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Sony α7 III Camera Review

Tested using Methodology v0.7
Reviewed Feb 08, 2021 at 07:40 am
Sony α7 III Picture
8.1
Travel Photography
8.5
Landscape Photography
7.4
Sport & Wildlife Photography
6.7
Vlogging
8.5
Studio Video
5.2
Action Video
Body Type
DSLR
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. There are also a few features that should please videographers, including 4k and FHD recording capability in a wide range of frame rates, a full complement of physical inputs and outputs, and exceptional autofocus performance. Unfortunately, the screen doesn't articulate fully, and the menu system can be very hard to understand.

Our Verdict

8.1 Travel Photography

The Sony Alpha 7 III is great for travel photography. Images look sharp and are mostly free of noise and graininess, even in low-light conditions. It's also fitted with a quick, reliable, and efficient autofocus system. Its shutter speed range should suit a variety of uses, from capturing still images of fast-moving crowds to long-exposure shots. Depending on the settings used, it can supply enough battery life to last you the full day. 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.
8.5 Landscape Photography

The Sony Alpha 7 III is amazing for landscape photography. Images are detailed, color-accurate, and low in visual noise. The camera itself feels quite sturdy, too. Its lens lets in a decent amount of light, giving you a bit of extra flexibility in darker environments. Also, its screen is bright enough to be seen in direct sunlight. Unfortunately, it's not quite as portable as point-and-shoot cameras.

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

The Sony Alpha 7 III is a decent option for sport and wildlife photography. While its maximum continuous shooting speed is only okay, 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 quickly and reliably focus on moving subjects. Unfortunately, its kit lens' maximum focal length isn't sufficient for gathering clear shots of far-off subjects, like athletes in a stadium or race cars on a track.

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.
6.7 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.
8.5 Studio Video

The Sony Alpha 7 III is an excellent option for studio video. It has a full complement 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.
5.2 Action Video

The Sony Alpha 7 III isn't designed for action video. It's too big to be mounted on a helmet rig and 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.
  • 8.1 Travel Photography
  • 8.5 Landscape Photography
  • 7.4 Sport & Wildlife Photography
  • 6.7 Vlogging
  • 8.5 Studio Video
  • 5.2 Action Video

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
5.7
Design
Portability
Height 3.8" (9.7 cm)
Width 5.0" (12.7 cm)
Depth 2.4" (6.0 cm)
Volume
45.1 in³ (739.1 cm³)
Weight
1.47 lbs (0.66 kg)
Weight With Lens
2.09 lbs (0.95 kg)
9.0
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

Design
Body
Water Resistance
No
Rugged
No
Hot Shoe
Yes
Customizable Button
Yes
Command Dial
5
Tripod Mount
Yes
Lens Mount
E-Mount
Built-In Flash
No
Design
In The Box

  • Sony a7 III mirrorless camera
  • Sony FE 28-70mm F/3.5-5.6 OSS lens
  • Lens cap
  • 1x NP-FZ100 battery
  • Shoulder strap
  • USB charger
  • USB cable
  • 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

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

Design
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
2.9" (7.3 cm)
Touchscreen
Limited
Design
Sensor
Sensor Type
BSI CMOS
Advertised Effective Pixels
24.2 MP
Processor
BIONZ X
Extended ISO Minimum
50
ISO Minimum
100
ISO Maximum
51200
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
7.3
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
Luminance
74.4 %
Light Falloff
68.2 %
Photo
Photo
Photo Features
JPEG File Format
Yes
RAW File Format
ARW
Shutter
Electronic and Mechanical
Minimum Shutter Speed
30 s
Maximum Shutter Speed
1/8000 s
Silent Shooting
Yes
HDR
Yes
Focus Peaking
Yes
Zebra Pattern
Yes
Histogram
Yes
Time Lapse
Yes
5.4
Photo
Shooting Speed
Low Speed Continuous
3 fps
High Speed Continuous
9 fps
Silent Shooting Continuous
7 fps
Raw Buffer Size
39 RAW Photos
JPEG Buffer Size
10000 JPG Photos
Buffer Empty Time
50 s
8.6
Photo
Autofocus
Advertised Coverage
93 %
Advertised Focus Points
693
Manual Focus Assistance
Yes
Face Detection Distance
182" (464 cm)
Eye Detection
Yes
Face Tracking Success Rate
61 %
Object Tracking Success Rate
89.6 %
7.3
Photo
Image Stabilization
In Body Image Stabilization
Yes
Minimum Shutter Speed Achieved
1/20 s
9.3
Photo
Image Quality
Dynamic Range At ISO 100
10.2 f-stops
Color Accuracy (dE2000)
6.45
JPEG SNR 18% At ISO 800
39.61 db
JPEG Sharpness At ISO 800
1.774 pixels
JPEG SNR 18% At ISO 1600
39.36 db
JPEG Sharpness At ISO 1600
1.789 pixels
JPEG SNR 18% At ISO 3200
38.52 db
JPEG Sharpness At ISO 3200
1.793 pixels

ISO Setting Sample Photo
ISO 100 Photo
ISO 200 Photo
ISO 400 Photo
ISO 800 Photo
ISO 1600 Photo
ISO 3200 Photo
ISO 6400 Photo
ISO 12800 Photo
ISO 25600 Photo
ISO 51200 Photo

9.4
Photo
Luminance Noise
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 100 41.34 db
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 200 40.55 db
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 400 39.17 db
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 800 37.27 db
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 1600 35.22 db
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 3200 32.44 db
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 6400 29.93 db
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 12800 26.96 db
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 25600 24.39 db
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 51200 22.43 db
Sample Gallery
Sample Gallery
The Skate Park

Format Link
JPEG Photo
RAW Photo

Sample Gallery
The Polish Church

Format Link
JPEG Photo
RAW Photo

Sample Gallery
The Studio

Format Link
JPEG Photo
RAW Photo

Sample Gallery
The Stairway

Format Link
JPEG Photo
RAW Photo

General Video
General Video
Video Feature
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
General Video
Audio
Audio Test Sample
Audio Recording
Stereo
Microphone Level Display
Yes
General Video
Video Exposure Assistant
Zebra Line
Yes
Histogram
Yes
Waveform
No
General Video
Recording 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 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
Crop At Max Available fps
1.165 x
8.9
4k Video
4k Video Autofocus Performance
Eye Detection In 4k
No
Face Detection In 4k
Yes
Face Tracking In 4k
9.5
Object Tracking In 4k
9.7
4.9
4k Video
4k Video Stabilization
In Body Video Image Stabilization In 4k
Yes
Walking Test In 4k
17.47 pixels/frames
Running Test In 4k
48.77 pixels/frames
Crop
1 x
7.4
4k Video
4k 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 bits
Record Time Limit 30 min
Overheat Recording Interruption
Yes
8.6
4k Video
4k Video Quality
Low Light Capability In 4k
9.5
Test Scene Extract In 4k
8.9
4k Rolling Shutter
4.91 degrees
Full HD Video
9.5
Full HD Video
FHD 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
Crop At Max Available fps
1 x
9.0
Full HD Video
FHD Video Autofocus Performance
Eye Detection In FHD
No
Face Detection In FHD
Yes
Face Tracking In FHD
9.5
Object Tracking In FHD
10
7.4
Full HD Video
FHD Video Stabilization
In Body Video Image Stabilization In FHD
Yes
Walking Test In FHD
7.32 pixels/frames
Running Test In FHD
20.56 pixels/frames
Crop
1
7.7
Full HD Video
FHD 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
Record Time Limit 30 min
8.9
Full HD Video
FHD Video Quality
Low Light Capability In FHD
9.0
Test Scene Extract In FHD
9.2
FHD Rolling Shutter
2.04 degrees
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
Input / 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.

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