After years of speculation the waiting is over, Sony has finally announced the replacement to the A7S II, the Sony A7S III.
While the Canon EOS R5 makes the huge leap to 8K video capability, Sony has played it a bit safer with the aim of producing the best 4K video from any Sony camera to date.
Although Sony has stuck with the same resolution as the A7S and A7S II, the A7S III has a new full-frame 12.1Mp BSI CMOS sensor combined with a new Bionz XR processing engine. This combination is said to bring three main benefits, improved low-light performance, 15+ EV dynamic range for video shot in S-Log3 at low ISO settings and reduced rolling shutter effect.
The Sony A7S III has a native sensitivity range of ISO 80-102,400 and this can be expanded to ISO 40-409,600. The base ISO for S-Log video has been reduced to ISO 640 with an expansion setting taking it down to ISO 160.
Although the Sony A7S III has low-light stills-shooting credentials, its primary focus is video. It can shoot 4K footage at up 120fps and 1080p at 240fps with full-sensor readout no pixel-binning.
There’s also 10-bit colour depth and 4:2:2 colour sampling available in all recording formats and bitrates up to 600mbps.
Sony has been working on the video codecs and the A7S III features XAVC S-I 4K (All-Intra), XAVC HS 4K (Long GOP) and XAVC S 4K (Long GOP) format.
In S&Q (Slow and Quick) mode the A7S III can shoot at 100/50/25/12/6/3/2/1fps at 25p (4x slow-mo)/50p and 10bit 4:2:2 250Mbps.
As you’d expect S-Log2 and S-Log3 are available for recording flat grading-ready footage. There’s also a choice of S-Gamut3 and S-Gamut3.Cine gamuts.
Meanwhile, those who don’t want to grade their video have a choice of 10 colour profiles and control over 8 image parameters: saturation, contrast, shadow, highlight, fade, sharpness, sharpness range and clarity.
Screen and Viewfinder
One of the hottest requests for the new camera was a vari-angle screen, and after resisting for years, the Sony A7S III is the first A7-series camera to feature a fully articulating screen. It’s also touch-sensitive and allows greater touch-control than previous Sony A7 cameras.
In another first, the Sony A7S III is the first camera to feature a 9million-dot OLED viewfinder. That’s a huge hike in resolution. It’s also a 0.64-inch type which is bigger than the 0.5-inch units we usually see.
Sony has given the A7S III a hybrid AF system with 759 phase-detection points that cover 92% of the sensor and 425 contrast-detection points.
There’s also Real-time Eye AF that’s claimed to be 30% better than in previous cameras. It can be set to detect human or animals eyes and it operates in both stills and video mode.
The AF system is said to be sensitive down to -6EV.
Videographers will also appreciate that theA7S III has seven adjustment steps for AF for transition speed and there are five adjustments steps for the AF subject shift sensitivity.
Dual Card Ports
Sony has given the A7S III two card ports and both are compatible with SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-II cards and CFexpress Type A cards. CFexpress Type A cards are required to enable S&Q shooting in XAVC S-I 4K (All-I), everything else only requires an SD-type card, in some cases up to V90 speed.
The A7S III uses the Sony NP-FZ100 rechargeable battery which gives around 60% longer life than the A7S II’s battery. It enables up to 95 minutes of video to be recorded and around 600 images to be captured (when the LCD is used).
It’s also possible to charge the battery or power the camera via a USB-C connection.
- Camera type: Full-frame mirrorless
- Announced: 28th July 2020
- Sensor: Full-frame 12.1Mp BSI CMOS
- Processing engine: Bionz XR
- Sensitivity: Video: ISO 80-102,400 expandable ISO 40-409,600. ISO base in S-Log is ISO 640 but it can be expanded down to ISO 160. Stills: ISO 80-102,400 expandable 40-409,600
- Autofocus system: Hybrid with 759 phase detection points and 425 contrast detection points, Real Time Eye AF (Human and Animal) for stills and video
- Stabilisation: 5-axis IBIS and digital, up to 5.5EV shutter speed compensation
- Video resolution: 4K at up 120fps and 1080p at 240fps, 10-bit and 4:2:2 colour
- Video file formats: XAVC S, XAVC HS
- Video compression: XAVC S: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, XAVC HS: MPEG-H HEVC/H.265
- 4K Video details: XAVC HS 4K 3840 x 2160 (4:2:0, 10bit, NTSC) (Approx.): 120p (200Mbps), 60p (150Mbps / 75Mbps / 45Mbps), 24p (100Mbps / 50Mbps / 30Mbps); 3840 x 2160 (4:2:0, 10bit, PAL) (Approx.): 100p (200Mbps), 50p (150Mbps / 75Mbps / 45Mbps); 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, NTSC) (Approx.): 120p (280Mbps), 60p (200Mbps / 100Mbps), 24p (100Mbps / 50Mbps); 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, PAL) (Approx.): 100p (280Mbps), 50p (200Mbps / 100Mbps) XAVC S 4K 3840 x 2160 (4:2:0, 8bit, NTSC) (Approx.): 120p (200Mbps), 60p (150Mbps), 30p (100Mbps / 60Mbps), 24p (100Mbps / 60Mbps); 3840 x 2160 (4:2:0, 8bit, PAL) (Approx.): 100p (200Mbps), 50p (150Mbps), 25p (100Mbps / 60Mbps); 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, NTSC) (Approx.): 120p (280Mbps), 60p (200Mbps), 30p (140Mbps), 24p (100Mbps); 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, PAL) (Approx.): 100p (280Mbps), 50p (200Mbps), 25p (140Mbps) XAVC S-I 4K 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, NTSC) (Approx.): 60p (600Mbps), 30p (300Mbps), 24p (240Mbps); 3840 x 2160 (4:2:2, 10bit, PAL) (Approx.): 50p (500Mbps), 25p (250Mbps)
- Gamut: S-Log2 and S-Log3, S-Gamut3.Cine and S-Gamut3
- Slow and Quick (S&Q) mode options: NTSC: 1fps,2fps,4fps,8fps,15fps,30fps,60fps,120fps, 240fps4, PAL: 1fps,2fps,3fps,6fps,12fps,25fps,50fps,100fps, 200fps
- Still File formats: Raw, JPG, HEIF
- Screen: 3-inch 1,440,000-dot vari-angle touchscreen
- Viewfinder: 0.64-inch type 9,437,184-dot OLED electronic viewfinder, with refresh rate up to 120fps, adjustable magnification up to 0.9x
- Maximum continuous shooting rate: 10fps with mechanical or electronic shutter for up to 1000 uncompressed raw files when a CFexpress Type 1 card is used
- Storage: Dual: SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-II) and CFexpress Type A
- Dimensions (W x H x D): 128.9 x 96.9 x 80.8mm / 5 1/8 x 3 7/8 x 3 1/4 inches
- Weight: 699g / 1 lb 8.7 oz
Sony A7S III Price and Availability
The Sony A7S III is set to retail for £3,800 / $3,499 / €4,200 and will go on sale in September.