The Sony a7 III Has Amazing Low-Light Performance

It seems that every new Sony camera announcement these days creates an insane amount of hype because the company keeps pushing the envelope in different directions. Photographer and filmmaker Max Yuryev just tested the newly-unveiled a7 III‘s low-light abilities against the Sony a7R III, Sony a6500, and Panasonic GH5, and he was “shocked” by how impressive it is.

The a7 III is Sony’s new entry-level full-frame mirrorless camera. With a price tag of just $1,999, it’s a more affordable option than the $2,700 a7S II, $3,200 a7R III, and $4,500 a9. It may be the cheapest option of the bunch, but the a7 III isn’t short on features and specs — many of the latest technologies unveiled in the a9 and a7R III have found their way into the a7 III.

In the a7 III, you’ll find a 24MP back-illuminated full-frame sensor, a 693-point AF system, 4K video with advanced features, 5-axis stabilization, ISO 204800, 10fps shooting, dual SD slots, Wi-Fi/NFC, USB Type-C, weather-sealing, and a 3-inch tilting touchscreen.

But it’s the high-ISO performance that Yuryev wanted to check out. He shot footage of himself with each of the 4 cameras at ISO values ranging from 1600 to 51200. At ISO 6400, the a7 III is “insanely clean”, a little noise is creeping into the a7R III, and the GH5 has become unusable.

At ISO 12800, the a7 III is “still ridiculously clean.” The a7R III is “usable,” and the GH5 has fallen apart by this point.

Taking ISO even higher, Yuryev was surprised to find that the a7 III is (slightly) cleaner at 51200 than the a7R III is at 25600.

“Wow… so we have at least a stop of low-light performance improvement over the a7R III,” Yuryev says. “And the a7R III is not a slouch. Everybody was really quite impressed with that camera just a few months ago when it launched.”

What this test’s finding boils down to is that Sony’s new cheapest full-frame camera has become one of the top performers in low-light performance (perhaps just behind the a7S II).