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Thursday, 12 April 2018


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Mike - never bought a Sony charger but have bought other brands

I have used a variety of cheapo batteries and chargers. They worked well for about three years and were still usable for a while after that. Sony would not sell me extras at those prices.

Mike, I am glad you are looking at the Sony camera but I have to tell that having used a fuji system for several years now, I have decided the time to unload my Nikon is rapidly approaching. With Fuji if I want to execise my Arms I can use a f 2.8 big lens or use one of the beautiful little f2 primes. Both provide terrific images. The big 16-55 is similar to the Sony the Fuji primes are much smaller, and a joy to shoot with. I think I have reached a point in my photography where the gear is not as important as my eye. Fuji just works, I initially purchased it based on your suggestion and reviews and now I am finally happy with my gear. Good luck with the review.

Regarding that charger... 4.4%.

A couple of years ago, I started using Watson chargers. They adapt to almost any camera battery just by switching adapter plates, which typically cost around $2.00. The dual chargers take either one or two batteries at a time (two different battery types if you like, just put the appropriate adapter plates in) and display charge level as a percentage. The dual charger is corded. The single battery charger plugs straight into the wall. The same adapter plates work with both chargers.

Mike, spare a thought for Nikon photographers who have to pay $370 for the MH-26aAK (what do those letters even mean?) charger in order to charge their $150 EN-EL18b batteries that they use in their add-on battery grips, like the $397 MB-D18 for the D850 which also needs a $25 BL-5 battery cover to hold it in the grip. Availability of any of these components can sometimes resemble that of unobtainium too.

Most people end up with an assemblage of clone chargers, batteries, covers, and grips for much less money and better availability. There are technical differences for sure, and some are even important, but I'm not sure most people would notice.

The best thing I've done recently was to get 3rd party chargers that can run off USB: they're not very expensive, and you can charge away from a wall outlet by using a USB powerbank. And of course, the only battery not chargeable by USB because of its higher voltage requirements is ... the Nikon EL-EN18!

The learning curve can be steep and prone to frustration. I have sent you by private email a quick summary of some initial custom button options to seriously improve usability and real world ergonomics.

I'm laughing as I take my M4 out to shoot..no electricity, none.

With an external battery pack from any number of suppliers you can plug in and charge the battery as you walk around and take photos. My Kmashi is 10,000mAh and charges an RX10iii battery in camera in less time than a wall charger. Slip the all purpose battery pack into a jacket pocket and, with a long enough cord you are ready to engage the world....

Funny how all those YouTube Reviewers that were flown out to Vegas to play with dune buggies in the desert and go for helicopter rides never mention that a $2000 camera doesn't include a battery charger.

Regarding the A7III's packaging: I won't tell you then how nicely all the packaging and internal boxes for my new Fujifilm X-H1 w/ Vertical Power Booster Grip kit was organized. What was even nicer is the kit also included *3* batteries, one for the body and two for the grip. Oh, and a battery charger, too. And, a really nice strap! Everything thought-through in typical Fujfilm fashion, ready to go.

Interested to hear what you think of the Sony's infamous menu system. I didn't know it was actually that bad until I saw a video on it. And when I saw that the A7 III's LCD touchscreen does not work as a touch-screen for making menu selections, I was absolutely dumbfounded.

I think the current after-market stuff won't work with the newer (larger) batteries used in the mark 3 model (and the A9). However, I did read this morning there are third-party battery/charger choices coming shortly.

I bought a set of 3rd party batteries for my Olympus. It includes two batteries WITH a charger for $18. I admit it's not top-shelf quality, but it's surprisingly good and the batteries work.

If a company can make a profit selling a charger and two batteries for under $20, you know that the actual cost of the charger is obviously minimal.

For Sony to omit a battery charger on a $2000 camera is an unacceptably cheap move.

The cost of camera batteries is the equivalent ripoff printer manufacturers foist on us when it comes to purchasing ink. Knowing Sony they probably have some kind of chip in their batteries so you can't use after market batteries. I ran into this with a Sony video camera I bought years ago and will never buy Sony again. EVER.

"No charger. It's one of those deals where you get a cable and a USB adapter for charging the battery in-camera. "

And yet . . . Prior cameras I've seen or owned that used that method used micro-USB, and were slow. The USB-C connector has the capacity to deliver more amps. My portable is entirely powered and recharged using a USB-C port. Works fine and seems to charge at least as fast as its predecessor with conventional (old-fashioned) dedicated adapter and plug/socket. (USB-C adds other capabilities, as well.)

See how fast it charges, before assuming the worst. But yes, I agree it's tacky not to include a charger.

" small, white, 'folding 2-pronged outlet adapters', they will insert perfectly into the cord port of this Sony charger, the Fuji X charger, and most other similar devices. "

It's called a duck head, and is available by itself, either used or third party. Also, there are endless iPad and earlier Mac AC adapters about from which the duck heads may be removed.

Add Oly chargers with separate cords to the list of those for which these are perfect.

Another thing useful to know is that those ubiquitous third party chargers that mostly come with third party batteries have a 12v input socket. Some come with a cord, some not. Plug into a 12v source in your vehicle and charge away. As we travel in a small RV, this is perfect for me.

I don't like the wall-wart style, myself; they tend to take up two or even three spaces on the power bar. Very often, places to plug things into power are at a premium in my life. Plus, the cord, the most fragile part, can't be replaced. (Our cats haven't chewed up electric cords much, but friends have had that problem.)

But I do hate in-camera charging, just like I hate in-camera file transferring.

Glad you got your tester! I wanted go FX looked Sony but got D850, Sony menu scared me,I still use myLeica X’s but made the 850 a bucket list, use Tamron 24/70 g2 for my OCOLOY, . Don’t do Street shooting so weight not factor to me, don’t need battery grip, do landscapes and want do Milky Way in Adirondacks later this year so good tripod and head next objective. Enjoy yourself with your prize and really really glad you are back in the trenches.

Its not the battery charger thats important, its the camera.( I did own a Sony for a short while a few years back but I could not really emotionally connect with it.) In my opinion its a very small detail. After shelling out for the camera and a lens or two, a few bucks more for the battery charger is a small expense. By the way, you can buy a small plug, sans cable on Amazon. Its about 3 inches long with one end going in the charger and the other being the plug.

It may have been said already - but buy generic battery charger and batteries and save $$

I figure that you must have been excited when you finally received the camera after the long wait, but maybe you should have used the iPhone to take a series of pictures of the box as the camera and accessories were being unpacked. That way, repacking would be made easier. That’s what the packing engineers were probably thinking when the box was designed: doesn’t everybody do that?

Don't know about the A7 series but my little RX1 works fine while chargiing. I often just plug a longish usb cord into a battery brick in my bag - which i usually carry for phones and tablets and stuff anyway - and happily charge while I carry on.

On second thought, you could probably check out the unboxing of a Sony A7III on YouTube, to see how the packaging goes back together. Finally, a purpose for those unboxing videos!

I agree, no charger is very unclassy. I got my rental A7M3 yesterday from lensrentals.com, charger included. As far as I can tell, it has all the same quirks (irritations?) as the A7RM3. Perhaps I have OCD when it comes to maximizing image quality but there are two settings I want to use frequently: uncompressed raw and silent shooting. The former because of the infrequent issues with Sony's lossy compressed raw; the latter because sometimes I want to be quiet, but also to completely eliminate vibration when shooting bursts. For reasons that have not been explained to me, all bracket shooting modes are disabled if both uncompressed raw and silent shooting are enabled at the same time. The little message that you get on the monitor when you try to select a bracket mode says that it is unavailable because of uncompressed raw, but it's really the combination of uncompressed raw and silent shooting. What really makes this baffling to me is that the camera has no problem ripping off high-speed continuous bursts (no bracketing) of 14-bit uncompressed raw with silent shooting enabled. And the icing on the cake (or salt in the wound) is that it is not possible to assign raw file type to any customizable button or to the Fn menu. You must go into the actual menu system to toggle between compressed and uncompressed raw. At least you can put that function in your My Menu, or whatever it's called.

Sorry for the rant. There are many good things about the camera.

Why did you buy a charger and extra battery for a review camera you won't get to keep? :D

[I did say, "(Or that's what I would have to do, if I were keeping the camera.)" --Mike]

Mike, in 2018 I disagree with you on the charger issue (previously I might have agreed - but not now).

My A7III arrived on the doorstep literally minutes before I left on a trip away for a few days - a trip where I despartately wanted my new treasure. Having the option to charge directly from a USB port with relying on a wall charger meant I could get some ergs into it while driving to the ferry. I could then shoot while loading the car into the ferry, get sunset shots as we pulled away and then plug the camera into the USB in my seat while I slept and arrive in destination with a camera 100% ready to go while never having been near a wall power outlet.

For me I never want a dedicated plug into the wall charger for any portable appliance ever again.

Oh - and between the new battery life and usb charging you dont need a spare battery.

Regarding boxes... Leica boxes are fantastic.

From the B&H website:
Sony A7 III
What's In The Box
NP-FZ100 Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery (2280mAh)
AC Adapter
Micro-USB Cable
ALC-B1EM Body Cap for E-Mount Cameras
Accessory Shoe Cap
Eyepiece Cap
Shoulder Strap
Limited 1-Year Warranty

nowhere does it mention a charger. Instead, a USB-cable and an AC adapter are enclosed. The Art Of Fine Print Reading: This means in-camera charging... Somehow this reminds me of the razor principle: The handle can be obtained at virtually no cost. The blades however will cost you a fortune. Sony tries this out in the camera market. The body is, as you call it, aggressively priced. The accessories however...

I got mine yesterday too and went through a similar thought process charging in-the-body. Is the camera going to work with third party batteries, or there is a secret ID chip in the Sony batteries?

[[all the little cardboard puzzle-pieces fell to bits when I was removing the stuff from the box, and I already know I'm going to be irritated trying to get it all back together.]]

I do not understand the appeal of the "un-boxing video" phenomenon on YouTube. However, that is not to say they are not useful. Turns out, if you turn off the sound, they are handy for figuring out how to re-pack things!

I can't relate to your first issue -- why is a charger needed if the camera only comes with one battery? Charging in camera is useful when traveling and a single battery suffices, don't need to carry a separate charger. With most of my cameras I've been content to have a single battery and I do shoot events from time to time. In any case, a third party charger would most likely be cheaper and work just as well or better than the Sony one, which is really nothing special to begin with. Oh and I prefer cords; the directly pluggable ones often block adjacent outlets, which is annoying.

Don't get me started on Apple and chargers; the plug is easy to change, the cord is a pain to change, it breaks in older models due to bad design and implementation and the chargers are expensive and proprietary. Additionally, Apple changes the computer-side plug every few years. So don't do like Apple, do like most other brands which accept standard plugs.

I'd been using the trick of the removable plug for Apple laptop adapters for some years now. That approach is the most compact when traveling, and works okay, but I've been using these right angle "stub plugs" for the last year so. Not as compact, but they support plugging the battery charger to the wall socket better and more stably.

You can use Mike's B&H affiliate links to order these:

A video of slow-ish and deliberate unpacking of the camera may be helpful in repacking it. If you didn't take one, maybe you can find one on YouTube.

I've got the A7R3 (upgraded from the A7R2) and it's a very good camera for what I do. BTW, the "R" series comes with a battery charger.

I bought the A7R3 before the A7m3 came out ... The A7m3 probably would have been fine for my needs, but the extra pixels and slightly better EVF and LCD come in handy as well.

The menu system is not the best, but they have added a "my menu" option. So you can customise buttons and create a "my menu", so you don't need to dip into the Sony menu too often.

The touch screen only works for moving the focus point and reviewing images. Sony seem hesitant to go "full touchscreen" for some reason.

Mike, why the Sony A7m3? What are you hoping to get out of this camera (versus the rest)?

Speaking of USB-C...I recently bought my first smart phone (!) which came with a USB-C connection. This prompted to to research USB-C and as a slow adopter of new tech, it was news to me. The USB-C shaped connector, USB PD power specification and USB 3.1 standard seem to be the wave of the future for all phone and computer connections.

The physical USB-C connector isn’t backwards compatible, but the underlying USB standard is. You just need a physical adapter with a USB-C connector on one end and a larger, older-style USB port on the other end. Also, just because a device or cable supports USB-C does necessarily mean it also supports USB PD. The conversion to USB-C is gonna be confusing for awhile.

The current state of dirt cheap Android phones ($60) impressed me. The camera features include a dual lens camera (16MP/2 MP & 8MP selfie), face detection, artificial depth of field style effect before and after the shot via the bokeh mode, manual mode, panorama, HDR, portrait, and monocolor modes. The image quality is only acceptable though.

Fujifilm boxes have that Fuji magic.

I saw your comment about no charger and was surprised as I had received one with the A7R3. I went to B&H and low and behold no charger. I will say that I have plugged mine into the wall, even though I own a charger, and it chargers pretty fast. I also bought an extra Watson plug in wall version. I also loved the compact wall plug in style they used to have. They don't even sell it now.

I bought my A7R3 back in December and had not used it much. I just got back from a trip to Madrid and Palermo where I put it though it's paces. I spent the entire day walking around taking photos in excess of about 500 and still had plenty of battery life available. When I had the A7R2, I had a special holder for the 5 batteries I needed for one day. My biggest issue was that I kept turning it off to save battery life like I used to with the Sony A7R2 to save battery life and I would miss shots. Now I just keep it on and had no problems. It may not have come with a battery charger but at least you will save with not buying as many batteries.

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