Sony A7R III. My impressions

On my last blog post, I promised I was going to give you my impressions after a few weeks of playing with it. This is by no means a review of the camera. It is just my personal opinion about it. I’ve been using it personally to get used to it and learn it. But I have also done a good amount of client’s photo shoots.

What I like:

  • I appreciate the that she is smaller and lighter than my Nikon cameras. She feels really good in my hands. I used to not to bring my Nikon due to its size and instead rely on my phone to take any possible pictures, quite often. Now I tend to bring my new Sony. It may be because it's a new toy. But I do believe that it's mostly because of its size.
  • The button layout is pretty intuitive. All the buttons are easy to get to and I have all the buttons that I need for the functions I normally use. But, there are still a couple of things I don’t like about them. I will explain that further down. 
  • Over 90% of the time I shoot tether or I use a CamRanger to send the pictures to the computer. The Nikon D750 has built-in WiFi. But it's almost unusable. The D810 doesn't even offer that feature. Sony did a much better job with the WiFi in the A7R III. I can work wireless with my phone or an iPad, I don't even need a computer. I can compose using the live view on the phone/tablet, I can change some settings and I can review the pictures. Also when I'm in the road not shooting for a clients and I snap a good picture, I can download it to the phone and share it online in a matter of seconds.
  • I love the options that I have to auto focus. I can slide my thumb through the display and select the area where I want the camera to focus. In some cases the camera has been a little bit slow to respond. I also love the joystick to select the focus point. I used to have a similar joystick on my Canon cameras. I also love the amount of focus points spread around the screen. Nikons have a great autofocus system. But they don’t cover the entire view finder. That forces me to focus and recompose.
  • I imagine I don’t have to talk too much about the image quality and low noise capabilities of this camera. It is just as good or better than the Nikons are. As well as the dynamic range. I haven’t done any night time photography yet. I know the files are not compressed. And even if uncompressed files are huge, they can give us a better opportunity to recover details on areas where we could have had a lot of noise on compressed files

What I think can improve:
Like any product out there, there are cons. In this case, the cons are not significant enough to stop me from buying it again. But I’ll still like to mention them.

  • Not everything about the WiFi is great. I think Sony still can improve how it works. When changing shutter speed, aperture or ISO, the response is quite slow. It can take a second or two to respond to a single change. It’s a lot faster to change settings in the camera itself. I can't focus using the tablet/phone. Focus stacking, silent shooting, HDR are just a few more examples of many possible features that I would be nice to have in the app.
  • I only use the auto focus button on the back of the camera. The first function I changed in the Sony was to stop auto focusing with the shutter button. The new position of the video recorded on the new Sony A7R III is very close to the auto focus button. A lot of photographers and videographers like the new position of the button. Not me. There's been many times that I have press the record button by mistake when I'm trying to use the auto focus button. In this case, I don't think time will help. The buttons are too close to each other for my taste, and I know I will keep pressing that button by mistake. It is a bigger issue than what most people will think. Mostly because it takes a few seconds for the camera to stop recording and I may lose the opportunity to take a picture.
  • Another thing I haven't been too happy with, is the menu structure. It reminds me a lot of how Cannon used to set up the menu. Menus in general regarding of what camera are use are going to be difficult. But I think Nikon had a more intuitive menu structure than other camera manufacturers I have used. In some cases she has taking minutes to find the menu items I need. There has been cases that I have to go to the sonic owners guide to find how to change something in the menu. I have spent a big amount of time trying to learn the menu yet I don’t think I would remember where all the functions I need are.
  • The lenses for it are really pricey. So far I’ve only been using one lens. It’s a Sony 90mm macro. At the time I purchased the camera, I decided that I wasn’t going to buy any more lenses until I was convinced i was going to keep the camera. Like I said before, I’ll wait for Nikon to come out with a mirrorless camera.
  • One thing that is great but at the same time it may not be as great is the viewfinder. Confused yet? Let me explain. Using an electronic viewfinder is great because it shows you how the exposure will be before you take the picture. It’s great to have that preview. Only if you are not going to be using flash. The great majority of my pictures are taken on a studio environment or I use flash as a fill light. It can get really dark in the studio and at that point I can’t see anything at all through the viewfinder. 

Feel free to email me with questions of the camera. I’ll be more than happy to share any experience I’ve had with it. That will also help me with items to write a future blog post.

I love using this camera. I had a big expectations for it, and so far she has surpassed my expectations. It’s difficult to describe why it is such a pleasure to use the camera. It may be the size, weight, the screens, the focusing. It’s difficult for me not to make the session to switch systems all over again. I don’t want to rush that decision. Maybe the biggest issue I have is the brand name. My experience with Sony hasn’t been great over the years. I don’t think Sony has the level of customer service that I will expect out of a professional camera manufacturer.

I also love Nikons. And I want to give the opportunity to Nikon to come out with a new mirrorless camera. All the reports point that they are working on one. I imagine they will also come out with an adapter to use all my lenses on those cameras. It will save me a lot of money too. And if it is just as good as the Nikon D850, I’ll just stay with them.