Sony announces the A7S III-Initial Review

Sony announces the A7S III-Initial Review
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Sony has officially announced the A7S III, their video-centric iteration of the A7 Series of cameras. With impressive video performance expected from this camera, Sony users expect a lot from this camera and Sony does deliver on most of it.

Sony A7S III product photos leak ahead of tomorrow's announcement ...
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Let us take a look at some of the specifications,

  • 12MP BSI CMOS sensor
  • Bionz XR processor
  • On-sensor phase detection
  • ISO 80-102,400 (expandable to 40-409,600)
  • 9.44M dot EVF with 0.91x magnification (Do we really need it?)
  • 4K video at up to 120p, 60p for ‘at least an hour’
  • 16-bit Raw video output at up to 60p
  • 10-bit 4:2:2 internal capture (in codecs including H.265 and All-I H.264)
  • Fully articulating LCD (Thank You Sony)
  • 5-axis in-body stabilization with Steady shot active mode
  • Twin card slots that each accept either SD or CFexpress Type A

The Sony A7S III can capture UHD 4K at 60p and native 4K up to 120p in 10-bit 4:2:2 encoding and 16-bit raw output. Retailing at around $3500 US, the Sony is placed well price-wise against the Lumix DC-S1H, its closest competitor.

Let us take a look at this highly anticipated camera in detail,

With a 12MP BSI CMOS sensor, the Sony A7S III has fast readout speeds designed to reduce rolling shutter and deliver excellent native 4K video output. The camera completely overlooks fancy 8K capture and is rather designed to deliver consistent 4K capture with a high bitrate. Although the A7S III will be a great stills camera, it is designed with video in mind. 

The sensor is updated, albeit with the same resolution. It is a BSI sensor and low light performance is impressive as before. With a base ISO of 80, the A7S III could have excellent DR. The Camera is the first to receive the Bionz XR dual chip processor, designed to separate image and video processing from file management duties, thereby reducing latency and improve response & processing times in a big way.

The Sony A7S III is the first if the A7S series to have on-sensor phase-detection elements. The A7S III has Sony’s latest AF system and will show a marked improvement in face detection along with Eye detect. Animal Eye detect is missing in video mode, however. The camera also has an external dedicated white balance sensor on the front. This should avoid any unpredictable white balance shifts during video capture.

The Sony A7S III is loaded with video compression options. The A7S III gains 10-bit 4:2:2 XAVC S encoding along with XAVC HS. 

4K Video options

Frame ratesBit-depth/ chromaChroma sub-samplingBitrate
(Mbps)
XAVC HS
(H.265)
  • 120p
10-bit4:2:2
  • 280
4:2:0
  • 200
  • 60p
4:2:2
  • 200
  • 100
4:2:0
  • 150
  • 75
  • 45
  • 24p
4:2:2
  • 100
  • 50
4:2:0
  • 100
  • 50
  • 30
XAVC S
(H.264)
  • 120p
10-bit4:2:2
  • 280
8-bit4:2:0
  • 200
  • 60p
10-bit4:2:2
  • 200
8-bit4:2:0
  • 150
  • 30p
  • 24p
10-bit4:2:2
  • 140
8-bit4:2:0
  • 100
  • 60
XAVC S-I
(All-I H.264)
  • 60p
10-bit4:2:2
  • 600
  • 30p
  • 300
  • 24p
  • 240

1080p Video Options

 Frame ratesBit-depth/ chromaChroma sub-samplingBitrate
(Mbps)
XAVC S
(H.264)
  • 120p
8-bit4:2:0
  • 100
  • 60
  • 60p
10-bit4:2:2
  • 50
8-bit4:2:0
  • 50
  • 25
  • 30p
10-bit4:2:2
  • 50
8-bit4:2:0
  • 50
  • 16
  • 24p
10-bit4:2:2
  • 50
8-bit4:2:0
  • 50
XAVC S-I
(All-I H.264)
  • 60p
10-bit4:2:2
  • 222
  • 30p
  • 111
  • 24p
  • 89

The Sony promises 16-bit video output to external recorders. This could be due to the large pixels, each of which captures some much information that it will require 16-bit encoding to fully encode the tonal range. 

The Sony A7S III stores unique settings for stills and video, making it easier to switch between both. The A7S III has the ability to record 4 channel audio, although while using an external XLR-K3M adapter. 

The Sony A7S III uses a brand new 9.44m dot OLED EVF, the finest of its kind currently available on any camera. Despite the high resolution, the EVF can run up to 120 fps. The viewfinder also has a 0.91x mag which makes it quite large and easy to use even with glasses on. 

The Sony A7S III has a fully articulating screen and supports touch to interact with the new, easier to use menu. 

The A7S III is actually the first Sony camera to have the steady shot active mode in addition to its inbuilt IBIS system. Although the system adds a 1.13x crop, it greatly allows the mechanical IBIS to more effectively counteract intense movement like running while shooting.

The camera also has a full-sized HDMI connecter which is much more durable than the micro HDMI ports which tend to lose connectivity when touched. 

Finally, the A7S III has the16.4Wh NP-FZ100 battery. This is rated at 600 shots per charge and 510 using the EVF. The USB-C port allows the device to be charged or powered, which is a bit of a letdown.

So far the A7S III is looking to be a winner on the video front, with Sony delivering as promised and not integrating features generally found on larger devices (Looking at you Canon). We will update you as we look at the device in-depth and review it further.

 

 

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