Does the Sony a7 III Have a Terrible Preamp? Apparently, It’s Not That Simple

Last week, in a gloriously nerdy video, DPReview tested the preamps of various hybrid cameras to see how they performed alongside one another. One of the big surprises was how poorly the Sony a7 III fared, giving a notable hiss. In response, Gerald Undone then conducted his own tests, finding completely different results. So, where does the truth lie?

DPReview’s original test certainly seemed consistent, taking the brand new Canon 1D X Mark III, Panasonic S1H, Nikon Z 6, Fujifilm X-T3, Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III, and the Sony a7 III. The surprising result, both to those doing the tests and to a7 III owners, was how poorly the camera performed.

It then felt that the camera community almost universally demanded that one of the industry’s most respected camera geeks, Gerald Undone, perform his own test, which is what he did, with the utmost class and professionalism. As you can see from his video, the results are markedly different. “The Sony a7 III was objectively less noisy in each scenario, which leads me to the conclusion that either something went wrong with the Sony test in the DPReview video or that something is faulty on their a7 III,” he explains, emphasizing that he didn't conduct his test in order to challenge DPReview. "I love those guys."

With similar class, DPReview responded, and it seems that the situation with the a7 III is more complex than many had imagined. Watch this video to find out why.

Despite this confusion, what emerges from the three videos is the valuable conclusion that cameras can often perform very differently when paired with different mics, and it's worth testing your camera before committing to a certain brand or model.

Perhaps the next step is to take the six cameras again, along with ten different mics, and perform 60 different tests. Sounds fun. If you have your own suggestions, leave them in the comments below.

Andy Day's picture

Andy Day is a British photographer and writer living in France. He began photographing parkour in 2003 and has been doing weird things in the city and elsewhere ever since. He's addicted to climbing and owns a fairly useless dog. He has an MA in Sociology & Photography which often makes him ponder what all of this really means.

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1 Comment

I really liked this video. Even if it is not for me, because I can't afford these high end equipment.

I would really like a round up of budget equipment and microphones. Like M50, xt100, a6100 and Boya, rode mic go and similar.

I personally own an m50 and a boya mm1 and alv mic that I can't recall the make and model now, which is decent and works for me but I would watch a video comparing to other budget options