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First Impressions Operating the Sony A7R III

See my Sony wish list and get Sony A7R III at B&H Photo.

I’ve been working with the Fujifilm GF 45mm f/2.8 on the Fujifilm GFX trying to nail that down so I can concentrate exclusively on the Sony. This makes sense, because Adobe support for Sony A7R III files is not out yet (but soon I hear). I remain as impressed as ever with the quality of the GFX files, and unlike the Sony A7R III, lossless compression keeps the storage space down.

A few quick comments on negative and very bad things:

  • I am unable to operate the A7R III in the cold with gloves on. I’ve been shooting mainly in the 18°F to 35°F range. It’s hopeless; I have to remove my gloves. Fingerless do not help; I just get frozen fingers. Without gloves, my shooting time drops to maybe 15 minutes before I have to spend several minutes warming up my fingers. The Nikon D850 I can operate (in spite of the downgraded 4-way controller). The Fujifilm GFX works much better than the Sony, but less well than the D850, so I find myself having to remove gloves for the GFX at times.
  • Menu #1 item AF w/ shutter is a key setting for me; I set it to OFF so that pressing the shutter does not initiate autofocus, instead using the rear AF-ON button. There is a bug in which the A7R III ignores the AF w/ shutter option and always focuses when the shutter is pressed. I could not get it to work until I pulled and reinserted the battery. By then I had lost the carefully composed focus stack I wanted to do—light gone.
  • Video settings and JPEGs settings are a huge clutter that makes it hard for a still shooter to not get frustrated with all this totally unused cruft making everything more difficult to find.
  • The EVF is a major upgrade over the A7R II.
  • Pixel shift could beep when done so I don’t have to sit there and stare at it, damn it! Particularly for longer exposures.
  • The dials and buttons are still too small. I enjoy shooting the Nikon D850; I continually feel frustrated with the A7R III, and it’s just as slow to magnify an image at the A7R II—quite the nuisance before and it still is, since I do it dozens of times on a days shoot.
  • Pixel shift shoots 4 frames. So guess what if you want to compare 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 frames for proper overlap, magnified? It’s horribly confusing and losing track of what is what is an instant problem. Moreover, deleting a pixel shift exposure means deleting 4 separate images. That pixel shift was/is poorly thought out is just stunning. Sony’s menu system designers lack any conceptual faculty and it’s sad to see pixel shift downgraded to a pain in the rear like this.
Sony A7R III, rear view

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