sony a7 iii
The Finalists: Leica CL, Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9, Sony A7 III
While Sony Is facing stiffer competition in a market segment it has had largely all to itself for quite a while, the A7 III shows why it’s the newcomers who will need to be on their game.
For starters, Sony is still packaging the full-35mm format sensor in the smallest and lightest body, which obviously still has benefits even when using the bigger FE mount lenses. And let’s talk lenses for a minute because Sony has done a herculean job building up its FE mount line-up in a comparatively short time, plus there’s now a growing number of models from many of the independents, including Sigma’s exceptional Art models. Additionally, Sony’s own ‘G Master’ lenses offer superlative optical performance, matching the best from either Canon or Nikon… so this is now very much a complete system.
The third-generation evolution of the original A7 model delivers 24.2 MP effective resolution at 10 fps with full AF adjustment (and in 14-bit RAW, if so desired). The ‘Exmor R’ BSI CMOS sensor has a sensitivity range equivalent to ISO 100-51,200 which is expandable to either ISO 50 or 204,800. While a number of other cameras claim such stratospherically high ISO settings, the A7 III is the first we’ve seen where the image isn’t a join-the-dots proposition. While there are plenty of impressive specs – such as the hybrid AF system with its 693 phase-difference detection point and 425 contrast-detection points – it’s the ‘behind-the-scenes’ technologies that give the A7 III a performance edge. Among them is the sensor’s ‘Dual Gain’ design which gives two base ISO values – one at ISO 100 to optimise the dynamic range when shooting in brighter conditions and the other at ISO 640 to reduce noise when shooting in low-light situations. Consequently, at ISO 640 or higher, amplification of each pixel’s output (which is how the high ISO settings work) is performed on the sensor, ensuring a very low level of noise at the read-out stage. This not only gives the exceptional high ISO performance, but also a very wide dynamic range. The AF performance is another winner, especially the ‘Eye AF’ tracking which works brilliantly. And, not surprisingly, the A7 III is as capable as a video camera as it at taking stills. As a competent all-rounder then, it’s currently unbeatable.