Sony A7S III Release; With all the corona pandemic situation that is currently going on, it seems like this doesn’t hold camera manufacturers from releasing their new products.
Looking back, we know that Canon just released the duo EOS R5 and R6 with all those breakthrough features they offer on paper.
Even if the preorder will start likely on August, but the excitement toward these two cameras are huge, especially with that uncropped 8K video in 29.97 fps on EOS R5.
This camera seems to set up a new standard of videography in such a compact fullframe mirrorless body. Well, not to mention that overheating issue that both R5 and R6 might have but… who cares when you have uncropped 8K, right?
And now, challenge’s accepted by Sony. It was started from an interview between DPReview and Kenji Tanaka, Sony’s VP and Senior General Manager of Business Unit 1; Digital Imaging Group, that was published on June 29th 2020.
From Mr. Kenji’s statement, it’s confirmed that a successor of the Alpha 7S II will be released later this summer. Further, he also stated that the new camera will be redesigned completely in terms of system as well as the image sensor.
One notable statement from Mr. Tanaka is when he said the “S” tagline on the original A7S used to stand for “Sensitivity”. But now, it stands for “Supreme”.
With all that bold statement, can you imagine how the new camera will be? Especially because Sony has to work extra hard this time, remembering that some other competes have release their video centric camera with mostly positive reception such as Canon with its R5 and R6, and Panasonic with its S1H and possibly the upcoming GH6.
The game of video centric camera is very interesting this year. And this time, it’s Sony’s turn to defend their leading position in videography by coming up with Sony A7S III release this season.
Sony A7S III Release: What to bring on table and what to expect
Rumor that Sony will release a new camera which focuses more on video has been going around a little while. But, there was no clue especially about specification, except the minimum information given by Mr. Kenji Tanaka in an interview with DPReview, indicating that the successor of Sony A7S II will be released soon.
Until finally on July 15th, it’s revealed by Sony Alpha Rumors that the upcoming camera is likely to be named Sony A7S III, and indeed it will focus on video, just like its predecessor.
Along with the news, Sony Rumors also recap some features that will probably will offered by the new A7S series.
Will these features answer many open question on video centric camera such as limited recording time in high res video quality and overheat issue, like what happen on both Canon’s R5 and R6 series? We’ll see by the time of Sony A7S III Release.
Sony’s New Passive Cooling System is Likely to be Introduced
One thing that is very noticeable from the leaked information regarding Sony A7S III Release is the new cooling system that may be introduced by Sony in this series.
If this is true, then this feature will be a direct response to R5 and R6’s overheating issue. Based on rumor, the cooling system applied will be a passive one.
This is very different approach from what Panasonic just did on their new Lumix S1H.
Passive cooling system that will be applied by Sony is in the form of slit on the camera side that contain the most components in it. This slit will allow air to get in and out to cool down the components.
This slit should be equipped with some kind of enclosure too, or what Sony Alpha Rumors calls it “mesh”, just to make sure that the camera is still weather shield.
There’s still not much information’s revealed about the technical matter of how the passive cooling system will be applied, but we can take reference from Panasonic Lumix S1H.
S1H uses what it’s called active cooling system by applying some kind of mini fan on the back of the sensor. This mini fan will rotate to trigger airflow that will cool down the component.
By using this system, Panasonic can extend recording time because camera can manage its temperature efficiently, so that it doesn’t have to stop recording whet it’s overheat.
But, what we will see on Sony A7S III Release will be a totally different system. It’s passive cooling, and one thing that’s very beneficial from this passive cooling system is obviously how quiet it is.
The noise created will be very minimum, and this is a smart move from Sony especially because A7S Line is aimed specifically for videography. Of course we don’t want to hear the noise from cooling system interrupt the audio quality, right? However, it doesn’t mean that active cooling system on S1H is not good because it is very good too.
However, by having passive system, it brings more efficiency on lower power consumption so the camera can last a little bit longer.
Sony A7S III Construction; Similar to the A7R IV?
Popular reviews suggest that Body conduction on Sony A7S III will be using strong magnesium alloy construction. While the design is similar to the A7R IV, and it’s expected to have rear joystick control that we missed on A7S II.
Yes, it’ll be nice to have rear joystick control as this can be very useful especially when controlling focus. About the dimension, the new camera may be a bit thicker due to the passive cooling system placement on the back of the camera.
This means that the new A7S will be having a vein on the back, which brings addition in terms of dimension. Besides, what we will see on Sony A7S III Release is the highest resolution of electronic viewfinder.
The expected number of resolution is 9.44 million dots. With higher refresh rate, the EVF is expected to bring clearer view on frame area with unnoticeable blackout.
Sony A7S III Display
Aside from the EVF, camera display also becomes a good topic to talk. Sony is notoriously known as camera manufacturer that doesn’t really like to play creative on display.
We saw many companies like Fuji, Canon, or even Panasonic has been so vocal about camera display by offering fully articulating screen in wider variations. While Sony, the last time we breath a fresh air of flipping screen on Sony’s mirrorless camera was on the current A6400.
However, flipping screen on A6400 seems to be old-fashioned compared to others. Especially with that mechanism, flip up mechanism that’s similar to the old A5100, there’s possibility for the microphone to block the screen view.
If we place microphone right on top of hotshoe, then the flip screen will be blocked anyway. So, we need to repositioned the microphone to the side (not right on top of hot shoe) just to make the screen if fully visible from the front side. So tricky.
This is why Sony A7S III is expected to have fully articulating screen. Again, just like what Panasonic did on their recent S1H video centric camera which is innovative, and very usable. Or, at least the company can take reference from the currently released ZV1, a new vlogging camera from Sony.
Image Sensor; Will Sony Increase the Megapixel Count on the New Sony A7S III?
There’s still nothing much confirmed about the sensory aspect of this camera. But, seeing the history of A7S line, the new Sony A7S III will likely inherit the same 12 MP sensor from its predecessor.
Original A7S was released back on 2014, and its successor was released one year later on 2015. Both of these A7S are using 12 MP sensor that is very not common.
We said it not common because many cameras released at that time, or even now, are competing with the number of megapixel counts. But who knows if by applying lower megapixel counts is actually a smart move for Sony.
Lower megapixel count means that A7S has larger pixel size on the sensor. And by larger pixel size, it means that the pixels are able to gather more lights, making it more sensitive to the light.
Now we know why the “S” on this camera stands for “Sensitivity”, right? Yes, sensitivity plays a big role in the A7S series. With this sensitivity, ISO range in this camera can be hugely expanded from 100 – 102,400 all the way up to 409,600.
Considering the fact that Sony didn’t increase megapixel count from A7S to A7S II, it seems like the company will still use the same 12 MP sensor on Sony A7S III Release.
However, there will be many significant updates especially on faster readout. Sony Alpha Rumors also gives us a hint that the Quad Bayer 48 MP sensor with effective 12 MP will likely to be used.
Video Capability; No Recording Time Limit?
When it comes to video recording capability, the big question raised is whether or not Sony needs to push the resolution to 8K, just like what Canon did on R5. There’s a bit controversy here.
Some people says the company needs to at least push it to 6K or even 8K to properly compete with Canon. But the popular opinion is otherwise. Many suggests that pushing way too far to 8K is not necessity in 2020, yet.
So the company doesn’t have to do that on Sony A7S III Release. Yes, having 6K or even 8K is nice, but it’s just not a necessity. In fact, optimizing 4K Capability is much more preferred here.
DCI 4K and No recording time limit
Talking further about video resolution, still from the same source, Sony Alpha Rumors, it says that the new A7S III will be capable of shooting 4K video in 120 fps, and 1080 video at 240 fps.
We also expect the camera can record DCI 4K in 60p. If this is happening, then it will be a significant upgrade from the Sony A7S II which currently can record UHD 4K.
More interestingly, source also says that there will be no recording limit, and no overheating issue (we’ve talked about passive cooling system in front, right?). About the recording limit, Sony really pushes the boundary here.
Most similar camera on the market are limited to specific time when it comes recording in high resolution. As an example is the EOS R5 that can only record 8K in 20 minutes.
And start to heat up in 30 minutes when recording 4K in 30p. Overheating is really a big issue for hi res video recording so, if Sony can make no recording limit even in 4K 120 fps, it will be a game changer.
Moreover, 5 stops dynamic range is rumored to be possible on 16 bit RAW output. The camera also records in 10-bit 4:2:2 4K/120p video and 4K/120 RAW video over HDMI. Having maximum bitrate in 600 Mbps, A7S is expected to support UHS-II SD card type.
Sony A7S III Release Date and Price
With all those advanced features that are expected to be presented in the new A7S, this camera is really worth waiting. As we mentioned earlier, the game of video centric camera is neat this yer.
Not only facing Canon with its new EOS R5, Sony will face Panasonic with its S1H and presumably the upcoming GH6, so indeed, the company really needs to work this time to make everything about this new camera is right in place.
Although there’s still no clue about Sony A7S III price, but some sites has made price assumption for this camera. Techradar for example, it suggests that the price of this new A7S is estimated to range around $2,999/£2,849/AU$4,400.
While in photographytalk, it predicts that price may range around $3000. Indeed, it’s hard to predict price in this time being, but those price prediction at least can give you a hint of how much money you need to save to afford this camera.
About the date, Sony A7S III Release date has been decided. The company has made an official announcement stating that they will arrange a release event entitled “Imagination in Motion” on July 28th 2020 at 10 am EDTC (4UTC). This is a launch even is specially held to welcome the new A7S III. Will this camera be a success in this difficult time? We’ll see.