What is the Sony Alpha 7R III?

The Sony Alpha 7R III is Sony’s latest high-resolution, full-frame mirrorless camera. It offers impressive all-round specifications, with a 42.4MP sensor, 10fps continuous shooting, a hybrid AF system that employs 399 phase-detection points covering approximately 68% of the frame, and 4K video recording. It’ll cost £3,200 when it hits the shops in November.

We’ll be getting updating this story continuously during the day once we get our hands on the camera and a feel for what it can do.

Sony Alpha 7R III

It’s now four years since Sony unveiled the world’s first full-frame mirrorless camera, in the shape of the 24MP Alpha 7 and 36MP Alpha 7R. A year-and-a-half later, we saw the updated Alpha 7R II, with a groundbreaking 42MP sensor, built-in 5-axis image stabilisation, and a much-improved body design. Now it’s time for round three, in the form of the Alpha 7R III.

Sony has clearly decided to stick to what it knows best and kept to a very familiar template, with a compact, SLR-styled body and central EVF. The Alpha 7R III  employs essentially the same 42.4MP full-frame sensor as in the A7R II, but placed it into an improved body design, based on the excellent Alpha 9. With the latest Bionx X processor and front-end LSI, the new model is also substantially faster than the previous generation, capable of shooting at 10 frames per second rather than 5fps.

Sony Alpha 7R IIIThe A7R III is essentially the same size as its predecessor, but inherits much of the design goodness we saw in the Alpha 9. So in a hugely welcome move it gains an AF-control joystick o the back. I’m just hoping Sony has listened to feedback and outlined the focus area in something (anything) other than invisible mid-grey. There’s also an AF-on button.

Like the A9, the A7R III employs a large, high-resolution 3.69-million-dot EVF, which provides a bright, detailed view. The LCD has been upgraded to 1.44-million dots with Whitemagic technology, for improved brightness, and is also touch-sensitive for setting the focus point. Sadly though, Sony has insisted on sticking with its relatively inflexible tilt-only design. This has the advantage of being very compact and not interfering with connector ports, but it becomes useless the moment you switch the camera to portrait format. I’d have preferred to see a dual-axis tilt or fully-articulated design, like on other manufacturers’ top-end mirrorless cameras.

Sony Alpha 7R IIIOne of the best features of the A7R II was its 5-axis, in-body image stabilisation, and Sony has improved on that in the new model by offering 5.5 stops of shake correction. It’s also introduced a new ‘Pixel Shift Multi Shooting’ mode that uses the IS system to take four frames of the same scene while shifting the sensor precisely one pixel between each. The frames can then be combined on a laptop or desktop computer using Sony’s new free Imaging Edge software to deliver a composite image, with full-colour sampling at each pixel location. Similar systems give great results on Pentax and Olympus cameras, so I’m looking forward to seeing what Sony has managed on the A7R III.

We’ll be getting our hands on the camera shortly, so check back during the day for the latest updates.