I was at a wedding recently with the usual bunch of photographers trying their best to take away the view for the rest of the guests. However, what struck me more was how many of them were using Sony Alpha cameras this time. A few years back there would have been just two brands on show. One of them told me this changing preference was because of the ease of using the new Sony cameras in their high-pressure, anything-can-happen situations. This was at the back of my mind when I got the new Sony Alpha a7 III for review. This is among the best Sony has to offer at the moment, a full frame camera with 4K at 10 frames per second.
The Sony Alpha a7 III is a 35mm full frame camera. But it is still a very compact camera and does not intimidate you with either its size or weight. I tested the camera with a 24-105mm lens which was large, but still not heavy. The new 24.2-megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor with back-illuminated structure and BIONZ X image processing engine and front-end LSI is at the core of this mean new camera. Which means it is faster than its predecessors and, of course, more capable.
The camera offers a good grip and feels solid in your hand, which for me is a very important aspect of being able to click the photos I want. There is the usual peppering of buttons which will take months to understand, customise and exploit fully. The 2.95-inch TFT monitor offers great colours and a touch screen, but I prefer using the old-fashioned viewfinder, which is electronic as this is a mirrorless camera.
The number of buttons will intimidate you for a bit. But that is nothing compared to the menu, which has pages and pages of tweaks you can effect on the camera. The customs buttons and favourites can help reduce this pain, but you will take time to figure out what you want to configure there.
The Sony Alpha a7 III is a camera that offers great feedback when you click.
It makes the right noise and, like driving a car, you know the camera is listening to you. In terms of sheer speed, this is among the fastest cameras you can buy. The auto-focus is also really fast and you lock on to the subject quickly. The camera has a stunning 693 focus points which gives you great control when it comes to framing a shot just the way you want it.
The one thing that sets this camera way ahead of the competition for me is its low-light capabilities. Yes, mirrorless cameras are supposed to be good at this, but an ISO range that goes up to 51200 and can still be jacked up a few points to reach 204800 means this camera can shoot in pitch dark if needed. Even at these high ISO levels the noise is lesser that you would imagine.
With its ability to shoot 4K videos as 10 frames per second, given that you have right cards to be able to store it, this camera is a great option for those who want to shoot professional quality video. And again, the low light capabilities make this camera better for some users and reduces the dependency on lights.
This camera has everything you will need and it is not missing anything you would have wanted. There is, of course, the ability to share files from the camera to a smartphone using the app or wireless links. But, yes, this could have been much easier than it is now. Somewhere, Sony has to improve this and make it easier. Despite being a camera aimed at the professionals or prosumers, Sony has not taken away the ability to go fully automatic or the preset modes, which gives you the freedom to just point and shoot at times and not really be bothered about composing a frame.
The Sony Alpha a7 III is a camera that is a powerful yet nimble, capable yet creative. The Sony Alpha a7 III is ideal for those who are progressing from an entry level DSLR or Alpha and knows what they are getting into. Yes, this is a camera that can take care of all your photography needs and aspirations.
* Estimated street price: Rs 1,64,990