Sony A7R III Review: Does It Beat Out the Fuji XT-2?

 Taken with the 55mm, f/2.2.

Taken with the 55mm, f/2.2.

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Is the Sony a7RIII worth getting? We’ll get to that in a minute.

Here’s the scoop: I moved from Canon to Fuji in late 2016 when Fuji released the XT-2. Fuji changed my entire world. It introduced me to the world of mirrorless and I ain’t never going back to DSLR life!

For one year I shot with the Fuji XT-2, posting all of my work across the interwebs and convincing people of its magical abilities. I shot everything with it: commercial jobs, corporate video, agency shoots, personal work, family get-togethers. Even my honeymoon in Thailand. Ah yes, the Fuji and I have made some fantastic memories together. “This is the only camera I ever need,” I whispered to myself one night while tucking the Fuji to sleep.

Oh, how wrong I was.

Flash forward a few nights later. “Dude, you hear about the new Sony coming out?” my friend Eric texted me. It must have been around midnight, right about the time our conversation always seems to center around gear lust.

“You gonna sell the Fuji and get it?” he goaded me.

“No way,” I shot back. “I don’t really need another camera,” I said, seemingly trying to convince both him and myself.

But then I started thinking. I had recently sold off all my Canon gear, so I only had the XT-2. What kind of professional photographer would I be with only one camera body? Sony *did* have a reputation for making good cameras. And the a7RIII supposedly had a lot of improvements over the previous version. Maybe I could just take a quick peek at the specs and see what it offered. No harm, no foul, right?

Twenty minutes later, my cursor is hovering over the “Add to Cart” button as I struggle to keep myself from salivating all over my laptop. “Here goes nothing,” I said as I pre-ordered the camera.

That was November 5th. I had to wait an excruciating four weeks before the camera finally arrived at my apartment. Since then, I’ve taken it out for several portrait sessions and can confirm: This camera is one seriously bad-ass machine. Let’s take a look at my top five favorite factors:

1) 42 Megapixels

I know, I know. Megapixels aren’t everything. Sure, I agree. BUT FORTY TWO OF THEM?! That’s some serious resolution power! To compare, the Fuji XT-2 offers 24.3mp, which, let’s be real, is more than enough for most photographers. But having 70% more resolution is just insane. The level of detail in its RAW images is astounding. And I love not being afraid to crop my photos for fear of losing quality.

 Is it necessary to have 42 megapixels? Probably not, but it sure is nice, especially whenever you want to crop in close. 55mm, f/2.0, 1/250s, ISO 125.

Is it necessary to have 42 megapixels? Probably not, but it sure is nice, especially whenever you want to crop in close. 55mm, f/2.0, 1/250s, ISO 125.

2) 120fps (Slow-mo)

Since getting into video last year, I’ve been having a lot of fun shooting slow-mo clips, especially for b-roll footage. The Fuji XT-2 handles video exceptionally well. It might not be the ideal camera for more serious jobs that require long shooting times or heavy post-work, but for smaller gigs, it’s fantastic.

That being said, one thing it’s missing is the ability to shoot at 120fps. I convinced myself I didn’t *need* this feature, but man I really wanted it.
Enter the a7RIII. Its slow-mo feature is buttery smooth, and the quality is exceptional. I love the “S&Q” option (which stands for Slow and Quick), that lets you capture and playback the footage in slow-mo right in the camera. No longer do I have to settle for shooting 60fps.

Here's a sample clip I took, shot with the 55mm f/1.8 and Zhiyun Crane v2:

3) Battery life

I can’t really compare to the a7RII since I never owned it. But I will say this, I’m seriously impressed with the a7RIII’s NP-FZ100 battery. I went out and did two portrait sessions, shooting for maybe three hours total, and didn’t even use 10%! While the Fuji XT-2 certainly doesn’t have a bad battery life, I can’t say it’s quite as good as the Sony’s.

 55mm, f/1.8, 1/250s.

55mm, f/1.8, 1/250s.

4) Eye-AF

Guys, this one is seriously a game-changer.

Eye-AF already existed before this camera, but not quite like this. Again, comparing it to the XT-2 is like comparing night and day. While the XT-2 might identify your subject’s eye, forget about precision if they’re moving around at all.

The a7RIII, on the other hand, locks onto your subject’s eyes with pinpoint accuracy. They could spin around like the Tasmanian Devil and you could have peace of mind that their eyes will still be in focus. It’s SCARY impressive.

Provided that I have good light, all I have to do is hit the center button (where eye-AF is set to by default) and I never EVER have to worry about nailing focus for my portraits. The only times I’ve experienced issues is when my subjects’ faces aren’t exposed too well, forcing the camera to “guess” their eyes are. (Sometimes this results in the camera placing the green square somewhere in the background, which is absolutely frightening, as I imagine it’s picking up the eyes of some invisible ghoul, but I digress.)

 55mm, f/2.0, 1/640s.

55mm, f/2.0, 1/640s.

5) Shooting continuous at 10fps

If you like shooting action, this one is a real treat. Unless you’re coming from the a9 (which shoots at a mind-blowing 20fps), you’re sure to be delighted with the ability to shoot continuously at 10 frames per second.

As a portrait photographer, I’ll often ask my subjects to walk, run, or jump in an effort to capture natural movement. Nailing these shots can be challenging if the camera doesn’t shoot at a fast enough frame rate.

Though the a7RIII only offers 2 more frames-per-second than the XT-2, here’s where it really shines: Combining eye-AF with the continuous shutter. These two features are a powerful combination, practically guaranteeing that I nail focus for any intentional or unexpected movement.

 55mm, f/2.2, 1/6400s.

55mm, f/2.2, 1/6400s.

Bottom line:

Though I’m known amongst my photographer friends as a fervent Fuji fan, the Sony a7RIII is an irresistible package. I have absolutely no regrets over buying it.

Does the Sony replace the XT-2? That depends on what you shoot and what features you appreciate the most in a camera. In my opinion, Fuji is second to none with color science. Their baked-in film simulations are a delight to use. I love the simplicity of their menu system, along with the nostalgic build of their camera bodies.

But when it comes to features and specifications, the a7RIII is hard to beat. With medium-format-like resolution, incredibly precise eye-autofocus, and the ability to capture most movement with its 10fps, this camera is a sure winner.

 Even shooting at high ISO, the images come out very clean. 55mm, f/2.0, 1/250, ISO 6400, no denoise applied in post.

Even shooting at high ISO, the images come out very clean. 55mm, f/2.0, 1/250, ISO 6400, no denoise applied in post.

All of the above images were taken with the super versatile Sony 55mm f/1.8. As of this writing, it's the only lens I have for my Sony, I highly recommend it.

Thanks for reading my review! Hope you enjoyed it. Be sure to check out my review of the Fuji XT-2 if you haven't already.

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Kevin Kleitches