Sony A7S vs A7R III
The Sony Alpha A7S and the Sony Alpha A7R III are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in April 2014 and October 2017. Both the A7S and the A7R III are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The A7S has a resolution of 12 megapixels, whereas the A7R III provides 42.2 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
|Sony A7S||Sony A7R III|
|Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Sony E mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|12 MP, Full Frame Sensor||42.2 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|1080/60p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO 100-102400 (50-409600)||ISO 100-32000 (50-102400)|
|Electronic viewfinder (2400k dots)||Electronic viewfinder (3686k dots)|
|3.0" LCD, 921k dots||3.0" LCD, 1440k dots|
|Tilting screen (no touchscreen)||Tilting touchscreen|
|5 shutter flaps per second||10 shutter flaps per second|
|Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|380 shots per battery charge||650 shots per battery charge|
|127 x 94 x 48 mm, 489 g||127 x 96 x 74 mm, 650 g|
Body comparison: Sony A7S vs A7R III
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Sony A7S and the Sony A7R III is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the A7S – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A7R III is somewhat larger (2 percent) than the Sony A7S. Moreover, the A7R III is markedly heavier (33 percent) than the A7S. 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.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.
|Sony A7S»||5.0 in||3.7 in||1.9 in||17.2 oz||380||Y||Apr 2014||2,499||-||Sony A7S|
|Sony A7R III«||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.9 in||22.9 oz||650||Y||Oct 2017||3,199||Sony A7R III|
|Nikon D750« »||5.6 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||26.5 oz||1230||Y||Sep 2014||2,299||Nikon D750|
|Nikon Df« »||5.7 in||4.3 in||2.6 in||26.8 oz||1400||Y||Nov 2013||2,749||Nikon Df|
|Sony A7 III« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.9 in||22.9 oz||610||Y||Feb 2018||1,999||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A9« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.5 in||23.7 oz||650||Y||Apr 2017||4,499||Sony A9|
|Sony A99 II« »||5.6 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||29.9 oz||490||Y||Sep 2016||3,199||Sony A99 II|
|Sony A7R II« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.4 in||22.0 oz||290||Y||Jun 2015||3,199||-||Sony A7R II|
|Sony A7S II« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.4 in||22.1 oz||370||Y||Sep 2015||2,999||Sony A7S II|
|Sony RX1R II« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||2.8 in||17.9 oz||220||n||Oct 2015||3,299||Sony RX1R II|
|Sony A7 II« »||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.4 in||21.1 oz||350||Y||Nov 2014||1,999||-||Sony A7 II|
|Sony A7« »||5.0 in||3.7 in||1.9 in||16.7 oz||340||Y||Oct 2013||1,699||-||Sony A7|
|Sony A7R« »||5.0 in||3.7 in||1.9 in||16.4 oz||340||Y||Oct 2013||2,299||-||Sony A7R|
|Sony RX1R« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||2.8 in||17.0 oz||270||n||Jun 2013||2,799||-||Sony RX1R|
|Sony RX1« »||4.4 in||2.6 in||2.8 in||17.0 oz||270||n||Sep 2012||2,799||-||Sony RX1|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 A7S was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 22 percent) than the A7R 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.
Sensor comparison: Sony A7S vs A7R III
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels 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 tend to be more expensive and 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 A7R III is 1 percent bigger. 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.
With 42.2MP, the A7R III offers a higher resolution than the A7S (12MP), but the A7R III has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.52μm versus 8.45μm for the A7S). Yet, the A7R III is a much more recent model (by 3 years and 6 months) than the A7S, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the A7R III has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The A7R III has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during video recording.
Unlike the A7S, the A7R III has the capacity to capture high quality composite images by combining multiple shots after shifting its sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).
The Sony Alpha A7S has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 102400, which can be extended to ISO 50-409600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A7R III are ISO 100 to ISO 32000, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-102400..
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the A7R III offers substantially better image quality than the A7S (overall score 13 points higher). The advantage is based on 2.1 bits higher color depth, 1.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.1 stops of reduced 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.
|Sony A7S»||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||1080/60p||23.9||13.2||3702||87||Sony A7S|
|Sony A7R III«||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||14.7||3523||100||Sony A7R III|
|Nikon D750« »||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/60p||24.8||14.5||2956||93||Nikon D750|
|Nikon Df« »||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||-||24.6||13.1||3279||89||Nikon Df|
|Sony A7 III« »||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||14.7||3730||96||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A9« »||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.9||13.3||3517||92||Sony A9|
|Sony A99 II« »||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||25.4||13.4||2317||92||Sony A99 II|
|Sony A7R II« »||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||13.9||3434||98||Sony A7R II|
|Sony A7S II« »||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||4K/30p||23.6||13.3||2993||85||Sony A7S II|
|Sony RX1R II« »||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||1080/60p||25.8||13.9||3204||97||Sony RX1R II|
|Sony A7 II« »||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.9||13.6||2449||90||Sony A7 II|
|Sony A7« »||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.8||14.2||2248||90||Sony A7|
|Sony A7R« »||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.6||14.1||2746||95||Sony A7R|
|Sony RX1R« »||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||13.6||2537||91||Sony RX1R|
|Sony RX1« »||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.1||14.3||2534||93||Sony RX1|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the A7R III provides a better video resolution than the A7S. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the A7S is limited to 1080/60p.
Feature comparison: Sony A7S vs A7R III
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under review are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the A7R III offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the A7S (3686k vs 2400k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Sony A7S, the Sony A7R III, and comparable cameras.
|Sony A7S»||2400||n||3.0||921||tilting||n||8000||5.0||n||n||Sony A7S|
|Sony A7R III«||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||8000||10.0||n||Y||Sony A7R III|
|Nikon D750« »||optical||Y||3.2||1229||tilting||n||4000||6.0||Y||n||Nikon D750|
|Nikon Df« »||optical||Y||3.2||921||fixed||n||4000||5.5||n||n||Nikon Df|
|Sony A7 III« »||2359||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||8000||10.0||n||Y||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A9« »||3686||n||3.0||1440||tilting||Y||8000||20.0||n||Y||Sony A9|
|Sony A99 II« »||2400||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||8000||12.0||n||Y||Sony A99 II|
|Sony A7R II« »||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||8000||5.0||n||Y||Sony A7R II|
|Sony A7S II« »||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||8000||5.0||n||Y||Sony A7S II|
|Sony RX1R II« »||2360||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||4000||5.0||n||n||Sony RX1R II|
|Sony A7 II« »||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||8000||5.0||n||Y||Sony A7 II|
|Sony A7« »||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||8000||5.0||n||n||Sony A7|
|Sony A7R« »||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||8000||4.0||n||n||Sony A7R|
|Sony RX1R« »||-||n||3.0||1229||fixed||n||4000||5.0||Y||n||Sony RX1R|
|Sony RX1« »||-||n||3.0||1229||fixed||n||4000||5.0||Y||n||Sony RX1|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The A7R III has a touchscreen, while the A7S has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
The reported shutter speed and shutter burst refer to the use of the mechanical shutter. In addition, both cameras feature an 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).
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the A7S and the A7R III write their files to SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The A7R III features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the A7S only has one slot.
Connectivity comparison: Sony A7S vs A7R III
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 A7S and Sony Alpha A7R III and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Sony A7S»||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7S|
|Sony A7R III«||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y||Sony A7R III|
|Nikon D750« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Nikon D750|
|Nikon Df« »||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon Df|
|Sony A7 III« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.1||Y||Y||Y||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A9« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony A9|
|Sony A99 II« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Sony A99 II|
|Sony A7R II« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7R II|
|Sony A7S II« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7S II|
|Sony RX1R II« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX1R II|
|Sony A7 II« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7 II|
|Sony A7« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7|
|Sony A7R« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7R|
|Sony RX1R« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony RX1R|
|Sony RX1« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Sony RX1|
The A7R III is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the A7S has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the A7S was succeeded by the Sony A7S II.
Review summary: Sony A7S vs A7R III
So what is the bottom line? Is the Sony A7S better than the Sony A7R III or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A7S:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 161g or 25 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (22 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in April 2014).
Arguments in favor of the Sony Alpha A7R III:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (42.2 vs 12MP), which boosts linear resolution by 87%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (13 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2.1 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.5 EV of extra DR).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- Better video autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident movie autofocus.
- More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (3686k vs 2400k dots).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1440k vs 921k dots).
- 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.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (650 versus 380) 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.
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 6 months of technical progress since the A7S launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A7R III is the clear winner of the contest (18 : 4 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the A7S or the A7R III. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
Expert reviews: Sony A7S vs A7R III
This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The detailed reviews can be accessed by clicking on the site logo in the table header.
|Sony A7S»||-||86/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Apr 2014||2,499||-||Sony A7S|
|Sony A7R III«||HiRec||90/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Oct 2017||3,199||Sony A7R III|
|Nikon D750« »||HiRec||90/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||2,299||Nikon D750|
|Nikon Df« »||-||81/100||4/5||4/5||4/5||Nov 2013||2,749||Nikon Df|
|Sony A7 III« »||HiRec||89/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2018||1,999||Sony A7 III|
|Sony A9« »||HiRec||89/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Apr 2017||4,499||Sony A9|
|Sony A99 II« »||-||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2016||3,199||Sony A99 II|
|Sony A7R II« »||HiRec||90/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Jun 2015||3,199||-||Sony A7R II|
|Sony A7S II« »||Rec||-||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Sep 2015||2,999||Sony A7S II|
|Sony RX1R II« »||-||82/100||-||rev||4.5/5||Oct 2015||3,299||Sony RX1R II|
|Sony A7 II« »||Rec||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Nov 2014||1,999||-||Sony A7 II|
|Sony A7« »||HiRec||80/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||1,699||-||Sony A7|
|Sony A7R« »||HiRec||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||2,299||-||Sony A7R|
|Sony RX1R« »||-||-||4/5||rev||4.5/5||Jun 2013||2,799||-||Sony RX1R|
|Sony RX1« »||-||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,799||-||Sony RX1|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
- Canon 30D vs Canon 500D
- Canon 40D vs Olympus E-M1 II
- Canon SX740 vs Sony A6500
- Canon T7 vs Leica D-LUX Typ 109
- Fujifilm X100T vs Sony A7 II
- Leica D-LUX Typ 109 vs Leica T
- Leica X Vario vs Canon 6D
- Nikon D500 vs Canon 6D Mark II
- Olympus E-600 vs Olympus E-510
- Panasonic FT7 vs Fujifilm X100F
- Sony A5100 vs Sony RX100 IV
- Sony A99 II vs Sony A7S II
Specifications: Sony A7S vs Sony A7R III
|Camera Model||Sony A7S||Sony A7R III|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Sony E mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||April 2014||October 2017|
|Launch Price||USD 2499||USD 3199|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||35.8 x 23.9 mm||35.9 x 23.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||855.62 mm2||861.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43 mm||43.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12 Megapixels||42.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4240 x 2832 pixels||7952 x 5304 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||8.45 μm||4.52 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.40 MP/cm2||4.90 MP/cm2|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-102400 ISO||100-32000 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50-409600 ISO||50-102400 ISO|
|Image Processor||BIONZ X||BIONZ X|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2400k dots||3686k dots|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||1440k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/8000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Silent Shooting||Electronic Shutter||Electronic Shutter|
|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|
|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|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Type||NP-FW50 power pack||NP-FZ100 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||380 shots per charge||650 shots per charge|
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||489 g (17.2 oz)||650 g (22.9 oz)|
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