Sony A7S III Review: Unmatched Performance in Low-Light Situations

Sony A7S III ReviewVideo creators employing the Sony full-frame cameras praise the a7s lineup for its impressive low-light performance, native 4K sensor, and compact body. But this Sony A7S III review will make enthusiasts even happier as the model ups the autofocus performance, supports 120 fps at 4K, and eliminates rolling shutter.

Eager to learn more? Keep on reading!

Sony A7S III Review

Specs

  • Type: Mirrorless
  • Connectivity: WiFi, Bluetooth, headphone, microphone, and USB-C
  • Sensor resolution and type: 12MP, BSI CMOS
  • Viewfinder type and magnification: EVF, 0.90x
  • Memory card slots: 2
  • Battery type: Sony NP-FZ100
  • Stabilization: 5-axis IBIS
  • Measurements: 3.8″/5.1″/2.7″
  • Weight: 1.4 pound

Sony A7S III is unbeatable if you demand low-light performance, you shoot long video clips, and your Sony lens collection is decent. Ahead, you will learn more.

Handling & Build

This is a somewhat compact yet solid camera with a crisp and vivid 9.4MP viewfinder, and a fully articulating 1.44 million dot screen. The A7S III has a similar body profile to the A7S II. For starters, there is still a control wheel at the top of the grip, which is connected with a C2 button, an on-off switch, and dials for both exposure and mode.

Handling

These dials can also be locked. However, one of the custom buttons on top of the grip has been replaced with a big record button. This is the mood for a strong emphasis on video shooting.

Even though there is no official weather resistance rating, Sony has promised users that it can cope with drizzle. Plus, all the ports have rubberized covers. These ports add a USB-C port, a full-size HDMI port (a real perk for videographers), a micro USB port (it is interesting to see that the manufacturer added them both), a 3.5mm microphone jack, and a headphone jack. If you are hunting for XLR audio-in, choose an XLR-K3M hot shoe accessory from the brand, with 4 audio inputs. An NFC point and memory card slots are present on the right side.

Plenty of dials and buttons are available at the back, scattered around the screen resembling a trail. For example, starting from the top left corner, there are many buttons, such as C3 and menu buttons. The menu button unveils the welcome touch UI.

Going past the eyepiece, AEL, AF-on, and C1 buttons are arranged neatly. Underneath, a useful 4-way joystick makes surfing the menus a breeze. Lastly, a trash, Fn, gallery, 4-way jog dial, and select buttons round things off.

And let’s not forget the screen – beautifully articulating, angling upward. It boasts a 1.44 million dot resolution and is crisp enough. The touchscreen is viewable outdoors, but not in the brightest light. Moreover, the touch UI deserves praise too. It is quite intuitive with a logical hierarchy of menus.

Users can operate it via a 4-way jog-dial or a finger. It’s odd to think why Sony did not add this feature sooner, but it is still a good feature. However, it’s confusing that the touchscreen is not in the 16:9 aspect ratio even though the camera is video focused.

But if we forget video for a while, the camera’s crisp, vivid viewfinder is a photographer’s heaven. It boasts abundant brightness, outstanding coverage, and sharp clarity. And irrespective of whether you are shooting video or static, the camera puts up amazingly well due to the plethora of high-end specs and controls.

Are you an experienced Canon user? Then the grip on A7S III can feel tight at first, but it still pulls through weight to counterbalance and comfort. All the dials are placed in the right spots, and there are plenty of ways to navigate menus. In simple words, this is a detail-oriented camera, but demands a slight learning curve. 

Performance

Performance

The first thing anyone notices is how amazing it performs in dim lighting conditions. Not only this, ramping up the flexible ISO is a pleasant experience, whose range is 40-409,600. Matter of fact, it is extremely satisfying as the A7S III can handle high sensitivity insanely well.

The low-light capability of the camera is logical, and the S-log color profiles present 15 stops of dynamic range. Plus, it is capable of shooting 4K videos at 120p. Sony has crafted a brand new 12.1MP sensor with massive pixels scattered across the full frame measuring 35mm surface area.

While these specs are nothing new on paper, the back illuminated structure that can ingest more light, double readout speeds of the A7 II sensor, and a new Bionz XR processor fueling things independently, the low-light does not shock anyone.

The sensor resolution means that the A7S III is not capable of recording 6K videos, let alone 8K, immediately putting it behind the Canon EOS RS. But it is able to record for a prolonged period. Like the Sony ZV-1, there are no complications recording for 30 minutes. The only restricting factors are battery life, card capacity, and heat.

Autofocus for both video and image benefits from 759 phase detection focus points, as well as advanced eye tracking which is 30% quicker than on the predecessors. You might be wondering whether it is as good as Canon Dual Pixel AF. To answer you, it is different.

For video especially, Sony offers attractive granular control over the focus speed. It is possible to achieve that pan-focus effect with autofocus by touching the screen when you decrease the focus speed. And it works great, whether you are focusing on a cat, an apple, or rather a person.

Sony partially puts this better focusing down to the sensor sensitivity performance, allowing the camera to recognize subjects in dimmer light. When it comes to power, the latest Z battery delivers a “60% improvement” over the A7S II NP-FW50 performance. On paper, this roughly translates to 95 minutes of video shooting.

The A7S III can capture 4K videos for an hour. This is perfect as opposed to the rivals. In addition to this, owing to the inclusion of a USB-C port, the camera takes advantage of rapid charging technology.

It can easily fuel 4 times faster through a traditional micro USB connector. What is also amazing is that the brand does not impose its lustrous, new, rapid, and expensive memory card format on you. However, it does support it nevertheless.

Priced comparatively to CFast cards, the CFexpress cards are absolute gems.

Owing to the camera’s dual format card slots, users can also employ SDXC V60 cards. This means two memory cards simultaneously. Plus, you are encouraged to mix and match based on your collection. You only really require the ultra high speed CFexpress cards for Sony S&Q recording format at 4K resolution.

With other Sony hangovers excluding the camera (the absence of an articulating touchscreen, chunky menus, and buffer issues), the camera makes us feel heard. This goes on to prove that the manufacturer has at last heard us.

This sigh of relief is joined with brand new improvements and features that make video shooting and everyday captures a stellar treat. For instance, there is a clean 16-bit raw output at 4K 60 fps and support for the new HEIF image format.

Although the sticking point with the camera is always going to be the cost, it is definitely a huge investment prior to shooting if you want to connect it with quick storage and decent glass. 

Image & Video Quality

Moving to the image quality, the camera definitely wins the noise handling aspect. The A7S III boasts virtually no visible image noise irrespective of the footage being captured in extremely dim lighting conditions. It is a liberating camera to employ owing to the extensive ISO range.

Video Quality

Even if you set up the ISO as high as 40,000, the outcome is still usable for particular categories of videos. It blows the lid off a big variety of possibilities while capturing content across difficult lighting conditions, including candlelight, fireworks, and wildlife subjects at dusk. Another aspect which has observed improvements is the rolling shutter.

Historically, Sony cameras have suffered in this compartment, but A7S III quicker readout speeds and a brand new sensor results in the jelly effect being rarely visible, unless you plan seriously.

All this comments on noise handling and impeccable focus performance suggests that this goes beyond being a video camera, and that’s because it does. The 10 fps consistent AF/AE works amazingly well when eye tracking someone walking towards the camera.

Static photography captured indoors appears mesmerizing, with simple incidental pictures in low light conditions packing clarity and ambience commonly missing from out-of-the-camera images. The A7S III is also a top performer if you need to capture mood across images and videos.

Between the outstanding electronic image stabilization, IBIS, and high ISO performance, handheld shooting is a pleasant experience as well. The stabilization does not completely counterbalance handshake, particularly if you are employing a huge lens. However, if you can get a ledge or thigh to rest on, balanced footage can be achieved.

Pros
  • 12MP full-frame sensor.
  • No overheating.
  • Best-in-class low-light video.
  • An articulating touchscreen.
  • Great battery life.
  • Splash and dust resistant.
  • New Touch UI.
  • Eye and face detection.
  • 4K video at 10-bit quality.
  • 5-axis IBIS.
Cons
  • CFexpress cards needed for high-quality slow motion videography.
  • Low resolution for static photography.
  • More expensive than the predecessor.

Final Verdict

This camera is a finely tuned low-light 4K champion, and as per today’s Sony A7S III review, it beats the rivals in many departments.

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