Wow, Sony's on a roll and just announced the Sony a7R III!
Our good friend Hugh Brownstone was at the press announcement late last night and put together a video which he's graciously shared with us.
This looks to be a beast of a camera – tho I don't know a lot yet about video features. I have a lot of learning to do along with y'all today.
Most interesting to me is the Pixel Shift Multi Shooting – where they're basically using computational imaging (that I've been talking a lot about over on lightRumors.co with the Light L16 camera) to combine images to make better results.
Here's Hugh's very good intro to the Sony a7R III:
Sony α7R III – Product Feature
The α7R III combines a high-resolution 42.4 MP* back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS image sensor with impressive shooting speeds at up to 10 fps** with full AF/AE tracking, as well as wide 15-stop*** dynamic range, high sensitivity with low noise reducing noise by as much as a full stop****, approx. 2x faster subject tracking and Eye AF tracking performance**** and more. It’s an extremely versatile tool for professional photographers and videographers that demand reliability, flexibility and versatility.
* Approximately, effective
** Up to 10 fps in continuous “Hi+” mode, and up to 8 fps in continuous “Hi” mode. Maximum fps will depend on camera settings
*** Sony test conditions for stills
**** Compared to the α7R II. Sony test conditions.
Sony a7R III promises faster bursts, better focusing and longer battery life
Sony has announced the a7R Mark III, a 42.4MP mirrorless camera built around the lessons learned from its flagship a9 sports camera. The result is a high-res full frame camera capable of 10 fps shooting with more tenacious autofocus and many of the improvements existing a7R II users had hoped for.
The camera features essentially the same body as the a7R II, but Sony has found room for a focus point selection joystick, AF-On button, twin SD card slots, flash sync socket and, most importantly, the higher-capacity battery of the a9. The new camera also gets the 3.69M-dot OLED viewfinder from the a9, providing a 1280 x 720 resolution view. This gives you highly detailed images with high contrast and deep blacks through the EVF, particularly during playback.
The sensor is the same 42.4MP BSI CMOS chip as before, but a series of hardware and processing changes act to get more out of it.
A faster ‘Bionz X' processor, along with the front-end LSI processor featured in recent Sony models, allows the camera to process more data, faster. This, in conjunction with a redesigned, low-vibration shutter mechanism, allows the new camera to shoot at 10 frames per second, with full autofocus, in either mechanical or electronic shutter mode. It can also do a6500-style ‘live view' continuous shooting at up to 8 fps. It's not the blackout-free shooting of the a9, but the instantaneous ‘live' frames at 8 fps can help you keep up with the action despite this being, in practice, simply 8 live frames per second with black frames inserted in between (which we're told is much like the a6500 we tested).
“Sony says the faster processing will give “more tenacious” subject tracking and Eye-AF than the existing a7R models
Continuous shooting bursts can last for 87 compressed or 28 uncompressed Raw files.”
Sony claims 15 stops of dynamic range and 14-bit Raw capture across more of its shooting modes (including continuous shooting and e-shutter mode, which prompted the previous camera to drop to 12-bit capture), though it still drops to 12-bit when shooting 10 fps uncompressed Raw. At the pixel-level, we're skeptical of the 15 EV claim and expect something more along the lines of the ADC bit-depth: 14 to 14.5 EV at best.
So, although the Mark III doesn't have the super-high throughput stacked CMOS design that we saw in the a9, Sony says the faster processing will give faster shooting speeds and even offer AF benefits: “more tenacious” subject tracking and Eye-AF than the existing a7R models to name a couple, even if not up to a9 standards. So how does AF stack up?
The a7R III retains the 399 point on-sensor phase-detect AF system of its predecessor, ensuring accurate and precise autofocus at the image sensor plane with no calibration whatsoever. Like with the a9, Sony has updated its low light AF rating, ensuring focus down to -3 EV with F2 lenses. Indeed, we've found Sony's ratings to be relatively accurate, with a F1.4 lens offering 1 stop faster performance (down to -4 EV), but slower lenses offering worse performance (-1 EV for F4 lenses). The a7R II predecessor focused down to -3 EV with F1.4 lenses, and reliably to -2 EV with F2 lenses.
Sony α7R III | Pixel Shift Multi Shooting
This new feature takes advantage of the advanced in-body image stabilization system control capability available in the α7R III, precisely shifting the sensor in 1-pixel increments to capture four pixel-shifted images containing a total of approximately 169.6 million pixels* that are later composited using a computer to achieve overwhelming subjective resolution in a single image.
Still images are captured with true-to life details, texture, and color, with minimal moiré and color artifacts. Even the atmosphere of the subject and surroundings are reproduced with breathtaking fidelity, making Pixel Shift Multi Shooting an ideal technology for archival images of art, architecture, and more.
* Image size after compositing is approx. 42.4 million (7952 x 5304) pixels.
A dedicated software application is required for compositing. Image compositing may not be successful if camera or subject movement causes blur. The use of a tripod is recommended, as is the use of PC tethered control or a remote commander (when PC tethered control is not being used) where possible. Uncompressed RAW and silent mode are automatically selected for Pixel Shift Multi shooting. Some restrictions apply to flash and other devices. Refer to the Sony support site for details. www.sony.net/psms/
Sony α7R III 4K HDR (HLG) sample video
α7R III sample 4K HDR* movie shot on HLG/BT.2020 to suit HDR screen which has HLG* display feature (e.g. Sony BRAVIA Z9D series, BVM-X300, PVM-X550, etc.)
Movies recorded using the HLG profile will appear true-to-life with no blocked shadows or blown highlights when played back on an HDR (HLG) compatible TV, without the need for color grading. The BT.2020 color space is supported, providing a wider color gamut. [Instant HDR Workflow] Shoot, edit and view HDR content in HLG without the need for additional colour grading.
* Connect to an HDR (HLG) compatible Sony TV via a USB cable when displaying HDR (HLG) movies.
Sony Alpha a7R III Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body Only)
- 42MP Full-Frame Exmor R BSI CMOS Sensor
- BIONZ X Image Processor & Front-End LSI
- 399-Point AF System & 10 fps Shooting
- UHD 4K30p Video with HLG & S-Log3 Gammas
- 3.69m-Dot Tru-Finder OLED EVF
- 3.0″ 1.44m-Dot Tilting Touchscreen LCD
- 5-Axis SteadyShot INSIDE Stabilization
- ISO 102400 & Pixel Shift Multi Shooting
- Built-In Wi-Fi/Bluetooth, Dual SD Slots
- USB 3.0 Type-C Port & PC Sync Terminal
Sony A7R III Overview
Proving that speed, resolution, and video capabilities can all coexist, the Alpha a7R III Mirrorless Digital Camera from Sony is a versatile, high-performance camera characterized by not only its resolution, but by its multimedia versatility. Revolving around a full-frame 42.4MP Exmor R BSI CMOS sensor and updated BIONZ X image processor, the a7R III affords an impressive 10 fps continuous shooting rate along with improved autofocus performance for faster, more reliable subject tracking along with wide frame
This updated Fast Hybrid AF System employs a combination of 399 phase-detection points and 425 contrast-detection areas for quicker acquirement of focus in a variety of lighting conditions, and also maintains focus on subjects more effectively. In addition to speed and AF, the processing improvements also help to realize greater image clarity throughout the sensitivity range from ISO 100-32000, which can further be expanded to ISO 50-102400.
Video recording capabilities have also been extended for enhanced quality when recording UHD 4K video with the full width of the full-frame sensor, or when using a Super35 area and 5K oversampling to minimize moirÃ© and aliasing. Additionally, benefitting both stills and video operation, the a7R III retains the 5-axis SteadyShot INSIDE sensor-shift image stabilization, which is now effective to minimize the appearance of camera shake by up to 5.5 stops.
Read more about Sony A7R III at B&H
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(cover photo credit: snap from DPReview)