This morning, Sony announced details of the long-awaited a7S Mark III camera. With its focus continuing to be on video, the a7S III features some impressive specs, such as 4K recording at 120p, 10-bit 4:2:2 color depth, a new heat dissipating mechanism, 4K recording of over one hour and more. The camera features an upgraded 12.1-megapixel sensor for even better low-light performance, which is now exposed on the back.
The new sensor is supported by the new BIONZ XR processor, which has eight times more computing power than the previous generation processor. The camera also features a fully articulating 3-inch LCD screen on the back, a first in Sony’s Alpha 7 lineup of cameras. Menus have also been revised to be touch-friendly, and the OLED viewfinder achieves a high resolution of 9.44 million pixels at a magnification of 0.9x.
The camera also features a brand-new memory card drive, which supports both SD UHS-II cards as well as the new CFexpress type A cards in both slots.
For a first look at the a7S III camera, check out this video from The Slanted Lens.
- Processor: BIONZ XR image processing engine
- Sensor: 12.1-megapixel back-illuminated full-frame Exmor R CMOS image sensor
- Video recording: 1080p up to 240fps, 4K up to 120fps, 10bit 4:2:2 and 4K 120fps RAW over HDMI (internal limited to 60fps). No internal RAW video.
- Bitrate: 600mbps
- ISO range: 80-102,400 (expandable to 80-409,600 for video or 40-409,600 for stills)
- Dynamic range: 15+ stops
- Viewfinder: 9.44 million dot EVF (QXGA resolution)
- Weather sealing: Dust, fog and moisture resistant
- Rolling shutter effect has been reduced by up to three times
“We are always listening to our customers’ feedback, pushing hard to deliver innovation that goes far beyond their expectations,” said Neal Manowitz, deputy president for Imaging Products and Solutions Americas. “There is no better example than this new camera. Combining classic S series sensitivity with a feature set, performance level and user experience that is simply unmatched in the market today — at any price level — the Alpha 7S III opens up a new world of possibilities for today’s creators.”
While the camera does not feature 8K recording, the a7S III features internal 4K at 120p recording. The 12MP resolution offers full-pixel readout without pixel binning and without crop up to 4K/60p — which, in this setting, allows for recording up to one hour in length.
With Full HD recording, the a7S III records up to 240p. Time-lapse recordings offer lower frame rates up to 1p, recorded internally with a 4:2:2 color gamma and 10-bit color.
The camera also offers new codecs — XAVC-S-I for recording single images with a data rate of up to 500 Mb/s, while XAVC-HS reduces the amount of data in image group compression to 200 Mb/s. The camera can also output 4K/60p as 16-bit ProRes Raw files to an Atomos recorder.
S-LOG3 is also available, enabling a dynamic range of over 15 stops, with ISO sensitivity starting at ISO 640 (extended at ISO 160).
Autofocus and stabilization
For the first time in an a7S camera, the a7S III features Fast Hybrid AF by combining the camera’s 759 phase detection and 425 contrast detection focus points. This gives it the ability to track subjects over a wide area with outstanding speed, precision and smoothness, even when using a narrow depth of field. Real-time Tracking and Real-time Eye AF area available to maintain constant focus on the intended subject.
Real-time Eye AF improves detection performance by 30% over the previous generation thanks to the new processing engine.
For video shooting, several AF features have been added, including AF Transition Speed in seven settings, five AF Subject Shift Sensitivity settings, Touch Tracking and Touch Focus during manual focus mode.
For video on-the-go, the a7S III is the first Alpha series camera to include Active Mode with 5-axis optical in-body image stabilization.
For stills, autofocus sensitivity goes down to -6 EV, while the camera can shoot up to 10 fps (8fps in live view mode) with either the mechanical or electronic shutter. The camera’s Hybrid AF system covers 92% of the image sensor.
The a7S III is also Sony’s first camera that includes HEIF recording.
Pricing and availability
The a7S Mark III will be available in September 2020 for $3498. Pre-orders are now available through B&H Photo.