Sony a7R3 Review and 5D Mark IV Comparisons | Dustin

TWI by Dustin Abbott

EOS 5D MK IV
Oct 4, 2012
2,669
17
www.dustinabbott.net
Hi everyone,

I've just spent a lot six+ weeks deeply reviewing (and comparing) the Sony a7R3.

Text Review: http://bit.ly/a7R3review
Video Review: http://bit.ly/a7R3Sony
Video Playlist: http://bit.ly/SonyA7r3da
Image Gallery: http://bit.ly/Sonya7R3ig

Bottom line: I'm adding one alongside my 5D Mark IV for both personal use and reviews. Moving ahead I'm shooting/reviewing with a 5D Mark IV/80D and a7R3/a6500 kit.
 

Sarpedon

EOS M50
Oct 30, 2014
42
0
Excellent review that jives with my own experience (though I switched, rather than supplemented, my kit). It was the removal of the interchangeable focus screen on the 6D Mark II (not its pedestrian dynamic range) that prompted me to look elsewhere and I now find that all of my EF mount lenses, which are either manual focus (like my favorite, the Zeiss 28 f/2) or wide-aperture primes (like the 85L II) actually work better on the Sony. And I'm continually surprised at how fun this camera is to use, which I couldn't say of my time, albeit limited, with the A7R II.

I made this comment elsewhere but I think the best way to look at the size question with the full frame Sonys is that they are 'modular': significantly smaller and a somewhat lighter if you're using something like the FE 35 f/2.8, but the advantage disappears if you're using conventional big glass like an 85 1.4 or 70-200 2.8. Indeed, you pay an ergonomic penalty if you don't use a grip. (And personally, I like the RRS plate instead of the grip unless I'm using an extremely large lens or I'm on a shoot.)
 

bwud

EOS RP
Sep 3, 2014
305
10
Sarpedon said:
And I'm continually surprised at how fun this camera is to use, which I couldn't say of my time, albeit limited, with the A7R II.
Agreed. I describe the A7Rii based on ~2.5 years of use as beta hardware. The third iteration is ready for prime time, it’s a night and day difference.

Sarpedon said:
(And personally, I like the RRS plate instead of the grip unless I'm using an extremely large lens or I'm on a shoot.)
I used an L-bracket with my rII to get another finger on, but picked up the vertical grip for the riii and haven’t taken it off, even with using something light and compact like my 25mm. It’s substantially more comfortable.


My A7Rii foray was experimental, neither intended as a supplement or a replacement to my Canon kit. With a7riii it is feeling more like a replacement, especially now that I finally have a longer lens option (100-400).
 

YellowJersey

EOS 80D
Jan 2, 2014
144
0
Hi Dustin,

Thanks for the review. Have you encountered any issues with the so-called "star eater" phenomenon due spacial filtering noise reduction for exposures longer than 3.2 seconds? It removes stars mistaking them for noise Much was made about this issue on previous A7 models and it seems like the spacial filtering is still there but the "star eater" effect has drastically improved on the A7rIII. I've noticed that none of the reviewers I follow have mentioned it and was curious what you thought about the A7rIII for shooting the night sky. As one of the few reviewers that looks at coma for lenses, I thought you might be the right man to ask.
 

TWI by Dustin Abbott

EOS 5D MK IV
Oct 4, 2012
2,669
17
www.dustinabbott.net
YellowJersey said:
Hi Dustin,

Thanks for the review. Have you encountered any issues with the so-called "star eater" phenomenon due spacial filtering noise reduction for exposures longer than 3.2 seconds? It removes stars mistaking them for noise Much was made about this issue on previous A7 models and it seems like the spacial filtering is still there but the "star eater" effect has drastically improved on the A7rIII. I've noticed that none of the reviewers I follow have mentioned it and was curious what you thought about the A7rIII for shooting the night sky. As one of the few reviewers that looks at coma for lenses, I thought you might be the right man to ask.
I looked hard for it, but it seems like that might have been a little overstated. Here's a 25 second comparison with the Tamron 15-30 VC (too long for real astro, as there is some movement, but I wanted to really try and make it happen).
 

Attachments

TWI by Dustin Abbott

EOS 5D MK IV
Oct 4, 2012
2,669
17
www.dustinabbott.net
Sarpedon said:
Excellent review that jives with my own experience (though I switched, rather than supplemented, my kit). It was the removal of the interchangeable focus screen on the 6D Mark II (not its pedestrian dynamic range) that prompted me to look elsewhere and I now find that all of my EF mount lenses, which are either manual focus (like my favorite, the Zeiss 28 f/2) or wide-aperture primes (like the 85L II) actually work better on the Sony. And I'm continually surprised at how fun this camera is to use, which I couldn't say of my time, albeit limited, with the A7R II.

I made this comment elsewhere but I think the best way to look at the size question with the full frame Sonys is that they are 'modular': significantly smaller and a somewhat lighter if you're using something like the FE 35 f/2.8, but the advantage disappears if you're using conventional big glass like an 85 1.4 or 70-200 2.8. Indeed, you pay an ergonomic penalty if you don't use a grip. (And personally, I like the RRS plate instead of the grip unless I'm using an extremely large lens or I'm on a shoot.)
It sounds like you felt the same way about the a7R2 as I did. It just didn't do a lot for me. The a7R3 is so much more fun to use.
 

TWI by Dustin Abbott

EOS 5D MK IV
Oct 4, 2012
2,669
17
www.dustinabbott.net
BeenThere said:
Dustin,
Which EF lens adapter did you like best. I didn’t see the Metabones mentioned.
I haven't used the Metabones 5th yet, but I do have a comparo planned with the Sigma MC-11. I used the IV with the a7R2, but it's focus system was downright primitive by comparison, so I kind of threw that experience out of consideration.
 

YellowJersey

EOS 80D
Jan 2, 2014
144
0
TWI by Dustin Abbott said:
YellowJersey said:
Hi Dustin,

Thanks for the review. Have you encountered any issues with the so-called "star eater" phenomenon due spacial filtering noise reduction for exposures longer than 3.2 seconds? It removes stars mistaking them for noise Much was made about this issue on previous A7 models and it seems like the spacial filtering is still there but the "star eater" effect has drastically improved on the A7rIII. I've noticed that none of the reviewers I follow have mentioned it and was curious what you thought about the A7rIII for shooting the night sky. As one of the few reviewers that looks at coma for lenses, I thought you might be the right man to ask.
I looked hard for it, but it seems like that might have been a little overstated. Here's a 25 second comparison with the Tamron 15-30 VC (too long for real astro, as there is some movement, but I wanted to really try and make it happen).
Thanks! I don't see any difference between the two, either, other than the exposures seem a bit different, despite the fact that the settings were the same. This bodes well, as I recently switched from the 5DmkIII to the A7rIII, and am itching to get down to Writing On Stone Provincial Park in May to shoot the stars. Here's hoping my six year old laptop can handle stacking 10 42mp images without bursting into flames or, at the very least, without microwaving my keyboard hand. Thanks, mate!
 

Michael Clark

Now we see through a glass, darkly...
Apr 5, 2016
918
438
TWI by Dustin Abbott said:
YellowJersey said:
Hi Dustin,

Thanks for the review. Have you encountered any issues with the so-called "star eater" phenomenon due spacial filtering noise reduction for exposures longer than 3.2 seconds? It removes stars mistaking them for noise Much was made about this issue on previous A7 models and it seems like the spacial filtering is still there but the "star eater" effect has drastically improved on the A7rIII. I've noticed that none of the reviewers I follow have mentioned it and was curious what you thought about the A7rIII for shooting the night sky. As one of the few reviewers that looks at coma for lenses, I thought you might be the right man to ask.
I looked hard for it, but it seems like that might have been a little overstated. Here's a 25 second comparison with the Tamron 15-30 VC (too long for real astro, as there is some movement, but I wanted to really try and make it happen).
Could the movement of the star field due to the long exposure spread the light of dimmer stars over adjacent pixel wells which may prevent it being misinterpreted as noise like it might if it is only captured by a single pixel well?
 

Ian_of_glos

EOS RP
Jun 12, 2012
246
28
England
Thank you for another set of excellent reviews. As always, your reviews are well presented and carefully constructed.
As a Canon 5D mk 4 owner I would be interested to hear why you have kept your Canon and why you still use it in addition to your Sony A7Riii. Do you use the Sony for some applications and the Canon for others, and if so which are the most significant factors in determining which system you are going to choose for any particular shoot?
I accept that the Sony A7Riii is an excellent camera, but overall I am very happy with my 5D mk4. So what I am really trying to decide is whether the Sony is so much better than the Canon that it worth going through all the pain and expense of changing my camera system.
 

AlanF

Canon 5DSR II
Aug 16, 2012
5,658
2,912
padam said:
Check out Tyler Stalman's videos A7RII versus 5D IV
and A9 review, most the problems fixed in the A9 applies to the A7RIII as well.
Thanks for the links to those interesting reviews. There is a big killer for me at the end of the A9 - dust on the sensor. The mirrorless sensors are not protected by the mirror so Tyler is scared of changing lenses during a shoot because of the amount of dust picked up which has spoilt many of his shoots, which he doesn't find with his 5DIV. And I have never had to have a sensor cleaned on mine or any of my other Canon bodies despite my frequent changing of TCs in the wild. Also, what surprised was that it was more difficult to lift shadows and easier to blow highlights with the A9 than with the 5DIV - the DR is worse in practice despite all the hype that Canon is bad.
 

ecqns

EOS T7i
Feb 4, 2015
98
0
AlanF said:
Thanks for the links to those interesting reviews. There is a big killer for me at the end of the A9 - dust on the sensor. The mirrorless sensors are not protected by the mirror so Tyler is scared of changing lenses during a shoot because of the amount of dust picked up which has spoilt many of his shoots, which he doesn't find with his 5DIV.
I think being that worried about sensor dust is a little unnecessary, all you have to do is keep a little rocket blower in your bag if you need it. Since the sensor is so close to the mount you can get a good look at it if you need to. As opposed to a DSLR sensor deep in the mirror box which is harder to reach and check for dust. And anyone saying dust can spoil a shoot is being a little dramatic.
 

BillB

EOS 6D MK II
May 11, 2017
1,140
380
Ian_of_glos said:
Thank you for another set of excellent reviews. As always, your reviews are well presented and carefully constructed.
As a Canon 5D mk 4 owner I would be interested to hear why you have kept your Canon and why you still use it in addition to your Sony A7Riii. Do you use the Sony for some applications and the Canon for others, and if so which are the most significant factors in determining which system you are going to choose for any particular shoot?
I accept that the Sony A7Riii is an excellent camera, but overall I am very happy with my 5D mk4. So what I am really trying to decide is whether the Sony is so much better than the Canon that it worth going through all the pain and expense of changing my camera system.
How is the 5DIV holding you back?
 

tron

EOS 5D SR
Nov 8, 2011
4,034
338
I bought a 40D Nov 2007. It was my only DSLR until June 2009 when it was stolen.
Then, I bought my 5DII (Jun 2009) and sold it Feb 2014.
It was my only DSLR until Nov 2012 when I bought a 5DIII (and I continued using it in parallel afterwards).
So for many years I was exchanging lenses at the outside without having any dust issues.
The same with the rest of my DSLRs. No dust issues. True I was not a pro but still I shot around 20K with my 5DII and the lens exchange was very frequent (16-35, 24-105, 70-200, 300, TS-E17 for example)

By the way right now my mostly used camera is a 7D2 with about 3 times this number of 5DII shots and I do not need to have the sensor cleaned.

I like it this way ;)
 

Ian_of_glos

EOS RP
Jun 12, 2012
246
28
England
BillB said:
Ian_of_glos said:
Thank you for another set of excellent reviews. As always, your reviews are well presented and carefully constructed.
As a Canon 5D mk 4 owner I would be interested to hear why you have kept your Canon and why you still use it in addition to your Sony A7Riii. Do you use the Sony for some applications and the Canon for others, and if so which are the most significant factors in determining which system you are going to choose for any particular shoot?
I accept that the Sony A7Riii is an excellent camera, but overall I am very happy with my 5D mk4. So what I am really trying to decide is whether the Sony is so much better than the Canon that it worth going through all the pain and expense of changing my camera system.
How is the 5DIV holding you back?
It is not. I am delighted with my 5D Mk4 in every way and in many ways it exceeds my expectations. The problem is that I read review after review saying how much better the A7Riii is and how Canon is lagging behind the competition. I am not sure whether to take these reviews seriously, or even if the differences are that significant - hence my original question to Dustin.
 

bwud

EOS RP
Sep 3, 2014
305
10
For another anecdote, excluding film cameras I’ve owned (all purchased near market entry): Olympus E-1, Canon 350D, Canon 40D, Canon 5Dii, Canon 7D,and Canon 5Diii. I still own the 5Diii. I’ve also owned Sony A7Rii (my first mirrorless interchangeable lens camera) and currently own a Sony A7Riii.

Of them, aside from blowing air and the ultrasonic function, I’ve only cleaned the 40D and 5Diii, using sensor swabs from photographic solutions. The 5Dii was serviced, and I believe canon cleaned its sensor then.

I used the first Sony for more than two years using only prime lenses. Suffice it to say I changed them a lot. Occasionally I’d get dust, but it was nothing a combination of the vibration feature and an air rocket couldn’t manage. I started using zoom lenses with the A7Riii, and while I do change them in the field I’ve yet to experience unmanageable dust.

In my experience, the lack of a mirror as protection of the sensor is a non-issue. YMMV.

Ian_of_glos said:
BillB said:
Ian_of_glos said:
Thank you for another set of excellent reviews. As always, your reviews are well presented and carefully constructed.
As a Canon 5D mk 4 owner I would be interested to hear why you have kept your Canon and why you still use it in addition to your Sony A7Riii. Do you use the Sony for some applications and the Canon for others, and if so which are the most significant factors in determining which system you are going to choose for any particular shoot?
I accept that the Sony A7Riii is an excellent camera, but overall I am very happy with my 5D mk4. So what I am really trying to decide is whether the Sony is so much better than the Canon that it worth going through all the pain and expense of changing my camera system.
How is the 5DIV holding you back?
It is not. I am delighted with my 5D Mk4 in every way and in many ways it exceeds my expectations. The problem is that I read review after review saying how much better the A7Riii is and how Canon is lagging behind the competition. I am not sure whether to take these reviews seriously, or even if the differences are that significant - hence my original question to Dustin.
i wouldn’t put much concern on reviews suggesting any one modern camera is leaps and bounds behind another, especially in class competitors.

If you were to get an a7riii, you’d gain some things (zoom in the viewfinder, IS in the body, maybe some video perks, etc), and you’d lose some things (optical viewfinder, arguably more comfortable body, DPAF for video, etc). A reasonable person probably won’t trade them based on overall performance at the camera level. It will come to things like personal preference (comfort holding, comfort with backlit screens), the overall ecosystem (available native lenses, lights), etc.
 

BillB

EOS 6D MK II
May 11, 2017
1,140
380
Ian_of_glos said:
BillB said:
Ian_of_glos said:
Thank you for another set of excellent reviews. As always, your reviews are well presented and carefully constructed.
As a Canon 5D mk 4 owner I would be interested to hear why you have kept your Canon and why you still use it in addition to your Sony A7Riii. Do you use the Sony for some applications and the Canon for others, and if so which are the most significant factors in determining which system you are going to choose for any particular shoot?
I accept that the Sony A7Riii is an excellent camera, but overall I am very happy with my 5D mk4. So what I am really trying to decide is whether the Sony is so much better than the Canon that it worth going through all the pain and expense of changing my camera system.
The geekhead blogosphere is a strange and wonderful place. Doesn't seem to have much to do with actually using cameras though.

How is the 5DIV holding you back?
It is not. I am delighted with my 5D Mk4 in every way and in many ways it exceeds my expectations. The problem is that I read review after review saying how much better the A7Riii is and how Canon is lagging behind the competition. I am not sure whether to take these reviews seriously, or even if the differences are that significant - hence my original question to Dustin.
 

AlanF

Canon 5DSR II
Aug 16, 2012
5,658
2,912
ecqns said:
AlanF said:
Thanks for the links to those interesting reviews. There is a big killer for me at the end of the A9 - dust on the sensor. The mirrorless sensors are not protected by the mirror so Tyler is scared of changing lenses during a shoot because of the amount of dust picked up which has spoilt many of his shoots, which he doesn't find with his 5DIV.
I think being that worried about sensor dust is a little unnecessary, all you have to do is keep a little rocket blower in your bag if you need it. Since the sensor is so close to the mount you can get a good look at it if you need to. As opposed to a DSLR sensor deep in the mirror box which is harder to reach and check for dust. And anyone saying dust can spoil a shoot is being a little dramatic.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPP-2c7sDYA

Play the video from 8:50 to 10:35. Starts with: "A huge thing that that nobody talks about that much is sensor dust .....
My inclination is to take seriously a reviewer who sees an actual phenomenon and describes it in depth.