While there were a lot of highlights from this past year’s Sundance Film Festival (as well as plenty of camera insights and inspirations), one of the most interesting camera choices and stories comes from a familiar name.

Now long-known for shooting feature films on very commercially friendly camera choices like iPhone models, Steven Soderbergh is the poster child for DIY filmmaking these days. And further, proof that you don’t always need an ARRI ALEXA or Sony VENICE to tell a great story.

The latest example of this comes from his Sundance psychological thriller short film "Presence" which stars Lucy Liu, Julia Fox, and Chris Sullivan and was reportedly shot on the Sony a9 III. Let’s explore more.

Steven Soderbergh’s Sony a9 III Choice

In an interview with Filmmaker Magazine, Soderbergh was asked about what camera he used for Presence and why he chose to utilize it for his latest short. Here are his thoughts:

We shot this on the newest iteration of the Sony DSLR, which is, as you know, a digital single-lens reflex camera. Its primary mode is as a still camera, but it also shoots really good video. It’s small, and this new version has a sensor that was never used in a DSLR before. I did experiments with all the digital cameras that I’d worked with before and ones I hadn’t. I stripped them down as much as I could, then put them on the smallest stabilization rig that would support them. What I discovered was that there was just a couple of pounds’ difference between the camera I could use and stabilize and be able to back into any space I wanted to, and the next step up made that impossible because of the weight. We did all these tests with the Sony and this one rig. And I’m like, “This’ll work. It’s not heavy.”

It’s interesting how he refers to the camera, which makes it sound like it might not have been the Sony a9 III mirrorless, but we do have some tweets and other references to Soderbergh using this Sony camera for his film, including:

Regardless though, it’s another great example of how mirrorless (or DSLR) digital cameras can absolutely be a capable tool to shoot a cinematic, and film festival worthy, short or feature. As Soderbergh points out, not only are they lighter weight and easier to use, but they’re also quite capable of high-end video recording.

Sony a9 III Mirrorless Camera

Laying claim to the title of world's first global shutter mirrorless camera, the Sony a9 III is a speedy and incredibly capable system for sports, wildlife, photojournalism, and much, much more.