For almost five years, I have restrained from hopping onto the full-frame bandwagon. Longtime readers of my site may remember my excitement with the launch of the original Sony A7, but also recall how I didn’t want to transfer my kit from an arguably more-capable NEX-7 to a full-frame camera that shot slower and had more issues with manual-focus. Camera revisions came and went, feature sets improved, ergonomics became more natural, and the years went on.
So, time and time again I had my reasons for staying patient. A7R? Didn’t need the high megapixels and worse shooting performance. A7S? Not a bad camera, but I wasn’t focused on video at the time. A7II? Hmm…getting better, but it still wasn’t performing like my NEX-7 in practice. A7RII? Now that’s a fine camera, but again, file sizes were too large and it shot at only 5fps like other A7 cameras. A7SII? Dang Sony, you’re really killing it, but I don’t need a dedicated video rig with only 12 megapixels. Alrighty then, A7RIII? Oh…okay this one is starting to look really, really nice. Ergonomics are getting better, the frame rate is increased, and even battery performance is improved. All good things aside, though, the high price ($3200!), unnecessarily-high resolution, and center viewfinder hump were still enough of a turn-off to have me stick with my a6500.
But then, February 26 happened. The days prior to me packing all of my things to move back to the States, Sony officially dropped the A7III. With the exception of the (incredibly stupid) center viewfinder hump, so many boxes were checked off for the full-frame camera of my dreams:
-Standard 24MP resolution (a.k.a. great high-ISO performance!)
-More on-sensor phase-detect and contrast-detect autofocus points than I can shake a stick at
-10 fps shooting (throw some sports at me!)
-In-body image stabilization for any lens put on the camera
-Much larger NP-FZ100 battery cannibalized from the A9, doubling my battery life
–13 customizable buttons/dials, letting me recreate Tri-Navi!
I could go on and on about the feature set, but unless you’ve been under a rock the past couple months, you have likely been inundated with news on this camera. Where Sony really hit it out of the park is in the aggressive $2000 price. To put this number into perspective, consider the NEX-7. Seven years ago that camera was arguably the most advanced and compact APS-c camera on the market. I and many others paid a premium to get the best of the best, and at its selling price of $1350 I still to this day think it was a good buy that gave me years of reliable shooting. Fast-forward to today, and for only $650 more, you get almost all the things that made the NEX-7 great, but also a full-frame sensor and the feature set listed above.
It is very easy to draw a comparison to Nikon’s D750 when considering Sony’s strategy here. Back in 2014 Nikon wanted to open up the gates to the world of full-frame shooting by introducing a high-performing camera at an attainable price point. They cannibalized features from their upper-end DSLRs like the D4S and D810 and threw together a very capable camera for $2300. Three and a half years later, and for $300 less, Sony has released a camera that far surpasses almost every feature the D750 brought to the table. What this means is that more and more people are likely to buy into Sony’s ecosystem, and other third-party manufactures are going to get in on the same gravy train. If one can figure any conclusion from Tamron’s new 28-75mm f/2.8 for E-mount, it is that we’re likely to see some nice compact optics to shoot with than the usual Sony GM and Zeiss Batis/Loxia lineup in the near future.
Getting back to my usual site jargon, and to continue my point earlier, the past two months saw me move from one side of the planet to another and start a very different life. While transitioning from Yokosuka, Japan to the relatively small town of Great Lakes, Illinois, I have had a good amount of time to relax and take stock of where I want to go with photography. I no longer live in barracks, I have much more freedom to go about my business, and I’ll soon be working on downsizing a lot of my camera kit (as always, readers will get the first heads-up of eBay listings!). With a solid full-frame A7III and backup a6500 by my side, I really look forward to not only exploring the midwest for personal photography, but also to get back into freelance work in the area. With wedding season coming up soon, I definitely need to get out there and throw some business cards around!
That’s all for this rambling website catch-up, guys and gals. I wish I had more photos to share, but with the month of shipping my gear here combined with the necessary work of settling into a house, I have only been able to do official work so far with the A7III. Its time will come, I’m sure, as there are many great places to see within a short drive, including the big windy city of Chicago! As always, have a great day!