a7r3

On October 25, Sony announced the third version of their A7R camera. Keeping the same body design and the same sensor of it’s predecessor, they managed to squeeze more out of them, and to improve pretty much everything else.

The full detailed review with sample pictures will come soon, so this article is going to briefly touch some of the main features and characteristics of this new model, and compare it with the direct competitors.

The body

Although the body is the same size as it’s predecessor, Sony made some very important improvements. They added second memory card slot, made the grip deeper increasing the battery size, and added joystick. They also increased the weather sealing and built quality of the body. Scroll wheel is also bigger and more firm, than the one of the A7R-II. It also has USB-C 3.1 port which allows charging and tethering at the same time. It has both Wi-fi and Bluetooth.

Specifications

Pretty much everything is improved over the previous model. The frame rate jumped from 5fps to 10fps with both electronic and mechanical shutter, the buffer has been increased (from 23 to 76 compressed raw images), the AF system was improved more than twice, the IBIS was also improved from 4.5 stops to 5.5 stops.

Sony claims that they increased the Dynamic range from 14 to 15 stops, but this still needs to be tested. A7R-II uses more phase detection AF points, has added pixel shift technology to create better, sharper and more detailed images. It can now focus in EV-3, and the ISO is improved by ⅓ stop going all the way to 32,000.

Video

A7R-III is shooting 4k downsampled from 5k. The oversampling renders greater detail and full pixel readout is possible, that is void of pixel binning, for higher quality imagery with reduced moiré and aliasing. It has added Hybrid S-Log, 120fps at 1080p. With optional external recorder it can record clean 4K with 4:2:2 sampling.

Against the competition

In my opinion, the main competitors of the A7R-III are two – Nikon’s D850 and the previous model – A7R-II.

With A7R-III Sony improves the same features which D850 improved over D810. They both took the AF system of the flagship (D5/A9). They both increased the buffer size. They both improved the frame rate. Both improved video, both…, both… You can see all the similarities, and have to agree that Sony aims D850 as it’s no.1 competitor. Plus rumors were of releasing A7-III or A7S-III first. But after D850 announcement Sony suddenly changed plans. It will be tough Holiday season for Nikon.

The second competitor is the A7R-II. Yes, the previous model. With the current rebates and discounts, all of you who doesn’t need faster camera (and there are many landscape photographers who do not want to upgrade) A7R-II will offer the same image quality. At $800-$900 cheaper price.

A7R-III is expected to be shipped on November 30th. It can be preordered here, and A7R-II here.

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