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There’s nothing basic about Sony’s new ‘basic model’ A7 III full-frame camera

By Alvin Soon - on 27 Feb 2018, 3:15pm

There’s nothing basic about Sony’s new ‘basic model’ A7 III full-frame camera

Sony has announced the third version of its entry-level mirrorless camera, the A7 Mark III. However, there’s nothing basic about what Sony is calling its ‘basic model full frame’ camera.

The A7 III has many of the features that are on the higher-end A9 and A7R III. The A7 III has a newly developed 24MP BSI (backside illuminated) full-frame sensor. It also uses the larger capacity ‘Z’ battery, which boosts its battery life to an astonishing 610 shots (710 if using the rear screen). That’s an unprecedented battery life for mirrorless cameras, which tend to be low on shots per charge.

The A7 III also features an AF joystick and Sony’s EyeAF (autofocus) feature. To be sure, at 24MP the A7 III is not the resolution maestro that the 42MP A7R III is. At 10 frames per second with continuous AF, the A7 III won’t match the A9’s top speed of 20 frames per second.

But the A7 III has a body-only price of US$1,999, while the A7R III costs US$3,199.99 and the A9 costs US$4,499.99. The A7 III’s suggested retail price matches the Canon 6D Mark II (US$1,999, body only) and Nikon D750 (US$1,999.95), but it provides size and weight savings with a smaller body.

The A7 III’s autofocus system also has a larger coverage area than a full-frame DSLR, with 93% frame coverage. There are 693 AF points, 425 of which are contrast-detection. The A7 III also comes with in-body 5-axis optical image stabilization, something DSLR cameras also lack.

The A7 III is no slouch at video either, with 4K video capture at 24/30p. The camera offers both S-Log2 and S-Log3 or Hybrid Log Gamma. Internal recording is up to 100 Mbps 8-bit 4:2:0. while it can record HDMI-out at 8-bit 4:2:2. The A7 III can also shoot 1080p at 120 frames per second for slow motion footage.

The A7 III also features a USB Type-C port, double SD card slots, and is weather resistant. There’s a 2.3 million-dot OLED electronic viewfinder, which sadly isn’t blackout-free like the A9 and A7R III. But for a ‘basic’ model, the Sony A7 III packs a lot of punch, into a camera that costs about the same at launch.

Sony has been hitting home runs with its A-series full-frame cameras for a while now, and the results show. According to data from the NDP Group’s Retail Tracking Service, Sony has surpassed Nikon to become the number two company in the US for full-frame interchangeable lens camera sales. According to Sony’s own data, they now have the largest share of the mirrorless market. If this is true, odds are that the very competitive A7 III will only help add to their growth.

Local availability and pricing is yet to be announced, but the Sony A7 III will be launching in the US in April.

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