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Snowfun

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Is the A7Sii still the best choice for low light - I’m thinking iso 25k - or are there alternatives?

I’ve seen impressive footage from the C200 (Matthew Allard on Mzed & Bloom) but difficult to say it’s as good as the Sony. Is there anything else to compete? 

Presumably, expectations are that the A7Siii will also excel at low light but when...

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I film the aurora borealis so everything else is secondary to low light performance. I have used a P4k at iso 25k and 6fps 360 degrees and the images are good but they are timelapse and in that sense

Sure. I'm curious as well how the new competition is gaining on the a7s ii.

Both internal and external on the A7s2 are better than the A73. NR is just way heavier.

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Depends, I guess.

Do you want to film in the dark, or simply have scenes with less bright lights?

As long as you can control the lightsources the way you want, you don´t necessarily need a A7Sii.

I myself use Blackmagic-Cameras ever since the first pocket camera was released. The Pocket 4k/6k for examp offer great lowlight capabilities.

But Panasonic, Fuji and Canon offer great ISO-performance too. 

Maybe take a look at some out-of-camera-Samples and see, whether the codec, format and colorscience is what you´re looking for. 

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The Sigma fp and Nikon Z6 also have decent low-light performance. I would think most of the so-called "full frame" 4K cameras will be good in that department; if it were me I wouldn't only be looking at low light but also the color science, ergonomics, stabilization, and other features...it's the whole package that matters, as Mr. Freeze points out above.

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I film the aurora borealis so everything else is secondary to low light performance. I have used a P4k at iso 25k and 6fps 360 degrees and the images are good but they are timelapse and in that sense inferior to those from my A7S (which I stupidly sold anticipating the A7S3 last year). 
 

  (P4K)

 

(A7S)

Yes, I’d like to improve 101 things about the Sony but if it still has the best low light performance then those things can be overlooked. 

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3 hours ago, Snowfun said:

I’ve seen impressive footage from the C200 (Matthew Allard on Mzed & Bloom) but difficult to say it’s as good as the Sony.

I wonder what footage you refer to. Can you share a link? 

In my experience, the C200 is not really a lowlight camera. I fairly often shoot Concerts with a rather slow 70-300mm 4.5-5.6 lens and ISO6400 is the absolute maximum I'd go with the C200 in XF-AFC or mp4, and you can already see quite a bit noise at ISO6400. Also since it's only 8bit you risk having banding in underexposed regions of your shot. RAW solves the banding problems but is a lot noisier than the compressed formats and requires noise reduction very fast (especially if you want to lift the shadows just a little bit). For capturing aurora borealis I'd say there are probably better cameras as the C200...

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Tricky!        Below 12800/25600 probably better going with a more recent FF camera like the A7iii or Nikon Z6 now. 

Above 25600 the A7s cameras MIGHT still be better than others but the difference is still not going to be huge I think now and only at 80,000 and up would there still be bigger difference (and mainly in dynamic range more than anything).

The thing wth the A7s cameras is the ramp down in DR is a lot more gentle than just about all other cameras and many others just seem to drop of a cliff though at different points (more so with older cameras).

The many issues of the A7s cameras probably mean time for something else now for the vast majority of people..

If your shooting involves stars, run (do not walk) away from Sony and stareater.

 

Now, having said that, my A7s first version second copy will have to be pried out of my cold dead hands unless it dies first and i get a third A7s.

 

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For lowlight I film at 4000iso with the Panny S1 and push it two stops in post. Massive low light quality for the S1 and probably S1H. Much, much better than ISO 12800! When filming with the rather slim 75mbit h256 10bit 420 codec, quality is even better. I was very surprised by that codec option.

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S1H is the best, since it's dual native ISO. It is extremely clean. ISO 3200 looks like 200. Goes past 12,800 easy. Put an F0.95 lens on there and there's nothing it can't do. You even get a boost by downsampling the 6K to 2.8K in post. Reduces the noise even further.

Z6 and S1 are good but S1H better.

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17 minutes ago, Andrew Reid said:

S1H is the best, since it's dual native ISO. It is extremely clean. ISO 3200 looks like 200. Goes past 12,800 easy. Put an F0.95 lens on there and there's nothing it can't do. You even get a boost by downsampling the 6K to 2.8K in post. Reduces the noise even further.

Z6 and S1 are good but S1H better.

Interesting,

I had seen some people saying they believing the S1 had a dual ISO sensor as it seems to get cleaner when you bump from a lower ISO to a higher one (like 3200 cleaner than 1600 or something like that).

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23 minutes ago, thebrothersthre3 said:

Interesting,

I had seen some people saying they believing the S1 had a dual ISO sensor as it seems to get cleaner when you bump from a lower ISO to a higher one (like 3200 cleaner than 1600 or something like that).

Both the S1 and S1H basically produce the same image with the same native ISO values of 640 and 4000. The S1H looks great till ISO12800 with proper exposure and good enough after some denoising at ISO25600.

It blows both the A73 and A7sII out of the water doing that because it's basically free of noise reduction artifacts, while especially the A73 is a mess.

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29 minutes ago, deezid said:

Both the S1 and S1H basically produce the same image with the same native ISO values of 640 and 4000. The S1H looks great till ISO12800 with proper exposure and good enough after some denoising at ISO25600.

It blows both the A73 and A7sII out of the water doing that because it's basically free of noise reduction artifacts, while especially the A73 is a mess.

Good point. I am guessing the A7S2 with an external recorder would probably win though. 

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Just now, thebrothersthre3 said:

Good point. I am guessing the A7S2 with an external recorder would probably win though. 

If they're coming with a new sensor maybe, they still may add huge amounts of NR which have been quite destructive on past Sony cameras and cannot be bypassed by using an external recorder.

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10 minutes ago, deezid said:

If they're coming with a new sensor maybe, they still may add huge amounts of NR which have been quite destructive on past Sony cameras and cannot be bypassed by using an external recorder.

A7S II has the unique advantage of going way beyond ISO25600 and still provide a usable image. Using an external recorder bypasses most of the NR and compression artifacts.

BBC used A7S II with external recorder for some ultra low light scenes in Planet Earth II.

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1 minute ago, androidlad said:

A7S II has the unique advantage of going way beyond ISO25600 and still provide a usable image. Using an external recorder bypasses most of the NR and compression artifacts.

BBC used A7S II with external recorder for some ultra low light scenes in Planet Earth II.

It bypasses NR externally? That's good. :)
The A73 sadly does not. Ghosting is almost as bad as the S1H was before the update.

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I would love to see a comparison between a few of the mentioned cameras against the A7s (both one and 2) at the same time and at various iso levels in low light.

I have no doubt that a few cameras would win a blind test against the A7s pair at 12800 and below now and maybe at 25600 but am not so sure above that and i would still guess above ISO 51200 that things might favour the A7s.

Edit

Video frame grab A7s Canon FD 24 1.4 L at ISO 102400 1/25 at f1.4 just 8 bit (of course) xavc-s at 25p

A7s snapshot 102400.jpg

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