Cameras

Sony a7s III Review

The long-awaited Sony A7S III has finally been out; boy does it not disappoint. It is the best hybrid video camera that money can buy because of significant advancements in handling and connection, a razor-sharp viewfinder, and, of course, very low-light performance across both video and stills. It’s one of the most excellent video cameras and one of the best cameras for YouTube that you can get right now.

The body of only A7S III costs $3,498 in the United States, which translates to £3,800 in the United Kingdom and AU$ 5,999 in Australia. It is a best-in-class, low-light 4K video camera thanks to a long-awaited 12.1MP back-illuminated full-frame sensor. It also features a new Bionz XR processor with 8x faster performance and an expandable ISO of 40-409,600. Additionally, the specs impress with a class-leading 15 stops of dynamic range.

The A7S III features a completely articulating screen, which is one of the many other highlights of the show. Sony only initially hinted at this on the ZV-1, but it has now been fully implemented on an A7-series camera.

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The fact that Sony has finally chosen a complete touch user interface makes interacting with the camera much more intuitive, maybe an even larger deal for Sony fans who have been dissatisfied in the past.

Sony a7s III Features

Adding a screen that can be fully articulated is one of the most significant new features introduced by the A7S II. The function was first hinted at on the Sony ZV-1, but it has now finally been implemented on an A7-series camera and couldn’t have arrived any sooner.

The departures from custom to our great good fortune do not end there. The fact that Sony has finally chosen to implement a complete touch user interface, which works wonderfully, is likely to be of more significance to long-time fans of the firm and reviewers.

Other impressive flourishes can be found as you work your ways around the camera’s body, such as a full-sized HDMI port and a dedicated record button on the top plate. These design and ergonomic changes are coupled with these other impressive flourishes to create a beautiful and comfortable camera.

Sony a7s III Build Quality

The Sony A7S III is a sturdy piece of equipment despite its relatively small size. You might be excused for missing exactly how much of a revamp this will be based on first impressions, considering that the body structure is identical to that of the A7S II.

To begin, one of the custom buttons above the grip has been replaced with a vast record button. This change helps establish that this camera focuses significantly on video recording.

On top of the grip, where the control wheel used to be, there is now an on/off switch, a C2 button, and dials for setting the mode and exposure (both of which can be locked).

Even though the A7S III does not have an official weather-sealing certification, Sony has informed us that it can withstand light rain. The ports are protected by rubberized coverings and are located on the camera’s left side when it is held with the lens facing the front.

Sony a7s III Performance

When you first start using the Sony A7S III, one of the things that will stand out to you is how well it works in dim lighting. Increasing the ISO is not a challenging experience; it is pretty rewarding because the camera can handle high sensitivity in a mind-bogglingly excellent manner.

The low-light capabilities of the A7S III make perfect sense. Sony has developed a 12.1-megapixel sensor that features enormous pixels dispersed throughout the full-frame, 35mm surface area.

On paper, these specifications aren’t new. Still, with double, the readout rates of the A7S II’s sensor, a back-illuminated structure that can consume more light, and a new Bionz XR processor powering things along, the improvement in low-light performance shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Sony a7s III Image & Video Quality

Moving on to the image quality, we put the Sony camera through a head-to-head competition with a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K by shooting at ISO 16,000, f/2.8, and 25 frames per second in 4K resolution.

The Blackmagic looks to have exposed the scene a little better than the A7S III, but there is no debate on how well the A7S III handles noise; it is the apparent winner.

If you are unfamiliar with the Pocket Cinema Camera 4K, its low-light handling is well acclaimed because of its dual-native ISO. Additionally, it comes with an inexpensive price tag, costing less than a third of what the A7S III does.

That being said, the A7S III is head and shoulders above the Pocket Cinema Camera, capturing practically no discernible picture noise even though the film was shot in the dead of night. In contrast, the Pocket Cinema Camera records granular material that is entirely worthless.

Although the film used for comparison was captured with a tripod, the majority of our time with the A7S III was spent taking handheld video in lighting conditions that were more or less average. The Sony A7S III is a freeing camera since its ISO settings range from 2000 to 4000, and the images appear more like they were captured at ISO 200 to 400.

Even when we increased the ISO to more than 40,000, the results were still usable for certain kinds of video, which opened up a new world of opportunities for capturing content in difficult lighting conditions. For instance, fireworks, candlelight, and wildlife photography at dusk are all examples of challenging lighting conditions.

Sony a7s III Specs

Body typeSLR-style mirrorless
Body materialMagnesium alloy
Sensor
Max resolution4240 x 2832
Image ratio w:h1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels12 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors13 megapixels
Sensor sizeFull frame (35.6 x 23.8 mm)
Sensor typeBSI-CMOS
ProcessorBionz XR
Color spacesRGB, Adobe RGB, BT.2020
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
Image
ISOAuto, 80-102400 (expands to 40-409600)
Boosted ISO (minimum)40
Boosted ISO (maximum)409600
White balance presets7
Custom white balanceYes
Image stabilizationSensor-shift
Image stabilization notes5-axis
CIPA image stabilization rating5.5 stop(s)
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsExtra fine, fine, normal
File formatJPEG (Exif v2.32)HEIFRaw (ARW 4.0)
Optics & Focus
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View
Autofocus assist lampYes
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points759
Lens mountSony E
Focal length multiplier
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDFully articulated
Screen size3″
Screen dots1,440,000
Touch screenYes
Screen typeTFT LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeElectronic
Viewfinder coverage100%
Viewfinder magnification0.91×
Viewfinder resolution9,440,000
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed30 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/8000 sec
Exposure modesProgramAperture priorityShutter priorityManual
Built-in flashNo
External flashYes (Multi-interface shoe)
Flash X sync speed1/250 sec
Drive modesSingleContinuousSelf-timerBracketing (AE/WB/DRO)
Continuous drive10.0 fps
Self-timerYes
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedHighlight-weightedAverageSpot
Exposure compensation±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±5 (3, 5 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)
WB BracketingYes
Videography features
FormatMPEG-4, XAVC S, XAVC HS, XAVC S-I, H.264, H.265
Modes3840 x 2160 @ 120p / 280 Mbps, XAVC HS, MP4, H.265, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 100p / 280 Mbps, XAVC HS, MP4, H.265, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 60p / 200 Mbps, XAVC HS, MP4, H.265, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 50p / 200 Mbps, XAVC HS, MP4, H.265, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 140 Mbps, XAVC HS, MP4, H.265, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 25p / 140 Mbps, XAVC HS, MP4, H.265, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 24p / 100 Mbps, XAVC HS, MP4, H.265, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 60p / 600 Mbps, XAVC S-I, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 50p / 500 Mbps, XAVC S-I, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 300 Mbps, XAVC S-I, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 25p / 250 Mbps, XAVC S-I, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 24p / 240 Mbps, XAVC S-I, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 120p / 280 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 100p / 280 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 60p / 200 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 50p / 200 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 140 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 25p / 140 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 24p / 100 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 222 Mbps, XAVC S-I, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 50p / 185 Mbps, XAVC S-I, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 30p / 111 Mbps, XAVC S-I, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 25p / 93 Mbps, XAVC S-I, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 24p / 89 Mbps, XAVC S-I, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 120p / 100 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 100p / 100 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 50 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 50p / 50 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 25p / 50 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 24p / 50 Mbps, XAVC S, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM
MicrophoneStereo
SpeakerMono
Storage
Storage typesDual UHS-II SD/CFexpress Type A slots
Connectivity
USBUSB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 GBit/sec)
USB chargingYes (USB PD supported)
HDMIYes (Standard)
Microphone portYes
Headphone portYes
WirelessBuilt-In
Wireless notes802.11ac (dual band) + Bluetooth
Remote controlYes (wireless or smartphone)
Physical
Environmentally sealedYes
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionNP-FZ100 lithium-ion battery charger
Battery Life (CIPA)600
Weight (inc. batteries)699 g (1.54 lb / 24.66 oz)
Dimensions129 x 97 x 81 mm (5.08 x 3.82 x 3.19″)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
GPSNone

Sony a7s III Verdict

Sony has not simply upgraded one or two parts of its A7S series; instead, with the new A7S III, it has made a set of enhancements that cover every area of the camera, resulting in a device that is superior to other cameras in its category.

It handles video playback well because of its articulating screen and touches the display. Additionally, it features a full-sized HDMI connector and outstanding IBIS, which are at the top of the list of additional bonuses. It is quite a little more expensive than the A7S II when it first came out, but if you are a filmmaker who needs large physical pixels and outstanding performance in low light, this is the best option.

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