I already wrote an article stating that this camera is the best wedding photography camera you can buy. But like most cameras, it's not perfect. These are eight things holding back the a7 III.
Programmable Record Button
Sony is known for their amazing button customizations. You can basically program every single button on the camera to any item in the menu. Because of this, I find it extremely strange that I can't program the video record button, especially since this button doesn't even work unless you have movie mode selected on the main dial. If you are in any other mode and press the button, you are met with an error message. Instead, they should allow you to program this button like any other button, especially since you can program custom buttons differently depending on if you are in photo mode or video mode. You could easily have the video record button stay as it is when in video mode, but have something useful programmed for when in photo mode. But for some reason, Sony feels that if you are shooting stills, you should be left with basically a dead button.
No Dedicated Charger
I get it, Sony went on a cost-cutting rampage in order to get the camera under $2,000. But to buy a camera and not even get a battery charger is a little off-putting. Instead of a dedicated battery charger, they give you a short little charging cable that you have to plug into the camera in order to charge it. If you want to get a Sony charger, be prepared to spend almost $100. That’s not even including a battery. That’s just for the charger.
Left Dial From the a9
At first, I thought this missing dial was due to Sony trying to save cost on the camera. But then I realized that the more expensive a7R III doesn't even have this dial. I think that including this dial would make both cameras much more user-friendly. The a9 was even released before both cameras and uses the same body design. So, the missing dial is a strange call by Sony. I would have happily paid an extra couple hundred dollars for the dial to be included.
Toggle Instead of Menu Selection
This feature ties into the button customization. Once you have an item programmed to a button, the way you adjust this item is by pressing the button and then using the directional pad to change it. So, if I want to turn on silent shooting, I press the button, then press up on the directional pad to select silent on, then I can half press the shutter to lock in that setting. But if there are only two options, I should be able to just press the button once and have it toggle to the next setting. So, press once to turn silent shooting on, press it again to turn it off. The frustrating thing about this is that this is exactly how the button works if you have it set to turn on or off the touch screen operation. So, why can’t it work that way with other items? I would also like the option to toggle between user-selected items. Let’s take the drive modes as an example. You have the option of choosing single-shot, four different continuous shooting speeds, bracketing, etc. But 90 percent of the time, I just need to switch between continuous Hi and single shot. So I would love the option to press the button in order to toggle between those two modes. If I want to select another of the options, then I could simply press and hold the button to bring up all the options.
This is probably the biggest missing feature on the camera. On older Sony models, features like multiple exposures, time-lapse, HDR, touchless shutter, etc. were all found inside their PlayMemories app. It was annoying that you had to pay extra for these features, but you at least had access to them. On all the recent models though, Sony has removed the ability to use the PlayMemories apps. The frustrating part is that they didn't leave users with another way of getting these features. So things like multiple exposures, which are built into most every other camera, are just not there. What you are left with is a state of the art camera that is missing key features that are found on 10-year-old cameras.
Silent Shutter Max Speed
The silent shutter has a max speed of 1/8,000th of a second. The Sony a9 and even my two-year-old Fuji X-Pro2 have a max speed of 1/32,000th of a second. This isn't a dealbreaker by any means, but having a higher speed really helps when working with bright light and shallow depth of field.
I mentioned this in my other article, but the time it takes to format a card inside the camera is very annoying. Where it takes maybe 10-15 seconds to format two 128 GB SD cards in my Nikon, it takes about two minutes to format the same cards inside my Sony. It’s a small thing, but that time adds up.
Electronic Front Shutter With Flash
One of the drawbacks of using an electronic front curtain is that is can cause banding when using flash. This is most apparent when dealing with shutter speeds higher than the sync speed. I wish there was a way to have the electronic front curtain automatically kick off when using flash or when using flash above sync speed. Instead, I have had to set up a special memory function on the dial so that whenever I use flash, I know I need to be on that dial setting. This issue isn’t a big deal if you know there is a problem. But because the electronic front curtain is on by default, most users have to find out the hard way.
While no camera is perfect, this list of items is what is keeping the Sony a7 III from being the perfect camera for me and how I work. I do still think that the a7 III is the best camera for wedding photography, but it has the potential to be so much more. Little things like adding should-be-standard features such as multiple exposures can go a long way. Same goes for ironing out how custom buttons work and function, especially when they work well for one setting but not another.
What are some things you feel are holding the a7 III back from being the perfect camera?