New Sony A7r III Color Processing Is Now Quite Beautiful


I’ve heard rumors the new Sony A7r III has improved the way it handles colors but have never really seen any samples. When the Sony A7rIII arrived it was the first thing I noticed, and wow!

I feel like the colors are somewhere between the look of Nikon and Olympus with very soft and neutral tones. Previous Sony profiles were pretty rough, harsh and digital, especially when shooting in mixed lighting. You almost always had to adjust the colors to get things looking natural, especially when dealing with skin tones where things were a bit pink with notes of harsh yellows. This has all been improved and overall feels like the camera is now smarter when trying rendering accurate colors. There is still something about the yellows that scream Sony to me with the Standard profile, but at least my daughter doesn’t look like the Simpsons anymore and the colors all around feel more natural.

As a side note, Fujifilm in the past has mentioned that as they get faster processors they can add new color profiles and improve the way colors work. I’m sure the same is true with Sony and it would seem the in-camera color engine is more than just a preset of colors but actually fairly processor intensive task. I think we could benefit even further here from some new profiles, but this is a great first step.



So for the first time, the new Sony colors are actually very usable right out of the can. Or am I just losing my mind and suffering from new toy syndrome? You tell me, which is why I’ve posted a ton of samples from very complicated lighting situations that would have sent the Sony A7rII in a tail spin.

In my case, I really think new toy syndrome with this camera is very unlikely because I’m usually very critical of Sony cameras and am a borderline troll. I was actually so fed up with the Sony A7rII with its terrible battery life, ugly colors, and god awful buffer that I was ready to jump ship to Nikon. But I’m glad I didn’t, I feel like Nikons are really only designed for old people anymore, with their circa 1988 UI menu system and that weird mirror flappy thingy, both of which always bug me. This new UI in the Sony A7r III is absolutely great, it’s just like the A6500 which I also lovd. So I’m back on the Sony train baby and it feels great!



I also noticed the Sony A7r III handles itself a lot better in mixed lighting compared to the A7r II. AWB is still a little slow, but better than before. I still think the Nikons and Canons are still a touch better in the AWB department.



Some of these samples may look a little extra pastel but that’s kind of the way I adjust the tones in Lightroom. I spiking the whites while lowering exposure and highlights. It tends to strip the harshness out of the highlights which makes the colors look very rich. Then with curves I usually do an S-Curve and sometimes lift the blacks and bring down the highlights just slightly.

I still wouldn’t mind if the profiles were slightly adjusted to give better color harmony, but I can live with this.



Now that Sony has proven they can make a really nice camera with usable colors, all that’s left to do is to stop trying to sell us a P.O.S., that means piece of shit, $300+ vertical grip and they’ll be a real camera company. I guess Sony has Fisher Price still making some of their accessories, at least they’re not making their cameras anymore. 🙂 Well maybe, I did loose my eyecup the first day using this camera. Can these things just be permanently attached to the camera already? All the cool cameras do it. (I’m just bitter the grip was so expensive, it’s really not that terrible, but no where near the quality of the Fujifilm X-T2 grip.)

Speaking of which, with Fujifilm stealing the mirrorless APS-C show and encroaching on Sony’s mirrorless full frame dominance with their somewhat affordable medium format camera, it’s forcing Sony to step up their game, and it’s looking rather good and only getting better. Now I’m very happy with my current setup; Sony full frame mirrorless and Fujifilm APS-C with Voigtlander Leica M-Mount lenses that work with both systems.



For all these sample images, I shot JPEG, (shhh don’t tell the Fro guy). I did some very basic tonal adjustments (mentioned above), and no color adjustments except for removing some saturation in a few shots and the complete removal of saturation in one of the shots. The lenses I was using were the Zeiss Sonnar 35mm f2.8, and the Sony 50mm f1.8, even though I just got through telling you I use Voigtlander. 

These are all shot in Beverly Hills using the Sony Neutral and Standard color profiles. On no shot did I adjust any white balance, colors or vibrance, just saturation.


Sony A7r III Sample Photos