The Sony A7 III is known to be one of the best mirrorless cameras on the market these days. With outstanding image and video quality; the design, weight, and speed seem to be useful to most photographers. But coming from a different brand like Canon, it might take some time to get used to the switch. And is it worth the money in the end? In this Sony A7 III review, I’ll dive into my personal experience before and after the purchase. With this, I hope to help you make the decision for yourself.
Why I switched from Canon to Sony
Let’s briefly talk about my decision to switch from the Canon 750D to the Sony A7 III. The Canon was my first DSLR. I was studying at the time and could use this camera through school. For many years, I thought about buying my own, and I wish I had done so much sooner. I realized after only a few years of owning the Canon that I felt limited by the possibilities and needed to upgrade. The Canon 750D is a great, budget-friendly camera for beginners to mid-range photographers. While I tried shooting higher quality images with a wide dynamic range, the Canon was simply not able to do this for me.
It was time for a switch— a switch to full frame. The Sony A7 III had been released not that long ago, and I had heard great things about it. Still, I took my time to fully research and compare this model to other cameras and brands. Ask yourself what kind of photos you want to make. What is the bare minimum you need for this? Because with some camera models, you pay a lot more for advanced features that you might never use yourself. The biggest reason I decided on this model was the lightweight, compact body. The mirrorless series comes with and without shutter sound and, above all, is full frame. Which means more dynamic range and much better, sharper and brighter colors and images. With the option to shoot videos and great image stabilization.
Unboxing the Sony
After spending months researching, I finally decided to purchase the Sony. While I was unboxing it, I had my doubts about it. It is a big investment, and what if I am disappointed? But with the amount of research I had done, I knew this camera would support me in my career as a photographer. I knew it would be worth it. So my advice to you is to always do a ton of research. Be 100% sure that the camera suits you and your photography style. Not only for now, but it should also be future proof and still be your go to camera while your photography career is evolving and growing.
The crazy part was that the moment I took the Sony out of the box, I realized that I had never held a Sony camera before. This shocked me a bit because I had been considering buying this camera for so long. I read all the reviews and watched lots of videos. But I’ve never worked with it, like I used to with the Canon. I felt a bit clueless, to be honest. While I was holding the camera in my hands, none of the buttons or menu options made sense to me. I basically wanted to send it back immediately, because it felt way too complicated for me to understand. But I figured it wasn’t the best time to start learning a new camera late at night, so I packed it back up and gave myself some space during the weekend.
I recommend taking your time when figuring out a completely new camera. There is a lot of new information to process. The manual can help with understanding the buttons and icons displayed on the screen. With a rested approach, I was able to understand the camera within an hour. Without a doubt, the image quality was outstanding compared to my previous camera.
Understanding the buttons and menu
The Sony A7 III is advanced with regards to the buttons and menu. You can customize certain buttons, while others come with multiple options. I can recommend watching YouTube tutorials that guide you through the menu. This helped me discover functions I hadn’t noticed before.
The menu however is one of the most confusing ones to learn to understand. With six different tabs covering different topics, each tab comes with multiple pages, from four up to fourteen! Whenever I am looking for a specific setting, it takes quite some time before I find it. Over time, the more you use it, the more it starts to make sense. A couple of my favorite options are to customize buttons on the camera and build in presets for shooting like framerates and color profiles.
Why 120 fps doesn’t work in Europe
One of the features that makes the Sony A7 III highly liked by videographers is the option to film at 120 frames per second. This super slow-motion effect seems to work really smoothly without losing image quality. However, I experienced some difficulties with setting this up. There just wasn’t an option to select 120 fps in the menu. After some research, it turns out that the European version of the Sony A7 III doesn’t come standard with the 120 fps option. This is because the European camera is set on PAL, while the American version uses NTSC. 120 fps is only an option for NTSC, not PAL. Luckily, you can convert your camera to NTSC and get the 120 fps option shown in your menu. I then set a preset for this so that I can simply switch to the 120 fps setting with one turn of the wheel.
Overall likes and dislikes
I updated this blog post since I have owned this camera for almost four years and have some interesting insights to add.
What I looked for in a new camera:
- Full frame
- Good at shooting both photography and videography
- Easy to use in most situations
- Good at shooting in low-light conditions
- Wide range of lens options
The Sony ticked all the boxes and sounded like a camera that could grow with me as I perused my career. I would recommend this camera if you are looking for a professional upgrade.
What I dislike about the camera:
- Complicated user experience
- Silent shutter issues
- No flipscreen
- Comes without a battery charger
It took me a long time to get comfortable with this camera. Together with Youtube tutorials and the manual, I have found ways to make the 120 fps work, figured out how to access the images on my PC, and set up the presets in the menu. Especially because this camera is so advanced, it takes time to learn and discover what all the options do. From time to time, I still search online for support or get inspiration from how other photographers work with it.
A lot of photographers and videographers I know, shoot with the Sony A7 III or an upgraded version of it, and we all share similar opinions. Once you get used to the workflow within this camera, it works like a charm. But still, one of the issues that I encountered many times is the silent shutter issue. From time to time, using the silent shutter can affect the image quality. I once experienced this while shooting a concert. Here I saw stripes through the image where the concert lights were shining. It might be a combination of the frequency of those lights and using a high shutter speed. But there have been many stories around the internet explaining the cause of this issue leading back to the silent shutter mode. I stopped using this setting when it wasn’t needed.
One other small design that personally annoys me is the screen that doesn’t flip 180 degrees. Whenever you like to make self-portraits or videos, you check the framing yourself. The Sony does connect with your phone through its personal app. This way, you can use your phone as a monitor and take pictures as well.
For me, the investment was absolutely worth it, since the quality and possibilities are amazing. However, I still think it is good to compare your needs with those of other cameras and brands before making a decision. If you’d like to read more about the specifications of the Sony A7 III, please click here. Also, check out the photos I made with this camera by clicking here.