Sony has announced November availability of its new 42-megapixel full-frame mirrorless camera, the α7R III (model ILCE-7RM3).
At the same time, Sony announced two additions to the FE lens line-up: the FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS (November, $2099); and the FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS Super-Telephoto (2018).
The α7R III combines a 42.4-megapixel back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS image sensor with shooting speeds of up to 10 fps with full AF/AE tracking, as well as 4K video, 15-stop dynamic range, and high sensitivity with noise reduction of almost a full stop. In pixel shift mode it produces an image file of a remarkable 170-megapixels.
‘Sony is rapidly growing in the digital imaging marketplace by continually innovating its camera technology, particularly our full-frame mirrorless lineup,’ said Vivek Handoo, head of Digital Imaging, Sony Australia and New Zealand. ‘On an industry level, we are now entering the true digital age of imaging.’
A new level of image quality
The 42.4 megapixel back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS image sensor utilises a gapless on- chip lens design and AR (anti-reflective) coating on the surface of the sensor’s seal glass to improve light collection efficiency, resulting in high sensitivity with low-noise performance and wide dynamic range.
Sony’s new α7R III 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 α7R II. ISO range is 100 – 32,000 (expandable to ISO 50 – 102,400 for still images) and Sony claims a massive 15-stop dynamic range at low sensitivity settings.
This new full-frame model was built without an optical low pass filter to maximise 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 stabilisation system, fine- tuned to a claimed 5.5 stop 5 shutter speed advantage, ‘the world’s highest compensation performance for an image stabilisation system’. There is also a new low-vibration shutter that reduces vibration and image blur in all modes, including 10 fps shooting.
It will shoot full resolution at up to 10 fps with continuous AF/AE tracking for up to 76 JPEG/RAW images or 28 uncompressed RAW images . Ten frames per second is available with either a mechanical shutter, or the option of 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. For added convenience, 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, photographers can activate the anti-flicker function to allow the α7R III to automatically detect frequency of the lighting and time the shutter to minimise its effect on images being captured. This minimises any exposure or colour anomalies that can sometimes occur at the top and bottom of images shot at high shutter speeds.
The focusing system of the α7R III 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 α7R II. Sony claims this delivers AF acquisition in about half the time as the α7R II in low-light conditions, with tracking that is approximately two times more accurate. The Eye AF feature is also approximately two times more effective, and is available when utilising 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.
High quality 4K for video professionals
The new α7R III offers 4K (3840×2160 pixels) video recording across the full width of the full-frame image sensor. When shooting in Super 35mm format, the camera uses full pixel readout without pixel binning to collect 5K of information, oversampling it to produce high quality 4K footage.
A new HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) is available on the α7R III that supports an instant HDR workflow, allowing HDR (HLG) compatible TVs to play back true-to- life 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.
The camera is equipped with dual media slots, 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, relay recording and more. Battery life has been greatly extended with Sony’s Z series battery that have approximately 2.2 times the capacity of the previous series.
The Quad-VGA OLED Tru-Finder has approximately 3,686k dots for extremely accurate, true-to-life detail reproduction. It utilises a ZEISS T* coating to reduce reflections, and has a fluorine coating on the outer lens that repels dirt.
Frame rate can be set at either 60 fps or 120 fps. The LCD screen has been upgraded with a resolution of 1.44M dots and WhiteMagic technology to improve viewing in bright, outdoor conditions. ‘Standard’ or ‘High’ display quality settings are also available for both the viewfinder and monitor as well. The new camera also offers a multi-selector joystick to shift focus points, as well as an ‘AF ON’ button to activate autofocus when shooting stills or movies.
The new α7R 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. There is also a SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.1 Gen 1) USB Type-C terminal.
New software suite and pixel shift mode
Sony ‘Imaging Edge’ software provides three PC applications called ‘Remote’, ‘Viewer’ and ‘Edit’, available for free download, which support live- view PC remote shooting and RAW development.
The Imaging Edge software also combines with a new Pixel Shift Multi Shooting mode. 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.
Pricing and availability
The Sony α7R III full-frame interchangeable lens camera will be available in Australia in mid-November with a body only SRP of $4999.
Full press release: Sony A7R III – October
The FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS Standard Zoom (model SEL24105G) boasts the most lightweight design in its class (663 grams) and features fast, precise and quiet autofocus capabilities in both still and video shooting.
The FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS standard zoom lens will be available in Australia in mid-November with an SRP of $2099.
Full press release: Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS – October
The FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS Super-Telephoto lens will arrive in winter 2018, with more details to come closer to launch date.