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Sony Alpha A7R III Full Review - Performance

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Sony Alpha A7R Mark III Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Shutter Response <0.05secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.25secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response  0.20secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 0.8secs
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.7secs
Shot to Shot with Flash N/A
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
Hi - 8fps (89 shots before slowdown)*
Hi+ - 10fps (84 shots before slowdown)*
Continuous Shooting - Flash N/A
Continuous Shooting - RAW 10fps (83 shots)**

Silent shooting is available using the electronic shutter, and the quickest this shoots is 10fps. The standard shutter sound is quite loud, so you may want to switch to the electronic shutter at times. Switching between standard AF and phase-detection AF made little to no difference to the focusing speed during testing. Tested using a Lexar UHS-II U:3, 2000x 300MB/s SD card. *50 seconds to clear the buffer, however, you can continue shooting or start shooting again. **20 seconds to clear the buffer (Raw compressed).


Sony Alpha 7R Mark III Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Images look good straight from the camera the majority of time, with rich saturated colours. Occasionally you may want to process the raw files yourself to tailor the look of the images. Exposure is reliable, as is focus, so there is a good level of success when taking photos. Dynamic Range Optimisation (DRO) makes sure that a good level of dynamic range is recorded in images, and if you want more, for a particularly contrasty scene, then the HDR mode will automatically merge shots taken at different exposures.

With a full-frame sensor, and a portrait lens, such as the 85mm f/1.8, it's quite easy to produce smooth blurred backgrounds, and a shallow depth-of-field. Because of this it's important to ensure correct focus, and with face and eye-detection focus the success rate for portrait photos is very high. Skin tones are pleasing, and levels of detail can be very impressive. Like the Sony A9, the A7R Mark III does not feature a panoramic shooting mode.


Sony Alpha 7R Mark III Lens test images

Lens Performance - Lens compensation is built-in to automatically correct for: Peripheral Shading (Vignetting), Chromatic Aberration, and Lens Distortion, and this all works very well. Image stabilisation is said to give 5.5 stops of correction, an improvement of 0.5 stops compared to the Sony Alpha A9, and 1 stop compared to the A7R Mark II.

We used the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master lens, 24-105mm f/4, and 85mm f/1.8. When using the new 24-105mm lens, we struggled to find any major signs of vignetting, and the lens was also quite resistant to flare, except when the sun was in the frame. Levels of detail are very good, although some purple fringing was seen when branches from trees were against a bright sky. The lens provides a fairly close focusing distance of 38cm, and backgrounds were nicely blurred.

JPEG images range in size between 6 and 35MB, with raw images around 40MB compressed, or 80MB uncompressed. You can now set the JPEG compression separately, so that RAW+JPEG is not fixed to just JPEG Fine, JPEG Super Fine is now an option.


Sony Alpha 7R Mark III Other sample images

Pixel Shift Multi-shot mode - Using this mode, the camera takes 4 photos using the electronic shutter, and each picture taken with the sensor moved by 1 pixel. You then need to stitch these images on your computer using Sony's Imaging Edge software. You can use the full aperture range of the lens you're using, and ISO can range from ISO100 to ISO102400. You'll need to use a sturdy tripod along with a remote release or the camera's self-timer, as it's essential that the camera is completely still when shooting. This means you can't use it on a monopod for example, unless you're very lucky, and the weather is on your side.


Sony Alpha A7R III Multi Shot Example Low ISO1
Sony Alpha A7R III Multi Shot Example Low ISO - At 100%

Sony Alpha A7R III Multi Shot Example
Sony Alpha A7R III Multi Shot Example - At 100%

The level of fine detail captured is noticeably better using this mode, although the process can feel quite time consuming, as you need to process each image on your computer. There are benefits in noise reduction at mid ISO speeds (ISO3200 for example), however at higher ISO speeds, this can introduce other issues. At low ISO speeds, the additional levels of detail is particularly impressive.


Sony Alpha 7R Mark III ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - For the lowest noise and best detail possible we would recommend using ISO100 to ISO3200, as images have low levels of noise and good levels of detail. For lower light situations ISO3200 to ISO6400 still provides good results, although noise increases and detail is reduced. At ISO12800 and ISO25600 noise levels become stronger and we would recommend avoiding this setting if possible, although results may still be useful if resized and used on the web. Shots taken at ISO51200 may just about be usable, depending on your needs, thanks to fairly good colour saturation. ISO102400 is best avoided as noise is high, and detail is low. There's a slight drop in dynamic range at ISO50, with ISO100 looking better. Compared to the A7R Mark II, there is less colour noise at higher ISO speeds, and slightly less noise overall, however this appears to be at the expense of fine detail.


Sony Alpha 7R Mark III White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) gives options for White or Ambient bias, as well as standard. Under tungsten lighting, the standard AWB gives a slightly warm result. If you want white whites, then the "White" option gives good results. The AWB Ambient option captures more atmosphere from the scene, and as a result, images are warm. AWB performs very well under fluorescent lighting, with the fluorescent presets often giving different colour casts, depending on your lights. AWB performs well under mixed light.


Video - The camera records 4K (UHD: 3180x2140) 30fps video to an internal memory card, and a high-speed UHS-II memory card is recommended for 4K / High-quality video recording. The compression rate options are 100Mbps and 60Mbps, with 4:2:2 8bit colour. 4K video recording now supports HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) S-Log3 for HDR video recording, and instant playback with compatible 4K HDR TVs. You can also record FullHD 1080p video up to 120fps.

We recorded a short example video, handheld, which you can view here, to give an example of how effect image stabilisation is. You can view additional videos on the ePHOTOzine YouTube Channel. Levels of detail recorded is very impressive, due to down-sampling from the high-resolution sensor, and there is minimal "jello" effect when panning.


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Photographs taken using the Sony Alpha 7R Mark III

City ScenePlease Can I have Another One?Gazania  in bloom.Feeding time for the Woodpecker.Blue tit preparing it's nest.Sunset over the TejoBird on a BranchPine IslandRamsgate HarbourThe Path Home.Autumnal coloursDark summerWoodland Walk.

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pablophotographer 9 1.8k 396
26 Oct 2017 6:36PM
No square (1:1) frame option?
RJPhoto 8 16 1 United Kingdom
27 Oct 2017 1:26PM
Started saving up.
ChrisV Plus
14 2.3k 26 United Kingdom
27 Oct 2017 2:09PM
Looks great. Hopefully it will make the A7rII more affordable because this is beyond what i can afford.
benjibob342 14 46 United Kingdom
29 Oct 2017 4:34PM
That seems a great price
ChrisV Plus
14 2.3k 26 United Kingdom
30 Oct 2017 12:01PM

Quote:That seems a great price

I don't think it's a bad price at all - certainly it's fair to put it into the same territory as the latest 5Ds and the Nikon 850D. Sony do seem to be offering decent value on their bodies. The lenses are a bit steep...
8 Nov 2017 12:10PM

Quote:That seems a great price

............The lenses are a bit steep...

Yes indeed, but there are some superb legacy lenses out there, not the least of which is the old Konica HexanonAR range.
AlanWillis 11 67 England
31 Jan 2018 1:44PM
In November 2017, I did some tests with the A7Riii and the A9. I have owned the A9 since May 2017, and I do love it.
My conclusions were that the A7RIII is incredible value. It is difficult to believe the A9 is worth over £1,000 more.
The image quality was so close, i had to check the metadata to match the photos to the cameras.
The advantage with the A9 is low light performance, in still and video,because it's ISO extends to 204800.
Sony's weakness ( being addressed as fast as possible ) is the range of lenses for distant wildlife and sport.
The Holy trinity of 16-30, 24-70, 70-200, G Masters are equal to prime image quality, and is reflected in price.
400 F2.8 soon to be available will be over 10K,, beyond my spending ability.

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