Alpha 7S III: The supreme full-frame video experience
Professional-grade video features
In this powerful film shot by Den Lennie, the Alpha 7S III showcases its supreme abilities by capturing a passionate surfer dedicated to his craft, set in Australia's gorgeous Sunshine Coast. The Alpha 7S III has a wide, 15-stop dynamic range which prevents colors from getting crushed, and while there may be a bit of clipping, the camera is able to capture graduation all the way through to the highlight, so it is easy to grade back for a more pleasing image.
It is able to shoot in 4K at 120p, or in HD up to 240p, so it can create dramatic slow-mo to highlight the beauty of any moment. The Alpha 7S III's 12.1MP sensor provides large pixels that ensure every shot is crisp and free of pixelation, meaning every scene is crystal clear even in low-light situations.
The above scene was backlit with lots of small details, such as the extremely fine tissue-paper-like texture on the paperbark trees in the creek. To capture all that detail and achieve the shot he wanted, Den pushed the camera on a slider at a very slow creep at 120 frames per second as the model walked across the creek. The scene was shot at 600 megabits and all intra-frame which made it easier to grade as he could still pull keys from green leaves and adjust specific colors and shades—a prime example of the camera's full potential.
Den also pushed himself and the Alpha 7S III to shoot in challenging situations such as one with minimal lighting. To keep the images as clean as possible, he shot in as low an ISO as possible. With the Alpha 7S III and Sony's fast G Master lenses, he was able to capture sharp, clear images at just ISO 500, in S-Log 3.
He explains, "I never white balance—ever. I shoot tungsten if I'm indoors or daylight if I'm outdoors. I like to do that so I know every single image I record is 5,600K. That means I've got a base when I have to grade the shots."
The Alpha 7S III records up to 10 bit 4:2:2 internally. This means the camera captures much cleaner footage as the color around edges is more defined and it can shoot across a wide variety of scenes with different lighting worry-free. The Alpha 7S III produces extremely high-quality footage, making it perfect for green screening.
Seamless workflow with professional camcorders
Designed with Sony's "One Mount" system in mind, the Alpha 7S III offers incredible flexibility as it works perfectly with any of Sony's 57 native E-mount lenses. It makes upgrading, switching, and sharing lenses across other Sony professional camcorders used in any production quick, cost-efficient, and simple.
The Alpha 7S III also has improved color science which works with the sensor to faithfully reproduce colors, especially skin tones. Designed with S-Gamut3/S-Gamut3 cine, the camera is a good match with professional camcorders. Coupled with the 16-bit RAW output with HDMI, production and post-production is a simpler, less-stressful process.
For this shot, Den shot in H.265, 10 bit 422, which makes the editing workflow very straightforward. Den highlights that as a non-technical filmmaker, the camera does a lot of work behind the scenes. So all you have to do is select a setting that you think looks good, and the camera does the rest.
Optimize crew size and production costs
"I like to work with one or two people at most ... with less gear, I am more mobile."
The Alpha 7S III creates high-quality video in a compact system that allows for simple one-man setup without excessive external connections or accessories. It features Sony's industry-leading autofocus system and allows you to easily manage real-time or touch tracking, thereby reducing the need for an extra crew member to pull focus.
In an environment where you cannot necessarily control the lighting, "you will want a camera that can do the work for you," explains Den. With the Alpha 7S III's high sensitivity and improved low-light performance with better noise control at ISO up to 409,600, it is easy to work with minimal lighting or even without a lighting crew—no matter where or what sort of scene you are shooting, at any time of day.
Built to perform
"We shot for about an hour and a half on the first day. The camera was always on, with the LCD screen closed and connected to an external monitor, or we used the EVF. It never felt warm—no issues whatsoever."
With a newly designed heat management system, the Alpha 7S III has 5x better cooling and no recording limit. Even when shooting indoors with a higher potential for heat build-up, the camera performs spectacularly.
It is powered by Sony's NP-FZ100 large-capacity battery and lasts over an hour continuously shooting in 4K 60p. Plus, the camera is able to manage two CF-Express cards at the same time, which support large file sizes and intensive shooting with 4K 120p so you can enjoy smooth, uninterrupted shooting throughout your entire production.
Den's Favorite Lenses
"I always want to achieve the maximum quality with the best result that I can produce instead of doing big adjustments in postediting. I don't want to compromise on any of my shots."
When it comes to lenses, those with maximum aperture and highest resolution are Den's favorites. Apart from offering him incredible creative flexibility and the ability to capture even the finest details with ease, Den says that Sony's G Master (GM) lenses are a great complement to the Alpha 7S III, even when shooting the most challenging scenes imaginable.
For this particular shoot, Den shot in a cramped environment with very limited lighting. To get as much light and texture to fit into his frame, he chose Sony's FE 12–24 mm F2.8 GM (SEL1224GM) as, with F2.8 aperture, it allows a great amount of light into the sensor while keeping corner-to-corner sharpness with very minimum distortion.
He also notes that it is challenging to shoot direct sunlight as many lenses will have undesirable flares. Since the SEL1224GM has Nano AR Coating II that eliminates flare and ghosting, it works perfectly with the Alpha 7S III's 15-stop dynamic range to create the shots he wants.
Den highlights that the 11-blade aperture creates creamy bokeh and the Super ED glasses render gorgeous natural color, making the lens perfect for cinematic footage. He also relies on the camera to track autofocus and is impressed with the silent RDSSM motor.
With this lens, Den points the 200 mm end—it provides him with a nice amount of compression that allows him to create dramatic visual effects such as the shot with the surfers against the sun.
Check out Den Lennie's experience with the Alpha 7S III.
Video Footage & contents are shot by Den Lennie. A video producer, business coach, and marketing strategist with over 25 years of industry experience. He has written three books on the business of video, hosts a weekly podcast, and has spoken on the subject at various events around the world.
Highest video quality ever in an Alpha full frame
Shot by filmmaker Brandon Li on the
Alpha 7S III, this clip captures the beauty and drama found in nature in supreme detail and crystal-clear quality.
The Alpha 7S III has a new 12.1MP sensor, a wide dynamic range of 15 stops, and all-intra recording at 4:2:2 10 bit which allows it to capture even the most minute detail in extreme low-light situations.
Brandon explains, "For the moonlit shot, it really was just the moon. I was pushing the camera to the absolute maximum ... but it wasn't the limit of the camera at all!"
With its advanced color science, the camera is capable of reproducing even the most subtle and smooth color gradations captured during night shots or in scenes lit naturally by temperamental stormy skies with little noise.
Made for creative expression
The camera also features improved rolling shutter performance, almost 3x better than its predecessor. This means panning shots are much smoother and there are fewer jitters when the camera is being moved. Coupled with the Alpha 7S III's ability to shoot up to 4K 120p and full HD 240p, it is easy to create slow-mo and extreme slow-mo moments for that touch of drama.
Brandon also notes, "The ISOs are going to be different if you shoot in log versus non-log. If you are shooting in log, your ISO will be a lot higher, but the camera's performance remains just as good in terms of autofocus and everything else."
Ideal for a one-man mobile operation
"I'm usually sweating, I'm usually running, and I'm usually using a gimbal."
The Alpha 7S III is a compact full-frame system that makes it ideal for one-man productions without compromising on quality or versatility. It's a professional setup that fits in a backpack. The fully articulating 360° screen helps you frame your shot from any angle while its handy size is easy to maneuver in tight spaces, low or high angles, and challenges you to take the most adventurous shots possible.
The camera also features real-time tracking and eye AF which work effortlessly together with a gimbal to get the creative shots you need without having to worry about pulling focus or needing a crew member to do so. Plus, the camera's supreme low-light performance reduces the need for a lighting assistant.
Designed with an industry-leading autofocus system, the Alpha 7S III has 759 AF points. It can easily keep the subject in focus no matter how they move to create smooth action sequences. This is absolutely essential when shooting complex movements with a gimbal.
"I was in a flow of inspiration. That's why it's important to have the perfect camera. It has to flow with me."
Brandon shares that shooting with the camera's 4:2:2 10-bit intra-recording creates a constant flow from shooting to editing. Creators can start editing their shots minutes after shooting it, as they simply have to plug in the camera and drag and drop the files into their editing suite to begin.
"I'm not a colorist ... I do minimal tweaks to the color ... because I feel most of the work should be done during the shoot and the camera should capture those skin tones faithfully."
Post-production is also made simpler with the camera's improved color science. It is able to capture and reproduce true-to-life colors even in low-light situations.
Reliability on the go
"All I can say is I overheated before the camera ever would. I had no problems with the camera overheating even though it was exposed to direct sunlight in the middle of summer, it was in the middle of the desert for up to three hours at a time, and I didn't have it rolling for three continuous hours—but even handheld and at 120p it never overheated."
The Alpha 7SIII has a new heat management system that has 5x better cooling and no recording limit. Plus, it is powered by Sony's NP-FZ100 large-capacity battery which lasts over an hour even when you are continuously shooting in 4K 60p.
The camera is also the perfect companion even in the most challenging terrains as the weather sealing protects it from heavy rain and moist environments.
Brandon's Favorite Lenses
"As a globe-trotting run-and-gun filmmaker, most of the time I am my own crew. So it's important that my shooting gear is light and handy."
When it comes to lenses, Brandon prioritizes lightness and the ability to focus quickly as he mostly shoots with a gimbal and monopod. Amongst his favorites is the FE 24 mm F1.4GM (SEL24F14GM) .
The SEL24F14GM is a wide-angle lens with a large aperture which allows Brandon to capture wide-angle shots with a shallow depth of field. The XD Linear Motor coupled with the Alpha 7S III's phase detection and autofocus system is particularly useful when he has to do a gimbal movement that focuses on the model while still showcasing the background.
Weighing in at only 445 grams, even when mounted on the camera and gimbal, the setup is light enough that it can still be used for running shots. The lens also renders color beautifully, and images are sharp with crisp corner-to-corner sharpness.
Brandon highlights that the SEL24F14GM's F1.4 aperture allowed him to really push the Alpha 7S III further. Even though his moonlight scene was shot without any extra lights, he was still able to capture a sharp image due to the camera's sensitivity and effective noise control.
Another of Brandon's must-have lenses is the FE 135 mm F1.8GM (SEL135F18GM).
Despite being a slightly heavier lens, the SEL135F18GM can still be mounted easily on a gimbal setup to take close-ups with some compression to the subject.
The lens is ideal for capturing low-light portraits with great isolation and sharp focus on the model. The 11-blade aperture and XA lens element make the lens ideal for capturing low-light portraits with great isolation and sharp focus on the model against a background with creamy bokeh.
Also in his kit is the FE 50 mm F1.4 ZA (SEL50F14Z). While not a G Master Prime, the Zeiss lens is something Brandon loves to use to create close-up shots, making it his choice of filmmaking focal length.
Check out Brandon Li's experience with the Alpha 7S III.
About Brandon Li
Video footage & contents are shot by Brandon Li . He has been traveling the world as a nomad for 7 years, making films about the people and cultures he encounters along the way. His minimalist approach to filmmaking allows him to get candid footage in a visually dynamic style. His videos have won Vimeo's Best of the Year, a Webby, and the Travel Video Awards. He's been featured in National Geographic, BBC, TIME, TEDx, and Smithsonian Institute.
Check out Alpha 7S III Panel Discussion with Den Lennie & Brandon Li