After months of rumors, it’s finally official:
The Sony a7S III will hit the shelves in September, offering a whole host of brand new features, including a stellar autofocus system, a class-leading electronic viewfinder, pro-level video recording capabilities, and much more.
Let’s take a closer look.
What is the Sony a7S III?
The a7S III is Sony’s latest video/stills hybrid camera, which replaces the a7S II (a camera that debuted way back in 2015 and was long overdue for an upgrade).
The a7S III is a full-frame mirrorless model and technically designed to excel at both video and still shooting. But there’s a clear lean toward videographers, thanks to advanced recording capabilities such as:
- 4K/120p video (with a 1.1x crop)
- Internally recorded, uncropped 4K/60p video (with a recording limit of 1 hour)
- Internally recorded, uncropped 4K/30p video (with no time limit)
- 10 bit 4:2:2 recording
As you can see, there’s quite a lot to satisfy serious videographers, such as the internal 4K/120p (for high-quality slow-motion footage), as well as unlimited 4K/30p shooting (for projects that require longer recording times).
You also get in-body image stabilization, as well as impressive high-ISO performance and at least 15 stops of dynamic range (according to Sony, anyway).
But while the a7S III is an impressive video contender, how does it look when arranged against more still-centric cameras? Can it hold its own?
Can the a7S III work for still photography?
At first glance, the a7S III is an extraordinarily capable camera for still photographers.
I mentioned the in-body image stabilization above, and that’s a boon for videographers and still photographers alike. You also get dual card slots, important for a select crowd of professional photographers, and a fully-articulating LCD for capturing images (or video) from awkward angles.
And the a7S III packs a 9.44M-dot electronic viewfinder, which is by far the highest resolution EVF currently available in a mirrorless camera (the former EVF champions sit at a still-respectable 5.76M-dot resolution). This should put to rest any claims by photographers that mirrorless EVFs just can’t compete with OVFs, because a near 10M-dot EVF is going to look insanely good.
The a7S III also features a new AF system, offering 759 phase-detection points, as well as 10 frames-per-second continuous shooting with a buffer of 1000+ RAW images.
All this seems extremely impressive, but for one major feature:
The a7S III only packs 12 MP, which is perfect for video but deeply disappointing for still photographers, especially in the current resolution-hungry market. These days, full-frame cameras offer a resolution of at least 20 MP, but often push higher, from 24 MP in the Sony a7 III to 61 MP in the Sony a7R IV.
Of course, there are photographers out there who aren’t caught up in the megapixel craze, and those folks might be willing to use the a7S III for still shooting, assuming they also have significant video needs. But megapixels aren’t just about marketing; a 12 MP camera does offer serious limitations in terms of high-resolution printing, as well as cropping in post-processing.
So while the a7S III is a truly impressive video camera, it (like its predecessors) sacrifices too much to be a serious still photography option for most shooters.
The a7S III will hit the shelves in September for an MSRP of $3500 USD, and is currently available for preorder here.
Now over to you:
What do you think about the a7S III? Are you pleased? Disappointed? And would you use it for still photography? Share your thoughts in the comments!