3 Months With The Sony a7R III

3 Months With The Sony a7R III

In Photography by Jerad HillLeave a Comment

The a7R III came as a welcomed upgrade. It had been a few years since the Sony a7R II was launched so I was ready for an upgrade. In this video, I talk about my experiences so far with the Sony a7R III and show you some images I captured with the camera. With the a7III having just came out and the hype behind it, is there value in the Sony a7r III? What do you think?

Sony a7rIII: http://jer.fyi/a7rIII

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Hey, what’s up? It’s Jerad with Ditch Auto, and I wanted to talk about my first three months with this camera. This is the Sony A7R III and I wanted to talk about my experiences with this camera. Having came from the A9, I was used to some of the features of the A9, which I am glad that they brought to this camera, such as the multi-select, this kind of like joystick, or D-pad, whatever you wanna call it back here that allows you to move the focal point around, I absolutely love that.

As you can see I have the battery grip on here, which gives me two batteries, which is just an extremely long amount of time that you can use this camera. Even if you’re shooting 4K video or whatnot you’re going to get amazing battery life out of it if you put the battery grip on it. Plus for me, I have a bigger hand, and the battery grip just gives me a little more to hold onto. I feel that I need that especially when I’m doing long events that are all day for multiple days, not having enough grip on the camera actually gives me a little fatigue in the lower part of my hand. I absolutely like having a battery grip on there even though it does add to the weight. But, having the extra battery in there means all-day battery life for me. Especially if I’m shooting predominantly photos.

I’ve been able to get two days worth of battery life out of this camera shooting a ton of photos every day. Around a thousand, 1200 photos a day. I’m able to get out of this in two days without changing the batteries or even charging them.I’m gonna talk about a couple of things that I really like about this camera. I love the fact that has USB-C in the side of the camera here. Not this door but, this door. USB-C right in the side of the camera. All of my phones and tablets and stuff like that are pretty much USB-C and so I can actually just plug in the charger there, and it will charge the batteries of the camera, which is nothing new but for this camera you can actually charge the batteries that are in the battery grip as well. That is kind of new.

On the previous versions of the A7 cameras that I’ve had, you’ve only been able to charge the battery that’s actually inside the camera, which means no battery grip but now able to charge all of this. It does take a while because you’re charging two batteries over a small cable, so it does take a while to charge but, I’ve found like, I go and shoot a whole day, plug in the cord into the camera, when I wake up in the morning it’s fully charged and ready to go for another day. I don’t even have to take the batteries out, I don’t have to bring an extra charger, or maybe two chargers if I wanna try and charge both batteries at the same time. It just works really well.

I like the fact that the camera has gotten a little bigger, that’s something that I really liked about the A9. As well the A9 body just had a little better feel to me. I like that there’s a little more to hold onto. There’s something to be said for where the A7 line started out with the extremely thin body. I think it was more of a, look, we can make this tiny powerful camera than it was making something comfortable. I like the fact that it has a good grip on it.

The dual SD card slots I definitely like, I don’t utilize them too much because typically I have plenty of memory on one card but when I’m going to be shooting a lot of 4K video I run dual cards in there and then if it’s a wedding I’m shooting I will run dual cards and have the photos saved to both cards so that I have some redundancy, I like that. It definitely makes me feel a little more secure with that, having the redundancy there.

I also like that location of the new record button, used to be over here on the previous versions of the camera. It took me a while, and it still messes with me having that button there because I’ve been so used to it being over here on the side. I go to hit record and the button’s not there. Obviously, this is a much better button placement but, after so many years of the button being over here on the side I’ve just gotten used to it. So it’s muscle memory that needs to be relearned there.

I have customized this camera a little, there’s another video that I’ll be uploading later on this week, that are the top five settings that I’ve changed on this camera when I got it. These cameras are getting better and better, and I typically have things that I changed and adjust on my cameras but, with this camera and even the A9, there are things that I change that are a little different. Even going from the A9 and there was some things I changed on the A9 that maybe I didn’t necessarily need to change, they were more just creature of habit changes, I have some new things that I change on this camera. Make sure to check out that video, click on the subscribe button here on Ditch Auto, and you’ll be notified when that video comes out.

One of the other additions that I really like about this camera is the dedicated Af on button, the AF on button allows me to not have to remap some other button for back button focus. I don’t like when I press down the shutter button a little for the camera to go into automatically searching. This something I’m gonna talk about in my settings that I change video. The AF on button right here makes it really nice because I don’t have to worry, I can have my finger ready to go on the shutter button, just resting on it and if I tap it just barely on accident it’s not going to mess with my focus.

The camera’s not going to do any focus searching unless I press down the AF on button. I like that much better because a lot of times I am sitting there waiting for the shot or standing there just waiting on a good opportunity. I have focused pulled already and even though some of these some of these lenses do have an AF lock, or an AF off or whatever you wanna call it button on the side that would basically disable autofocus even if you had the shutter button pressed down a little. Not all of my lenses have that. Most of my Gmaster lenses do but, pretty much all of my other lenses don’t have that option, so I need to have that enabled still because half of my lenses are not Gmaster lenses and so back button focus still definitely really comes in handy.

Sometimes if I’m trying to shoot portrait, this button is annoyingly placed for that, there’s no button up here or even on the top, and so I can’t go… it doesn’t make sense for me to try to contort myself so using AF on even with some of these lenses that do have the autofocus lock button, still is beneficial, and I’m… this video is turning into the things that I change. Trust me there’s more content in the top five things that I change on the A7R III.

As far as photos go, this takes just beautiful photos, I just love the quality of the image that comes out of this camera. One of the things that has been a little interesting to me has been the auto focus. I had the A9 before, so I had this amazing autofocus with that camera and A9 is just a fantastic camera, but I was having a hard time justifying keeping that camera because of how expensive it is, and I knew that I wasn’t gonna really need that big of a camera, that expensive of a camera going into the next four or five months. So I decided to sell it and keep this camera. This camera is a bit cheaper, not much cheaper, but it is a bit cheaper, and it does a lot of the things that the A9 does.

What I didn’t realize and didn’t think was gonna be such a big issue, is how much better the A9 is at autofocus than this camera. The A7R III does a fantastic job at auto focus but it definitely does some things that are a little weird to me. It has something that you’re gonna have to turn off just because focus… and it really depends on what you’re shooting at the time but, sometimes focus can get messed up. The face detection is really good but, if there’s anything weird that happens with faces, it may auto-detect another face and mess things up. It’s not perfect in that situation.

I had a scenario where I was taking some photos yesterday actually and one face kind of… the one face that I wanted captured, it was of kids, and hair was over the face which I would’ve rather had that face captured but it actually took focus and put it on a face in the background which was not what was in the foreground and so that face detection feature actually messed things up for me. I’ve had in situations where that face detection, I’m taking group photos, that face detection decides to focus more on somebody in the back row than the front row and the front row people ended up being a little bit out of focus and I know that, that could have to do with my camera settings as well, I should be able to focus on anybody but, I tend to, as a practice, focus on the face in the center front row and then just make sure that my depth and field is good enough that the people in the back are still tack sharp. That was just something that I noticed.

I tend to turn that off. The face detection’s great if you maybe are trying to take pictures of a kid running around and you just want to make sure you’re getting their face in focus but I’ve gotten so good at using selective point focus so quickly that I don’t necessarily need that face detection. That face detection has messed me up a couple of times so it’s something that I turned off.

I think I’m actually gonna do a whole video on customizing the autofocus and which autofocus settings to use for which situations because autofocus isn’t just auto focus anymore, where the camera’s focusing on whatever. Autofocus is so much more than it used to be and there’s so much many things that you can do with a camera like this with autofocus and they all work in different ways.

Another thing that I really do like about this camera is the weight distribution with the grip. Without the grip, of course, it becomes very heavy lens side with the weight distribution with the heavier batteries, a little bigger batteries, little beefier camera, it’s much more balanced in the hand now and I really like that. When you’re shooting a long day, all day long, it’s good to have a camera that’s balanced that isn’t leaning in one direction or another or putting a lot of weight on one hand or something like that. This is a good package right here. This is the 85mm Gmaster lens. I often shoot with this lens but the 2470 Gmaster, a lot of the other Gmaster lenses are well balanced with this camera, with the exception of a 70 to 200, or a big telephoto lens, obviously those lenses are going to be a bit heavier. But all of the 100 and below, or 100 and wider lenses are just really well balanced with this camera.

Another thing this camera does well is shoots video. Now video is very important to me because I shoot a lot of video with my Sony cameras. This shoots beautiful 4K video. I shoot pretty everything in 4K these days, not very often going down into 1080 because most of the videos that we shoot we’re putting out in 4K. And even if we weren’t I would like that extra image detail so that I can downsample to a 1080 or maybe even do a little of cropping with that larger image.

Having the touch display on the back makes it so much easier to do rack focus shots using autofocus by tapping on one area to get focus and tapping on another area and having the camera rack focus, the focus is so smooth that it’s almost like you’re doing it by hand except it’s becoming much easier because using autofocus, it’s going to autofocus on those two things and so there’s no chance of you really missing that rack focus which is just a fantastic feature.

With all that said, my experiences with this camera has been really great. I definitely don’t necessarily need the large image size that it produces, I would probably wanna trade that out for better low light performance or maybe some additional performance with the auto focus but, I really do like this camera and I’m glad that I spent some time with it. It’s a valid upgrade from the A7R II which came out a couple of years ago and I shot with that camera with basically since it first came until I got this one.

So the A7R II is a great camera and a lot of people have wondered if the A7R III is a valid upgrade, and after three months I can say that it definitely is, not only is it faster and better at standard camera operation but adding in the dual SD card, having the multi-select on the back for focus, moving around the focus point, having the touch screen, those are things that are just game changers for me. The bigger battery is definitely a huge plus as well.

I am really looking forward to getting my hands on an A7 III and spending some time with that. What I do miss about the A9 is the autofocus that it had. I feel like that autofocus on the A9 is just the best autofocus on any camera out right now. It’s absolutely fantastic and there are just a lot of things that I like about that camera, however I am glad that I got this camera and have spent time with it because this camera does have a specific place in the whole product lineup for the Alpha series cameras and that is the higher megapixel producing image. If you need an image that’s that large, 40 plus megapixels, the this is the camera for you. If you are wanting a little more performance out of your camera as far as autofocus, and low light performance, you could probably wait around for the A7 III. It’s gonna be a fantastic camera and I should be receiving mine any day now. I look forward to coming back and sharing the details of that camera with all of you.

I hope that you enjoyed this video, I’ve spent a lot of time with this camera and do absolutely love it, I’ve shot some events with it. Some holiday stuff with it with my family, and it’s just been a really good camera. I think that it’s well worth the money. Sony definitely deserves the price that they’re getting for this camera and it does perform really well. I just think that… and it will be interesting when I get my hands on that A7 III just to see the differences there, how much that camera really relates to the A9 because I do miss my A9 at this point. I just don’t miss the price point of the A9.

That’s gonna do it for this video, thanks so much for checking it out. If you liked it, give it a thumbs up, and click on that subscribe button so you can be notified when I put out the top five settings that I changed on this camera when I first got it and also some of my initial thoughts when I finally get my hands on that A7 III. So until then, keep Ditching Auto, and we hope to see you back here soon. Take care.

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