You need a lot of patience to review cameras. You also need some time, you need to be in a place that inspires you and you need good luck. Getting all these together is rare. In the two weeks I have had with the Sony Alpha 7R III, I have had a mix of one or two of the three, and a couple of rare occasions when all three fell in place together.
The Sony Alpha A7R III is the new version of what has been one of Sony’s most popular cameras recently. The mirror-less camera has not changed much in terms of design and is a bit more compact than most DSLR, though it packs the same features or more. The camera offers a great grip and even with a heavy zoom lens, like the FE 4/24-105 one used by me in the review, it stays stable in your hand. The body is packed with dials and custom buttons and there seem to be more than two ways to do something. There is a good recoil one you click, almost to make you believe this could be a DSLR with a mirror flicking inside.
There is so much about the Sony Alpha A7R III that it is impossible to cover all aspects. I will stick to a few elements that impressed me and would be the primary reason for picking up a camera like this.
42.4MP full-frame CMOS sensor|ISO 100-32,000, ISO 50-102,400|Hybrid AF with 399 phase-detection points|5.5-stop in-body IS| 10fps continues shooting|Sony E-mount lenses compatibility
The 42.4MP Sony Alpha A7R III offers a very versatile auto-focus system that is good enough to cover most use cases you might have. It does not have as many AF points as some other cameras these days, but with the right mode you will be able to manage some stunning results. I was lucky in a garden at Ambala Cantonment capturing a bee headed for pollen heaven. After a while, I discovered that you can use the touchscreen to select where you want the camera to focus. But this is not that obvious as the screen is not touch otherwise.
Mirrorless cameras are supposed to be really good with the low light given their extremely high ISO ranges. The Sony Alpha A7R III is no different and can give you good photos even when you are in pitch darkness. Also, this means this camera is really good at capturing anything that is happening at night. I capture some full moon photos while on the move on the Grand Trunk Road — capturing the lunar spectacle at full zoom from a moving car.
The Sony Alpha A7R III can also be really fast. Even with single shot mode on, I got some good action photos. The continuous shooting is also a galloping horse, but you will need a really good card to be able to take in this stream of photos. Also, the camera offers good slow-motion that too at a different frame and bit rates. The camera also offers a stunning 4K video which will put any video camera to shame.
The Sony Alpha A7R III is also one of the easiest cameras when it comes to smart connectivity. Like the rest of the camera, here too there are multiple options, via the Sony Play Memories app. I used the Bluetooth transfer feature — the link is made easy via a simple QR code scan on the phone — to transfer photos when I was on a drive and send the images to my office in Delhi. This is the easiest smartphone connectivity I have seen in large cameras. Also, you can easily control the camera with your phone.
The Sony Alpha A7R III is a pretty complicated camera, because the menu hides a lot of great features. There are pages after pages of stuff you can do, but it will take ages for you to find those. Thankfully, there is favorites tab which you can use to filter the ones you use the most. The viewfinder is great, especially when you framing a picture for clarity, but at times the visual looked a bit unnatural and too electronic for my liking.
The Sony Alpha A7R III is easily one of the best cameras you can buy at the moment. I think we are slowly coming to a point where professional cameras don’t need to be traditional full frame DSLRs. The time of the mirrorless camera has truly come and the Sony Alpha A7R III is the proof.