Sony a7s III & Canon R5 & state of the market

The Canon R5, Canon R6 and Sony a7s III have recently been announced all with impressive and strange specs. I’ve been waiting a little while before writing this as I wanted to see how the community would react.

I have been looking at buying a Sony a7r IV for work and travel and before I begin writing this acid-tone article, let me just point out that these cameras are £3,500+. They’re not a slightly imperfect, discounted avocado. They are three thousand, five hundred and more pounds.

Canon R5 & Canon R6

Okay so the Canon R5 and Canon R6 look like decent cameras. Interestingly, when I wrote an article about the e-mount, a point I hammered was how Sony mirrorless cameras have great power consumption and there’s more to battery life than shots taken. Naturally the angry photographer flamed me (and later bought a bunch of mirrorless cameras, sold many dslr’s, made a recent video about the doom of DSLRs and generally showed great passion in his endeavours to contradict himself). The key point is that Sony cameras are incredibly efficient. The Canon R5 consumes around (it’s hard to calculate without getting the thing and trying it myself) twice the current from what I can tell. That reason alone makes it useless for me. In some ways I’m pleased, because it’s a great camera otherwise and the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens is compact and has me slightly wanting. I’m a Sony shooter and will remain that way. I’m surprised more people aren’t talking about this.

Sony a7s III

The Sony a7s III is a curious one.

  • It has the highest resolution EVF on its lowest resolution camera.
  • It’s got the biggest EVF, on a camera designed for video where you won’t use the EVF as much as a landscape camera.
  • It has the fastest card slots, for the camera with the smallest raw files.
  • The best menu system for video and stills shooters, but it’ll be used by videographers the most.
  • It has the most versatile LCD, on the least versatile camera.

The Sony a9 ii in comparison is poor.

  • The Sony a9 ii is the fastest camera, but has the slowest write rates.
  • The Sony a9 ii is designed to shoot action, where speed is critical. It has the slowest menu.
  • The least detailed EVF.
  • A camera designed to shoot far away subjects. It has the smallest EVF.

The point I’m getting at is that Sony have so much irony in the Sony a7s III that it’s absolutely painful right now. It’s a complete kick in the face to people who just bought the Sony a7r IV because that processor, cooling system, dust removal system, card system, etc. would be highly useful to you. I’m sure the next generation of cameras will have these features, but I just think it would have been much smarter to implement them in the Sony a7r IV. I’m not willing to buy that camera knowing it has a seven year old processor and a new one was just released. You wouldn’t do it with a computer, and you shouldn’t be forced to do it with a camera, at these prices. Sony says “These are tools. Buy the tool for the job”. But here’s the thing… There isn’t a high resolution, fast camera (relative to the Sony a7s III) available. It’s like saying do you want to drive the latest truck with all the bells and whistles, so you can carry luggage? Or do you want to drive an ancient sports car?

It would have been far better, in my opinion, if Sony released the Sony a7s III and the Sony a7r IV at the same time, with the same processor, screen, etc. and let the sensor dictate the models. Instead, we’re left in a lose-lose situation. Either they release a Sony a7r V around a year after the Sony a7r IV, and people complain refreshes are too soon or the high resolution shooters have to wait until around July next year. I cannot wait that long.

Another solution might be to announce a Sony a9r, reduce the price of the Sony a7r IV and reduce the Sony a9 II.

That said, a year from now and none of this should matter too much. The Sony a7s III is a great camera. I certainly wouldn’t listen to the “I’m not sponsored, Sony didn’t pay me anything, I’ll just act like you can buy this in the shops right now and act like I’m not getting LOADS of money from video views for having the latest tech you cannot buy in the shops” reviewers too much. That said, it does look like an incredible camera for its intended audience. I just wish they put that into the Sony a7r IV.

I remember posting on dpreview saying stills and video options should be independent, and I’d like a new menu system. I gave my ideas to Sony (it’s probably purely coincidental they’ve implemented some of those ideas, but Sony if you did listen, thank you very much) and was a bit alarmed at how many people on dpreview flamed me. Saying I didn’t actually own a Sony camera, the menus are perfect, you just have to get used to them, etc.

One example of them being objectively bad is the stabilisation option. You press a button to select stabilisation, it then asks you to turn it on or off. If it’s a binary option, why bring you to a second menu!? Why not just toggle? There’s no defence for that.

That said, I hope dpreview users realise that now the menu has changed, and they argued the old one was perfect, the new one therefore has to be bad in their opinion. So I expect to see them beg for the old menu system. Just kidding, please don’t do that.

I hope you can finally see the level and histogram at the same time. I hope the manual experience is improved as well, since the new processor should allow these things.

Also I have nothing against the Sony a7s III as such. It’s a great camera, with great facilities and it’s so smart to have the card system they’ve implemented. Good job Sony, for real. It’s a total f**k you to landscape shooters who just bought the Sony a7r IV, but it’s a great camera nonetheless.

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