Sony A7R III joins full-frame Alpha stable

Sony has announced the first camera in its third-generation A7 series, the Sony A7R III.

The A7R III appears to be based around the same basic idea as the previous A7R II, but borrows a handful of features from recent models such as the A9.

Although the A7R II's 42.4MP back-illuminated, full-frame sensor appears to have been maintained for the new model – once again, without an anti-aliasing filter – Sony has updated the BIONZ X processing engine to boost processing speeds by a factor of around 1.8x. There's also a new front-end LSI on hand to double read-out speeds from the sensor, a move we also saw in the recent A6500 and A99 II models.

• Read more: Sony A99 II review | Sony A7R IV vs A7R III vs A7R II

Sony A7R III Specs

  • 42.4MP back-illuminated Exmor R full-frame sensor 
  • BIONZ X processor and new front-end LSI 
  • E-mount 
  • 4K video recording with full pixel readout, Full HD up to 120fps
  • 10fps burst shooting (with autofocus and auto-exposure)
  • 5-axis image stabilisation system with 5.5EV-stop compensation
  • 399-point phase-detect AF and 425-point contrast-detect AF systems
  • ISO 100-32,000 (exp to ISO 50-102,400 equivalents) 
  • 3in tilting touchscreen LCD, 1.44million dots
  • Quad-VGA OLED Tru-Finder, 3.69million dots
  • Two SDHC/SDXC cardc slots (inc. support for UHS-II in one slot)
  • Pixel Shift Multi Shooting Mode
  • 650-shot battery life
  • USB 3.1 port

This boost to processing has also allowed for shooting speeds to top out at 10fps, with full autofocus and auto-exposure throughout and burst depths of 28 uncompressed Raw images or 76 JPEGs. Impressively, the camera is able to achieve this speed when using both mechanical or electronic shutters.

Sony promises up to 15EV stops of dynamic range at low sensitivities, with the sensor's native ISO 100-32,000 range expandable to ISO 50-102,400-equivalent settings where requires. Once again, images can be recorded as 14bit Raw files, in both single or continuous shooting modes.

A 399-point phase-detect AF system that covers around 68% of the image area has been included alongside 425-point contrast-detect AF system. Most recent Sony models with both systems on board (including the A7R II) have only had 25 contrast-detect points as standard, so this difference is significant. The Eye AF feature is also said to be twice as effective as it previously has been.

Elsewhere, the A7R II's five-axis image stabilisation system promises up to 5.5 stops of extra usable shutter speed – certainly impressive if found to be the case. Sony has also partnered this with a new low-vibration shutter, which should further help with camera stability.

Read more: Sony RX10 IV confirmed

Naturally, we also get a well specified 4K video option, with full pixel readout and no pixel binning. A Super 35mm setting is also on hand, recording at a 5K resolution initially before downsampling this to benefit depth and detail. On top of this, there's also a new Hybrid Log-Gamma option alongside the previously seen S-Log2 and S-Log3 profiles for the benefit of those taking the video side of things more seriously.

Features from the A9 include the AF joystick control that allows the AF point to be shifted across the frame, together with a 3.69million-dot EVF – a huge improvement on the 2.36million dot panel we saw in the A7R II. 

The 3in LCD screen maintains the same mounting mechanism that allows it to be adjusted up and down from that model too, although Sony has made it touch sensitive and now fitted it with WhiteMagic technology, which means its resolution has now rised from 1.22million dots to 1.44million here.

Read more: Sony RX100 III vs RX100 IV vs RX100 V: Specs compared

Battery life has jumped significantly from the A7R II's 290-shot capabilities; the camera is now said to last for 650 shots per charge. Other features include two SD-type card slots – one of these compatible with the UHS-II standard – and a USB 3.1 port.

Sony A7R III price and availability

Sony has stated that the A7R III will arrive towards the end of November.

Body-only retail prices for the camera are set at £3200 in the UK and €3500 across Europe, and $3199 in the US. We'll update this page with pricing for other territories as we get it.

Read more: The best digital cameras you can buy right now

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Matt Golowczynski

The former editor of Digital Camera World, "Matt G" has spent the bulk of his career working in or reporting on the photographic industry. For two and a half years he worked in the trade side of the business with Jessops and Wex, serving as content marketing manager for the latter. 

Switching streams he also spent five years as a journalist, where he served as technical writer and technical editor for What Digital Camera before joining DCW, taking on assignments as a freelance writer and photographer in his own right. He currently works for SmartFrame, a specialist in image-streaming technology and protection.