Eric L. Woods

NYC: Harlem Portraits, Washington Square Candids, and more thoughts on the Sony A7III.

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Have recently been reminded (again) that latest and greatest is not required. Also the tip top specs available are often not needed either. Everything I currently use either came out years ago or does not top the range offered by the manufacturer.

Along this line of thought I recently wrote about how a favorite lens performed so well on a recent trip to NYC.

But as important as if not more so is the camera. And in this case that camera would be a favorite of mine, the A7III. Have written about this camera several times. Impressed by the specs I bought one immediately when it came out. Aside from one user error driven visit to spa it has not had a single issue. The last time I reviewed it was in 2019.

While the A7c has taken over day to day shooting this is still the camera I reach for when things become a bit more formal. The whys of that are laid out in full in this post.

But to summarize the A7c is equally matched mostly, and even surpasses the A7III in a couple of areas especially where video is concerned. But for stills the A7III pulls a bit ahead, especially for portraits.

  • The larger grip is welcome here.
Sony A7c and A7III
  • The larger viewfiinder is welcome here.
Sony A7c and A7III
  • The 1/8000s mechanical shutter is welcome, especially when HSS will be used.
  • The second card slot is welcome when you really do not want to lose the shot.
A7iii - A7Compare

There is also the fact that I have owned this camera longer than I have owned any digital camera. I know it like the back of my hand. It also has the distinction of being the only camera I have owned that I have never seriously considered trading. Have been tempted occasionally. Even directly compared it to newer and higher MP full frame Sony cameras. But each time I stick with the A7III. It has survived the release of quite a few newer Sony A7 models now. And even with the inevitable A7IV release ahead I struggle to think of any feature that would motivate me to upgrade.

This was confirmed on a recent NYC photo walk covering Harlem…

Yours truly on the left.

…and Washington Square.

GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
Photo by me.

And as usual the A7III did just fine. I could not ask any more of a camera.

Broad daylight portraits with HSS flash and a 28-75mm f/2.8 zoom.

GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
Wes -75mm
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK

Broad daylight portraits with HSS flash and a 75mm f/1.8 prime.

GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK

Broad daylight available light portraits with 75mm f/1.8 prime.

GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK

Environment shots in Harlem.

GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK

Washington Square street shots.

GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
Water resistance paid dividends here where the camera was covered in spray with no ill results.
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK
GORDON PARKS PHOTOGRAPHERS COLLECTIVE HARLEM AND SOHO-VILLAGE PHOTO WALK

Here are some other shots taken during my recent visit to NYC with the A7III.

Co-Op City
NYC
NYC
NYC
NYC
NYC
NYC

Conclusion.

I read a lot about the decline of digital camera sales. Many attribute it to phone cameras eating into sales. This may be true, but as much as I appreciate how good the camera is on my phone it would never stop me from buying a dedicated camera. After how well this camera performed on this recent trip I started wondering if there may be another reason. When I first got into digital interchangeable lens cameras a few years ago each subsequent camera release brought updates that addressed actual, functional limitations of the models before them. Better battery life. Added an EVF. Improved AF and so on. But I wonder if digital cameras hit some sort of practical tipping point a couple of years ago. As far as full frame DSLRs go I cannot think of any reason I would upgrade from the Pentax K-1 (April 2016 release).

Pentax K-1
One of the first pics uploaded taken 5/26/2016.

As far as full frame mirrorless cameras go I cannot think of any reason I would upgrade from the Sony A7III (April 2018 release).

Sony A7iii
First pic uploaded taken 4/12/2018.

I neglected to mention this earlier, but AF is so rock solid with the A7III and beyond that it does not even come to mind. Eye AF for stills works phenomenally as is a surprise to no one. It just works.

But it is not just these two cameras. Just about every camera brand has released a model that would make one question an upgrade by now. Let us not forget that there is also a strong used camera market now. Websites like KEH (Full disclosure. Wrote for KEH for 2 years, but I am no longer on the payroll. They moved on to bigger fish and all that. Still a great site.) are emerging as CarMax like alternatives to the new camera market. So… maybe instead of using their camera phone they are just using the camera already in their bag, or picking up an older model on the used market?

Final thoughts.

What started as praise for a certain camera ended up being a lesson in good enough. Despite the breathless press releases and barrage of reviews and youtube videos all you need may be in your camera bag right now or on the used market after others trade for the latest and greatest. Good times.

-ELW

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