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Andrew Reid

New Sony A7, A7R and RX10 - exclusive hands-on look at video quality

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More 8-bit 1080p mushy resolution producing cameras with shitty highlight control. Hell, even the FS700 has shit highlights. It's going to be a few years before anyone tops the 5D3 ML raw video quality for under $5,000, which is sad.

 

Not really sad.  not really mushy (particularly the rx10), and the 8-bit gh3 stood up pretty damn well against the raw cameras in Andrews recent test.  I was hoping for 10bit proress type image quality from these cameras, I love the look of the 5d raw, but looking at the A7 vs A7r image i see the a7 looks how the nex's looked, and the A7R looks about 5 times better.  I've always been happy with the nex image quality.  The size of the 5dmk3 ml raw files make the whole thing not very economical to me.  neither is the fact that the 5dmk3 lacks a decent evf or a articulated screen.  The raw is all for nothing if the workflow gets in the way of   

 

@ Andrew.  did you get to try the aps-c crop mode in video on the A7 and A7r?  i'd like to see if the video quality improves or degrades.  it'll mean in aps-c crop I can go to speed booster for an extra stop of light (at the expense of softer edges), and go full frame for when the edges are more important.    

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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

This first brief review is greatly appreciated!

A7R:

The A7R would be amazing if only it could be massaged into doing raw, a la the Magic Lantern hack (not likely on the Sony).

 

RX10:

On the RX10, you mention that stabilization is good, but may require some good contact points at the longest focal lengths.  Is there any actual "image stabilization" built into the RX10?  (I'd love something like the 5-point stabilization of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 or M1!)

I'd also love to know just how slow the motor-driven zoom is on the RX10, if you could somehow quantify your impressions of the zoom motor speed.

I assume that with low-light the RX10 will be far behind the 5D Mark III (still love), but is low-light usable at 2500 to 3200 ISO in stills or video, in your brief assessment?

Thanks, Andrew!!

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My only complain on the A7/r is the lack of in body stabilization for vintage lenses or video recording something that really love on my OM-D, also i was thinking on replace my Canon XA10 with a RX10 but the time limit is a heavy handicap.

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I saw all the 3 cameras today at the expo. starting with the RX10  body  feels cheap the Nd filter is hidden in sub menus which makes it hard to use in quick mode situation  unless you use it in automatic mode? video focus and zoom is nice. A7- A7R have a major issue is shutter speed is very slow . but the rest  of camera build feels great. the only issue i have is the price??

 

 

 

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Thank you for your thoughts Andrew. Can you please clarify that you were able to get improved video results from the A7R as opposed to the A7? I would have imagined the A7R would have caused moire instead as it doesn't have an (optical low pass filter)/(anti-aliasing filter). Your findings show otherwise which is definitely interesting. 

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The AA filter / OLPF is a source of great confusion out there.

 

The truth of the matter is that it has ZERO affect on video.

 

It only affects the very high frequency patterns - i.e. stuff which occurs subtly over a 36MP still.

 

It has no affect at the 1080p level. It'd have to be a very strong filter to soften 36MP so much to affect 2MP! No camera has a filter in it this strong as it would impact on the sharpness of stills when viewed at 100%, giving the camera a disservice in photo-orientated reviews and on pixel peeping charts. The only filters this strong are the Mosaic Engineering ones for DSLRs.

 

Moire and aliasing is 100% down to the way the sensor is scaled - i.e. the way pixels are binned or skipped.

 

I found out the hard way when I removed the OLPF from my 5D Mark III. Aside from also removing the IR cut filter which made my image purple, it had no affect on sharpness in video mode. Though the IR contamination did give me more dynamic range :)

 

The Sony rep here is putting out bad info without having ever seen the video output from both cameras and compared. He may as well reel off the spec sheet.

 

http://vimeo.com/77758977

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Man, I'm definitely on board with the idea of buying an A7R and an RX10. Right now I'm shooting on an XF300 and D800 and would love to replace the XF300 with something significantly smaller. For a bit I tried to use a GH3 instead of the XF300 and it worked OK, but I kept coming back to the flexibility of the XF300's lens (range and great IS) and general features that you usually only get in video cameras. The built in ND's and quality lens on the RX10 might make it a more viable replacement. And it sounds like the A7R would be a good pretty interchangeable with my D800 which would be really nice. It'd let me dedicate one to stills for some shoots, or just let my multicam stuff cut together better.

 

Just how slow was the zoom on the RX10? I don't necessarily have to do snap zooms all the time, but it'd suck if it was slow enough that'd you'd wind up fighting it all the time.

 

Your biggest gripes using RX10 over XF300 would be possible record-time limit and lower bitrate codec. Perhaps the Canon XF100 would be choice?

 

Though RX10 is better for low light and shallow DOF. it's all give and take...

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The D800 is my A camera anyway so I don't think the lower bitrate would hurt me that much—we don't do a much/any grading to our footage. The massive continuous recording available with the XF300 and hot swapping would be a bummer to lose, but I need it seldom enough I think I could get by just renting on those occasions. I have considered the XF100. Seems like the image quality is nearly identical to the XF300. That said, it's still pretty pricy and better low light would be huge boons for my work. I just hope Sony actually comes out with a nicely integrated XLR jack attachment instead of leaving it vaporware like Panasonic.

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Andrew,

 

Am I interpreting your comments accurately by thinking that you foresee the A7R as becoming the best video-capable ILC in this price range, perhaps second only to the 5D Mark III?

 

Edit: In addition, Sony has mentioned making some sort of API available. Does anyone expect this might pave the way for a Magic Lantern sort of fix for RAW video or at least a better codec? 

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Personally I disagree with the assessment of A7r is the top (best) choice for video.  For one, it lacks AA (anti aliasing) filter.  For another, it does not have PDAF (phase detection auto focus) only CDAF.  For those only interested in landscapes, portrait photography of the like (and no video) then A7r might be the better choice.  If you want to have any thing to do with video, well then, A7 is not only the better choice, it's cheaper.

 

RX10, yes, it will be good for video.  I plan to get the RX10 and A7 when they release 11/15.

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Err, roughly 300 shots of battery life??
Even with an extra battery in the add-on grip, a 5DIII can double that.
Also a GH3 goes longer than the A7R too, though at least the batteries aren't expensive but you'd be carrying lots of them, and of course, it hurts recording time and the likelihood of having to dismount the body from a rig each time...
But dunno, I didn't see how long it holds while taking video

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Personally I disagree with the assessment of A7r is the top (best) choice for video.  For one, it lacks AA (anti aliasing) filter.  For another, it does not have PDAF (phase detection auto focus) only CDAF.  For those only interested in landscapes, portrait photography of the like (and no video) then A7r might be the better choice.  If you want to have any thing to do with video, well then, A7 is not only the better choice, it's cheaper.

 

RX10, yes, it will be good for video.  I plan to get the RX10 and A7 when they release 11/15.

 

Jerry read what I said a few posts above about the AA filter.

 

An AA filter doesn't operate in the lower frequencies of low resolutions like 1080p, it only has an affect at 36MP, which is why they removed it - to sharpen up the 36MP stills.

 

What does have an impact on moire in video mode is the 34MP you literally throw in the bin to get down to 2MP for 1080p, by line skipping and pixel binning!!

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Err, roughly 300 shots of battery life??
Even with an extra battery in the add-on grip, a 5DIII can double that.
Also a GH3 goes longer than the A7R too, though at least the batteries aren't expensive but you'd be carrying lots of them, and of course, it hurts recording time and the likelihood of having to dismount the body from a rig each time...
But dunno, I didn't see how long it holds while taking video

 

Battery life on video is of more importance to me.... Of course a DSLR for stills will have longer life, it barely does anything when you're shooting through the optical viewfinder. The 5D Mark III in live-view mode will likely be similar to the A7 in live-view mode unless you are shooting 60p which drains quicker as the data crunching is more than doubled (both sensor and image processing side).

 

I get much better battery life on the RX1 incidentally now I have turned off the 60fps live-view and had it drop back to 30.

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Edit: In addition, Sony has mentioned making some sort of API available. Does anyone expect this might pave the way for a Magic Lantern sort of fix for RAW video or at least a better codec? 

 

Any more info on this?

 

And yes I do think A7R will be second best of the DSLRs for video overall when you take all features and image quality attributes into account. 5D Mark III and Magic Lantern will still be in a league of its own because of raw, but the A7R is much more usable and has a more flexible lens mount.

 

RX10 and GH3 seem to give better resolution and less moire than the A7R though it must be said it's very early days to be talking about final performance and how they all stack up.

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Any more info on this?

 

It was mentioned by Sony reps at demos of A7 that the API (program is here) would be available on these two cameras. Naturally, I do not know if it provides access to how the camera handles the video. If it does, that would change everything.

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Hell, even the FS700 has shit highlights.

 

Mmm, no it doesn't. It has excellent highlights. That is if you use the cinegammas properly (and don't clip the overbrights in your NLE).

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