Have lost count of how many A7III posts I have written. There have been a lot.
And here is yet another post to add to the heap.
More on this below, but I am surprised I am still writing about it because I am surprised I still own it.
I once said that Sony shot itself in the foot with the A7III because it is so good I cannot see any reason for replacing it with a newer or upper-tier model. This is no way to get me to spend more money.
I was kind of joking, but that is exactly what has happened. I write “So…” posts about new gear announcements largely as an attempt to talk myself down. Often times it works and I do not make the jump. But other times it fails like with the Sony FE 50mm f/1.2 G Master where I write a post about how a piece of gear is not necessary only to later contradict myself. I honestly thought that was what would happen with the Sony A7IV eventually after I wrote a So… post about it.
But it did not.
I read the A7IV specs. Read the reviews. Pored over the sample images. Tried one when a copy came into the local camera shop. Watched a mess of video reviews.
A great camera.
But I am good. Nothing wrong with the Sony A7IV. It is great and worthy of all the positive reviews. It comes more down to how good the Sony A7III is. It was announced on 26 February 2018, came out in April, and per Flickr, I had it in my hands by April 12th, 2018.
A lot of lenses and cameras have come and gone around here since then. And some cameras have even come back again. But I never once seriously considered selling or trading the A7III. Why?
It just works. Every single time. Especially if your main aim is primarily stills photography.
If I was more video centric I may have upgraded. But as is I am good. I can also understand why someone would upgrade for stills. It is a great camera. But I am good.
It is now the second camera that has failed to pry the A7III from my mitts. Before the A7IV was the A7RIII. To be honest that camera still poses more of a risk than the A7IV. But at the end of the day neither has made me budge.
Had thought perhaps it has to do with some emotional attachment based on prior images captured, like the wedding I shot with it.
But my attachment to this camera is not based primarily on an emotional reaction. That may be the end result, but it starts with a much more practical foundation. Every time I use it I am reminded how great a camera it is. It was flawless last August in NYC.
It more than meets the challenge for everyday photography.
But it also performed flawlessly for a recent portrait shoot for my son.
And again at a recent event shoot for my family.
It has been so good that it has allowed me to pivot to what I personally believe is most important. Lenses. Instead of spending more on cameras, I have instead started focusing on acquiring the best glass available. And I could not be happier.
Due to this, the A7III has hit milestones no other camera has.
- While there are many cameras that I have professed dear I have owned no camera longer.
- It is one of a few cameras that I have never traded.
- While checking my Flickr galleries I realized that I have captured far more exposures than any other camera with it, except one I have owned even less time surprisingly.
Again. The A7IV is excellent. The A7RIII is excellent. There are many other cameras that I could be perfectly happy with from other brands.
But this is the one for me.
It may not be an exciting camera, but it is not meant to be. I keep my oddballs around but they are not the cameras I reach for when I just need the shot. So while the primary motivator is not emotional it is such a consistent performer that I have grown attached to it.
Even today I struggle to come up with a lack that could be fulfilled by another camera.
Now let’s deal with some theoretical questions.
What would I buy if I had neither camera and was buying a camera today? Depends.
If I were buying new I would likely fork over the extra $500 for the A7IV. But Sony being Sony I fully expect I would wait out one of their sales that would greatly reduce the price of the A7III.
What of other brands? Top tier and middle tier Canon and Nikon cameras are amazing. But at the lower end, while competent, they have a hard time competing dollar for dollar, feature for feature. I will not really consider cameras over $2,000 while the A7III exists.
I have had and enjoyed it, but before I pick up a Canon EOS RP I would likely get an IBIS having A7II. Have been very tempted by the Canon EOS R but I would pivot to the A7III here as well. I took a hard look at the Nikon Z5 and was impressed, but I see nothing there that would pry me away from an A7III and little things like 4.5 fps vs 10 does it no favors. I really like Panasonic cameras, but contrast only AF is a deal breaker for me. But that is not the only factor at play. There is the lens situation.
Sony getting out ahead of everyone else with their mirrorless cameras paid one major dividend here. Lens selection. I currently only own two Sony lenses. All other are spectacular third party lenses that perform flawlessly are great values and none are available for any of the mounts above. Sure there are the obvious choices like the wonderful Tamron f/2.8 zoom triplets…
But as good as all of those lenses are they are not the ultimate reason I would not leave Sony now. There is a lens that led me to eventually trade all of the lenses above, save one. Every single lens traded but one. The Tamron 35-150mm f/2-2.8.
As stated many times before I could make do with nearly any brand if I had to. But this is a lens so good that it would sell me on the Sony mount alone.
Combine the two and you have an amazing image capturing solution.
Well done Tamron. Well done Sony.