Sony really excelled themselves this time. The FX3 is $400 more than the A7S III for less camera!
Something has gone badly wrong with the camera market.
Sony go 8K finally – with the Alpha 1 (a1) mirrorless camera announced today. It is the most technically advanced camera Sony has ever released, and also the most expensive. It has a 30 minute limit in 8K mode due to heat, but a proper structure inside the camera to dissipate it more quickly. The camera is $2000 more expensive than the Canon EOS R5, but likely more dependable rather than the toy-like will-it-won’t-it get through a shoot reliability we have come to expect from Canon. Technically the Alpha 1 has a number of advantages over the cheaper Canon body. 8.6K oversampling and 4K/120p 10bit 422 ALL-I come from a faster sensor readout due to a stacked DRAM architecture and the world’s first electronic shutter that eliminates banding & flicker. The 30 minute limitation applies to 4K/60p as well but the 4K/24p mode is likely to record for longer. It is not known yet whether the 4K at regular frame rates on this camera comes from a pixel binned output or a full 8K sensor output.
The codec options are similar to the A7S III with 10bit 422 ALL-I at high bit rates, 10bit 4:2:0 XAVC HS in 8K (H.265). S-LOG 3, Creative Looks and S-Cinetone (hopefully the A7S III will also be getting S-Cinetone via firmware update). Real-time eye AF works in 8K and the new stacked Exmor R sensor enables an incredibly fast readout with minimal rolling shutter. We get 5.5 stop 5 axis IBIS and a large 9 million dot EVF.
Here’s the full headline specification for video shooters:
- New 50.1-megapixel full-frame stacked Exmor RS™ CMOS image sensor in combination with an upgraded BIONZ XR™ imaging processing engine
- Full frame 8K (up to 30p) 10-bit 4:2:0 XAVC HS video recording with 8.6K oversampling for extraordinary detail and resolution, in addition to 4K 120p and 60p 10-bit 4:2:2 movie shooting capabilities
- 8K slightly oversampled from 8.6K. In Super 35mm 5.8K oversampling for 4K.
- S-LOG 3, Hybrid LOG Gamma (HLG), Creative Looks
- S-Cinetone color matrix as seen in FX9 and FX6 to deliver expressive cinematic look
- Fast sensor readout enables up to 120 AF/AE calculations per second (double the speed of the Alpha 9 II, even during 30fps black out free continuous shooting)
- World’s first 240fps 0.64-type 9.44 million-dot (approx.) OLED Quad-XGA electronic viewfinder
- Silent, vibration-free electronic shutter
- World’s first anti-flicker shooting with both mechanical and electronic shutter
- 15+ stops dynamic range for video
- 5-axis optical in-body image stabilization for a 5.5-stop shutter speed advantage
- Industry’s fastest built-in Wi-Fi, SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps, 1000BASE-T Ethernet and more
- A hefty price tag of $6500 (US)
The FX6 slogan should be Miss Every Shot (while fiddling with the menus).
The Sony A7S series has always been considered the leader in low light at very high ISOs. But at just 12 megapixels, it’s a big sacrifice in resolution to get there especially in the 8K age.
The main thing that strikes me about the current 24 megapixel full frame sensors is they are CLEAN. Certainly ISO 3200 on my Panasonic S5 looks very similarly clean to ISO 3200 on the new Sony A7S III. I’ll be exploring this with my own test soon.
It’s been a long wait for the Sony A7S III. Maturity takes time. 5 years for Sonys cameras to develop into tools that feel like cameras. I never had the inspired feeling picking up a clinical Sony before. However the A7S III is a huge improvement… at a price.
When does a heat dissipating structure become a heat absorption structure in direct sunlight?
There are now a few confirmed reports by the first Sony A7S III reviewers that the camera has an overheating problem in bright midday sun.
COVID-19 has changed many things and one of them is that Sony no longer releases cameras. In a stunning break with tradition, rumours and an assortment of tasty catchphrases are now Sony’s main camera line.
The latest Sony Rumour Camera even shoots 4K Rumours at 120fps in 10bit 4:2:2 and features an innovative shutter noise. Instead of a *clack* the camera plays words out of the lens mount which eventually add up to an entire recording of Kenji Tanaka hinting at “surpassing expectations”.