By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
We’ve been waiting awhile for Sony to bring us the third generation α7 full frame mirrorless camera, and now, our patience has been rewarded. Sony refers to it as a basic full frame 4K camera, but as we’ll soon see, the Sony α7III is anything but.
“We are continually pushing to deliver more for our customers – more versatility, more functionality and most importantly, more innovation,” said Neal Manowitz, Vice President of Digital Imaging for Sony Electronics. “With the new α7 III, we’ve taken many of our newest and most advanced imaging technologies from the acclaimed α9 and α7R III models and paired them with an all-new 24.2 MP back-illuminated sensor to deliver the ultimate full-frame camera for enthusiasts, hobbyists and professionals alike. It’s a camera that punches far above its weight class in every capacity. Combined with our impressive selection of 26 native full-frame E-mount lenses, it provides a level of performance that is simply unmatched in the industry.”
Designed to fit somewhere between the α7RIII and the α7SII, the news α7III has a backside illuminated 24.2 MP full frame CMOS sensor and five axis optical image stabilization.
To handle all the data processing, Sony has upgraded the Bionz X image processor, which will give the camera 15 stops of dynamic range and outputs 14 bit Raw, 4K HDR video. For high frame rate, users can image at up to 120 frames per second in 1080p HD. Sony also adds S-Log 2 and S-Log 3 color profiles for color grading in post. But the real advantage here is that α7III captures about 2.4 times the amount of image data through oversampling, with no pixel binning thanks to a full pixel readout of the entire sensor. Very nice! But if you’re going to capture that much data, why not create a 6K image at least? Sony hackers are going to have to get on that.
Still image wise, the α7III has the ability to shoot Raw bursts at up to 10 frames per second in both standard and silent modes, with a maximum of 40 images (or 89 images in compressed Raw) stored in its buffer before it has to write to the card. In JPEG mode, that jumps to 177 images. So this is a gargantuan image buffer. Battery life can give shooters up to 710 shots on a single charge.
Autofocus has 693 points, which covers nearly the entire full frame sensor, and Sony claims the α7III is twice as fast as the previous model when it comes to focusing.
With that wide of coverage, the α7III is good for low light stations, and with the backside illuminated full frame sensor, sports a max ISO setting fo 204,800. That means it can practically see in the dark. While being able to see in extreme low light is beneficial for some situations, this will cut back on the α7III’s dynamic range. So keep that in mind.
Other features include:
- Newly Developed Full-frame 24.2MP Back-Illuminated Exmor R™ CMOS Image Sensor with Evolved Image Processing
- Wide ISO range of 100 – 51200 (expandable to ISO 50 – 204800 for still images) and 15-Stop Dynamic Range at low sensitivities
- World Class AF system featuring 693 phase-detection AF points covering 93% ofimage area, 425 contrast AF points and fast and reliable Eye AF
- Continuous Shooting at up to 10 fps with either Mechanical Shutter or Silent Shooting and full Auto Focus/Auto Exposure tracking
- 5-axis optical in-body image stabilization with a 5.0 step shutter speed advantage
- High Resolution 4K Movie Shooting with full pixel readout and no pixel binning across full-width of full-frame sensor
- The longest rated battery life of any Mirrorless camera at 710 shots per charge
- Upgraded operability and functionality including addition of joystick for adjusting focus points, Dual SD Card Slots (one UHS-II, one UHS- I), SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.1 Gen 1) USB Type-C™ Terminal and more
The only thing I can really find fault is that Sony uses two SD card slots, with one being a UHS-II and one UHS-I. Not really sure why they always go cheap on that second SD card slot. I would think higher end users would prefer to pay a little extra for dual UHS-II options. But I guess they’re expecting the higher performing applications to look at the higher end α7 models. For someone looking to cut their teeth on full frame, who doesn’t want to get rolled by the price tag of the Canon 5D Mk. IV, it’s a pretty good full frame option.
Pricing for the Sony α7III is set to be at a modest $2,000 for the body, or $2200 with an FE 28‑70 mm F3.5‑5.6 kit lens. Preorders begin on Wednesday, February 28, 2018, with shipping in April. Just in time for NAB.