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Sony A7S II Review Part 1 - Major Sunspot Defect


Andrew Reid
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Hello All,  New to the forum!  I have been shooting with my A7S II for over a week now and do not have any of the issues you are??  I even took my camera outside immediately after reading this and was not able to reproduce any of the issues.....  There may be a bug or bad batch of cameras....

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No black spot on mine. SLOG 3 is good when exposed to the right, always... Compared it to all Picture profiles and gamma curves, SLOG3 is the best to keep the dynamic of the sensor... and by far considering Cine2. No excessive noise...

I do have banding on skies when pushing gamma down, but there are some ways to limit it in post.

 

Andrew you should return yours. Test Resolve too, as there is a black spot removal tool.

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That the metabones adapter is back to working like it did when the A7s came out is a real annoyance. It took about 8 months for the firmware updates from metabones to make it work like it should all the time: IS always working and aperture control working smoothly.

If the A7RII didn't have these overheating issues I'd plump for that, but I'm planning on shooting some interviews to camera so it's a definite no go. Let's see how it goes, I can wait a little longer.

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I've got the commlite adapter and almost no issue at all when speaking communication between lens and body. I got 16-35 2.8, 35 1.4, 50 1.4, 85 1.2 and 135 2 (magical one...). The only major problem i can see with this commlite is strange flares when the sun hits corners of the lens... Due to the material used inside the adapter or anything else... Don't really know.

 

Metabones problems are well known with the combo Sony Alpha body and Canon lenses. Commlite one is 85 euros compared to the 530 euros for the metabones... Ouch !!!!!

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Just tried the settings reset and camera 'initialise' option and it didn't solve the problem.

Well... it made it go away due to auto exposure and auto ISO but as soon as enabled 4K XAVC-S and manual exposure it was back with vengeance.

You might be able to under expose to avoid it on a weak LED light but try doing that with the sun, impossible.

A7R II has no such issue, this is purely an A7S II thing. Very disappointing!

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Looks like the same blue/black highlight aliasing issue I discovered on the A7s. Sony don't consider it a problem apparently. There's no way around it on the A7s, it occurs in every shooting mode and with external recorders. It doesn't occur shooting raw stills on the A7s.

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If you are not seeing the problem try this on your A7S II

1. Make sure ALL settings that adjust exposure or highlights are turned off and set Knee to manual in S-LOG profile (be sure Movie Exposure mode is set to manual in the main menus!)

2. Disable stuff like DRO dynamic range optimiser

3. Set to XAVC-S 4K in full frame (it doesn't show up in any crop sensor mode like 120fps or APS-C)

4. Point at your iPhone LED, play with exposure - it shows at 1/50 F2 ISO 1600 for me, if you don't see it go brighter on the ISO

5. Now adjust focus to get the back of the iPhone tack sharp, you won't see the problem if the light is spread out like bokeh

6. If not showing the sunspot yet - move camera around until it shows, direct the iPhone light directly into the lens from approx. 30cm to 50cm away, adjust focus

7. If still doesn't showing it is likely your unit is OK and it is isolated to an early batch of cameras or even random units

Looks like the same blue/black highlight aliasing issue I discovered on the A7s. Sony don't consider it a problem apparently. There's no way around it on the A7s, it occurs in every shooting mode and with external recorders. It doesn't occur shooting raw stills on the A7s.

Did that issue knock out the entire sun black? Check the main blog and the videos... it isn't just aliasing around highlights, if that is what you mean? Although that is there on the A7S II again, I've noticed it when pixel peeping!!

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That the metabones adapter is back to working like it did when the A7s came out is a real annoyance. It took about 8 months for the firmware updates from metabones to make it work like it should all the time: IS always working and aperture control working smoothly.

If the A7RII didn't have these overheating issues I'd plump for that, but I'm planning on shooting some interviews to camera so it's a definite no go. Let's see how it goes, I can wait a little longer.

The overheating is a very real issue. I've been renting an a7r ii from an assistant for interview work and having to take breaks to let the camera cool down is very unprofesh. 

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I have noticed it's almost all European shooters who are reporting the sunspot bug.

Sure enough I switch to NTSC 24p and problem is gone.

Looks like to only be a 25p bug.

So as a temporary workaround until Sony respond just set the camera to NTSC.

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I have noticed it's almost all European shooters who are reporting the sunspot bug.

Sure enough I switch to NTSC 24p and problem is gone.

Looks like to only be a 25p bug.

So as a temporary workaround until Sony respond just set the camera to NTSC.

I shoot 24 fps... that's true... have not tried 25 fps... If this is the case it is a poor stupid mistake from such a giant group...

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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.

Thanks for the clarification and your honest review. Very rare these days...

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Ah, PAL/NTSC... nice, glad to hear this is something that is presumably easy to fix via firmware... though I'm in the US (NTSC) I'd be bummed if this was a more serious hardware related bug.

BTW, thanks for the review, Andrew - very much agree with all of your points, looking forward to the part 2. 

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Did that issue knock out the entire sun black? Check the main blog and the videos... it isn't just aliasing around highlights, if that is what you mean? Although that is there on the A7S II again, I've noticed it when pixel peeping!!

It didn't cause a total or even partial eclipse on the A7s but it's the same kind of sensor/processing issue. Try shooting a dimmable light and see if you can figure out how much illumination triggers the black hole.

The edge highlight aliasing occurs in 24p and 25p modes on the A7s.

I pointed the A7s (25p) at a few thousand lux just to be sure. The only black spots are the ones I burned into my retinas.

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Interesting article.

There's something I don't get though:

S-LOG is the most difficult LOG format on the market to grade and Sony have put it in a consumer camera. They haven’t even told their customers how to use it. It’s no wonder a lot of A7 footage shot using S-LOG 2 and uploaded to YouTube looks a bit worse for wear colour wise. It isn’t the consumer’s fault. Even pros have issues with it and it takes a long time to learn how to be a professional Resolve user.

S-Log isn't the only way to shoot with the A7sii. People could pick a different workflow, easier to handle with great results straight out of the camera.

Sony adding the S-Log to a consumer camera it is actually a great thing, because it gives an option to people who want to go that route. That said, I agree with the other points: S-Log is not easy to handle and, on top of that, can become a real hassle considered the 8-bit limit.

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8bit in cameras that can shoot 4k with 13 stops of dynamic range is a joke. An A7sII costs double the resale value of an A7s in Aus. Is it twice the camera? No way, you can't even accurately focus manually, lulz. I'm hanging for the Blackmagic micro cinema camera, 8bit and rolling shutter is so 2007. In the meantime magic lantern delivers.

Yeah s-log is a real pain in the arse to grade, that's where film convert comes in really handy. Nailing exposure with s-log is critical, raw is more forgiving. Andrew try film convert Arri log c profile on the s-log 3 shots. Worked well on your first shot of the couple standing next to the pole with some minor tweaking. Is the banding just as bad in 1080p mode and 4k pro res?

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