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April 30, 2018

Sony A7iii first impressions

As a company we have always previously used Canon DSLR’s such as the 5dmkii and 6d for stills photography, along with Canon L-series lenses such as the 70-200 ISII. However, for our video work we use Sony cameras such as the A7Sii and FS5. We recently made the decision to move our stills to the Sony system as well, and purchased the latest mirrorless from Sony, the A7iii, along with Sony native lenses. We’ll be using the camera for video projects as well going forwards, but for now I wanted to share some thoughts on the A7iii as a stills camera.

The first impression that I had of the camera was that it feels a lot more substantial than the A7sii. It has a reassuring heft to it, without being overly heavy. The other thing that jumps out is the inclusion of a joystick on the back of the camera – something that I really love for selecting focus points.

 

Positives

Sony have also made a load of other really useful changes to the camera. Perhaps the biggest one is using new, larger, batteries. These ‘z series’ batteries are physically much bigger than the older Sony A7 batteries, and last for much, much longer. Shooting sports I took over 1500 RAW images, and the battery was still above 50%. Another really useful change is that Sony have added a second memory card slot, allowing for images to be backed up on the fly.

The AF performance of the camera is fantastic. The points cover the entire frame, and tracking is super impressive – it is almost magical how well it locks on to and tracks moving subjects. The face detection feature has a really quite uncanny ability to see through distractions and lock focus on faces, which is really useful in fast moving sports. The focus speed with the 70-200 F4 G is good, while it is maybe not quite as fast as the Canon 70-200 on a 5diii the tracking ability more than makes up for it.

Another super useful feature of the camera for sports is the frame rate. It will shoot at 10fps while maintaining the awesome AF tracking, which is super impressive for a camera of it’s price point. You don’t have to worry about hitting the buffer either – it is around 89 images, but feels much deeper if you are using an UHS-II card.

The image quality from this camera is very, very good. The RAW files have a huge amount of flexibility, even if you push the ISO up. If you need to push the ISO super high then it still manages to produce really good quality images, maintaining colour and dynamic range well.

Negatives

The Sony menu system remains as confusing as ever – trying to find the option you want to change means scrolling through pages and pages of options!

 

Overall

I’m impressed by the Sony A7iii – previously I haven’t been the biggest fan of Sony’s mirrorless cameras, finding the battery life etc to be a bit lacking. The A7iii has really improved on this, with the camera now beating out it’s DSLR rivals in areas that were once no-go’s for the Sony mirrorless cameras.

We’ll share some more thoughts on the A7iii, and thoughts on using it for video, in the future.

 

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