Pretty Awesome Camera-- Drop the $2K If You Can
May 23, 2019
After hours of researching various full frame cameras and coming from 2 entry level DSLRs (Nikon & Canon 70D), a mirrorless Fuji X100T (which I still love), I'll share my thoughts/comparisons with the A7iii. My background: I took a photography class in high school, appreciate the ability to focus on objects I choose, and am a self-proclaimed entry-level/pro-sumer "nerd." I like to take pictures of people/objects for fun. Please read no further if you're looking for a "professional" review!
MY SHOOTING EXPERIENCE- Limited to Entry Level DSLRs
First, I started with the Nikon D60 (maybe 70) DSLR about 20 years ago. It felt like a huge upgrade from the previous point/shoot cameras I'd used. About 7 years after that, I switched it up to a Canon 70D. It felt like switching from PC to Mac-- the Canon being more intuitive, user friendly. I got the Sigma 35 ART lens and loved the images it captured. It was by far the most expensive lens I'd invested in at that time. Then, about 4 years ago, I picked up the Fuji X100T. The reviews were amazing, it was more compact that a DSLR. (I'd found myself enjoying & using my Canon most with a pancake lens. I LOVE(d) my x100T. I learned to navigate a "foreign" menu system pretty quickly. The pictures are nice. Honestly, after using the 70D, it felt "faster" and more responsive in terms of autofocus and shooting. But the size and mobility resulted in me using it more. I actually didn't mind throwing it in my purse.
I started researching Full Frame cameras years ago. The Canon 5D was on the top of my list. But the size and price point were a deterrent. Given my collection of lenses, it seemed logical to stay within the Canon family. But the reviews for the Sony A7iii caught my attention...made me question whether lenses were a reason to stay? (I had about 4 mid range prime lenses, the sigma 35 being the most expensive and fasted.)
The Sony A7iii: A Compact Beast
When Sony released the A7iii it seemed like the perfect upgrade from my entry level DSLRs to mirrorless full frame. I love the A7iii. I've purchased the 35mm2.8 lens for it and the 55mm1.8. The AF speed and shutter speed is infinitely better than any camera I'd ever used. The images are clear. The built in steady stability is extremely useful. It works great in low light settings.
The relative size/weight compared to its output (depending on the lens) doesn't bother me given its superior abilities to capture images. It is a pleasure to use. Being "tech savvy" I figured out the somewhat convoluted menu system-- online tutorials from other users helped me quickly identify and address "issues" before getting frustrated. My biggest annoyance was the auto viewfinder proximity sensor resulting in unintended EVF views. Now that's fixed to a dedicated custom button setting.
This camera can get expensive with lenses, etc. But, if you like clear pictures, want to capture rapid movement, like quick (I mean quick) AF, continuous focus, this is the camera. Today, I tried to use my Canon with the sigma lens, only to find myself so frustrated by its speed. I didn't remember it being, literally, "as slow as a snail"--but it was. It made me appreciate my investment in the A7iii all that much more. After all the research and wait for availability, I'm glad I got it.
Features I Love/Appreciate
The 600+ AF point selection is amazing. The continuance shooting abilities. The dual SD card slots. I love the USB-C! It makes linking to my MacBook really easy. I love being able to charge through that cable, too. The ability to customize each button/wheel. The tilt screen. The Face Detection is superb! If you have kids, this is great to insure quality/sharp memories for the future.
My Thoughts on "Lacking" Features
TOUCHSCREEN: Initially, I missed Canon's touchscreen shutter release. Now, I don't mind it as much since it focuses on that touch point so fast, and you can lock it with the shutter. I wouldn't care if Sony ever switched to touch shutter. Also, I personally don't mind that the menu is not touch accessible. The dial is responsive, the Fn key allows you to jump from various submenus quickly. The screen stays cleaner and you don't have to worry about incorrectly accessing the wrong folder.
I've had some issues connecting to my smartphone. I've had these issues with Canon and Fuji, too. The Sony App isn't as developed/user friendly as Canon or Fuji.
SCREEN: People complain the screen doesn't flip out all the way for selfies. I don't think this camera is supposed to be used for selfies! It's ability to tilt for viewing shooting angles, hip shots, etc., is perfect.
If you're interested in experiencing full frame photography and have $2000 to invest, plus $300+ for lenses, do it now! Can you take great pictures with a cheaper camera? Of course! But if you appreciate speed, reliability, size, technology, lens selection, this is a great investment. This camera makes me want to take it with me, pull out and use! It's just such an incredible upgrade from all the previous models I'd experienced. Sometimes I'd find myself leaving the DSLR at home thinking my iPhone would be sufficient. This puts the iPhone camera to shame. It's night and day. That difference itself makes me want to experience photography with this tool. I will be happy for shooting predominantly with Sony for the years to come.... Read More