||5fps|
|Max video resolution||4K (3840 x 2160)||Full HD (1920x1080)|
|Storage||Dual card slots, Slot 1: SD(UHS-I/II compliant), Slot 2: Memory Stick Duo/SD(UHS-I)||SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-I) and Memory Stick variants|
|Viewfinder||0.5-inch OLED with 2,359,296 dots||0.5-inch OLED with 2,359,296 dots|
|Screen||Tilting 3-inch Touchscreen with 921,600 dots||Tilting 3-inch TFT LCD with 1,228,800|
|Dimensions||126.9 x 95.6 x 73.7mm||126.9 x 95.7 x 59.7mm|
|Weight||650g with battery and card||556g (body only), 599g with battery and card|