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Sony A1 review | Digital Camera World

Digital Camera World Verdict

The Sony A1 is everything that Sony says it is. It’s a technological triumph, a camera that really can do everything. Previously, cameras might offer speed, resolution or video capability, but the A1 offers all three, and even beats dedicated sports and video cameras at their own game. So is this the perfect camera? Not quite. The price is, and will remain, a major obstacle, and its appeal is limited to photographers who need everything it does, not just one or two of those things.


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    Second highest full frame resolution

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    8K 30p video, 4K 120p

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    30fps continuous shooting

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    World’s best EVF

Why you can trust Digital Camera World
Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out how we test.

The Sony A1 has a list of features that would read like those of a fantasy camera if it hadn’t actually happened. It’s not the first full frame mirrorless camera to shoot 8K video, it’s not the first to offer 50MP resolution and it’s not the first to offer high-speed burst modes – but it’s the first to do ALL of these things.

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We’re used to professional cameras with outlandish specifications, but usually they specialise in specific areas at the expense of others, for example sacrificing resolution for burst speeds or video features. The Sony A1 makes no such compromises. It’s actually better than the video-centric Sony A7S III for video, better than the sports-orientated Sony A9 II for sports, and only a whisker behind the Sony A7R IV for resolution.

  • Sony Alpha 1 at Amazon for $6,498

• Read more: Sony A7R IV vs A7R III vs A7R II

The only trouble is, it cost as much as any of these other two cameras put together. This means that while the Sony A1 is technically better than the A7S III and A9 II at what these cameras were designed for – and that’s quite an achievement – its price only really makes sense if you need everything that it does.

And while there will be countless amateur photographers that will lust after the Sony A1 and its capabilities, most professional photographers will take a more cautious look at what they actually need and whether this camera is worth its asking price. It costs more than a Leica (the Leica SL2), for example, and even the 100-megapixel Fujifilm GFX 100S.


Sensor: 50.1MP full-frame EXMOR RS CMOS
Image processor: BIONZ XR
AF points: 759 phase detect, 425 contrast detect
ISO range: 100-32,000 (expandable to 50-102,400)
Stabilization: 5-axis, up to 5.5 stops
Max image size: 8640 x 5760px (199MP with multi-shot mode)
Video: 8K 30p (XAVC HS 8K), 4K (XAVC HS 4K or XAVC S 4K) up to 120p, 10-bit 4:2:0 internal, 16-bit raw via HDMI
Viewfinder: 9.44m dots, 100% coverage, 0.9x magnification, 240fps refresh rate
Memory card: 2x CFexpress Type A/UHS-II SD/SDHC/SDXC
LCD: 3-in tilting touchscreen, 1. 44m dots
Max burst: 10fps mechanical shutter, 30fps electronic shutter
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 5Ghz and 2.4GHz, Bluetooth
Size: 128.9 x 96.9 x 80.8mm
Weight: 737g body only, including battery and memory card

Key features

The Sony A1 has dual card slots, each of which can take SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS II cards or the new CFexpress Type A format. (Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)

If we were to list every key feature of the Sony A1, it would be a book, not a camera review, so we will try to keep this brief.

First, it has a 50.1-megapixel stacked CMOS back-illuminated gapless sensor with separate pixel and circuit layers hooked up to a BIONZ XR processor with 8x the power of the previous version. This doesn’t just improve the performance and the image quality, but the responsiveness of the camera itself.

If 50.1 megapixels isn’t enough, there is also a 199MP pixel shift Multi Shooting mode that merges up to 16 separate images taken in succession – this is for static subjects with the camera mounted on a tripod.

The Sony A1 has a sensitivity range of ISO 100-32,000, expandable to ISO 50-102,400, and Sony says it can capture a dynamic range of up to 15 stops.

The resolution may not be the highest for a full frame camera (it’s beaten by Sony’s own A7R IV), but it is the second-highest, and it’s all the more impressive in light of this camera’s formidable video and continuous shooting capabilities.

Video-wise, this is the first consumer mirrorless camera after the Canon EOS R5 to capture 8K video; not only that, it can capture 4K video at up to 120fps. Footage can be saved internally to the A1’s dual CFexpress Type A/SDXC card slots as 10-bit 4:2:0 footage or saved as 16-bit raw via HDMI.

Sony says the A1 will capture 8K 30p for 30 minutes, though we had to raise the temperature threshold settings from Standard to High. (Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)

So what about heat build-up? Sony says the A1’s passive heat dissipation system allows up to 30 minutes of 8K 30p recording, which is a big improvement over the Canon EOS R5 (though the Canon’s recording time has subsequently been improved with a firmware update).

The A1 matches the 4K recording capabilities of the Sony A7S III and then trumps it with 8K capture. What’s more, the higher resolution sensor means you can still capture 4K even in Super35 crop mode with 5.8K oversampling. That’s a big advantage for any movie makers with APS-C E-mount lenses or Super35 format cine lenses and adaptors.

It’s hard to say which is most impressive – the A1’s video capabilities or its continuous shooting. Just as it puts the Sony A7S III in the shade for video, it makes the A9 II look pretty pedestrian too, beating its 20fps shooting with 30fps and with a buffer capacity to match (up to 155 compress raw images in a burst). Not only that, it has superior electronic distortion control tool, thanks to its BIONZ XR processor, to all but eliminate skewed verticals in fast panning shots, for example.

The continuous shooting capabilities are aided by a 759-point phased detect AF system covering 92% of the frame and 425 contrast AF points. These work with improved Real-time Eye AF for animals and new Real-time bird eye AF.

Other key features include a 9.44m dot EVF that has the highest resolution yet seen, a 240fps refresh rate and blackout-free shooting in burst mode, plus 5-axis in-body SteadShot INSIDE image stabilisation for up to 5.5 stops of shake compensation, a 500,000-shot mechanical shutter with a 1/400sec flash sync speed.

There is more – a lot more – but those are the main points.

Build and handling

The rear touchscreen flips upwards but not sideways, and can’t be rotated forwards for vlogging. The new menu system is an improvement – we think – but still complex and multi-layered. (Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)

The Sony A1 is a little larger than the Sony A7 series cameras and comparable to the A9. It’s still nevertheless quite compact for a full frame mirrorless camera. If you mount a premium G Master zoom like the FE 24-70mm f/2.8, for example, you will still have a very front-heavy camera kit. That would be a good reason to get VG-C4EM battery grip, which will also extend the battery life – though the 530 shots you get from the A1’s Z-series battery is pretty good.

The 9.44m dot EVF is seriously impressive. The resolution means you just don’t see the dots. On top of that, there’s no lag, jerkiness or smearing if you move the camera quickly.

The rear screen is altogether less impressive. It’s a 3-inch display when most rival cameras have 3.2-inch screens, and the 1.44m dot resolution is adequate and no more. Worse, it’s a tilting screen with no sideways movement, and you can’t even flip it to face the front. Sony continues to astound us with its technical advances but its physical designs seems to move forward much more slowly, if at all.

Despite the relatively compact body, the A1 has plenty of external controls. The rear rotary controller works alongside two control dials on the top, and there is a further dedicated dial for EV compensation. (Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)

There are three control dials – four, if you count the EV compensation dial – and they all have a good, positive feel, though the combined rotary controller and four-way pad on the back feels a little smaller and trickier to grip with your thumb than we would like.

Sony has replaced its old, complex and often random-seeming menu structure on the A1. The new menu system is color coded for easier navigation, but there are now three navigation tiers – tabs, menus and options – and you still have to work out where to find the settings you need. We wanted to increase the A1’s heat threshold for longer 8K recording times, for example, and that turned out to be amongst the power settings.

The stacked focus mode dial and drive mode dial on the top plate are good to have – it’s nice to have physical rather than digital displays for these. (Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)

The grip on the right of the camera is substantial, but still barely offers enough height for an average-sized hand (see our remarks about the grip above).

The shutter has a short, quiet action quite unlike the more drawn out mechanical action of previous generations.

The stacked focus mode and drive mode dials on the far left of the top plate are a good idea – it’s quite annoying to have these buried in menus.


We haven’t had the A1 for long enough to test it fully for the huge range of applications it’s designed for. We aim to bring a fuller analysis of its continuous shooting and video capabilities in due course.

But we did try out its still image performance during bright daylight and late dusk, and carried out some experiments with its 8K recording times and video stabilisation.

First off, its still image quality is everything we would expect and hope for. Exposures are accurate, the resolution is terrific and, unless it’s our imagination, Sony’s BIONZ XR processor has improved the depth and fidelity of colors. Even in-camera JPEGs look impressive – though the A1 does seem to lean towards overexposure with heavily backlit subjects, so you might need to keep an eye on the histogram.

The Sony A1’s detail rendition is everything you would hope for. Will you notice the difference between this and the 61MP A7R IV? Probably not. Sony A1, Sony FE 24-70mm F2. 8 G Master, 1/800sec f/8, ISO 100. (Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)

Its relatively high resolution sensor means the Sony A1 isn’t really a low light specialist, but it holds up pretty well in the dark. Sony A1, Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 G Master, 1/80sec f/2.8, ISO 3200. (Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)

Sony claims 15-stops of dynamic range for the A1’s sensor, but you have to go looking for it, either with S-Log modes for video or in RAW files for stills – our sample above shows the potential for highlight recovery with raw capture vs straight-from-the-camera JPEGs. Sony A1, Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 G Master, 1/250sec f/5.6, ISO 100. (Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)

The video recording test was interesting. Sony claims 30 minutes of recording time at 8K 30p, but we didn’t get that. Our camera shut down after a little more than 9 minutes. Worse, it wouldn’t start again until the temperature had come down. This wasn’t like waiting for the buffer to empty after along burst – the camera was actually unusable for around three minutes.

This was curious. Some investigation revealed that the A1 has two sensitivity settings. Once we change ours from standard to high, it sailed right past our earlier 9-minute limit and only stopped at 18 minutes when our memory card became full. (Unfortunately, by this time we couldn’t test it for longer with our 128GB V90 card because that failed after the previous test – we think it was the card, not the camera).

The stabilisation results were mixed bag too. For static filming, the in-body stabilisation works really well. If you engage the Active stabilisation, which comes with a slight crop factor, you can carry out some smooth, slow camera movements too. However, Active Mode notwithstanding, the A1’s stabilisation did not cope at all well with run and gun (or walk and gun) shooting. We compared both stabilisation modes (Active Mode was visibly better) with no stabilisation (terrible) and a Ronin SC gimbal (way better than in-camera stabilisation).

Interestingly, we could balance the A1 and FE 24-70mm f/2. 8 on our Ronin SC, but we had to mount it so far back to balance it that the EVF fouled the roll motor, and the combo was pretty heavy to hand-hold and film with.

The A1 looks like a great camera for video, but its IBIS does not replace a gimbal, and you might want to user lighter lenses or primes to film with. On a tripod it’s fine, obviously.

Lab charts

We compared the lab results from the Sony A1 against those from two of its main high-resolution, full frame mirrorless rivals: the Canon EOS R5 and Nikon Z 7II, as well as Sony’s other flagship stills camera: the A9 II.

(Image credit: Future)


Resolution is measured using standardised text charts which give results in line widths/picture height, which is independent of sensor size. Unsurprisingly, with 50MP on tap, the Alpha A1 leads the pack when it comes to outright resolving power. The new Sony can resolve noticably more detail than the ~45MP EOS R5 and Z 7II, and considerably more than the 24. 2MP A9 II, though the latter was always going to struggle in this test.

(Image credit: Future)

Dynamic range

Dynamic range is a measure of a camera’s ability to record extreme brightness ranges and still retain detail in the brightest and darkest parts of the scene. It’s measured in EV (exposure values, or ‘stops’). In this test there’s no obvious clear-cut winner, as each camera has its own strengths and weaknesses. However, the A1 does struggle to compete with the rival cameras we’ve pitched it against. This seems to go against Sony’s claims of a 15-stop dynamic range, but we don’t know Sony’s testing methods. We use DxO Analyzer, a hardware and software testing suite designed specifically for this test. We measure the dynamic range of 16-bit TIFF files created from the camera raw files without any kind of optimisation. It’s possible that Sony is referring to the potential dynamic range available from S-Log video modes and shadow/highlight tone adjustments in raw files.

(Image credit: Future)

Signal to noise ratio

This test compares the amount of random noise generated by the camera at different ISO settings as a proportion of the actual image information (the ‘signal’). Higher values are better and we expect to see the signal to ratio fall as the ISO is increased. Likely as a result of its larger, more light-sensitive photosites being less susceptible to generating image noise, the A9 II leads the pack here, and by a significant margin. The trio of high-megapixel monsters are all tightly grouped and there’s little to separate the Alpha A1 from the EOS R5 or Z 7II, especially at higher sensitivities.


(Image credit: Rod Lawton/Digital Camera World)

The Sony A1 is a camera with such power and versatility that we have not been able to cover everything it does and can do in a single review. We plan to bring more detailed tests on its video, continuous shooting and AF performance in future updates.

Everything we’ve tried so far, though, has left us impressed. This does feel like the Leonardo da Vinci of digital cameras – absolutely amazing at everything.

If there is a flaw, it’s perhaps in Sony’s strategy rather than the camera. The A1 is an amazing camera but it comes at a price that’s equally amazing for all the wrong reasons. It’s so expensive that it really only makes sense if you need everything that it does. If only only need state of the art 4K video, or fast burst shooting, or high resolution capture, there are other Sony models much cheaper than this one.

Sony is following a trajectory we’ve seen across all of its sub-brands, from the RX100 to the RX10, from the APS-C A6000 series and now to its full frame mirrorless cameras. It’s introducing more and more performance for an ever more specialised audience at an ever-increasing price. It’s certainly evolution of a sort, but not necessarily in the direction that the average photographer or film-maker needs.

Read more:

• Best Sony camera
• Sony A1 vs A9 II vs A7R IV
• Best Sony lenses
• Best cameras for sport
• Best cameras for filmmaking
• Best cinema cameras

Sony Alpha 1: Price Comparison

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Rod is an independent photography journalist and editor, and a long-standing Digital Camera World contributor, having previously worked as DCW’s Group Reviews editor. Before that he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar, as well as contributing to many other publications. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more. Rod has his own camera gear blog at but also writes about photo-editing applications and techniques at

Sony A9 Review | Digital Camera World

Digital Camera World Verdict

The A9 is simply stunning, both as a technical achievement and as a tool for capturing fast-moving action. The silent 20fps continuous shooting mode can capture shots you would once have missed, and the AF system is complex but extremely effective. Bravo!


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    Completely silent 20fps mode

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    Fast and effective autofocus

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    No viewfinder blackout

  • Unbalanced with larger lenses

  • Shorter battery life than DSLRs

  • EVF is good but not perfect

Why you can trust Digital Camera World
Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out how we test.

UPDATED 21/11/2018: When we thought the Sony Alpha 99 II would be the ultimate camera for continuous shooting and autofocus performance for a long time still, it got the rug pulled out right from under it by a hot new contender – and that contender is another Sony. 

In many respects, these two camera lines are in direct competition. We wondered how long Sony’s ageing Alpha system would be allowed to keep its technological lead over the mirrorless A7 series: the Alpha 9 is our answer.

Read more: The best Sony cameras in 2019

The A99 II still wins for outright resolution – 42MP versus the A9’s 24MP, but the A9 thrashes it with its 20fps continuous shooting speed (with AE and AF tracking), massive buffer capacity (362 JPEGs, 241 raw files) and an on-sensor autofocus system with no fewer than 693 AF points covering 93% of the image area. 

The A9 is an out-and-out action specialist, sacrificing resolution for speed in the same way as the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II and the Nikon D5. These two professional DSLR workhorses have had the world of pro sports photography to themselves for some time now. They may not have been particularly rattled by the A99 II, but the A9 is different.

This is not just because of its speed and the sophistication of its autofocus system. It’s different because when it’s running at 20 frames per second it’s completely silent. In theory, the A9 could let you shoot at sporting events, musical performances and speeches where any other camera would be banned.

It’s all made possible with an electronic shutter mechanism that has a third crucial advantage – no screen blackout. 

With any camera that uses a mechanical shutter, the screen blacks out for an instant during each exposure. This gives the autofocus less of a ‘window’ to work in during continuous shooting, and makes it harder for the photographer to follow a moving subject in the viewfinder. 

With the A9’s electronic shutter mode, however, there is no screen blackout, even when shooting at 20 frames per second. The only penalty is a drop in the viewfinder’s refresh rate from 120fps to 60fps, but a minor increase in screen lag is surely a small price to pay for continuous and seamless viewing.

The A9’s performance has been made possible by Sony’s cutting-edge ‘stacked’ sensor technology, with integral memory, backed up by a BIONZ X image processor to deliver what Sony says is a 20x faster readout speed and a performance “far exceeding SLRs”. 

The A9 also benefits from Sony’s in-body five-axis stabilisation system. This is in addition to the image stabilisers built into some of Sony’s pro lenses, such as the new FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS, one of the lenses used in our tests.

Movies, of course, are a big feature in any new Sony camera. The A9 can shoot 4K UHD video with full pixel readout without pixel binning – in other words, instead of combining pixels to produce 4K resolution, it uses the sensor’s full resolution, then ‘downsamples’ it by a factor of 2.4 for better detail rendition. 

The autofocus system plays its part here, with an AF area extended to almost that of stills mode and a reduced ‘slow’ focus speed for smoother slow focus effects while filming. 

We said at the start that the A7/A9 series and the older Alpha SLTs were in competition, but there is some crossover. The A9 can use Alpha mount lenses via Sony’s LA-EA3 adaptor, which enables the full 693-point AF system and shooting at up to 10fps with AF tracking. 

So although there are still some gaps in Sony’s professional lens range, particularly for super-telephoto primes, there are a couple of big A-mount lenses that will do the job for the time being. The adaptor also offers a way for SLT users to transition to the E-mount system of the A7 and A9. 

Sony A9: Price Comparison

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Introduction and features

Next Page Build and handling

The sister print publication to this website, Digital Camera Magazine is Britain’s best-selling photography publication – and it can also be purchased outside the United Kingdom as Digital Camera World. 

Digital Camera Magazine is packed with more expert advice and more inspirational images than any other title, with the sole aim of helping you become a better photographer. Every issue we also bring you a selection of great gifts which are designed to help you get more from your photography – everything from tips cards and cheat sheets to free software and bookazines. 

In addition to inspirational images, interviews, projects, mini tests and tutorials, each issue is packed with news, reviews and comparisons, as well as photographer vs photographer shootouts and head-to-head challenges using the best photo editing software.

The magazine is captained by Editor Niall Hampton, with Technique Editor Alistair Campbell adding his own expertise.

Sony A7 III Camera Review: A Week with an Expert

Sony ILCE-7RM3 Key Features Overview

An innovative approach to camera development is what distinguishes Sony from many competitors. In recent years, we have seen a large number of very bold design decisions. The most striking example is the full-frame sensor in mirrorless cameras. The seventh series of Sony Alpha cameras stirred up, but did not turn over the photo market: not all the innovations used in them were to the liking of photographers. And some decisions did seem raw. Persistent Japanese developers responded to this with the release of the second generation of “sevens”, and then a serious reportage ILCE-9. The wall of misunderstanding between photographers and the brand has shaken and collapsed, it remains only to remove its fragments. And here the third series of “sevens” became a real bulldozer, at the time of writing the article represented by two models – the previously tested ILCE-7RM3 and the hero of this review ILCE-7M3.

Let’s just say that the wow effect from the announcement of each of the third generation cameras was powerful. If the ILCE-7RM3 surprised with the combination of the highest characteristics, then the ILCE-7M3 struck with the ratio of price and features. Experienced photographers immediately saw in its specifications an explosive mixture of two more expensive models – ILCE-7RM3 and ILCE-9- at a much lower cost.

ILCE-7M3 / FE 12-24mm F4 G settings: ISO 100, F7. 1, 1/400s, 14.0mm equiv.

Has Sony really released a DSLR killer? Or is there some kind of catch behind the impressive performance? We will find out in our test.

The first Sony Alpha 7 III to arrive in Russia spent more than one day in the editorial office, we tested it in different shooting genres and shot many beautiful shots. But before moving on to a detailed review, let’s look at the camera again: what do the developers want to surprise us with?

Bigger than you’d expect

The heart of the camera is a full-frame 24MP CMOS sensor. It would seem that everything is like in Sony ILCE-7 and ILCE-7M2. Nothing prevented the developer from once again putting a well-proven sensor into the base camera of the series. But the three Latin letters BSI from the official description of the camera say more: a new back-illuminated matrix is ​​used here. We have every reason to believe that this is practically the same sensor used in the Sony A9, but without a built-in memory layer (logical for the base model of the line).

However, speed should not be a problem. The sensor is used with the latest BIONZ X image processor and LSI (linear system integrator) preprocessor. Thus, the reading speed is doubled, and data processing is increased by 1.8 times compared to ILCE-7M2 .

In-camera JPEG raw

ILCE-7M3 / FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS settings: ISO 6400, F4, 1/80s, 61.0mm equiv.

Work at high ISO, of course, was also inherited from the reporting brother, and not from the previous generation of “sevens”. This becomes clear literally after the first frames: the pictures make very little noise.


The youngest of the latest “sevens” can shoot up to 10 frames / s with both mechanical and electronic, completely silent shutter. Note that the manufacturer does not declare shooting without rolling shutter (unlike the Sony A9). The reason is a “normal” and not a multilayer matrix.

In addition, in the comfortable Live View mode, when the photographer sees the live image on the screen and not the last frame of the series, you can shoot up to 8 fps. However, these limitations are not significant. The declared buffer size is also impressive – 89 compressed or up to 40 uncompressed RAW files. This is clearly not an amateur level.

Growth AF

Autofocus in Sony Alpha 7 Mark III is answered by a system of 693 phase focusing points located directly on the matrix. They cover 93% of the frame area – competitors never dreamed of such a thing. The phase sensors are assisted by 425 areas of contrast autofocus. Thus, the system is hybrid. And now the main “trifle”: we have the characteristics of the top Sony A9, only in a much more budget model.

The AF system inherits both the eye tracking function (including continuous mode), and face detection with a set priority, and other fine adjustments. Autofocus sensitivity goes up to EV-3, which is an impressive number for today’s cameras.


Just in case, we clarify that the well-proven image stabilizer based on matrix shift has not disappeared. It is still capable of stabilizing camera shake in five axes, as well as working in conjunction with lens stabilizer. However, in the third series of “sevens” its effectiveness was increased and is now declared at the level of 5 steps of exposure.

4K full frame

The ILCE-7M3 can shoot Full HD and 4K full width. In full frame mode, pixels are read in full and without binning. This compresses approximately 2.4 times the amount of data needed to record 4K (3840×2160) movies and reduces the moiré effect. The bit rate is up to 100 Mbps.

The Full HD can be shot at up to 100/120 fps. There is also a special S&Q fast and slow motion mode, which allows you to shoot Slow Motion and interval videos. In addition to the already familiar S-Log2 and S-Log3 support HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) for HDR shooting.

A step forward in the details

Almost all the useful innovations that we noted in the ILCE-7RM3 test are implemented in the ILCE-7M3. Of the most important, we note the touch interface, improved ergonomics, support for UHS-II memory cards and an increased NP-FZ100 battery. Of the simply pleasant – two USB connectors (Type-C and traditional Micro-USB), charging and power from any USB, flicker suppression function, photo rating system in the camera itself.

The camera screen has become touch-sensitive. It allows you not only to select the autofocus area with a touch, but also to move it with your thumb while looking through the viewfinder. Unusual, but very comfortable.

What did the developers sacrifice in pursuit of lowering the cost of new items? A thorough study of the characteristics led to the following results. Compared to the ILCE-7RM3, the sensor resolution has decreased, the Pixel Shift mode has disappeared, and the viewfinder resolution has decreased from 3.6 to 2.3 million dots. Compared to ILCE-9, first of all, the shooting speed fell, the buffer size and the reading speed from the matrix decreased. Otherwise, the developers managed to almost painlessly drag top-end features into the middle price segment of cameras without serious marketing restrictions.

Design and interface

In terms of ergonomics and control, Sony ILCE-7M3 repeats almost one hundred percent the model ILCE-7RM3 we tested earlier.

The cameras are like two peas in a pod, have the same button layout and interface, and are compatible with the same accessories. By the way, you can traditionally find the accessories recommended by us right under the test.

Ergonomics and interface

The body of the Sony ILCE-7M3 is made of magnesium alloy. It has become a little thicker and more massive than the “sevens” of the second generation, due to the placement of a more capacious NP-FZ100 battery. There is one non-obvious plus in this: the handle has become more grippy.

Holding the camera with one hand is comfortable and convenient. If the handle height is not enough, you can purchase the Sony GP-X1EM handle extension. A full-fledged battery grip VG-C3EM is also available with duplication of the main buttons – a good solution for reporters.

An important ergonomic decision was the addition of a joystick for direct focus selection on the rear panel. He first appeared in the reportage Sony A9, and now went to more “simple” models.

Selecting an autofocus point by swiping on the main display

If the “sevens” of the second generation did not have a direct selection of the AF point at all, then here the photographer has three ways available at once! The first we have already mentioned is the joystick. The second is obvious and understandable: touching the picture on the touch screen, like on a smartphone. The third method is original and convenient in practice: these are swipes on the touch screen while sighting through the viewfinder.

The camera has three control dials: two under the index finger and thumb and one more – a rotating navipad (in the menu it is called the “Control Wheel”). This wheel can be assigned, for example, to set the white balance or ISO.

In general, any button in the camera can be reprogrammed without exception. To understand the depth of customization possibilities, I will give an example: even the shutter button has 19pages of alternative functions! By the way, it is for this reason that we do not list where which buttons are located. You can reprogram them for yourself at any time. The buttons themselves are enough for comfortable operation.

Shutter button reprogramming options

Buttons can be configured separately for photo and video mode, making the camera even more versatile.

In addition, there is an on-screen menu, ten settings for which the photographer can set and arrange to his taste. It should only be noted that the touch interface in the screen, as well as in the main menu is not available.

The main menu is not concise and compact. The flip side of the wide possibilities of the camera is the oversaturation of the menu. However, it is quite logically grouped and well translated.

The screen has a traditional tilted design. It can be turned up or down.

Connectors and interfaces

Sony ILCE-7M3 works with two SD memory cards. Additionally, the top slot supports MemoryStick DUO, and the bottom slot supports SDXC UHS-II. The logic of working with cards is finely tuned: you can record photos and videos in parallel or sequentially, separate recording in different formats.

The camera has a microphone input and headphone output – standard 3. 5 mm Jack. There is Micro-HDMI, from which you can shoot a pure 4K signal. USB connectors are standard Micro-USB and Type-C. Through both connectors, you can supply power during operation and recharge the camera.

There is no separate sync contact here. To work in the studio, the synchronizer will only have to be placed in the hot shoe. As in other cameras, here it is additionally equipped with a “comb” of Multi Interface Shoe contacts for installing branded accessories (for example, external microphones and XLR adapters).

Image quality

The Sony ILCE-7M3’s image quality intrigue is very relative. The matrix is ​​new. But a very similar sensor (though with a complex multilayer structure to speed up reading) we met in the Sony A9. With a high degree of probability, the main layer of the matrix with photosensitive cells and microlenses was borrowed from there.

ILCE-7M3 / FE 12-24mm F4 G settings: ISO 160, F14, 1/30s, 12. 0mm equiv.

In any case, when converting RAW in third-party converters, the new “seven” is like two drops of water similar to the “nine” both in terms of noise and colors. Let me also remind you that the sensor of this camera was created using back-illumination technology, which allows you to increase the effective area of ​​the light-sensitive elements of the pixels while maintaining the same resolution.

Noise and high ISO

For our test, we deliberately chose a rather dark, but at the same time contrasting plot. Those who want to work with RAW and evaluate the dynamic range at different ISOs will have this opportunity, and digital noise lovers will see the camera work in the most difficult conditions for it. So, minimum ISO. These are the values ​​of 50 and 100 units. ISO 50 here, according to the good old tradition, is an expandable value. That is, in fact, this is a frame shot at ISO 100 with a slight overexposure, which is programmatically darkened by a step. Light areas from ISO 50 stretch worse by exactly one step.

ILCE-7M3 / FE 50mm F1.8 settings: ISO 50, F9, 25s, 50.0mm equiv.

At minimum sensitivity in JPEG at ISO 50, the picture is perfectly smooth, highly detailed. Noise is not visible, because in fact we are dealing with an overexposed image. At ISO 100 in camera JPEG, sloppy gradients are visible in places in dark skies – traces of non-ideal compression. In RAW, there is nothing of the kind, of course. Therefore, if you are shooting only in JPEG, it is better to use the “Super Fine” quality setting (in our example, just “High”).

ILCE-7M3 / FE 50mm F1.8 settings: ISO 100, F9, 13s, 50.0mm equiv.

ISO 200, 400 and 800 in JPEG are practically the same: there is no noise, the picture is highly detailed. There are minor artifacts from JPEG compression in the shadows, but in general the picture is very high quality. In RAW, the situation is even better: the detail is high, and the level of the smallest monochrome noise is low, it is easily suppressed in the converter without sacrificing sharpness.

ISO 1600 is the first important threshold. In RAW, there is finally some noise amplification. It is still predominantly monochrome and small, just as easily suppressed. But the noise becomes noticeable in JPEG as well. The image quality is still high, the pictures are suitable for printing A3 and even larger.

ILCE-7M3 / FE 12-24mm F4 G settings: ISO 1250, F4, 1/30s, 12.0mm equiv.

ILCE-7M3 / FE 12-24mm F4 G settings: ISO 4000, F4, 1/30s, 12.0mm equiv.

At ISO 3200, the amount of noise increases slightly in both RAW and JPEG, but this value also remains absolutely working.

ISO 6400 is the next threshold. In JPEG, the loss of detail in the shadows from the actions of the noise reduction system becomes noticeable. It will not be possible to suppress noise in RAW without sacrificing fine details. However, for printing up to A3, such pictures are suitable. They can be placed on the network without additional processing at all.

ILCE-7M3 / FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS settings: ISO 12800, F4, 1/125s, 105.0mm equiv.

At ISO 12800, shadow detail is further reduced in JPEG, and noise is increased in RAW. But I also consider this value to be working. Frames with ISO 12800 can be printed in A4 format, posted on the web without processing.

At ISO 25600, color starts to degrade in JPEG and RAW. Noise reduction results in a noticeable reduction in detail. Such shots are no longer suitable for artistic photography, but can be part of a report where the moment itself is more important than high image quality. Printing of such frames is also possible up to A4 format. But ISO 51200 is already limitedly applicable: in JPEG, unpleasant color noise is noticeable, in RAW, attempts to suppress noise can lead to a critical loss of detail. This value should be left only for extreme cases.

ISO 102400 and 204800, which are absolutely outrageous for mid-level cameras, makes sense only when a unique moment needs to be captured at any cost. Acceptable picture quality can only be drawn from the lightest areas of the frame.

ILCE-7M3 / FE 50mm F1.8 settings: ISO 204800, F9, 1/125s, 50.0mm equiv.

The Sony ILCE-7M3 sets a new standard for mid-range cameras. Previously, we met such indicators only in top reportage models or in specialized cameras such as the Sony Alpha 7S, where low-resolution matrices are used.

Dynamic range

To demonstrate how to work with the dynamic range of RAW files, we decided to take a frame from the same series, but taken from a slightly different angle. Let’s add some extreme in the form of dark, almost deaf shadows. Pulling them is a thankless task. Usually in such cases, noise, not details, inevitably comes out.

However, the Sony A7 III allows you to boldly brighten the shadows by three stops without a significant increase in noise level, but with the restoration of details. It is possible and more, just our plot did not require it. Every stone on the exposed bank of the Thames is clearly distinguishable. We also managed to work very finely with the light areas in this frame, getting rid of overexposure.

Edited frame

ILCE-7M3 / FE 50mm F1.8 settings: ISO 100, F9, 13s, 50.0mm equiv.

But we have one more example that perfectly illustrates the capabilities of the new camera RAW file. It would seem that from a completely dead overexposure, you can pull out not only the color, but also the texture of the sky, beautiful contrails from planes flying over the center of London.

It is enough to lower the exposure by “some” three steps. The ILCE-7M3 RAW file allows you to do this. We tend to explain such a high flexibility of the raw file primarily by the use of a back-illuminated matrix and an increased area of ​​the light-sensitive pixel element. Whatever one may say, but on full-frame sensors, this technology gives amazing results.

Edited frame

ILCE-7M3 / FE 12-24mm F4 G settings: ISO 100, F10, 1/40s, 18.0mm equiv.


The camera specifications do not explicitly state whether the sensor is used here with or without an anti-moir filter. However, according to the shooting results, we can say that if the low-frequency optical filter in the Sony ILCE-7M3 is used, then its density is extremely low. The detail of the pictures is very high. Notice the quality of the image in the center of the frame. Every detail of the stage of the legendary Shakespeare’s Globe Theater is perfectly distinguishable.

ILCE-7M3 / FE 12-24mm F4 G settings: ISO 200, F4, 1/30s, 12.0mm equiv.

There is another very telling example. In this picture, the detail of the wrought iron fence is so great that at some point it even provokes moiré. We caught it while converting a RAW file to Adobe Lightroom. There are also distortions in the in-camera JPEG, but the color component is noticeably smoothed out. However, we did not find other similar examples, although several thousand frames were shot for the test. Moire is not a minus of ILCE-7M3.

ILCE-7M3 / FE 12-24mm F4 G settings: ISO 100, F5, 1/200s, 12.0mm equiv.

14-bit RAW in Sony ILCE-7M3

The camera is capable of recording 14-bit RAW, including when using silent (electronic) shutter and continuous shooting ke. Switching between 12-bit and 14-bit RAW is not explicit in the menu. The reference manual says that 14-bit RAW is always recorded except for the following combination of settings:

[CW cont. exposure]
[Cont. Shooting] when [RAW File Type] is set to [Compressed]

Speed ​​

The Sony Alpha 7 III is a fast camera. The developers took into account all the disadvantages of previous models and smoothed out most of the problem areas. The camera turns on in about a second: during this time, an image appears on the display, the memory card is initialized. If we are not talking about extreme reporting, the camera can be safely turned off between shootings, saving battery power.

ILCE-7M3 / FE 12-24mm F4 G settings: ISO 500, F4, 1/3s, 12.0mm equiv.

Menu and browsing freezes were also not noticed. The image display lag on the screen or in the viewfinder is not felt. In previous generations of Alpha mirrorless cameras, there were difficulties with accessing the menu and viewing the captured frames while recording the series to the buffer. This problem is a thing of the past: while recording a series on a USB flash drive, you can use the menu and view the already recorded material. In addition, due to the use of UHS-II cards, recording is very fast.

ILCE-7M3 / FE 50mm F1.8 settings: ISO 2000, F2.2, 1/50s, 50.0mm equiv.

Continuous shooting

Continuous shooting in the Sony ILCE-7M3 is possible at up to 10 fps, regardless of whether the electronic or mechanical shutter is used. A maximum frame rate of 10fps is available in Hi+ mode, which displays the last frame taken instead of the live image in the viewfinder between frames. It is not very convenient to control fast processes during such shooting, however, the photographer will not encounter significant obstacles on the way to masterpieces.

ILCE-7M3 / FE 12-24mm F4 G settings: ISO 100, F4, 1/640s, 12.0mm equiv.

If it is the live image in the viewfinder that is important to the photographer, then you should switch to Hi mode, where the rate of fire is about 8 frames / s. Between frames, a live picture of what is happening in front of the camera will be visible, but a small blackout will be added – blackout for a split second. The blackout is small and does not interfere with shooting, comparable to the blackout of DSLRs.

The size of the buffer is a pleasant surprise. If you’re shooting compressed RAW, you can expect to shoot continuously at maximum speed for at least 7 seconds. We were able to shoot 73 frames in RAW+JPEG before the burst speed started to slow down. If you use uncompressed RAW, then the buffer size is reduced to 40 frames, which is also a solid figure.

We shot this test mostly with an electronic shutter, and some of the shots show limitations for its use.

Electronic shutter, LED light. Stripes are noticeable in the background – reading artifacts. In such cases, it is better to use a mechanical shutter.

ILCE-7M3 / FE 12-24mm F4 G settings: ISO 1600, F4, 1/30s, 16.0mm equiv.

The electronic shutter may cause banding in the frame when shooting under artificial light such as LED or fluorescent. But in the vast majority of cases, there were no difficulties with the electronic shutter.

Electronic shutter, neon light. Distortions and artifacts are not noticed.

ILCE-7M3 / FE 50mm F1.8 settings: ISO 4000, F2.5, 1/50s, 50. 0mm equiv.

The effect of rolling shutter on live scenes has never been caught. Subjectively, it is very small in this camera, although it can be seen in the viewfinder when panning sharply.

Despite the high speed, the figure of the cyclist was not distorted when shooting with the electronic shutter.

ILCE-7M3 / FE 12-24mm F4 G settings: ISO 100, F4, 1/80s, 24.0mm equiv.

The camera is equipped with anti-flicker function. When working with pulsing artificial light, it allows you to delay the shutter release by a fraction of a second to take a picture at the moment when the lighting is brightest. Due to this, when working with fluorescent light, all frames in the series are even in brightness.

ILCE-7M3 / FE 50mm F1.8 settings: ISO 100, F1.8, 1/80s, 50.0mm equiv.


The autofocus system is one of the strengths of the new Seven. It seems that the Sony ILCE-7M3 is almost the first mid-range full-frame digital camera in which autofocus marketing restrictions have not been touched. Along with the matrix from the reportage model, an equally cool autofocus also migrated here. Recall examples from the world of DSLRs, when manufacturers put very serious full-frame sensors in mid-range cameras, but at the same time “rewarded” them with an autofocus module with dots crowded in the center of the frame.

Green shows phase detection AF areas, blue shows Sony Alpha 7 III contrast AF areas.

693 phase sensors located on the matrix cover 93% of the frame area, and 425 more contrast zones are paired with them. Even in the fully automatic mode of the focusing system, the result is excellent. The camera accurately recognizes the main subject in the frame and gives it priority.

Foreground objects appearing in the frame do not disrupt tracking autofocus.

ILCE-7M3 / FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS settings: ISO 1000, F4, 1/2000 s, 105.0 mm equiv.

The AF point can also be changed independently: with the joystick or by touching the display. If you are framing through the viewfinder, you can move the autofocus point with your thumb by touching the display. For owners of large palms, this method may be the most convenient. The display is very responsive and sensitive. The speed of changing the autofocus zone is very high, which is especially important in reportage or genre shooting, where the count goes to a fraction of a second.

ILCE-7M3 / FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS settings: ISO 1250, F4, 1/2000s, 105.0mm equiv.

Separately, it is necessary to note the autofocus mode for the eyes. We have repeatedly shown how it works in Sony cameras. Alpha 7 III also has this feature. When you press the central button of the Navigator, the camera automatically recognizes the human eye in the frame, highlights it with a green dot and focuses on it. The accuracy of determining and focusing is very high. Tracking tenacity is also not in question. The function works even when part of the face is covered. It is especially convenient to work with autofocus on the eyes in continuous mode. In all frames of the series, the sharpness is where it is needed. It really is a working tool.

ILCE-7M3 / FE 50mm F1.8 settings: ISO 4000, F1.8, 1/50s, 50.0mm equiv.

I also want to note the autofocus sensitivity. We were unable to find lighting conditions in which the autofocus system would fail. At night or in a dark dungeon, the camera focuses as quickly and confidently as during the day. Claimed sensitivity down to -3 EV.

ILCE-7M3 / FE 50mm F1.8 settings: ISO 12800, F1.8, 1/40s, 50.0mm equiv.

The autofocus system has been fine-tuned. In particular, it is possible to separately adjust the points and autofocus zones for horizontal and vertical orientation of the frame, there is AF micro-adjustment.

Travel and landscape photography

I had the opportunity to test the camera on a trip in a wide variety of use cases. Travel photography has always been a fusion of many genres, it is a real litmus test that shows the versatility of the tool. Looking ahead, I want to note: Sony ILCE-7M3 never let me down, no matter what tasks I set for it.

ILCE-7M3 / FE 12-24mm F4 G settings: ISO 100, F6.3, 1/250s, 24.0mm equiv.

The first thing I want to note is the highest picture quality in any conditions, even with the most affordable optics.

ILCE-7M3 / FE 50mm F1.8 settings: ISO 5000, F1.8, 1/50s, 50.0mm equiv.


Source: Peacock Pandora Reading 8 min .2023


  1. Sony FX30 Specifications
  2. Accessories & Extras
  3. Design & Control
  4. Screen & Cooling
  5. Photo Quality
  6. Video Quality
  7. Other Sony FX30 Features
  8. Bottom Line
  9. Should I Buy
  10. New Sony FX30 Camera – Video

Sony FX3 0 is the most affordable Cinema Line camera designed for professional video shooting. It is also important that it is great for taking photos, while it costs much less than the FX3.

Of course, Sony has had to make some compromises to keep the price down, such as using an APS-C sensor instead of a full-frame sensor. The viewfinder and mode dial are missing, but otherwise the FX30 is an excellent camera.

Features Sony FX30

90 806


9 0806

Bluetooth 5.0, IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, 2.4/5 GHz


Interchangeable lens digital camera


APS-C type (23.3×15.5 mm), CMOS Exmor R sensor

Sensor resolution

26 MP

Lens mount 9000 5

Sony E mount

Memory cards

SD, Type A CF Express


900 02 NP-FZ100


175 min. (continuous movie recording), 570 photos


Dual native ISO technology, ISO 100-32000

5-axis compensation sensor shifter


7. 5 cm LCD (type 3.0), touch , resolution 2.36M dots

Opening angle: approx. . 176°

Angle of rotation: approx. 270°



Communication and connections

Video resolution

4K, 1080p


129.7×77.8×84.5 mm

Weight g (case only), 646 g (with battery and memory card)

Accessories and accessories

The Sony FX30 can be purchased with an additional handle for connecting audio devices such as microphones.

It is installed in the “hot shoe”, after which the chamber becomes almost twice as large. One of the advantages of the FX30 is its compactness, which is lost when a handle is attached, but in some cases the accessory is useful.

Design and controls

If you’ve never used a Cinema Line camera, the design of the Sony FX30 may seem out of the ordinary.

The camera is similar in size to regular Sony mirrorless models, but supports many useful accessories. There was no mode dial here – instead, only a small key on the back side. You can use the menu on the LCD screen to change modes.

Of course, it’s much faster to do this through the disk on the body, but you hardly need to switch between shooting video and taking photos often. The FX30 is started via a switch on the back of the case. The layout of the keys is convenient, although the Menu and Mode buttons could be swapped.

On the left side of the FX30 are headphone, microphone, charging and HDMI jacks, and on the right side are two slots for SD and Type A CF Express memory cards. Support for two memory cards in many situations is convenient: you can take photos on one of them, and immediately shoot videos on the other.

The CFExpress card is much faster than SD and is ideal for video recording.

On the top panel there is a separate video recording button, and near the shutter release you will find the zoom button. In addition, on the back side was a joystick and a wheel for quick access to various functions.

Screen and cooling

The Sony FX30’s LCD screen rotates to any angle, making it easy to shoot from unusual angles.

The touch screen here is 7.5 cm diagonal with a resolution of 2.36 million dots. The display is of good quality, but it has problems with visibility in bright light. It uses the Sony E mount, so the camera supports a huge number of lenses. However, it is worth remembering that since the sensor is of the APS-C type, each lens will have a 1.5x crop factor.

The machine is also equipped with a built-in fan and heatsink to exhaust hot air. When shooting with the FX30 in any mode, there are no problems with overheating, while models like the Fujifilm X-h3S will have to buy an additional accessory for this.

Photo quality

It will hardly surprise anyone that even despite the relatively reasonable price, the photos taken by the Sony FX30 are excellent.

Yes, the camera works well not only with video, but also with photos under any conditions. You can shoot both JPEG and RAW using the full capabilities of the 26-megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor. The images have nice and natural colors, and RAW processing in Adobe Lightroom is not required in most situations.

Video quality

However, the main purpose of the Sony FX30 is video shooting, and here the equipment impresses even more.

When shooting 4K, 6K is cropped, so the image is very detailed. 10-bit S-Log3 recording and Sony Cine profiles are available, including the popular S-Cinetone for shooting scenes with many people. True, for professional video recording it is better to connect an external recorder, like Atomos Ninja.

The FX30 can shoot 10-bit 4:2:2 video and output 16-bit RAW via HDMI.

This means that the camera will capture more colors, making the image look even more realistic. The XAVC HS format has also been added, with much more efficient compression, allowing long, high-quality videos to fit on a memory card.

Low bitrate sub videos can be recorded along with high definition versions. This means you can edit the proxy files and export the final full resolution video. The function will greatly speed up the installation and reduce the consumption of RAM.

Other features Sony FX30

The Sony FX30 boasts a host of cutting-edge technologies and features that make it even more attractive to buy.

This has an excellent phase detection autofocus system – the accuracy of subject tracking is amazing. There are 759 focus points distributed around the frame, so subjects are well tracked even at the edges. Real-time eye autofocus is also available, not only for people, but also for birds and animals.

The FX30 is ideal for both portrait and wildlife photography.

Dual native ISO technology allows you to select an acceptable noise level and get a wide dynamic range, in any light. High-quality stabilization is provided by a matrix shift mechanism with compensation along 5 axes. The camera excels at both long exposure photos in low light and action video.

During video recording, the red indicators on the front and rear of the Sony FX30 light up, and a red frame appears on the display around the frame. Thanks to this, you will definitely be sure that the recording has started.


Despite being the most affordable model in the Cinema Line, the Sony FX30 is the ideal choice for professional video recording.

The camera shoots well in any light, and a powerful stabilization system allows you to not worry about frame shake when shooting on the go. The phase-detection autofocus system is also impressive, providing accurate tracking across the frame of not only people, but also animals. 9The 0005

FX30 is also suitable for taking photographs, although it is primarily worth buying a model for recording video. The body dimensions are small, so you can easily take the camera anywhere.

Worth buying

If you’re looking for a professional video camera at a reasonable price, the Sony FX30 is the perfect choice.

Yandex Market

New camera Sony FX30 – video

Peacock Pandora

Peacock’s middle name is Pandora.