If you want a mirrorless camera, the number one choice the last few years has been Sony’s Alpha 7 line. Now the company has just released the Mark III version of the venerable shooter. The newest iteration of the company’s mirrorless full-frame camera is giving users of both video and photography some of the most impressive specifications available at an immensely competitive price.
At the heart of the A7 III is a brand new sensor. It sports the same 24.2 megapixel resolution as the outgoing model, but this new backside-illuminated sensor allows for greater light sensitivity and higher dynamic range of 15 stops. It also features 5-axis optical image stabilization. Maximum ISO is now an insane 204,800.
Couple that new sensor with an upgraded version of Sony’s Bionz X processor and you create one impressive package. Sony claims you can fire off 10 frames per second, and thanks to a massive buffer, you can continue that 10fps burst for a long time. In total you can burst for 177 jpeg images, 80 compressed RAW images or 40 uncompressed RAW images.
And then we get to the video performance. The Sony Alpha cameras have always been incredible video capture devices, but the new A7 III cranks things to 11. Not only can the camera capture full-4K footage, it can do so with HDR color grading. If you like your framerates fast, the A7 III will manage 120 fps at 1080p resolution.
For those all-day shoots, Sony also promises improved battery life. With a quoted 710 shots per battery, the A7 III is the longest lasting Alpha camera yet. A good thing too, considering battery life was one of the largest complaints leveraged against Sony’s second-generation A7 lineup.
If you’re a fan fast autofocus, Sony has even more good news for you. There are now nearly 700 autofocus points on the sensor, and they cover a massive 93-percent of the frame. Even those artistically composed shots with offset subjects can be focused on with speed.
For those who like a more hands-on approach, there is an autofocus joystick on the back of camera that is wrapped in rubber to help weatherproof the camera. The camera is not fully-sealed though. That’s one of the trade-offs you make to stick with the cheaper A7 III over the larger and pricier A9 that launched last year.
Speaking of costs, on top of all these incredible features and improvements, the most astonishing thing about the new A7 III is the price. With an MSRP of just $1,999, this Sony undercuts the competition by a massive margin. Comparative DSLR cameras from Nikon and Canon run in the range of $3,300.
In short, Sony appears to have created the most goldilocks of cameras. It has immensely impressive video and photography specs and a class-leading price. It may not be the highest resolution camera on sale today, or the absolute fastest shooter, but for anyone short of a full-on professional shooting at the Super Bowl or for billboard-sized print applications, the Sony should do the job.
When you start lining up those specifications on paper, its hard to think of a job the Sony wouldn’t excel at. Wedding and event photographers will see great use from the expanded ISO range, giving them more options and cleaner shots in varied lighting situations. Amateur filmmakers can create professional looking videos with minimal effort. And eve professional film crews looking for a compact camera for secondary shots could make use of the A7 III’s minimal size and impressive quality.
Currently Sony is dominating the full-frame mirrorless market, and if Nikon and Canon don’t step up their game, Sony is going to start stealing a lot of traditional DSLR buyers as well. Both Canon and Nikon continue to hold back major features like 4K video support from all but the most expensive cameras, and eventually buyers are going to give up on these industry stalwarts and move to greener pastures.
If you are a big photography and video enthusiast, the next few years are going to get very interesting if Sony keeps pushing out upgrades and enhancements at this impressive pace.
Of course, like all things, the specs on paper might not match real-world performance, so we can’t make a final recommendation until we get some hands-on time with this monster. Sony has a strong track record in this market, but we wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we just took the word of a manufacturer.