Sony is poised to release the α7s Mark III, its latest video-centric mirrorless camera with a new 12.1-megapixel BSI sensor, support for 4K 10-bit 4:2:2 video and a 15-stop dynamic range.

Front view of the new Sony α7s Mark III camera with no lens fitted. (Source: Sony.)

Arriving roughly five years after the α7S II, the new camera features an improved 12.1-megapixel back-illuminated full-frame Exmor R CMOS sensor with fast readout coupled to a new BIONZ-XR processor with eight times more computing power than the previous image processor and a significantly reduced rolling shutter effect. Like the α7S II, the new camera has been designed primarily for professional video recording. It also offers an expanded sensitivity range, with a native ISO range of 80-102400, plus extensions to 80-409600 for video and 40-409600 for stills. Enhanced noise reduction processing provides a one-stop improvement in image quality, especially in the middle and high sensitivity ranges. Gradation rendering has also been refined for better looking skin tones and highlight roll-off in portraits, while a new Visible light + IR Sensor delivers more precise white balance control under artificial lighting.

Top view of the new Sony α7s Mark III camera with no lens fitted. (Source: Sony.)

Rear view of the new Sony α7s Mark III camera with no lens fitted. (Source: Sony.)

This illustration shows the adjustability of the new camera’s monitor screen. (Source: Sony.)

The α7S III is the first Sony digital camera to include the HEIF (High Efficiency Image File Format), which can record smooth 10-bit gradations and uses advanced compression technology to maintain image quality while significantly reducing file size and saving storage space. HEIF stills shot in this mode can be played back on a compatible Sony HDR (HLG) TV via a direct HDMI connection. Continuous shooting is available at up to 10fps or up to 8fps in live view mode, using either the mechanical or electronic shutter. Buffer memory capacity extends to more than 1,000 uncompressed RAW images.

The system architecture for the new Alpha 7S III has been completely redesigned. Video capabilities include support for internal 4K video recording at both 60 and 120 frames/second with 10-bit 4:2:2 colour sampling, plus RAW video recording to an external device with 16-bit colour sampling. But unlike Canon’s EOS R5, it doesn’t record 8K footage and downsample it. Instead, the sensor’s 12.1-megapixel resolution enables it to support full-pixel readout without pixel binning and with very slight frame cropping (1.1x) at up to 4K / 60p recorded internally. A new heat dissipating mechanism and dual slot relay recording extend the maximum recoding time to one hour without overheating.

The α7s Mark III camera can be fitted out with a full video rig. (Source: Sony.)

Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) recording is available at up to 240p with 4:2:2 chroma sub-sampling and a 10-bit colour depth. The α7S III also offers time-lapse recordings, with frame rates as slow as one second available in the Slow & Quick mode. Recording codecs have been updated with a new XAVC-HS codec (MPEG-4 HEVC/H.265) supporting internal intra-frame (All-I) compression at bit-rates up to 600 Mbps. Professional logarithmic gamma profiles include three colour gamut settings: S-Gamut, S-Gamut3, and S-Gamut3.Cine, the latter to providing easy integration with a multi-camera post-production workflow. The new camera also includes an HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) BT.2020 and BT.2100 profiles to deliver instant HDR content with minimal post-production. It also allows 16-bit RAW output to an external recorder via the HDMI Type-A port for additional post-production flexibility. For video on-the-go, the α7S III is the first Alpha series camera to include Active Mode handheld movie shooting with 5-axis in-body image stabilisation.

The α7S III is the first in the Alpha 7S series with Fast Hybrid AF, which combines phase- and contrast-detection AF and has 759 phase-detection points covering 92% of the image sensor. The system can focus reliably in light levels down to EV-6. Real-time Tracking can be initiated by simply touching the subject on the screen and Real-time Eye AF engages when an eye is detected. The latter provides 30% better detection performance, even when the subject isn’t looking at the camera. Seven AF Transition Speed settings are available, making it easy to easily create rack-focus transitions. Five AF Subject Shift Sensitivity settings are also provided, along with Touch Tracking. Touch Focus can be used in manual focus mode as well as remotely from the Imaging Edge Mobile application.

The new vari-angle touch-screen monitor makes it easy to record movies from different angles. (Source: Sony.)

Physical improvements to the camera body include a redesigned grip, a more prominent REC button, an improved dust removal feature, plus dust and moisture resistance that maximises reliability in challenging environments. A new side opening, 3-inch 1.44 million-dot touch panel vari-angle rear LCD screen makes it easy to use the camera for gimbal-mounted shots and complicated angles. A new 0.64 type Quad-XGA OLED electronic viewfinder provides the world’s first 9.44 million-dot (approx.) display with a 100 fps refresh rate. With a 0.90x viewfinder magnification, 41-degree diagonal field of view and comfortable 25mm eyepoint, it is also dust, fog and moisture resistant and has switchable modes for different subject types.

Dual  SD-compatible CFexpress Type A compatible media slots are provided. (Source: Sony.)

In another ‘world’s first’ the α7S III features two CFexpress Type A compatible media slots, which also support UHS-I and UHS-II SDXC/SDHC cards. The dual slots can be set to relay mode for extended continuous recording of even the high bit rate data. A revised menu structure provides easier navigation and separate settings can be stored for stills and movie shooting for quick transition between the two. The new camera is also the first in the series to support USB PD (Power Delivery).

The interface ports on the user’s left hand side of the camera. (Source: Sony.)

Catering for photo and video journalists and sports shooters, the α7S III provides several advanced connectivity options, including 5GHz /2.4GHz wireless LAN (IEEE 802.11ac) plus MIMO (multiple-input and multiple-output) to improve communication quality by using multiple antennas. It also carries new USB tethering support. A USB Type-C connector that supports fast SuperSpeed USB 5Gpbs (USB 3.2) data transfer is provided. An optional USB-C-to Ethernet adapter is available for FTP functionality.

The new Alpha 7S III full-frame Interchangeable-lens camera will be available in Australia from early October 2020 for SRP $5,999. Click here for full product details and videos.


Sensor Type 35mm full frame (35.6 x 23.8mm), Exmor R CMOS sensor
No. of pixels (effective) Approx. 12.1 megapixels
No. pixels (total) Approx. 12.9 megapixels
Image Stabilisation Image Sensor-Shift mechanism with 5-axis compensation (Compensation depends on lens specifications) with Active Mode: [Still images] On / Off, [Movie] Active / Standard / Off
RECORDING SYSTEM (STILLS) Format JPEG (DCF Ver. 2.0, Exif Ver. 2.32, MPF Baseline compliant), HEIF (MPEG-A MIAF compliant), RAW (Sony ARW 4.0 format compliant)
Image Quality RAW (Compressed / Uncompressed), JPEG (Extra fine / Fine / Standard), HEIF (4:2:0 / 4:2:2) (Extra fine / Fine / Standard), RAW & JPEG, RAW & HEIF
Colour Space sRGB standard (with sYCC gamut) and Adobe RGB standard compatible with TRILUMINOS Color. BT.2020 standard
Creative Look ST, PT, NT, VV, VV2, FL, IN, SH, BW, SE, Custom Look (1-6)
Recording Settings (PAL) XAVC S-I 4K: 3840 x 2160 [4:2:2 10bit (50p/500Mbps, 25p/250Mbps)] | XAVC S-I HD: 1920×1080 [4:2:2 10bit (50p/185Mbps, 25p/93Mbps)] | XAVC HS 4K: 3840×2160 [4:2:0 10bit (100p/200Mbps,

50p/150Mbps/75Mbps/45Mbps), 4:2:2 10bit (100p/280Mbps, 50p/200Mbps/100Mbps)] |

XAVC S 4K: 3840×2160 [4:2:2 10bit (100p/280Mbps, 50p/200Mbps, 25p/140Mbps)], [4:2:0

8bit (100p/200Mbps, 50p/150Mbps, 25p/100Mbps/60Mbps)] | XAVC S HD: 1920×1080 [4:2:2 10bit (50p/50Mbps, 25p/50Mbps), 4:2:0 8bit (100p/100Mbps/60Mbps, 50p/50Mbps/25Mbps, 25p/50Mbps/16Mbps)]

Slow & Quick Format XAVC S-I, XAVC HS, XAVC S
(S&Q) Frame Rate (PAL) 1fps, 2fps, 3fps, 6fps, 12fps, 25fps, 50fps, 100fps, 200fps
Colour Space BT.2020 standard compatible with TRILUMINOS Color
Picture Profile Yes (Off / PP1-PP10) Parameters: Black level, Gamma (Movie, Still, Cine1-4, ITU709, ITU709 [800%], S-Log2, S-Log3, HLG, HLG1-3), Black Gamma, Knee, Color Mode, Saturation, Color Phase, Color Depth, Detail, Copy, Reset
AUDIO Audio Recording Format LPCM 2ch(48kHz 16bit), LPCM 2ch(48kHz 24bit) , LPCM 4ch(48kHz 24bit) , MPEG-4 AAC-LC 2ch
Microphone Built-in, stereo
Speaker Built-in, monaural
MEDIA Slots 2x Multi slot: CFexpress Type A memory card, SDXC memory card (UHS-I/II compliant), SDHC memory card (UHS-I/II compliant), SD memory card
WHITE BALANCE WB Options Auto / Daylight / Shade / Cloudy / Incandescent / Fluorescent / Flash / Underwater / Color Temperature (2500 to 9900K) & color filter / Custom
FOCUS SYSTEM Type On-sensor Phase Detect + Contrast Detect
Focus Point 759 Phase-Detect + 425 Contrast Detect
AF Modes AF-A (Automatic AF), AF-S (Single-shot AF), AF-C (Continuous AF), DMF (Direct Manual Focus), Manual Focus
Focus Area Wide / Zone / Center / Flexible Spot / Expanded Flexible Spot / Tracking
Eye AF [Still images] Human (Right/Left Eye Select) / Animal, [Movie] Human (Right/Left Eye Select)
EXPOSURE CONTROL Modes AUTO(iAuto), Programmed AE (P), Aperture priority (A), Shutter-speed priority (S), Manual (M), Movie (Programmed AE (P) / Aperture priority (A) / Shutter-speed priority (S) / Manual (M) / Flexible Exp. Mode), Slow & Quick Motion (Programmed AE (P) / Aperture priority (A) / Shutter-speed priority (S) / Manual (M) / Flexible Exp. Mode)
SHUTTER Type Mechanical shutter/Electronic shutter
Shutter Speed Range Still images: 1/8000 to 30 sec, Bulb, Movies: 1/8000 to 1/4 (1/3 steps), up to 1/60 in AUTO mode (up to 1/30 in Auto slow shutter mode)
Flash Sync Speed 1/250
Electronic Front Curtain Yes (ON/OFF)
Silent Shutter Yes (ON/OFF)
Modes Single Shooting, Continuous shooting (Hi+/Hi/Mid/Lo selectable), Self-timer, Self-timer (Cont.), Bracket: Single, Bracket: Cont., White Balance bracket, DRO bracket
INTERFACE Video Output HDMI connector (Type-A), 3840 x 2160 (60p / 50p / 30p / 25p / 24p) / 1920 x 1080 (60p / 50p / 24p) / 1920 x 1080 (60i / 50i), YCbCr 4:2:2 10bit / RGB 8bit | 4264 x 2408 (60p / 50p / 30p / 25p / 24p) Raw 16bit
Hotshoe Multi Interface Shoe
Wireless Yes (Wi-Fi Compatible, IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz band/5GHz band))
NFC Yes (NFC forum Type 3 Tag compatible)
Bluetooth Yes (Bluetooth Standard Ver. 5.0 (2.4GHz band))
USB-C Yes (SuperSpeed USB 5Gbps (USB 3.2) compatible) (Available with USB Type-C Terminal. USB Power Delivery compatible)
CONSTRUCTION Chassis Material Magnesium Alloy
Dust & Weather Resist. Yes
Dimensions Approx. 128.9mm x 96.9mm x 80.8mm, Approx. 128.9mm x 96.9mm x 69.7mm (From grip to monitor)
Weight Approx. 699 g
BATTERY Battery Model NP-FZ100
Battery Life Approx. 510 shots (Viewfinder) / approx. 600 shots (LCD monitor) (CIPA standard), Approx. 80 min. (Viewfinder) / Approx. 95 min. (LCD monitor)(CIPA standard)
INCLUDED Box Contents Rechargeable Battery NP-FZ100, Battery Charger BC-QZ1, Power cord, Cable Protector, Shoulder strap, Body cap, Accessory shoe cap, Eyepiece cup, USB-A to USB-C cable (USB 3.2)