This blog entry is the third and final review on the Sony a7 III with the MC-11 adapter.  Read to the conclusion for a surprise ending.

The testing continued on the a7 III by taking the camera to the Greensboro Science Center in Greensboro, NC.  The local chapter of the CNPA (Carolina Nature Photographers Association) had an outing at this location, so why not end the testing at this location and later shooting songbirds.

Without a doubt this series, with the exception of the Canon 7D Mark II, has been the largest review on gear I have ever undertaken.  Thousands of images, hours of post processing, and wading through all my logical as well as illogical conclusions were all part of the process.  

Arriving at the Greensboro Science Center, we had a brief time of socializing in front of the building and then we were whisked off by our guides to photograph the animals.  The Science Center is not a huge facility, but they do have some interesting animals that you might not find in other locations.  One animal they have is the maned wolf.  This wolf is a solitary wolf found in South America.  He eats small rodents and even vegetation as part of his diet.  They are also in a large enclosure which means I can test different modes and techniques without my subject running off.

I started out photographing this animal using the single point expand autofocus option with lock-on, just as I had before.  However, I noticed that with the maned wolf, the autofocus wanted to grab focus on the nose of the wolf.  It is important that you use a single point when photographing animals with long noses.  This is how I would have photographed them when using my Canon 7D II, but I wanted to see just how smart the camera was.  Note that according to Sigma customer service, animal eye detect is not fully supported with the MC-11.  Just with any camera, it really comes down to knowing which autofocus mode to use for a given situation.  Below is an image I took of the maned wolf.

Maned Wolf - Sony a7 II, Sigma 150-600C, MC-11, 600 mm, ISO 2000, 1/200th
Here, lock-on mode worked.  I think mainly this was due to the eye being more prominent and easy for the lock on to follow. The nose being off to the left slightly also helped.

A few days later, I was back to photographing songbirds and that is where I will end the testing.  By now in the testing, I was really getting the hang of all the button locations and quirks of using the Sony.  Below is an image of a mourning dove using single point expand without lock-on.

Mourning Dove Before a Storm - Sony a7 III, Sigma 150-600C, 600 mm, ISO 1600, 1/400th

So, I hope this testing was helpful to you in some way.  I can tell you, that for me, it was fun and interesting to test out this fairly new beast, but I still have one question to answer.  Would I keep it? Wow, that is is a big question isn't it, and the answer for me was not an obvious one.  I wish I had a clear answer on it based on the testing, but one day I would say I was keeping it and the next day I wanted to return it.  

In the end, I had to look at my findings from a completely logical perspective. I couldn't base a decision on emotion or some reviewer online. So, in the end I decided to keep it and here is why:

  1. Canon offers no full frame camera at this price point with so many features, period!
  2. I can adequately use my Sigma 150-600mm lens via the MC-11.  It isn't perfect, but it will work good enough
  3. Focus peaking is a feature I will use all the time
  4. Great image quality, but not amazing
  5. 4K Video - I find myself dabbling in this more every day
  6. In body image stabilization
  7. Lock-on mode is awesome for moving subjects
  8. Animal eye detect with Sony lenses
  9. Silent shutter (do I need to say why I like this)
  10. Great low light performance

Is it as great as people say it is online?  No, it isn't.  Is it better than anything else at this price point?  Yes, it is and that is the bottom line isn't it?  If money was no object, I would have an a9 or a Canon 1DX Mark II.  It comes down to a personal decision based on what your needs are.  I have my own needs, just as you do.  I needed a full frame camera that can fill in the gaps in the Canon 7D Mark II.  It needed to have great low light performance at the least, since my Canon does not.

It is also important to note that I have no plans to abandon my Canon gear.  I have a great deal of time and money tied up in Canon products and I still think the Canon 7D Mark II has great image quality and the fact it is APS-C gives me the extra reach I need in many situations.  For the situations that my 7D II can't handle, I get out the Sony.  It is really that simple!  Even if I were to switch completely to Sony it would be at least two years until that happens.  My experiences with this camera will help mold that decision.

Again, I hope you enjoyed this series on the Sony a7 III.  Now, get out there and enjoy nature.