Jakub Trávník's resources

From Nikon D750 to Sony A7III?

Česká verze je tu. Czech version. Published: July 15 2018 Updated: July 28 2018 (added Tips section at the bottom)

D750 vs. A7III

Personal camera-lens journey or how I got to Sony

In 2004 I have started with my first digital compact camera, the Minolta Dimage F200. In 2008, I switched to Canon G9 and as enjoying photography I wanted to have always something better. I tried the Canon 450D and Nikon D90 at the time. The Nikon has fit my hand better so it was decided. I have had D90 since January 2009. I was with Nikon since that time. D90 has lasted me quite long, 5 and a half years. In addition to basic zoom, I gradually acquired lenses (wide zoom and several primes from Sigma). I was shooting landscapes and people. As higher ISO was limiting image quality, the f/1.4 Sigmas were a great way to achieve good image quality at low light in conditions where flash couldn't be bounced off ceiling or walls or even where it could be bounced theirs f/1.4 was advantage over slower 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom. The Sigma primes have had great image quality for the time and at their cost. Just the focusing was worse sometimes. I found that out very soon - just after buying the Sigma 30/1.4 DC EX - the D90 did not have AF fine tuning function so camera and lens had to go to Sigma service center (awh.cz) for adjustment. Other option was to focus in LiveView. That was accurate, but slow. The same thing happened with Sigma 50/1.4 EX, but even AF fine adjustment did not solve all autofocus problems. Both Sigmas, the 30 and 50 did have quite nice bokeh. Sigma 85/1.4 EX DG was quite ok at focusing, though bokeh was fine at close focus distance, it was somewhat busy at far focus distance. Often that nice bokeh is caused by spherical aberration which is detrimental to DSLR auto focus systems. It was quite surprising that when I wanted to buy Tamron 60/2 it was focusing well out of the box, but all three samples I tried in different shops where significantly underexposing on my D90. I assume Nikon incompatibility with third party lenses was on purpose so that it could sell its own lenses for more money and so that Sigma and Tamron cannot not fully compete.

In 2014 I have switched to D610, which has great dynamic range. With D90 I needed to do exposure bracketing, i.e. several different exposures and then to merge them (for example in enfuse which has quite natural output that is liked even by people that hate overdone HDR look). With D610 I just exposed at ISO 100 for bright sky and pushed shadows in Lightroom with few sliders in a few seconds without having to deal with movement in picture. With D610 I had to buy and sell lenses to have full frame ones. I bought used 50/1.8G as alternative to high weight of Sigma 50 which was not focusing in LiveView on D610 at some apertures and that also was quite inaccurate at focusing on D610.

Sigma Art primes are coming. The first one, Sigma 35 Art was super sharp, but I did not like the bokeh at far focus distance. The 50 Art was quite big and heavy for what it was. But the Sigma 24/1.4 Art was appealing to me. I wanted some wideangle where blurred background is still possible. Nikon's 28/1.8G was not that wide and bright and also for landscapes there were issues with field curvature. Nikon 24/1.4G was not very sharp, but it has were nice bokeh. But in the Czech republic the cost of new was three times of the Sigma. I tried few lenses in a shop: Sigma 35 Art, Sigma 24 Art and Tamron 35/1.8 SP VC. The 24 has had lowest color aberration in out of focus areas out of these which I liked. So I bought a Sigma again even with knowledge about risk with focusing and long term compatibility.

The Sigma 24/1.4 was amazing. I was great for capturing children photos. The children were emphasized against blurred background, but still there quite a big of background visible. When you capture children photos without recognizable background, it gets boring after 10 such pictures in album. With 24/1.4 the location is visible but people still stand out against background. Sharpness was excellent, well, amazing. Compared to older Sigmas before Art line you don't have to stop down aperture for having sharp portraits. Since that time, I just want lenses that are such sharp from widest aperture and I'm not willing to buy fast primes that have bad sharpness wide open, because I would not be using them wide open anyway. Bokeh at close focus is ok, but not perfect. At far focus distance, it is busy. With children photography, there is no need to deal much with elongated noses that shooting from close distance with wideangle causes as children are smaller have small noses anyway. So it was great for usecase and great optically. However focusing was not great. When I measured and set optimal value for AF fine tune with central focus point, the peripheral focus points were front-focusing. This is something that Sigma dock cannot fix. I guess that with Nikon lenses there is correction table in L firmware (in body) that can fix that, that it contains not just distortion correction tables, but also corrections for AF system to work with, but Sigma has no access to this. When I changed color of ambient light, the optimal value for AF fine tune has changed too (same thing for Nikon lenses as well). I have investigated this. I made a AF test target with black background and lines in white colour, then the same with red instead of white and blue instead of white. I have put the camera on tripod and shoot computer monitor with the test target from angle. Shooting from angle is tricky, but in this case it could clearly show that AF system was strongly dependent on color - just switching a picture and camera was focusing at different plane by a few centimeters. I tried it also in a shop using smartphone displaying the color AF test target with D750 and D810. Both were quite better at this than D610, but not perfect. So I was deciding whether to get rid of D610 or Sigma 24. The Sigma won. D610 got sold and I bought D750. D750 has better grip and tilting monitor - both a quite improvement. Also the 100% zoom on ok button, that I was missing on D610. The smaller top LCD display was step backwards as it could not display whitebalance. D750 did not have problem with peripheral AF points with Sigma 24, it has better AF system which does not need that much corrections. Possibility to focus with outer points was quite beneficial. But even with that the AF was not perfect. But that is what photography is all about. There are always some obstacles so you sidestep them or overcome in some way. I just took more pictures and thrown more out. The one that were well focused were usually otherwise technically perfect.

With D750 there was a new issue. At about 12 thousand actuations the shutter has failed. So it went to Nikon service center in Zbraslav. It was there for a month and then for a week or two because after the first time the mini-display in viewfinder was not working. In meantime I was shooting with Sony a6000 that I bought for my wife previously. Its kit lens 16-50/3.5-5.6 is pleasantly small, but that is only a good thing that could be said about the lens so I bought manual adapter and used it with Nikon mount lenses. I also bought small Nissin i40 flash. It worked quite well, though manual focusing is too slow for moving children and even for non-moving things non-accurate with peaking or zoom when they are low contrast. In addition to that lenses designed for AF have often quite play of few millimeters in focus ring. With fixed shutter the D750 was like new (though actuation counter does not get reset). But the focusing was not same. For all my lenses the optimal AF tune value shifted by +10. Some got out of range. With Sigma 24, I could compensate it through Sigma Dock. But with older Sigma 85 it could not be fixed at home, though Sigma service center (awh.cz) could probably do it. This one also did not focus in LiveView on D750 (while it was focusing well in LV on D610) so now it was bad in both LV and viewfinder. For landscapes, it was perfectly usable. For people, it was not perfect, but it was usable. I shoot with D750 like that almost for 2 years afterwards and I got so many superb pictures. You can see my landscapes at http://jtra.cz. I don't usually publish people photos so those are not there.

I tried 200/2vr borrowed from a friend. Nice lens, but impractical in weight. With Nikon case CL-L1 where it fits tightly with D750 it was all together almost 6 kg. For using the lens it was needed to reverse the hood (otherwise big front element would be easy to damage), which took about a minute. Optically almost perfect, but quite impractical. I would certainly not lug it for landscapes.

But I still wanted long bright lens. I would prefer most the Nikon 105/1.4E, which has very pleasant bokeh, but as you can guess - I bought a Sigma, the 135/1.8 - it costs half of the Nikon. At the time there was no Sigma 105/1.4, but I would not consider it due to its weight. Again, the Sigma is excellent glass, sharp from wide open aperture. Low chromatic aberrations. It focuses quite well even with my D750. Also I take it out for landscape too, its weight is acceptable so a combination of two prime set 24/1.4 and 135/1.8 (sometimes with lightweight 50/1.8G too) is great set that covers quite bit range with excellent image quality. For example here is the 135 used on telephoto shots No. 5 and 6.

I would not even imagine that I would be switching from Nikon to something else. Over the years, I have taken so many great photos with Nikons despite imperfections. Canon never appealed to me since having D610 as I enjoyed the dynamic range. Though 5D mark IV is not as bad in DR as previous models, but 6D including mark II are bad at DR. I shoot video with mobile phone only and I'm happy with it so better video implementation in Canons over Nikons never interested me much. I tried the Sony A7 (the first generation) just before buying D610. While I liked that it is lighter and smaller, it had better grip than D610 (which D750 solved), but while trying to use viewfinder with my glasses trying to see most of the view the corner of monitor was digging into my nose. Also multiple steps to move focus point were completely impractical. I considered Sony a6000 as better point&shoot - just with bigger sensor. It does not excel at focusing accuracy, at least with kit lens. When buffer is being emptied you cannot activate even basic functions. With awareness of higher price of Sony lenses and system being less complete than Canon and Nikon, with awareness of worse ergonomics, worse focus systems than DSLR, I was not considering any switch to Sony.

In 2018 there was a change. I got more interested in technique of outdoor lighting. I have seen a lot of YouTube videos with Godox AD600 and AD200 where I noticed that a lot of these photographers switched in the last year or just about now from Canon to A7RII or A7RIII. Sometimes such photographer mentioned dynamic range and I agreed, I can understand that if I was shooting Canons with poor DR, I would have switched to Nikon or Sony. I enjoy the big DR quite often. Also 42MP resolution is only surpassed by 5DS(R) which has poor DR. So for those needing high resolution combined with big DR, Sony A7RII/A7RIII was good choice. That Eye AF features looked appealing to me. It focusing on eyes automatically and in much bigger image area. That is useful for portraits. Oh, their cameras are focusing accurately. Oh, and here they are using Sigmas for Canon with MC-11 or Metabones adapters and they focus accurately as well. That eroded a bit my vision of keeping using Nikons.

Then in February the A7III was announced. Focusing like A9? A9 the camera that defeated D5 at focusing in Max Yuryev's video? That will surely work much worse. I stopped following it. Just occasionally I have seen video of somebody shooting with Godox and A7RIII. Photos from A7III on dpreview.com contained some ugly lines in flare bounced from side onto sensor. But later it was apparent that this is not a frequent issue and can be eliminated by software quite well. What catched my interest more was that Sigma announced that its Art line primes will be available for E-mount. I guessed that on E-mount they could focus accurately without problems that they have on DSLRs. In April I was shooting and flashing outdoor with photo club. I was disappointed from focusing again. The 24 and 135 had usual inaccuracies, but I need 85mm so I borrowed it from a fellow Nikon shooter. The 85/1.8G could not be fine tuned as it was out of range, +20 was not enough (at the time I did not thought of using AF tune default which has coarser steps than individual lens tuning so I could have probably got it tuned with it well). In the end I focused in LiveView and got good pictures. But focusing DSLR in LiveView is annoying, so I thought I could even use some mirrorless right away. I have put D750 into service center next day. For adjusting focus system and for sensor cleaning - without any lens. I thought it would be useless to add just 50/1.8G which was focusing somewhat ok even at f/1.8 and other Nikon lenses I have are f/4 zooms which focus ok. Sending f/1.4 Sigmas to Nikon service would be futile most likely. After week I got a message that focusing system is within specification. I let them continue with sensor cleaning which I also wanted, but it got stuck into some slow queue because of AF adjustment request - it took almost a month total to be completed. I understand that they did not want to adjust body without lenses. Maybe it was within range with their lens so they did not investigate it much more. If I would send lenses together, they would have fixed problems, except for Sigma lenses. In meantime while D750 was in service center I was shooting children with a6000, Godox AD200 and AD-S7 softbox (which I acquired recently). It is still relatively small but powerful flash and compact softbox. The flash and softbox can be held in left hand while camera in right hand. Photos were great especially when I was holding flash and camera far from each other, i.e. flash and softbox in left hand (holding it up and left as I could) and a6000 not near eyes, but low right to get big angle close by camera and softbox from subjects view. This can be done with a6000 because it is sufficient to look at monitor, it is not needed to look into viewfinder for proper focusing. I have noticed how a6000 enables this setup which would be hard to do with D750. I could enjoy some mirrorless (I mean the better one than a6000) to use this technique. So I went into a shop to try A7RIII and A7III. With some 50mm lens it was working quite well. Focusing on person towards which I'm moving with Eye AF was very accurate. When I have my Nikon D750 back from service, I went there once more to compare it against Sony's. The result was that Sony A7RIII and A7III were focusing more accurately wide open with 50mm/1.8.

Even Sony has its days

In a shop (megapixel.cz) there was an event called Sony Day. There were two attactions for me. An ability to test lenses and bodies and possibility to obtain 20% discount on lenses. The first part is possible even without Sony Day, though salesmen might be bit annoyed from too much testing. So I took several Nikon lenses and D750 to compare it against Sony's on same scenes. I was not focusing on people (I already knew it was good), but rather on static things to compare sharpness, bokeh and flare resistance. My impressions were mixed. Viewfinder in A7III looked to me as quite poor compared to A7RIII, but I would not prefer the latter as it has slightly worse AF system than A7III (according to what I read mostly in dark and with teleconverters). I would not want A9 because of worse DR. Perhaps the viewfinder was not set up for best image quality. That is the problem with this type of testing - these cameras are so complex you can configure them even an hour to set them optimally and to fit you. In the end I have decided that I will try it. With discount on lenses (and also cashback) I could sell it without losing much. Such discounts are very rare in the Czech republic.

I started with A7III and 28/2 and 85/1.8. After few days I was happy with them so I used remaining discount options to get 16-35/4, 24-105/4 and 55/1.8.

Comparison of lenses

Sony 55/1.8 vs Nikon 50/1.8G: Sony is much better

Sony 24-105/4 vs Nikon 24-120/4vr: Sony is better

Sony 16-35/4 vs Nikon 18-35G: at same focal lengths the sharpness is similar on test landscape. Nikon 18-35 is lighter and has internal zoom (less risk of sucking in dust), which Sony does not have, but there is no stabilization on Nikon. Comparable Nikon 16-35/4vr is bigger and heavier.

Lens impressions

Sony 55/1.8 ZA

Excellent lens. Small, acceptably lightweight. Image quality is superb even from fully open aperture. Bokeh is better than Sony 50/1.8, but not completely smooth.

Sony 28/2

Excellent lens for the price. Bokeh is weak point. In corners the bokeh is smaller due to strong vignetting. But when you correct for strong barrel distortion, the worst corners are cropped. Especially at far focus distance the bokeh is busy somewhat, but for that distance it is quite small so its quality is not that important. Sharpness is good. Best advantage is that is so small and lightweight. That is the reason you would be using it. When I will have Sigma 24/1.4 converted to E-mount (if ever), I will still use this one because it is small and lightweight.

Sony 85/1.8

Cheap lens for portraits. Very sharp even at f/1.8. Bokeh is busy at far focus distance, but ok for closer. In comparison with Batis, Sony 1.4 GM and Sigma 1.4 the two last have quite better bokeh quality (and also size) while both f/1.8 have weaker bokeh. You can see them compared here.

Sony 16-35/4 ZA

Ok lens. For the price it is a weaker option compared to 18-35G in Nikon system, which is bargain and also internal zoom where lens size does not change with zooming. On Sony the 16-35/4 changes size and unusual way where the lens is shortest when set to longest focal length which a bit impractical because most people use these ultrawideangles at the ultra wide focal lengths. Bokeh is ok, but only visible for very close focus.

Sony 24-105/4

Sharpness is excellent for zoom with such range. Bokeh is quite busy in some pictures - but it is quite dependent on focal length and it depends on whether background with details is close or far from focus plane. But due to apertures the bokeh was often busy when picture was enlarged, but with picture in Full HD resolution bokeh was so small that it was not much visible. Background was acceptable on many pictures.

How does A7III handle?

So how does it handle in comparison with D750? It is different. On D750 you have about three buttons which can be configured to custom functions. For example I configure bottom front button for Play function to review images with just right hand; top front button for My menu (where I have functions like AF tune, Exposure Delay, Wifi, ML-L3 remote and few things around flashes); I use AF-ON on AE-L button (back button focus) so I can use AF-C while also recomposing easily due to small AF point coverage. That is all for configuration of buttons. Well, there are few more, but they are not really choices as there are only few meaningful options: center button to zoom 100% and use Record button to change ISO/Auto ISO. So when you get somebody else's D750 in your hands, it is sufficient to find out if AF-ON is set to any of the three buttons or not, and then just shoot. All usage of camera is the same.

On Sony A7III (and similarly A7RIII and A9) it is different. Here almost all the buttons are almost arbitrarily configurable. Not just C1-C4, there are in fact 11 buttons on the body (and a button on some lenses) to configure arbitrarily and also wheel at the back can be configured in limited way. For Movie and Play modes the buttons can be set independently (though some buttons like AF-ON zoom and AEL unzoom cannot be redefined in Play mode). Both top wheels can be switched and their direction changed. Next place to configure something is Fn menu which contains 12 items which can be accessed faster than through menu. This one can be reconfigured completely as well. So when somebody lends you a customized A7III, you will be completely lost. This is not a joke. Once the function is not assigned to button, you can find it in menu - when you find it. The 35 pages of 6 items (except for end-pages in sections, where there are often fewer items) can put you out of game for a few minutes. More so because item names are often cryptic and there is no help except if you configure "In-camera guide" on a button (which is completely impractical that such function occupies a button even you are out of menu). In case you have the guide set to a button, it can tell you about one to three sentences about the selected item. Compared to Nikon the menu has disadvantage that items do not have easily pronounceable address. Such address is useful when you want to tell somebody where to change some option. On Nikon you can tell it is under D4 (there are letters A-F and numbers about 1-15). On Sony you have to tell something like: second camera tab, page 4, then name of item or position 1-6. There is no search function nor jump to address (Nikon does not have this either). But on the other hand Nikon has more than one menu so if it is not "settings", then you can wander as well (last time I did go through a lot of menu items before I found out where to find Image review, which I have turned off long term, before lending camera to a friend).

So how your's A7III handles depends a lot on how you configure it. If you put functions you need to locations where they are hard to access, the ergonomics will not be good. In order of accessibility you have: buttons, Fn menu, My menu and just whole menu (where there is problem to find anything fast). Too bad that My menu cannot be set to be invoked using button (which D750 can do). You can access My menu only through regular menu so depending on where you were last time it may take you 3-8 clicks before you get there, if you were in other location.

The buttons with fixed function are just menu, record, shutter, play and a lens release ;-)

I guess you will find out soon that while there is a lot of configurable buttons, the number of functions you need to access is even bigger so you will have to carefully judge and test which set will work for you. Also items in Fn menu are restricted, they cannot be assigned any function/setting, just more limited set.

Next thing you will find out soon is that a lot of functions/settings are conditioned by different setting. This is the worst part of handling. Do you want to zoom on display to see better what you are focusing on (Focus Magnifier)? First, you need to get this assigned onto a button, otherwise you will be searching for it in long menu. When you are able to access the Focus Magnifier quickly, you will find out that you cannot invoke it. You are in AF-C, so it is not possible. So you have to switch to AF-S and then it is possible to use it. I think Sony should resolve this to change from AF-C to AF-S during magnification, or it should ask: do you want to switch to AF-S? There are so many options that prevent other options. So you want to change a thing, but system forces you to change another thing first, before it will be allowed.

Sometimes you need just a change to single function a you want to have this assigned to a button, but you will need three buttons for it. You can assign SteadShot (on/off) on a button, SteadyShot Adjust (auto/manual) to another button, SteadyShot Focal Length to yet another button. So if you are using also manual lenses where Auto option does not work, you will need all three. It would be more convenient to have just SteadyShot Menu item which could show a menu for all three - the one that could be invoked through single button. Alternatively, it would be useful to have a button configurable for My menu pages which could be defined separately so you could do a page with all SteadyShot items and this one would be accessible by a single button. Similar system is already used for Recall Custom Hold where several numbered RCH functions can be assigned to buttons. So in the end you will probably put these items to Fn menu (if it works) or to My menu, but that will be slower to access.

Another treacherous case: I'm shooting a test landscape with big dynamic range and I found out I want to do exposure bracketing to get optimal exposure, or possibly few different exposures to merge if single one will not be sufficient (which is usually found out later during processing after brightening shadows based on noise in them). So I go into Drive Mode, but look! The BRK options are all gray. I try to select one despite grayness and it tells me that the function is incompatible with RAW Uncompressed. I was quite surprised by that. So I tried to set RAW compressed and then bracketing was working. But later on computer I see that with RAW Compressed there was significant reduction of dynamic range (Compressed in continuous drive reduces data to 12 bits instead of 14 which camera can deliver at ISO 100 quite well). So instead of increasing my options for dynamic range the bracketing with RAW Compressed caused the contrary. In the end I found out that it was enough to leave silent shutter and then BRK would work with RAW Uncompressed.

You can also configure a button to switch between viewfinder and monitor, if you don't like automatic, but because viewfinder can be turned on permanently by just tilting/extending a monitor a bit, you will be better off to keep a button for other functions.

When you will be searching for Bright Monitoring, just accept that it cannot be found in menu, it can be only assigned to a button. Which is quite insidious because most people will need such function rarely (see more in section about focusing).

Why would one switch to Sony with so many complaints?

Every camera has a lot of imperfections and it still does not mean that all cameras are equally bad. Sony A7III does a lot of things right. I have written some features in table below that I find important for me or I just felt need to mention them. There are no video features mentioned - I don't use video enough to talk about it.

FeatureNikon D750Sony A7III
Fast shutter for using f/1.4 for blurring background in sunny conditions 1/4000s ISO 100
usually restricts aperture in sunny outdoor conditions to f/2.8 without ND filter. Higher line (D810/D850) have both 1/8000s with ISO 64 which is even better Sony (restricts aperture to f/1.6 usually) - but that one is bigger, heavier and more expensive camera.
1/8000s ISO 100
usually restricts aperture in sunny outdoor conditions to f/2 without ND filter
Stabilization Only in f2.8 and less fast zooms and in super tele primes. Most of the primes under 200mm does not have stabilization. Without stabilization it is hard to take photos slower than 1/20s because of camera shake due to mirror movement. Yes, with all lenses including manual on adapter if you set up focal length in menu. I could get perfectly sharp image from 135mm at 1/8s with few attempts.
Focuses fast Only through viewfinder. On display (LiveView), the focusing is too slow and works well only on non-moving things. In both viewfinder and on display.
Focuses accurately Using viewfinder it focuses with errors. Fine tuning a lens cannot fix that all the time. On non-moving things accurate focus is possible in LiveView on monitor. Yes
Focuses in area Small area in center of image. On non-moving things focus is possible out of that small area in LiveView on monitor. Almost everywhere.
Focuses on eyes automatically No. Yes - you need to press and hold a button set for this function.
Focuses accurately with f/1.4 or f/1.8 lenses wide open Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Yes
Focuses accurately with f/4 lenses in dark Yes. Nikon AF system uses f/5.6 mask so any lens with f/5.6 or faster aperture delivers same amount of light on AF system sensors. So whether you are using f/1.4 or f/5.6 the AF system works similarly well (for lenses without focus shift caused by spherical aberration). It can be worse than D750 especially if you close aperture more. On A7III the AF system is very dependent on light it gets from lens and f/1.4 vs. f/5.6 is huge difference. It does not matter in bright light, but in low light A7III will be focusing f/1.4 lens perfectly but f/5.6 lens poorly. With f/4 lens stopped down to f/8 there will be additional penalty unless camera can open aperture for focusing (it can do it in some modes, but in AF-C Continuous Mid or faster Drive Mode it does not images after first one).
Focuses accurately with AF-C on second and next pictures in sequence when subject moves. Acceptably (except for error that affects single pictures) It can be worse especially if you use higher drive speeds.
Focuses equally well in white and colored light. No, color has impact on systematic error of focus system. But D610 was much worse at this. Yes (based on comparison with D750)
Focuses well long term No, mechanical system of mirror and submirror is susceptible to go out of tune. Yes (assumption)
Movement of focus point Multiselector Joystick, touch screen, touch pad (when using viewfinder - you can move focusing point using a finger or nose ;-) sliding on monitor). Touch screen and touch pad can be activated separately. The joke about nose is not so bad, it is possible to set only a half of monitor to be active (part where you don't put your nose). Touch off/on can be assigned to a button.
Support for focus stacking With paid app qDslrDashboard good. No otherwise. No. API is not exposed so apps cannot do it.
Dynamic range in low ISO Excellent. Excellent, but only with RAW Uncompressed. With RAW Compressed there are artifacts in image on high contrast edges and in continuous drive the bit rate is reduced.
Image quality in high ISO Excellent. Even a bit better.
Image quality for astrophotography (high ISO, long shutter) Excellent. Excellent.
Exhaustive comparison is here. Thom Hogan advices to use continuous drive and turn of LENR to avoid "star eater".
Long exposures Excellent. BULB mode and also Timer mode where you don't need hold shutter during exposure and to terminate it you just lightly touch shutter button. So no shake during exposure. Otherwise with IR remote ML-L3 can start and stop exposure without holding button during exposure. Only BULB mode with holding. Otherwise external triggers can do it without holding. I don't have IR trigger to comment.
Size of RAW files Lossless compressed has about 25-30MB. RAW Uncompressed has 49MB - can be converted to DNG using a Adobe batch tool which will end up being similar size like Nikon's RAWs: 25-35MB - I'm doing this anyway as I use older LR version which cannot read A7III ARW directly. RAW Compressed has 25MB contains artifacts which I don't like, in continuous drive only 12 bits. Only advantage for image quality is that with silent shutter the 12 bits means faster scan time (see silent shutter row below)
Conversion of RAW into JPG inside camera with chosen picture profile and exposure correction. Useful when recording just RAWs when I want to take SD card out to read it in my phone using a reader and USB-OTG cable to get full resolution JPG. Yes. Works well, but only each file separately. No.
Transfer of image to phone using wifi Yes, but only 1080 pixels height at largest size. Yes. If you recorded JPG or RAW+JPG the photo can be transferred in full resolution. If you have only RAW its preview gets send (1080 pixels height).
Silent shutter No. Qc mode is not overly silent. Yes. But only with slow scan time of 1/16s or 1/28s based on RAW compression. A9 has about 1/160s scan time.
Reduction of shaking on tripod Just Exposure delay (1-3s) in LiveView. Silent shutter or EFCS (has impact on bokeh with fast shutter times because curtains are at different planes). Self-timer mode with 2/5/10s options.
Flash X-sync 1/200s 1/250s
(works with Godox Xpro-S and Nissin i40 without black lines)
Interval shooting Yes No, only with external shutter box.
Responsive when pressing shutter button again after releasing. Fast Slow. In some cases it is better when image review (Auto Review) is turned off. e.g. for Single shooting MF it is big difference, but Continuous shooting Lo and AF: not so big difference.
Openness of the system Nikon prevents third party lenses, batteries, grips etc to work fully/properly. E-mount is a bit open. For example Sigma writes on its page for Art FE lenses: “Note: This product is developed, manufactured and sold based on the specifications of E-mount which was disclosed by Sony Corporation under the license agreement with Sony.” It was written here, but it is no longer there. But here it is still visble.
Buttons - size/sensitivity Excellent I often press AEL randomly. I often try to press AF-ON but sometimes I do not press it fully. Bottom buttons are hard to access when holding with just right hand without using grip.
Wheels for aperture and shutter speed Excellent Worse, rarely a click is not registered. Sometimes slower reaction causes overshooting.
Buffer capacity for continuous shooting Bad, with 6.5 frames per second only just 2s lossless compressed RAW or 4s lossy compressed RAW. Excellent, with 10 frames per second about 4s with RAW uncompressed. With RAW compressed 12 seconds. It can display current buffer capacity (Cont. Shoot Length) graphically.
Clean sensor Good, covered by mirror when changing lenses. Worse, easy to catch dirt, no protection when changing lenses.
Built-in flash Small flash that cannot be bounced off ceiling, cannot do HSS. No
Image artifacts Sometimes moiré/false colors. Often moiré/false colors (very weak AA filter); PDAF lines are sometimes visible when flare bounces off side onto sensor.
Exposure compensation +-5ev button pressed while adjusting wheel +-3ev direct wheel
Exposure measuring Independent It is affected by current exposure preview. Over or under exposure is indicated only in a range of +-2EV.
Viewfinder used for landscapes in bright light (e.g. f/13, 1/100s, ISO 100) Excellent (with f/4 lens, affected by lens wide open aperture) Worse - dimmer against surrounding (even when set to +2 brightness). Monitor has (unlike viewfinder) setting called Sunny mode, but that changes gamma so image looks weird.
Viewfinder indoor in bright light Good. Good.
Viewfinder in dark / night Dark or unusably dark. Good, there can be some noise though.
Artifacts in viewfinder Depth of field corresponds to about f/2.5 if you have faster lens. If you shoot with closed aperture, you will not see the effect of it, DoF preview is too dark to see it well. In LiveView DoF can be seen well and it can be zoomed. During focusing in LV the image on monitor has lower resolution. Moiré in viewfinder caused by lower resolution is usually weak, but when you half-press shutter image in viewfinder/monitor has lower resolution and moiré is stronger (e.g. cobblestones with ultra wide angle).
I recommend to set Display Quality to High.
Minimal weight with light wide angle prime lens D750 and 28/1.8G: 1186g (measured with battery, card, strap; lens computed as 325g) A7III and 28/2: 877g (measured with battery, card, strap, lens and front cap)
Minimal weight with wide angle zoom D750 and 18-35G: 1258g (measured with battery, card, strap, lens and front cap) A7III and 16-35/4: 1207g (measured with battery, card, strap, lens and front cap)
Minimal weight with standard f/4 zoom D750 and 24-120/4vr: 1588g (measured with battery, card, strap, lens and front cap) A7III and 24-105/4: 1349g (measured with battery, card, strap, lens and front cap)
Things that add to minimal weight Nothing Extra battery: 82g (measured).
Grip extension: 81g (measured Meike MK-X1EM).
Charging Only external charger (included). Charging takes about 2.6 hours. Charging in camera body through arbitrary USB charger (one is included), can be charged through powerbank or be powered through powerbank. Connector has cover which gets in the way while charging. Charging is slow, about 4.5 hours. Advantage is that you will not forget to put battery back to camera. External charger is not included with A7III (but it is for A7RIII). Charging time is specified as 150 minutes.

How's shooting with A7III?

Main difference in actual photography is that with A7III you have choice between viewfinder and monitor. Which one you want to use is up to you, because both behave same with respect to focusing. On D750 the focusing in LiveView is unusable on moving things so you often cannot choose freely.

This enables photography style which outrages DSLR owners because it feels negligent and reminds them of how people use small sensor point&shoots (where holding in hands without contact with head is less stable). A7III makes it possible to shoot from hip or from chest while your backs are not tired from bending. Tiltable monitors helps with that, but D750 owners know that already. Slightly worse shaking in these positions is compensated by stabilization with all lenses.

With D750 I sometimes shoot in a way where I stand, the camera helds on strap over my neck at belly level, monitor tilted up so I can watch it looking down. The style of photography that reminds of TLRs (twin-lens reflex) cameras. Advantage is especially for children photography, because I don't have to bend to their eye level. For smaller children it works while sitting too. But with D750 the focus in LiveView is poor so this use on children photography is limited, children rarely stand still. On the other hand with A7III this works very well. I shoot in this style often saving my backs from uncomfortable positions.

With A7III so far I have never felt need to use back button focus, i.e. focusing with different button than shutter. On D750 I radically use back button focus because I need both AF-C and with focus&recompose method for subjects not covered by focus points clustered in center. Alternative is to switch AF-S and AF-C, but that is slower (I was doing that on D90 where AF-ON capable button was too recessed).

Holding the camera is alone quite a big chapter. When I was at presentation during Sony Day in Megapixel shop, the presenting photographer Jan Tichý was talking how he holds the camera in six different ways. He told it is nice to get rest from using single position by using several. I can confirm that. Sometimes I hold camera with 28/2 in left hand (when used without grip extension that makes this way less secure) so I can hold Godox AD200 with AD-S7 softbox in right hand (no light stand while going with children to playground) to have some pictures with light approaching from other direction (to have some variety over more comfortable light in left hand). Left hand holding means I hold the camera in palm, pressing shutter with middle finger and using strap over neck to avoid camera falling from hand. I cannot imagine that with D750. But I have to get by with Wide AF, because I cannot press additional button for Eye AF.

Basic handholding position is quite poor when you don't have grip extensions because pinkie cannot grip camera. The grip is not high enough for pinkie to grip it. It does not matter much for lenses that exert weak torque, but it does for those that are heavier or long. It can be improved with grip extension. The one from Sony, GP-X1EM, makes handholding better, but putting a camera on tripod or exchanging battery with it is complicated. I bought Meike Hand Grip MK-X1EM (pure weight 81g), which is quite similar, costs half the price of Sony one and it has rail for putting on ball head directly (it works well with my Sirui K-30x). But it needs to be removed to change battery. For that you will need a coin, a key with flat end, a flat screwdriver or Allen wrench. If you will get by with using a single battery and you would be charging it through camera USB socket, then you don't need to put it off. So the grip extension helps to make grip better, but it still not perfect. One nitpick would be that at the bottom the grip size decreases so pinkie is sliding to the bottom - out of camera. This would be better on battery grip or maybe SmallRig L-Bracket 2122 (but there is less space for pinkie).

The second problem with holding is that overhang that is under shutter - the place touching middle finger - is not big enough and comfortable. You are holding the camera weight with this middle finger unless you grip more tightly. When used long term in one hand I guess callus can develop on the middle finger.

The third problem is that camera grip has small overhang for fingers. On D750, with Sigma 24/1.4 I can hold camera using two fingers (so that camera is in portrait orientation with only two fingers holding it through grip). On A7III with lightweight 55/1.8 and Meike grip extension (which does not affect this) I cannot hold it this way. It always falls of from my fingers (I hold it also using strap to catch it). This overhang is weak (probably because better one might interfere with lenses as grip is closer to a mount). Not a super important, but I sometimes hold D750 this way using three finger and I'm happy that I don't have to apply force by opposing thumb. On A7III I have to employ thumb as well.

Buttons on my A7III behave this way: AEL is too easy to press (too sensitive), on the contrary I sometimes press AF-ON, but nothing happens (low sensitivity). So this affects how I customize buttons so that random press of AEL is not annoying. I did consider to glue on something to AF-ON to make it stand out better. Also joystick could stand out better.

On D750 the shutter setup was not complicated, in part because mirror was doing more noise and shaking than shutter. There were two modes: normal and LiveView. In normal mode it was noisy and shaking (causing blurry pictures at 1/20s with unstabilized lenses even in wideangles). In LiveView it was better, but holding camera at distance causes less stability of hands though even in LiveView it is possible to use more stable position at cost of not using viewfinder. On tripod, it was possible to add Exposure Delay (1-3s) so that vibration from pressing shutter button was attenuated when exposure started. On A7III it is more complicated. The shutter can be used in three modes: fully mechanical (highest noise, but still bit less noisy than DSLRs), electronic start with mechanical end (EFCS - electronic first curtain shutter) and fully electronic (completely silent).

Fully electronic shutters (completely silent) are the future like A9 has shown, but in A7III the image is scanned at slow speed of 1/16s (for RAW Compressed) or 1/28s (for RAW Uncompressed) that does not affect exposure speed (which can be in same range as with manual shutter, even 1/8000s). This is quite slow and it means that: (1) you cannot flash (A9 also does not support flash, though with 1/160s it theoretically could work using HSS mode) (2) if subject moves significantly in image area it will affect picture depending on direction of movement by: skew (movement perpendicularly to scan lines), enlargement (moving in direction of scanning), shrinking (moving opposite to direction of scanning), unsharpness (moving outside of focused plane when small DoF is used - this is rarely mentioned). Similarly a movement of camera during exposure causes same effect, but they impact whole picture, not just subject. I have used electronic shutter for a few days for almost anything, but after seeing blurry images I came to conclusion that in this incarnation I it is suitable only for subjects where I don't care about noise (e.g. landscapes, where mechanical shutter can add some shaking with slow shutter speeds, but even there there are problems caused by this being incompatible with RAW Uncompressed and bracketing as I write elsewhere in the review). But I'm looking forward to global shutter cameras where electronic shutter can read whole image without scanning. Such shutter would be useful (if compatible) to improve outdoor flash efficiency by avoiding HSS modes (which is useful for getting dark background in daylight).

Mechanical shutter with EFCS is slightly more silent than full mechanical shutter. But you will pay for it by worse bokeh at higher shutter speeds. I often forget it and then I look that the bokeh is cut off at the bottom (sometimes it matters, sometimes it doesn't). This happens only when shutter speed is fast, e.g. 1/1000s or faster. The more fast, the more visible the effect is. Reason is that during fast shutter speeds the slit between opening and closing curtains is smaller (like with full mechanical shutter), but here one curtain is on sensor and other (mechanical) is in front of it. Because they are not in same plane, the light coming from one side can go through well, but light from opposing side cannot go in at all. EFCS is compatible with flash.

Fully mechanical shutter has two disadvantages: it is noisier and it causes slower reaction times on shutter button.

Too bad that there is no automatic EFCS mode which could switch to mechanical when shutter speed gets too fast (or when DoF is small).

How does A7III focus?

Overall the focusing is good. Eye AF works wonderfully. Sometimes I have a problem when Eye AF cannot work (a baseball cap over eyes, a face from side a bit too much and/or covered by long hair) that camera returns to previous focusing mode which I have not been using for a few minutes so it takes me longer to get oriented. I lost a few moments I wanted to capture like that. For example it returns to flexible spot. In Flexible spot the focusing point/box is barely visible (with its black-gray color, at least until shutter is half pressed or AF-ON used). It just takes time to get used to manually moving focus point again when you did not need to do it last few minutes. Also there is a big difference in usability: Eye AF is so easy to use so that when it stops working the increased difficulty could surprise you. Next issue with Eye AF is that when you have more people in picture and it catches different person than you want (it can be affected by leaving Eye AF, point to the right person and start Eye AF again).

I have had Face priority for AF turned off for some time. It is focusing on face automatically without pressing Eye AF button, but it can be different face than you want and since it activates automatically in arbitrary AF mode the risk higher is that it will work against you. But then I turned it on again (and put into Fn menu to be able control it) because without it Wide AF was often focusing on person's body while person's face was slightly softer (when Eye AF was not used/did not work).

So far I did not get used to joystick. It is not sticking out much and I also have muscle reflex from Nikons without one to just press directional pad which is different type of movement than pressing something towards sides. Sharp edges on joystick are somewhat unpleasant. If somebody if left-eyed person and uses to look into viewfinder with left eye, his/hers nose will be bumping into sharp edges of the joystick.

Focusing accuracy on static subjects is perfect including in AF-C from which I rarely switch to AF-S (for example because of focus magnifier which cannot be activated in AF-C, otherwise there is no reason except for dark condition, but even there AF-C is not bad unless you stop down aperture too much). Focusing accuracy on things that are moving depends on when you want next frame. In continuous shooting at higher frames per second it will be worse than at lower frames per second. In dark conditions it will be worse as well. Outdoors in sunny weather it works very well.

Once you have shutter half-pressed (or AF-ON), the focusing point (Flexible spot mode) cannot be moved by joystick nor touching even between multiple frames until you release shutter (or AF-ON).

I was not using 3d tracking on Nikon D750 much (with focusing points clustered centrally it just did not work well for me, I usually used single point or group which worked well in the clustered center), but even like that I can tell that its analogue on A7III, the Lock-on AF, does not work well. Often it stops following subject and catches something else (it focuses well on that thing). This is not a case that "AF Track Sens" can fix, this happens without other subject moving in front of my subject. Sometimes it works well, but you cannot guess in advance if it will do.

On A7III the worst situation for focusing is in portrait with small depth of field where you have sunset in background with typical exposure for sky while flashing on person with outdoor flash. In DSLR the person's head will be dark, but your eye has big dynamic range so it is easy to hit eye with AF point and the AF system is not dependent on current exposure parameters so it works (well sometimes these backlit situation also cause problems because of flare within AF system). On A7III in this situation the person's head will be black (silhouette) and Eye AF will not work (it sees only what is being displayed). It can a somewhat dark and Eye AF would still work, but in this case it is too much and you will not see subject well too (facial expression), unless you look at subject directly with just your eyes. If you try Wide AF, it will catch on hairs lit through by Sun which means blurred eyes in photo due to small depth of field. What to do with it? I tried to find a fix at location and I found one. If you know about others, write me an email - I will add it here. My solution is to set LiveView Display Setting effect off, which sometimes can help alone. But when camera detects flash or flash trigger even when this is set to "on", it behaves like "off". But even in the "off" there is still some exposure mode metering running to provide exposure for live view which in described situation still keeps silhouettes without visible details. It can be affected using exposure metering mode so to avoid such mode to affect pictures, you will need to use M mode and explicit ISO. There are several exposure modes, but there is no "shadow priority" as analogue of highlight priority. I have used Spot standard metering. I also have Spot Metering Point set to Focus Point Link (it is in camera menu 1, page 10) so that when I move focus point (Flexible spot M) over head it will meter for head (you will see a circle where exposure is evaluated moving with focus point). So now when I move focus point over the head the head stops being black and it is exposed correctly to be shown on monitor/viewfinder and then you can use Eye AF. So that was quite complex set up, it is not easy to use when right hand is occupied by Godox AD200 with Softbox. If I would have flash on light stand it would be easy. But the annoying part is need to setup so many parameters. It can be made easier by assigning this into memory under number 1 or 2 which are accessible from mode dial. This memory will cover all needed settings (including Focus Point Link). It work well this way.

I also wanted to try if this situation could be helped by having Face Prty in Mlti Mtr - but I was not in situation where I could test it. If it would work, it would be easier.

Next trap could be focusing on landscapes. I was on Ještěd mountain and I used 24-105/4 in AF-C at 105mm f/5.6 on horizon towards Prague. This horizon even in excellent visibility is not overly contrasty. It contains details, but mostly as horizontal lines. Several times the AF would just go through full focusing range and then focused badly. Culprit is layout of focusing pixels on sensor - they are in horizontal lines so they don't see horizontal lines in scene as detail. One possibility is to rotate camera a bit (10 degrees is enough), which worked, but you will lose some useful resolution on landscape pictures. In my cases it got working a after I changed composition slightly. On the other hand almost all DSLRs have center AF point sensitive in more than one direction. So with DSLRs this happens only with peripheral AF points.

If you overcome above traps, the Sony wins in portrait focusing over D750.

I have found out this video. It looks like advert, but user that put it in discussion at dpreview and who claimed co-authorship have history corresponding to such switch to Sony. Theirs D4s focuses much worse than my D750 :-) A lot of people reacted that theirs Canon or Nikon focuses better. Shame that they focused their work on video production, but not on investigating why theirs D4s is so bad.

How to focus in low light?

If you are without flash and without tripod the focus will work well (if you don't close aperture too much). Focusing stops working at light level with so much image noise that it will not matter. But with flash you need to focus in dark yet image quality will be good enough to care about focus speed and accuracy. Similarly with tripod and long exposure, for example a night city shot, but for those it is possible to focus manually, therefore the most interesting case is the one with flash.

Focusing is affected by:

I have seen an advice in forums to set Live View Display setting effect off. Here. But I did not have unambiguous results with it. Reason might be that AF system during focusing (half-pressed shutter or AF-ON) still changes parameters of exposure (including aperture) to those that work for it. For example with 24-105/4 or with 16-35/4 in AF-C and also in AF-S. Even though in AF-C aperture gets more open only sometimes, e.g. at f/22 or in really dark (amount of opening depends on darkness. With Continuous Lo Drive mode it can change aperture even between frames, but as it is low light the focusing is slow so it takes only about one frame per second. With Continuous Mid the aperture stays. Second reason might be that with active flash the Live View Display setting effect switches to OFF silently. But during testing I have found one importnant thing: when you are in AF-C in really dark, you will see image pumping/pulsing (it is visible with lenses that change focal length while focusing 55/1.8 only a bit, but 28/2 strongly; otherwise small changing focus distance is not much visible on noisy display). At these conditions many photographers would be discouraged by such pulsing and they would try to switch to AF-S which does not do it. But this pulsing works well when you have Priority in AF-C set to AF. It is needed to wait a second or two until focus box (I used Flexi spot M) gets green and pulsing is visible, then the A7III with 24-105/4 is focusing on low contrast plush dog (not moving, I'm not moving too) with about 50% chance of perfectly focused picture. To get idea about light level I tested this in: exposure without flash was measured as 1/6s f/4 ISO 12800. The camera in the same scene with AF-S and also AF priority refuses to take picture. I guess reaction in pulsing AF-C is bit slower. D750 with 24-120/4vr in same scene focuses, not every time, often it goes through whole AF range without lock when I hold AF-ON. But there are fewer perfectly focused picture with it.

For such conditions when I compare cameras. I prefere electronic viewfinder where I can see what I'm focusing on (on the other hand in D750 optical viewfinder there is almost total darkness). But focusing is slightly better on D750. In these low light conditions, I prefer primes with brighter apertures anyway so with those A7III will be focusing better or at least comparable with D750.

I have set up a test at home in controlled low light. I was shooting plush dog from distance 150cm. Beige color, it has black eye which is used as target for AF point. I did not use Eye AF. Contrast in beige color is minimal, only contrast is the black eye against beige. A Gossen flashmeter measurements shown ambient incident light level EV around -1 7/10 to -2 (ISO 100) - there was some variance and it was near edge of flashmeter range, it was enough to slighly get close to add more shadow and flashmeter signalled the level is below measureable. I was shooting first with D750 with 50/1.8G and A7III with 55/1.8 ZA, flash AD200 was in manual power mode (no TTL pre-flash).

D750: 1/60s f/4 ISO 200 focusing in AF-C with AF-ON, priority Focus: focuses with misses but acceptable, about half of photos is acceptable focused, the rest is just slightly misfocused, focusing takes longer, sometimes goes through AF range without locking, I almost see nothing in viewfinder. This was without movement. With movement, the focusing is slow and focus priority prevents taking pictures, but if you stop briefly, you will take a picture sometimes, often focused ok. With 1/60s f/8 it is exactly same.

A7III: 1/60s f/4 ISO 200 focusing in AF-C, priority AF: after about 1 second of half-pressing shutter the box around Flex-M AF point gets green and some refocusing with pulsing is visible. When I fully press shutter button the camera waits a fraction of second until it is focused correctly and takes a picture. Success rate is about 3 to 4 from 5, but pictures that are focused are focused really well. There is some advantage of sharper lens (vs. Nikon 24-120). When composing, it looks like that it is taking picture at wrong time when it is not fully focused, but result is focused even in such cases. When focusing with slow movement the Focus priority prevents shooting often and chance of focused pictures is lower. At 1/60s f/8 it is different. When half-pressing shutter, the display becomes brighter for a second because camera sets wider aperture. If you hold shutter fully-pressed since start, it will take a single pictures after AF box gets green. This one is often well focused. If you have just half-pressed shutter, the display will get darker after a second while aperture is closed down, there will be pulsing but AF box will never get green again so with AF priority, you will not take any pictures. That was for Live View setting effect "on". In "off" mode you will see brighter image, but it will get dark while half-pressing shutter.

A7III: focusing in AF-S, priority AF: at f/4 and at f/8 everyting perfect, everything well focused.

Now the same test with Nikonem 24-120/4vr and Sony 24-105/4 at focal length 50mm:

D750: 1/60s f/4 ISO 200 focusing in AF-C with AF-ON, priority Focus: same as with 50/1.8G, same even with f/8.

A7III: 1/60s f/4 ISO 200 focusing in AF-C, priority AF: focusing is slower compared to 55/1.8 and it often stops at focus distance where scene is completely out of focus. If it stops around correct focus distance, the result is sharp. At f/8 focusing is futile. AF priority prevents shooting almost all the time and focusing frequently ends up at bad focus distance. No picture is well focused. Live view setting effect on/off does not matter, it has no effect on this.

A7III: focusing in AF-S, priority AF: captures an image rarely, but then if it does the photo is sharp. With Balanced Emphasis priority, captures images more frequently, but images are misfocused. It is about same for both f/8 and f/4.

To summarize shooting in darkness:

There was an interesting test at dpreview of focusing with A7RII in low light. A7III has improved focus system over A7RII.

I would like to do more rigorous and complete test of focusing in dark but no promises.

Focusing on landscapes in the night. When A7III shows preview of what you are about to shoot (either in viewfinder or monitor) it basically does a video without recording it using an electronic shutter. To have 60 frames per second the shutter needs to be 1/60s or faster. I'm not sure if this frequency decreases in low light (e.g. to 20 fps which could be useful), but even in lowest light it does not go under 20 fps I guess. In case of manual focus on night landscapes and for composing picture you can take advantage of Bright Monitoring function. When activated the refresh rate changes to one frame per second so exposures are longer and more useful for showing details and less noise in dark parts of the image. It works only with manual focus and you will not be able to activate it through menu, it can be only assigned to a button.

Flash usage

I have used a lot Godox AD200 with Xpro-s trigger, mostly outdoors on kids. It works perfectly. I have mostly used manual power, because I don't like TTL pre-flash as it sometimes causes subjects to blink. I have used TTL too, but in conditions where I could not judge it works well and consistently. I have seen discussions where people complained that for apertures wider than f/4 the TTL has systematic overexposure.

I have tried also Nissin i40 at home. It works, often not well. A lot of times following occurred: two flashes in row missed or one flash missed then following one overpowered.

I don't have original Sony flash, but I guess it will work without problems.

Memory cards

Compared to Nikon D750 there is one advantage: it is possible to set an option (Folder name: Date form) so that each day a new folder is created. While I organize photos on my own, this is still convenient. But there is one disadvantage. My A7III card used previously in D750 got "infected" by high folder number. So 7th July shooting starts after midnight the camera start complaining that card is full. I was only shooting from balcony, in nature I would be angry without working camera. I did check the write-lock (it was ok) and I have connected card to computer where is the free space. There was a lot of free space on the card, but there was a folder in DCIM where sequence got to 99980706 - the first three digits are folder number that could not be increased, the rest is date (6 July 2018). The problem is that you cannot solve this in camera (maybe switching Date Form off and selecting some folder manually could work). D750 has exactly same problem, when it runs out of three digit sequence, you cannot continue so I was not surprised. But with A7III using Date Form option the limit can be reached faster.

When I renamed the folders in DCIM from 99980706 to 19980706 etc., did a Recover Image DB (see below) the folder number returned to 982 so it would happen quite soon again. With D750 the sequence number has also jumped to around 980. Finally I have found out that there was a empty directory in MP_ROOT which contained number 981. After deleting it and running Recover Image DB it was counting sequence from 200 as I wanted.

If you make some changes to card used in Sony camera, for example deleting or renaming pictures or folders, then when replaying image in camera you may run into images that show only name and error without showing any content. This will happen until you run Recover Image Db (which can take a minute). It is same on a6000 so I was not surprised, but when I first saw it on a6000 I was surprised as previous Nikon user.

Sony cashback

When I was buying Sony lenses I could not just obtain Sony Day sale coupons but there was Cashback promotion. So I wanted to use that too. After 14 days from buying I wanted to send it so that I would not forget about it. I have found out that rules allow only three receipts while I had four so I had to exclude one out. I was ordering separately because some of them had uncertain delivery dates and I did not wanted to wait for completing order while other part would be ready. I but I should have read conditions in advance. If I would have same lenses in fewer orders, I could apply for all 4. So I created an account and wanted to enter first lens. But whatever I do it refuses to submit form with error "sale date does not allow you to participate". I was able to find out through support that reason was that cashback is eligible after 30 days. It is written in rules though. When I tried it later I have got past this stage, but the web site was awful. I had to remove diacritics from my name to submit. City is accepted without district number (which is common to put into address next to city). Phone has to be with extension, but + is not allowed. When I successfully submitted I'm waiting, nothing happens for sometime until it tells me “We’re working on it… Sorry you can’t reach the webpage you want. Our engineers are working on the site right now, so come back later and things will probably be fine again.“. I have not have so bad experience with a website for a long time. However it was processed as I could tell from receiving email quickly. When entering second lens the same thing happened, but confirmation email did not arrive soon, it took 7 hours to get it. For the third lens, it was also writing error, but email was received within 10 minutes.

First sensor cleaning

I did not expect I would need to clean sensor on A7III so soon. On Nikons, I have used a coupon for cleaning after few years and I could get by with it. I was never cleaning sensor myself. It cannot be unambiguously said that mirror on DSLRs prevents dirt to get onto sensor. Once it gets on the mirror, it can be ejected on sensor during mirror movement. However with A7III after month and half (about 7 thousands exposures - I don't shoot that much usually, but with new camera I shoot a lot) I was not happy with dirt impacting image (even after blowing air from Eyelead Air Brush). With cleaning frequency estimated from that I concluded that it makes sense to wet clean it at home. Also with sensor being not as deep in body and with no need to fix mirror position (like D750) it is even easier (well on the contrary, you have to fix sensor using Cleaning Mode function so that it will not float). In one shop they only had sticky gel on stick which I did not want (it was not recommended in some discussion for Sony sensors (I'm unsure if it was due to coatings or IBIS). In another they had Green Clean SC-4060 (one brush with wet foam end and one drying stick) so I took few. I did some test shoots. There are in this discussion. After second wet cleaning the sensor is almost perfect. It was easy.

Small details

I have not get used to rear lens cap on Sony lenses. I often fail to tighten it so it is free to move. When putting cap off I rotate cap in both directions but at end of either the cap does not want to slide out. I also often tighten it too much but then it is hard to release it with one hand. In comparison with F-mount lens from Nikon and Sigma (only the recent ones) the Sony caps work worse. It delays me when I change lenses.

To avoid forgetting to put SD card back to camera I keep open doors to notice it. This works better on Sony, because doors stick out less.

An app for camera control from smartphone cannot set focusing point. Based on discussions the published API changed compared to previous generations so even third party apps have no way to do it.

A7III can show histogram, but it cannot zoom on image while showing histogram for shown crop like D750 can do.

If you turn on Auto Review (to show image after taking it), besides slightly slower reactions described above the DSLR users may be surprised by this: once you take a picture you no longer see what happens in scene while you may think you do :-)

A7III has sensor cleaning that activates after turning camera off (not always if you turn it off and on often) and it is done by shaking sensor few seconds after turning camera off. The sound that this makes is similar to usual sound of taking picture so when you turn off camera somebody might think you are trying to take his picture in disguise.

Closing thoughts

A7III is a very good camera. Whether it will fit you better than DSLRs depends once you get over EVF vs. OVF thing mostly on small differences (and this article if full of them). Main advantage of A7III for me is that I can shoot with wide lens from hip while holding flash with softbox in the other hand which is perfect for children photography because they rarely stand still so lugging light stand does not make sense and I wouldn't want to lug it to playground anyway. With DSLR shooting form hip, I would not be able to focus well and shooting from eye level means worse light angle. So A7III enables a new photography style for me which I would be unable to use effectively with DSLR. Focusing on eyes is perfect. Focusing on things that don't move is very accurate. Stabilization with all lenses. A7III has features that only higher priced, heavier and bigger Nikon bodies than D750 have (1/8000s shutter, 10 FPS). There are disadvantages, but I can overcome them. I'm not overly limited by them.

Pictures?

I don't have enough landscape/cityscape pictures worth sharing yet, maybe except for this album of Prague Castle surroundings taken with 16-35/4 and 85/1.8, images scaled to fit 4k UHD resolution. I rarely share family pictures, but here is a small album showing how I use AD200+AD-S7 that I mentioned in text above few times. It is with 28/2 and last one with 85/1.8. I did have EFCS active so it impacted bokeh on first six pictures.

Tips

Focusing on eye

I see a lot of people in forums confused, trying to search for Eye AF in menus. But it is not there so they find Eye start AF which tells them it is not supported with their lens. Eye start AF is a option for Sony A-mount lenses on adapter. Eye AF has to be assigned to a button and for operation it needs to be held. On new camera it is set for center button (the one inside wheel at the back). It can be set do different buttons.

Next trick is that Eye AF works well only in AF-C. In AF-S it does something, but it is much worse.

What is my button configuration?

I did not find button configuration that I would consider ideal yet. I'm still trying new combinations, exchanging, trying new functions. This is what I have after two months:

Control Wheel: ISO, C1: Focus Area, C2: Focus Magnifier, C3: Focus Mode, C4: Touch Operation Sel.,
Multi-Slc Center Btn: AF/MF Control Hold, Center: Focus Standard, Left: Drive Mode, Right: Live View Disp. Sel., Down: Face Priority in AF,
AEL: Eye AF, AF-ON: Playback, Focus Hold: Focus Hold.

This is based on thoughts: Focus Area is something I switch a lot (usually between Wide AF, Zone AF, Flex Spot). I want to have this accessible even when using just right hand, but I don't need to press it together with shutter button so I keep buttons pressed by thumb for other things. Focus Magnifier: Again, I don't need to press it together with shutter button. Unfortunately, it does works only in AF-S and MF. I can switch with Focus Mode, but it is annoying. This can be solved by AF/MF Control Hold, which I can press and hold while I'm in AF-C, then Focus Magnifier works until releasing AF/MF Control Hold. So AF/MF Control Hold needs to be held during pressing Focus Magnifier. For that reason I have put it on Joystick despite I have had Focus Standard (to move focus point to center) there for quite a long time. AF/MF Control Hold is as analogy of back button focusing but in reverse so when you hold it, it does not refocus. It is almost similar to holding shutter button half pressed, but only in AF-S, but on Sony A7III AF-C works much better than AF-S. I need Focus Mode, but I can get by with using other hand for it so it is on C3. Touch control of focus point is sometimes annoying so I want to have option to turn it off quickly so I put it on C4. Drive Mode is on standard position. I was using Right button for ISO. But I can put ISO on back wheel and use that for something else. I currently use it for Live View Display Setting Effect ON/OFF. I set the Down button to Face Priority in AF so when it focuses on wrong faces, I turn it off. Turning it off unfortunately is not direct. It just shows sub-menu with two options that can be switched using Up button, Down button, Joystick, or wheel and confirm using center button or Joystick button. When I want to access what I captured, I feel the Play button is too much at the bottom out of reach so I set Play function on AF-ON button. This has advantage that zoom function is same button so I double press it to see image enlarged. Finally I configure Eye AF on AEL button where it can be reached by one hand and while pressing shutter. Both AEL and AF-ON are ideal (but I have the latter used for Play). I don't use Focus Hold on lenses, mostly because most lenses I have does not have it.

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