Meet the highly Anticipated Sony Alpha 7S III mirrorless camera. It combines supreme imaging performance with classic “S” series sensitivity
Earlier today we saw Sony unveil the all-new Sony A7S III hybrid mirrorless camera to the world. Read below for the press release from Sony South Africa about the highly anticipated new camera.
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New Alpha 7S III Empowers Creators with 4K 120P1 Video, 10-bit 4:2:2 Recording, 15+ Stop Dynamic Range2, Improved AF Performance and More
Today, Sony Electronics Inc. announced the long-awaited addition to its acclaimed Alpha 7S full-frame mirrorless camera series, the Alpha A7SIII (model ILCE-7SM3).
Featuring a brand new 12.1MP (approx., effective) back-illuminated full-frame image sensor with ultra-high sensitivity and 15+ stop wide dynamic range3, a host of impressive video recording capabilities including 4K 120p1 and 10-bit 4:2:2 color depth, a new heat dissipating mechanism and dual slot relay recording that realises over one-hour of 4K 60p movie shooting until battery ends, a brand new autofocus system, touch screen interface and side flip LCD screen, the new Alpha 7S III will become the ultimate creative tool for video professionals and all types of hybrid still/video shooters.
“The Alpha 7S III is the ultimate representation of Sony’s passion to solve our customers pain points,” said Ryo Ochi, General Manager, Digital Imaging Division, Sony Electronics Asia Pacific. “We are always listening to our customers feedback, pushing hard to deliver innovation that goes far beyond their expectations. 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 market today — at any price level — the Alpha 7S III opens up a new world of possibilities for today’s creators.”
The system architecture for the new Alpha 7S III has been completely redesigned to deliver exceptional video and still shooting performance. The brand new 35mm full-frame 12.1MP (approx., effective) back-illuminated Exmor R™ CMOS image sensor, utilises a variety of advanced light-gathering techniques to ensure high-sensitivity with low noise, allowing users to shoot in low-light situations without needing large-scale lighting setups.
In addition to improved image quality, this new image sensor includes a focal-plane phase-detection AF system for the first time in an S-series camera. To complement the new sensor, the Alpha 7S III also includes a new BIONZ XR™ image processing engine that provides up to eight times more processing power, minimises processing latency, reduces rolling shutter up to three times, and enables many of the hallmark still and imaging features of the camera. The new system also includes the world’s brightest and largest 9.44 million dot OLED electronic eye-level viewfinder and is the world’s first camera with dual CFexpress Type A card slots, enabling high-speed data transfer in a compact size.
Professional Video Workflow Solutions
The Alpha 7S III offers in-camera 4K recording up to 120 frames per second1, 10-bit depth and 4:2:2 color sampling, producing stunning video recording. The new camera offers a more flexible and efficient post-production workflow with a variety of advanced movie recording modes such as All-intra4 and MPEG-H HEVC/H.265 coding (XAVC HS™)5.
The Alpha 7S III makes it easy to integrate video recordings with other professional camcorders by providing three color gamut settings: S-Gamut, S-Gamut3, and S-Gamut3.Cine. Using S-Gamut3 or S-Gamut3.Cine, users can easily match footage shot on the Alpha 7S III with footage shot on the professional camcorders to simplify multi-camera post-production workflow. In addition to S-Log3 gamma curves, the Alpha 7S III supports an HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) picture profile, with minimum post-production. The Alpha 7S III also allows 16-bit RAW output6 to an external recorder via HDMI Type-A7, offering additional post-production flexibility.
Improved Image Quality
The new CMOS image sensor and BIONZ XR™ image processing engine in the Alpha 7S III delivers legendary S-series sensitivity with significantly enhanced color reproduction and texture renderings for improved overall image quality. The base ISO has been lowered to 80, resulting in a normal range of 80-102400 (expandable to 80-409600 for video and 40-409600 for stills) to provide more flexible ISO plus wide dynamic range with low noise at all settings. It offers improved image quality by approximately 1 stop of noise reduction in the middle and high sensitivity ranges.
The colors and textures of foliage, human skin, and more are ideally and consistently reproduced without dependence on light sources. Gradation rendering has also been refined for better looking skin tones and highlight roll-off in portraits. It also improves AWB (Auto WB) performance where a new “Visible light + IR Sensor” helps to achieve more precise white balance under artificial lighting, including fluorescent and LED lights.
Advanced Autofocus Performance for Hybrid use
For the first time in an Alpha 7S series camera, the Alpha 7S III offers Fast Hybrid AF by combining phase-detection and contrast-detection AF, giving it the ability to track subjects over a wide area with outstanding speed, precision and smoothness, even when using a narrow depth of field. Fine focus expression is possible with Sony’s E-mount lenses.
For environments with a lot of movement, Real-time Tracking and Real-time Eye AF are available to maintain constant focus on the intended subject. Sony’s advanced Real-time Eye AF improves detection performance by 30% over previous system, thanks to the new image processing engine. It ensures accurate, reliable detection even when the subject’s face looks away. Real-time Tracking is initiated simply by touching the subject on the screen. Simultaneously, Real-time Eye AF is initiated when an eye is detected.
Flexible Autofocus Settings for Movie Shooting
Based on customer feedback, the camera includes several AF features for professional users including AF Transition Speed in seven settings, to easily create rack-focus transitions, and five AF Subject Shift Sensitivity settings, which allows the user to customise how easily AF will switch or stay with the locked-on subject. Touch Tracking allows user to not only initiate Real-time Tracking, but also compose and shoot while using a gimbal or while shooting solo. It’s now possible to Touch Focus during manual focus mode on the LCD screen or remotely from the Imaging Edge Mobile application8.
New Heat-dissipating Structure
The Alpha 7S III’s design has been overhauled to ensure effective heat dissipation and prevent overheating - even during extended continuous recording sessions at 4K 60p 10-bit 4:2:2 video for an hour or more.
A newly developed unique heat dissipating structure, keeps image sensor and image processing engine temperatures within their normal operating ranges, preventing overheating while maintaining compact body dimensions.
Movie Assist Functions
For video on-the-go, the Alpha 7S III is the first Alpha series camera to include Active Mode 9 for supporting especially difficult handheld movie shooting with 5-axis optical in-body image stabilisation.
It is also the first Alpha series E-mount body to feature a side-opening vari-angle rear screen, perfect for gimbal-mounted shots, complicated angles, handheld operation and more. The screen rotates sideways, up and down, and features a 3.0 type 1.44 million-dot touch panel LCD monitor, for good visibility even under bright outdoor environments.
In addition, the Alpha 7S III provides a selection of new Creative Look with 10 presets, that can be used for both photo and video shoots, making it easy to create interesting moods right in the camera to be used as is or customise by the user.
A digital audio interface has been added to the camera’s Multi Interface (MI) Shoe for clearer audio recordings from a compatible Sony external microphone. Used with the Alpha 7S III, the XLR-K3M XLR Adaptor Kit additionally provides 4-channel 24-bit digital audio recording capability in an Alpha series camera for the first time. Like other MI shoe accessories, no cables or batteries are required, providing unrestrained freedom for Alpha system moviemaking.
Additional movie assist functions include redesigned monitor display with a bold, clearly visible red frame that makes it clear when recording is in progress even when mounted on a rig or gimbal, custom zoom settings, adjustable white balance while recording, display rotation, interval recording, still extraction from movies and more.
Outstanding Still Image Photography
The Alpha 7S III carries a fast Hybrid AF system with a 759 point phase-detection AF sensors covering 92% of the image sensor. The camera can also achieve high AF precision to accurately and reliably focus in light down to EV-610 where subjects are difficult to see clearly even with the naked eye. Continuous shooting at up to 10fps or up to 8fps in live view mode is possible either mechanically or electronically for more than 1,000 uncompressed RAW11 images.
The Alpha 7S III also includes the world’s first 9.44 million-dot (approx.), 0.64 type Quad-XGA electronic viewfinder with a high-definition OLED display, and refined optics that delivers the highest resolution in its class. The Alpha 7S III viewfinder offers a 0.90x viewfinder magnification12, 41° diagonal field of view, 25mm high eyepoint for clear, low-distortion corner to corner viewing. It is also dust, fog, and moisture resistant, extremely responsive, and has switchable modes for different subject types. Every aspect of the Alpha 7S III viewfinder has been designed and refined for a professional workflow.
For the first time in a Sony’s digital camera, the Alpha 7S III includes the HEIF (High-Efficiency Image File Format) allowing for smooth 10-bit gradations and advanced compression technology to maintain image quality while significantly reducing file size and saving storage space. HEIF stills shot in this mode can be played back on a compatible Sony HDR (HLG) TV via a direct HDMI connection from the Alpha 7S III, delivering true-to-life dynamic range13.
Versatile Design Made for the Pros
CFexpress Type A for High-speed Data Transfer
Another world’s first, the Alpha 7S III features two CFexpress Type A compatible media slots, which also support UHS-I and UHS-II SDXC/SDHC cards. It enables high write-and-read speed while keeping the camera body compact in size. CFexpress Type A cards are ideally suited to high-speed continuous RAW still image shooting as well as 4K 120p movie recording at high bit rates14, providing next-generation write speeds that can quickly clear the buffers of cameras that generate high volumes of still image and movie data. High-speed data transfer to PC is possible of about 1.7 times faster15 than that of SD card. The dual slots can be set to relay mode for extended continuous recording of even the high bit rate data.
Revised Menu System with Enhanced Touch Screen
The Alpha 7S III also features a revised menu structure for easier navigation and touch-responsive menu operation for faster, more intuitive control. For creators who shoot both stills and movies, separate settings can now be stored for stills and movie shooting for quick transition between the two.
High Reliability Gives Creators New Freedom
Professional users need more than just refined features and performance. They also need the reliability and durability demanded of any professional tool. The Alpha 7S III features a redesigned grip for greater comfort and a secure hold, an improved dust removal feature, plus dust and moisture resistance that maximises reliability in challenging environments. It includes a durable, reliable HDMI Type-A connector, and is the first Alpha series camera to support USB PD (Power Delivery), allowing higher power to be supplied from an external source so that users can continue to record for extended periods with minimal drainage of the internal battery.
Advanced Connectivity for Professional Working Environments
The Alpha 7S III has been designed and configured to support photo and video journalists and sports shooters who need to deliver stills or movies as quickly as possible with several advanced connectivity options. The camera supports 5GHz16/2.4GHz wireless LAN (IEEE 802.11ac) and offers MIMO (multiple-input and multiple-output) to improve communication quality by using multiple antennas. It doubles the speed compared to the Alpha7R IV. It also carries new USB tethering support17. When connected to a 5G (5th generation technology standard for cellular networks) compatible device such as Sony’s "Xperia 1 II" smartphone via USB cable, it is possible to use 5G network for fast and stable FTP file transfer18. USB to high-speed wired LAN connectivity19 also offers stable and fast FTP transfer for both movies and stills. A USB Type-C™ connector that supports fast SuperSpeed USB 5Gpbs (USB 3.2) data transfer is provided, enabling high-speed PC Remote (tethered) data transfer available for smooth handling of large image files.
1 10% of view cropped
2 S-Log3 movies, Sony internal tests
3 S-Log3 movies, Sony test conditions
4 When XAVC S-I 4K or HD is selected via the file format menu
5 Requires compatible memory card
6 Atomos Ninja V HDR monitor-recorder support planned. As of July 2020
7 Sony’s Premium High Speed HDMI Cable DLC-HX10 recommended
8 Imaging Edge Mobile Ver. 7.4 or later required
9 In active mode, the shooting angle of view is slightly narrowed. If the focal length is 200 mm or more, it is recommended to set to standard
10 ISO 100 equivalent, F2.0 lens, AF-S mode
11 Requires CFexpress Type A memory card
12 50mm lens, infinity, -1m-1 diopter
13 Desktop application “HEIF Converter” for displaying and editing HEIF format is planned to launch in September 2020. Details will be announced later.
14 4:2:2 10bit All-I, when recording slow motion
15 Sony test conditions.
16 5 GHz communication may be restricted in some countries and regions
17 Power Delivery supported smartphone is required
18 It does not guarantee connection with all of the smartphone. FTP file transfer by USB tethering that utilises 4G network is also possible
19 A compatible USB-Ethernet adapter is required