Industry News

Industry News: Sony officially announces the Alpha A7s III

SAN DIEGO – July 28, 2020 –Today, Sony Electronics Inc. announced the long-awaited addition to its acclaimed Alpha 7S full-frame mirrorless camera series⁠ — the Alpha 7S III (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 rangeii, a host of impressive video recording capabilities including 4K 120pi and 10-bit 4:2:2 color depth, a new heat-dissipating mechanism, dual-slot relay recording enabling over one-hour of 4K 60p movie shooting, a new autofocus system, and 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.

Preorder the Sony Alpha a7s III at Adorama

“The Alpha 7S III is the ultimate representation of Sony’s passion to solve our customers’ pain points,”, said Neal Manowitz, deputy president for Imaging Products and Solutions Americas at Sony Electronics. “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 new Alpha 7S III has been completely redesigned to deliver exceptional video and still shooting performance. The new 35mm full-frame 12.1MP (approx., effective) back-illuminated Exmor R™ CMOS image sensor reduces rolling shutter by up to three times and utilizes 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 poweriii, minimizes processing latency, 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 (approx.) 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 second, 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-Intra[xiii] and MPEG-H HEVC/H.265 coding (XAVC HS™)[xiv]. 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, allowing users to easily match footage shot on the Alpha 7S III with footage shot on the professional camcorders simplifying 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 up to 4K 60p 16-bit RAW output[xv] to an external recorder via HDMI Type-A[xvi] connector, offering additional post-production flexibility.

Preorder the Sony Alpha a7s III at Adorama

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 80-102,400 (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.

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 White Balance) performance with a new “Visible light + IR Sensor” that helps to achieve more precise white balance under artificial lighting, including fluorescent and LED lights.

Versatile Operability

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 the 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. Real-time Eye AF is automatically 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 customize how easily AF will switch or stay with the locked-on subject. Touch Tracking allows users 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 application[xvii].

New Heat-dissipating Structure

The Alpha 7S III’s design has been updated to ensure effective heat dissipation and minimizes overheating — even during extended continuous recording sessions at 4K 60p 10-bit 4:2:2 video lasting an hour or more. A newly developed unique heat-dissipating structure keeps the image sensor and image processing engine temperatures within their normal operating ranges, preventing overheating while maintaining compact body dimensions. The new heat-dissipating structure requires no fan or cabinet vents allowing Alpha 7S III to maintain dust and moisture resistance[xviii].

Movie Assist Functions

For video on-the-go, the Alpha 7S III is the first Alpha series camera to include Active Modeix with 5-axis optical in-body image stabilization 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 customized 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 Sony’s XLR-K3M XLR Adaptor Kit, the Alpha 7S III 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 a 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 includes a fast Hybrid AF system with 759 phase-detection AF points covering 92% of the image sensor. The camera can also achieve high AF precision to accurately and reliably focus in light down to EV-6[xix], where subjects are difficult to see clearly even with the naked eye. Users can continuously shoot more than 1,000 uncompressed RAWxii images at up to 10fps, or up to 8fps in live view mode, with either the mechanical or electronic shutter.

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. The Alpha 7S III viewfinder offers a 0.90x viewfinder magnification[xx], 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 one of Sony’s digital cameras, the Alpha 7S III includes 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 Type-A connection from the Alpha 7S III, delivering true-to-life dynamic range[xxi].

Versatile Design Made for the Pros

CFexpress Type A for High-speed Data Transfer

In 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, enabling high write-and-read speeds 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 120pi movie recording at high bit rates[xxii], 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 a PC is possible at about 1.7 times faster[xxiii] than that of the SD card. The dual slots can be set to relay mode for extended continuous recording of even the highest bit rate data as well as simultaneous recording and sort by format type recording.

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 xviii that maximizes 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 internal battery usage.

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 5GHz[xxiv]/2.4GHz wireless LAN (IEEE 802.11ac) and offers MIMO (multiple-input and multiple-output) to improve communication quality by using multiple antennas, doubling in speed when compared to the Alpha7R IV. It also carries new USB tethering support[xxv]. When connected to a 5G (5th generation technology standard for cellular networks) compatible device via USB cable, it is possible to use 5G network for fast and stable FTP file transfer[xxvi]. USB to high-speed wired LAN connectivity[xxvii] also offers stable and fast FTP transfer for both movies and stills. A USB Type-C™ connector that supports fast SuperSpeed USB 5Gbps (USB 3.2) data transfer is provided, enabling high-speed PC Remote (tethered) data transfer available for smooth handling of large image files.

Pricing and Availability

The new Alpha 7S III Full-frame Interchangeable Lens Camera will be available in September 2020 for approximately $3,499.99 USD and $4,799.99 CAD. It will be sold at a variety of Sony’s authorized dealers throughout North America.

Exclusive stories and exciting new content shot with the new camera and Sony’s other imaging products can be found at www.alphauniverse.com, a site created to educate and inspire all fans and customers of Sony α – Alpha.

For detailed coverage of the new product on Alpha Universe, please visit this LINK.

The new content will also be posted directly at the Sony Photo Gallery.

For detailed product information, please visit:

·         (US) – ILCE-7SM3

·         (CA) – ILCE-7SM3

Additionally, product launch video focused on the new Alpha 7S III can be found at this LINK.

Bert63

EOS RP
Dec 3, 2017
574
1,134
Pretty good specs

Are they really? I'm not a hardcore video shooter so I'm dumber than the average bear when it comes to stuff like this but to me it seems like a lot of money for that camera.

I see it can shoot 4K60P for over an hour so that's a good thing if that's something you need. So kudos.

What is so appealing that makes it worth that kind of money - and I'm not being sarcastic - a compare and contrast in an 'explain it like I'm five' kind of way would be very helpful.
 
Last edited:

ahsanford

Particular Member
Aug 16, 2012
8,615
1,627
What is so appealing that makes it worth that kind of money - and I'm not being sarcastic - a compare and contrast in an 'explain it like I'm five' kind of way would be very helpful.

You can run 4K longer without overheating, I'm guessing. #iamastillsguy #iknownothing

Surely low light as well

- A
 

Bert63

EOS RP
Dec 3, 2017
574
1,134
You can run 4K longer without overheating, I'm guessing. #iamastillsguy #iknownothing

Surely low light as well

- A

Yeah - I edited my post to reflect that as well - I guess that's a good thing if you're big into using a little camera like this for making movies/interviews/weddings or whatnot.

I'm sure there is something revolutionary here I'm just not smart enough to know what that is.

Good tip on the low light - I saw that and it sort of bounced off because it isn't something that comes into play for me.
 

robotfist

5D Mk III, C300, C200
Oct 23, 2017
31
38
What is so appealing that makes it worth that kind of money - and I'm not being sarcastic - a compare and contrast in an 'explain it like I'm five' kind of way would be very helpful.
For video shooters, who this camera is targeted for, it can shoot continuous 4k, 10bit , 422, with a full pixel readout and no crop in all shooting modes including at 120 fps. It's got an ISO range from 80 - 409,600 so it will more than likely continue its status as the lowlight king. These are all very good specs.

And more importantly, it is designed not to overheat.

I'm not a Sony person. I'm a Canon guy and have been for over a decade. But I'm a video shooter, and it's been a frustrating ride with Canon. When it comes to video, Sony beat the R series with this release.

Some video shots showing the lowlight capabilities. Looks great...

 

Bert63

EOS RP
Dec 3, 2017
574
1,134
For video shooters, who this camera is targeted for, it can shoot continuous 4k, 10bit , 422, with a full pixel readout and no crop in all shooting modes including at 120 fps. It's got an ISO range from 80 - 409,600 so it will more than likely continue its status as the lowlight king. These are all very good specs.

And more importantly, it is designed not to overheat.

I'm not a Sony person. I'm a Canon guy and have been for over a decade. But I'm a video shooter, and it's been a frustrating ride with Canon. When it comes to video, Sony beat the R series with this release.

Some video shots showing the lowlight capabilities. Looks great...


The release says it can do 4K60P for over an hour. I see nothing about 4K120 limitations.

" even during extended continuous recording sessions at 4K 60p 10-bit 4:2:2 video lasting an hour or more. "

If so, good. And I get the low light thing - I imagine that is attributable in part to their small sensor design. Dunno.

I guess you really need to be a player to understand the game.

Thanks for the info!
 

davidhfe

EOS RP
Sep 9, 2015
302
445
Moving this from another thread. Sorry for the double post:

--

So Sony pulled a canon and took 5 years to perfect a body, and Canon pulled a Sony and crammed too many specs into a body.

I'm really curious what Canon's eventual response will be:
- Continue to pursue hybrids with adequate specs for both video and stills, leaving video workloads to the C-X00 line
- Build an RF "SLR" style video camera with lower mp that's more video-focused
- Put the 45mp 8K sensor into a larger body (XC style or something more like the S1H) with better thermals, codecs, HDMIs, etc, etc

For all the hype about hybrid cameras there have been very, very few that actually do it well. The reality is the video world wants 12-20mp and the new bar for non-PJ work is quickly going to be around 50 with the Z7, R5 and A7R all hanging out at 45+
 

davidhfe

EOS RP
Sep 9, 2015
302
445
Are they really? I'm not a hardcore video shooter so I'm dumber than the average bear when it comes to stuff like this but to me it seems like a lot of money for that camera.

I see it can shoot 4K60P for over an hour so that's a good thing if that's something you need. So kudos.

What is so appealing that makes it worth that kind of money - and I'm not being sarcastic - a compare and contrast in an 'explain it like I'm five' kind of way would be very helpful.
Higher quality video. With the lower res sensor, it's really focused on great 4K. The oversampled 4k on the R5 will be better but comes with a ton of asterisks around heat, rolling shutter, etc. Sony's promising those big pixels mean low rolling shutter, great video dynamic range, longer shooting times before hitting thermal limits. This is exactly the camera that video shooters seem to want canon to build. (And, honestly, the R6 should have been a lot closer to this)
 

NorskHest

EOS 90D
Jan 11, 2018
126
147
Minnesota - US
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For video shooters, who this camera is targeted for, it can shoot continuous 4k, 10bit , 422, with a full pixel readout and no crop in all shooting modes including at 120 fps. It's got an ISO range from 80 - 409,600 so it will more than likely continue its status as the lowlight king. These are all very good specs.

And more importantly, it is designed not to overheat.

I'm not a Sony person. I'm a Canon guy and have been for over a decade. But I'm a video shooter, and it's been a frustrating ride with Canon. When it comes to video, Sony beat the R series with this release.

Some video shots showing the lowlight capabilities. Looks great...

I can honestly say I am going to buy this camera, Canon has officially shit the bed with a hybrid camera. If the 1DX didn’t have a record limit And 4k120 I would be purchasing that for a all around camera. This thing honestly looks Pretty amazing, I have been saying for a while along with many other people I don’t care about insanely higher resolutions just give us a really good 4K and I think Sony has delivered that, I will still keep my 1DC’s and a lot of my other stuff but this thing is going to be an awesome tool to have. It’s weird seeing canon push the envelope and have reliability issues and now we are seeing Sony becoming the reliable workhorse.
 

Bert63

EOS RP
Dec 3, 2017
574
1,134
Higher quality video. With the lower res sensor, it's really focused on great 4K. The oversampled 4k on the R5 will be better but comes with a ton of asterisks around heat, rolling shutter, etc. Sony's promising those big pixels mean low rolling shutter, great video dynamic range, longer shooting times before hitting thermal limits. This is exactly the camera that video shooters seem to want canon to build. (And, honestly, the R6 should have been a lot closer to this)

I don't disagree at all - I guess I'm just not there yet.

My wife just explained it to me this way:

Some people look at photos that come out of a cell phone and think they look great. Photographers look at photos that come out of a cell phone and all they see are the faults. I'm guilty of this. Cell phone photos are better than they used to be but TO ME they don't compare with a dedicated stills camera.

I guess video specs are the same to the guys that are heavily into that. I just look at $3,500 dollars for this and wonder why people don't just buy a dedicated video camera whose whole purpose in life is to shoot video? I guess there aren't many options with these features at that price point.
 

Bert63

EOS RP
Dec 3, 2017
574
1,134
I can honestly say I am going to buy this camera, Canon has officially shit the bed with a hybrid camera. If the 1DX didn’t have a record limit And 4k120 I would be purchasing that for a all around camera. This thing honestly looks Pretty amazing, I have been saying for a while along with many other people I don’t care about insanely higher resolutions just give us a really good 4K and I think Sony has delivered that, I will still keep my 1DC’s and a lot of my other stuff but this thing is going to be an awesome tool to have. It’s weird seeing canon push the envelope and have reliability issues and now we are seeing Sony becoming the reliable workhorse.

Hopefully you'll keep all of us over here at 'BRAND X' up to date on how you like it!

:)
 
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Baron_Karza

EOS 90D
Feb 17, 2019
193
201
I can honestly say I am going to buy this camera, Canon has officially shit the bed with a hybrid camera. If the 1DX didn’t have a record limit And 4k120 I would be purchasing that for a all around camera. This thing honestly looks Pretty amazing, I have been saying for a while along with many other people I don’t care about insanely higher resolutions just give us a really good 4K and I think Sony has delivered that, I will still keep my 1DC’s and a lot of my other stuff but this thing is going to be an awesome tool to have. It’s weird seeing canon push the envelope and have reliability issues and now we are seeing Sony becoming the reliable workhorse.
Sony definitely seems like a better deal on the video part!
Much more reliable and of course "usable".
It's a shame. Was really hoping Canon would finally create a camera that added IBIS and no crop 4K. And they did, but then went backwards with the unpredictable over heating. Sucks.
 

jayphotoworks

EOS RP
Aug 11, 2016
234
97
I pre-ordered one. It suits my style of hybrid shooting quite well. I always felt the ideal hybrid MILC was one with a balanced set of specs. Don't need RAW, don't want high-bitrates, don't need 8K. When I need those specs, I have my cine camera along with the budget and crew to support it. Here is what I like about shooting video on Sony, which continues with the S3.

- Single interface for audio. No need for dangling 3.5mm cables
- Dual card recording for redundancy and no need for new media immediately. My V90 UHS-II cards continue to work and I only need to carry 1 type of media.
- Base ISO and Max ISO. Many event halls, etc. have poor lighting which you cannot always control
- No overheating for obvious reasons
- White balance sensor to prevent rapid shifts when subjects fill the frame
- Large EVF for framing outdoors when a sunhood over the lcd doesn't always work.
- Selectable S&Q highspeed in base frame rate or actual frame rate to include audio which is sometimes imperative when editing a cinematic highlight and a long edit w/ sound. It's also easier in post to quickly identify all of your high speed clips and group them separately.
- Real-time AF (I never upgraded to the RIV, but I have a A6600 and ZV1 which are similar)
- Great battery life. I hated the FW50 batteries, but a bit more than 2 FZ100 batteries gets me through a very long day. I don't think the LP-E6NH last as long, but the Canon's draw more power as the Wh are almost identical.

In other areas, some reviews show ~13 stops on a test which is better than the R5 at ~11. The rolling shutter seems to be a bit better on the R5, but it wasn't apparent which modes were compared. Line skipped will probably readout faster than the 1:1 on the Sony but at a big cost of IQ. But at the end of the day, the Sony doesn't have 45MP and isn't great for stills. I would need two bodies to cover video (S3) and stills (RIV).

It's all a mess of compromises... :p