The future of cameras is fast

As mentioned, the main problem with this camera is image quality. So how far does it fall from conventional CMOS cameras? Gymnasiums, night scenes, bird shooting, airport, etc. to check this.

There’s no doubt that dynamic range is at least slightly reduced compared to Sony cameras like the A1. The reason is that the light capacity of the sensor is low due to the space occupied by additional electronics.

It has a smaller ISO range in both the high and low end. It’s not great at minimum ISO 250 and is limited to ISO 25,600 at high, half of the A9 II.

In general, there is more noise and less dynamic range than the A9 II at any given ISO setting. At the same time, the resolution is lower than competitors such as the Nikon Z9 and Sony’s own A7R V and A1. So for landscapes, portraits, and other types of photography where dynamic range and resolution are important (and speed isn’t), the A9 III isn’t the best choice.

Sony A9 III review: The future of cameras is fastSony A9 III review: The future of cameras is fast

However, up to around ISO 6400 you have to look pixel by pixel to see any major difference in image quality between competing 24MP cameras. For its intended audience of sport, action and wildlife shooters, it’s more than enough.

Additionally, images are noisier, but usable up to a maximum ISO of 25,600 with noise reduction (Sony has more aggressive noise reduction for JPEG images at higher ISOs). I had no trouble getting good shots in dark scenes at ISO 6400 or even ISO 12,800. And as mentioned, you can control more with the flash than any other camera on the market – making it a solid option in low light.

Otherwise, images are typical for Sony, with accurate colors and skin tones. 14-bit RAW files are easy to work with and allow for some pushing and pulling, especially in highlights.


Sony A9 III mirrorless camera reviewSony A9 III mirrorless camera review

Steve Dent for Engadget

Sony has used global shutter to make the A9 III the most capable mirrorless camera for video. 4K up to 60 fps is supersampled using the full 6K sensor width, while 4K at 120 fps can be captured using the full sensor, albeit with pixel stacking. This mode supports full 120 fps playback or slower playback modes with a slow and fast (S&Q) setting.

Shooting in RAW 4K format at 60 frames per second is also possible using an external recorder. All these modes are available with 10-bit S-Log 3 recording to extend dynamic range in difficult lighting conditions.

This is just the beginning of the A9 III’s video capabilities. Autofocus is as fast and accurate as the stills mode in video, and has all the same AI features. This means you’ll be sure to keep even fast-moving subjects sharp, whether it’s people, birds, animals or vehicles.

Those who prefer to shoot manually can use Sony’s handy focus map feature. It features the auto framing seen in previous Sony models like the ZV-E1, which allows YouTubers to move while filming themselves. You also get digital zoom, which reduces focus breathing for supported lenses with some loss of quality.

Sony A9 III review: The future of cameras is fastSony A9 III review: The future of cameras is fast

Steve Dent

Airplane propeller distortion in video is a hallmark of a camera shake, so naturally we had to test the A9 III against Sony’s stacked-sensor A1 at the airport. Our findings? Although the A1 still produces tilting propellers, they are certainly dead on the A9 III. This trivial test has a big impact. You can capture things you could never attempt with a rotary shutter sensor, like whip pans or a fast-moving train. And since everything is exposed at once, like a film camera, it’s more cinematic.

The A9 III has some video competition, as RED launched a pair of full-frame global shutter cinema cameras last month.

It has the same excellent video stabilization capabilities as the ZV-E1. Constant optical stabilization is good for handheld shots without too much movement, or you can switch to dynamic active mode for walking. Although there is a considerable loss of zoom and sharpness, it provides levels close to gimbal smoothness.

As with stills, video quality isn’t up to par with other full-frame cameras, with generally more noise. I shot in S-Log3 most of the time to increase the dynamic range and was happy with the results. I had to use some noise reduction in low light.

The quality is still better than any APS-C mirrorless or cinema camera. I think the global shutter benefits, especially the elimination of rolling shutter, will be worth the quality change for a large number of videographers.


Sony A9 III mirrorless camera reviewSony A9 III mirrorless camera review

Steve Dent for Engadget

Sony launched its first full-frame mirrorless camera, the A7, years ahead of its competitors, and was the first to hit the market with back-illuminated and stacked sensors. Lately, though, competitors (especially Canon) are catching up and the field is evening out. Sony has made another breakthrough with its first global shutter camera.

Image quality has lagged global sensor cameras, but Sony clearly felt the time was finally right. It was a wise calculation – the A9 III is much better than I expected for a first-generation product. It offers incredible speeds and incredible video capabilities at a relatively small cost in image quality.

Its main competitors are the $4,800 Canon R3, Sony’s $6,500 A1, the $5,650 Nikon Z9, and the $3,800 Z8, all bundled sensor cameras. The latter three offer higher resolution and better image quality, plus still very fast shooting speeds. All have some shutter lag, along with jitter and flash sync issues that aren’t present on the A9 III.

Whether it’s worth risking that kind of money for a new and unproven stacked sensor technology is up to the buyer. Action photographers and videographers will spare no expense if the benefits of global shutter help them make money. If you don’t really need these perks, Nikon’s Z9 and Z8 are more versatile cameras, along with Sony’s A1 — and the Z8 is significantly cheaper.

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