Sony’s new A7S Mark III does not record 8K videos

It’s been five long years since Sony’s last video-focused mirrorless camera, the A7S Mark II, came out. The competition has not stopped since then, and the latest Canon R5 has some really impressive video recording skills. So today Sony is announcing the A7S Mark III, a familiar but updated version of its best mirrorless camera for video recording.

Right off the bat, I will tell you that the spec sheet for the A7S III does not achieve the same wow factor as the Canon R5. Sony’s video recording resolution is limited to 4K, captures comparatively insignificant 12-megapixel still images, and its body image stabilization system corrects up to 5.5 jerk stops. Those specs are the same as the A7S II from five years ago. The Canon can record 8K videos, it has a 45 megapixel sensor and it has up to 8 stops of shake correction with its stabilization system.

Apparently, Sony is well aware of this uneven comparison, so it emphasizes the A7S III’s ability to record 4K video at up to 409,600 ISO, with more than 15 stops of dynamic range. While Canon has had to deal with complaints of R5 overheating from the time it was announced, Sony says the A7S III will record 4K images at 60 frames per second continuously for up to an hour without overheating, thanks to its new heatsink. internal heat structure. And just like its predecessor, it will capture that footage in conditions dark enough to make virtually any other camera surrender.

The A7S III has a fully articulated touchscreen, the first for Sony Alpha cameras. Its new EVF has a resolution of 9.44 million dots.
Image: Sony

The A7S III’s video resolution limits are a direct result of Sony’s decision to continue using a 12-megapixel sensor in the camera. While that sensor has much larger physical pixels than a higher-resolution chip (Sony says they’re four times larger than a 42-megapixel sensor), allowing the camera to shoot with much higher light sensitivity, means the highest resolution video that the camera can record is 4K. Sony would have to use at least a 33 megapixel sensor to record 8K. Photographers who primarily take still images will also want to go for the Sony A7 III or A7R III, which have much higher resolutions but less video capabilities than the A7S III.

The A7S III can record up to 120 frames per second in 4K or up to 240 frames per second in 1080p. The camera supports the tried and true H.264 recording format as well as the new H.265 HEVC format for better image quality. You can record 10-bit HLG HDR 4: 2: 2 video directly to the camera, or 16-bit RAW video to an external recorder. The new backlit sensor is said to have a better high ISO performance than its predecessor and has 759 phase detection autofocus points. The camera features Sony’s impressive autofocus and real-time eye tracking in all modes, still image or video.

The A7S III will be familiar to Sony photographers.
Image: Sony

Sony beats Canon with its new 9.44 million-dot viewfinder, which is almost twice the resolution of anything else available. Also new is a fully articulated touchscreen, the first for Sony’s Alpha mirrorless cameras. The A7S III has two card slots, both compatible with UHS-II SD cards and the new CF Express Type A format. Sony says the A7S III battery, which is also used by the A7R III and A7 III, offers times recording 60 percent longer than the A7S II’s battery.

Finally, Sony says it has completely redesigned its menu system to make it easier to navigate and control by touch. Camera menu screens and settings can also be customized for still or video images and switched between them at will.

While the A7S III will undoubtedly be a formidable video camera and will please those who have been waiting years for an A7S II upgrade, it seems that Sony isn’t really pushing the envelope like it did with previous versions of the A7S. Previous A7S cameras hit the market with low-light capabilities that were unknown at the time. The A7S III only does more of the same resolution and ISO, albeit with a supposedly cleaner output. It is iteration as opposed to innovation.

Canon certainly has its challenges with the R5, and there is fair criticism as to whether we “need” 8K video recording at the moment. Sony is betting not, at least for now, and is confident that the A7S III will be the best 4K video camera in its segment. You’ll be able to confirm it yourself when the camera hits stores in September for around $ 4,000.