Your browser is not supported or outdated so some features of the site might not be available.

Sony α7 III Camera Review

Tested using Methodology v0.12
Updated Nov 30, 2022 at 03:13 pm
Sony α7 III Picture
7.8
Travel Photography
8.4
Landscape Photography
8.0
Sport & Wildlife Photography
6.7
Vlogging
8.6
Studio Video
4.4
Action Video
This camera was replaced by the Sony α7 IV

The Sony α7 III is a full-frame mirrorless camera first released in 2018. It's the third iteration of the "base" full-frame model in Sony's popular Alpha 7 lineup, alongside the compact Sony α7C, the high-resolution Sony α7R, and the low-light-sensitive Sony α7S, offering a well-balanced feature set for a range of different kinds of photography. Though it's no longer top of its class, its excellent sensor, highly effective autofocus, shooting speed, and in-body image stabilization make it a great choice for those looking to get into full-frame photography.

Our Verdict

7.8 Travel Photography

The Sony Alpha 7 III is good for travel photography. While it isn't the most compact option, it's still relatively portable for a full-frame camera. Images look sharp and detailed, and it performs well even in low-light conditions. It's also fitted with a fairly quick and accurate autofocus system that's great for busier scenes or faster subjects. Plus, it has excellent battery life for a mirrorless model. That said, it isn't weather-sealed, and its menu system can be a pain to navigate.

Pros
  • Superb image quality.
  • Great build quality.
  • Quick, reliable autofocus system.
  • Excellent battery life.
Cons
  • Not especially portable.
  • Menu system is difficult to navigate.
8.4 Landscape Photography

The Sony α7 III is excellent for landscape photography. Images are detailed, color-accurate, and low in noise when shooting in low light. 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, though it isn't weather-sealed. It isn't the most portable to take to remote shooting locations or on long hikes.

Pros
  • Great build quality.
  • Fantastic dynamic range.
  • Superb noise handling.
Cons
  • Not especially portable.
  • Menu system is difficult to navigate.
8.0 Sport & Wildlife Photography

The Sony a7III is great for sports and wildlife photography. Image quality is fantastic, and it has a great autofocus system with a decent AF tracking feature to continuously keep moving subjects in focus. Its max continuous shooting speed is fairly quick, too, allowing you to capture quick bursts of moving subjects. That said, its photo buffer isn't the deepest, and it takes a little while to clear when you fill it up, which can interrupt your shooting.

Pros
  • Superb image quality.
  • Great build quality.
  • Quick, reliable autofocus system.
Cons
  • Long buffer clearing time.
  • Menu system is difficult to navigate.
6.7 Vlogging

The Sony a7 III is okay for vlogging, though it isn't meant for it. On the upside, video quality is excellent, and it has an amazing face-tracking feature to ensure you or your subject stays in focus. That said, its screen only tilts and doesn't fully articulate, so you can't see yourself when the camera is pointed at you. Its image stabilization performance is also somewhat lacking.

Pros
  • Great build quality.
  • Great video quality with low visual noise, even in dark environments.
  • Outstanding video autofocus performance.
Cons
  • Not especially portable.
  • Poor video stabilization in 4k.
  • Screen doesn't fully rotate.
8.6 Studio Video

The Sony a7III 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 excellent autofocus performance. Battery life is also fantastic, with no overheating issues and USB charging while in use. You also get Log profiles to capture a wider range of detail. That said, it's limited to 8-bit 4:2:0 internal recording, meaning you can't take full advantage of Log recording. Its menu system is also poorly organized and hard to navigate.

Pros
  • Great video quality with low visual noise, even in dark environments.
  • Outstanding video autofocus performance.
  • Wide variety of inputs and outputs for accessories.
  • Supports Log recording.
Cons
  • Menu system is difficult to navigate.
  • Limited to 8-bit video recording.
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. 4k frame rate options are also limited, though it does support 1080p recording at 120 fps, allowing you to create slow-motion videos.

Pros
  • Great build quality.
Cons
  • Not especially portable.
  • Poor video stabilization in 4k.
  • 7.8 Travel Photography
  • 8.4 Landscape Photography
  • 8.0 Sport & Wildlife Photography
  • 6.7 Vlogging
  • 8.6 Studio Video
  • 4.4 Action Video
  1. Updated Dec 15, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.12.
  2. Updated Nov 30, 2022: Added full text to review and rewrote existing text for clarity.
  3. Updated Nov 21, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.11.
  4. Updated Sep 16, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.10.
  5. 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.
  6. Updated Jul 29, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.9.
  7. 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.
  8. Updated Apr 22, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.8.
  9. Updated Jul 16, 2021: Corrected camera and screen size measurements, number of command dials, and 'In The Box' contents.
  10. Updated Feb 08, 2021: Review published.
  11. Updated Feb 08, 2021: Early access published.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Sony Alpha 7 III only has one color variant: 'Black'. You can see our unit's label here.

You can buy the Sony a7III with the Sony FE 28-70mm F/3.5-5.6 OSS kits lens, but depending on the retailer, you can also buy it in a bundle with other E-mount lenses, like the Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS lens, or without a lens at all.

If you come across a different variant, let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Cameras

The Sony a7III is an excellent full-frame camera that offers a ton of value for its price now that it's been superseded by the Sony α7 IV. With plenty of native and third-party lens options, an amazing-for-its-time autofocus system, and a sensor that still holds up remarkably well when it comes to image quality, the a7III has a lot to offer for those looking for a full-frame mirrorless camera. Just don't expect the latest and greatest video features or quality-of-life features like a more intuitive menu system and more robust weather-sealing.

For more options, check out our picks for the best full-frame mirrorless cameras, the best cameras for landscape photography, and the best cameras.

Sony α7C

The Sony α7C is essentially a more compact version of the Sony α7 III. Being newer, it offers a few improvements, including an upgraded autofocus system with a better AF tracking algorithm, plus a longer battery life and unlimited video recording time. That said, the α7 III has better ergonomics, with more custom buttons and dials, along with a significantly larger viewfinder and dual SD card slots. The α7 III also has a tilting screen, while the α7C has a fully articulated screen, one of which may suit you better than the other depending on your needs and personal preference.

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.

Nikon D780

The Sony α7 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.

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.

+ Show more

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
4.1
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)

The Sony α7 III is decently portable for a full-frame mirrorless camera. It isn't as compact as the Sony α7C, but it's still a lot more portable than DSLRs like the Nikon D780.

8.0
Design
Build Quality

Build quality is great. The camera's made of magnesium alloy and plastic, but it feels pretty sturdy and well-made. That said, it's clear that the Sony α7 IV is a bit of a step up in build quality. Unlike its predecessor, the Sony α7 III doesn't have any weather-sealing and generally feels a bit more "plasticky".

Design
Body
Body Type
SLR-Style
Water Resistance
No
Mirrorless
Yes
Rugged
No
Hot Shoe
Yes
Customizable Button
Yes
Command Dial
3
Tripod Mount
Yes
Lens Mount
E-Mount
Built-In Flash
No
Fastest Shutter Speed
1/8,000 s
Design
In The Box

  • Sony a7 III 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

The Sony a7 III feels quite comfortable in the hand, though its boxy design can feel cramped for those with very large hands. The controls are generally well-spaced, and it's fairly easy to change settings on the fly, even with your eye to the viewfinder.

Design
Viewfinder
Viewfinder Type
Electronic
Advertised Coverage
100%
Advertised Resolution
2.36 million dots
Advertised Magnification
0.78

The electronic viewfinder is fairly large, with a typical 2.36-million dot resolution, allowing for a pretty clear view. The rubber eyecup is quite soft and comfortable as well.

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

The Sony a7 III has a tilting screen, which is great for waist-level shooting but doesn't give you as much flexibility as a vari-angle screen for video work. Unfortunately, touch capability is limited to selecting focus points when touch AF is enabled. You can't use it to navigate the menu, which can be annoying if you want to quickly change settings.

6.5
Design
Menu System
Guide Mode
Yes
App Name
Imaging Edge Mobile

The Sony a7 III has a mediocre menu system. Unlike the newer Sony α7 IV, it uses Sony's older user interface, which is less intuitively organized and no touch capability that makes it harder to navigate. Thankfully, there are plenty of customization options, so you can more easily access commonly used settings with the custom menu or quick menu, but it still takes some getting used to.

not tested
Design
Built-In Lens
Maximum Aperture
No built-in lens
Max Aperture (Full-Frame Equivalent)
N/A
Minimum Focal Length
N/A
Maximum Focal Length
N/A
Max Focal Length (Full-Frame Equivalent)
N/A
Optical Image Stabilization
No
Luminance
N/A
Light Falloff
N/A
Design
Sensor
Sensor Type
BSI CMOS
Advertised Effective Pixels
24.2 MP
Sensor Size
Full Frame
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

Battery life is fantastic. It's among the best mirrorless cameras we've tested for battery life. While the 610-shot CIPA rating should be taken with a grain of salt for real-world usage, it gives a good idea of how the camera compares to its peers, which is a lot longer than most mirrorless models. It still falls far short of DSLR battery life, but you'll get a lot of juice out of this camera, depending on how you use it.

Video battery life is also superb. On a full charge, you can expect over two hours of continuous 4k recording with little to no overheating interruptions.

Photo General
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

The Sony a7 III can shoot at a respectable 10 fps max burst rate, which is sufficient for sequential burst photos of most fast-moving subjects. However, its buffer depth is somewhat limited, especially compared to newer cameras with more processing power, including the Sony α7 IV. It also takes a fair amount of time to clear the photo buffer once full, which can slow you down or cause you to miss a critical moment.

6.8
Photo General
Photo AF-C Tracking
Autofocus Tracking Shots
Perfect Focus Hit Rate
50%
Usable Focus Hit Rate
85%

The Sony a7 III has a solid tracking feature, especially for its time. It supports face and eye detection with Sony's 'Real Time Eye AF', which seamlessly integrates face and eye tracking and makes it very easy to pull off "set it and forget it" autofocusing. It isn't quite as sophisticated as newer Sony models, so it'll still miss focus sometimes, especially with faster or more erratic subjects. But all in all, it's decently reliable.

10
Photo General
Photo AF-C Center Point
Autofocus Center Point Shots
Perfect Focus Hit Rate
100%
Usable Focus Hit Rate
100%

When using a lens with a good focusing motor, the Sony a7 III can autofocus just about as quickly as you need. Focusing is accurate and smooth with little to no hunting. That's great news if you have more control over where your subject and focus point will be.

7.3
Photo General
Photo Image Stabilization
Minimum Shutter Speed Achieved
1/20 s
In-Body Image Stabilization
Yes

While the Sony a7 III has built-in sensor-shift stabilization, it isn't the most effective. On Sony cameras, 'SteadyShot' works in tandem with 'OSS' or 'Optical SteadyShot' on Sony lenses. With a Sony optically stabilized lens, you can get clear shots at fairly slow shutter speeds shooting handheld, but of course, stabilization depends on your lens, focal length, and even how steady your hands are, so your mileage will vary.

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

Dynamic range is superb. It's a full-frame sensor, so it can capture a wide range of shadow and highlight detail. Even with less available light, it does a good job of capturing detail without losing too much in the shadows or blowing out highlights.

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

With a 24.2-megapixel sensor, the Sony a7 III does an excellent job of resolving fine detail. Even if you crop in, details are clear and easy to make out.

8.6
Photo Image Quality
Photo RAW Noise
SNR 18% At 1/8 Exposure Time (125 ms)
34.5dB
SNR 18% At 1/125 Exposure Time (8 ms)
28.7 dB
SNR 18% At 1/1000 Exposure Time (1 ms)
20.5dB
SNR 18% At 1/4000 Exposure Time (0.25 ms)
16.1dB

The Sony a7 III handles noise incredibly well. It's a great camera for low-light shooting, with minimal noise when shooting with less available light at higher ISO settings.

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

The Sony a7 III supports S-Log2 and S-Log3, which capture a "flatter" image to record a wider range of detail. However, the camera is limited to 8-bit recording, meaning you'll have a harder time getting the most out of these profiles when color-grading, especially S-Log3.

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

Internal video recording specs are good overall but pale compared to newer models like the Sony α7 IV and video-oriented hybrids like the Panasonic LUMIX GH5 II.

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

The autofocus is excellent when recording 4k video. While Eye AF is only available in photo mode, the camera still has face detection and tracking in video, and it's very reliable with moving subjects, rarely losing its target even as they move around. The general subject tracking, where you manually select a target, is also very reliable.

8.2
4k Video
4k Video Quality
Low Light Capability In 4k
7.5
Test Scene Extract In 4k
8.9

Overall video quality is great. 4k video is clear and detailed, and the camera does a good job in low light.

6.4
4k Video
4k Video Rolling Shutter Effect
4k Rolling Shutter
5.7°

Rolling shutter performance is okay. There's some noticeable distortion when panning the camera quickly, but it isn't quite as bad as some of the crop-sensor Sonys, like the Sony α6400.

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

As with 4k, FHD internal recording is good but nothing that'll blow you away if you're serious about video. It has a 30-minute cap on recording and is limited to 8-bit 4:2:0 color, giving you less leeway for editing and color-grading.

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

Autofocus performance is just as amazing in 1080p as it is in 4k. The camera has little trouble keeping fast-moving subjects in focus.

9.1
Full HD Video
FHD Video Quality
Low Light Capability In FHD
9.0
Test Scene Extract In FHD
9.2

1080p video quality is fantastic relative to other Full HD cameras. Videos look remarkably detailed, and there's very little noise in low light.

7.5
Full HD Video
FHD Video Rolling Shutter Effect
FHD Rolling Shutter
3.0°

Rolling shutter is a lot less noticeable in 1080p. There's still a bit of slanting with faster pans and camera movements, but it isn't too distracting.

Storage And Connectivity
Storage And Connectivity
Storage
Card 1 Slot
SD Card UHS-II
Card 2 Slot
SD Card UHS-I

The SD card slots are well-placed on the side of the camera, allowing you to easily switch out cards when the camera is mounted on a tripod.

9.5
Storage And Connectivity
Inputs / Outputs
USB
USB-C
HDMI
Micro (Type D)
Headphones
Yes
Microphone
Stereo
Wi-Fi
Yes
Bluetooth
Yes

The inputs are all located on the left side of the camera. They're covered by flaps that feel somewhat flimsy, especially compared to the sturdier, weather-sealed covers on the Sony α7C.

Discussions