Sony a7S III Review

This is a review guide covering the Sony a7S III.

In this all-new guide you’ll learn about:

Let’s dive in.

In a hurry? Here’s the quick summary

Sony a7S III

If you are looking for a great video camera in a compact form factor this is one of the best cameras in the business.

Yes, the pricing is stiff, but you get exactly what you pay for, and more.

For someone who does not do high-resolution stills, the Sony a7S III is perfect.

One camera that does it all. We highly recommend it.

Pros and Cons Sony a7S III

Pros
  • Back-side illuminated sensor design capable of superior performance in low light situations.
  • Paired with Sony’s BIONZ XR image processor, known for superior low light and increased processing speed
  • Low-res sensor, meaning larger pixel sizes and better low light performance.
  • UHD/4K video at a phenomenal 120p frame rate
  • One of the fastest autofocusing cameras in the market with 759-hybrid AF points.
  • A two-chip design that separates the image and video processing tasks from data management leading to faster performance.
Cons
  • The price of the camera is beyond the reach of most amateurs and beginners

Sony a7S III Specs

If you pick up the camera in hand and do a casual focusing of a subject, you will immediately realize that the camera is super-fast when it comes to autofocus.

On-chip phase detection autofocusing using 759-phase detection AF points is a breeze to work with.

Not only that the camera comes with advanced facial recognition and tracking system that can easily track faces, and eyes. This is extremely useful when tracking a subject moving about in the frame.

However, my experience of using the camera tells me that still autofocusing is far superior to what I have experienced with video autofocusing. Video autofocusing sometimes is a bit laggy compared to still autofocusing.

If you are looking for a high-resolution sensor with a meaty megapixel count the a7S III is not your camera. if you are looking for the cheapest interchangeable lens camera the A7SIII is not for you.

This camera is meant for users who are looking for fantastic low-light performance and video quality in a small frame and are prepared to pay for it.

The a7S III isn’t cheap but it makes up for that with a long list of features.

Sony a7S III

A low-resolution full-frame camera means that the individual light-gathering photodiodes are bigger.

Which in turn means that they are better suited for capturing a lot of light. This is handy when shooting in low-light conditions.

Additionally, the sensor features back-side illuminated (BSI) technology which means that the wiring, etc. on the chip is at the back and not on the same surface as the photodiodes.

Normally, photosensors are designed with light-sensitive photodiodes as well as the supporting wiring, etc. are all placed on the same surface.

This causes clutter leading to a loss in light gathering performance. The result is noise.

BSI sensors are largely immune to this problem that is generated because of the wiring that is also on the same side as the photodiodes.

Therefore, the a7S III is an excellent low-light performer.

Sony a7S III

It is also pertinent to mention here that the BIONZ XR image processor makes its debut in the a7S III.

This processor gives the camera all the muscle power it needs to handle low light conditions along with complex video processing.

Speaking of low light performance, the standard ISO range of the camera is 80-102400 which when extended is 40 – 409600.

The a7S III is also suitable for fast action and wildlife photography. Anything where you need to fire a lot of frames in a short time frame.

This camera is capable of firing 10 fps in a continuous burst at full resolution for a maximum of up to 1000 frames.

It also helps that the a7S III is a two-chip design. To elaborate one chip handles the video and still image processing while the other chip ensures that the camera can handle all the data management stuff.

The two-chip design enhances the speed and efficiency of the camera.

Sony a7S III Design

The Sony a7S III is great to hold in your hands. The construction is beautiful. It feels like a solidly built design.

The deep finger grip allows a lot of room to hold the camera securely. The fact that this is a lightweight camera means you can use it for an extended period and yet have no issues (no pain as such in your arms like when you use a DSLR).

The only design-related issue is the thumb rest at the back of the camera.

This space looks too claustrophobic, and you can unintentionally activate either the AEL or push the joystick when trying to operate some other control.

Sony a7S III

The buttons and dials are mostly on the right of the camera except for the Menu and the Custom 3 button. The top panel houses the main shooting mode dial, the exposure compensation dial, and the control dial.

Again, I am not a big fan of how the video button has been positioned between the power button and the exposure compensation dials.

The back of the camera is dominated by the 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen. It is bright and offers plenty of resolution so that one can easily compose images and videos and review them under bright sunlight.

Sony a7S III Image Quality

Still, images straight out of the camera are amazing. Details are great and the colors are accurate.

I would even say that most of the time your JPEGs are good enough to be shared straight out of your camera. Of course, no one buys the a7S III for shooting JPEGs alone.

The RAW dynamic range of the camera is excellent. You can safely push the shadows in post-processing and retrieve a lot of detail without adding a lot of noise.

It does capture a lot of detail in the shadows which you can push during post-processing without inducing any significant amount of noise. Is the camera ISO invariant?

Not quite. I would put the Sony a7III as a better ISO invariant camera than the a7S III, thanks to that camera’s dual-gain chip technology.

As I had mentioned above the a7S III isn’t the sort of camera that captures a lot of detail. If you would want to print large and with a lot of detail, then the a7S III isn’t your camera.

There are other much better choices available.

If you love cropping your images then also the a7S III isn’t your best bet because of the low-res.

But if it is simply great still photography performance (and video performance) then you would be delighted with the a7S III.

Sony a7S III

Sony a7S III Video Quality

Thanks to the powerful BIONZ XR image processor and the low resolution of the sensor the a7S III is capable of shooting 4K/UHD footage at a maximum frame rate of 120p.

However, the higher frame rate is associated with a crop of the sensor (about 1.1x).

When using the full width of the sensor the camera is going to need a lot more processing and therefore the frame rate drops down to 60p. Which I feel is still great.

The dynamic range of the camera is incredible. Sony states that the camera can produce up to 15 stops of dynamic range.

Otherwise, you can always use the 1.1x crop and take advantage of the higher frame rate.

It would be wonderful to capture slow-motion 4K/UHD footage that you can use in your videos.

Some dedicated Sony users have complained that the a7S III was perhaps better suited as a camera that could shoot 8K at least via an external recorder.

But I guess the fact that it shoots 4K/UHD natively is a great thing too. I have seen how many cameras suffer from heat issues when shooting oversampled 4K footages and the a7S III has none of those issues.

At least none can be a deal-breaker. One important thing to note is that the a7S III does not shoot DCI 4K, even when you connect it to an external recorder and that I think is a shame.

Sony a7S III Overall Performance

The Sony a7S III is an all-rounder. It shoots stills, it is great for shooting videos, it is good for portraits, low light images, sports, wildlife, and other genres.

It can pretty much take care of every genre you can throw at it. The only time it finds itself a little short of breath is when you need large high-resolution prints.

Concluding Remarks

We hope you enjoyed this review guide on the Sony a7S III.

Consider everything we’ve reviewed as to whether this is the right camera for you!

Also, check out the full list of 12 Best Lenses for Sony a7iii: 2021 Guide.

Have fun, good luck, and keep photographing!

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