Some of us don’t need to be persuaded to buy new camera gear like the Sony a7S III. Early adopters buy the latest and greatest simply because they love new tech, and many photographers are gearheads that can’t resist. Even so, it’s probably a good idea to support your purchase with these three reasons you should get the Sony a7S III.
I had the opportunity to use and review a loaner unit of the a7S III late last year. Trying out new gear before I buy it is really nice because it helps me make a more informed decision. In the case of the Sony a7S III, it’s a dangerous game to play, because getting to use it only made me want it.
Thus, here we are. Everyone was talking about the Sony a7S III, and I jumped on the bandwagon. I just picked up this camera to add to my kit, and I’m excited to see how it performs on some upcoming jobs.
Even though I love gear, I’m trying to run a profitable business, which means I can’t add things to my overhead for no reason. It is not a cheap camera, but there were three things that really affected my decision to upgrade.
I’ll walk you through the reasons I decided to press the shutter on adding this camera to my kit.
Background on My Shooting Style and Needs
I’ll start with a few notes on how I work so that you can get a better idea of why the following reasons are important to me.
I am an adventure and wedding photographer/videographer who often works outdoors. I need my systems to be lightweight, efficient, versatile, and good for various extreme outdoor conditions and lighting scenarios. As I am often working with athletes or clients whose experiences are important to me, my camera systems need to be dialed in so they don’t slow me down.
More and more, I am shooting photos and video, so I need to be able to switch back and forth and reduce any friction to the transition between the two. It can be mentally tough to adjust my perspective, so if my camera can make the switch easily, that’s one less thing to worry about.
With that in mind, let’s dive right in.
1. Upgraded Menu System
I’ve always been frustrated by the Sony a7 III menu system and specifically the fact that you can’t have separate photo and video settings. As we think about the future of our business, we realize we’re going to keep doing more and more projects with both photo and video components. Being able to have our systems dialed to switch between the two is essential.
Which brings me to the menu system on the Sony a7S III. It might not sound like that big of a deal, but it’s actually kind of a game-changer for me, because it’s one less thing to stress about on a shoot. I don’t have to worry about changing my settings from photo to video and back.
The importance of this became clear to me recently when I shot a bunch of photos in a log profile (HLG3 to be specific). In the heat of the moment, as the sun is setting, I’d love to be able to shoot both photo and video without my gear getting in the way. Now, with the Sony a7S III, you can film in a log profile without shooting photos in a log profile. Just switch the dial, and your settings will change! This is why people love tech upgrades: the better our gear works, the less it gets in the way of our creativity.
The new menu is still big and complicated, but it is faster to navigate with the touch screen, and you can have separate photo/video settings. This allows you to use the 180-degree shutter rule on videos and have a fast enough shutter speed to get sharp photos.
The upgraded menu system might have been enough of a reason for me to get this camera, but as they say in the old infomercials: “and that’s not all.”
2. 10-Bit Color and Improved Dynamic Range
The Sony a7S III has 10-bit color and improved dynamic range. When I switched to the Sony camera systems, the already incredible dynamic range was a big reason and benefit. Now, if you can believe it, it’s even better.
To break down the significance for you, the old Sony cameras all have 8-bit color, 2^8 or 256 colors for Red, Green, and Blue. Meanwhile, the a7S III 10-bit color gives you 2^10 or 1,024 colors each. To summarize, 8-bit gives 16 million color options, while 10-bit gives over a billion color options.
Additionally, the a7S III has two more stops of dynamic range (15 stops) when compared with the a7 III. The human eye can see 21 stops of dynamic range, which is one of the reasons it can be hard to capture what you’re seeing. Our eyes are still better at seeing dynamic range than our cameras are at capturing it, but the Sony cameras are getting better with every new release.
Hopefully, all this will result in cleaner-looking video files without blown-out skies or underexposed shadows. I’m also hopeful that the footage will have more latitude when adjusting color and exposure. I’m really looking forward to the possibilities.
3. High-ISO performance
Another thing that the human eye can do that cameras struggle to is seeing in low light. Cameras are getting better at this as high-ISO performance gets better. Incredibly, the Sony a7S III can film at ISO 16,000 with a reasonable noise level! Let’s crown a new low-light king!
This incredible high-ISO performance opens up possibilities of what and when I can shoot. As a photographer, I’m always searching for good light, which can mean interesting color, hardness, intensity, and angle. Quantity of light has always mattered too.
As the quantity matters less and less, shooting in low-light conditions becomes easier, and the quality of what you get from such conditions is better. Again, another way this camera works harder so that my creativity expands.
Bonus Reason: 4K 120 fps
A bonus reason to get the Sony a7S III is that it shoots in 4K 120 fps. Now I don’t have to upscale my 1080p footage to film in slow motion! This wasn’t a huge selling point for me, as most of the time, I find that 60p is adequate, but it is nice to have 120p for fast-moving subjects. Plus, who knows what possibilities will open up.
In summary, if you need a few reasons to get the Sony a7S III, just look around at your surroundings. Notice the dynamic range of your eye and your ability to get up and walk through your bedroom at night without bumping your leg on the coffee table.
The Sony a7S III has 10-bit color and improved dynamic range as well as improved high-ISO performance. Don’t worry, your eye won’t be replaced by a robot yet.
Additionally, the upgraded menu system is easier to navigate with the new touchscreen and separate photo and video settings. You can also now shoot 4K 120 fps. These developments make this an awesome camera for hybrid shooters.
If you have reservations about the 12 megapixels, look for my upcoming article on if they are enough. And coming soon, I’ll talk you through what memory card you should get for the Sony a7S III. I’d love to hear your thoughts or anything else you’d like me to address regarding this camera.
Hope Sony includes gyro video data with all cameras from now on...
Don't know why they dropped the articulating screen in newer bodies though... This is another great a7siii feature.. 😔
I still prefer the tilting screen, especially when used for photos. Because it is centered and easier to align things.
I’m still happy with my four year old a7Sii. I’d rather keep that $3500 in the bank.
I got the A7Siii only because for some reason no more new A7Sii's(that have on camera apps and is also ISO Invariant). I started in 2014 with the A7S so 12MP is no problem. I am a night and astro Milky Way photographer also! The A7Siii has more to offer, a second ISO Invariance @ 12800, Bright Monitoring (like the A7iii) night vision, and the surprise great detail at night with dynamic range meaning the invisible MW is captured with clarity from horizon to horizon, more detail of stars and colors inside and around MW. Using a low ISO to control highlight detail but also able to increase shadow detail with no noise. Like the original A7s the AWB gets perfect the magenta/baby blue sides of the dark horse nebula but also has selectable AWB of white (no blue snow) and Ambience (colors of lights). Today the best enlarger Topaz Gigapixel AI will give you 300+ MP image (Adobe tried but no cigar) so no need even for the A1. And daytime clarity is also great. Stills are still import not just video!!! Also the articulating screen great for doing vertical panorama not having to squat down just look down or even portraits easier from above.
6k (a7III) is the sweet spot for me as 4k presentation is my standard. And i can do just a slight crop as well.
I've been shooting for over 15 years and gave up the ~11MP a long time ago. There is no way I'm going back to that in 2021. It's a good camera for video, but not worth the $5000 cdn for photography.