New York, NY—Sony Electronics enhanced their full-frame mirrorless camera lineup with the α7R III (model ILCE-7RM3). The company also expanded its full-frame E-mount lens lineup, releasing the FE 24–105mm f/4 G OSS standard zoom lens. It additionally announced the development of the FE 400mm f/2.8 GM OSS super-telephoto lens with a launch date in summer 2018.
Targeted at photographers, videographers and multimedia professionals, the α7R III ILC combines a 42.4 megapixel, back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS image sensor with an updated Bionz X processing engine. This boosts the processing speed by 1.8x, compared to the α7R II. As a result, the new ILC offers full-resolution shooting at 10 frames per second with full autofocus/autoexposure tracking for up to 76 JPEG/RAW images or 28 uncompressed RAW images.
Furthermore, its 10-fps mode is available with either a mechanical shutter or completely silent shooting. The camera can also shoot continuously at 8 fps in live view mode with minimal lag in the viewfinder or LCD. In addition, it captures images and 4K video with wide 15-stop dynamic range and high sensitivity with noise reduction of almost a full stop.
“We’re continuing to raise the bar for innovation in the imaging marketplace, in particular with our full-frame camera lineup,” said Neal Manowitz, vice president, Digital Imaging, Sony Electronics.
“As an industry, we are now entering the true digital age of imaging. The capabilities of the α7R III camera—silent shooting at 10 fps at full 42.4MP resolution, extreme AF coverage and speed for both video and stills—exceed anything that is physically possible with a DSLR, making it an excellent symbol for this paradigm shift.”
The 42.4MP CMOS sensor utilizes a gapless on-chip lens design and AR (antireflective) coating on the surface of its seal glass to improve light collection efficiency. This is said to result in high sensitivity with low-noise performance and wide dynamic range. The α7R III also features a new front-end LSI designed to double the sensor’s readout speed. As a result, the camera offers a native ISO range of 100 to 32,000, which is expandable from ISO 50 to 102,400 (still images). It also produces 15-stop dynamic range at low sensitivity settings.
The full-frame model was also built without an optical low-pass filter to maximize the sensor’s resolution. Moreover, it is capable of outputting 14-bit RAW files even when shooting in silent or continuous mode. In addition, the camera is equipped with a 5-axis optical image stabilization system that has been fine-tuned to support its high-res shooting capacity. This is said to result in a 5.5-step shutter speed advantage. There is also a new low-vibration shutter that reduces vibration and image blur in all modes, as well as several advancements in the color reproduction of skin tones.
For added convenience, while large groups of burst images are being written to the memory card, many of the camera’s key functions are operable. This includes access to the Fn (function) and menu buttons as well as image playback.
In addition, if there is fluorescent or artificial lighting present in a shooting environment, users can activate the anti-flicker function. This feature enables the α7R III to automatically detect frequency of the lighting and time the shutter to minimize its effect on images. As a result, any exposure or color anomalies that can sometimes occur at the top and bottom of images shot at high shutter speeds are eliminated.
Sony α7R III Autofocus System
The camera’s upgraded hybrid focusing system is comprised of 399 focal-plane phase-detection AF points. They cover approximately 68% of the image area—in both horizontal and vertical directions. There are also 425 contrast AF points—an increase of 400 points compared to the α7R II.
Sony claims the system delivers AF acquisition in about half the time as the α7R II in low-light conditions, with tracking that is two times more accurate. Also, its eye AF feature is two times more effective.
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.
4K for Video Professionals
The α7R III provides 4K (3,840×2,160 pixels) video recording across the full width of its full-frame image sensor. When shooting in Super 35mm format, it uses full pixel readout without pixel binning to collect 5K of information. It then oversamples it to produce high-quality 4K footage with detail and depth.
Moreover, a new HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) is available that supports an instant HDR workflow. This permits HDR (HLG) compatible TV’s to playback 4K HDR imagery. Both S-Log2 and S-Log3 are also available for increased color grading flexibility.
The camera also records Full HD video at 120 fps at up to 100 Mbps. As a result, this footage can be reviewed and edited into 4x/5x slow motion video files in Full HD resolution with AF tracking.
Optimized for Professionals
The camera is equipped with various enhanced capabilities for professional operational style. These include dual media slots, with support in one slot for UHS-II type SD memory cards. Users also have options for storing content: separate JPEG/RAW recording; separate still image/movie recording; and relay recording.
Viewing options are comprised of an upgraded, 3.69M-dot, high-luminance Quad-VGA OLED Tru-Finder electronic viewfinder. The EVF uses a Zeiss T* coating to reduce reflections and a fluorine coating on the outer lens to repel dirt. It also has a customizable frame rate, with settings of 60 fps or 120 fps.
The other viewing option is a 1.44M-dot LCD monitor with WhiteMagic technology that improves viewing in bright, outdoor conditions. Standard and high-display quality settings are available for the viewfinder as well as the monitor. “High” takes advantage of the large amount of data read from the 42.4MP sensor to provide extra-fine displays for a more natural view.
In addition, Wi-Fi allows for the transfer of files to a smartphone, tablet, computer or FTP server. And a sync terminal enables external flash units and cables to be connected for flash sync. Also, a USB 3.1 Gen 1, Type-C terminal is available for flexibility in power supply or connected accessories, as well as faster image transfer speed to a PC.
Additional Sony α7R III Features
New with the α7R III is a software suite called Imaging Edge. It’s designed to extend the creative capabilities of the shooting process—from preprocessing to post-processing. Imaging Edge provides three PC applications—remote, viewer and edit, which support live-view PC remote shooting and RAW development. They are available for free download.
Also making its debut on the α7R III is a new pixel-shift multi-shooting mode. This function takes advantage of the 5-axis optical in-body stabilization to create superhigh-resolution composite images. In this mode, the camera shifts the sensor in 1-pixel increments to capture four separate pixel-shifted images. The images contain 169.6MP of image data. The four images can be composited together and processed utilizing the new Imaging Edge software.
Sony claims this “ultimately results in a still image with overwhelming resolution and an unprecedented level of color accuracy, and is ideal for photographing architecture, art or any other still life photography subject with many intricate details and colors.”
Sony α7R III Pricing
The Sony α7R III full-frame, interchangeable-lens mirrorless camera ships in November. It has a suggested retail price of $3,200.