Is a7r3 worth the upgrade (?) from a73?

mesmerized

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Hello all!

I’ve been using my a73 for nearly a year now and I’ve been wondering if moving up to a7r3 is worth the extra money. I’m a bit of a pixel peeper and focus on landscapes most of the time (although street photography is my thing too). Those extra MP’s could come in handy, but I don’t want to spend money on GM glass, so... will I actually see the difference?

I know this question has surely been asked here a million times, but I’d love to hear from you all what you think.

Thanks
 

bdbits

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I am on a 24MP sensor, and have also asked myself this question. A couple of my thoughts on it.
* What is your primary output? Will you be printing large format, or is it primarily on a screen? If you are not printing, you probably won't really see much difference.
* Do you crop often? Especially if you do so heavily (and the printing factor), it might help.
* From what I have read you may not need GM glass, but you will want better-than-average resolving lenses. So the lens question would depend on what you have now.

Maybe you could rent the body for a weekend (thought about this myself) and take some side-by-side photos to compare.
 

WoodWorks

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I shoot mostly landscapes, and upgraded from an A7II to an A7RII a while back. And as much as I’d love to have the A7III’s AF chops, I just can’t bring myself to give up the resolution of that 42MP sensor.
 

Tipton

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As a longtime A7RII user, I feel the need to mention that you need a beefy enough computer to handle the 42MP files. I have just barely enough. I have to shut down several programs if I want to do any sort of blending or compositing in a reasonable about of time.
 

addieleman

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I upgraded from an A7 to an A7R2 and I also value the higher resolution. For street photography the extra resolution comes in handy, it enables tighter cropping, which can be necessary because I shoot quickly sometimes and don't take the time to frame properly. You don't need GM glass to see the difference, even the cheap Sony FE 1.8/50 delivers enough resolution to utilize the 42 MP resolution when stopped down a bit. And a lot of the better legacy lenses also work very well, provided you stop them down appropriately.
 

firemist

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Do you frequently print larger than A3+ (13x19")? Do you mostly post images on social media? If you print large then yes go for 42MP otherwise the 24MP is just fine.
 

mesmerized

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Thank you all.

I hardly ever print anything... I am a bit of a pixel peeper, thought, and often find myself thinking "ah, wish this landscape had more detail".
 

WNG

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Personally, I think it's worth it, especially now that Sony is running a sale on one.
What improvements you'll get:
1. more resolution.
2. pixel shift capability.
3. No anti-aliasing filter for even sharper imaging.
4. Higher res EVF.
5. full magnesium body.

What you lose:
1. fewer AF detect points.
2. less sensor area coverage.
3. less low light sensitivity.
4. slower AF-C performance.
5. slightly worse 4K video quality.

My priority is the extra pixels. My preference is landscape and macros.
 

somnambulist_squirrel

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I've periodically wondered, given the amount of low light shooting I do, if I the R was the right call. Then I look at the detail it captures, and I stop wondering (and I am using nearly exclusively legacy glass...only occasionally do I break out the FE 50). I am using the Mk 2, not the 3, but I expect the comparison is similar.
 

JonathanF2

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Is your computer and storage up to the task of handling 42mp files? I'm a high volume shooter, so 24mp is already more than enough for me. If you're a single shot/low volume type of shooter, by all means upgrade. I find there are more A7RIII cameras on the used market than there are A7III cameras.
 

mesmerized

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Is your computer and storage up to the task of handling 42mp files? I'm a high volume shooter, so 24mp is already more than enough for me. If you're a single shot/low volume type of shooter, by all means upgrade. I find there are more A7RIII cameras on the used market than there are A7III cameras.
Good question. I'm definitely on the low volume side. Actually,

I have a 4x 4TB external HDD. Storage shouldn't be an issue... What I'm concerned about is having enough reasons to utilize 42MP's. I have a few trips coming in the next few months. Maybe I'm just imagining things? I mean, where's the limit anyway? I might start pixel peeping at those hi-res photos and then want even more... Maybe I should just give myself a slap and stick to my A73?

I just hate the feeling of wishing for more details after getting home and looking at the pictures on my PC :/
 

JonathanF2

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Good question. I'm definitely on the low volume side. Actually,

I have a 4x 4TB external HDD. Storage shouldn't be an issue... What I'm concerned about is having enough reasons to utilize 42MP's. I have a few trips coming in the next few months. Maybe I'm just imagining things? I mean, where's the limit anyway? I might start pixel peeping at those hi-res photos and then want even more... Maybe I should just give myself a slap and stick to my A73?

I just hate the feeling of wishing for more details after getting home and looking at the pictures on my PC :/
Download a few raw samples from DPR or other places and see if those images are worth the upgrade. Also I've seen A7RIII bodies selling under $2K now, so the upgrade won't be such a financial hit. Another option and one where you would actually save money is get an A7RII. In fact if hi-res was my main priority, I wouldn't even bother with the A7/RIII series and put that extra cash into glass and the older body. The A7RII has the 42mp BSI sensor, silent shutter and charging through USB (though no USB 3.0). Also you don't need 2 card slots, just get a fat SD card! Done deal!
 

bdbits

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The reason for two cards is not for capacity. It's for backup/redundancy in the event of a card failure.

I do agree on the A7Rii though. It is quite a bargain now even new. Not that the A7Riii does not have advantages, but the A7Rii is quite a value.
 

pellicle

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.... What I'm concerned about is having enough reasons to utilize 42MP's. I have a few trips coming in the next few months. Maybe I'm just imagining things? I mean, where's the limit anyway?
I was going to mention this, but I'm glad you saw it.

Ultimately there is a limit to all this at the optical limits of the lens. So eventually if you zoom in enough you'll have one pixel occupying your entire monitor.

To me without a proper understanding of why you are pixel peeping then it's suddenly like pretending your in blade runner planning around a bajillapixel image.

If the image needs that much cropping you should probably have used a longer lens.

Then there is stitching...
 

JonathanF2

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The reason for two cards is not for capacity. It's for backup/redundancy in the event of a card failure.

I do agree on the A7Rii though. It is quite a bargain now even new. Not that the A7Riii does not have advantages, but the A7Rii is quite a value.
Backup storage makes more sense if you're a high volume shooter. For low volume, less intensive photography a single card slot should be fine. You can minimize card errors by using high quality SD cards, and using your USB port to download images in order to reduce the risk of physical damage.
 

pellicle

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also, when I went to Prague I took my Panasonic GF-1 and a small assortment of prime lenses (14f2.5 20f1.7 and 45f1.8), all super light. This proved more than adequate and indeed made it FAR easier to suck the data off an SD card and process with my phone to share on Farcebook (as I had some "in the flesh" friends following my trip with some interest). Please forgive these not being Sony (they're all post processed in my phone, the lower one even had some distortion corrections applied).

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


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It mattered not to me that the images were 4000x3000 pixels and may not withstand magnifying glass close ups of 2 meter wide prints, indeed the modest prints of about A4 size looked good (although I appreciate that you (@mesmerized ) may not print and consider it from only from an on-screen perspective. They all look quite acceptable on big screen 4K HD TV's (where the limit is the screen)

One of my friends does a lot of artwork (Oils, pencil, charcoals) and some of his works are large. When I asked him about his "intentions" for larger works he says its always to be viewed from at least a few feet away and says close inspections are only by someone wanting to examine technique.
 

WoodWorks

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I don't know. Sometimes I like to step back and get the whole picture. And sometimes I like to peer in at the details. Like with this shot. I enjoy the overall view as much as I enjoy zooming in and seeing the individual trees on the sunlit ridge in the background, or that the ladies on the right both have red hats, but one has a red jacket and black pants, while the other has a pink jacket and blue pants.

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Certainly not important aesthetic details, but I'm still delighted to be able to capture them with a small camera and an f/4 zoom lens.

I can buy a 10TB hard drive for less than any Sony lens would cost me new. Moving sliders in Lightroom is pretty much instantaneous on my four year-old MacBook Pro driving two 27" monitors. I see all sorts of upsides (crop ability, any size print I could ever want, remarkable detail), and no real downsides to having that 42MP sensor.

It's similar to the jpeg vs. raw conundrum for me. I just can't see walking away from all that data.
 

pellicle

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I don't know. Sometimes I like to step back and get the whole picture. And sometimes I like to peer in at the details.
I understand ... those are the images which I by design want to be able to print big and know they can tolerate close views.

In the past I've used my 4x5 camera for that. In the modern context I guess what I'm saying is that (for me) I don't want every image I make to be 10Gig of data, but I like to be able to have that when I choose to.

I've done this in the past with having more than one camera ... I guess that I still use my m43 as well as my A7 indicates that I still do (I'd like to claim that I still use my 4x5 but its been a while now {and I blame moving house too many times ;-) })

So I guess if I was wanting more megapixels and I know that lens will diminish the amount you'll get in reality I'd pick a MF camera over an A7Riii for better pixel peeping experience

and no real downsides to having that 42MP sensor.
well given the OP is using older lenses (or so I thought but can't see anything now to back that up) 42MP would be sure to capture all of what that lens was ever going to get.
 
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mesmerized

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well given the OP is using older lenses (or so I thought but can't see anything now to back that up) 42MP would be sure to capture all of what that lens was ever going to get.
My current lenses:

- Sony Zeiss 55mm f/1.8
- Sony Zeiss 16-35 f/4

I also have a Samyang 35mm f/2.8 but I'm trying to sell it as I don't need it anymore.

EDIT: I'm considering getting the 28-75 Tamron and, in the future, the upcoming 17-28. In that case I'd probably get rid of my 16-35.
 

mesmerized

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Download a few raw samples from DPR or other places and see if those images are worth the upgrade.
That's a very useful idea! Thanks!

EDIT: I wonder... when we convert RAWs into JPEGs... Do we lose a lot of details due to the compression?
 
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