To say that this has been a long time coming, would be an understatement. After years of watching Sony launch A7R after A7R, Sony’s finally announced that they will be launching a brand new A7S and it’s called the A7S III.
Now, there isn’t much information surrounding this particular camera just yet, and all we got in the mail was an image with a date and time printed on it, alongside the A7S III logo. The 28th of July 2020 at 10pm MYT. What’s interesting to me is that the text below that date reads “Imagination in Motion” which doesn’t really tell me anything about what to expect from the camera.
For those who are perhaps unfamiliar with Sony’s line of full-frame mirrorless A7 shooters, they’re designed to occupy three distinct categories. There’s the A7R which is for “High Resolution”, the A7S which is for “High Sensitivity”, and the A7 which is designed to strike a balance between the two.
In other words, the A7R is the one with the big megapixel numbers, while the A7S is for low-light shooting.
And the reason why cameras like the A7S (and A7S II) are so popular is because they are incredible at what they do. Low-light has always been the bane of videography because its much harder to get nice-looking low light footage for video than it is for photos.
But, with the A7S’ unique approach of using fewer megapixels so each individual pixel is larger and more sensitive to light, you could practically see in the dark with one of those cameras. Famously, the BBC used these small full-frame mirrorless cameras to capture wildlife in the night for their Planet Earth II documentary series.
If using fewer pixels which are individually larger and more sensitive to light sounds familiar, it’s because that’s the route many smartphones have taken with their hardware to improve low-light performance as well.
So, it’s easy to see why the A7S cameras are beloved by videographers. But the problem is, since the A7S II launched in 2015, we’ve gone nearly five years without an update. Meanwhile, the A7R is already on its fourth iteration with the A7R IV. Of course, you could take that as a reflection of the world’s obsession with resolution in photography, but that’s a discussion for another time.
In any case, it looks like the wait will be over soon because there is no mistaking the fact that Sony will be launching a brand new A7S III. Now, we don’t know much about what the camera will actually be capable of because Sony hasn’t revealed anything just yet.
All we know is that in an interview with DPReview, Sony says they’ve done “a complete redesign”, including a new image sensor. Of course, none of that has stopped the rumour mill from churning and we’ve already seen a couple of alleged specs you could look forward to with the new camera.
Reports indicate a redesigned 12MP image sensor (likely a stacked CMOS sensor), 16bit RAW output with 15 stops of dynamic range. It’ll also apparently be capable of shooting 4K at 120fps at 10-bit 4:2:2, 1080p at 240fps, as well as 4K RAW video over HDMI.
The A7S III will apparently have a bitrate of 600Mbps and a base ISO of 160 for S-LOG3.
One of the more interesting and exciting things for me is that the A7S III is rumoured to have a full articulating touchscreen and no record time limits. It’ll also support UHS-II SD card slots which is always more practical to me.
Beyond that, there isn’t much else, but all I know is that I’ll be looking forward to the 28th of July 2020, so stay tuned for all the details of that launch.