PhotoPlus Expo 2017: Sony Launches a7R III

October 25, 2017

By Greg Scoblete

In the ever-escalating arms race between increasing resolution and speed, Sony has bulked up its arsenal with the new a7R III–a 42-megapixel camera that can fire off bursts at 10fps with AF tracking engaged.

The a7R III features back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS image sensor with no optical low pass filter that utilizes a gapless on-chip lens design and anti-reflective coating on the surface of the sensor’s seal glass, which Sony says helps to improve light collection for lower-noise and higher dynamic range–up to 15 stops. The camera has a native ISO range of 100-32,000 (expandable to 50-102,400).

The AF system has also seen an upgrade. It features 399 focal-plane phase-detection AF points that cover approximately 68 percent of the image area in both the horizontal and vertical directions. There is also 425 contrast AF points, compared to just 25 on the α7R II. The new AF system cuts in half the amount of time it takes the a7R III to acquire focus compared to its predecessor. Tracking is also twice as accurate, Sony says.

There’s also a new front-end LSI and updated processor that combine to deliver a 1.8x processing speed boost compared to the a7R II. You can store up to 76 JPEG/RAW images or 28 uncompressed RAW files during 10fps burst shooting. Like the previous models,the a7R III has a 5-axis in-body stabilizer that’s been tweaked to deliver up to 5.5 stops of correction (the world’s highest, according to Sony). Sony changed the shutter design as well to reduce vibrations.

The a7R III can fire off its brisk bursts with either a mechanical or an electronic shutter. If you’re in live view mode, your continuous speed drops to 8 fps.

On the video front, the camera records 4K across the full width of the sensor. There’s a new Hybrid Log-Gamma profile available for HDR workflows, alongside the usual S-Log2/3 profiles. Full HD recording is available up to 120 fps.

Additional features include:

  • an anti-flicker mode that automatically detects frequency of flourescent lighting and times the shutter to minimize its effect on images being captured
  • dual SD card slots, with one slot supporting UHS-II cards
  • a new battery with 2.2x the capacity of the W series battery utilized in the α7R II
  • an upgraded OLED EVF with 3,686 dots of resolution with a customizable frame rate (60 or 120fps)
  • upgraded LCD with improved outdoor/bright viewing
  • a multi-selector joystick for selecting AF points
  • Wi-Fi
  • USB 3.1 (Gen 1) Type-C connector

Sony is also taking a page from companies like Olympus and Pentax with a new Pixel Shift Multi mode, which moves the image sensor by one pixel increments to capture four separate images that are composited to create the equivalent of a 169-megapixel image. Unlike its rival’s implementation, however, the compositing can’t be done in camera. It requires new Image Edge desktop software. This free software contains three applications to support live-view remote control through a computer, RAW development and the Pixel Shift compositing.

The a7R III is due in November for $3,200.