Sony a7S III: 4K Recording at 120FPS?!
Updated: Aug 20, 2021
After almost five years, Sony is announcing the successor to the Sony a7S II, and the new a7S III seems to really pack a punch. With an improved 12.1 megapixel back-illuminated full-frame Exmor R CMOS sensor, the camera is powered by the new BIONZ-XR processor which Sony claims to have up to eight times faster processing performance as compared to the BIONZ X.
Furthermore, it’s the first Sony Alpha-series E-mount camera to feature a fully articulating rear LCD display that can be flipped out, which also supports touch controls. It also supports a continuous shooting rate of 10 frames per second, and Sony says the hybrid autofocus system will cover up to 92% of the sensor, using a 759-point focal-plane phase-detection autofocus system.
But the biggest feature has to be the video capabilities of the camera, with the ability to shoot in 4K at 60fps, with no crop, line skipping or pixel binning for over an hour without overheating. If you want a higher framerate, there’s also 4K at 120fps, although that’s limited to 30 minutes and you’ll have a 1.1x crop factor.
If you really want those high framerates, the camera is also capable of shooting at 240fps, although you’ll need to drop down to 1080p for that. The viewfinder has also been significantly improved, with a new 9.44-million dot OLED EVF at 0.9x magnification, which means it’s the world’s brightest and largest viewfinder.
Videos can also be captured in 10-bit depth, and 4:2:2 colour sampling is also available in all recording modes. For low light situations, the camera’s ISO can go up to 409,600. Real-time Eye AF has been improved and records a 30% improvement in tracking.
Pairing the camera with an Atomos recorder, the camera can output 4K footage as 16-bit raw files. Sony is also introducing new codecs, XAVC-S-I, which can record single images (All-Intra) with a data rate of up to 500 Mbits/s, as well as XAVC-HS, which can reduce the amount of data in image group compression to 200 Mbit/s thanks to H.265 compression.
Additionally, the a7S III is equipped with a 5-axis optical in-body image stabiliser, which has an effectiveness of 5.5 f-stops. There are also now two memory card slots, with both supporting SDXC UHS-II cards as well as CFexpress Type-A cards. Of course, CFexpress Type-A cards aren’t available yet, but Sony has plans to launch their own later this September alongside a CFexpress Type-A card reader.
The a7S III will be available in September 2020 at US$3,499. Local availability and pricing in Singapore are yet to be announced.