29 July 2020 06:39
When Sony announced the a7S III, I got excited because it could be my perfect hybrid camera. After five years of waiting, Sony has officially unveiled the latest entry to its A7S full-frame mirrorless camera line with the brand new Sony A7S III. True to what was promised by company vice president Kenji Tanaka previously in an interview with DPReview, the device offers improved features and 4K recording at high frame rates. The Sony A7S III comes equipped with a 12MP BSI CMOS sensor paired with a new BIONZ XR processor, and has a native ISO range of 80 – 102,400. Thanks to its fast redout speeds, the camera can also record 16-bit ProRes RAW video over HDMI at up to 4K at 60p.
Other than that, the A7S III features in-body image stabilisation (IBIS) system which offers gimbal-like stabilisation for photo and video capture. The camera is the first in the series that comes with phase-detect autofocus that is capable of 759 phase-detection and 425 contrast-detection points, with 92-percent coverage of the image sensor. According to Sony, it also boasts a maximum continuous shooting speed of 10fps for over 1,000 consecutive uncompressed RAW images with full AF/AE tracking. Additionally, it also features a 9.44M-dot OLED Electronic Viewfinder (EVF), dual hybrid card slots that supports UHS-II SD cards or CFExpress Type A, and a rechargeable 2280mAh battery. Sony Malaysia has confirmed that the camera will arrive locally in October, but its pricing has yet to be announced.
Both slots accept either UHS-II SD memory cards or the new CFexpress Type A cards for higher recording speeds. Sony a7S III – Video Recording Modes The Sony a7S III offers 4K and FHD recording modes in either XAVC-S/XAVC-HS (Long GOP, interframe) compression or XAVC S-I (All-Intra, intraframe) mode. The truth is that there is currently no external recorder that could take advantage of the 16-bit RAW over HDMI, but it makes the camera even more future-proof. Yann told us that Sony decided to prioritize other features over internal RAW recording and so that's why RAW is only available externally. I don't think many people will buy the a7S III as a primary stills camera, but it can, of course, shoot RAW photos.
As you'd expect given the years since the arrival of the Sony A7S II, the A7S III brings a number of improvements. To help, we've boiled down the main differences between the two video-focused cameras, so you can decide if the A7S III has made the right improvements for you, or if the A7S II might now become the better value option for your filmmaking projects. Both cameras have a 12MP full-frame sensor, but the Sony A7S III has a new backlit-illuminated chip with readout speeds that are twice as fast as its predecessor. This brings improvements to both the A7S III's performance as high ISOs and its handling of issues like rolling shutter, which can skew objects when you pan the camera quickly and was a slight issue on the A7S II. Unlike the new Canon EOS R5 and EOS R6, the A7S III can record 4K/60p video continuously for well over half an hour – or even up to an hour, if your card and battery can handle it. Beyond this improved dynamic range, the Sony A7S III also includes a number of upgrades to satisfy pro video expectations in 2020. When shooting internally without an external recorder, the A7S II is limited to 8-bit video and 4:2:0 sampling, which can produce slightly rougher gradients or 'banding' areas like the sky. Another bonus on the A7S III are its new codecs, with XAVC-S-I supporting bit-rates of up to 500Mbps, and XAVC-HS supporting high frame-rate modes like 4K/100p at 200Mbps. The reason this is a slightly surprise upgrade is because an EVF is generally more of a priority for stills shooters, and the A7S III is very much a video-first camera. Image 1 of 2 The Sony A7S III has a new fully articulating touchscreen... A fully articulating screen like the one of the A7S III is really the gold standard for video shooting (albeit a divisive one for stills shooters), and it's about time we saw one on an A7-series camera. Sony has strangely lagged behind the likes of Canon when it comes to touchscreen interfaces on its cameras, so it's great to finally see it addressed with the A7S III's new touch UI. One of the biggest differences between the Sony A7S III and A7S II is battery life, with Sony's new video flagship getting a significant upgrade thanks to the inclusion of its Z battery. Currently available in higher-end Sony cameras like the Sony A9, Sony A7R IV, Sony A6600, the Z battery provides a big boost for both stills and video shooting times. According to Sony's test figures, it improves the A7S III's stamina by 60% compared to the A7S II, with 95 minutes of video recording via the LCD (compared to 60 minutes on the A7S II) and 600 shots per charge (up from 370 frames on its predecessor). While both the A7S III and A7S II are predominantly video cameras, they can also shoot excellent stills, albeit at a relatively low 12MP resolution. Thanks to its new Bionz XR processor, the A7S III brings a few upgrades on this front, including 10fps burst shooting (with autofocus and auto-exposure), which is double the rate of the A7S II's somewhat modest 5fps maximum. For example, the A7S III's maximum buffer when burst shooting is only available with CFexpress Type A cards. Naturally, all of the Sony A7S III's improvements come at a significant cost –$3,499.99 / £3,800 / AU$5,999 for the camera body only, to be precise.