Sony E-Mount Lens Guide Here >>

Sony A7r III vs Sony A7 III – Why Go For The A7r III?

Sony A7 III

A lot of people have been asking me why the Sony A7R III costs $1200 more than the new A7 III, considering it does not offer the same amazing Sony A9 like auto focus system? In this article I break it all down…

The new Sony A7 III has the same Sony A9 693 AF point AF System covering 93% of the sensor VS the 399 point AF system with 68% sensor coverage found on the A7r III.

This is a pretty significant feature difference and has people scratching heads all around as the AF advantage goes to the cheaper camera. The AF system on the A7r III is still really good though and is a significant upgrade from the A7r II, which has pretty darn good AF performance I think. Are we getting the shot or not?  Sony A7 III Reviews Here >>

So, other than resolution, what exactly does the Sony A7r III offer to justify the extra $1200? 
Well, when you break down the camera features one at a time, you start to see bubbling up why the A7r III cost ~$1200 more than the A7 III. Resolution is the key word…

At the end of the day, do these Sony A7r III specific pricey features matter to you in the real world enough to justify the extra $1200 cold hard cash? This is the question you must ask yourself…  
Read on to find out the specific feature differences that may matter to you….

Sony A7R III Vs A7 III

First lets do a compare style chart and see what features are different and then we will discuss the why….

Sony A7r III Sony A7 III
Sensor Resolution  42mp  24mp
AF Points  399  693
AF Coverage Area on Sensor  68%  93%
5-Axis Stabilization  5.5 Stops  5 Stops
Dynamic Range  15-stops  15-stops
Low Pass Filter  No  No
FPS  10 FPS  10 FPS
Buffer Max Up To  76 Shots  177 Shots
Max ISO  102400  204800
Pixel- Shift Technology  Yes  No
Flash Sync Terminal  Yes   No
Silent Shooting  Yes  Yes
OLED EVF Resolution  3,686,400  2,359,000
TouchScreen Resolution  1,440,000  921,600
Camera Chassis  Better  Good
Weather Sealing  Good  Good
Battery Life  610 shots  750 shots
Weight  1.445 lb / 657 g  1.43 lb / 650 g
Price  $3198 US  $1998 US

Sony Alpha a7 III Mirrorless Digital Camera

Basically What Matters to You?

Well at the end of the day you get notable higher resolution and significantly more detail captured with the A7r III thanks to the 42mp sensor and pixel-shift technology features.

Pixel Shift Multi Shooting opens a new world of resolution
Pixel Shift Multi Shooting opens a new world of resolution

Also with the A7r III you get a noticeable higher resolution OLED EVF which absolutely makes a difference when looking thru! I currently have the A7r III in hand and the 3.69-million-dot, high-luminance Quad-VGA OLED Tr-Finder is gorgeous! Just like the one found on the killer Sony RX1R II I Reviewed Here >>

Sony a7riii vs a7iii Viewfinder
Sony a7R III vs a7 III Electronic OLED Viewfinder

I immediately could see the advantage in quality when looking thru this higher resolution viewfinder. It almost looks slightly surreal or something I first thought… This option is a luxury though, and not really needed as the lower res viewfinder also looks really good. Just not as stunning is all. I highly suggest checking this out for yourself so you can see the difference if this feature matters to you. You can sort of picture what I mean if you look at t eh TV’s in a Best buy for example. You know how the really good one’s just have that wow factor..
A lot of people might blow this better EVF feature off, but I really think it is significant to the overall quality of the camera user experience, and really does help justify the cost.
Continuing with the resolution advantages, the A7r III has a notable higher resolution rear lcd touchscreen which clearly looks better and has more detail: 1,440,000 vs 921,600. This is better for viewing your photos and checking sharpness/ pixel peeping. Also better for using in general, as the extra resolution makes it easier to see in detail and check focus accuracy in photos etc… This is also a luxury type feature I would say, because the lower resolution units do look good enough. But, better is better and if I had to pick… and yes, the extra resolution will suck more battery life, but not that much effectively.

Sony a7R III vs a7 III - Chassis
Sony a7R III vs a7 III – Chassis

In addition to that you get better build quality with more metal on the backside of the camera chassis and a flash sync port that some pro’s might like to use. The A7r III 5-axis stabilization system also has a .5 stop advantage over the A7 III which is notable.
Sony A7r III
The A7 III on the other hand, costs $1200 less, offers significantly better auto focus performance, and has better AF sensor coverage which is very helpful when focusing on subjects near the edge of the frame. 68% Sensor Coverage area vs 93% coverage.

Sony a7r III vs a7 III AF Sensor Coverage
Sony a7r III vs a7 III AF Sensor Coverage

In addition to the AF speed and sensor coverage area advantage, the High ISO or Low light abilities of the A7 III are also better than the A7r III. Max ISO 102,400 vs 204,800.
This also carries over to video, so if better AF and low light video performance matters to you, then the A7 III would be a better option.
The buffer on the A7 III is also able to capture more than double that of the A7r III which makes sense due to the file sizes, and this can be very helpful for heavy buffer users. ~76 consecutive shots vs 177 shots before the buffer is full…

Battery life wise the A7 III also has an advantage, which makes perfect sense when you factor in the extra processing required, and extra pixels that need to be powered in all the various higher resolution components. ~ extra 100 shots Sony claims, but I heard of people getting 2000+ shots on one battery. Reviewing the photos and video for extended periods of time is what really kills the battery fast basically. So, when just taking photos with minimal reviewing time you can get way more shots on a battery than what Sony is saying…


Ok guys, here it is: The New A7 III is a better value for almost everybody in my opinion.
Only those wanting the best possible detail and camera build quality should opt for the A7r III. If you don’t need the higher resolution sensor and pixel-shift technology then I highly recommend the Sony A7 III.
If you really want or need the absolute best detail for your Landscape, Street, Portrait or Wedding Photography work, etc… then the Sony A7r III is totally for you and a great solution. Killer resolving power, very fast and accurate AF, plus a nice bonus with the beefed up chassis, higher resolution OLED EVF and LCD TouchScreen.

Sports Photography?
The Sony A7 III is a better option for high speed sport with the more advanced AF system and lower resolution sensor which allows for a much larger buffer. If you need more than 10fps, then the Sony A9 would be worth looking into: My Sony A9 Review >>

Being realistic about things, how much resolution do you really need? Is 24mp enough?
I say yes for almost everything, but no if you want the most detail possible.  Clearly the A7r III 42mp sensor and the Pixel Shift technology are going to yield stunning detail that the A7 III will not be capable of. How much will this effect print quality? At the end of the day, not that much at regular sizes, but really large prints would certainly benefit. 16×20 and smaller the 24mp is more than enough though in my opinion. Even 24×36″ prints look incredible from a 24mp camera!

If you like to crop in on photos heavy handed, then 42mp would be awesome to have for that. The more resolution, the more you can crop with killer detail. If you plan on editing hardcore detail, then the 42mp would be a better option as well. Having the extra pixels in photoshop makes life so much easier I can tell you from experience. However, an older computer does struggle with all the resolution and ram needed to manipulate the large files.

The extra 42mp detail does make a difference, and it is not for nothing. It is not a waste of money if you want or need the resolution. If you don’t need the 42mp sensor, then you are only looking at the higher Resolution EVF and LCD Screen on the back, plus a little in the build quality department. Is the extra $1200 worth it to you? It would not be for me, but I can totally see why some of you would still want the A7r III for the better quality visual aids.
That is about it for this article and I really hope you got what you were looking for.
Have Questions?? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments area below, and have a great day!

  1. Great write up! I just sold my a6500 and pre-ordered the a7iii. It is perfect for what my needs are, however now I’m concerned about the build quality vs the a7riii and even my old a6500 with their full magnesium build. I’m a huge fan or metal in the build of my electronics. Do you think it will won’t feel as substantial and robust in the hand as the other two I mentioned?

    1. Thanks TK,
      I would not worry about the build quality difference that much. It’s only on the back side, and I don’t think it will feel that much different in the hands honestly. I Do hear ya though, don’t get me wrong 😉

  2. Great smackdown Jay – thanks. Is there a noticeable difference in video between these two, or is the lower megapixel limit for video the great equalizer? Thanks. PS I have heard the 7S is better for low light, but I have yet to need it over, say, what the 6500 is capable of. Thank you!

    1. Thanks Rusty,
      The A7 III would be better for video due to the lower resolution sensor which has better High ISO abilities. Cleaner video in low light with the A7 III basically… Otherwise the same video quality I would say. The Sony A7S is still the best low light video option, but the A7 III is so good and offers so many other goodies, I would not recommend the A7S for you.
      I hope that helps,

      1. after all the testing made, the A7III outperforms in low light even the A7SII.
        as for cleaner video, the the A7III captures 6k video and downsamples it to 4K, while the A7RIII captures 5K video and downsamples to 4K, so again, the A7III wins.

  3. The A7R3 includes the battery charger. For the A7.3 you have to purchase one. That reduces the difference by € 100,00 here in Germany. Secondly I can use my small APC lenses with about 20 mp for day to day on my A7R3, sell my A6300 and have the best of both worlds.
    All that reduces the cost further for sony users who have already some glass.
    For all newcomers I would recommend the A7.3. The cost of top Sony glass is incredible and makes the A7R3 an investment only of the very serious photographer. And do not forget: All that money will not automaticly make better pictures.

    1. Great point about the wall charger, I totally forgot about that!
      Here is what is in the Sony A7r III Box:
      • Sony a7R III Camera Body
      • Sony NP-FZ100 Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery
      • Sony BC-QZ1 Battery Charger
      • Camera Strap
      • Locking USB/HDMI Cord Holder
      • USB-C Male to USB 3.1 Male Tethering Cable
      • Camera Manual & Warranty Card

  4. Dear, Mr. Jay I throughly read your review, But in some cases I am not agree with you to justify 1200 dollars. Being a sony lover/user it is extreemely hurt me. I have woned a 7rIII from december 2017. Being a heigh-end pricey camera more focus point should be there in a 7rIII. Battery does not matter being high resolution sensor, View finder,and Lcd it is obvious it will consume more battery.and buffer rate also influenced due to high mega pixel sensor.Still battery performance is not bad Ihave shoot 854 shots and 20minutes video on a single charge. So large AF area should be there in such a high-end camera, corner to corner sharpness must be needed here, ISO range may be compermised. Really disappointing for sony lovers.

    1. Hello,
      Interesting comments and thanks for taking the time. I agree the battery is awesome, but according to Sony the A7r III eats more battery than the A7 III. Sony is the one saying that, so I assumed it was a combination of all the higher res components. You could totally be correct about the sensor power draw, being the same I honestly don’t know. The focus points have nothing to do with corner sharpness by the way, that is all optics. I think you meant focusing on the very edge with the camera af sensor points, and I agree that would be nice. But 399 is enough for almost everything. I have the camera in hand now and it’s very snappy in the focus department. It’s not Sony A9 fast, but still way faster than previous generations.
      As I stated in the article, I would go for the A7 III, but understand why Sony is charging $1200 more for the A7r III. To me it makes sense considering the better hardware and higher resolution technologies. Just my opinion… You certainly don’t have to agree with me, because and Extra $1200 is clearly not worth it to most people I would say. It’s not worth it to me even, but somebody wanting that resolution might think otherwise when doing the cost to benefit…
      Your camera is really powerful, but not having the new A7 III Af System does hurt, I hear ya. At the end of the day your camera can potentially take better pictures, is built better, and focuses really well. You could always try and sell it for $2900 or something and then get the A7 III instead 🙂
      Thanks again,

  5. Jay,
    I am a current A7II owner and I really dislike the Sony proprietary flash sync mount. It is really finicky and hit or miss. Your A7iii review literally covers everything but the flash mount. Does the A7iii utilize the newer A9 flash mount or inherit the same Sony multi-sync mount found on the A7ii?

    1. That is a great question Dan. I don’t know and would assume it’s the same one since Sony does not mention anything. Are you using a non Sony Flash unit? Sony is picky for sure in that regard, although I have heard great things about the Metz flash units. You really need a flash made specifically for Sony’s Shoe to get full functionality and no glitches. Sorry I don’t have better news for you 😉

  6. I had an a6500 that I sold when I upgraded to full frame for the a7rii. I miss the quick autofocus of the a6500 body, but the added resolution and depth of field has me sold on the ‘r’ series. Would the AF speed of the a7riii be similar to the a6500, or would the a7iii be closer? Not talking about AF points, but speed. Curious on your thoughts, appreciate the breakdown.

    1. Hi Jason and great question! As far as speed goes, are you talking shots per second or, just focus tracking speed? Focus speed wise, the A7 III is much more like the A6500 as compared to the A7r III. The A7r III is pretty darn fast, but I don’t think it will have near the hit rate for sports like the A7 III will get.
      So yeah, the A7 III would be closer to the A6500 with the Sony A9 being the best possible full frame mirrorless option of course 😉

      1. I have a one year old (which with how active he is at times can seem like sports shooting :)), so anything I can do to keep up more with him will be worth considering. Primarily I am looking at focus speed, as that will cause me to miss some shots trying to shoot low ISO with the a7rii. The rii body does a decent job of tracking all things considered, but I would say anywhere from 25-50% of the shots I would get with my a6500 are out of focus with the a7rii. Now it’s just a question of do I want to lose out on the additional resolution of the riii, as I split my time between shooting portraits, landscape and street, with the latter two benefiting from the additional resolution.

        1. I hear ya Jason! Those kids are fast 🙂 The A7r3 has been significantly improved as far as focus speed goes, but still not as good as the A7 III. Hit rate wise with a moving kid, it’s hard to say. Even with the best equipment kids are tuff, so at a certain point photography skill comes into play. A fast lens is also key!! I think the A7rIII is fast enough for almost anything, but yes the A7 III is faster focusing for sure. The technology is just incredible these days. I really think the resolution is awesome, but not necessary most of the time. When you do want it though, it’s just incredible detail..

  7. I have a few a9’s [switched to Sony from Nikon] and was interested in a good Sony backup for “remotes”- SPORTS-horse racing to NCAA to pro…ESW/CSM-need your advice – A7iii or A7Rii ?…strictly for remotes and handheld sports…thank you so much for views and opinions…ISO-auto – WB auto- 2000 sp- CFocus- 2.8—6.3[DOF in horse racing- 200-600]….suggestions on model…ty

    1. Hi Dan,

      The A7III has significantly better auto focus ability compared to the A7R II, however I would just use your A9″s? Why another camera? If you require higher resolution, then the “R” would be better for that, but not high speed subject tracking.


Leave a Reply