Your browser is not supported or outdated so some features of the site might not be available.
79
Cameras store-bought and tested, supported by you via insider access, and when you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Driven by data, run by a passionate team of engineers, testers, technical writers, developers, and more. We are hiring!

Sony α7 III Camera Review

Tested using Methodology v0.10
Reviewed Feb 08, 2021 at 07:40 am
Sony α7 III Picture
7.8
Travel Photography
8.3
Landscape Photography
7.9
Sport & Wildlife Photography
6.6
Vlogging
8.6
Studio Video
4.4
Action Video
This camera was replaced by the Sony α7 IV
Body Type
SLR-Style
Mirrorless
Yes
Sensor Size
Full Frame
Tested Lens
Sony FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 OSS

The Sony α7 III is a full-frame mirrorless camera. It's great for photography, as it takes sharp images that are remarkably low in visual noise, even at high ISO settings. It offers a superb battery life, allowing you to shoot for extended periods without interruption. It's also a good option for amateur videographers, with 4k and FHD recording capability in a wide range of frame rates, a full set of physical inputs and outputs, and exceptional autofocus performance. Unfortunately, the screen doesn't articulate fully, and the menu system is confusing to navigate.

Our Verdict

7.8 Travel Photography

The Sony Alpha 7 III is very good for travel photography. Images look sharp and mostly free of noise and graininess, even in low-light conditions. It's also fitted with a quick, reliable, and efficient autofocus system. It has a wide shutter speed range, so you can capture stills of fast-moving crowds or take long-exposure shots. Depending on what settings you use and how you shoot, its battery can last you a full day of shooting. It's quite comfortable to use for most people, but it's also a little on the heavy side.

Pros
  • Superb image quality.
  • Great build quality.
  • Quick, reliable autofocus system.
Cons
  • Slightly heavy weight.
8.3 Landscape Photography

The Sony Alpha 7 III is impressive for landscape photography. Images are detailed, color-accurate, and low in visual noise. It also has fantastic dynamic range, so it preserves a wide range of shadow and highlight detail in high-contrast scenes. The camera itself feels quite sturdy, too. Its screen is also bright enough to be seen in direct sunlight. Unfortunately, it isn't the most portable to take to remote shooting locations or on long hikes.

Pros
  • Superb image quality.
  • Great build quality.
Cons
  • Slightly heavy weight.
7.9 Sport & Wildlife Photography

The Sony Alpha 7 III is great for sport and wildlife photography. While its maximum continuous shooting speed is only decent, it has a very high maximum shutter speed, allowing you to take photos of fast-moving subjects free of motion blur. Its autofocus system can also quickly and reliably focus on moving subjects. Unfortunately, it takes a little while for it to clear its photo buffer when you fill it up, which can interrupt your shooting.

Pros
  • Superb image quality.
  • Great build quality.
  • Quick, reliable autofocus system.
Cons
  • Slightly heavy weight.
  • Long buffer clearing time.
  • Maximum continuous shooting speed is only fair.
6.6 Vlogging

The Sony Alpha 7 III is okay for vlogging. It delivers excellent video quality in both FHD and 4k and superb face tracking autofocus performance. That said, its screen doesn't fully articulate, so you can't see yourself when the camera is pointed at you. Its image stabilization performance also isn't especially effective in regards to smoothing out camera shake.

Pros
  • Great build quality.
  • Great video quality with low visual noise, even in dark environments.
  • Outstanding autofocus performance in both 4k and FHD.
Cons
  • Slightly heavy weight.
  • Poor video stabilization in 4k.
  • Screen doesn't fully rotate.
8.6 Studio Video

The Sony Alpha 7 III is an excellent option for studio video. It has a wide array of inputs and outputs for videography accessories, records very high-quality footage in both 4k and FHD, and delivers superb autofocus performance. Unfortunately, its menu system can be hard to navigate and understand.

Pros
  • Great video quality with low visual noise, even in dark environments.
  • Outstanding autofocus performance in both 4k and FHD.
  • Wide variety of inputs and outputs for accessories.
Cons
  • Unintuitive menu system.
4.4 Action Video

The Sony Alpha 7 III isn't designed for action video. It's too big to mount onto a helmet rig, and it isn't water-resistant. While its image stabilization performance is poor in 4k, it performs better in this regard in FHD. It supports FHD recording at 120 fps, allowing you to create slow-motion videos.

Pros
  • Great build quality.
Cons
  • Slightly heavy weight.
  • Poor video stabilization in 4k.
  • 7.8 Travel Photography
  • 8.3 Landscape Photography
  • 7.9 Sport & Wildlife Photography
  • 6.6 Vlogging
  • 8.6 Studio Video
  • 4.4 Action Video
  1. Updated Sep 16, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.10.
  2. Updated Aug 16, 2022: After running into issues with RawTherapee during retesting for Test Bench 0.9, we decided to process the 'Photo RAW Dynamic Range' test scene in Lightroom instead. The test scene photo has been reuploaded.
  3. Updated Jul 29, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.9.
  4. Updated Apr 26, 2022: Having tested a wider array of cameras, we have reevaluated and adjusted this camera's 'Build Quality' score to more accurately reflect its build quality.
  5. Updated Apr 22, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.8.
  6. Updated Jul 16, 2021: Corrected camera and screen size measurements, number of command dials, and 'In The Box' contents.
  7. Updated Feb 08, 2021: Review published.
  8. Updated Feb 08, 2021: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
3.8
Design
Portability
Height
3.8" (9.6 cm)
Width
5.4" (13.8 cm)
Depth
3.1" (7.9 cm)
Volume
63.9 in³ (1,046.6 cm³)
Weight
1.43 lbs (0.65 kg)
Weight With Lens
2.07 lbs (0.94 kg)
8.0
Design
Build Quality

  • Magnesium alloy and plastic construction feels robust
  • Buttons, command dials, and wheels provide great physical feedback
  • Screen mechanism is sturdy-feeling
  • Door to its battery compartment and SD card slot is solid and mounted on a spring hinge
  • Input/outputs are covered by hard plastic flaps
  • Screen only tilts and doesn't fully rotate, so you can't see yourself when the camera is pointed at you
  • For a camera that feels even better-built, check out the Sony α7 IV.

Design
Body
Water Resistance
No
Rugged
No
Hot Shoe
Yes
Customizable Button
Yes
Command Dial
3
Tripod Mount
Yes
Lens Mount
E-Mount
Built-In Flash
No
Design
In The Box

  • Sony a7 III mirrorless camera body
  • Sony FE 28-70mm F/3.5-5.6 OSS lens
  • Lens caps
  • Sensor cap
  • Lens hood
  • 1x NP-FZ100 battery
  • Shoulder strap
  • USB cable
  • AC adapter
  • User manual

8.5
Design
Ergonomics & Comfort
Hand Grip: Small Hand
Yes
Hand Grip: Medium Hand
Yes
Hand Grip: Large Hand
Yes
Hand Grip: Extra-Large Hand
No

  • Changing aperture, shutter speed, and ISO is easy with your right eye pressed up against the viewfinder, but slightly more difficult if you shoot with your left eye
  • Controls are well-spaced, so you shouldn't accidentally make an input
  • Users with very big hands can have their middle fingers pinched between the handgrip and the lens

Design
Viewfinder
Viewfinder Type
Electronic
Advertised Coverage
100%
Advertised Resolution
2.36 million dots
Advertised Magnification
0.78
6.7
Design
Screen
Screen Articulation Type
Tilting
Screen Max Brightness
665 cd/m²
Advertised Resolution
0.92 million dots
Size
3.0" (7.5 cm)
Touchscreen
Limited
6.5
Design
Menu System
Guide Mode
Yes
App Name
Imaging Edge Mobile

  • Menu can be customized to suit your needs and preferences
  • All the physical buttons can have their functions remapped
  • Camera has a guide mode to help explain the effects of certain features
  • Quite a few features are buried within the sub-menus, like the face and eye-detection features and HDMI output configuration
  • Can't use the touchscreen to navigating the menu, forcing you to rely on the less intuitive physical controls

7.4
Design
Lens
Lens Type
Interchangeable
Maximum Aperture
3.5 - 5.6
Max Aperture (Full-Frame Equivalent)
f/3.5
Minimum Focal Length
28 mm
Maximum Focal Length
70 mm
Max Focal Length (Full-Frame Equivalent)
70 mm
Optical Image Stabilization
Yes
Luminance
78.3%
Light Falloff
68.2%
Design
Sensor
Sensor Type
BSI CMOS
Advertised Effective Pixels
24.2 MP
Processor
BIONZ X
Extended ISO Minimum
50
Native ISO Minimum (Base ISO)
100
Native ISO Maximum
51,200
Tested Firmware
Version 3.10
9.4
Design
Battery
Battery Type
Sony NP-FZ100
USB Charging
Yes
Use When Charging
Yes
Advertised Battery Life In Photo
610 photos
Tested Battery Life In Video
137 min
Photo General
Photo General
Photo Features
JPEG File Format
Yes
Raw File Format
ARW
Shutter
Electronic and Mechanical
Slowest Shutter Speed
30 s
Fastest Shutter Speed
1/8,000 s
Silent Shooting
Yes
HDR
Yes
Time Lapse
Yes
7.3
Photo General
Photo Shooting Speed
Low Speed Continuous
4 fps
High Speed Continuous
10 fps
Silent Shooting Continuous
9 fps
Raw Buffer Size
40 Photos
JPEG Buffer Size
164 Photos
Buffer Empty Time
10 s
8.6
Photo General
Photo Autofocus
Object Tracking Success Rate
90%
Face Tracking Success Rate
61%
Face Detection Distance
183" (465 cm)
Eye Detection
Yes
Advertised Coverage
93%
Advertised Focus Points
693
7.3
Photo General
Photo Image Stabilization
Minimum Shutter Speed Achieved
1/20 s
In-Body Image Stabilization
Yes
Photo Image Quality
9.0
Photo Image Quality
Photo RAW Dynamic Range
Dynamic Range At Base ISO
11.2 f-stops
Dynamic Range At 1/500s Exposure Time
9.8 f-stops
Dynamic Range At 1/2000s Exposure Time
8.0 f-stops
Dynamic Range At 1/4000s Exposure Time
7.3 f-stops
8.9
Photo Image Quality
Photo RAW Sharpness
Vertical Edge MTF50 At Base ISO
1,993 LW/PH
Horizontal Edge MTF50 At Base ISO
2,541 LW/PH
9.3
Photo Image Quality
Photo JPEG Noise
SNR 18% At Base ISO
40.09 dB
SNR 18% At ISO 800
39.62 dB
SNR 18% At ISO 3200
38.17 dB
9.1
Photo Image Quality
Photo RAW Noise
RAW SNR 18% At Base ISO
41.03 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 200
40.29 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 400
38.84 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 800
37.14 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 1600
34.74 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 3200
32.03 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 6400
29.3 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 12800
26.49 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 25600
23.27 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 51200
20.11 dB
Photo Image Quality
Test Scene Pictures Download
JPEG Picture At Base ISO Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 400 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 800 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 1600 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 3200 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 6400 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 12800 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 25600 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 51200 Download
RAW Picture At Base ISO Download
RAW Picture At ISO 400 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 800 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 1600 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 3200 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 6400 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 12800 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 25600 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 51200 Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Skate Park Picture
JPEG Skate Park Picture Download
RAW Skate Park Picture Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Polish Church Picture
JPEG Polish Church Picture Download
RAW Polish Church Picture Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Studio Picture
JPEG Studio Picture Download
RAW Studio Picture Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Stairway Picture
JPEG Stairway Picture Download
RAW Stairway Picture Download
Video General
Video General
Video Features
Full HD Video
Yes
4k Video
Yes
6k Video
No
Clean HDMI Output
Yes
Advertised Max Chroma Sampling Over HDMI
4:2:2
Advertised Max Bit Depth Over HDMI
8 bits
Log Picture Profile
Yes
Recording Light
No
Video General
Audio
Audio Test Sample
Audio Recording
Stereo
Microphone Level Display
Yes
Video General
Video File Format And Compression
MP4 H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
No
MP4 H.265 / HEVC
No
MOV H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
No
MOV H.265 / HEVC
No
AVCHD H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
Yes
All-I Compression
No
4k Video
7.2
4k Video
4k Video Frame Rate
240 fps In 4k
No
120 fps In 4k
No
60 fps In 4k
No
30 fps In 4k
Yes, with a Crop
24 fps In 4k
Yes
4k Crop At Max Available fps
1.165 x
7.8
4k Video
4k Video Internal Recording
Bitrate Maximum In 4k
100 Mbps
Bitrate Minimum In 4k
60 Mbps
Chroma Sampling In 4k
4:2:0
Bit Depth In 4k
8 Bit
Record Time Limit In 4k
30 min
Overheat Recording Interruptions in 4k
0
8.9
4k Video
4k Video Autofocus Performance
Object Tracking In 4k
9.7
Face Tracking In 4k
9.5
Face Detection In 4k
Yes
Eye Detection In 4k
No
8.2
4k Video
4k Video Quality
Low Light Capability In 4k
7.5
Test Scene Extract In 4k
8.9
6.4
4k Video
4k Video Rolling Shutter Effect
4k Rolling Shutter
5.7°
Full HD Video
9.5
Full HD Video
FHD Video Frame Rate
240 fps In FHD
No
120 fps In FHD
Yes
60 fps In FHD
Yes
30 fps In FHD
Yes
24 fps In FHD
Yes
FHD Crop At Max Available fps
1 x
7.7
Full HD Video
FHD Video Internal Recording
Bitrate Maximum In FHD
100 Mbps
Bitrate Minimum In FHD
16 Mbps
Chroma Sampling In FHD
4:2:0
Bit Depth In FHD
8 Bit
Record Time Limit in FHD
30 min
9.0
Full HD Video
FHD Video Autofocus Performance
Object Tracking In FHD
10
Face Tracking In FHD
9.5
Face Detection In FHD
Yes
Eye Detection In FHD
No
9.1
Full HD Video
FHD Video Quality
Low Light Capability In FHD
9.0
Test Scene Extract In FHD
9.2
7.5
Full HD Video
FHD Video Rolling Shutter Effect
FHD Rolling Shutter
3.0°
Storage And Connectivity
Storage And Connectivity
Storage
Card 1 Slot
SD Card UHS-II
Card 2 Slot
SD Card UHS-I
9.5
Storage And Connectivity
Inputs / Outputs
USB
USB-C
HDMI
Micro (Type D)
Headphones
Yes
Microphone
Stereo
Wi-Fi
Yes
Bluetooth
Yes

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Sony Alpha 7 III only has one color variant: 'Black', which we tested with the Sony FE 28-70mm F/3.5-5.6 OSS lens, and you can see its label here.

The Sony a7III can also be purchased with several other E-mount lenses, including the Sony 16-35mm Vario-Tessar T FE F4 ZA OSS lens and Sony - FE 50mm F1.8 lens, but we haven't tested the performance of this camera with other lenses. It can also be purchased without a lens at all.

If someone comes across a differently-equipped variant, let us know in the discussions so we can update our review.

Compared To Other Cameras

Sony α6600

The Sony α7 III is a bit better overall than the Sony α6600, mostly because it uses a full-frame sensor while the α6600 has an APS-C sensor. As a result, the α7 III delivers better image quality and performs better at higher ISO levels in low light. Both are mirrorless cameras with highly effective autofocus systems, but the α7 III has a slightly larger EVF. It also has two SD card slots, but unlike the α6600, it isn't weather-sealed. The α6600 is also a bit lighter and more portable.

Sony α6000

The Sony α7 III is better overall than the Sony α6000. It has a full-frame sensor, a newer processor, and a newer, more effective autofocus system. It does a better job tracking moving subjects, performs better in low light at higher ISOs, and includes more video features, including 4k video capability. If you're just starting in photography, the α6000 still offers a lot of value for its price.

Sony α7 IV

The Sony α7 IV replaces the Sony α7 III. It has a new, higher-resolution 33-megapixel sensor and improved autofocus system. Physically, the α7 IV is a little bigger and includes two UHS-II SD card slots, one of which has an integrated CFexpress Type A slot and has a fully articulated touchscreen and improved menu system. The α7 III, on the other hand, has two SD card slots, but only one of them is rated for UHS-II cards and has a tilting screen and more confusing menu. While both are fantastic cameras for photography, the α7 IV supports 10-bit 4:2:2 video recording internally and can capture video at exceptionally high bit rates, making it the better option for videographers. If you're mainly interested in photography, the α7 III still offers a lot of value.

Panasonic LUMIX GH5s

The Panasonic LUMIX GH5s and the Sony α7 III have different strengths and weaknesses. The Panasonic is a better option for videography and filmmaking since it can record 10-bit video internally, offers more 4k frame rate options, and higher bit rates. While the Sony is no slouch in the video department, it's aimed more at photographers. Its full-frame sensor gives you a wider dynamic range and better low-light performance. It also has a much more reliable autofocus system.

Nikon D780

The Sony a7 III and the Nikon D780 are both enthusiast-oriented full-frame cameras, but they're different camera types. The Sony is a mirrorless camera with an electronic viewfinder that lets you see changes to exposure directly through the finder, while the Nikon is a DSLR with an optical viewfinder that gives you a lag-free, unfiltered view through the lens. The Sony is lighter and more portable and has a more reliable overall autofocus system. However, the Nikon has a longer battery life and more intuitive menu system and controls.

+ Show more

Discussions