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Sony Alpha A7S III Review - Performance

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Sony Alpha A7S III Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.



Sony Alpha A7S III Sample Photos

Sample Photos - JPEG images produced by the camera come out very sharp, possibly over-sharpened (depending on your personal preferences and the subject you're shooting). However the "Creative Look" can be adjusted to alter this and other settings, with options for contrast, highlights, shadows, fade, saturation, sharpness, sharpness range, and clarity. Colour reproduction is good, and like sharpness, can be adjusted.

Face and eye-detection work extremely well for both people and animals, and you can specify whether you're photographing Humans or Animals in the menus. Auto-detection would be nice.

Focus works well in low-light conditions, although your mileage may vary, depending on how dark it is, and of course the subject being photographed. In normal lighting conditions focus is very rapid, and very reliable.

Exposure and metering are reliable, with the camera delivering consistent results time after time. The dynamic range captured by the camera is good, with the "Dynamic Range Optimisation" option giving an improved dynamic range in JPEG images. You can use the HDR shooting mode if you want further dynamic range to be captured.

Lens correction options are built-in to the camera, including shading compensation (vignetting), chromatic aberration compensation, and distortion compensation.

The camera supports HEIF file format, which is 10-bit, compared to JPEG's 8-bit colour range. However, there's limited support for HEIF files (on PCs, with packages like Adobe Photoshop not supporting HEIF yet), and you can't convert HEIF images to JPEG in the camera.

12mp may seem like not enough for many people however, it's the lower pixel count and larger pixel size that gives benefits in low-light and dynamic range.


Sony Alpha A7S III ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - Noise is very low from ISO40 all the way up to ISO1600. At ISO3200 noise is still low, but very fine detail is reduced slightly. At ISO6400 noise is still low, but there is another reduction in very fine detail. At ISO12800 noise becomes more noticeable, and fine detail drops. Detail drops again at ISO25600 as noise increases. However, the level of detail can still be considered relatively impressive, giving slightly better results than the 20mp FF sensor found in the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III. As well as detail being reduced at ISO51200, colour saturation also drops. Noise is strong at ISO speeds above ISO51200. ISO409600 is best avoided entirely. These shots were taken on the default settings for noise reduction.


Sony Alpha A7S III White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) options include "Standard", "Ambience" and "White" letting you set your preference, depending on your subject and what you want the camera to do. This means you can get warm results (for flattering portraits for example), or whiter results for product shots (as an example). Using the tungsten preset under tungsten lighting gives a corrected image. AWB performs well in mixed light, and under fluorescent light. There are a number of different fluorescent presets so you can find one that matches the type of fluorescent lighting you're using.


Sony Alpha A7S III Digital filters

Digital Filters - Creative Look replaces "Creative Style" and is shown above, these include options for contrast, highlights, shadows, fade, saturation, sharpness, sharpness range, and clarity.


Video - High-speed 4K UHD video at 120fps looks excellent! The camera uses the full pixel readout, with no pixel binning, with no crop when recording 4K 60p, and the camera can record 4:2:2 10-bit internally. Video quality is impressive, with clear, sharp, detailed footage. High-speed FullHD video at 240fps requires better lighting, or there is a drop in video quality.

Picture profiles are where you'll find all of the video profiles, with options for Black level, Gamma, Black Gamma, Knee, Color Mode, Saturation, Colour Phase, and Colour Depth. You can also copy picture profiles. You can also use the Creative Look(s) to adjust settings.

You can switch between NTSC and PAL mode in order to switch between 120/100fps and other frame rates, and the camera no longer asks you to format the memory card! Something that is very welcome.

ISO80 to ISO409600 is available for video recording. Videographers may be interested in reports of a "Dual ISO" feature built-in to the camera, which is automatically applied when you get to a certain ISO speed, and we'd recommend having a look at Philip Bloom's video on A7S III Dual ISO.

Image stabilisation does an excellent job of producing stable footage, even when handholding the camera with no additional support. An active mode is available for when you might need additional stabilisation, for example when vlogging.

If you're looking for a camera to record 4K video at 120fps, then the A7S III is unlikely to disappoint, thanks to a vast array of options and features available, as well as a well thought out design that minimises and avoids any overheating issues when recording for long periods of time.

You can view additional videos recorded with the A7S III on the ePHOTOzine YouTube Channel.


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