IT’S NOT PERFECT
Which leads us to some things that do bother us, albeit without making the camera any less usable. For a camera that’s definitely designed for video first and foremost, you can’t change shutter speed to shutter angle, and there are no waveforms to monitor the footage. In addition, the main dial has the usual PASM modes, but these are all for stills. There is one main video setting, so to change things like PASM for video, you have to dig into function menus. And in the menus, there are often ‘help’ functions available, but many aren’t actually helpful. For example, in the S&Q settings menu, if you don’t understand what it is and press help, the rather unhelpful message is ‘sets S&Q motion settings’, rather than explaining S&Q is where you set slow and quick motion. Most people actually think of these as slowmotion or time- lapse, not ‘S&Q’. Also, the connectivity is not the best. You can send images and low-resolution footage to Sony’s Imaging Edge app, which is not the most user-friendly bit of software. Or, you can create a Wi-Fi network and upload your data via FTP. This is something I certainly haven’t had to do for at least seven years as it’s old- school clunky tech. A final niggle occurs when you take the lens off and the sensor is exposed. There is no shutter cover, unlike on the Sony A9 I also use. Because of that, you’d best get used to cleaning your sensor.
A DESIGN FOR LIFE
The A7S III may have grown in spec compared to the older models, but it’s also grown in size. That’s no bad thing, as it’s easier to handhold with a deeper grip that is also home to a much bigger battery. It has the same battery as the A9 and newer A7 series cameras, but the S model does use power quicker, if you use high frame rates and larger 4K files. You will need a spare or two for a full day’s shooting. Of course, there is a USB-C socket, so you can plug in a power bank to keep it topped up. At long last, Sony has definitely learned how to create a much better menu system. Some of the improvements include the naming of video clips instead of always defaulting to a standard format and you can record video to both internal memory cards for an instant backup. You can now change white balance while actually shooting, rather than having to stop recording. And if you use auto white
balance, there is now a Shockless WB setting, adjustable in three steps. So, instead of the camera suddenly changing WB suddenly, it can slowly alter settings for a less jarring effect. And one huge benefit is the hugely customisable My Menu setting, where you can set all your most-used menu items and even group them into logical clusters to suit your needs. This takes a very long time to do, with lots of tweaking and changes. However, several well-known filmmakers have made their own downloadable, customised My Menu settings. We found the best was from Sony ambassador Philip Bloom, so we downloaded it onto a memory card and it was easy to put the card in the camera and load up those settings. We made a few tweaks to suit our own needs, but it was an excellent shortcut. The question is that if Mr Bloom can do it, why can’t Sony?
ABOVE It’s definitely worth spending time creating your own list of most-used settings in a custom bank or, download someone else’s, like we did, and customise those
“One huge benefit is the customisableMyMenu settings, where you can set all yourmost-usedmenu items and group them into logical clusters”
ABOVE There’s four standard still photo PASM modes but only one main video mode feature on the control dial. Why?
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