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Gear advice: Sony A7s II or Used A7s??


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Howdy folks,

The recent announcement of the new Sony A7s II has frankly blown me away with it's specs and will undoubtedly be a great tool for any filmmaker / videographer. However i am trying to convince myself to justify the price tag (£2500 in the UK) when I could pick up a perfectly capable used Sony A7s on ebay for under £1000. 

I've been using my trusty Canon 5D mark III for both photography and video, and while it has done the job (i mostly shoot brand promotional videos for web) I'm looking for an upgrade in video quality and something less obtrusive for run and gun style situations. 

The options i'm considering are:

a) Used Sony A7s and maybe a 4k recorder down the line (PIXE5 or Atomos Assassin) which would also be useful as a monitor if i'm rigging the camera. 

b) Sony A7s II

c)  Used Sony A7s and the Sony RX100 IV to get that 120p continuous slow motion. 

d) Any other combo you would suggest around the 2k price range

I really don't have a need to deliver in 4k and would only find it useful for cropping purposes. Also i'm editing on an old 2011 MBP which would probably struggle to handle the 4k footage. I'll also keep the 5D for photography purposes as I have an investment in canon glass and flashes. 




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EOSHD Pro Color 5 for Sony cameras EOSHD Z LOG for Nikon CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

Since you can run Magic Lantern RAW on the 5D3 you get phenomenal video quality any day you care to, and as Gregormannschaft said, any upgrade to video quality will mean an upgrade in PC hardware (in fact, I am in the process of upgrading my PC equipment as I write).   What you really don't have is something small with slow mo.  So get the RX100 IV and wait.  You may want an URSA mini in the future with EF mount (so you can keep using your Canon glass).  My 2 cents!

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

It is true the 5D raw image is of higher quality at 14 bit 444 but not everyone wants to handle raw so A7s is a great alternative to get that 5D raw resolution/sharpness (but not colors) while retaining tiny 4:2:0 8bit files. 

If you need that I'd get the a7s used since you're on a budget, you can get the mkII used later for the same price you'll pay for the a7s now, very soon, it's a Sony. 

But if you can store 14bit raw, stick to your 5DIII with ML installed. It's a beast and needs no upgrade in quality up until you can afford an 8-10$K camera. 

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this is good feedback.

i say: great, youre keeping the 5d3, definitely try magic lantern raw like these guys said if you havent before. see if youre as blown away by the naturalism and color as people like me are, and if not, all good, shoot video with a highly capable a7s~!

i appreciate cost being an issue, so why not get that used a7s, spend time with it and see how you like it, and if you love it you could sell it and put that $ towards an a7sii in the near future~! who knows, after you use the a7s, you might not even be in a hurry to upgrade ;) 

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I'd get the A7s new, with warranty. Not sure if you're seeing similar prices in the UK: http://photorumors.com/2015/10/22/deal-of-the-day-sony-alpha-a7s-camera-now-850-off-us-warranty/#comments

Also, if it was me I'd just keep shooting with the 5Diii and not bother with the A7s. Seems like a lot of Canon people end up very dissatisfied when they switch. I guess it goes the other way as well but, make sure you prefer the A7s and it's worth the money. With Magic Lantern the 5Diii is capable of gorgeous footage.

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Thanks for the advice folks!

I did try shooting Raw with Magic Lantern but after trying it on several occasions i've never felt confident enough to use the feature on a paid gig. I think with new cameras coming out showing great dynamic range and resolution it's making ML Raw video obsolete. 

Regarding the A7s, I'm liking some of the footage i've seen from this camera so I know it's very capable. 

I have now ruled the Sony A7SII and A7R II out based purely on cost. 

The Blackmagic URSA Mini looks like a great camera too for not much more than the A7S II. I may consider it in future but at the moment my budget won't stretch that far so i'm likely going to pick up a used Sony A7S and a RX100 IV further down the line. 

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the difference in price is huge, and the difference in performance is very slight.  1080p from the a7s is flawless IMO.  best sub 1000£ you'll ever spend if you get one.  There is zero wrong with the image from the a7s.  I've compared a7r2 in compressed and uncompressed raw and the difference is so small it's pointless to fill up the card with files twice the size.  the 14bit raws vs 12bit raws argument becomes so tiny when you compare two cameras that are so similar yet so differently priced.


ps.  grab a new a7s - it'll be £150 more than a second hand one and you;ll have peace of mind.  Sony make consumer products designed to break and be replaced so having a full warranty is a good bit of peace of mind.

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The price difference makes me think... that it's not worth it. 

About the warranty, I think you need it. I have used my a7s for 14 months and it's starting to act weird (lcd has artifacts on the right side, plus auto switching between viewfinder and monitor is working 50% of the time). My 5d (which I've banged A LOT more than the a7s) is still going strong. Durable bodies are a delight.

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