Tucked away at the bottom of the press release for the Sony Alpha 9 III full-frame camera, Sony quietly announced firmware updates for a couple of its older cameras. Users of the Sony Alpha 1 and Sony Alpha 7S III will be pleased to see that their cameras are finally getting some of their most requested features.
Focus breathing compensation
The big news for the firmware update is that both the Alpha 1 and Alpha 7S III will finally get focus breathing compensation. This is one of the most requested updates for these cameras. Focus breathing is when the angle of view changes as you pull focus. However, focus breathing compensation automatically crops part of the image electronically to maintain a constant angle of view. It’s also important to note that the feature only works with compatible lenses.
24P DCI 4K recording
The firmware update from Sony will also add DCI 4K recording at 24.00p to the Alpha 7S III. 4K DCI (Digital Cinema Initiative) has a resolution of 4,096 pixels by 2,160 pixels and is the format for 4K films at the cinema. It is also 256 pixels wider than UHD video for television which is 3,840 by 2,160 pixels. 24.00p is often called true 24p and is the standard frame rate for movies at the cinema. For many cameras, the 24p setting actually means a frame rate of 23.976p, which is — again — for television.
The firmware update gives both cameras C2PA format support. C2PA stands for the Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity. The C2PA format creates an additional metadata set with tamper-proof provenance information about a photo, video, sound or text file. In addition, the update also adds IPTC and FTP workflow enhancements to both cameras. IPTC (International Press Telecommunications Council) metadata is a standardized format used by press agencies and other media organizations. The IPTC data includes data such as the title, description, and location with an image. Finally, the firmware will also update the Alpha 1 with Relay Playback.
What we think
It’s good to see that Sony is continuing to put out firmware updates for older cameras. The Alpha 7S III is over three years old now, but the update suggests that Sony doesn’t intend to replace it any time soon. Focus breathing compensation is great for video shooters, even though it’s limited to compatible lenses. 4K DCI and true 24p recording is also a huge boost. For many users, it might not be that important. However, this feature could see the relatively inexpensive Alpha 7S III being used on movies destined for cinemas, especially given the success of the FX3 on The Creator. Alpha 7S III owners will be counting down the days until next Spring.
Sony said that the firmware updates for the Alpha 1 and Alpha 7S III will be released in Spring 2024.