Sony a7R Mark III review
Body and handling
|a7R III left, a7R II right.|
In its latest iteration the a7R has filled-out to resemble its bigger brother: the a9. This means the body itself has become slightly deeper, as has the grip at the front of the camera.
This move to a slightly larger body brings a whole host of improvements. For a start, there's the large 1280 x 960 pixel viewfinder, which gives either a highly detailed or rapidly refreshed one, depending on whether it's run in standard or high refresh rate mode. Its optics give it an impressive 0.78x magnification but while the listed eyepoint distance is quite high, we found you need to push the camera very close to your eye to see the whole display. The diopter adjustment range of -4 to +3 allows some users to forego glasses if they need to get closer, though.
The rear screen, like the a9, supports touch control, and usefully, fully disables the viewfinder eye sensor when flipped out. This means you can confidently shoot from the hip without worrying about the sensor being triggered and the screen going dark just as you're about to hit the shutter.
The other immediately obvious addition is the AF point joystick, which greatly improves the camera's usability. Along with the touchscreen it makes it much quicker to specify an AF point. The joystick displaces the two mode, combined switch and button on the camera's rear face, with AF-On and AEL buttons taking over its roles. There's an additional button on the Mark III's left shoulder and a dedicated [REC] button next to the viewfinder, rather than being embedded in the hand grip.
On the camera's right-hand side is a sprung, latched door with two SD card slots behind it. The lower of the two is compatible with the potentially faster UHS-II cards, while the upper one has only the single row of read pins, limiting it to the UHS-I standard.
Finally there's the camera's much larger battery, which significantly boosts the cameras' endurance. Combined with the ability to shoot while being powered from an external battery pack, it finally eases one of the last limitations that the a7 series presented, compared to their DSLR rivals. The use of the same body as the a9 means the a7R III is also compatible with the VG-C3EM battery grip, meaning the option to double the battery capacity.
However, while the body is essentially identical to that of the a9, the internals clearly aren't, since the ports have been subjected to a significant shuffle.
Like the a9, the a7R III has a flash sync socket, headphone and mic connectors, an HDMI output and a micro-B USB/Multi Connector socket. However, rather than an Ethernet port, the 'R' has a USB type C connector, which can be used for fast data transfer, charging and tethered shooting.
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