Sony aims for pro video-makers with Alpha 7S III mirrorless camera
It's been a while since Sony updated its video-focused full-frame mirrorless Alpha, but now the company has taken care of that with the launch of the third generation α7S. The new camera sports a brand new sensor and the latest imaging engine, but its headline feature is the ability to shoot 4K video at 120 fps.
"The Alpha 7S III is the ultimate representation of Sony’s passion to solve our customers’ pain points," said Sony's Neal Manowitz. "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."
At the heart of the α7S III is a new 12.1-MP back-illuminated Exmor R full-frame (35.6 x 23.8-mm) CMOS sensor and Bionz XR processor combination for light sensitivity of ISO80-102,400, that can expand to ISO40-409,600, up to 1,000 uncompressed RAW still can be fired off at up to 10 frames per second using either the mechanical or electronic shutter, and rolling shutter is reported reduced by up to three times, compared with the second gen camera.
Though 10 percent of the frame view is cropped when shooting 4K (3,840 x 2,160) at 120p, movie-makers can look forward to at least 15 stops of dynamic range, and 10-bit 4:2:2 color sampling with three color gamut settings to choose from, which is said to make it easier to splice footage into recordings from other pro-level camcorders.
The new Alpha also comes with a new hybrid contrast and phase-detection AF system, something that's new to the S-series cameras. It boasts 759 phase-detection AF points that cover 92 percent of the sensor, real-time tracking and Eye AF help keep subjects in sharp focus, with the latter reported to get a 30 percent performance bump over the previous 7S, and this is the first Alpha series camera to feature 5-axis optical in-body image stabilization to support handheld on-the-run shooting.
Framing up can be undertaken using the very impressive 9.44-million-dot OLED viewfinder at 0.9x magnification (which can show histogram info, a level gauge, grid lines and more), or the 2.95-inch, 1.44-million-dot LCD touchscreen that flips out at the side of the camera's body and can then be tilted for optimum viewing.
Sony has included a fanless heat dissipating mechanism to keep the sensor and processing engine within normal operating temperatures, even during heavy loads, with this setup also meaning that the camera keeps its resistance to dust and water.
High Efficiency Image File format comes to Sony digital cameras for the first time here, promising high quality stills while reducing file size. Dual CFexpress Type A card slots cater for an hour of continuous 4K/60p recording, while also supporting the insertion of UHS-I and UHS-II SD cards. And 16-bit video at that resolution can also be routed to an external recorder over full-size HDMI, with the camera also capable of delivering power to external hardware over USB.
The Alpha 7S III will go on sale from September for US$3,499.99, the launch video below has more.
Product page: α7S III