Sony has added to its full-frame mirrorless camera lineup by introducing the alpha 7R III. The camera combines a high-resolution 42.4-megapixel back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS image sensor with shooting speeds at up to 10 fps with full AF/AE tracking, as well as 4K video quality, 15-stop dynamic range, and high sensitivity with noise reduction of almost a full stop.
The image sensor utilizes a gapless on-chip lens design and AR (anti-reflective) coating on the surface of the sensor’s seal glass to “dramatically” improve light collection efficiency, says the company, resulting in high sensitivity with low-noise performance and wide dynamic range.
The camera also features a new front-end LSI that effectively doubles the readout speed of the image sensor, as well as an updated BIONZ X processing-engine that boosts processing speed by approximately 1.8 times compared to the 7R II, Sony notes.
These components work together to allow the camera to shoot at faster speeds while also enabling its ISO range of 100 – 32000 (expandable to ISO 50 – 102400 for still images) and 15-stop dynamic range at low sensitivity settings.
This new full-frame model was built without an optical low pass filter to maximize resolution, while also having the ability to output 14 bit RAW format even when shooting in silent or continuous mode.
The camera is equipped with a 5-axis optical image stabilization system that has been fine-tuned to support its high-resolution shooting capacity, resulting in a claimed 5.5 step shutter speed advantage, said to be the world’s highest compensation performance for an image stabilization system.
There’s also a new low-vibration shutter that reduces vibration and image blur in all modes, including the high speed 10 fps shooting, as well as several advancements in accurate colour reproductions of skin tones.
At 10 fps, the camera is said to deliver continuous, accurate AF/AE tracking for up to 76 JPEG / RAW images or 28 uncompressed RAW images. This high speed 10 fps mode is available with either a mechanical shutter or completely silent shooting. The camera can also shoot continuously at up to 8 fps in live view mode with minimal lag in the viewfinder or LCD screen, Sony says.
While large groups of burst images are being written to the memory card, many of the cameras key functions are operable, including access to the ‘Fn’ (Function) and ‘Menu’ buttons, image playback and several other menus and parameters including image rating and other functions that facilitate on-location image sorting.
Additionally, if there is fluorescent or artificial lighting present in a shooting environment, users can activate the Anti-flicker function to allow the 7R III to automatically detect frequency of the lighting and time the shutter to minimize its effect on images being captured.
The upgraded focusing system is comprised of 399 focal-plane phase-detection AF points that cover approximately 68 percent of the image area in both the horizontal and vertical directions. There are also 425 contrast AF points, an increase of 400 points compared to the 7R II. This is said to deliver AF acquisition in about half the time as the 7R II in low-light conditions, with tracking that is approximately twice as accurate as well. The Eye AF feature is also approximately twice as effective, and is available when utilizing Sony’s A-mount lenses with an adapter.
Additional improvements in focusing flexibility include AF availability in Focus Magnifier mode, focal-plane phase-detection AF support when using A-mount lenses, an ‘AF On’ button, a multi-selector or ‘joystick’ for moving focusing points quickly, and flexible touch focus functionality.
Sony says the 7R III is “exceptionally capable” as a video camera, offering 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels) video recording across the full width of the full-frame image sensor. When shooting in Super 35 mm format, the camera uses full pixel readout without pixel binning to collect 5K of information, oversampling it to produce high quality 4K footage with exceptional detail and depth.
A new HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) is available on the camera to support an Instant HDR workflow, allowing HDR (HLG) compatible TVs to playback 4K HDR imagery. Further, both S-Log2 and S-Log3 are available for increased colour grading flexibility. The camera can also record Full HD at 120 fps at up to 100 Mbps, allowing footage to be reviewed and eventually edited into 4x or 5x slow motion video files in Full HD resolution with AF tracking.
There are two media slots, with support in one slot for UHS-II type SD memory cards. Users have a variety of options for storing their content, including separate JPEG / RAW recording, separate still image / movie recording, and relay recording.
Battery life has been greatly extended as well, as the new camera utilizes Sony’s Z series battery that has approximately 2.2 times the capacity of the W series battery utilized in the 7R II.
The 7R III features an upgraded high-resolution, high-luminance Quad-VGA OLED Tru-Finder with approximately 3,686k dots for what Sony calls extremely accurate, true-to-life detail reproduction. The Tru-Finder, also found in the alpha 9 camera, utilizes a Zeiss T* Coating to greatly reduce reflections, and has a fluorine coating on the outer lens that repels dirt. It also has a customizable frame rate, with options of either 60 fps or 120 fps.
The LCD screen has been upgraded as well, with a resolution of 1.44M dots and WhiteMagic technology that improves viewing in bright, outdoor conditions. “Standard” or “High” display quality settings are also available for both the viewfinder and monitor as well. “High” takes advantage of the large amount of data read from the sensor to provide extra fine viewfinder and monitor displays for a more natural view. The new camera also offers a multi-selector joystick that provides a fast, efficient way to shift focus points, as well as an ‘AF ON’ button to activate autofocus when shooting stills or movies.
The 7R III allows for transfer of files to a smartphone, tablet, computer or FTP server via Wi-Fi, while also including a sync terminal, enabling external flash units and cables to be connected directly for convenient flash sync. A SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.1 Gen 1) USB Type-C Terminal is also available for increased flexibility in power supply or connected accessories, as well as a faster image transfer speed when connected to a PC.
New with the 7R III is a software suite called “Imaging Edge” that extends the creative capabilities of the entire shooting process – from pre-processing to post-processing. Imaging Edge provides three PC applications called ‘Remote’, ‘Viewer’ and ‘Edit’, available for free download, which support live-view PC remote shooting and RAW development.
Also making its debut on the 7R III is a new Pixel Shift Multi Shooting mode, which takes full advantage of the advanced 5-axis optical in-body stabilization to create super-high resolution composite images. In this mode, the camera precisely shifts the sensor in 1-pixel increments to capture four separate pixel-shifted images containing a total of approximately 169.6-megapixels of image data. These four images can be composited together and processed utilizing the new Imaging Edge software.
The Sony alpha 7R III will ship this November for about $4,000.