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Introducing: Sony Alpha 7S III

Posted on Jul 29, 2020 by Pro Moviemaker

First look: Sony A7S III

Alpha 7S III provides creators with 4K 120p video, 10-bit 4:2:2 recording, 15+ stop dynamic range, improved AF performance and more 

Sony have announced the long-awaited addition to its Alpha 7S full-frame mirrorless camera series⁠ — the Alpha 7S III (model ILCE7SM3).

The camera features a brand new 12.1MP back-illuminated full-frame image sensor with 15+ stop wide dynamic range, a host of video recording capabilities including 4K 120p and 10-bit 4:2:2 colour depth.

It also has a new heat dissipating mechanism, dual slot relay recording enabling over one-hour of 4K 60p movie shooting until battery ends.

With a new autofocus system, and touch screen interface and side flip LCD screen, the new Alpha 7S 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 Yann Salmon-Legagneur, Director of Product Marketing, Digital Imaging, Sony Europe.

“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 the 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 Alpha 7S has been redesigned to deliver enhanced video and still shooting performance. The new 35mm full-frame 12.1MP back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS image sensor reduces rolling shutter by up to three times and 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 compliment 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, and enables many of the 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.

Video Workflow Solutions

The Alpha 7S offers in-camera 4K recording up to 120 frames per second, 10-bit depth and 4:2:2 colour sampling. The new camera offers a more flexible post-production workflow with a variety of advanced movie recording modes such as All-Intra and MPEG-H HEVC/H.265 coding (XAVC HS™).

The Alpha 7S makes it easy to integrate video recordings with other professional camcorders by providing three colour gamut settings, S-Gamut, S-Gamut3, and S-Gamut3.Cine, allowing users to easily match footage shot on the Alpha 7S with footage shot on the professional camcorders.

In addition to S-Log3 gamma curves, the camera supports an HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) picture profile with minimum post-production. The Alpha 7S III also allows up to 4K 60p 16-bit RAW output to an external recorder via HDMI Type-A connector,offering additional post-production flexibility.

Image Quality

The new CMOS image sensor and BIONZ XR image processing engine in the Alpha 7S delivers significantly enhanced colour reproduction and texture renderings for improved image quality. The base ISO has been lowered to 80, resulting in a normal range of 80-102,400 (expandable to 80-409,600 for video and 40-409,600 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.

Operability

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 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 the previous system, thanks to the new image processing engine. It ensures accurate detection even when the subject’s face looks away. real-time tracking is initiated simply by touching the subject on the screen. Real-time eye AF is automatically initiated when an eye is detected.

Movie Assist Functions

For video on-the-go, the Alpha 7S III is the first Alpha series camera to include Active Mode with 5-axis optical in-body image stabilisation to support especially difficult handheld movie shooting. 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 (approx.) touch panel LCD monitor, for optimal visibility even in 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 customised by the user.

Summary of key features:

  • Video recording capabilities include 4K 120pi, 10 bit 4:2:2 colour depth, All-Intra recording, XAVC HS format with H.265 codec and more
  • Newly developed BIONX XRTM image processing engine with eight times more processing power  and a brand new 12.1-megapixel (approx., effective) back-illuminated full-frame Exmor R CMOS image sensor, significantly reduced rolling shutter effect
  • Enhanced Real-time Eye AF for movie recording  and still image recording
  • Side Opening variable angle LCD screen enhances shooting flexibility

Pricing and availability

The new Alpha 7S III full-frame interchangeable lens camera will be available in Europe in September 2020 priced at approximately £3,800.

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