Philip Bloom: Sony a7SIII Review The Movie With 5 Days of Heat Testing

Philip Bloom is a very well known cinematographer that rarely does camera reviews, but when he does they are very lengthy and detailed. This is why Philip Bloom is calling his review “Review of The Sony a7SIII: THE MOVIE” coming in at 1h 14m 25s. Below is a summary of the above video, but I highly recommend you watch it if you have the time because it is top-notch.

  • Philip Bloom made 2 videos for the Sony a7SIII launch that he was paid for, but the above video is his own opinion as a Sony Pro ambassador which isn’t for interchangeable lens cameras and he doesn’t get free equipment from them. The only perk is getting early access to equipment and being able to give input.
  • Eye AF sticks and doesn’t get distracted by anything else in the video
  • He loves the camera and it was worth the wait in his opinion
  • Things the camera needed to have to not be a disappointment
  • Internal 4k 10-bit up to 60p without crop
  • Video AF at least as good as the Sony a7RIV
  • Fix all the HDMI issues when using an external monitor
  • New 12MP BSI Sensor that is more advanced and a massive improvement
  • Improved rolling shutter with sample
  • Better IBIS with sample
  • 10-bit 4:2:2 Internal recording in all resolutions and 8-bit if you want to use it
  • 4k (3840×2160) 24p to 120p with a 1.1x crop at 120p and 100p all with AF
  • No DCI 4k or Anamorphic Modes in camera
  • 3 different codec’s using mp4
  • XAVC S 10-bit 4:2:2 h.264
    • XAVCS 4k 4:2:2 10-bit Normal Recording H.264 MPEG-4 Long GOP SDXC V60 Cards or Faster Needed For All These Modes24p – 100 Mbps
      25p – 140 Mbps
      30p – 140 Mbps
      50p – 200 Mbps
      60p – 200 Mbps
      100p – 280 Mbps
      120p – 280 MbpsXAVCS 4K 4:2:2 10- Bit S&Q
      Maximum bitrate for 120 FPS is 280 Mbps
      SDXC V90 cards of faster may be needed for the higher bitrates
  • XAVC HS no 25/30p with a lower bitrate than XAVCS using h.265 which is about twice as compressed as h.264 ALL-I
    • XAVC HS 4K 4:2:2 10-bit Normal Recording H.265 MPEG-H Long GOP SDXC V60 or Faster Cards Needed For The Following24P – 100 Mbps
      50P / 60P – 200 Mbps
      100P / 120P – 280 MbpsXAVC HS 4K 4:2:2 10-bit S&Q
      Maximum bitrate for 120 FPS is 280 Mbps
      SDXC V90 or faster cards needed
  • XAVC S-I requires CFexpress Type A for XAVC S-I 4k 100/120p S&Q Mode and XAVC S-I HD 200/240 FPS S&Q Mode
    • XAVC S-I 4K 4:2:2 10-bit Normal Recording H.264 MPEG-H All Intra SDXC V90 or CFE-A Cards Required 24p – 240 Mbps
      25p – 250 Mbps
      30p – 300 Mbps
      50p – 500 Mbps
      60p – 600 Mbps
      100p – 280 Mbps
      120p – 280 MbpsXAVC S-I 4K 4:2:2 10- Bit S&Q
      Maximum bitrate for 120 FPS is 600 Mbps
      CFExpress Type A cards needed for 100p / 120p in this mode
  • Should transcode everything into ProRes for editing
  • Now I See is by far his most successful video and it shows off how the Sony a7S series can turn night to day
  • Philip made Now I See II with the Sony a7SIII also that takes place during the day and at night
  • Very similar low light to the Sony a7SII but you have a better codec now
  • The low light is so good you can do 50p 4k at night
  • Sony has fixed the purple color fringing at high ISO
  • You can transform your 60p and 120p footage into slow-motion easily or use the S&Q mode to have the slow-motion timeline as default
  • You could use slow motion to do timelapse but using the stills mode would be better for longer exposures
  • The Sony a7RIII and a7RIV have an advantage for being able to punch in and get more flexibility out of your lens, but the Sony a7S does not have this function for 4k, but you can do it for HD
  • Having to switch lenses has slowed him down because he switches lenses a lot
  • Both card slots accept SD and CFExpress A, which can be mixed
  • If you shoot to both cards they need to be the same speed
  • 200/240p is softer but useful
  • Best 240p he has seen on a camera like this plus you have full AF functionality, but not animal eye detect
  • The new menus work really well and are intuitive even when used in the traditional way instead of as a touch screen
  • In LiveView, you cant adjust settings just by touching them and you should be able to
  • The quick function menu is good and supports touchscreen
  • There is no way to turn off noise reduction in video and it can make a lot of shots unusable
  • Now I See 1 vs Now I See 2 demonstrates the noise reduction because the second was a lot darker because the peer was closed with the lights off
  • Got an early version of Atomos firmware to record ProResRAW and there was a horrendous amount of noise since it didn’t have the internal noise reduction, but it cleaned up very nicely
  • The a7SIII body has less annoying flaps than the a7SII and full-sized HDMI but the locking connector blocks the flip screen
  • It’s nice to finally have a flippy screen even if it isn’t the best, which belongs to the S1H
  • Mic plug above the hinge so it shouldn’t get in the way but headphones will
  • Some Sony a7RIV cage will fit the Sony a7SIII
  • It’s nice to be able to flip the screen over for protection
  • The screen auto mirroring and flip needs a manual override so you can decide
  • Headphone jack
  • USB Micro (for triggers etc) and USB-C (for charging only when the camera is off) on camera
  • New buttons and dials on the top the M mode is better placed and the recording button on the top
  • Lots of customizable buttons
  • The MI Shoe on the top is great and Sony has a few accessories for it like mics and XLR
  • You can record 4 channels of audio with the XLR adapter
  • IBIS is great for micro jitters and the a7SIII is better when you use the active mode
  • IBIS Active does a 1.1x crop to improve the IBIS, but it doesn’t work in 100/120p
  • If you’re shooting handheld use active IBIS
  • IBIS is clearly better in active mode but the camera also records gyroscopic data that you can use for posts stabilization, but he couldn’t try it on his prerelease camera, but it is usually the best way to do digital stabilization
  • The more stable you want your video the more you have to crop in with the gyroscopic data in post
  • No record limit
  • Hot-swap SD Cards
  • Hasn’t handled the R5/R6 yet and everyone knows it overheats
  • Spent days testing if/when the Sony a7SIII would overheat
    • Never had a hint of overheating except during testing with a heat lamp on the camera
    • XAVC HS 4k 100P S&Q lasted about an hour at just over 40 degrees Celsius
    • After 5 minute break he tried to record some more and got another 25 minutes at the same temperature
    • XAVC S-I ran for about 24 minutes in 3k 120 FSP S&Q at 45 degrees Celsius
    • 24 Minutes of 120 FPS in S&Q equates to 2 hours of slow-motion at 24p or 96 minutes at 30p (can be conformed to 24P or 25P in post)
    • It lasted another 11 minutes at the same Temperature
    • He did another test at 25 degrees Celsius and it lasted just under 60 minutes
    • The tests took 5 days to complete
    • XAVC S-I 4k 25P ran for 12 hours with zero issues
    • Over 10 TB of video was shot for the tests
    • Only the heat light would overheat the camera and it didn’t take long for the camera to recover
  • Eye AF is great but doesn’t work for animals in video
  • Video AF shouldn’t be dismissed by professionals
  • AF can’t just be good it has to be great
  • Touch to track is incredibly reliable, but the AF settings should be easier to access
  • The Sony a7SII only had CDAF the Sony a7SIII has CDAF/PDAF which made AF go from crappy to amazing
  • 7 steps in transition settings
  • The camera is super fast at acquiring focus so you need to setup AF-C properly to not have it jump around to multiple faces
  • If you’re using a straight-up monitor you lose the monitor and ability to do touch screen tracking (works if you have a clean display on your monitor, but most of the time he ends up looking at the small screen then)
  • Touch tracking can be set up to only be used on part of the screen
  • There is no way to use the joystick to pick a subject to track
  • Most of the Sony lenses aren’t good for manual focus because they use focus by wire
  • Manual focus won’t let you punch in with a monitor after you start recording so you have to do it before you start recording
  • No internal RAW video
  • The Ninja V takes the a7SIII 16-bit RAW signal and turns it into 12-bit ProRes RAW
  • Picture profiles are very much like other Sony cameras
  • 10-bit make SLOG-3 useful for matching with the FX9
  • S Cinetone is missing, but if we ask enough maybe it will be added
  • SLOG3 base iso is 640ISO which is lower than previous but you can use extended ISO to bring it down
  • The sensor is believed to be dual ISO at 640 ISO and 16,000 ISO which he checked on ProRes RAW
  • Dynamic range is 15 stops but 13 usable stops
  • Just under 16,000 has been measured at 12 stops
  • Phillip really loves this camera
  • Would have been good to have a higher megapixel sensor for crop options
  • Imaging edge touch focus work and Clearzoom is the only feature that can kill AF
  • Should look at ZCam app to see how a proper camera control app should be done
  • The price varies a lot by region and the launch price is a bit high
  • Wouldn’t recommend buying anything based on his review there should be like 20-30k reviews on youtube you can look to or just try it out if you have doubts
  • Will Sony make us wait 5 more years for the Sony a7SIV?

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