The myth of the Loch Ness monster seemed more believable than the endless rumours of the Sony A7SIII camera! We got our grubby Covid paws on it to see how it would stand up to an epidemic and a tough day of filming.
In December I received the new Sony A7SIII, a camera all of us at Incubate Video had been waiting and waiting and waiting and (you know the rest). With its arrival came another problem, COVID19, and a lack of opportunity to actually use the darn thing. But when UK production company MTP engaged us to shoot the South African part of a global corporate film they were working on we knew that at last, the opportunity was upon us.
Now, this is not a review but just my initial thoughts (Check out Gerald Undone for a deep tech dive into the A7SIII or Fstoppers for an in-depth guide for settings).
IT FEELS LIKE A REAL CAMERA! Sony cameras have always felt a little lightweight to me... well no more. This camera has some heft and feels good in the hand. No more scattergun approach to buttons and knobs, Sony has been thoughtful and logical in their approach.
FLIP OUT SCREEN! Bloody marvelous. Never did I think a flippy screen would be so exciting, but it is. It's clear and vivid as well.
SUPER CLEAR OLED VIEWFINDER. Crikey... this thing is clear. If you miss focus with this camera you should gouge your eyes in penance.
AMAZING AUTOFOCUS. Filming in a busy industrial foundry can be tough at the best of times but that autofocus really helped us nail the shots that we only had one opportunity to get. I mean autofocus on the A7III was impressive but on the A7SIII it's biblically good.
A MENU YOU'RE HAPPY TO MAKE ORDER FROM. Thank you, thank you, thank you Sony for this new menu. It's a revelation, it's logical, it's ordered and it works.
CODECS AND FILES. No fear filming in SLOG3 on this camera. Unlike the A7III, the new A7SIII handles all profiles beautifully and gives you room to err. 10Bit 422 in HD and UDH is a game-changer and the new color science is a massive leap forward offering excellent skin tones.
YOU STILL NEED A CONCLUSION? I'm not one to get overly excited about cameras but this A7SIII is a stratospheric leap forward in the S range of cameras. It really was fun to use and when I wasn't holding it I felt a little naked. For the price that Sony is charging and the capabilities this camera delivers, it's an absolute steal.
Charles Meadows is co-founder and DP at Incubate Productions in South Africa. He's most happiest when filming/directing and has worked in the UK and throughout the Africa continent for clients that include the BBC, British Council, USAID, Fuji TV, Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, Olympics Committee, and a host of global production houses. When not filming he spends time with his kids originating cringe-worthy dad jokes and grumbling about the soccer team he supports (Everton FC).