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Sony have released the brand new firmware 3.0 for the A7 III and the A7R III and while that may not sound overly exciting; this is a big update with a lot to get excited about.
There’s three main headline features in firmware 3.0; a new built in intervalometer to create timelapses, improved real time Eye AF Tracking and the much talked about Animal Eye AF which allows you to take the already impressive eye autofocus and apply it to dogs and cats.
Something that I have personally been very excited for is the addition of the built in intervalometer. It’s very easy to set up and while it’s not overly extensive in terms of options, it’s everything that you need to create fantastic timelapses.
|The interval shooting user interface is incredibly easy to use|
The interface is easy to use, essentially allowing you to change your shooting interval (time between shots) and how many shots you want to take, up to 9,999. It also shows you exactly how long you’re going to be sitting there while the camera is taking photos which is a nice touch.
You’ve also got a couple of extras like the ability to set exposure tracking levels if you’re shooting something like sunset into night and the ability to turn on the silent shutter so you don’t wear out the mechanical shutter.
|The built in intervalometer makes it easy to capture fantastic timelapses|
You can’t stitch it all together in camera so you need to take the photos and do it on the computer at home but to be honest, that’s the way I would always want to do it anyway as it allows the most control so for me, that’s not an inconvenience and the timelapses that I’ve been able to capture have been fantastic.
Probably the least exciting of the three big features is the improved real time eye AF tracking, but with that said, it could be something that really affects the way you shoot.
Once activated in the menus, the eye AF will now activate via a half press of the shutter rather than via a custom button and it’s able to do a much better job of tracking the eye even if it becomes a little obscured by hair or if your model turns around.
|The new and improved real time Eye AF tracking tracks the eye around the frame
but has the fallback of face tracking and general subject tracking
On top of that it also has better fallback to general subject tracking if it does lose the eye. It will automatically fall back to face tracking and then subject tracking so even if your subject turns around, you’re still able to track them through the frame and pick their eye up again once the camera can see it.
It’s a fantastic upgrade that might not be as exciting as the others but it’s a great quality of life upgrade.
This is a feature that everyone has been excited for and it’s finally here. Once you’ve activated it in the menu and switched from human to animal eye tracking, it works in much the same way as the eye AF.
You don’t have to use a custom button, it will activate with the half press of the shutter and I was particularly impressed with how it was able to pick up my dogs eye almost immediately. I had concerns that it might not work as my dog has quite a lot of hair around his eyes but it picked them up and tracked them as he moved his head around the frame.
|The Animal Eye AF tracks the eyes even in shadow|
At the moment, this is designed to work for cats and dogs but some people have had good experiences with other animals and Sony say that they are working on making it work for other animals as well.
|The new Animal Eye AF|
When you consider how many different shaped faces, the variety of eyes and different amounts of hair in front of eyes, it’s incredible that this works at all let alone as well as it does.
You can download the new firmware update for yourself from Sonys website here:
Windows - https://www.sony.com/electronics/support/e-mount-body-ilce-7-series/ilce-7m3/downloads/00015992
Mac - https://www.sony.com/electronics/support/e-mount-body-ilce-7-series/ilce-7m3/downloads/00015993
It’s incredibly easy to install onto the camera and requires only a usb connection from the camera to the computer and a few clicks. The instructions are very clear and straightforward.
You can watch more about our impressions with the new firmware update for
By Park Cameras on 29/04/2019
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