Here's How the Sony a7S III Holds Up in a Production Environment

Credit: Jake Bernal
Is the a7S III a solid option for larger productions? 

After unboxing the Canon EOS R5, telling you that it's not a viable 8K option, and putting its RAW format through a rigorous test, it's time to find out how the Sony a7S III stacks up to a production workflow. 

Connecting with director-cinematographer Lukas Colombo as we did with our R5 test, we were able to put together a shoot to see if the a7S III is a viable option for filmmakers looking to do more than vlog or simply mount it on a tripod to create YouTube videos. 

The crew included two camera operators, multiple ACs, a gaffer, key grip, best boy, and sound mixer, among others. The environment was typical of what you would see on any indie shoot or production. What we wanted to do was test the low light capabilities of the a7S III while pushing the dynamic range. Some of the results were expected, but there were a few things that surprised us. Watch the video below to find out. 

The scene depicts a period-era poker game and used a single light source overhead to illuminate the actors. Like the R5 test, the a7S III needed to be rigged to handle the shooting requirements of the day. The camera was outfitted with different camera accessories by our sponsor Kondor Blue, who offers high-quality production gear with the filmmaker in mind. The a7s III was also fitted with a PL adapter to mount the MasterBuilt Soft Flare Lens Series lenses that we used on the R5 production. 

The scene was recorded using the highest quality available on the a7S III, and because ProRes RAW isn't an option yet, we used 4K ProRes HQ to an Atomos Ninja V. Everything was shot using the S-Log3 gamma curve. 

Credit: Jake Bernal

While the shoot was indoors and footage was shot externally, it''s important to point out that the a7S III did not overheat. When it came to color grading, we were also impressed by how far we could push the image. On top of that, the color science has improved a lot from previous Alpha cameras. While it's not as dynamic as the Sony VENICE, we can see a7S III footage being mixed in with the high-end cinema camera. 

And here's Potato Jet and I testing the slo-mo, overheating, and image quality of the Sony a7S III and Canon EOS R5. 

So, what do you think of the a7S III footage? Let us know in the comments below.      

Your Comment

20 Comments

"While the shoot was indoors and footage was shot externally, it''s important to point out that the a7S III did not overheat."

Were there rumors that it would overheat when shooting externally? If not this seems like an unnecessary jab at Canon even though you're supposed to be focusing on the A7SIII.

That would be like me saying "Its important to point out that the A7SIII doesnt shoot 45 MP" in an article about the R5. They're each their own camera and when compared to one another it is obvious they have been created to do vastly different jobs.

August 13, 2020 at 2:11PM

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Nick Straub
Wedding Photographer/Videographer
411

No, he was stating that so you knew it wasn't an internal only shoot/test. Seemed pretty clear to me.

August 13, 2020 at 4:31PM

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Stephen Herron
Writer/Director
1961

I'm not worried about Canon's feelings. If they were listening, they would have given the people what they wanted ages ago.

August 14, 2020 at 4:00AM

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geoff webb
Director, Producer, DOP, Editor
472

I have an A7sii. I've used it on a few short films (full day shoots, in warm weather, recording internal and external for redundancy). I've gotten it to overheat a few times in the last few years. Not often but it has happened after several hours of continuous shooting. So "Did not overheat" is a + in my book. I'm pondering the upgrade.

August 15, 2020 at 11:41AM

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urban revolution
Stories Pictures & Sounds
200

Looks pretty good, but to be honest I was drawn to the visuals in the thumbnail image (the still of the girl looking down at the table) and disappointed with the flatness of the lighting & grade in the finished piece. If you're going to spend all this $ on production, why settle for such a flat look? Also, I get that simulating a full production environment for many people means bulky cine lenses, V-lock batteries and remote focus, but I would have been really curious to see what this camera could do with eye-detection AF, native/EF lenses and power through a simple USB-C charger for instance. If I'm looking at this camera, it's because I DON'T have access to the benefits of a large-scale budget, so I'd be more interested to see what it can do for its target market and still deliver "cinematic" (read: deliberate, creative, emotion-inducing) results instead of how it can fit into a workflow it's designed to circumvent. I understand the Ninja V as an add-on, but everything else seems like a good way to slow you down based on outdated production needs rather than using the new technology to free you up creatively. Maybe a Ferrari can tow a boat, maybe it can't...but does it really need to?

August 13, 2020 at 8:38PM, Edited August 13, 8:50PM

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geoff webb
Director, Producer, DOP, Editor
472

Why you use a 3.000$ camera with a cine lens worth 40.000$ and other cine “normal” and expensive gear? If you can hire this gear you use a Red or Arri for example.

August 14, 2020 at 1:58AM

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Javier Diez
Director/Writer
419

B-Cam / insert shots. A7SII was used routinely on TV shows with cinema glass for special shots. If I were trying to buy a camera to shoot music videos/shorts and low budget features, this would be a solid choice, especially since its FF no?

And if you can own this camera you're saving at about a thousand a day in my market if you're renting an Alexa kit. That can go to some nicer lenses, because at the EOD isn't it all about the glass?

September 22, 2020 at 7:33PM

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will
265

hey Geoff, you might want to check out Brandon Li's video then. It's all about having minimal gear with this cam https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvcOr_jE3OU

August 15, 2020 at 4:15AM, Edited August 15, 4:41AM

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Attila
Filmmaker
162

From what you're describing, your other choices at FX9 and maybe C200 (I don't know the specs on Canon these days)

FX9 + AKS is still gonna cost more than the Atomos and A7SIII however you get better audio controls, and it is more production suited.

September 22, 2020 at 7:35PM

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will
265

How the Sony a7S

August 14, 2020 at 12:45AM

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Xây Dựng Honghala
Honghala | Công ty xây dựng nhà ở uy tín số 1 tại Hà Nội
248

Holds Up in a Production Environment

August 14, 2020 at 2:45AM

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Xây Dựng Honghala
Honghala | Công ty xây dựng nhà ở uy tín số 1 tại Hà Nội
248

This is a camera you BUY with lenses you RENT, and for the size and amount of use it could get off "sets" it seems pretty worth it.

Especially since none of our shit is being shown on anything bigger than a TV screen anytime soon.

August 14, 2020 at 8:58PM

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will
265

Actually, you should BUY the lenses and RENT a Sony. In 3 months Sony will release another camera...

August 14, 2020 at 10:27PM

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K W
759

I'm sorry, I don't get your comment, what lenses are you using? For me and my work at least, I'm usually using lens kits that cost at least 40K to purchase. Seems like this small and affordable 4K and FF camera is a great affordable option for those who want to compete with a more 'cinema production' camera.

September 22, 2020 at 7:30PM

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will
265

Although it's nice to see these small completed projects, its incredibly off-putting that reviews like these are completely endorsed by the products they are reviewing. Are we just supposed to accept that this is the world of reviewing we live in and take it for what it is? They could post three stills and convey the exact same amount of useful information that this 11 minute video did b/c everything the reviewer says is complete bought and paid for bullshit. I'm always amazed that these exist and no one ever says anything. What am I missing?

August 15, 2020 at 7:29PM

5
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I have read somewhere, sony has purchased the spiderman "marvel character" at time company thinks all other characters are not so hit.

August 16, 2020 at 7:30AM, Edited August 16, 7:32AM

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Jiush
152

lol k

August 16, 2020 at 8:38PM, Edited August 16, 8:38PM

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geoff webb
Director, Producer, DOP, Editor
472

Was that Tim Prindle as one of the players? I was in a karate class with him 10+ years ago! He's a great guy. Tell him I said hi :)

EDIT: I should look at the credits. Fun! How great to see Tim randomly here!

August 16, 2020 at 9:43AM, Edited August 16, 9:48AM

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Marcelo Teson
Filmmaking Instructor/Sound Editor
393

sony camera's perfect for videography

August 16, 2020 at 11:59PM

1
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tlaloc telvin
blog manager
159

chúng sanh thề nguyện độ

August 17, 2020 at 12:15AM

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Quảng Bình 365
Quảng Bình 365 | Thông tin sản phẩm & dịch vụ tại Quảng Bình
74