The Sony Alpha Family Just Got Bigger With the α7 III
The Sony Alpha 7 family, when introduced back in 2013 was the most advanced camera of its time. The super compact camera fits a full-frame sensor and works without the traditional mirror that comes with plenty of its clunky competitors. A few years later the α7 II series came along. The improvements on the α7 II series really put Sony’s name in the star maps for high-end cameras. Their mirrorless form factor makes it the most compact high-end gear in the market. Its versatility made the α7 all the better.
The α7 II platform is already a hard to beat system. It was the best that the mirrorless market could offer. Its innovative mirrorless technology and the amount of features they pack into the smaller-than-average body size is unbeatable. So what could they possibly do with the a7 III that would make it better than the outgoing α7 II.
Welcome to the α7 III, the new benchmark for the mirrorless camera market; the replacement, an α7 II reloaded of some sorts.
The α7 III still retains that 24.2-Megapixel count that the α7 series of previous generations. The body also still has the 5-axis optical in-body stabilisation that the α7 II had. You can still record 4K videos out of the box like the older model. Lastly the ISO range is as wide as before ranging from 100-51200.
Now, the α7 III; what is new?
The 24.2-Megapixel sensor, though retaining the old resolution is brand new. The back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor is much faster than before. It is plenty more sensitive with 15 stops of dynamic range. With the new BIONZ X image processor that is approximately 1.8 times faster than before the α7 III can shoot high-resolution photographs at 10fps, even in silent shooting mode. The 10fps shoot can go up to 177 JPEG images, 89 compressed RAW images, or 40 uncompressed RAW images before buffering (8fps in Live View mode).
The new sensor also performs better in low light despite similar ISO range with the previous camera. The 15-stop dynamic range obviously is a factor when it comes to the improved low-light performance. The improved low-light sensitivity also improved colour sensitivity which means you get more true to life colours in any photos taken with the α7 III.
The Autofocus on the α7 III has also been greatly improved thanks to technological advances in the α9. The α7 III has a 693-point phase-detection autofocus system that can match most of its rivals in accuracy and speed. That 693 points also works together with 425 contrast autofocus points to cover 93% of your frame and make it even faster and accurate than ever before. The result, you get twice the speed while tracking your subject, and twice the focusing speed even in low-light conditions.
The amazing Eye autofocus feature that came with the α7R III also made its way to the new α7 III. This feature allows the camera to focus on subjects faster than ever before even when they are turning around, looking elsewhere, or slightly obstructed. What it does is that it tracks and focuses on the subjects eye rather than things like the subject’s hair, or nose, or whatever else. To make things more flexible, the α7 III includes a joystick at the back to control where your autofocus box is. Plus with the Focus Magnifier mode your manual focus can be much more accurate than ever before.
What if your artificial lighting flickers in your image? It is always a problem when you take high-speed photos right? It is every photographers’ and videographers’ nightmare. The α7 III comes with an Anti-flicker function to eliminate that issue. What that does is allow the camera to detect the frequency of the lighting and then time the shutter to minimise the flickering effect.
It still shoots 4K (3840 x 2160) videos in full-frame like the old α7 II. The advantage of a full-frame 4K video is you get higher levels of details with the enlarged capture sensor. Especially for the α7 III videos are recorded with the full 24.2-megapixel of the frame, which is about 2.4x the amount of data required for a 4K video. That footage is oversampled internally to produce some really great 4K footage with details rivaling 6K footage.
The α7 III also comes with S-Log2 and S-Log3 which shoots 4K videos at the most neutral colour settings while capturing an insane amount of detail. This allows for a greater flexibility in colour grading.
Slow motion? No problem; the α7 III shoots at 120fps at up to 100Mbps in Full HD resolution. All that while still having autofocus tracking, meaning you get your subjects in full focus at all times even at 4x slow motion.
One of the biggest complaints when it comes to the older models of the α7 is the battery life. The small form factor is a result of a compromised battery size and therefore battery life. Now though that should not be an issue. The bigger NP-FZ100 battery offers over twice the battery capacity and battery life over the previous battery that powers the α7 II. With the battery you can now capture about 710 images before the battery goes flat.
Of course like its bigger brother, the α9, the α7 III features a dual media slot too. One of the slot even includes support for a UHS-II SD card for that ultra-fast, ultra-critical high-speed shoot. Among other things too the Sony α7 III is now a USB Type-C device that offers fast charging. Alternatively you can use the Type-C port for faster data transfers.
There has been no word on the official pricing of the brand new high-end mirrorless camera. The α7 III will be available in Malaysia starting April, 2018 though so we do not have to wait too long before we can get our hands on one. Alongside the new camera Sony also launched their new SEL2870 lens, a FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS lens. That will also be available in Malaysia starting April, 2018 for MYR1,919.