Esteemed Filmmaker Gives a Comprehensive Review of the a7S III

The camera many videographers were waiting for has landed in the hands of many reviewers, but not all of them are veteran filmmakers who will look to use it in a production capacity. Here's what Philip Bloom has to say about it.

If you're not familiar with Philip Bloom, he's a filmmaker, DP, and director, has had highly acclaimed and award winning documentaries, as well as working on projects for almost every major broadcaster on the planet. He's a master of his craft and his YouTube channel flies a little under the radar strangely. He is a font of knowledge on filmmaking and videography, and his reviews of cameras are usually more in depth than most, as well as from the vantage point of somebody who creates high end productions, not just YouTube b-roll.

This video takes place over the course of a month and took 10 days to edit together, which is why it's a little behind the curve on timeline, but substantially ahead of the curve with how thorough it is. A lot of this review is on areas that haven't been covered else where that I've seen, or at least not as carefully, and the a7S III performs very well indeed. The slow motion section really demonstrates just how beautiful you can get your shots to look too.

What are your thoughts on the a7S III? Are you going to get one? Did this review help at all?

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25 Comments

Ryan Mense's picture

By the end I was all excited and forgot I don’t actually own one yet. Very happy to see a big name put some pressure on Sony for having the worst animal detection right now out of the big three.

Philip Bloom's picture

Ha! Not sure it is the worst. Sure it is non-existent for video but the stills mode is very good. Really it is just Canon and Sony who are in competition with each other here with video autofocus. I recently got my R5 and am blown away by the job it does in video with animals. I just wish they could figure out how to make their high-end lenses not make that godawful whirring in continuous autofocus! My Fuji lenses are quieter than that! :)

Robert K Baggs's picture

As a fellow Brit, I hope you realise how uncomfortable I am having complimented you in the title now that you've turned up in the comments. So unBritish of me. Next I'll be saying hello to people in the street.

Ryan Mense's picture

I stopped the video and signed the petition immediately! :)

On the stills side it's good for what it is, but it should be much better comparing to what Canon is offering in the EOS R5. Outside of dogs and cats as advertised on Sony it's full of false positives and doesn't work at all 99% of the time for my beloved birds. And not included at all in video mode is a bummer but with how shoddy it is in its current state maybe it's for the best until they improve it all around.

Dan Donovan's picture

Nice to see from a true working pro how the camera does in both real shooting situations and test situations.

Philip Bloom's picture

Mr Name, it depends if you are shooting stills or video. For stills, the R5 is a superior camera. For video, the overheating issues are truly problematic, to the point that for me to use my R5 professionally it can only be a B camera. The overheating is bad, the recovery times are even worse. It is such a shame as it is a superb camera otherwise.

Philip Bloom's picture

Why so angry? Just trying to help.

Edison Wrzosek's picture

God you're a fucking loser...

Edison Wrzosek's picture

You have ZERO clue about what you just spouted off there...

dred lew's picture

Frankly, that review was a waste of time given the premise that it is from an “esteemed” filmmaker. It wasn’t any different than what the run-of-the-mill YouTube vlogger would produce. Shots on the beach and random people walking on the street is not what I would expect from a filmmaker.

If you’re looking for an actual review on how this camera performs in actual working conditions, with a filmed documentary to back it up, watch Cinema5D’s review:
https://youtu.be/y94nSdgHnI0

He did the same with the Canon R6 and while it did produce great footage as well, the feedback on reliability when shooting an actual project was quite a bit different.

Philip Bloom's picture

I am sorry you feel like that. There is about 5 weeks of solid work that went into that, to make it incredibly comprehensive for anyone looking to buy the camera. Showing how to get the best out of it, sharing my experience of using the camera for the past 7 weeks, as well as showing the issues people need to know about.

If you don't see the elegance, beauty and, yes, narrative flow of the beach piece then that's fine. It is impossible to make something everyone loves. Nor, the beautiful journey down the Thames with the paddleboarder showing off ProRes RAW, normal speed and lots of natural sounds, again that is your prerogative.

What I don't understand is your need to insult me and my work. I would bet a lot of money that you didn't even watch my 75 minute review published yesterday. That you mentioned just a small portion of it, in fact just the European launch video on the beach that has been out for a week, and not anything from the actual review. You know, the overheating tests, the autofocus etc etc. All done in, what many have said, is a very entertaining, flowing and yes, narrative review.

It is very courageous of you to write these words under a pseudonym simply to be rude and insult something that was made purely for the filmmaking community, with enormous effort with no sponsorship or anything. Just because I wanted to. What was the last thing you did to help the filmmaking or photographic community sir?

Best Regards,

Philip

Philip Bloom's picture

Oh, and my dear friend Johnny Behiri's work for CineD is superb. It is important that many different takes are available on these cameras and we are lucky to have many talented people doing just that, another one being Gerald Undone's superb techincal assessment of the camera.

Alex Herbert's picture

I'm totally in, I was unseccessfully trying to talk myself out of buying a Z Cam E2 M4 or S6. I didn't even realise the A7Siii launch date was coming. This addresses pretty much every issue I have with the A7iii, AND I don't have to buy new lenses. Now my only dilemma is do I keep the A7iii for stills, or will the A7Siii suit all of my needs... Where Christopher Frost when you need him???

Philip Bloom's picture

That's the biggest downside, by them keeping the 12mp to get the low light and have the ability to have those high frame rates at 4K and not have massive overheating issues the downside is we are stuck with stills not just bigger than a 4K frame. I would keep your A7 III for stills personally. My A7RIV is my stills camera now, with decent video when I need it.

I am pretty sure Sony will bring out an A7 IV before the end of the year and my prediciton is it will have a 24mp 6K sensor again, but a new one similar to the A7S III, and it will have 6K downsampled 4K up to 60p 10 bit 422. I expect the HD will max out at 120p. Flippy screen for sure, full-size HDMI I am not so sure about. I wouldn't be surprised to see prores raw out of it though. If the Z6 can do it don't see why this couldn't

Alex Herbert's picture

Firstly, love your work Philip, I feel your reviews give a best case scenario of what a camera can produce when put in skilled hands.

I'm still very curious to see some images out of the finished product. My resolution needs aren't the greatest.

Interesting theory on the A7IV, Maybe I should just wait and see if that appears, The things I want most are 4K 10 bit 422 and a half decent codec. If they can stuff that inside an A7 along with a 24mp sensor capturing 60p then I'd be perfectly happy. I hardly ever use 120p HD as it is.

Nice 'Pitch Meetings' nod too btw.

Nicolas KIEFFER's picture

What could be the purpose to make the A7 IV a better movie cam than the A7S III ?

The A7 Mk4 will be cheaper, they cannot release a smarter still photocamera with better video performances than their moviecam A7S Mk3 because why shell out much more money ? Only for 120 or 240 fps ???

Alexander Petrenko's picture

It's a great comedy and deserves IMDB page.

Philip Bloom's picture

I am glad you enjoyed it, Alexander. 75 minutes without humour would be tedious indeed!

Alexander Petrenko's picture

Well... It was almost 75 minutes of humour.

Patrick Rosenbalm's picture

Philip I see you have replied to everyone! You didn't actually post it and still took time to converse. I think that's great! I hate dump and run like certain other people on here do. I'll have to watch your video later because I'm just in for lunch and checking what 's up on here. ;-)

Juan Carlos Ayala's picture

Thank you for this well considered and pragmatic approach to demonstrate why you make the observations you did. Aside from the effort it took, you were able to reflect the cameras versatility and form factor which is invaluable. It’s easy to blag on about specs and trickier to patiently tease out the benefits of a new camera so thank you for that. As a predominantly stills shooter in the Nikon ecosystem with Fuji as my alternate (D850/Z6/FM3a & XPro-2) it’s tricky (read something in the realm of £16,000) to commit to either switch or run parallel systems but it’s tempting.