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Sony A7S III - First impressions


Andrew Reid
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9 hours ago, Snowfun said:

I thought @Andrew Reid’s piece was excellent. Useful insights.

The rest of the thread proves one thing - we are all looking for different things from our cameras/tools.

“Brilliant” that we have so many to choose from.

I’m enjoying my Siii.

Very true, I was soo looking forward to dump my Nikon Z6 for the Canon R6 to get good video autofocus until the Canon over heating debacle side track my switch. As much as I like what Panasonic has to offer for full frame hybrid, their video AF is a no go for my needs. I am starting to tell myself, I may have to wait and see what the Sony A7IV will brings to make a move. Who knew it was gonna be this hard in 2020 for manufactures to deliver a "halfway" decent hybrid camera. 

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4 hours ago, Lenscamera said:

Who knew it was gonna be this hard in 2020 for manufactures to deliver a "halfway" decent hybrid camera. 

Lets be honest, its not that there aren't "halfway" decent or perfect cameras - its that our expectations are growing. The benchmark is moved slightly or completely every 3 months.

If we look back to 2008 - Canon 5D Mark 2 or even back to 2012 with the Canon 1DC, now if we threw the Fuji X-S10 into the past - imagine the uproar - imagine the type of monkey wrench that would have placed on the industry - for example, if we pulled that out - just 1 day before Canon announced the 1DC, with the same price it is today. I'm just using Fuji X-S10 as opposed to S1H, A7S3 or R5, because it is really a master of none for today's standards, but throw it back..... people would go crazy.

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46 minutes ago, mkabi said:

Lets be honest, its not that there aren't "halfway" decent or perfect cameras - its that our expectations are growing. The benchmark is moved slightly or completely every 3 months.

I disagree.  I think its more a case that the issues we have with manufacturers still have yet to be addressed.  After so many years, we are still talking about Canon crippling their cameras, Panasonic failing to give us usable AF and Sony being poor at skin tones.  

Yes, the technology has gotten better.  We now have 10 bit 4K, 120fps 4K and external RAW, but the core issues many have wished to see resolved still remain.  Also no hybrid has yet to provide internal ND, something many of us have requested for years.  Canon C70 has added it, but its not a hybrid.   

You talk about 3 months, yet my nearly 4 year old GH5 is still proving hard to justify replacing given the choices available to me.

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I think they are all decent. In fact, more than that, they are all exceptional as in capable of delivering exceptional results.

But no single camera (yet) at everything and that is the part I struggle with. Some are so close, but...

Unless of course the 'perfect' camera does now exist for anyone and probably in a lot of cases, especially non-professional, many are probably being too picky.

Some of what is perceived as camera companies 'holding back' is in some ways understandable.

Take Canon for instance, - the R5 deliberately has overheating issue in order to protect the C70 which does not have IBIS so it steals less sales of the R5.

Sony have presumably kept the A7Siii at 12mp because when the A7iv comes out...

But why Nikon haven't gone 10 bit internal and Panny have not gone phase AF are mysteries to me.

And then there are all these little niggles such as why can't the Canon's write to two card slots when others can and similar small but fundamental things.

The bottom line is I could make any of them work but it's somewhat frustrating that there seems to be 1 thing each fail at for no reason that makes sense to us, the purchasers.

Anyway, I have made my Panasonic bed. I'm going to go and lie in it 😬

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1 minute ago, MrSMW said:

Take Canon for instance, - the R5 deliberately has overheating issue in order to protect the C70 which does not have IBIS so it steals less sales of the R5.

I'm so glad other manufacturers don't follow this line of reasoning.  My 4K TV shuts down after 2 hours of use in order to protect the higher end models.  🤣🤣

Most here understand a tier system for manufacturers products; its the method its done that can irritate.  Panasonic offers extra features on the S1H that the S1 and S5 lack.  This is how it should work and not actually cripple otherwise great video features just to protect other models.  Though Panasonic did risk alienating their clients giving the S5 free vLog the S1 lacks.  Their recent fireware update did help to address any cries of unfairness.

Ultimately I think Sony and Panasonic balance the needs of different products better than Canon.

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So far I'm loving the a7s3. If you need more mp with stills there are numerous options including a7r2's that now sell in the $800 range used - which is insane for the IQ. But the difference with the shutter is jarring - the s3's shutter is so well damped compared to previous Sony models. I've used it with Sony glass, Tamron and Sigma E-mount lenses and Canon/Sigma lenses on the MC11. If the IBIS isn't enough, use the post stabilization, its brilliant. Full size HDMI is a joy, so is external prores which seems to have slightly better color compared to internal. The 120p is so good and the AF sticks to subjects incredibly well. I run it on the Weebill S, just tap where you want the AF point to stick and shoot - its almost always spot on. Slow the transition down and you have some very nice focus pulls. I've been shooting a lot outside here in Florida and so far zero issues. It gets warm, but I've never even triggered the overheat warning. To keep file sizes down with something smooth to edit, I use the h265 with 10-bit 4:2:0, works great.

While there are still a few minor warts, this camera ticks most of the boxes for my video needs - 10-bit, clean slow-mo, great AF, lots of lens options. I would like to see Sony widen the gap between the grip and lens mount and make it taller, Canon has a grip that's so much more comfortable. The cheap Meike grip extension solves the height issue for me. The second gain stage gap is annoying, I shoot to about 2000 or so in Slog3 then just make the jump to 12800 and just ND it because its so much cleaner than everything in between. With other profiles that number changes since the base ISO's are different. I have to keep track of that, sometimes I forget what that second stage is when not in Slog3. I haven't pulled the trigger on Type A cards either, just v90's and the Ninja for now, so no 240fps yet. But overall its been the solid 4k workhorse I've always wanted. No regrets at all. 

Cheers

Chris

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2 hours ago, Trek of Joy said:

So far I'm loving the a7s3.

Glad to hear you found a camera that is going to work well for you. I think for your case you made a great choice with the a7S III

Are you going to bring along a second camera for stills??? (I thought you mentioned you do a lot of stills on the side as well). 

And exactly how bad is the shutter shock of the a7R II??? Is it not usable on a tripod due to the shutter shock??? 

2 hours ago, Trek of Joy said:

With other profiles that number changes since the base ISO's are different. I have to keep track of that, sometimes I forget what that second stage is when not in Slog3.

I remember watching a Gerald Undone video and he mentioned that the dual antive ISO kicks in across all profiles at a certain number of stops above the base ISO. I don't remember off the top of my head what the native ISO values are for Slog 2 (or SLOG 3) on the a7S III, but if I understand correctly, you just figure out the number of stops, then you use that same number of stops difference for all the profiles.

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6 hours ago, mkabi said:

Lets be honest, its not that there aren't "halfway" decent or perfect cameras - its that our expectations are growing. The benchmark is moved slightly or completely every 3 months.

If we look back to 2008 - Canon 5D Mark 2 or even back to 2012 with the Canon 1DC, now if we threw the Fuji X-S10 into the past - imagine the uproar - imagine the type of monkey wrench that would have placed on the industry - for example, if we pulled that out - just 1 day before Canon announced the 1DC, with the same price it is today. I'm just using Fuji X-S10 as opposed to S1H, A7S3 or R5, because it is really a master of none for today's standards, but throw it back..... people would go crazy.

I don't think my expectations and those of people wanting a good full frame hybrid camera are that high. I will be and I am willing to bet many people will be happy with the S5 if it had good video AF. 

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1 hour ago, Mark Romero 2 said:

Glad to hear you found a camera that is going to work well for you. I think for your case you made a great choice with the a7S III

Are you going to bring along a second camera for stills??? (I thought you mentioned you do a lot of stills on the side as well). 

And exactly how bad is the shutter shock of the a7R II??? Is it not usable on a tripod due to the shutter shock??? 

I remember watching a Gerald Undone video and he mentioned that the dual antive ISO kicks in across all profiles at a certain number of stops above the base ISO. I don't remember off the top of my head what the native ISO values are for Slog 2 (or SLOG 3) on the a7S III, but if I understand correctly, you just figure out the number of stops, then you use that same number of stops difference for all the profiles.

I do shoot a lot of stills, sometimes more than video. I do prefer more resolution since some of the stuff I shoot goes beyond social and the web, but 12mp isn't going to hold me back. I just like the cropping flexibility and I do occasionally sell prints of my work, so more is better most of the time. I've only shot about 100 frames with the s3 over the last couple months, its really just a video camera for me at this point as I'm still getting used to working with it. I mostly leave it set in video mode and have the a73 around my neck - sometimes I'm also flying a drone - multitasking at its best LOL! I always carry at least 2 bodies anyway to have a backup, right now its the a73 and sometimes a 5dIV a friend is letting me use, but I'm probably moving to the a7r3 because I really like the output of the 42mp sensor and with most landscapes I can easily get two completely different shots with a crop. Plus I shoot wildlife here in FL and the crop power + the 200-600mm lens is awesome. I've shot tons with the a7r2, shutter shock is not an issue. It was on the original a7r, but every camera since has used a different shutter. The clack from the first one though, it was obnoxious LOL! I've used it a lot for landscape work, the shutter shock wasn't an issue for me - it was mostly with longer FL's IIRC.

I decided there's simply no way for me to get everything I want in one body, Canon came oh-so-close with the R5 until the overheating issues, but even if that wasn't an issue I still prefer the internal recording options from the a7s3, better rolling shutter performance, and Sony's lens selection. Really the biggest thing the a7s3 lacks compared to others is the ability to shoot 4k in s35 mode, but that can't be changed. I'll still take that over the Panasonic crop and such. The flip side is just how incredibly nice the 1080p footage is, this camera shoots incredible HD video too.

The second ISO is 4 1/3 stops above base on all profiles.

Cheers

Chris

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18 minutes ago, Trek of Joy said:

I do shoot a lot of stills, sometimes more than video. I do prefer more resolution since some of the stuff I shoot goes beyond social and the web, but 12mp isn't going to hold me back. I just like the cropping flexibility and I do occasionally sell prints of my work, so more is better most of the time. I've only shot about 100 frames with the s3 over the last couple months, its really just a video camera for me at this point as I'm still getting used to working with it. I mostly leave it set in video mode and have the a73 around my neck - sometimes I'm also flying a drone - multitasking at its best LOL! I always carry at least 2 bodies anyway to have a backup, right now its the a73 and sometimes a 5dIV a friend is letting me use, but I'm probably moving to the a7r3 because I really like the output of the 42mp sensor and with most landscapes I can easily get two completely different shots with a crop. Plus I shoot wildlife here in FL and the crop power + the 200-600mm lens is awesome. I've shot tons with the a7r2, shutter shock is not an issue. It was on the original a7r, but every camera since has used a different shutter. The clack from the first one though, it was obnoxious LOL! I've used it a lot for landscape work, the shutter shock wasn't an issue for me - it was mostly with longer FL's IIRC.

I imagine Sony will release an A74 with a traditional 24mp sensor and 10 bit color. Maybe

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1 hour ago, Trek of Joy said:

I decided there's simply no way for me to get everything I want in one body, Canon came oh-so-close with the R5 until the overheating issues, but even if that wasn't an issue I still prefer the internal recording options from the a7s3, better rolling shutter performance, and Sony's lens selection.

Cheers

Chris

This is what I have started to tell myself too. It may come down to me owning two cameras, One for still and the other for video or just as back up. 

1 hour ago, TomTheDP said:

I imagine Sony will release an A74 with a traditional 24mp sensor and 10 bit color. Maybe

That is my hope too. This camera to me will give me a clear path in terms of gear purchase for a while. I am hoping that Sony give it 24mp, 10 bit color, and 4k 60p full frame or slide crop. I will be happy with that. 

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24 minutes ago, Lenscamera said:

This is what I have started to tell myself too. It may come down to me owning two cameras, One for still and the other for video or just as back up. 

That is my hope too. This camera to me will give me a clear path in terms of gear purchase for a while. I am hoping that Sony give it 24mp, 10 bit color, and 4k 60p full frame or slide crop. I will be happy with that. 

Yeah guessing it could just be the same sensor as the S1 although it would be more like Sony to try to one up panasonic. 

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12 minutes ago, TomTheDP said:

Yeah guessing it could just be the same sensor as the S1 although it would be more like Sony to try to one up panasonic. 

I hope its not the same sensor since that's what's in the a73. I'd like to see something new with better RS performance. A MP bump to 30-ish would be nice too. 

Chris

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Andrew or other owners of the Sony a7s3 : Did Sony finally fix their file system?  Do files run sequentially?  Can we rename them?  Or is the first shot on a card always going to be C01, etc?

I can't believe I'm still asking after all these years, but here we are.  If the fixed that horrible, maddening, unncessary glitch that no other camera system does I think I'll buy one, maybe even two

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6 hours ago, Trek of Joy said:

I hope its not the same sensor since that's what's in the a73. I'd like to see something new with better RS performance. A MP bump to 30-ish would be nice too. 

Chris

I agree. On the other hand the Panasonic S1 is pretty phenomenal. I don’t take stills often but I did recently on the S1 and couldn’t believe how detailed they were. I can’t imagine needing more. 

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Holding and filming with the S1 is a joy. VLog and 10bit codecs are amazing. Latitude too. In a test on slashcam it wipes the floor with the A7s, which has mushyness creeping in at higher ISO and lowlight, whereas S1 keeps colour, grain and resolution on a classleading level, even surpassing Canon R5 in at the extremes of underexpure.

I still see oversaturation in the reds and blues when underexposed shots are pushed too much in post. But easily fixed with a bit of desaturation of the two colours before pushing exposure in post.

I cannot wait to film some sufficient images with this beauty. A7siii would have my interest if without the mushyness at lower light or at underexposure. Rolling shutter is pretty phenomenal. But the image of the S1, S5, S1H seems to be even more impressive.

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14 minutes ago, PannySVHS said:

mushyness creeping in at higher ISO and lowlight

As a result of internal noise reduction? 
Can’t this be totally eliminated by external recording?  To either a Ninja for Prores raw or BM Video Assist et al for Prores 422.

(I’m not suggesting that you would want to use an external recorder, just asking whether internal NR can be bypassed). 

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That´s right @SnowfunExternal recorder could help, as it did with the processing of the original A7s, not only giving it 4K but also being free of the strong processing and artefacts. S1 and S5 on the other hand are very impressive with their internal codecs and processing, S1H even moreso having sharpness -1 for Vlog and additionally without pretty much any moire due to its OPLF filter.

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