Sony Alpha 7S III (A7S III) review, the new Night King

We had the opportunity to get our hands on Sony’s latest mirrorless hybrid for a big week, the long-awaited Alpha 7SIII, designed above all for videographers. Here are our impressions!

Sony Alpha 7S III A7S III review

After intense rumors for years, the Sony Alpha 7S III (A7S III) is finally here. It must be said that it was awaited by photographers and especially videographers, as the Sony Alpha 7SII had had the effect of a bomb on the sector, propelling the popularity of Sony mirrorless hybrids to the level of the Canon 5D Mark II, the old ultimate reference.

But if the successor to the Alpha 7SII, landed five years later, hopes to continue to make the brand prosper at the top, competitors have worked hard to catch up with Sony and even overtake it, like Canon and its R5, racing beast capable of shooting in 8K, and Panasonic with its Lumix S1H, full format capable of recording in 6K.

The Alpha 7SIII only films “in” 4K. But is it enough to justify the approximately 4,200 euros requested when it was released to acquire this box? This is what we will see during this Sony Alpha 7S III (A7S III)!

Sony Alpha 7S III A7S III review

Sony A7S III at the best price Base price: €4,199

Handling and Ergonomics

The Sony Alpha 7SIII in this test is in line with its predecessors. Unlike the Lumix S1H and another Canon R5, Sony continues to offer a tiny box with a very sleek look, without skimping on its sensor, which remains a full-frame 24×36.

The grip remains very good on this Sony A7SIII, very light with only 614 grams on the scale, even if the small size of the case can make it a little disproportionate depending on the optics that we will attach to it. Nevertheless, it feels good to have a case with such capabilities in such a compact format, unlike the heavy monsters that the competition sometimes offers us.

Sony Alpha 7S III A7S III review
The 12-24mm lens looks monstrous in front of this small body

But if the case looks like that of an Alpha 7III, we noted many notable changes during this test of the Sony A7SIII, starting with this adjustable screen on a ball joint (finally!) which will delight vloggers. This is, in our opinion, a non-negligible advantage on this type of device primarily dedicated to video, and it is above all the first Alpha 7 to be equipped with it.

But that doesn’t mean that Sony has skimped on the viewfinder, which has no less than 9 million points at 120 Hz! A huge upgrade that makes the Sony A7SIII the hybrid with the best viewfinder in terms of resolution on the market.

Sony Alpha 7S III A7S III review

Finally, on the side of the various buttons placed on the case, here too Sony has undertaken a major cleaning and offers its fans some much-awaited corrections. Three customizable buttons – C1, C2 and C3 – a wheel with detent to choose its mode, plus various wheels to adjust the aperture and speed, or even a wheel dedicated to exposure, joystick, “AF ON” button…

Also, the REC button is now placed on the top of the case, rather than on the back like on the A7III where it was quite difficult to reach quickly. Finally, there is a double SD slot on the right, compatible with both standard cards and CFexpress Type-A, a new memory card format capable of reaching speeds of up to 700 MB/s in write and 800 MB/s read, and sized for 4K recording at extreme bitrates.

Sony Alpha 7S III A7S III review

And that’s not all, because we noticed that Sony has also greatly modified its menus during this Sony Alpha 7S III (A7S III) test, which were previously widely criticized for their lack of clarity, especially compared to what Canon and Panasonic.

This time, the gas plant is frankly lighter and the menus of this Sony A7SIII are largely inspired by those, very clear, of Panasonic, which is not to displease us. If there are still some badly arranged sections, it is a very big step forward and one of the major problems of the old Alpha 7 has just been globally corrected.

Sony Alpha 7S III A7S III review
Like an air of Lumix…

Image quality

Although visually similar to other devices in the Alpha line, Sony claims to have ” everything changes “ on this third iteration of the Alpha S, from the sensor to the processor, including the viewfinder and the settings. The main point remains this famous sensor touted as being ultra-sensitive.

It’s a 24×36 full-frame sensor with “only” 12.1 megapixels, well below most of its competitors that hover around 24 megapixels, and far behind larger cameras. oriented photos that seek the 50 million pixels.

But after all, these approximately 12 million pixels – if they prove to be a bit “fair” for certain photographers – are part of Sony’s strategy to offer the Sony A7SIII extreme sensitivity. The camera is indeed capable of climbing up to… 409,600 ISO.

A real little feat, especially since the images remain largely usable beyond ISO 12,800 depending on the situation, with excellent management of electronic noise. The device is literally able to see in the dark.

Sony Alpha 7S III A7S III review

On this Sony A7SII, no 8K like the Canon R5 or even 6K like the Lumix S1H, but the best 4K on the market, Sony tells us, and we have to admit it: we are sure of excellence, if is not anymore. Not only will this ultra-sensitive sensor allow us to shoot in 4K in (very) low light, but the device is capable of recording at this resolution at an impressive bit rate of 600 Mbit/s at 60 fps, in 4: 2:2 10 bit internally!

All without even showing the slightest sign of heating, and without a time limit. New on this model: we can finally film in 120 fps in 4K, but also up to 240 fps in Full HD, which is ideal for successful slo-mo. This makes it a device of choice for filming music videos, in particular. Finally, there are new improved S-Gamut3 and S-Gamut3.Cine color spaces and HDR recording can now be done in Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) mode, completing the experience definitely worthy of a professional camera. .

Finally, a word on the autofocus, which we found simply excellent (and also available in 120 fps). Face or eye tracking is simply flawless, and it even works on animals. Even if professional videographers will rather focus on manual focus, this particularly reliable, fast and efficient autofocus could well fill them.

And since pictures are worth a thousand words, here are some shots captured using this Sony A7SIII, with two lenses: a Sony FE 12-24mm F4 of the G series (otherwise exceptional) as well as a Sony FR 24-70 GM. We let you admire the results, and of course we invite you to go to YouTube to see the first video creations made with this device.

Where to buy it and at what price?

The Sony A7SIII was available when it was launched at a price of 4199 euros.

Sony A7S III at the best price Base price: €4,199

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