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Sony a7R III Accessories Guide. Sony alpha a7r iii

Sony a7R III Accessories Guide

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The Sony a7R III was my first high resolution ‘R’ camera and the first camera that allowed me to get closer to wildlife than ever before thanks to its 42.4 megapixel sensor.

Sony a7R III Forum Group

Cool accessories for Sony a7iii, a9, a7riii & a6000 series cameras from Shutterbands

If you are looking for further help and advice on the a7R III or would simply like to share your photos, then please head over to our friendly Sony a7R Forum. If you prefer then I also run the Sony Alpha Shooters Group where you can ask questions or post your shots taken with the Sony a7R III.

I purchased the a7R III as soon as it was announced back in October 2017. Since then I’ve been through a number of different accessories, some of which have been amazing and some that I wish I never bought.

For now you’ll only find my top 10 a7R III accessories in this guide, but I will soon be expanding on this to include hundreds of other popular accessories.

If you would like to recommend an accessory then please do drop a comment below the article.

My Top 10 Sony A7R III Accessories

Here are my top 10 recommended accessories for the Sony a7R III mirrorless camera.

Sony PCK-LG1 Screen Protector

You may or may not be aware that the LCD screen on the a7R III does include a very thin screen protector from the factory. However, it’s so thin that it’s practically useless and certainly won’t protect the screen from knocks and scratches.

Therefore I highly recommend purchasing an additional screen protector that simply goes over the top of the original. The official screen protector from Sony is the PCK-LG1. It is labelled as the screen protector for the a9 in many places, but rest assured it is fully supported and fits the a7R III perfectly.

I use this same screen protector on my own a7R III, a7R IV, a7III and a9 cameras and so far it has not disappointed me unlike some cheaper third-party screen protectors that I have also tried over the years.

Price Check Buyer Reviews for Sony PCK-LG1 Screen Protector

Sony VGC3EM Vertical Grip

If you would like to double the battery life of your a7R III and at the same time improve the ergonomics by increasing the size of the grip and adding additional vertical shooting buttons then you don’t need to look much further than the Sony VGC3EM vertical grip.

The grip itself supports two Sony NP-FZ100 batteries inside the grip, effectively doubling your battery life. To attach the grip you do need to remove the battery cover door from the a7R III but this is very simple thanks to the little switch on the inside of the door, there is also a place to store the door inside the grip so that it doesn’t get lost.

The grip itself is made from the same material as the a7R III, so it matches the camera body perfectly. The buttons also have the same tactile feedback as those on the a7R III. There are cheaper third-party battery grips available but if consistency is important to you and you’d like the grip to match the camera perfectly, then this is the grip for you.

I’ve also done a fairly comprehensive review of this vertical grip that you will find here.

Check Price Buyer Reviews for Sony VG-C3EM

Sony RMT-P1BT Remote Commander

If you are looking for a wireless remote for the a7R III then the Sony RMT-P1BT bluetooth remote has a range of up to around 18m or 60 feet from the camera. This compares to the older RMT-DSLR2 infrared remote that only works up to a couple of meters from the camera and struggles when outdoors.

The remote features a shutter button that works just like the shutter button on the camera itself, with a half-press activating the autofocus and a full press releasing the shutter. There are also two custom buttons that mirror the functions of the C1 and AF-ON buttons on the camera body, a lock switch, a movie/stills switch, and a zoom/FOCUS switch.

When the a7R III is in bulb mode a single press of the shutter button opens the shutter and a second press will close it again. You can also shoot continuous by holding down the shutter button.

Please note that when the Bluetooth Remote option is enabled in the a7R III settings menu then the Location Info Link is disabled. So if you are using Imaging Edge Mobile to record your location information via bluetooth, I’m afraid this will not work at the same time as the remote.

Sony a7R III, a7 III Complete Menu Settings Guide ( a7RIII a7III )

You will need to have updated the firmware on your a7R III to version 3.00 or newer for this remote to be supported. You can find the latest a7R III firmware updates here.

This remote is not the most intuitive to setup and I initially thought mine was broken before I figured it out. Therefore I created this short setup guide that will talk you through the setup process:

The high capacity Sony NP-FZ100 battery will let you shoot for hours on end, although it will rarely get you through an entire day of full-on action. So you’ll probably want at least 2-3 of these batteries to make sure you don’t run out of juice.

sony, accessories, guide, alpha

I highly recommend the original Sony batteries over third-party options if you don’t want to risk damaging your camera. Also many third-party batteries will throw up error messages when used in the a7R III and although they will normally continue to work you will lose the battery remaining indicator.

The Sony a7R III does not include the Sony BC-QZ1 external charger in the box. You can charge the NP-FZ100 battery in camera via USB but this will take around 5 hours to fully charge one battery, this compares with only 2.5 hours when charged with the Sony BC-QZ1 wall charger.

Price Check Buyer Reviews for Sony NP-FZ100 Battery

Price Check Buyer Reviews for Sony BC-QZ1 Charger

SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-II (300/260)

The SanDisk Extreme Pro cards have a claimed read speed of 300MB/s and a write speed of 260MB/s. I’ve tested a lot of SD cards in-camera and only the Sony SF-G cards are a few fractions of a second faster than the SanDisk Extreme Pro cards.

Unfortunately Sony has discontinued the SF-G cards, you can still get the SF-G Tough cards but these are a lot more money and not really worth it unless you shoot in very harsh environments.

Price Check Buyer Reviews for SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-II

Rode Wireless Go

The internal microphone on the a7R III is not the greatest. If you are looking to improve your audio and don’t want to use a shotgun mic then the Rode Wireless Go is definitely one option to consider.

In the box you’ll find a compact receiver and a transmitter with microphone built in. You simply clip the mic to either yourself or your subject then connect the receiver to the hotshoe mount on the a7R III and finally the audio cable to the mic port.

The Wireless GO uses an internal lithium-ion battery that Rode claims will last up to seven hours. Charging is done to both transmitter and receiver via USB-C ports and it can be fully recharged in two hours.

The transmitter has a built-in pre-polarized omnidirectional microphone with a frequency range of 50 Hz to 20 kHz and weighs just one ounce. It also has a 3.5mm TRS powered port to support a lavalier microphone. The Wireless GO can transmit up to 230 feet and uses the same 2.4 GHz frequency Band as the RodeLink.

I’m using this microphone myself for most of my recent YouTube Videos and can’t see myself changing it anytime soon.

Price Check Buyer Reviews for Rode Wireless Go

Peak Design Travel Travel Tripod Carbon

It is still hard to believe but the Peak Design Travel tripod raised over 12 million on Kickstarter back in 2019, and in the process made it one of the most successfully funded tripods of all time.

Its phenomenal success was largely due to its unique compact design together with Peak Designs well regarded reputation in the industry for building high quality products.

There are two versions of this tripod available, a carbon model that weighs 1.27 kg (2.81 lbs.), and the aluminum model that weights 1.56 kg (3.44 lbs.). Both versions have a maximum weight capacity of 9.1 kg (20 lbs.).

The tripod features 5 section quick release legs that can be deployed in seconds without having to flip over like traditional travel tripod legs. There’s an omnidirectional ergonomic ball head included that is compatible with all of Peak Design’s plates and most 3rd party Arca-type plates.

When collapsed the tripod measures 39.1 cm (15.4”) in length and 7.9 cm (3.125″) in diameter. The maximum height (center column raised) is 152.4 cm (60″), or 130.2 cm (51.25″) with the center column down. The minimum height (low mode) is 14 cm (5.5”).

To learn more about this exciting tripod simply watch this very helpful video presentation:

The Peak Design Cuff wrist strap will help to protect your a7R III from accidental drops. It connects to the camera using Peak Designs anchor system and the wrist loop magnetically locks in the open position, or comfortably cinches down on your wrist for added security.

The Peak Design Slide Lite can be worn as a sling, neck, or shoulder strap. It uses internally-padded nylon webbing has a smooth side that glides over clothing in sling mode and a grippy side that prevents slipping in shoulder mode.

What I like most about the Peak Design system as that it takes only seconds to switch from using the wrist strap to the neck strap, or switch straps from one camera to another.

Price Check Buyer Reviews for Peak Design Cuff

Price Check Buyer Reviews for Peak Design Slide Lite

Think Tank / MindShift Backlight 18L Backpack

After purchasing the Sony 200-600 lens I found myself needing a new daypack.

Since I run the Sony Alpha Wildlife Shooters Group I simply asked the group members which bags they would recommend.

The response was so overwhelming I decided to put together this bag guide to help others with the same question.

The MindShift Backlight 18L Backpack was one of the most popular choices with members. So I purchased this bag in the woodland green color and not the charcoal grey like pictured above.

You access your camera gear through the rear access panel which you can also access without taking the backpack off by simply rotating the bag to the front of your body while the waist belt is still secured.

There’s a dedicated compartment that will fit up to a 13” laptop or tablet, front storage s totaling 5L of space and great for any personal gear like a light jacket or food. There’s also a seam-sealed rain cover included. The pack weighs 3.5 lbs. (1.6 kg) and has a total volume of 18 liters.

The exterior dimensions are 10.6” W x 18.5” H x 7.1” D (27 x 47 x 18 cm) so it also meets most international and US carry-on requirements. Internal dimensions are 9.4” W x 16.7” H x 5.5” D (24 x 42.5 x 14 cm).

If 18L is not large enough then there is also a 26L and 36L version available, I also have the 36L myself.

Price Check Buyer Reviews for MindShift TrailScape 18L Backpack

Rocket Air Blaster Large

If you don’t already own a rocket air blaster then I don’t know how you’ve survived this long without one. It’s a fantastic accessory for blowing dust off your sensor, off your lenses, off filters and from out of the EVF.

Also when it comes to sensor cleaning the less contact with your sensor the better. I rarely have to reach for my sensor cleaning toolkit as often a couple of blasts from the rocket will remove any dust particles.

Price Check Buyer Reviews for Rocket Air Blaster Large

That’s all for now but please check back again soon as I will be adding a much more comprehensive accessories guide very soon.

Also like I said above if you can recommend any accessories please do drop a comment down below.

Check Price Buyer Reviews for Sony a7R III

Sony a7R III Accessories Guide

Sony a7R III a7R IIIA Firmware Updates

About Timothy Mayo

I love shooting wildlife the most but will happily point my camera at pretty much anything. I started Alpha Shooters in 2017 to share my own photographic journey and experiences shooting with Sony Alpha. The site has since evolved into a popular community and resource. You can find out more about my story here or follow me on Instagram if you wish. I also have a YouTube Channel but haven’t published much content over the past year due to spending more time changing smelly nappies and also launching our community forums. However, I do hope to get back to creating content again there soon!

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It may be three years old, but is the 42.4MP Sony A7R III still a powerhouse performer?

Digital Camera World Verdict

When it launched in 2017, the Sony A7R III was unrivaled in its power and versatility. However, even though the market has caught up with its specs, it remains a powerhouse to this day, with near-medium format resolution packed into a sleek, stabilized body. Indeed, unless you REALLY need the 61MP sensor, the A7R III might be a much wiser purchase than the A7R IV – and it certainly comes with a much more appealing price tag.

Pros

  • Still has superb resolution
  • Especially with pixel shift
  • 10fps continuous shooting

Cons

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The Sony A7R III launched back in 2017, but it was so far ahead of its time back then that it remains an impressive camera even in today’s terms.

Indeed, the Sony A7R III boasts a 42.4MP resolution that still remains a high watermark – though of course, that does mean that it’s now facing competition like the Canon EOS R5, Nikon Z7, Panasonic S1R and, of course, its own successor – the 61MP Sony A7R IV.

Likewise, its full-width 4K 30p video is no longer cutting edge, with the best cameras for filmmaking easily eclipsing its filmmaking capabilities. However, with a still speedy 10fps continuous shooting speed, in-body image stabilization, a phase detect autofocus system and dual memory card slots, the A7R III is still one of the best Sony cameras – and still one of the most compelling camera on the market, period.

It may be three years old, but its specs were arguably three years ahead of their time in most respects. So if you can get a great deal on it. the Sony A7R III is definitely still worth considering over its contemporary competitors…

Sony A7R III specifications

Sony model number: ILCE-7RM3 Sensor: 42.4MP full frame Exmor R CMOS, 35.9 x 24.0mm Focal length conversion: 1x Memory: 2x SD/SDHC/SDXC, inc 1x UHS II Viewfinder: Quad-VGA OLED, 3.69 million dots Max video resolution: 4K UHD at 30, 24fps ISO range: 100-32,000, expandable to 50-102,400 Autofocus points: 399-point phase detection, 425-point contrast detection Max burst: 10fps (76 compressed raw) Screen: 3-inch tilting touchscreen, 1,440k dots Shutter speeds: 30-⅛,000 sec, bulb Weight: 675g (body only, with battery and memory card) Dimensions: 126.9 x 95.6 x 73.7mm Power supply: NP-FZ100 lithium-ion (supplied)

Key features

Some might be disappointed that the A7R III’s resolution is unchanged from the Sony A7R II’s at 42.4 million pixels, but this sensor is capable of outstanding quality – and the improvements to the continuous shooting speeds are much more important, because the new model can top out at an amazing 10 frames per second at full resolution.

Not only that, it can sustain this for up to 76 compressed raw files. This drops to 28 shots for uncompressed raws, but we suspect that any difference in quality is unlikely to be worth the drop in buffer capacity.

Framerates grab the headlines, but without the buffer capacity to go with them they mean very little. If the A7R III had the buffer of a typical non-professional camera, it would grind to a halt after a burst of just a couple of seconds. Instead, it can keep going for more than seven seconds – and that’s a big difference in use.

The camera has dual memory card slots, too, though despite the emphasis on speed and resolution, only one of these is UHS II-compatible – a bit of a surprise, given its performance potential.

The autofocus system has been designed to match this camera’s continuous shooting performance, with a 399-point phase-detection array already seen in the A7R II combined with a 425-point contrast AF array inherited from the Sony A9. Sony says this system is up to twice as fast in low light, twice as precise for continuous FOCUS tracking and reliable down to.3EV.

While Sony rates its 5-axis SteadyShot system as offering 5.5 stops of effective compensation, in reality it doesn’t come close to the in-body image stabilization offered by full-frame rivals like the Canon EOS R6 or Nikon Z6.

Still, the battery offers over double the shot capacity of the one used by its predecessor, as do the video specs. While its 4K 30p video predates the H.264 and H.265 era, its nonetheless uncropped and features HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) for improved dynamic range.

Last but not least, the A7R III has a new Pixel Shift Multi-Shooting mode that takes a series of shots in quick succession with a 1-pixel shift between each. This captures a higher-resolution image file with full color information for each pixel and reduced moiré in fine patterns and textures – though this requires a longer overall exposure, a relatively static subject and external processing on a computer.

Unlike other cameras with this mode it doesn’t produce an image with more megapixels, but it dramatically improves the level of detail captured by each 42.4MP shot, making it incredibly useful for still life and light landscape work.

Build and handling

Compared to its predecessor, the A7R III feels chunkier thanks to a slightly larger grip and thicker back section. Still, Sony’s bodies are some of the sleekest in the business, so this is hardly a bulky camera.

When this camera first launched, most of Sony’s lenses were limited to premium-priced and oversized monsters, which still feel mismatched when mounted on such a svelte body. Today, however, there’s plenty of more compact glass available for those who want more.friendly options.

The lack of articulating screen feels a bit more egregious in contemporary terms, particularly if you shoot in portrait orientation, and its 1.44 million-dot resolution is definitely showing its age – particularly since this is a camera designed for hi-res imaging. The 3.69 million-dot EVF hasn’t aged as badly, though obviously OLED tech has come a long way since this was launched.

The A7R III’s bent towards action photography is supported by a new multi-selector (that’s a joystick, to you and us), though alternatively, you can tap the touchscreen to set the FOCUS point.

Both worked fine, though the autofocus options in general are not for the faint-hearted. This is a professional camera aimed at professional users, so you might not expect any particular beginner-friendliness – but even experienced photographers will need to spend some time with the manual – and with the camera out in the field – to find the autofocus settings that best suit the way they work.

Apart from the autofocus mode itself – single shot, continuous AF or automatic selection – there’s a choice of five AF point modes, including Wide (automatic selection within the whole AF area), Zone (automatic selection within a smaller zone), Center, Flexible Spot (which you can move around the frame) and Expand Flexible Spot (uses FOCUS points around the selected spot).

It doesn’t stop there. All five are available under an additional Lock-On AF mode, where the AF system will track your initial locked-on subject within the zone/area you’ve selected.

It sounds complicated but it doesn’t take too long to grasp the principles and to pick out the modes which sound like they might work best for you, but it might a good deal longer to check and compare the results with real-world subjects, which don’t all behave in a predictable fashion.

Performance

For our tests we recruited the help of a kenshi (swordsman) running through a series of kenjutsu patterns which combined movement across the frame and towards the camera. We wanted to find out how well the AF system could track the mask on the helmet and keep that sharp as the key point of FOCUS through these fast and complex movements.

In fact the A7R III kept up pretty well, though each AF zone had its pros and cons. The Flexible Spot mode was best for keeping the mask in FOCUS, provided we kept the AF point in the right place – but that wasn’t easy with sudden lateral movements and sword strokes in front of the mask.

Using a wider FOCUS zone and FOCUS tracking took the pressure off accurate FOCUS point positioning and allowed a steadier camera position, but if the subject left the zone the AF defaulted to the background, and in some instances the camera lost FOCUS completely for a frame or two for no obvious reason.

Photographing moving subjects demands a good deal of skill, anticipation and practice on the part of the photographer. The A7R III’s AF system responded well with a really tough subject, with a good hit rate of in-FOCUS shots, but confirmed that skill, practice and luck are part of the equation too.

The joystick makes it easy to shift the FOCUS point while you’re using the viewfinder, or you can use the touch-sensitive rear screen. And if you like to separate the shutter release from the autofocus actuation – and many sports photographers do – there’s a dedicated AF-ON button on the rear.

It’s hard to fault the A7R III’s performance. We’ve already talked about the autofocus, which is fast and smooth for static subjects and pretty impressive with fast, erratic movement – and the 76-shot compressed raw buffer means that you really can take advantage of its 10fps continuous shooting without having to shoot in tiny bursts.

If sports and action are your main field then you would probably choose one of the best cameras for sports photography. However, if your work relies on both speed and resolution, the A7R III delivers both in spades.

If the Sony’s physical performance is impressive, then its image quality performance is even more so. The levels of detail that Sony’s 42.4-megapixel sensor can capture – especially in pixel shift – are fantastic. While there are higher resolution cameras, and cameras that resolve finer detail, on the market today, the A7R III remains a true performance powerhouse.

Sony a7R III

The Sony a7R III combines many of the stellar features of the various a7 series cameras into 1 powerful multimedia machine. It took the high resolution sensor of its predecessor, the a7R II but updated the BIONZ X image processor. This afforded a leap in continuous shooting speed up from 5 FPS in prior models to 10 FPS. While not nearly as quick as the Sony a9, it’s still suitable for most action scenes, including sports, wildlife, and events. base ISO has been expanded from 100-25,600 to 100-32,000 while the Fast Hybrid AF System now offers 425 contrast detection points in addition to the 399 phase detection points up from 25/399.

The a7R III uses the same high-capacity battery as the a9, which allows up to 530 shots per charge. With dual SD card slots, a tilting touchscreen LCD, headphone/microphone ports, and a PC sync-in port for external lighting, the a7R III has positioned itself as the all-around go-to camera with pro-style operability that’s exceptionally powerful for portraits but also extremely well suited for events and commercial work.

For videographers, the a7R III is equipped with internal 4K shooting and S-Log2 and 3 for better gradation from shadows to midtones and a wide dynamic range of up to 14 stops a lot of flexibility for post production. Enjoy the new Hybrid Log-Gamma picture profile, which supports high dynamic range, helps prevent blocked shadows or blown highlights, and creates instant, lifelike footage without further color grading. All of this dynamic range also serves photographers, who get to enjoy 14-bit raw output even in silent or continuous shooting modes.

Sensor: 42.4MP Full Frame CMOS File Size/Format: 7952 x 5304, JPEG/Raw (ARW) Video Resolutions/Framerates:

  • 3840 x 2160 at 23.98p, 29.97p (Up to 100Mbps)
  • 1920 x 1080 at 23.98p, 29.97p, 59.94p (Up to 50Mbps)
  • 1920 x 1080 at 120 FPS (Up to 100Mbps)

Lens Compatibility: Sony E Mount ISO Range: 100-32,000 (Extended Mode: 50-102,400) AF Points: 425 Contrast Detection/399 Phase Detection Ports I/O:

  • 3.5mm Headphone
  • 3.5mm Microphone
  • Micro HDMI (Type D)
  • Micro USB (Type B) 2.0
  • USB-C

Flash: Hot Shoe Only, PC Sync-In Port, Sync Speed 1/250 Shooting Speed: Up to 10 FPS Memory Card Compatibility: Dual UHS-I/UHS-II SD Slots Monitor/LCD: 3″ Tilting Touchscreen LCD Dimensions: 5″ Wide x 3.76″ Tall x 2.9″ Deep Weight: 1.45 lbs Additional Features:

  • Wi-Fi/Bluetooth
  • 5-Axis In-Body Image Stabilization
  • Pass-Through Charging Support via USB-C
  • Multi-Interface Shoe

Rental Includes

  • Sony Alpha a7R III Mirrorless Digital Camera
  • Body Cap
  • Camera Strap
  • NP-FZ100 Battery
  • Charger

Rental Notes

  • Battery life is approximately 100-180 minutes during continuous movie capture or around 530-650 still frames. battery takes about 285 minutes to charge.
  • A Class 10 or higher SDHC/SDXC card is required for XAVC S format movie recording. UHS Speed Class 3 or higher card is required for 100Mbps recording.
  • Continuous video shooting is possible for approximately 30 minutes.

Sony A7RIII (a7R3), a 2023 review

This is my 2023 review of the Sony A7RIII (or Sony A7R3), a camera I’ve owned and used with a lot of pleasure since 2019. This review is my own experience with the Sony A7RIII in the past few years. I’ll tell you if this is still a camera worth buying in 2023 in my opinion.

This review got a bit long, sorry for that. TLDR: Yes, the Sony A7RIII is still a very interesting camera in 2023!

I think the name Sony has been discussed more and more in the boardrooms at Canon an Nikon for a few years now. At first they may have laughed a bit at those TV-boys buying Minolta and making their translucent mirror DSLR’s. And their first NEX mirrorless cameras were quite good, but nothing anyone at Canon or Nikon was going to lose sleep about.

I think that must have changed since the introduction of the A7-series. The first truly affordable full frame mirrorless camera introduced in 2012 (or thereabout). Still there where quite some downsides to the first A7’s but you could already see where Sony was going with this. Auto FOCUS was not really fast but it was reliable, the body’s weren’t real comfortable to hold and the ergonomics left a lot to be desired. And Sony didn’t have a great big lens line-up.

But those downsides have all vanished over the last couple of years, and the last A7’s are so good you’re really not missing anything in comparison to a DSLR. On the contrary, mirrorless has become the benchmark in most fields.

And it comes as no surprise that even Canon and Nikon started making full frame mirrorless cameras now. But they do have some catching up to do as their first attempts at full frame mirrorless had to compete with Sony’s 3 rd iteration of this type. And Sony has since then even introduced their 4 th version of the A7, which is even better, faster and more capable.

The Sony A7RIII and A7III in 2022 aren’t the newest and most capable models in Sony’s line-up anymore. But as Sony tends to do you can still buy them new, and there are quite some second-hand models floating around also. And Sony have released a new iteration of the Sony A7RIII, that is about 98% the same as my model, but does come with a better back-screen. You can find the new model under the name Sony A7RIII A or A7R3 A.

In 2022 are going down, both for a new Sony A7RIII and second-hand one. So if you are looking to upgrade from an older Sony A7 or any type of DSLR these cameras look compelling. In this review I’ll tell you about my experience with the Sony A7RIII and I’ll try to answer one question: Is the Sony A7RIII still an interesting buy in 2022?

Specs

When it comes to specs Sony has never disappointed, and when the A7RIII was introduced it was one of the most impressive cameras around. And it still is in 2022. The most important specs for the Sony A7RIII:

  • Introduction year: 2017
  • 42 megapixel sensor
  • Resolution: 7952 5304
  • Image processor: Bionz X
  • AF system: 399 phase detect AF points 425 contrast detection AF points
  • Metering system: 1200 zones
  • Shutter speed: 30s – 1/8000s
  • Viewfinder magnification resolution: 0.78x / 3.680k dots
  • Screen: 1.44m dots / 2.95 inch
  • Shooting speed: 10 FPS (buffer 28 RAW files or 76 JPEGs)
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth NFC
  • Battery: NP-FZ100
  • Weight 657 grams (1.45 lb)

Build quality and design

If you have ever used an old Sony A7 picking up a Sony A7RIII will be quite a shock. The old A7 was very light but also felt quite fragile. The Sony A7RIII is the complete opposite of that feeling. It feels dense and sturdy, like it was made out of a solid block of light weight metal.

It isn’t heavy by any means at 657 grams or 1.45 lb, but is does feel like a quality product. It does also feel a little different than the A7III which is a tiny bit lighter and feels a little less dense and sturdy. I guess that is because of the full magnesium body in the A7RIII as opposed to the partly metal body of the A7III that is combined with some high end plastics.

I do love the understated look of the A7RIII. It is sleek, and has a nice matte black finish that contributes to the high end feeling of the camera. On the front there are some programmable buttons, the lens-release button and the IR port in the grip. On the bottom you’ll find the battery-compartment that houses the bigger FZ-100 battery instead of the older FW-50 that was used in the older body’s. The bigger battery gives you a great battery life, I can shoot a whole day without changing batteries.

The memory cards have found a new home on the left side of the body and there is room for two cards. A big advantage for people wanting to use the Sony A7RIII for professional work. One thing I don’t really get is that Sony has opted for one UHS-II slot accepting the fasted SD cards and one UHS-I slot. When you use the first slot for storing RAW’s and the second for video or JPEG’s that isn’t a real big problem. But when you use the second slot as a back-up your speed is always limited by the slowest of the two cards.

On the top plate there is the standard PSAM controller, hot shoe for flash and accessories, on-off switch and the shutter release button. You’ll also find some programmable buttons and you can see the front and back rotational controller. These are way, way better than the ones that were on the old A7, but haven’t changed that much from the ones used on the A7II-series.

The back gives you a view of the flippy-screen that can be moved both up and down for easy viewing when holding the camera lower or higher. Still one of my favourite functions on a modern photo camera. The screen is touch-enabled so you can use it to zoom in to images you are reviewing or for selecting FOCUS points. It doesn’t work in the menus, but I can’t say I miss that too much. My fingers would definitely be too fat to touch those small menu items anyway.

On the back you’ll also find the multi controller and a joystick that can be used for selecting FOCUS points. I’m glad they added that but I must say most of the time I still use the touch screen for that as it just works faster. But for precise selection of the FOCUS points the joystick is great. The other button layout is very nice and the ergonomics are good. Even though I’ve been a Nikon user for most of my life I never really have any trouble finding the right button.

Viewfinder / EVF

The viewfinder was one of the reasons I chose to buy an A7RIII over the A7III. The ‘normal’ A7III uses a 2360k dots viewfinder with a maximum refresh rate of 60 FPS. That is a very respectable viewfinder that will be more than enough for most users. But I have been spoiled by using high-end Nikon cameras with very good, big and bright optical viewfinders on my D800, Df and D4 and I was a little worried I would miss something when stepping back to the simpler viewfinder of the A7III. I must admit that after I’ve bought the A7RIII I’ve tried the A7III a few times and the viewfinder is just fine, I wouldn’t advise anyone to buy an A7RIII over the A7III just because of the viewfinder.

But the viewfinder of the A7RIII is a little better. It uses a panel with 3.680k dots that just offers a higher resolution that looks a little sharper. It isn’t night and day, but when using both next to each other you will notice. One thing that does make quite a difference is the option to run the viewfinder at 120 FPS instead of the standard 60 FPS. That does use some extra power but I love the smooth look you get. All in all I love the EVF in my Sony A7RIII and I wouldn’t want to go back to an optical viewfinder anymore. The EVF just shows more information and what I love is the option to zoom in when using manual FOCUS. And the option to review your images in the EVF without taking the camera off your eye is also great.

Autofocus of the Sony A7RIII

In the old days you really needed a good DSLR to have fast and responsive auto FOCUS. Most older mirrorless cameras used contrast detection that was very accurate but way to slow for anything that moves. With the Sony A7III and Sony A7RIII I can say I’d rather have a mirrorless than a DSLR when it comes to FOCUS.

One of the big advantages of a mirrorless camera is that you don’t have to finetune your FOCUS like you do on a DSLR. As the FOCUS system is on the image sensor itself the FOCUS is always spot on, and there isn’t any adjustment to be made. Another thing I like about a mirrorless camera is that FOCUS works the same when shooting through the viewfinder or using the back LCD. On a DSLR there is a big difference in the FOCUS system when using the viewfinder (fast and quite accurate) or the back screen (contrast detection or on sensor – very accurate but in most cameras a lot slower than the normal system). At least on older Nikon DSLR’s, Canon was better in that regard.

The auto FOCUS technology

The Sony A7RIII has got 399 phase detection auto FOCUS point and 425 contrast detection auto FOCUS points. The A7III has even more phase detection auto FOCUS points (600) and is in theory even faster. The difference between the two in real world use is quite small though, but FOCUS very fast and accurate. I’m most impressed with things like the real-time face and even real-time eye detection. The Sony A7RIII is capable of quickly selecting and keeping track of faces and eyes which is great for portraits. You never have to FOCUS and re-compose to get the faces in FOCUS at all, just let the camera do its thing and you’ll be okay. The system is built to prioritise (can be turned off) the face and eye of your subjects, even if there are other distractions in your frame that are closer to the camera then the person.

Using auto FOCUS on the Sony A7RIII

The AF-system gives me the freedom to FOCUS on my composition and spend less time and effort in fiddling with my FOCUS. Eye AF gives you the option to choose which eye it should prioritise or just let it choose the closest eye. And with firmware 3 and up you can even choose to set eye AF to animal eyes, so it even works with your favourite pet. You still have to manually switch between human or animal eye-AF but it is very cool it has the option built in now.

That combined with the high speed of the AF-system makes it ideal for portraits and family photos. But don’t be fooled by the fancy AF system and 10 FPS shooting speed. The Sony A7RIII isn’t a fast action or sports camera. When shooting really fast moving subjects (like my dog running towards the camera) the A7RIII is slower and misses more than my previous Nikon D4. But that isn’t what you buy this camera for, when you need absolute speed just get an A9. And it isn’t fair either comparing this camera to a (when it was new 6500 euro) dedicated sports camera with 16 megapixel. This is a high resolution all-rounder that offers you 42 megapixel images. It is great knowing that with normal fast paced shooting the A7RIII will do perfectly and gives you the option to take up to 10 FPS.

AF-Complexity

When first using this camera you may be a little overwhelmed by all the AF functions and options. But it isn’t real hard to use. I’ve got my AF options for choosing the AF field set in my FN-menu so I can access them quickly. When shooting normally I use the ‘wide’ field with face and eye detection on. That way the camera will select the FOCUS point itself, and somehow this works perfectly in most situations. When I’m shooting something more complex and see the camera selecting the wrong subject I tend to switch to the Medium-size flexible point. That gives me the option to choose where I need my FOCUS and I can move the FOCUS point around with the touch screen. For fast action I choose expanded flexible point M. That way you select the subject you want the camera to follow and then just let it do its magic. Works very well.

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Having had the old A7 back in 2013 it is very impressive what Sony has done with the A7RIII, the FOCUS system has just improved so much it’s almost hard to believe. The A7 had most of the functions the new models have, but it felt quite unfinished. The AF worked most of the time but was also slow and would just let you down in some situations. On the new A7RIII it is as reliable as my Nikon DSLR’s where, but it also has a lot more functions.

Video

I don’t shoot video a lot, and if I do it is mostly with my iPhone. But the A7RIII is a very capable video camera. It offers 4K video up to 30 fps and 1080p up to 120 fps. You can record video in Sony’s XAVC-S, AVCHD and MPEG-4 H.264 formats. It doesn’t support H.265. The camera only offers internal 8 bit recording. You do have the option to film in S-log2 or S-log3 profiles, but as far as I understand that is a bit limited in how useful it is by the 8-bit recording. So I’d say this is a perfect video camera for anyone shooting video’s for their own use or even the occasional professional video. But there are way better camera’s out there for video.

Image quality

The image quality of the Sony A7RIII can be summarised in one simple word: Superb! First of all I love the high resolution of almost 8000 x 5300 pixels. Yes, megapixels aren’t the most import feature on a camera, I’ve shot fantastic images on my 16 megapixel D4 as well. But having a lot of pixels is great for cropping and reframing. I’ve always cropped and re-framed in post processing, but it is great to crop an image and still have more than enough pixels left over for any application.

The high pixel count does ask for high quality lenses and precise focusing. If you are a pixel peeper you will love how much you can zoom in on any image, but that will show any imperfection. But then again, looking at images at a normal distance and without zooming to 100% they will also look great.

Silent shooting

The A7RIII offers a silent shooting mode. I use this almost all of the time. I love being able to shoot images without the clacking sound of my shutter. I do have to warn people that while they don’t hear anything I’m still taking images. That does lead to some funny looks sometimes. The silent shooting isn’t as perfect as the Sony A9 for instance. That camera can shoot silent in almost any situation. There are situations where you have to revert to the regular shutter on the A7RIII to prevent image problems, like with certain fluorescent lights or when you use a speedlight. But normally I shoot about 99% of my images in silent mode.

High ISO

The Sony A7RIII isn’t a high ISO specialist by design. The Sony A7III does a little better in most tests. But there is big BUT to that. Yes, at very high ISO’s (6400 and up) you will see more noise when you zoom in to the image. But the magic of the high resolution is that you can down-scale the image to 16 of 24 megapixel and get better results than you would with a native 16 or 24 megapixel camera.

For me the high ISO performance of the A7RIII is very good. I’ve got my auto-ISO set to go up to ISO12800. Yes, at ISO 12800 you do get quite some noise, but it will still deliver good enough images to use in most situations. Especially when you down-scale the image or don’t blow it up to 100%. My take is that I’d rather have a little noise in an otherwise nice looking and sharp image than have motion blur. Noise can be reduced in post, but motion blur is a lot less correctable.

Dynamic range

When it comes to dynamic range the Sony A7RIII delivers very good results. At base ISO (100) the dynamic range is insane. Images that are underexposed can be lifted to show as much details as you could ask for. And images that are well exposed but have dark shadows can be adjusted to look like HDR’s right out of the camera.

At higher ISO settings the dynamic range does increase. That is to be expected. But then I’m still able to enhance my images to suit my preferences without any problem. Lifting the shadows does introduce a little more noise than at base ISO but it is still very usable. I can’t remember a situation where the dynamic range of my A7RIII wasn’t enough to get the absolute most out of my image. I’ve never felt limited by the camera’s abilities (as opposed to my own photographic talent, that has limited me more than once!)

Connectivity

The Sony A7RIII offers basic smartphone connectivity. It has Bluetooth, NFC and Wi-Fi to connect to your smartphone. Unfortunately the A7RIII doesn’t have the more modern Bluetooth LE system that keeps a constant connection between your phone and the camera. Those newer systems can add GPS information to every photo and offer faster sharing of images and faster connection for remote control. But the older system on the A7RIII also works fine and is very practical to have.

When you connect your smartphone you have two main functions that I sometimes use: remote control (with live-view) and image sharing. Connecting is done via the Sony Imaging Edge app that is available for both iPhone and Android. On an Android phone you can set up the connection by just tapping your phone on the grip of the camera, this will activate NFC and will automatically establish a connection. iPhone users don’t have that luxury unfortunately, but that isn’t the cameras fault. On an iPhone you have to set up the Wi-Fi connection manually the first time and after that you can connect by activating the connection on both the camera and your iPhone. Both methods work fine, but the Android way is much simpler and faster.

The remote control function works great for selfies or other remote shooting. You get some basic control over the camera and can set things like shutter speed and aperture. I don’t know if you could also use zoom on a power zoom lens as I don’t have one to test that. Taking a photo isn’t super-fast but it works like it is supposed to, and after the photo is taken it sends a 2 megapixel version to your phone for reviewing.

Image sharing works about the same. You can select one or more images in your camera and choose to sent them to your phone. The standard setting will send a 2 megapixel image to your phone that is big enough for reviewing and sharing on social media.

Day to day use of the Sony A7RIII

I love my A7RIII, as you may have noticed that from this review. I love how it feels snappy and fast like a real modern camera. I love how small and light it is without giving me the feeling I’m missing out on something a bigger or heavier camera does have. In contrary, the A7RIII is by far the best and most complete camera I’ve ever owned. And I’ve owned quite some camera’s over the years (to give an idea: Nikon D7000, Sony A6000, Sony A7, Nikon D800, Nikon D750, Nikon D4, Nikon Df and all kinds of back-up cameras like the NEX5, RX0, RX100m4 and others). And normally I’d be looking for something newer, better, faster or cooler after 12 months. But not with the Sony A7RIII, even after 3 years I’m stil very happy with my camera.

I love the very fast and accurate auto FOCUS that gives me the confidence to just FOCUS on my composition and the look I want to give the image. I don’t have to worry about missing FOCUS as this camera just nails it in 98% of the time. And because of the fast, up to 10 fps, shooting speed I always have more than enough images that are perfectly sharp. And because of the high resolution a sharp image isn’t just sharp, it is razer sharp and still amazes me to this day.

I love the silent shooting. I love the screen that flips up and down and I love the electronic viewfinder. I also love the battery life, shooting a whole day and coming home with up to 750 or more image on one charge.

Are there things I don’t love? Well, original Sony lenses aren’t cheap (at all!). But Sony keeps adding new lenses in all price ranges (but they do seem to add more expensive ones than cheaper ones). And luckily there are more than enough third party alternatives. For instance I’ve used a Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 zoom for about a year, and that is a very good and affordable lens. I traded that in for a Sony 24-105 f/4 because I didn’t love the bokeh of the Tamron and wanted a bit more tele- and wide angle range. I also love the great Laowa lenses that are available for Sony E-mount. At the moment I’m using these lenses with my Sony A7RIII:

  • Sony Zeiss 35 mm f/2.8;
  • Sony 85 mm f/1.8;
  • Sony 24-105 f/4 zoom;
  • Laowa Argus 35mm f/0.95;
  • Laowa 15mm f/4.5 Shift;
  • Laowa 10-10mm f/5.6.

Conclusion for the Sony A7RIII

I started out with the question if the Sony A7RIII is still an interesting camera in 2022. Yes, there are camera’s that probably will outperform the Sony A7RIII. Newer Sony cameras have even better auto FOCUS or even higher resolution. And there are better video cameras available.

But that doesn’t mean the A7RIII isn’t a good camera anymore. The Sony A7RIII is still a very capable camera that will suit a wide range of shooting, from portraiture to landscape and travelling to casual family photos. And this can also be a professional tool for a professional photographer. The auto FOCUS is very good and the 42 megapixel resolution is more than enough for just about any job. It won’t disappoint you, especially at the current new or second hand. So if you are debating buying one: I’d say go for it!

Author

Laidred

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