Sony a7S III vs a7S II | Differences & Similarities

Sony a7S III is a successor to the Sony a7S II full-frame mirrorless camera. It took quite long for Sony to introduce a new model in the Alpha a7S series after a7S II. Just like the predecessor a7S II, released in 2015, the new Sony a7S III boasts an exceptional pixel size which is the main selling point of these S series full-frame mirrorless cameras. The S in the model name stands for sensitivity. All of the a7S series cameras are video-centric and their larger pixel size helps them to achieve outstanding low light shooting capabilities. Let’s take a glance at Sony a7S III vs a7S II.

Camera ModelCurrent Price & Availability (Amazon)
Sony a7S IIICheck Pricing & Availability
Sony a7S IICheck Current Price
Sony a7S III vs a7S II | Pricing & Availability

Overview & Features – Sony a7S III vs a7S II

Image Sensor & Processor

Sony a7S III boasts the newer 12.1 MP Exmor R BSI-CMOS sensor whereas the predecessor a7S II equips the older12.2 MP Exmor CMOS sensor. The 5-year wait did pay up with upgraded technology. a7S III supports 2x readout speed than the a7S II.

a7S III doesn’t stop with the new image sensor. The image processor (Bionz XR) in Sony a7S III is much superior to the Bionz X in a7S II. Sony claims that the new Bionz XR is 8x faster than the older Bionz X.

Larger pixels are the best feature in a7S lineup. Therefore, it allows the cameras to do well in low light conditions. The hype for a7S III is definitely for its low light performance and video recording ability. Both models can capture 14 bit RAW & JEPG. In addition, a7S III can store an image in HEIF.

Video Recording

The newer Exmor R and Bionz XR together power up the Sony a7S III to record 16 bit RAW 4K into an external recorder. Also, a7S III is the first camera that can record RAW in its lineup. On the other hand, the predecessor a7S II cannot record RAW video. a7S II supports 4K recording only up to 24 & 30 fps. However, the new a7S III supports top-notch 4K quality video recording at 24, 25, 30, 50, 60, 100, & 120 fps. What’s even more exciting is that the latest low light beast Sony a7S III is now capable of recording 10-bit 4:2:2 4k videos internally and externally.

In regards to frame rates, this is the first time we’re getting the same frame recording speed for 4K and FHD video recording. a7S III supports FHD video recording at 24, 25, 30, 50, 60, 100, & 120 p. At the same FHD resolution, Sony a7S II can also record videos up to 120 fps for a nice slow-motion effect.

The powerful sensor – processor duo boosts the performance of a7S III in magnitude uncomparable with its lineup. This camera is far more superior in terms of video recording and photography against other competitors in the lineup.

Sony a7S III now supports the highly efficient H.265 video encoding. H.265 drastically reduces the file size without compromising in video quality. In other words, this is a start to turn everyone’s eye into HEVC or H.265. In addition, a7S III also supports MPEG-4, XAVC S, XAVC HS, XAVC S-1, & H.264. However, a7S II supports only MPEG-4, AVCHD, & XAVC S.

Monitor & Viewfinder

a7S III features the first fully touch monitor in the a7S lineup. The 3″ 1,440,000 dot TFT LCD articulate display in a7S III provides flexibility for the movie makers, vloggers in specific. In addition, the articulate display provides an extra degree of freedom to the user. However, the a7S II has a 3″ 1,228,800 dot TFT LCD tilt display that is just not flexible as the newer a7S III.

Moving on to the viewfinder, a7S II has a 2,359,296 dot 0.5″ electronic viewfinder whereas the latest Sony a7S III features a 0.64″ 9,437,184 dot electronic viewfinder. It is safe to say that a7S III is far more superior than a7S II in terms of viewfinder quality and resolution.

Image Stabilization

Both Sony a7S III & a7S II features 5-axis sensor-shift image stabilization. However, Sony compares the stabilization of a7S III in a sample video as gimbal-like footage. The 5-year gap provides a great array of newer technologies for a7S III to play with.


a7S II featuring only contrast detection AF limits the photographer’s ability to rely on the camera. However, a7S III shines this segment with a whopping 769 focus points & phase detection AF, along with contrast detection. Unlike the newer a7S III, Sony a7S II only supported 169 focus points.

ISO & Shutter speed

Just like the predecessor, the new Sony a7S III supports an extended ISO range of 40 – 409600. But because of the new image sensor and technology, a7S III can capture low noise footage at even higher ISO levels than the a7S II. Both models support a shutter speed from 1/8000 s to 30 s. This is the only area where the older a7S II model shares attributes with the latest a7S III variant.

Back to differences, again! At 10 fps, the maximum continuous drive speed of Sony a7S III is 2x the speed of a7S II.

Other Features – Sony a7S III vs a7S II

The predecessor a7S II has a single memory slot whereas the newer a7S III camera has 2 memory slots. Both a7S II & a7S III support SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-II compliant cards. But Sony a7S III also supports the newer and faster CFexpress Type A slots. In regards to USB connectivity, the newer model supports USB 3.2 connection allowing for much higher transfer speeds than what Sony a7S II has to offer with USB 2.0.

Sony a7S III vs a7S II | Specifications

Sony a7S IIISony a7S II
SensorCMOS Exmor Full FrameBSI-CMOS Exmor Full Frame
ProcessorBionz XRBionz X
Effective Resolution12.1 MP12.2 MP
File Format for Still ImagesJPEG, 14 – bit Raw, & HEIFJPEG, & 14 – bit Raw
Image Stabilization5-axis BIIS5-axis BIIS
AutofocusPhase Detection AFContrast Detection AF
AF Focus Points769169
ISO Range (Extended)50 – 40960040 – 409600
Shutter Speed1/8000 s – 30 s1/8000 s – 30 s
Continuous Drive Speed10 fps5 fps
4K Video Recording4K @ 120 fps – 10 bit 4:2:24K @ 30 fps – 8 bit 4:2:0
RAW Video16 – bit externallyNone
4K Video Recording Frame Speed24, 25, 30, 50, 60, 100, & 120 fps24 & 30 fps
FHD Video Recording Frame Speed24, 25, 30, 50, 60, 100, & 120 fps24, 25, 30, 50, 60, 100, & 120 fps
Viewfinder0.64″ 9,437,184 dot Electronic2,359,296 dot 0.5″ Electronic
Monitor TypeTFT LCD articulating displayTFT LCD tilting display
Monitor Resolution1,440,0001,228,800
Storage2 Slots (SD/SDHC/SDXC/CFexpress Type A)1 Slot
USB Type3.22.0
PriceCheck Current PriceCheck Current Price
Sony a7S III vs a7S II | Specifications

Without a doubt, a7S III outshines its predecessor a7S II in all features. The RAW video recording feature enhances a photographer’s ability to the next level. Therefore, the wait for a7S III was not disappointing at all. Sony met the expectations of its customers with a7S III.

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Adarsh R

A blend of a photographer, a movie lover, and now a writer.