GEAR REALWORLDTEST SPECIAL
Many keyboard-warrior Sony fanboys were filled with joy when Canon’s 8K EOS R5 was launched with clear warnings that it would overheat pretty quickly when shooting at maximum resolution. The new A7S III was trumpeted as having no such overheating issues. We carried out lots of tests of the camera and did not manage tomake it overheat when used in the studio or on location, in any of the codecs or frame rates. However, with the prototype camera, we used it outdoors on the hottest day of summer in the UK and, after around an hour of non- stop use, we got a high temperature warning and had to let it cool down for a fewminutes. Hot sunshine on a black camera body raises the temperature more than the internal heat from recording, it seems. On our own camera, there have been no issues – but it’s not been used under full summer sun yet. THE HEAT ISSUE
IMAGE A nice overcast day and
the A7S III shoots for hours with no worries of overheating the sensor
DON’T SHAKE IT UP, BABY!
There are two in-body image stabilisationmodes (IBIS): standard and active. Standard is pretty good, but not the best in the world. Active is the best for video, but it uses a 1.1x crop on all footage - apart from4K/120p, where it’s already cropped. This provides good stability, but it’s not gimbal-smooth. However, there is another way that is actually incredibly good. It involves turning off image stabilisation in the camera body –and on the lens, if it has it – and shooting in XAVC-S I, the All-Intra codec. Then, bring the footage into Sony’s free Catalyst Browse software and simply be amazed. Using data from the in-camera gyroscopes that usually control IBIS, the software removes the shakes efficiently. It really does give footage that comes close to using a gimbal.
A RAW DEAL ABOVE No internal Raw recording, but 4:2:2 10-bit 4K is good enough for most
BELOW Active IBIS is very good, but there is a crop of 1.1x on all footage. Standard isn’t bad, either
some cameras. Perhaps this will come through future software updates in Final Cut Pro X or Adobe Premiere Pro. Raw does take longer to process and needs more careful handling, but we found no obvious massive improvement in quality in dynamic range, although there is more flexibility in grading. It shows you don’t have to go Raw to get amazing quality files that can handle a lot of tweaking in post. It shows the quality of the internal codecs.
If you really demand the ultimate quality, there’s the possibility to go Raw. The Sony A7S III is capable of outputting full-fat 16-bit Raw over HDMI to an external monitor/recorder. No fieldmonitors that are currently on the market can handle those huge files yet. Well, none that we are aware of. Using an Atomos Ninja V, the 16-bit Raw can be saved as 12-bit Log ProRes Raw. However, you can’t properly change ISO or white balance on all editing programmes yet, like you can on
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