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Sony A7s, FHD camera, with 12Mp sensor, big DR
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  • the 50mb/s 8bit 422 option works well on C300 CLog so I hope the same for 50mb/s 8 bit 422 sLog2.

  • Hallo

    I just ordered A7S,yet I am not interested in shooting 4k,but Ninja Blade mounted on it i have 1080X1920 a second video camera with C100.I had GH3 and was fantastic, just the hdmi output was 50 i.I think to buy a cheaper version like metabonce EF CANON,if you can help me with some suggestions which model you tested and is ok.


  • According to Amazon info it's 15.3 stops. But if it's a useable 12 stops in video mode that would be pretty phenomenal.

    It should be 15 stops in video mode. The whole idea of video mode having significantly less DR in video mode was really from the 5D Canon era of poorly sampled sensors. The fact that Sony claims (and the video shows) moire/aliasing free video, means they're utilizing the sensor data well.

    I may be crazy to claim this, but just image wise... with the 4k 4:2:2 output from a 15 stop sensor down-sampled to 2k... this may be an Alexa killer in a $2500 body. (with recorder as well)

  • it's bizarre that so many seem to be anointing this camera as king without a single bloody test.

  • @chauncy Not entirely fair - this is in a good spirit by the way. There have been two decent shoots and two extreme lowlight tests. The beach shoot covered interiors,an octocopter, high contrast scenes,daylight, low light etc. It was very informative as was the 4k Japan shoot. 3 minutes of video is enough to highlight a cameras strengths and weaknesses in a real world environment. Scientific tests are great but this is art and the limitations of yesteryear are all but circumvented in modern cameras of this quality. We are now in the realm of picking ever increasingly tiny holes in products. A lot of eyes are very excited with good reason.

    Perhaps we are getting too fixated with a cameras limitations now as we try to push the envelope? RED's dragon, Alexa, Raw from the FS700, BM cameras leave us with few needs for more tests. We have enough of just about all the things that matter most. Now it's all about what flavour you like. What paint brush.

    The A7s if we focus on it's strengths has great DR, the best low light performance of any sensor in a professional camera at this point in time, full frame and uncompressed output with S-log2. This kind of performance in this price range was unheard of. It certainly is king to me because I can afford it. No more tests required - and it's a Sony. They aren't known for making mediocre. So as soon as I could see a pre-order button - my mouse was inexplicably drawn to click on it.

    Is it better than an Alexa? Extreme tests may prove that one way or another but who cares? Most of us cannot afford an Alexa and would be very surprised if it got beat. One thing I have an unsubstantiated feeling about - hmmm not sure why I think this but I reckon it will beat Alexa in the low light test he he he.

    To be fair one's first impressions on a good camera test shoot are not way off what the final intensive tests reveal. Barring bad colour grading or any errors in rendering. I remember when the first tests of the AF100 came out from Japan. There was universal criticism of the highlight handling from the get go. And years on the same impressions remain even after all the resolution chart tests, dynamic range tests etc. Many felt that the GH2 made a nicer picture. This time - there appears to be universal agreement that the pictures seen so far, few as they may be, are of a very, very high quality - from those who have used it and also those who have seen an uncompressed HDMI feed to a 4k screen.

    My humble unprofessional eyes agree with them. This camera is special - it may have just one more test required fir those who need to know - rolling shutter. But if you are sensible it can be dealt with. Moderate RS I can live with. Low dynamic range, crappy codecs, cropped sensors, poor low light, crippled hdmi, rec709 space etc- I can live without. And that is what us bottom feeders have had to live with until recently. So yeah we have seen enough - I anoint thee, Sony A7s, as king of the realm of bottom feeders in the world of digital cinema acquisition devices. Oh camera king live forever!

    I think for the first time I am feeling that once I get my camera I may well stop spending time on forums doing research and plodding through frame grabs, res charts and demo sample downloads. I hope I will be contributing content instead because the camera I have desired for a decade may be here in one and a half months. That gets me emotional right there. . . . . . .

  • you are either paid by sony or you're setting yourself up for major disappointment. never have faith in any large company. they only care about profit.

    no one has actually tested this thing it doesn't exist in the real world. 12mp? Could be huge issue right there.

    there is nothing stopping you from making films right now.

  • you are either paid by sony or you're setting yourself up for major disappointment. never have faith in any large company. they only care about profit.

    This is topic about specific camera. So coming and telling people who think it is good match for their needs that they are paid by Sony to tell something - is quite insane. As for tests, video samples are present. as well as full specs.

    I am sure much more tests will follow in June and July.

  • I like HenryO's passion and I agree with every word he wrote.

  • Everyone's entitled to their opinion, I didn't say he was paid by Sony I said that or he may be setting himself up for a huge downer. I've been burned before jumping on a camera bandwagon. I wouldn't be surprised if this long slow rollout of anticipation is part of Sony's marketing strategy. You can't trust any test by people that are paid to do the review.

    I'm watching the camera too. Especially since I'm not all that impressed with the GH4. Especially since the 4:4:4 1080 p stuff is just mathematic possibility but has, of yet, not been shown to do much of anything to improve the actual imagery. I'll wait for 4:2:2 to a recorder.

    Nothing will protect you but your own ability.

  • Interesting specs and I'm keeping an eye open as I want to replace my FF Nikon - I'll try to hold out until Photokina to see what else might be brewing.

  • @chauncy sadly your reply is not in a good spirit. I have given you a level headed argument as to why this camera is so empowering. Never trust a big company because they do it for profit? Are you serious? You mean the guys that brought us the walkman, the CD, affordable TVs and now one of the best video sensors ever. It is a transaction friend. They have something I want - I pay for it and hopefully we are all happy at the end of the day. Nothing more than that. So who exactly does this camera thing for charity and not for profit. BM? Panasonic? RED? Arri? No - big or small - it's all for profit. So your point is? And if they are big and produce rubbish how is that good for profit? Your arguments are weird. You don't argue why you think it will live down to what is published. Just an ad hominum.

    FYI I have other paintbrushes as well. BMPCC, GH cameras, 5D Mark II. I am sick of their limitations. I will do stuff with them of course - we have been able to shoot stuff now for a while. But the limitations are a PITA.

    If you think I am paid by Sony you are massively uninformed - I wish I was. So your other option left for me is major disapointment? That's it? How about the camera MAY do what it says on the tin. Is that an option with you? Talk about a pessimistic outlook when the cup is not even half full but actually just about running over. Sony's a7s ticks just about every box imaginable for a modern independant videographer. Well it does for me anyway.

    In a month and a half all will be clear. How can a camera like this set anyone up for disappointment? What exactly do you think my expectations are? It's a camera dude. Sorry you were burned before by an impulse buy but some of us don't rush in. That's why we wait till what we want comes along. If it does half of what it promises it will still be ground breaking. It may have bugs, need firmware updates just like any other release. It's not perfect either. I could have liked a few things tweaked but it then becomes an F5 which is unaffordable. I don't expect it to cook for me and do my laundry. What exactly will make you passionate about any camera if this one doesn't make you excited? 240 fps RAW in 8k shot to SD cards? By the way the GH4 is an impressive camera and it is not that impressive to you? And then your advice is there is nothing stopping us from making films now? Okay I think we knew that already. Honest question - So what are YOU watching this camera for? Follow your own advice and go make films with what you have now and leave those us who are 'deluded' to ourselves.

    Anyway, I think perhaps your negative attitude stems from jumping on a bandwagon and buying the wrong thing for your needs. My humble advice - stay off bandwagons, read between the lines of anything on a forum, blog or website and perhaps be a little more nice online. Anyway - I think I have said enough about this camera. I am off to finish mixing my album so rhat around about the 8th of July all will be in place to say those wonderful words - lights camera action - errrr maybe forget the lights he he. . Peace

  • One important issue with DR is that it falls off in most cameras as ISO increases. The lack of fall off in the C100/300 is exceptional, although midpoint does shift slightly. With the increased ISO sensitivity of the A7s we might also have another camera that maintains good DR above base ISO.

    Most of us do not have the luxury if lighting the blazes out of every setup so we can always shoot at base ISO.

    Besides the rated DR being higher on the A7s than the C series Canons, Slog2 has more shadow range than Canon Clog, so the A7s should be a significant improvement when shooting with less than optimal lighting.

  • "My humble advice - stay off bandwagons, read between the lines of anything on a forum, blog or website"

    I'm sorry but it sounds to me like you're on the sony bandwagon. You, as is your right, bought a camera that has a couple of test shoots and ticks boxes on a spec sheet.

    I own a gh2 and a bmcc. The bmcc, I think, has a better filmic image than anything I've seen from gh4 or sony. But as a camera, it's a disaster and living proof that there's more to a camera than what the manufacturer tells you. We've been waiting two years for firmware.

    I guess you think that nothing like that will happen cause it's a sony. I've worked for companies like sony and Panasonic. They're run by boneheads, especially the camera divisions. Canon and Panasonic needed hacked firmware just to use the power of the sensors they already had. Both limited the firmware so the consumer division wouldn't step on the professional division.

    I think both the gh4 and the sony a7s will, as professional film cameras, live and die by how well they work with the external recorders. Those don't even exist yet.

    But I hope it works out for you, HenryO, I really do. I hate buying things I can't touch or test, but unless you live next to BH, we're all stuck in that boat.

  • The only issue I saw was really bad skew. Other than that everything looked pretty darned amazing. Time will tell, but in terms of a camera you can use without lights I can't imagine a more affordable camera with this kind of low light ability and overall picture quality.

  • @chauncy - Oh boy - you had to get me out of my shell again. Actually wrong - I am not on the bandwagon at all. I had a camera that was my ideal camera in my head. For years no-one stepped up and built it. Until now. Let me explain - you seem to assume so much in your posts. Weird conclusion after weird conclusion. Man I would hate to work with you. I am not fighting you about this camera. We just seem to fundamentally see different things. You - a guy looking to calm everyone down as if there is unreasonable hype about this camera - me - a guy whose dream camera has arrived. Let me suggest to you that Sony has been very calm in promoting this camera. The fact that there is little to go on is evidence of that - Panasonic with the GH4 - they have had the camera in so many hands, have given tonnes of interviews, shop hands on demos and many pro shoots. Sony bandwagon? Where? In fact they can be criticised for not putting more effort in promoting the thing!

    What is not to like? Full frame - to work with my Nikkor Full set. Uncompressed HDMI, without any crippling, small body, flat image, wide dynamic range. Now if Panasonic had made it - I would have gone Panasonic friend. JVC? RED? I didn't actually care who but I knew what I wanted.

    I have bought a camera from a company that has a track record of producing some of the best imaging devices in existence today. Ahemmmm F35 ( Some notable cinematographers rate this as one of the best cameras made for cinema ever ) , F55, F3, EX1. They produce very few lemons from Digital Cinema to medical imaging devices to CCTV. These guys know how to capture images right - AT VERY WELL CONSTRUCTED PRICE POINTS. That is what is called a good reputation. That is why they give you a good warranty, pretty good after sales service ( Try to get straight answers from support with Blackmagic design with QC issues such as FPN on the BMPC cough cough - you seem to know that only too well ). Perhaps you chose a camera from a company with a poor reputation. Simple as that?

    If Arri made a camera that had the Alexa sensor and pipeline and sold it for £3000 would you care about tests? I mean everyone and I mean everyone would say to you - DUDE it's AN ARRI!!!!!!! What if they told you it had ten times the sensitivity of an Alexa? Would you still demand more proof. Dude - you are being a little obtuse here. Me I would know that Arri KNOW what they are doing and would buy blind. Seriously - I would. Because they CANNOT afford to make lemons. BM design - I would wait a few months, even years - so your argument makes no sense. BM design have a poor reputation and Sony has an excellent one. That is why one can buy a Sony with more confidence. Confidence - the stock market lives off that one word.

    Then you use an argument that goes against you again - you say and I quote 'Canon and Panasonic needed hacked firmware just to use the power of the sensors they already had. Both limited the firmware so the consumer division wouldn't step on the professional division.'

    That's why this camera is so exciting friend. The reason that this camera is unlike the Canons or Pana's is that they have not actually crippled anything in reality and it should not need a firmware hack unless you want RAW. Perhaps one can argue over the 10 bit thing but this product meets a price point so that was off the specs. I don't care about that as much. This camera is totally unhampered in any way for a prosumer. They get the hurdles that messed up our picture out of the way. Can you not see that?

    A small correction because you seem to miss so much that is good about this camera in your weird blinkered way - you can record the A7s HD output to any current HD recorder. You are not forced to live in a 4k world if you don't wish to.

    I am sure we are on the same side in the end - your angle is just a bit negative I must say. I have no doubt that if you get this camera you will be as happy as I think the rest of us seem to be now. You just need a little bit of faith, a faith a faitha

  • @Aria I have heard that time and time again from folk who have seen the camera feeding a live output. You saw it live?

  • I have faith in you HenryO. Sony, not so much...

  • I understand a certain level of disillusionment with any major camera manufacturer. Sure, there might be some bizarre limitation imposed on it that we don't know about yet -- 5 minute recording limit, AGC, who knows. Big manufacturers have done such thing before.

    But using the present information, it's looking to be a winner. I won't use the word "game-changer" because it's overused, but that's kind of the direction my mind goes whenever I read about this camera. There have been plenty of exciting camera announcements in the past few years. Some of them resulted in decent products, others were disappointing. This camera looks different to me. Only time will tell. For now, I think pre-ordering it is a good idea, and I will too once I have the funds in hand.

  • @chauncy Well it's cool bro. I am just excited by what I think is an amazing offering - I think we are agreed on that. Forgive my passion .......

  • There is already a big limitation and its the 8 bit. You are never going to get anything near 15 stop of DR fitting in a 8 bit image with satisfactory result. I agree with @Sangye here, all these hype about X, Y, Z camera withoud proper independant test are just mental masturbation that just bring up hype that is to the detriment of the customer and to the advantage of the companys. Just need some speculation, hype, envies of some users and in no time even before any independant test a camera or its manufacture is already the holy grail of filmaking.

    Sony at the low end has been a perpetual disappointment form model to models. Always this little thing that missing that would you to invest at least in its fs100 or fs700 model. But lets look at much better example of hype etc and it is the blackmagic cameras. look at the hype it gained and todays reality. If someone told me two years ago that their would have been so much complaint and delusional users, of what was herald as the champion elect of the indy filmakers. I would have thought the person was crazy.

    So take everything with a pinch of salt coming from all these companies. Contrary to what was said above lab test are ten times better than any what so called real life shooter test. Thinking that for example shooting at golden hour in winter in ireland or Scotland is any indication of dynamic range, living a tropical island I would invite you to come and experience what real contarst is.

  • You are never going to get anything near 15 stop of DR fitting in a 8 bit image

    Yea, you won't get 15 stops of usable exposure DATA... but you can still get a 15 stop "image" exposure wise. It's the same way we still see 14-15 stop film dynamic range images on Blu-ray and DVD.

  • @danyyel I think you glossed over the high contrast daytime shots then?They were some so it wasn't just golden hour stuff. Watch it again. It's no island but the shots came out fine. Perhaps the fact you didn't notice them says something. Perhaps it says that the camera has graceful handling of high contrast scenes that when watching people miss that. A GH4 may have blown a few of those I am sure. That is what great cameras do - they make challenging scenes look easy to get.

    Blackmagic where making their first cameras. When I wanted support about an intensity capture card years ago, they were dismissive and unhelpful. Not surprised at all that their cameras have issues. Again, you buy from a start up that is what you may get. Red was the same. First buyers are beta testers with smaller companies. It is so expensive for big companies to do recalls on faulty products so they tend to get most things right. Sony having been doing this for decades and they have very high quality control. So please stop using Blackmagic design as an example on why we should be cautious with this camera guys. They sell as cheap as they can to stay profitable. They are not in the same league. But their cameras do make a very nice image.

    The Sony Alpha series is highly regarded with a proven track record.

    Whether you are for or against this camera stating that it won't achieve this spec or that spec is as bad as the hype you say is being created. How do you know they won't. Have you independantly verified that they won't? We are in the same boat. We simply don't know so we go on the footage produced so far and eye witness accounts of how good the image is. Some believe Sony's claims and other's don't. But if they give even a bit less than the stated specs, which is expected, many will still be happy.

    I may be proved wrong in the end and it may be a rubbish piece of turd. The great thing about stuff this expensive is that I can get a full refund within two weeks if it sucks for my needs. If I cannot tell within one day of buying a camera whether Sony have lied to me and that 15 stop camera actually gives me 10 stops, I can return it and get my money back. So where is the problem?

    If you change your mind after seeing the lab tests and decide to order then, I suspect there will be a fairly long waiting list.

  • The freedom of being able to shoot under virtually any lighting condition will produce films the likes of which we currently have no reference. The stories that will be told with this tool will change the way we think about the balance between what we do for our equipment and what our equipment does for us.

    Finally, there is no reason for people not to video their cat with just a night light on, turning night into day, as they document the night time self-cleaning ritual that would have otherwise been impossible to intimately capture with the room light on.

    Hard to say if recording 4K externally will be necessary to bring these types of scenes to life considering all the assumed dynamic range over an astronomical ISO range (as we all know from the Germans: dynamic range trumps resolution any day of week), but as most cats have fur, it looks like adding a $2k external 4k recorder will be more than an incremental improvement for the serious cat videographer with a 4k television.

    This also begs the question: who will be willing to purchase 2 of these so that they can use the first one to shoot the unboxing video of the second one with all the lights off?

  • I'm still trying to figure out what lens would work with this. Many will work with it with adapters but will not cover the sensor and you can chose to crop or get a big circle. There's no micro 4/3 to e mount or a mount adapter is there?