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Sony A7S II Review Part 1 - Major Sunspot Defect


Andrew Reid
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I have been shooting with the A7S II for 2 weeks now. Let's really get under the skin of the camera and see if it is worth your $3000.

On my retail model (bought in Europe on day of release, firmware 1.0) sunspots and black holes render it almost unusable. It is a complete lottery whether your shot is going to be ruined or not.

The next shot is not even in direct sunlight – the black hole is produced from a specular bounce of light off the floor.

Read the review

 

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Strange issue. I've been shooting a concert series and we recently picked up two A7s IIs- as far as I know, the sunspots haven't made an appearance and that's with us shooting at high ISOs with tons of bright LEDs and par cans in the shot. Maybe our AEs just haven't picked up on it yet...

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Would you say its easier or harder to spot while shooting than on the Blackmagic?

It is clear on the LCD - big black hole in the middle of the shot. I thought it was a bug with the View Assist at first! Nope. On all my footage. Junked a load of material from that shoot. If you're taking this camera to work with you... don't yet.

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Strangely I don't have the sunspot problem. Shooting with A7sII from launch day, a bunch of straight into the sun or blown spotlight shots and everything is normal. Also, don't have any problems with the adapter, using Commlite with a bunch of Canon L glass. My main two problems with A7sII are the ergonomics and colors (comparing to 5D3 RAW).

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Andrew - you have any adapter issues with the A7rII and Canon lenses? I'm trying to decide which adapter to get to mate with the EF 16-35/4 and a few primes. If I can get full functionality without paying the Metabones tax, I'll go that route. Otherwise Commlite, Fotodiox or one of the others is where I'm going.

Saw the sunspots mentioned on Dpreview as well - some have it and some don't. Odd. 

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Andrew - hard as I try, I can't seem to replicate the black hole issue with iPhone torch.  It's raining outside so don't have the actual sun to test with.  I've got the Loxia 35 on.  Are you seeing this while shooting and/or playing back on the camera LCD or only once you bring it into post?

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Hi Andrew. Many thanks for your fast review – as always.

That's strange. I never noticed a black sun effect during the last week.
But a weird aliasing effect in contrasty highlight areas instead. 

Newer saw this on my old A7s.

Here is a quick comparison between FF and APS-C mode while recording in HD to card.
On the right hand side (APS-C) you can see dark pixel lines dancing around the horizontal lights (sLOG and Cine4). 
Only "Cine2" seems to suppress this effect.

Detail set to -7 in all modes.

Did you noticed anything like that during your testing?

s35_aliasing.thumb.jpg.a39fb6c4cad2445ba

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That's strange. I never noticed a black sun effect during the last week.
But a weird aliasing effect in contrasty highlight areas instead. 

You can see some black spots on the road lights. Also the "weird aliasing" also suffers from black pixels + magenta color cast similar to Andrew's black sun test. 

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As someone who uses a 4k recorder (PIX E5) with my A7s, how would the A7s II stack up to the original recording to a 4k pro rez recorder? BTW, thanks for the sunspot warning. No other reviewers have mentioned that and for me, someone who loves to shoot loads of flares, hotspots and light sources in frame, this sadly is a deal breaker.

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Thanks for the review part 1 Andrew!  

I wanted a FF 4K internal recording camera for very long time  to complement my GH4, i thought that Sony A7S II was my answer but these findings make me bit worried as i have put money down to preorder one here in Canada. i hope they fix these issues with a firmware update asap. i feel now that i should wait till the 5D Mark IV release. i want a FF 4K Video and OK Photo Camera. If i buy A7R II, Using Speed booster with S35 mode for video, then if i have to take a FF still, i have to remove the speedbooster, not practical at all, also when shooting with Speedbooster + Wide angel lens combination with minimum aperture, you get so much chromatic aberration.

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Looks like you got a bad copy Andrew. Shit happens, can't you get an exchange from the store ?

Doesn't look like a bad copy, because people have been telling me on social media that they are having the same problem with theirs. Some aren't, but it isn't isolated to just one faulty camera unfortunately.

One helpful guy told me he rented two of his out, both had the sunspots, but a 'reset to default settings' in the menu solved it. Maybe it is a bug with a certain option. I'm going to try the reset and hope it goes away.

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Sony don’t seem to be helping third parties get their very widely used Canon lens adapters reliable on Sony bodies.

Why do you come to this conclusion? Why do you not think its the Canon protocol that is closed-sourced and reverse-engineered?

Because that is the case: the EOS EF-mount protocol is reverse-engineered, while Sony does provide the E-mount specification incl. the protocol.
It's strange that you assume its only Sony's fault when the adapter goes wrong.

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Lofote, on every new Sony body the Metabones adapter has had issues and required a firmware fix or hardware update.

Basically Sony's new firmware keeps breaking it and making it unstable.

And I for one am sick of it!

That has nothing to do with the EF mount protocol which hasn't changed in years.

Sony should get together with Metabones and TEST the stuff... Metabones didn't even get an A7S II early... they had to wait until it was in the shops!

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When can you test this? I am really curious to see if it fixes it

One helpful guy told me he rented two of his out, both had the sunspots, but a 'reset to default settings' in the menu solved it. Maybe it is a bug with a certain option. I'm going to try the reset and hope it goes away.

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