On the evening of July 28, Sony officially launched a new generation of full-frame micro-single Sony A7S III (model name: ILCE-7SM3, hereinafter referred to as A7S3), equipped with a new 12.1-megapixel full-frame back-illuminated sensor, support for 4K 120p video recording, but also with a new thermal structure and dual card slot recording, priced at $3,499.99 USD and $4,799.99 CAD (about ₹2,62,000), and is expected to go on sale in late September.
The Sony A7S3’s specs aren’t as impressive as the Canon R5‘s, with the A7S3 video recording capped at 4K resolution, the sensor at just 12 megapixels, and on-body image stabilization corrected to support only 5.5 stops, which are the same specs as the five-year-old A7S II. The Canon R5, on the other hand, can shoot 8K video, has a 45-megapixel sensor, and boasts up to 8 stops of stabilization correction.
Sony is aware of this comparison, which is why it emphasizes the A7S3’s ability to shoot 4K video at up to 409600 ISO with more than 15 stops of dynamic range. The Canon R5 didn’t fare as well, and Sony says that the A7S3 can record 4K video at 60 frames per second continuously for up to an hour without overheating, thanks to a new internal cooling structure. And like its predecessor, the new camera is capable of capturing footage in dark conditions that almost all other cameras cannot.
The A7S3’s sensor has much larger physical pixels than the higher-resolution chips (Sony says they’re four times larger than the pixels on the 42-megapixel sensor), which allows the camera to shoot at higher sensitivities, but it also means that the highest resolution video the camera can record in 4K, and Sony would have to use at least a 33-megapixel sensor to do that! 8K recording.
The A7S3 can record up to 120 frames per second in 4K and 240 frames per second in 1080p and supports the H.264 recording format, as well as the newer H.265 HEVC format for better image quality. Users can record 10-bit 4:2:2 HLG HDR video directly in the camera, or transfer 16-bit RAW video to an external recorder. The new back-illuminated sensor is said to have better high ISO performance than its predecessor and has 759 phase-detect AF points. The camera features Sony’s excellent real-time eye autofocus and tracking, supported in all modes, whether it’s still photos or video.
The Sony A7S3 has a new 9.44-million-dot viewfinder, which outperforms the Canon, which has almost twice the resolution of other similar products. There’s also a new full articulating touchscreen display, a first for a Sony Alpha mirrorless camera, and the A7S3 has two card slots, both of which support UHS-II SD cards and the new CFExpress Type A format. Sony says that the A7S3’s battery lasts 60 percent longer than the A7S II’s battery.
Sony A7S3 Key Features
- Eight times higher processing performance of the newly developed BIONZ XR? image processor, and 3 times better suppression of jelly effect with the newly developed approximately 12.1-megapixel full-frame back-illuminated Exmor R?CMOS image sensor.
- Wide-sensitivity range, extended up to ISO 40-409600, with approximately 1 level of noise reduction for medium and high sensitivities.
- Video recording enhancements include 4K 120p, 10-bit 4:2:2 color depth, All-Intra recording, H.265 encoded XAVC HS format, and more.
- Video recording up to 15+ levels of dynamic range.
- Sony Micro offers 4K 60p 16bit RAW video HDMI output for the first time.
- Fast hybrid AF system with 759 phase-detection points and focus point coverage of approximately 92% of the image sensor range.
- Enhanced real-time eye focus for video and photo shooting.
- New thermal architecture and dual card slot recording allow over 1 hour of 4K 60p 10-bit 4:2:2 video recording until the battery is depleted.
- The 5-axis stabilization function assists handheld shooting, and the new enhanced stabilization mode allows users to capture stable video that was previously difficult to achieve handheld.
- Newly developed high brightness large size 0.64 type 9.44 million dots OLED electronic viewfinder, providing the best viewfinder experience of Sony micros.
- The side flip-type variable-angle LCD screen enhances the shooting flexibility.
- Redesigned menu system with a touch screen interface and touch operation.
- 10fps high speed continuous still image shooting, 1000+ uncompressed RAW images, and AF/AE tracking support.
- Dual CFexpress Type A card slots enable high-speed data processing while maintaining compact specifications.
Finally, Sony says that the A7S3 has completely redesigned its menu system to make it easier to navigate and control by touch. The camera’s menus and settings can also be customized to either still or video, and toggle between the two at will.
While the A7S3 is sure to be a powerful camcorder and will please those who have been waiting years for an update to the A7S II, it doesn’t feel like Sony has pushed the envelope as much as previous versions of the A7S. Whether we need 8K video recording now or not, Sony is betting that we don’t, at least not right now, and is confident that the A7S3 will be the best 4K video camera in its class.