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A7SII is it really a "niche" video only camera?

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IMHO

So I own a NX1 and bought a A7RII.   I wanted a FF camera that straddled Video and Still.  One camera that was Good at both.  Most will say "buy the A7RII cause it does both well".  I disagree.  

I have now had a chance to try the A7SII, which I liked the specs on but was disappointed with the lack of Sony's new PD AF system which I really wanted for my stills.  Luckily,   I actually own some Minolta glass, a hang over from my days using a A900 which as a still camera I loved.  So I bought a second hand LA-E4 adaptor and tried it on the A7SII,

Now I remember why I loved those Minolta lenses,  They are small , sharp and really perform and with the LA-E4 they work really well.

The FF video output of the A7SII is ....Wow.....everthing the A7RII is not, and it is also betters the s35 output from the the A7RII.   Plus as a one camera shooter having to shoot FF for stills and S35 for video?  Not ideal for me.  Sure if you go out to shoot video and only video, but a mix of still and video? and the A7RII is a big compromise.

So how is the A7SII as a still camera?  Amazing.  I remember when I bought a D800E that after 6 months I realised I was just obsessing over my pixel peeping and to really impress anyone I would have had to have a small detail crop in a print to show the high res sensor, but in a normal print it was no advantage.  My computer would grind opening ever 36MP file, I eventually sold it for a 5DMKIII.   Canon and Nikons pro camera are around 16mp, So, is the A7SII such a "niche" camera?  I think not.  I would love them to put in the PD AF which obviously means a whole new sensor. But Legacy Glass and Minolta adapted lenses when I need (or want ) AF, is a perfectly fine compromise for me.  Plus the Minolta glass is so good and so well priced.

The 12 MP images off the A7SII are amazing, great latitude and great colour.   Cropping is the real advantage of the A7RII.  The quick video tests I have done with the A7SII are really impressive especially the dynamic range and "look"  and thats just using PP6 which is the Cine 2 (from memory) setting rather than Slog.   As a street shooter the PP6 setting really just seems to work.

There is no perfect camera that does everything, but i think I have found the best compromise by far.

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

It isn't a niche camera, the sales are up there with the A7R and A7 anyway so I hear.

I agree Andrew, ( which is why I posted) tell it to the guys at the Camera Store who just posted their video review and in their summary they call it a niche video camera and that the A7RII is the all rounder, that still shooters should only consider.  As a still shooter, I disagree with them.   

https://youtu.be/zph4Ni4TYyQ

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Appart from low light you say A7S II FF output is way better than S35 of A7R II ??? Does not seem like it from the samples. 

I said it betters it,  and I believe it does.  Apart from that,   I have a 20mm 2.8, 24mm F2.8, 28mm F2.8, 50mm  1.4  Lovely small little Minolta lenses,  How do I get their perspective and depth of field on a A7RII in S35 without taking out a second mortgage?  Also have Canon FF glass including a Sigma 35mm 1.4 and 85mm 1.4.   This is my preference and I am sure for some S35 is perfect.   

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Actually I can see where the Camera Store coming from, the A7 II and A7R II are the all-rounders from a *stills* perspective.

Only reason you would want the A7S for stills is the high ISOs.

But as a video camera the A7S II owns the market, it isn't a niche product.

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Anyway I am interested. Because I just ordered the A7R II. 
And my need is 50% video and 50% still...  
I have the feeling 12mpx is not very enough. 
Also 42mpx is amazing for exemple : use a voigtlander 15mm as a 15-24 for landscape just by croping... 
AF is good also. 

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It's funny everyone hates small sensors with a huge crop factor, like 3x or something

But everyone loves high megapixels so they can get that beautiful 3x crop small sensor look from their full frame cameras in Photoshop ;)

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Andrew come on.... :) 

First, Is 15mm to 24mm a 3x crop sensor ? I do not think so. Is it changing the look? Not much ;). 
I would never use a 35mm and crop to 85mm because yes here you would have a crop sensor not nice look. Because of bokeh and so on.
But at 15mm for landscape.... 0 bokeh. Just nice to be able to crop and still retain perfect details value. 

My work for stills is landscape. So it makes sense for me to have an A7RII. 
For video I do travel video mainly, so yes A7S II means more sense even if S35 is just fine for me on A7RII and FF mode is 90%usable. That is why I am hesitating. I would say that the feature that I miss the most is 120fps clean. So I said ok I buy RX100IV and A7RII so I have this 120fps clean. But then you realize you spend 4000$ and come the question well, for 1000$ less with A7S II only, you just loose the resolution for your landscape, does it worth it? 

As you can see, my dilemma is not that easy..

BTW shouldn't you sleep at 4:30 in EUR? 

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I have Landscapes taken on 3 and 5  million pixel sensors (stitched)  that have been displayed in Public buildings printed 1.5 metres long.    I bought the A7RII  and it didn't excite me for Video.   I WISH it had!  Would have saved me some cash.  :-)   When I bought mine the info and reviews were saying S35 was great and FF was a little behind,  That is just not true. IMHO FF  video on that camera is poor.

Zeiss lens sales and high pixel count is being driven by pixel peeping, MANY don't print and the few who do, would have to print huge to see any difference,  How many walls do people have in their homes?  :-)  I just looked at a mates books he did on his travels through Europe, beautiful books of each country he traveled through,  all shot on a D300 and if he had used a  D7200?  they would have looked.....the same in reality,   He is old school though and gets the shot "right" in camera.

And I now own a A7RII,  An A7SII and a NX1,   Two will make way for one.    I think we will wait a long time for a Hi res FF still camera that can perform like the A7SII for Video, so for me it was the realisation that the res thing is over rated for still, the lack of  PD AF was a bigger deal as a still shooter. 

If someone can make a 20 MP plus chip that doesn't have a lossy FF output I am interested, but I wouldn't hold my breath.  

 

Actually I can see where the Camera Store coming from, the A7 II and A7R II are the all-rounders from a *stills* perspective.

Only reason you would want the A7S for stills is the high ISOs.

But as a video camera the A7S II owns the market, it isn't a niche product.

and they call it a ..............niche product.     Of course you would be crazy to buy the A7SII as a still only camera, unless for it's iso capabilities, but my point was who can afford an A7RII and an A7SII,  when I had to choose the A7SII won as a better allrounder for me.  

For many the lack of PD AF will be the deal breaker for still photography

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Actually in APS-C mode the A7R II's 4K is slightly more detailed than the A7S II in full frame. Oversampling from 15MP to 8MP (4K) obviously helped a bit. But it isn't enough for anyone in the audience to notice, I don't think anyway.

With Speed Booster I am finding them neck and neck in low light until ISO 12,800 where the A7S II starts to pull away. Not too bad considering the megapixel difference.

Obviously to get the most out of the A7R II for video you do need that Speed Booster, because yeah - the full frame video mode has issues with moire. It does however have much less rolling shutter than the A7S II 4K full frame and A7R II S35 4K.

Sony have created a very confusing choice for video users.

Not least for me with some Cookes for the A7R II's 4K S35 mode which won't cover 4K full frame on the A7S II ;)

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The only benefit of such high megapixels = small sensor crop in post.

Unless you are printing billboards?

15mm to 24mm is a 1.6x crop.

So why not just sling it on an A6000? :)

Another benefit of high megapixels is improved color fidelity.  Because of the arrangement of the bayer sensor RGRGRG.... line one, and GBGBGBGB line two, you always need at least 4 sensels/pixels to get one full-color pixel.  A 24 megapixel camera is really 6 megapixels (6x4) for a discerning photographer.  A 36 megapixel is 9 megapixels.  Canon didn't come out with a 50 megapixel camera just to win some marketing war, or to solely make cropping easier.  Photographers who care about color accuracy on the pixel level need all the sensels they can get.  

So it's more than just cropping that weakens the desirability of the A7S, at least for me.  Yes, low light is great, but any hard line that goes through the image will pick up color distortions, faint colors where a red pixel picks up the line and interpolates around green and blue pixels that didn't--which also leads to moire and aliasing issues.  

There are some images in this article that show the effects I'm talking about.  I'm comparing a Sigma/Foveon sensor camera, that doesn't use a Bayer method of color sampling (it uses a vertical sampling like film) compared to a bayer sensor.  In the image, you can see how gray shading in a line on fabric picks up color aberrations.

http://maxotics.com/2014/07/12/sigma-dp2-quattro-review/

  

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If anyone is wondering where the 1D C comes in...

It's advantage is still colour, and the higher bitrate codec. No mud on whip pans and fast moving scenes. Cleaner fine detail when pixel peeping too.

The colour is much quicker to get to how you want it.

I fight Sony's colour a lot even with S-LOG 3 / S Gamut 3.

You can match them very close but bloody hell it's an effort, sometimes I think I might not have time. For those times, maybe 1D C would look much better.

Here's a very closely graded pair of shots from the two cameras, showing what the typical difference is... Canon 1D C always seems to get the reds and blues just as I remember them, and with the Sony it always seems to give blues a green tint you have to skilfully dial out in post and the reds always seem way more purple or magenta than they were in actuality. It really is time a professional colourist banged some heads together at Sony HQ.

1D C - 

1DC_Typical_Colour.thumb.jpg.f5562ff438b

A7S II - Note the blue bottle is now turquoise and the red bottle is purple...

That is despite correction already for the problem in my LUT (using Resolve 12).

A7SII_Typical_Colour.thumb.jpg.23ac200ff

If you try to compensate with all the obvious things... tint or tone in camera, or basic colour correction in Premiere... it isn't the answer, because it messes with other aspects of the image. If you just adjust the hue of the greens and reds in Resolve 12, you can fix them but it still isn't a free lunch... for example if you want warm overall tone to the scene, with blues intact, 1D C is your friend.

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Another benefit of high megapixels is improved color fidelity.  Because of the arrangement of the bayer sensor RGRGRG.... line one, and GBGBGBGB line two, you always need at least 4 sensels/pixels to get one full-color pixel.  A 24 megapixel camera is really 6 megapixels (6x4) for a discerning photographer.  A 36 megapixel is 9 megapixels.  Canon didn't come out with a 50 megapixel camera just to win some marketing war, or to solely make cropping easier.  Photographers who care about color accuracy on the pixel level need all the sensels they can get.  

So it's more than just cropping that weakens the desirability of the A7S, at least for me.  Yes, low light is great, but any hard line that goes through the image will pick up color distortions, faint colors where a red pixel picks up the line and interpolates around green and blue pixels that didn't--which also leads to moire and aliasing issues.  

There are some images in this article that show the effects I'm talking about.  I'm comparing a Sigma/Foveon sensor camera, that doesn't use a Bayer method of color sampling (it uses a vertical sampling like film) compared to a bayer sensor.  In the image, you can see how gray shading in a line on fabric picks up color aberrations.

http://maxotics.com/2014/07/12/sigma-dp2-quattro-review/

  

Of course all your info is technically correct,  So now will i will go back and look at my mates books and see all those errors and they will look like crap taken on a D300.. :-)   I have owned Fovean Technology and have met the owners multiple times, so I am very aware of what you are saying, but it's still pixel peeping.  Some phenomenal images have been taken on EOS 1 D's and D3/4 etc all below 20 megapixels or 5-6 MP based on your Bayer explanation.   My point is that less than 1%  of people who use these camera have an output scenario that see's this difference in real terms.  YES, i would like a higher res Still image, but I prefer a FF 4 K shooter that also shoots FF stills well and the only game in town currently is the A7SII.   Sony are making some great camera's but it is a confusing offer with no easy choice.  Ideally the best choice would be to own the A7RII for stills and have an A7SII in your bag for Video.   

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If you try to compensate with all the obvious things... tint or tone in camera, or basic colour correction in Premiere... it isn't the answer, because it messes with other aspects of the image. If you just adjust the hue of the greens and reds in Resolve 12, you can fix them but it still isn't a free lunch... for example if you want warm overall tone to the scene, with blues intact, 1D C is your friend.

Andrew, is this a function of SLog3?  As i am not seeing this in the PP6 Cine 2 setting which is obviously not a Log setting.   Also would Resolves new colour match option help, using a  XRite colormate passport or the like?  

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I fight Sony's colour a lot even with S-LOG 3 / S Gamut 3.

Curious, do you have the same A7SII color problems with Cine 4 / Cinema Color -- or Cine 2 / Cinema Color?

And taking it one step further, although obviously a 'baked look', do you have the same A7SII color problems with no PP and Autumn Leaves (-3 0 -3)?

Just curious.

 

 

 

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Correction!!!!    In my haste to test the A7SII I set up everything except the removal of in camera sharpening on profile PP6  :-|     So  on retesting the A7RII S35 and A7SII FF, from a resolution and sharpness point of view are very similar.     Again my apologies.

 

 

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