The first A7S hit stores in 2014, determined to make a big splash. And he got away with it. This professional-purpose, full-frame sensor mirrorless camera has landed determined to redefine the benefits that cameras in video recording have offered us until now, primarily through extended sensitivity of ISO 409600 this made it possible to record images in very little ambient light, while still producing a very low noise level.

Sony was quick to refine its successor. A year later, the Japanese brand launched the A7S II in stores, a camera very similar to its predecessor which, among other improvements, refined its ergonomics, polished the performance of the sensor and the focusing system, introduced the five-axis stabilization system and internal 4K video recording enabled. The almost five years we had to wait to find out that the Alpha 7S III offers us they indicate that Sony has made it easy to introduce improvements in the third version of this camera that really add value. This is what promises us the review of a camera that aspires with absolute clarity to reign in the field of professional video recording, and which, finally, comes with juicy news.

Sony Alpha 7S III: technical specifications

Like its predecessors, the A7S and A7S II models, this camera relies on a moderate-resolution (12.1 megapixel) full-frame Exmor CMOS sensor. Despite its similarity, as we will see in the next section of the article, Sony has made significant improvements to this sensor which, on paper, should allow it to clearly overcome the performance of the sensors on which both are based. other A7S cameras. The image processor is a BIONZ XR chip which, according to Sony, has also been profoundly redesigned with the aim of making the most of the hardware components it lives with.

Its hybrid autofocus implements 759 phase detection points that guarantee 92% coverage of the sensor surface

One of the things that allows this camera to clearly outperform its predecessors is its autofocus system, a hybrid solution that implements 759 phase detection points which guarantee 92% coverage of the sensor surface. According to Sony, this approach manages to accurately identify the object we’re photographing even in spaces with minimal ambient light (it offers an exposure value of up to EV -6). It can also shoot bursts of up to 10 frames per second, which is reduced to a sizable 8 frames per second if we use the mode live view.


One of the hallmarks of the A7S II model, its 5-axis optical stabilization system, is still present in this camera, although the A7S III is the first model in this family to integrate an active capture mode Specially designed to record videos without a tripod and in conditions where jitter could ruin the material we collect. Another component of this camera that improves a lot when compared to that of the other A7S is the electronic viewfinder, which in the A7S III bets on a larger OLED panel (0.64 inches) and with a much higher resolution (9.44 million dots). In addition, during the presentation of this device, Sony made sure that this new electronic viewfinder guarantees us less distortion and minimum latency, two characteristics which, on paper, should also allow the A7S III to surpass its predecessors.

SONY ALPHA 7S III characteristics
SENSOR 12.1MP back-illuminated full-frame Exmor R CMOS
IMAGE PROCESSOR BIONZ XR
SENSITIVITY 40 to 409,600 ISO
VIDEO RECORDING Up to 4K @ 120 FPS 10-bit 4: 2: 2
FOCUS Hybrid automatic with 759 phase detection points and 92% sensor surface coverage
IMAGE STABILIZATION 5-axis optical stabilization included in the camera housing
ELECTRONIC VIEWER 0.64 “, 9.44 million dot OLED with 0.90x magnification, 41 ° field of view and low latency
CONTINUOUS PLAN Up to 10 FPS uncompressed RAW with autofocus and tracking
STORAGE ROOM Compact Flash Express Dual Slot Type A
SCREEN 3-inch articulated touchscreen LCD with 1.44 million dots
WIRELESS CONNECTIVITY WiFi 802.11ac / MIMO
PRICE 4200 euros (without lens)

Not only does it release a sensor; also image processor

In the pictures that illustrate this article, you can see that the design of this camera does not differ much from the A7S II model, which introduced some improvements over the original mirrorless version of it. The novelties proposed by this review Are they indoors of the camera and, as I put forward a few lines above, the sensor is one of the components that Sony engineers seem to have paid the most attention to.

This camera’s BIONZ XR image engine is, according to Sony, eight times more powerful than the chip that incorporates the A7S II

The back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor on this camera has a resolution of 12.1 megapixels. And it’s full frame, just like the sensors of other cameras in this family. The novelty according to Sony lies in light harvesting techniques than on paper, they make the most of the sensor to allow it to capture a higher level of detail in shooting scenarios with very little ambient light, while keeping noise under control. I have no doubt that our colleagues at Xataka Foto will verify it as soon as this camera falls into their hands.

The image processor designed to work closely with the sensor is also new. The one in this camera is a BIONZ XR chip which Sony claims is eight times more powerful that the A7S II imaging engine minimizes processing latency, reduces partial exposure associated with roller shutter up to three times and enables execution of image processing algorithms designed by Sony engineers to get the most out of the optics and sensor during shooting and video capture. It will be interesting to see how it behaves in a real-world use scenario when the first units of this camera hit the store and the first few users take hold of it.


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Here’s how it stands out in video: Record at 4K @ 120p 4: 2: 2 with ISO up to 409600

This camera is above all, like its predecessors, a mirrorless design to show during video recording. With it we can take great photos, and in captures with very little ambient light it is likely to follow in the footsteps of the original A7S and its successor, giving us snapshots with high detail, a convincing colorimetry and low noise level. Even then, betting on it makes sense if we want to take more or less advantage of its capabilities in the field of video recording. Users who are only interested in photography will probably be better suited to the A7 and A7R models, although it is obvious that it is difficult to resist the wide range of sensitivity offered by this A7S III (40 to 409,600 ISO).

The A7S III offers us three color spaces for video recording: S-Gamut, S-Gamut3 and S-Gamut3.

As the title of this section of the article states, this camera is capable of recording 4K video at a maximum rate of 120 frames per second, with 10-bit color depth and 4 color downsampling: 2: 2 These numbers alone will convince many video recording professionals, but in addition, the A7S III offers us three color spaces (S-Gamut, S-Gamut3 and S-Gamut3.Cine) and an HLG profile (Hybrid Log-Gamma) which, according to Sony, requires little post-production. In the image you have below these lines, you can see that in addition, the range of codecs that it allows us to use is wide. And another feature that many video professionals will probably appreciate is the ability to extract from the camera. a 16-bit RAW video stream to deliver it to an external recorder via the HDMI link integrated in this mirrorless.


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Everything we have seen so far regarding the ability to collect video from this camera is superb, but users know that recording 4K video at high frequencies is very demanding and often causes overheating. cameras. To prevent the sensor and image processor from exceeding their maximum temperature threshold, Sony claims to have designed a cooling system Capable of allowing this camera to record 4K 60p, 10-bit video with 4: 2: 2 color downsampling for over an hour without overheating issues. It looks good, so let’s hope it really performs as Sony promised. A final note: the A7S III includes two slots for Compact Flash Express type A cards compatible with SDXC and SDHC cards of UHS-I and UHS-II type.

Sony Alpha 7S III: price and availability

Sony has confirmed that this new professional mirrorless camera with a full-frame sensor will hit stores in September with a price of 4 200 euros without any goal. As usual, it is likely to be also available as a kit with a lens at a significantly higher price.


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Source : Engadget