Sony A7 vs A7 III
The Sony Alpha A7 and the Sony Alpha A7 III are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in October 2013 and February 2018. Both the A7 and the A7 III are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 24 megapixels.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Sony Alpha A7 and the Sony Alpha A7 III? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Sony A7 and the Sony A7 III is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A7 III is somewhat larger (2 percent) than the Sony A7. Moreover, the A7 III is substantially heavier (37 percent) than the A7. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Sony FE Lens Catalog. Mirrorless cameras, such as the two under consideration, have the additional advantage of having a short flange to focal plane distance, which makes it possible to mount many lenses from other systems onto the camera via adapters.
Concerning battery life, the A7 gets 340 shots out of its NP-FW50 battery, while the A7 III can take 610 images on a single charge of its NP-FZ100 power pack. The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Sony A7||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||474 g||340||Y||Oct 2013||1,699|
|2.||Sony A7 III||127 mm||96 mm||74 mm||650 g||610||Y||Feb 2018||1,999|
|3.||Nikon Z6||134 mm||101 mm||67 mm||675 g||310||Y||Aug 2018||1,999|
|4.||Nikon D610||141 mm||113 mm||82 mm||850 g||900||Y||Oct 2013||1,999|
|5.||Panasonic GH4||133 mm||93 mm||84 mm||560 g||500||Y||Feb 2014||1,499|
|6.||Samsung NX1||139 mm||102 mm||66 mm||550 g||500||Y||Sep 2014||1,499|
|7.||Sony A7C||124 mm||71 mm||60 mm||509 g||740||Y||Sep 2020||1,799|
|8.||Sony A7R IV||129 mm||96 mm||78 mm||665 g||670||Y||Jul 2019||3,499|
|9.||Sony A7R III||127 mm||96 mm||74 mm||650 g||650||Y||Oct 2017||3,199|
|10.||Sony A9||127 mm||96 mm||63 mm||673 g||650||Y||Apr 2017||4,499|
|11.||Sony A6300||120 mm||67 mm||49 mm||404 g||400||Y||Feb 2016||999|
|12.||Sony A6500||120 mm||67 mm||53 mm||453 g||350||Y||Oct 2016||1,399|
|13.||Sony A7 II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||599 g||350||Y||Nov 2014||1,999|
|14.||Sony A7S||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||489 g||380||Y||Apr 2014||2,499|
|15.||Sony A7R||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||465 g||340||Y||Oct 2013||2,299|
|16.||Sony RX1R||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Jun 2013||2,799|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The A7 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 15 percent) than the A7 III, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the A7 III is 1 percent smaller. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Even though the A7 has a slightly larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 24 megapixels. This implies that the A7 has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 5.97μm versus 5.94μm for the A7 III), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. It should, however, be noted that the A7 III is much more recent (by 4 years and 4 months) than the A7, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that at least partly compensate for the smaller pixel size.
The Sony Alpha A7 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 50-51200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A7 III are ISO 100 to ISO 51200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-204800.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. Of the two cameras under consideration, the A7 III has a markedly higher DXO score than the A7 (overall score 6 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.2 bits higher color depth, 0.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.7 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Sony A7||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.8||14.2||2248||90|
|2.||Sony A7 III||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.7||3730||96|
|3.||Nikon Z6||Full Frame||24.3||6048||4024||4K/30p||25.3||14.3||3299||95|
|4.||Nikon D610||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.4||2925||94|
|5.||Panasonic GH4||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||23.2||12.8||791||74|
|7.||Sony A7C||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.7||3407||95|
|8.||Sony A7R IV||Full Frame||60.2||9504||6336||4K/30p||26.0||14.8||3344||99|
|9.||Sony A7R III||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||14.7||3523||100|
|10.||Sony A9||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.9||13.3||3517||92|
|13.||Sony A7 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.9||13.6||2449||90|
|14.||Sony A7S||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||1080/60p||23.9||13.2||3702||87|
|15.||Sony A7R||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.6||14.1||2746||95|
|16.||Sony RX1R||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||13.6||2537||91|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the A7 III provides a better video resolution than the A7. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the A7 is limited to 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under consideration are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the A7 offers a slightly higher resolution than the one in the A7 III (2400k vs 2359k dots). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Sony A7 and Sony A7 III in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Sony A7||2400||n||3.0 / 1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|2.||Sony A7 III||2359||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|3.||Nikon Z6||3690||Y||3.2 / 2100||tilting||Y||1/8000s||12.0||n||Y|
|4.||Nikon D610||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n|
|5.||Panasonic GH4||2359||n||3.0 / 1036||swivel||Y||1/8000s||12.0||Y||n|
|6.||Samsung NX1||2360||Y||3.0 / 1036||tilting||Y||1/8000s||15.0||Y||n|
|7.||Sony A7C||2360||n||3.0 / 922||swivel||Y||1/4000s||10.0||n||Y|
|8.||Sony A7R IV||5760||n||3.0 / 1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|9.||Sony A7R III||3686||n||3.0 / 1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|10.||Sony A9||3686||n||3.0 / 1440||tilting||Y||1/8000s||20.0||n||Y|
|11.||Sony A6300||2359||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n|
|12.||Sony A6500||2359||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||11.0||Y||Y|
|13.||Sony A7 II||2400||n||3.0 / 1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
|14.||Sony A7S||2400||n||3.0 / 921||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|15.||Sony A7R||2400||n||3.0 / 1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||4.0||n||n|
|16.||Sony RX1R||optional||n||3.0 / 1229||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The A7 III has a touchscreen, while the A7 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the A7 III is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Sony A7 III has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the A7 and the A7 III write their files to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A7 III features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the A7 only has one slot. The A7 III supports UHS-II cards (on its first slot), while the A7 can use UHS-I cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Sony Alpha A7 and Sony Alpha A7 III and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Sony A7||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|2.||Sony A7 III||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|3.||Nikon Z6||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Nikon D610||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Panasonic GH4||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|6.||Samsung NX1||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.0||Y||Y||Y|
|7.||Sony A7C||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.2||Y||Y||Y|
|8.||Sony A7R IV||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|9.||Sony A7R III||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y|
|10.||Sony A9||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|11.||Sony A6300||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|12.||Sony A6500||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|13.||Sony A7 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|14.||Sony A7S||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|15.||Sony A7R||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony RX1R||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
The A7 III is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the A7 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the A7 was succeeded by the Sony A7 II. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Sony website.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Sony A7 better than the Sony A7 III or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Sony Alpha A7:
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1230k vs 922k dots).
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 176g or 27 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (15 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in October 2013).
Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A7 III:
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (6 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.7 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.78x vs 0.71x).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (610 versus 340) out of a single battery charge.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.1 vs 2.0).
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
- More modern: Reflects 4 years and 4 months of technical progress since the A7 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A7 III is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 4 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Sony A7 and the Sony A7 III place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the A7 or the A7 III perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Sony A7||5/5||+ +||..||80/100||5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||1,699|
|2.||Sony A7 III||..||+ +||4.5/5||89/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2018||1,999|
|3.||Nikon Z6||5/5||..||5/5||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2018||1,999|
|4.||Nikon D610||4/5||+ +||..||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,999|
|5.||Panasonic GH4||5/5||+ +||..||85/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||1,499|
|6.||Samsung NX1||5/5||..||..||87/100||5/5||5/5||Sep 2014||1,499|
|7.||Sony A7C||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||86/100||4/5||4/5||Sep 2020||1,799|
|8.||Sony A7R IV||5/5||+||4.5/5||91/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2019||3,499|
|9.||Sony A7R III||..||+ +||4/5||90/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2017||3,199|
|10.||Sony A9||5/5||+ +||4.8/5||89/100||5/5||5/5||Apr 2017||4,499|
|11.||Sony A6300||4.5/5||+||..||85/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2016||999|
|12.||Sony A6500||5/5||+ +||3.5/5||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2016||1,399|
|13.||Sony A7 II||5/5||+||4/5||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||Nov 2014||1,999|
|14.||Sony A7S||4/5||..||..||86/100||4.5/5||5/5||Apr 2014||2,499|
|15.||Sony A7R||5/5||+ +||..||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||2,299|
|16.||Sony RX1R||5/5||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||2,799|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 300D vs Sony A7 III
- Canon T6s vs Sony A7
- Fujifilm X-A1 vs Sony A7
- Fujifilm X-M1 vs Sony A7
- Fujifilm X-S10 vs Sony A7 III
- Fujifilm X100S vs Sony A7
- Leica D-LUX 7 vs Sony A7 III
- Leica V-LUX 2 vs Sony A7 III
- Olympus E-PL9 vs Sony A7 III
- Panasonic FZ330 vs Sony A7 III
- Panasonic GX8 vs Sony A7
- Sony A7 vs Sony NEX-5
Specifications: Sony A7 vs Sony A7 III
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Sony A7||Sony A7 III|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Sony E mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||October 2013||February 2018|
|Launch Price||USD 1,699||USD 1,999|
|Sensor Specs||Sony A7||Sony A7 III|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||35.8 x 23.9 mm||35.6 x 23.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||855.62 mm2||847.28 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43 mm||42.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6000 x 4000 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.97 μm||5.94 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.80 MP/cm2||2.83 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||100 - 51,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 51,200 ISO||50 - 204,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||BIONZ X||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||90||96|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.8||25.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||14.2||14.7|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||2248||3730|
|Screen Specs||Sony A7||Sony A7 III|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2400k dots||2359k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1230k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Sony A7||Sony A7 III|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||YES|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||MS or SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||Single UHS-II|
|Connectivity Specs||Sony A7||Sony A7 III|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.1|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Sony A7||Sony A7 III|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||340 shots per charge||610 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||USB charging|
127 x 94 x 48 mm
(5.0 x 3.7 x 1.9 in)
127 x 96 x 74 mm
(5.0 x 3.8 x 2.9 in)
|Camera Weight||474 g (16.7 oz)||650 g (22.9 oz)|
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