Sony A7III Review: Worth it in 2021?

This is a review guide covering the Sony A7III.

In this all-new guide you’ll learn about:

Let’s dive in.

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In a hurry? Here’s the quick summary

Sony a7 III

For more than 3 years now the Sony A7III has been a favorite among many photographers looking for that elusive sweet spot (so to say) of a full-frame camera system that shoots both excellent stills and 4K videos.

For many, the Sony A7III hits that sweet spot and continues to dominate the charts.

When it comes to an all-rounder, i.e., a camera that shoots great stills and great videos you cannot ignore the a7III from your list.

Personally speaking, I am a big fan of horses for courses. I wouldn’t want to get stuck with a camera that attempts to do it all and therefore does nothing the best.

That can be a handicap when things get to the business end.

I have always tried to pick the best stills camera when I have wanted one and then when I needed to shoot videos I chose the best video camera that I can afford.

So for me, the Sony A7III is like a middle ground because it is not the best when it comes to shooting videos and there are better still cameras out there.

But that is a subjective statement.

Considering that there are thousands of photographers, both professionals, and amateurs who would want to have a camera that does it all, the Sony A7III is a great pick. I cannot disagree with that.

Also, check out the best lenses for the Sony A7III.

Pros and Cons Sony A7III

Pros
  • The Sony A7III is powered by a 24 MP BSI sensor. Promises excellent low light performance.
  • Paired with the BIONZ X image processor.
  • This is a dual-gain sensor (explained below).
  • Dynamic range and noise suppression are excellent.
  • Hybrid 693-point phase-detection and 425-point contrast-detection autofocusing system that covers 93% of the frame.
  • Continuous shooting speed of 10 fps.
  • 4K video resolution with oversampling of footages
  • S-Log2 and HLG supported.
Cons
  • Sensor resolution has remained the same as the old camera (Sony A7II).
  • Viewfinder resolution is a cause of worry.
  • Slight issues with moiré because the AA filter only filters horizontal details and not vertical details.

Sony A7III Specs

The first spec that should interest you is the update of the autofocusing mechanism. When compared to the old Sony a7II this one is a huge jump.

The old Sony a7II had 117 AF points whereas the new Sony A7III comes with 693 points and that covers 93% of the frame.

There are two major advantages of that. First, you can track a subject across the frame much more easily. And second, the off-center composition is a lot easier too.

Sony a7iii
Sony A7III example image – Image source

Low Light Performance

I mentioned above that this is a BSI sensor. BSI stands for Backside Illumination.

To explain this very simply the clutter of wiring and circuitry which otherwise is a cause for light blocking in all sensors has been pushed to the back of the sensor.

This improves the light-gathering capabilities resulting in lower noise and improved low light performance.

The low light performance of the a7III is up at par with the best low light cameras in the business. What does it mean in layman’s terms?

For a starter, this means a better dynamic range at high ISO. It also helps that the camera sensor has a dual-gain architecture.

Dual-Gain Sensor Architecture

I mentioned in the specs that this is a dual-gain sensor. But what exactly are the advantages of that?

The first obvious advantage is the excellent high dynamic range and the ability of the camera to produce clear images even when shooting at ridiculously high ISOs.

In slightly technical terms the sensor of the a7III comes with two different base ISOs. One operates in the 100 to 500 range and the other operates between 640 to 51200.

If you shoot an image at ISO 100 and push it to ISO 500 in post-production (meaning digitally amplify the exposure to match an ISO 500 exposure), you will not see much of a difference in noise and dynamic range.

The same thing will happen when you shoot at ISO 640 and then push it to match ISO 3200 and beyond.

This opens up an interesting proposition for you. Let’s say that the exposure you are trying to achieve gives importance to the shadow areas.

But usually, when we expose for the shadows there is a high risk of blowing out the highlights. Even the mid-tones are also over-exposed in such situations.

With low noise threshold sensors like the one in the Sony a7III it is possible to expose the highlights and push the shadows and the mid-tones four to five stops in post-production to adjust the exposure.

The difference in noise and dynamic range, however, will be noticeable when the camera switches from one base ISO to the next.

Sony a7iii sample image
Sony A7III example image – Image source

ISO Invariance

The a7III is an ISO invariant camera.

We call a camera ISO invariant when it displays a low noise threshold and when we can push an exposure in post-production that was deliberately shot at a lower ISO to make it match the exposure had it been shot at the right ISO, without any noticeable difference in noise.

It also means that the camera does not add a lot of noise in the first place and that is how we can push the exposure four to five stops in the first place.

The Sony a7III’s dual-gain sensor helps us to achieve this because it has twin ISO-invariant ranges.

Image Stabilization

Sony’s mirrorless cameras come with In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS).

The five-axis SteadyShot image stabilization system counters for five different types of camera shake which ensure that the camera can produce shake-free images when you are hand-holding the camera.

The other critical advantage is that you can use even legacy lenses that do not come with built-in image stabilization and make a blur-free image.

Even third-party lenses that are adapted using adapters will benefit from IBIS.

OEM lenses which come with built-in image stabilization on them will work without any issues.

Sony A7III Design

The Sony a7III’s design has not been tinkered with that much. It resembles the older a7II.

It is very much a compact full-frame mirrorless unit that combines the benefits of compact build quality, together with a full-frame sensor and an interchangeable lens mount.

Sony a7iii sample image
Sony A7III example image – Image source

The most stand-out changes include the deeper grip, something that will excite a lot of photographers, a dual memory card slot, a beefier battery, and better ergonomics when it comes to the buttons and dials.

The magnesium-alloy chassis is well-made and provides a decent amount of resistance to bad use.

The camera also features weather sealing, though we recommend using a weather-sealed lens to ensure that you are completely safe from the odd drizzle and the harsh outdoors.

Sony A7III Image Quality

Without a shred of doubt if you are looking for one of the best interchangeable lens cameras in the market the Sony a7III is one of the top cameras you can look at.

Even after three years of its launching, it is still one of the most balanced camera systems if you are looking for a combined video and still shooter.

The quality of stills Straight Out of the Camera (SooC) is fantastic. In most cases, you won’t even have to post-process the RAW files. You can simply download and share the JPEGs.

No doubt it is one of the best cameras to shoot low-light photography.

If low light and long exposure photography are your areas of forte, you will love the advantage that this camera brings on to the table.

We have already discussed in detail the dual-gain architecture of the sensor and the incredible advantage that comes with it, especially when you want to capture a large dynamic range and yet have little to no noise in the process.

Sony a7iii sample image
Sony A7III example image – Image source

Sony A7III Video Quality

When it comes to shooting videos the a7III is no mug at all. It shoots 4K footages at 30fps.

The a7III is one of those few cameras that oversamples the footage with a full pixel readout.

That means it is compressing a 6K capture into a 4K resolution footage (when shooting at 24p). When shooting at 30p there is a slight reduction in detail, and the camera captures a 1.2x cropped view.

The overall result is that the camera captures a higher amount of detail and along with it false colors are suppressed to a large degree.

Internally 4K videos can be shot at 4:2:0 sampling or you can choose to use an external recorder and increase the sampling rate to 4:2:2.

The camera is also capable of shooting full HD videos at 120fps.

The camera supports S-Log2 gamma and HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) for greater dynamic range.

Sony A7III Overall Performance

I feel in terms of mirrorless cameras this is one of the most complete cameras out there.

Sure, it is not the highest in terms of still resolution nor is it the best mirrorless in terms of video shooting, but it hits the sweet spot, the middle ground for enthusiasts and amateurs alike who would like to have a single camera do most of the work.

In that regard, we recommend the Sony a7III as one of our top picks for an all-around full-frame interchangeable lens camera.

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