SONY A7 TESTS
The success of Sony’s mirrorless cameras means it’s now far easier to hire the kit you need or even try before you buy, as rental houses are reacting to the call for Sony E-mount products for stills and video. Our A7 III came courtesy of Hireacamera.com, who had the camera in stock and available to rent as soon as the camera was released at retailers, where it was an instant sell-out. Lack of lens choice was always an issue with earlier A7 cameras, as all Sony had at launch was a trio of f/4 zooms and a few small primes. Now the G-Master series of top-end pro lenses has a full compliment of f/2.8 zooms, some incredible fast primes and a macro lens, and a 100-400mm sports lens. A fast 400mm f/2.8 prime lens is on the way soon. But the E-mount means other lenses can be fitted using adapters, and there are many E-mount cinema lenses available. Setting up a Sony A7 for video use often involves a rig, cage, external monitor and lenses, and all of these are becoming far more common in large rental houses. www.hireacamera.com SONY E-SYSTEM GAINS TRACTION
“Improvements in handling, speed and AF are incredible”
quality than Super 35 crop. And rolling shutter is better than on the A7 II series of cameras. The A7 III samples a 6K image to deliver 4K video in its highest- quality XAVC-S codec up to a maximumbit rate of 100Mbps, still in 8-bit, in full-frame without a horizontal crop in 24 and 25p. But at 30p there is aminor 1.2x crop. In HD, even at 120fps, there is no crop at all. And thanks to its lower- megapixel sensor with larger photo sites, it is excellent at low light,
high-ISO shooting. It’s slightly disappointing there is no 4K 60p recording, and that all footage is 8-bit 4:2:0 rather than the 10-bit 4:2:2many had hoped for. If you record to an external monitor, you can get 4:2:2 clips but it will still be at 8-bit. Perhaps that’s what could be coming on the A7S III. Both camera also record in S-Log 2 and 3 tomaximise dynamic range and HLG for easy HDR use, although S-Log 3 isn’t recommended on an 8-bit camera.
ABOVE TIn the market for a hybrid stills/video machine? Both the A7R III and A7 III should be on your hit list.
HOW THEY RATE Features: 9
excellent. You can crop in, you can put the ISO up to reasonable levels and the quality remains. That’s the joy of full- frame. It’s also a capable action camera with great AF and a speedy frame rate. And the silent shooting will win over some wedding or wildlife shooters, too. The A7 III is better for video; it outputs very similar footage but is better at high ISO and has superior AF. It’s still a great stills camera, too, but the resolution gives the A7R III the edge. If you are in the market for a hybrid camera that does stills and video to a very high level, both cameras do that. And if you’re thinking of buying an A7S II purely as a video tool, the A7 III should make you ask tough questions about which to buy.
The A7 III and A7R III are great for video use, with fantastic quality, resolution, tonal range, sharpness and colours that you’d expect from the latest high-tech sensors made by industry leader Sony. They even make the video-centric Sony A7S II look underwhelming. As a pure video camera, the A7 III largely outperforms the 12.4-megapixel A7S II just about everywhere, apart from at very high ISO where the S-model has the edge. And for shooting slowmotion at 120fps, the S uses a 2.2x crop so both Mark III cameras are significantly better. And the A7 III is even cheaper. As all-round cameras stills and video, the improvements in handling, speed and AF are incredible. If you want the ultimate in image quality, the A7R III delivers with its pixel-shift system for super-critical, tripod-mounted work, or for normal use where its 42-megapixel sensor is
Nowaveforms or 10-bit but everything else amirrorless camera can expect to have Performance: 9 Full-frame sensors give incredibly detailed footage fromcameras that don’t overheat Handling: 9 Somuch better than the previousmodels, theMark III versions feel like pro tools Value formoney: 9 The A7 III is a great video camera and prices competitvely. The A7R III is priced well for its spec and amazing resolution OVERALL RATING: 9/10 The A7 III is a better video camera than the A7S II and cheaper; A7R III pricedwell for its resolution Pros: Full-frame at an affordable price Cons: No 10-bit or 4K 60p at all
PRO MOVIEMAKER SUMMER 2018
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