Alright, so the Sony a7S III has been announced and it is a really good camera. I know this, because I’ve used one.
A handful of days ago, Matti Haapoja invited me over to his office and he surprised me with the a7S III.
[Matti] “The Sony a7S III.”
[Daniel] “You’re joking.”
[Daniel] “I can hold it?”
[Matti] “I think that’s okay.”
[Daniel] “Are you serious?”
[Daniel] “I don’t understand. But is this—? This is why I’m here.”
[Matti] “This is why I invited you. You wanna? So, um, can you help me test it out?”
[Daniel] “Yeah, yeah.”
[Matti] “Yeah? You’re okay with that?”
[Daniel] “Please. Yeah.”
Now there’s already a whole bunch of reviews for this camera up on YouTube from a bunch of great channels. I’m not gonna waste my time and your time regurgitating all of the specs and the new things they’ve changed. I’m just gonna touch on some of the things I specifically like, and then tell you whether or not I think it’s worth it.
The Sony a7S III is really, really good. And I’ve already pre-ordered mine, and I’m looking forward to getting it. I paid full price, have to wait just as long as everyone else. The screen flips out; there’s better doors on the side of the camera where all those ports are; and the overall, the a7s III is a slightly beefier camera, and you can feel it when you hold it. It definitely has a little bit more of a fatter grip on it than the a7 III, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s actually kind of good if you want to get smooth shots.
Filming with the a7S III was a lot of fun, as Matti mentioned in his review. I was able to get a top down angle handheld, while being able to see the screen. This is totally new for me, because on my a7 III, if I held it out like this, I can’t really see the display. I would have to use an external monitor.
When I was recording the 120 frames per second footage in 4k, I was using a regular video mode just like I would on my a7 III. I tend to stay away from S&Q, because I want the one-hundred percent regular speed, and then slow it down if I choose to in editing.
With 1080p 240 frames per second, you have to shoot using S&Q mode, which isn’t a big deal because it’s 240 frames per second. But just something to keep in mind: when you’re recording those slow-mo shots in 240 frames per second, it’s going to come off of the memory card already slowed down. That’s a little bit of a different workflow for myself, really not a big deal, and it was a lot of fun to use.
Now, the quality of the footage in 240 frames per second was surprisingly good. I actually wasn’t even expecting the camera to have 240 frames per second. So when I found out it did, and then I tried it, and I put on the computer, I was like, “huh, this is actually really solid!”
Now, keep in mind you’re not going to be recording 1080 240 in low light. If you don’t have a lot of light, it’s gonna get noisy and muddy very quickly, and you’ll lose a ton of detail. So, if you plan on using that mode, keep in mind, you will need a lot of lights.
Now for the 4K, I never got to use the 4K 60, which is apparently even better, and it looks great, based on videos I’ve seen like on Potato Jet’s channel. But the 4k 120 which I did get to use also looks incredible, especially because of that 10-bit footage. The colors just look better than the a7 III; the footage looks sharper; the skin tones look nicer: overall, big improvement.
Now, if you’re thinking about getting this camera, there is a huge thing to keep in mind: and that is that, if you plan on editing 10-bit 4:2:2 footage, you better have computer that can handle it.
I have a pretty good MacBook Pro. These are my specs up on the screen here.
Editing the 4K 8-bit footage from my Sony a7 III in Final Cut Pro X on my Mac, was not an issue at all. I never really had problems rendering or with lag, unless I added a lot of motion blur or stabilization things like that might start to start to slow it down a little bit. But with the a7 III, it was very easy.
Now on the other hand, the 4K 120 in 10-bit from the Sony a7S III, the only way I was actually able to do anything with the footage at all, was by creating proxies, which isn’t a big deal. It just takes a bit of extra time when you’re importing the footage to create all those proxy files. Once I have those proxy files, I can toggle back and forth between the original and optimized and the proxy files and it edited like a dream.
But that’s definitely something to keep in mind if you plan on getting the a7S III. It’s kind of tough to edit the footage, unless you make proxies.
A lot of people have been asking me: do I think you should get the a7S III? Do I recommend the camera? And it’s a no-brainer. I definitely recommend it because it’s fantastic.
But there’s a big, big however to all of this. And that is if you already have a camera, a decent camera like a Sony a7 III, or a Sony a6500, or a Canon EOS R, or a Canon 5D, or a Panasonic GH4, or GH5, whatever it might be. If you have a decent camera already, but you haven’t invested in good lighting and audio, you need to worry about that first.
For the price of one Sony a7S III, body only, and a CFexpress card, you could instead get a Sony a7 III, and Aputure 120d with a light dome, a wireless lav microphone kit, a subscription to a music licensing service like Epidemic Sound, for like two years, and still have money left over for maybe another lens or some accessories.
All things considered, the a7S III is really good bang for buck. It’s really good value for what it is, but it’s still quite expensive. That’s a lot of dough, and if you haven’t invested in especially lighting and audio, hundred percent do that first. Worry about upgrading your camera later, because if you already have a camera, you don’t need it.
You need lighting and audio. You don’t need 4k 120 10-bit.
But those are my overall thoughts on the Sony a7S III. I hope you found this video helpful in some sort of way, if it helps you make a decision in your purchases or non-purchases.
Either way, great camera, well-worth the money. I’ve preordered mine, and I suggest you get one as well, if you want one. Otherwise, invest in what really matters, which is lighting, audio, and music.