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Sony A7s, FHD camera, with 12Mp sensor, big DR
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  • First look by B&H

  • When you consider that this camera can replace both your video and photography cameras for typical photography (12mp is enough for most things) it's a pretty decent proposition. There's not really been a camera that does both stills and video well, usually one or the other, not counting ML RAW on the 5D3. This cam could be the first.

  • @HenryO My point wasn't to try and dissuade you from purchasing the camera, I think this is gonna be great for filmmakers in many instances and looks like a great image in both HD and 4K. I just thought the claim of "baby F5" was a little over the top considering the differences and your definition of feature vs. spec seemed reversed when compared with my own definition. I'm very glad you've found the "baby" for you :)

    Personally, when I found out the cam wasn't 10 bit out I decided to do a bit of research to find out if the difference would even matter in the end and then I stumbled across a chart that ultimately convinced me why the 10 bit capture was probably more in my interest this time around (I do a significant amount of color grading). Alt text
    I think if the price on the A7s does end up coming in around the $1700 range, I'll probably still pick one up for available light and timelapse work. I'm still hoping someone drops a recorder this summer that can encode to an IPB intermediate at around 200Mbps. It's gonna suck to archive a bunch of 4K footage at a 880Mbps bitrate. Does anyone know if this cam has an electronic (silent) shutter? That would be brilliant for starscapes.

  • @Tron, that chart is pure fiction.

    You need to push or pull an 8-bit image quite far before the limitations of 8-bit capture actually become visible. Most of the time when you see banding in an image, it's not due to the precision of the capture. It's due to the limited precision of subsequent processing, somewhere in the editing or color correction or the display processing chain. Don't listen to that yahoo. Test it for yourself. Just make sure you know how your processing software and hardware is behaving at every point in the chain.

  • The few A7S shots out there look excellent but I think it's way premature to draw any conclusions. We haven't seen a clip with any appreciable motion in it. It might turn out to be a great all arounder or it may just be a great option for low light, low motion.

  • Hey Sony--how flippin' hard is it to record to a card? Didn't you guys try to sell us a mountain o' useless memory sticks? Don't you have a 4K cam that records to card already? Won't you sell more cards? I mean, puhleeeeeeeze.

  • I wonder if this is gonna have the 29min time limit? It's got pro video specs with time code and black levels, so...

  • @Tron . It's all good bro and unsurpisingly although I am fairly certain of the choice I have made, every day I flip flop in my mind about it. We live in good times indeed that we are haggling over less and less. I wish I could merge the features of both into one cam. As an aside in the comments on the blog, Den owns an F5 and he says it is on par as far as the rhetoric on dynamic range with S-log2 - probably not colour but that itself is impressive. Perhaps it is a baby F5 after all.

    As far as 8 bit is concerned, I think this is where a 10 bit intermediate codec may show a little usefulness. Cineform make a big deal about how banding is reduced in post by transcoding to the codec prior to editing. Suspect the same goes for Prores. The C100 and C300 family are considered overpriced by many but despite being predominantly 8 bit internally, I think they can produce startling colours so there is more to this than meets the eye. If the internal processing is from a much higher bit depth ( 14 bit in this case?) then it stands to reason that the mapping of the final bits will be quite accurate if the processing is done right. Sony make a big deal about reading every pixel in 1080p mode and 4k. Seems the GH4 may possibly not do so in 1080p mode - speculation on my part. All to say 8 bit is not perfect for acquisition but delivery in 8 bit underscores that you can do it right - that if you don't need to mangle the snot out of your image, then you can produce exceptional 'close to delivery' images. Just about everything I watched on Vimeo shot on The Canon C series is 8 bit 4:2:0 but is fantastic. Looks amazing as the source pipeline is exceptional. If the a7s pipeline is exceptional and all indications are that it is, then we may be a little surprised that the 10 bit thing isn't as big an issue for lower downs like me who just wish to be in the game - especially if capture is from the hdmi port.

    I see this as an exceptional music video camera which is my main interest in it. Modern, clean look with crazy stupid DOF, slow mo, amazing low light for creative stuff at night or in dark rooms. For others ( not me ) nature, sport, weddings. incredible - and I mean incredible low light timelapses - ( get ready to see the milky way like never before) . Stick one of these in the ISS and forget about hubble. Cinema type shoots. . . . . . nah. I'll stick to my BMPCC and Sgblade crazy combo. Don't get me wrong, I would prefer 1920 x 1080 DNG internally on this cam or the GH4 despite my leaning. That would have been a dream cam but it wasn't going to happen at this price point. I do wish Sony or Pana just made an option to dump the RAW data to a card like Blackmagic - oh I do wish the hackers among us would. . . . .cough, cough. . . . imagine that. Crazy that the thought even entered my mind ha ha but I guess that's what Magic Lantern has done. A great PR move IMHO - if it did come out at about $3000 - would be cool if the software engineers at Sony left a little exploit for tweakers/ hackers/programmers to modify a 'few' things. Unlikely but even they must be aware of how ML turned an ordinary cam into an extra ordinary beast = money in the bank + cult following. One can dream

  • @HenryO

    Den is also being paid by Sony to sell this camera. I'll wait till I see and hear some reviews of those not paid by the company before I draw conclussions.

  • @HenryO I think you're on the right track - music videos and concerts would be incredibly good with this cam, perhaps even the best option available at any price right now.

  • video limited to under 30 minutes according to Sony NAB rep

  • Why give it all these VIDEO features and still have that stupid time limit. Deal breaker for me.

  • Why give it all these VIDEO features and still have that stupid time limit. Deal breaker for me.

    Because of price in EU. And looking at the mirrorless sales in US - it is much more important.

  • A7S owners are gonna be bummed out in a few months (right after the A7S is safely shipped out) when sony offers almost the same camera with 4k internal. the lack of 4k internal is just lame. yeah I know delivery will mostly be in 1080 for awhile, but this thing is 4k ready and not really 4k.

  • The A7s looks like it would give me an extra hour to be outside taking pictures of my kids each night during the summer.

    I don't need 4K internal, or long format recording.

    I am also super excited about the still capability of the A7s.

    I have thought for some time that a video capable Nikon d700 in a mirrorless format would be great. Now Sony has gone ahead and built it.

  • "One Lone Dork" aka "the Noob" took this camera up to 80,000 ASA. Not a great test, but, looks pretty good.

  • @jpbturbo

    My thoughts exactly - except for teh kids!

  • I don't see what the big deal about 4k internal is if the camera can process the 1080p image perfectly. The way I look at it is it eliminates one step of post processing for me. The only reason I clamored for 4K was to down-sample myself because up until now NO camera could do it better than a decent NLE. But this camera doesn't line skip.....and that image....looks like proof in the pudding. I personally was never going to finish in 4K. 2k / 1920 x 1080 p yes...but not 4K. I'm still kinda torn between this and the GH-4. But the first two videos from this camera so far slapped the Sugar Honey Iced Tea out of me. Just sayin...

  • Ha! I would favorite your post, @Ian_T if I could. :) I pretty much agree with everything you said. For me it's really a race between the GH4 and A7S. Of course pricing on A7S could eliminated it if it's ridiculous. In the meantime I hope we see much more footage.

  • I think Sony pause with price can be quite long. As it is good approach, make you emotionally attached and time invested, so you have much less probability to change your mind.

  • @Ian_T,

    I know what you mean. I think 4K will be great for those who have the money and talent to do the image quality justice, I currently have neither. But, I think some people who will purchase the GH4 for the "In-Camera" 4K image resolution will realize that they didn't "Need" it as well. If the sony A7s is priced under $2000, I will purchase it, selling my Nikon D7100 and a few lenses. My only potential issue will be managing the shallow Depth Of Field of the full-frame sensor in relation to the APS-C (Super 35) D.O.F that I am use to.

  • @bleach551 and @bozfx….that’s the same way I feel about it. The price has to be right. If it’s under $2,000 there’s no doubt. But this game of not announcing the price can hurt their “potential” sales I think. The GH-4 is a huge contender. That is already in the grasp of many folks (price wise). I like the Cine-D from that camera but not necessarily the 1080p slow mo. I expected Sony to slam all the others with dynamic range but…that base image…is so freakin clean. I for one would not use the higher ISO’s…though it’s a nice feature to have. @Vitaliy is right though… If they keep putting out nice videos like this while holding off on price…we do get emotionally attached to it. But then…at the last moment…WHAM…they end up hitting us with a shocking sticker price. At that point we either break the bank…or go into withdrawl. lol

  • For me if the price is around $2K I will get the A7s. Anything more and I will most likely go with the original plan of the GH4. I think Sony is holding off the price to delay orders for the GH4 which will be released much earlier than the A7s which makes me think that the A7s will be closer to $3K in price.