The A7S III will record video internally with up to 10 bits, 4: 2: 2 color sampling and a maximum of 600 Mbps in its XAVC All-Intra (H.264) format. That exceeds the maximum 400 Mbps that you can capture on the Panasonic GH5, for example. Additionally, Sony has tested 4K 60p capture in up to an hour, though it said there is no recording time limit in theory. This is possible thanks to a new heat management structure integrated into the chamber.
If you use Sony’s S-Log2 / S-Log3 image profiles, you will see more than 15 stops of dynamic range, much more than most other consumer cameras. For HDR shooters, it will also capture 10-bit HLG with 4 presets and allow you to record 1080p / 720p proxies at the same time. Additionally, you will be able to capture full-screen (4,264 x 2,408) 16-bit RAW video externally through the full-size HDMI Type-a port, although Sony did not say which external recorders will be supported.
The A7S III will be able to handle those relatively high internal data rates thanks to the world’s first CFexpress Type A / SD UHS II dual slots. Yes, there are two UHS II and CFexpress Type A card slots, although you can only use one or the other at a time. Still, two cards can be used at the same time for simultaneous recording (backup), relay recording (card to card), and recording classification (still image or video, JPEG / HEIF, and RAW).
What, you might ask, is CFexpress Type A? Well, it is a completely new format that is released with this camera, and it uses CFexpress technology with smaller cards than the current Type B format. While slower than Type B, the 800 MB / s and 700 MB / s read / write speeds are still up to 2.8 times faster than SD UHS-II. At the same time, it also supports SD UHS II format.
That makes sense, because UHS II cards are cheaper and easier to find, and CFexpress Type A cards will likely be in short supply when the cameras go on sale in September. When they arrive, Sony’s 80GB CFexpress Type A card will cost $ 200, while 160GB cards will cost $ 400.
The A7S III is the world’s first camera with a 9.44 million-point EVF developed by Sony. It offers a very high magnification of 0.90x, a 41 degree field of view and a 25mm point of view. At that level of resolution (equivalent to about 3.4 megapixels), it should be clear enough even for optical viewfinder purists.
This model is the first in the A7S series with phase detection autofocus, and Sony hasn’t spared here either. It offers 759 phase contrast and 425 detection points, with 92 percent coverage and available AF down to -6 EV in low light. If you like photography, that allows for a burst rate of 10 fps with AF / AE enabled for up to 1,000 captured uncompressed RAW files (with a CFexpress Type A card).
Unsurprisingly, you also get real-time eye autofocus for both video and still images, with 30 percent improved recognition, according to Sony. Better yet, it works in all video modes, including 4K / 120p and Full HD at 240p. You can select from seven AF transition speeds if you want to focus from one subject to another. And if you are trying to track other objects like cars, you can tap to select them on the LCD screen.
In fact, the LCD is the first in Sony’s line to finally support full touch functionality for menu operation. It is also fully articulated, so it swivels to one side and rotates 360 degrees. Coupled with body stabilization and improved shutter, that should make the A7S III a very good vlog camera.
To make touch operations work better, Sony has redesigned the A7S III’s menu system, making it more logical and better for touch. Arguably Sony had the worst camera menu system before this, but now it seems like one of the best. For example, submenus are much easier to find as they now appear off to the side. It also has a dedicated menu for movie mode, with the settings changing accordingly. It also seems to be much easier to customize menus and buttons.
As with all recent Sony full-frame mirrorless models, the A7S III offers built-in 5-axis image stabilization. It does not promise image quality compromises as it can maintain 4K resolution, 3,840 x 2,160 with only a very slight clipping in active stabilization mode.
Other features include a dedicated microphone and headphone jacks, along with a USB Type-C port with power supply support and LAN adapter connectivity. You can also connect Sony’s microphones directly to the M1 digital shoe and even make 4-channel 24-bit recording with the Sony XLR-K3M adapter. Finally, it’s worth noting that the A7S III weighs 614 grams, making it lighter than the Canon EOS R5 and almost half the weight of the Panasonic S1H.
A camera with this type of capacity isn’t cheap, of course, but prices are in line with previous A7S models. It will arrive sometime in August for $ 3,500 for the body alone – $ 500 more than the A7S II, but $ 400 less than the Canon EOS R5 and Panasonic S1H.
Update 10:30 AM: Availability and additional prices for CFexpress cards.