That lack of 60P or 10-bit color on the Sony A7R III is disappointing. In this regards the Panasonic GH5 remains preferable. But if you’re looking for a smaller full-frame camera that can shoot video too then the Sony A7R III is hard to beat.
Both the Nikon D850 and the Sony A7R III should be excellent time-lapse photography tools. Of course the accessory equipment makes a huge difference too so don’t expect results like these without it.
The lack of 60FPS makes these dead in the water for some people. It’s really inexcusable this late into 2017. If you don’t need the 60P these are cheaper than Canon’s new 1″ offerings.
To the surprise of many, the Sony A7R III retains the same 42MP sensor as the A7R II.
We’re disappointed however, as:
- No HEVC
- No 10-bit (doesn’t even appear to do 10-bit out)
- No 4K 60P
On the plus side:
- Better/faster AF
- Dual card slots
- Double the size battery of the A7R II
- 5K (15MP) over-sampling for 4K video
- Improved 5-axis IBIS
- Claims 14 stops of dynamic range for video, but the codec cripples this making this claim dubious at best
High Quality 4K for the Video Professionals
The new α7R III is exceptionally capable as a video camera, offering 4K (3840×2160 pixels) video recording across the full width of the full-frame image sensor. When shooting in Super 35mm format, the camera uses full pixel readout without pixel binning to collect 5K[xviii] of information, oversampling it to produce high quality 4K footage with exceptional detail and depth.
A new HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma)[xix] is available on the α7R III that supports an Instant HDR workflow, allowing HDR (HLG) compatible TV’s to playback beautiful, true-to-life 4K HDR imagery. Further, both S-Log2 and S-Log3 are available for increased colour grading flexibility. The camera can also record Full HD at 120 fps at up to 100 Mbpsvi, allowing footage to be reviewed and eventually edited into 4x or 5x slow motion[xx] video files in Full HD resolution with AF tracking.
If only these were F2.8 instead F4, they would have been wonderful. Having to bring lights kind of defeats the purpose of such a small, inconspicuous camera. Not to mention the difficulty and costing of getting ND filters onto this thing. If we have to bring lighting then we will just use our Panasonic G85s instead. But this is just a very specific context. We’re happy to see someone bring a non-fisheye, large sensor camera to the mainly consumer action camera market.
Oh, if only the lens on this camera was F2.8 instead of F4, this would have been so much of a better video camera. Now that Sony has made a more professional alternative to a GoPro (to be fair, so did Black Magic) hopefully others will follow suit.
World’s Fastest[i] AF Speed of 0.03 seconds[ii], 24 fps[iii] Continuous Shooting with full AF/AE tracking 315 focal-plane phase-detection AF points covering approx. 65% of the frame ZEISS® Vario-Sonnar T* 24-600mm[iv] F2.4-F4 Large Aperture, High Magnification Zoom Lens 4K[v] Movie Recording with full pixel readout without pixel binning
Sony today announced the new flagship model in its acclaimed Cyber-shot® RX10 series, the RX10 IV (model DSC-RX10M4).
Featuring the world’s fastesti AF acquisition time of 0.03 secondsii and up to 24 fps continuous shootingiii with full AF/AE tracking, 315 phase-detection AF points that rivals those the fastest professional interchangeable lens cameras and an exceptionally versatile 24-600mmiv F2.4-F4 ZEISS® Vario-Sonnar T* lens, the new RX10 IV model delivers an unmatched combination of mobility and speed for imaging enthusiasts and professionals looking for the ultimate ‘all-in-one’ solution.
The impressive RX10 IV camera is equipped with a latest 1.0-type 20.1 MP[vi] Exmor RS CMOS stacked image sensor with DRAM chip along with a powerful BIONZ X™ image processor and front-end LSI. These key components all work together to maximise overall speed of operation and performance, ultimately ensuring the highest possible image and video quality throughout the entire range of the 24-600mmiv lens.
Fast Focusing, Fast Shooting
A first for Sony’s RX10 series of cameras, the new RX10 IV model features a Fast Hybrid AF system that combines the respective advantages of 315 phase-detection AF points covering approximately 65% of the sensor and contrast-detection AF to ultimately enable the camera to lock focus in as little as 0.03 secondsii. This high speed focusing complements the extensive 24-600mmiv range of the lens, ensuring all subjects can be captured with precise detail and clarity.
Additionally, for the first time in a Cyber-shot camera, the RX10 IV model employs High-density Tracking AF technology. This advanced technology, which had only been previously available in a select few of Sony’s acclaimed line of α interchangeable lens cameras, concentrates AF points around a subject to improve tracking and focus accuracy, allowing even the most unpredictable subjects including fast-moving athletes and birds in flight to be captured with ease.
Other AF improvements in the new RX10 IV camera include an enhanced version of the popular Eye AF, Touch Focus and Focus Range Limiter[vii]. AF-ON setting is also assignable, as well as multiple AF modes including AF-S, AF-C and AF-A, which can be easily adjusted based on user preferences and shooting situations.
An ideal complement to the AF system, the RX10 IV offers continuous high-speed shooting at up to 24 fpsiii with full AF/AE tracking, with an impressive buffer limit of up to 249 images[viii]. With the significant improvements in processing power for the new camera, EVF display lag during continuous shooting has been substantially reduced, allowing shooters to capture the decisive moment with ultimate confidence. Also, for convenience during image playback, continuously shot images can be displayed in groups instead of individual shots.
The RX10 IV also has a high speed Anti-Distortion Shutter (maximum shutter speed of up to 1/32000 second) that reduces the “rolling shutter” effect commonly experienced with fast moving subjects, and can shoot completely silently in all modes, including continuous high speed shooting, when electronic shutter is engaged. A mechanical shutter mode is also available as well if required by the user.
ZEISS® Vario-Sonnar T* 24-600mm F2.4-F4 Lens
The 24-600mmiv ZEISS® Vario-Sonnar T* lens on the Cyber-shot RX10 IV camera features a large maximum aperture of F2.4-F4.0, helping it achieve outstanding image quality throughout the entire zoom range, all the way up to ultra-telephoto. It includes a super ED (extra-low dispersion) glass element and ED aspherical lenses to minimise chromatic aberration, and ZEISS® T* Coating to minimise flare and ghosting.
The lens also has built-in Optical SteadyShot™ image stabilisation that helps to reduce camera shake and image blur. When the feature is activated, it is equivalent to an approximate 4.5 steps shutter speed improvement.
Additionally, with a minimum focusing distance of 72 cm (2.36 ft) and 0.49x maximum magnification at a fully extended 600mm, the lens is capable of producing amazingly detailed tele-macro images.
Professional Video Capture
The new RX10 IV becomes the latest Cyber-shot RX camera to offer the advantages of 4K (QFHD 3840 x 2160) movie recording, with its Fast Hybrid AF system realising approximately 2x faster focusing speed compared to the RX10 III.
In 4K mode, the new RX10 IV utilises full pixel readout without pixel binning, capturing approximately 1.7x more information than is required for 4K movie output to ensure that all the finest details are captured accurately. The camera utilises the XAVC S™ [ix] codec, recording video at a high data rate of up to 100 Mbps depending on shooting mode. Users have the option of shooting at either 24p or 30p in 4K mode (100 Mbps), or in frame rates of up to 120p in Full HD mode.
The new camera also has a variety of other professional calibre video features including Picture Profile, S-Log3/S-Gamut3, Gamma Display Assist, Proxy recording, Time Code / User Bit and more, as well as input for external microphone and output for headphone monitoring.
Super slow motion[x] video recording is also available, with an extended duration of about 4 seconds (in quality priority mode) and 7 seconds (in shoot time priority). This unique feature gives users the ability to choose among 1000fps, 500fps and 250fps frame rates and among 50p, 25p and 24p playback formats[xi].
Upgraded Operation and Customization
The new RX10 IV features Sony’s latest 3.0-type 1.44M dot tiltable LCD screen with Touch Focus and Touch Pad function – another first for the Cyber-shot RX series – for quick and smooth focusing operation, and WhiteMagic™ technology, ensuring that LCD viewing is bright and clear in even the harshest outdoor lighting conditions. Additionally, it is equipped with an approx. 2.35M dot high-contrast XGA OLED Tru-Finder™, ensuring true-to-life image preview and playback functionality. Triple lens rings for aperture, zoom and focus are also available, with a completely quiet, smooth option for the aperture ring that is ideal for video shooters.
To enhance customisation, “My Menu” functionality has been added, allowing up to 30 frequently used menu items to be custom registered. Menus are colour coded for easier recognition and navigation, and a new Movie Settings menu has been introduced to improve the overall video shooting experience.
The RX10 IV is also dust and moisture resistant[xii], and Wi-Fi®, NFC™ and Bluetooth® compatible.
Pricing and Availability
The new Sony Cyber-shot RX10 IV camera will ship in October for approximately €2000. Full product details can be accessed here.
[i] Among fixed lens digital cameras with 1.0-type sensor. As of September 2017 press release, based on Sony research.
[ii] CIPA standard, internal measurement, at f=8.8mm (wide-end), EV6.8, Program Auto, Focus mode: AF-A, AF area: Centre
[iii] With “Continuous shooting mode: Hi”.
[iv] 35mm equivalent
[v] 3,840 x 2,160 pixels
[vi] Approximate effective MP
[vii] Only when 35mm-equivalent focal length is within 150-600mm range
[viii] With “Continuous shooting mode: Hi” and “Image quality: Fine
[ix] A Class 10 or higher SDHC/SDXC memory card is required to record movies in the XAVC S format. UHS-I (U3) SDHC/SDXC card is required for 100Mbps.
[x] Sound cannot be recorded. A class 10 or higher SDHC/SDXC memory card is required.
[xi] In PAL mode. Switch between NTSC and PAL using the menu.
[xii] Not guaranteed to be 100% dust and moisture proof.
It’s surprising that it took this long for these consoles to get to 4K. There’s no going back now. Yet at the distance most people sit from their TV, unless they have an unusually large TV, they may not notice much of a difference from the 1080P counterparts.
Sony VENICE CineAlta 6K Full-Frame Video Camera… try to say that 3 times fast. But odds are you won’t have to as you probably don’t have $40,000 laying around.
Full-frame may become even more relevant for video when 8K begins common because pixel-density at the Super 35 sensor size becomes more of a problem (but not an insurmountable one as RED has shown us).
The Sony A6500 came close to being a video camera we could highly recommend but its deficits in a few areas made us go for the Panasonic G85 instead (but that’s just for our needs pertaining to shooting long interviews). We’re hopeful that the next incarnation of the Sony ASPC premium model will be one we can recommend.