Sony has launched a new full-frame camera, introducing the 42.4-megapixel Sony A7R III, price tag of £3,200/€3,500 with a release date set for November.
The Sony A7R III key specs include:
- 42.4 MP Back-Illuminated full-frame Exmor R CMOS sensor with ‘Evolved Image Processing’
- Continuous Shooting at up to 10 fps with either Silent Shooting or Mechanical Shutter and full autofocus and exposure capability
- 399 phase-detection AF points that cover 68% of image area
- 425 contrast AF points and approximately 2 times more effective Eye AF
- 5-axis optical in-body image stabilization with 5.5EV compensation
- 4K video with full pixel readout and no pixel binning
- Dual SD Card Slots
- Extended Battery Life
- USB Type-C Terminal
- Compact, Lightweight body weighs 23 oz
Although the A7R III has the same pixel count as the A7R II it has improved image processing power and efficiency to enable continuous shooting at up to 10fps with full autofocusing and metering capability.
The new sensor is 42.4Mp Exmoor R CMOS sensor is back-illuminated and has no anti-aliasing filter. Sony claims this chip is able to capture up to 15 stops dynamic range and that noise levels are almost a stop lower in comparison with the A7R II.
The 42.4MP high-resolution, back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS image sensor utilises a gapless on-chip lens design and AR (anti-reflective) coating on the surface of the sensor’s seal glass to dramatically improve light collection efficiency, resulting in high sensitivity with low-noise performance and wide dynamic range.
Sony has given the A7R III a front-end LSI that is said to effectively double the readout speed of the image sensor. There’s also an updated BIONZ X processor that processes image data at around 1.8x the speed of the version in the A7R II.
The sensor and processing power together enable a native sensitivity range of ISO 100 – 32000 which can be expanded to ISO 50 – 102400 for still images.
Images can be output in 14 bit RAW format even when shooting in silent or continuous mode.
A new 5-axis optical image stabilisation system is on-board and it’s claimed to offer a shutter speed compensation factor of 5.5EV. In addition, the A7R III has a new low-vibration shutter to help minimise blur.
Sony also claims that it has improved skin tone colour reproduction.
Continuous shooting at 10fps with AF Tracking
The A7R III can shoot at 10fps for bursts of up to 76 jpegs or 76 raw files or 28 uncompressed raw files with full autofocusing and exposure metering.
This shotting rate can be achieved with the mechanical or electronic shutter with the latter giving silent shooting.
It’s also possible to shoot continuously at up to 8fps and Sony claims there’s ‘minimal lag visible in the viewfinder or on the main screen. Helpfully, the A7R III’s Function (Fn) and Menu buttons and image playback controls operate along with several other key functions while the images are being written to the memory card.
An Anti-flicker function enables the camera to detect artificial lighting flicker and time the shutter release to avoid variations in exposure and colour.
Upgraded AF System
A total of 399 phase-detection AF points cover approximately 68% of the sensor horizontally and vertically while 425 contrast AF points give extra coverage.
According to Sony this AF system can acquire focus in about half the time taken by the α7R II’s system in low-light conditions and its tracking capability is twice as accurate.
In addition, the Eye AF is said to be around twice as effective. It’s also available when Sony A-mount lenses are mounted via an adapter.
Further AF enhancements include AF availability in Focus Magnifier mode, focal-plane phase-detection AF support with A-mount lenses and an ‘AF On’ button.
Most notably the A7R III has a multi-selector or mini joystick control for setting the AF point quickly while the camera is held to your eye.
As we would expect, the A7R III can shoot 4K (3840×2160) video and it uses the full width of the full-frame image sensor. In Super 35mm format, there’s full pixel readout without pixel binning which means that 5K of information is collected and then is oversampling to create 4K footage.
Sony has included a new HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) option to support an Instant HDR workflow and enabling HDR (HLG) compatible TV’s to playback 4K HDR imagery.
In addition, S-Log2 and S-Log3 are on-hand to produce wide dynamic range footage for grading.
Full HD video can also be recorded at up to 120 fps and 100 Mbps forediting into 4x or 5x slow-motion video with AF tracking.
Sony has tweaked the body design in the A7R III, adding dual media slots, with support in one slot for UHS-II type SD memory cards.
Users have a variety of options for storing their content, including separate JPEG / RAW recording, separate still image / movie recording, relay recording and more.
The A7R III also uses Sony’s new Z series battery that offers approximately 2.2 times the capacity of the W series battery utilised in the α7R II, Sony says.
Another upgrade is the A7R III’s 3,6868k-dot Quad-VGA OLED Tru-Finder, also found in the Sony A9 camera, which uses a ZEISS® T* Coating to reduce reflections, along with a fluorine coating on the outer lens that repels dirt.
The Tru-Finder also offers a customisable frame rate of either 50 fps or 100 fps.
Sony has also upgraded the A7R III’s LCD screen, bumping the resolution to 1.44M dots and adding what’s called WhiteMagic technology that Sony says makes it easier to view in bright, outdoor conditions.
“Standard” or “High” display quality settings are also available for both the viewfinder and monitor as well. “High” takes advantage of the large amount of data read from the 42.4MP sensor to provide extra fine viewfinder and monitor displays for a more natural view.
Interestingly, the Sony A7R III also introduces a multi-selector joystick for shifting focus points. We’ve seen this on cameras like the Fujifilm X-T2 and it has been very popular.
The A7R III also adds an ‘AF ON’ button to activate autofocus when shooting stills or movies.
Other new features of the A7R III include the ability to transfer files to a smartphone, tablet, computer or FTP server via WiFi, while also including a sync terminal, enabling external flash units and cables to be connected directly for convenient flash sync.
A SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.1 Gen 1) USB Type-C™ Terminal is also available for increased flexibility in power supply or connected accessories, as well as a faster image transfer speed when connected to a PC.
Also making its debut on the A7R III is a new Pixel Shift Multi Shooting mode, which takes advantage of the camera’s 5-axis optical in-body stabilisation and shifts the sensor in 1-pixel increments to capture four separate pixel-shifted images.
You can then combine these images in Sony’s new Imaging Edge software to create a super high-resolution image of approximately 169.6 megapixels, which should appeal to architecture and still life photographers.
Imaging Edge provides three PC applications called ‘Remote’, ‘Viewer’ and ‘Edit’, which are all free to download. Each also supports live-view PC remote shooting and RAW development.
Sony A7R III Price & Release Date
The Sony A7R III price tag will be £3,200 and €3,500, with a release date in Europe of November 2017. US Sony A7R II price and release date information to be confirmed shortly.