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Sony A7S rolling shutter test


Andrew Reid
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Rolling shutter does not just affect us when we're panning the camera like a mad man whilst filming a straight fence. No, rolling shutter affects the "entire" image, you see rolling shutter ugliness with "every" bit of movement, from the subtlest of handheld movements to whip pans. Plus it doesn't only occur while moving the camera, it occurs while the image moves, even if the camera is locked off. If you have someone walking at a fast pace from the end of the frame to the other whilst keeping the camera locked off, you will see rolling shutter (given it's as horrible as we see here).

Rolling shutter after exceeding a certain limit, makes the camera unusable for recording moving images. Yes we could say we can still use the camera for recording locked off- motionless landscapes, but that would be called photography :) 

I spent a couple of hours shooting with the AX100 from sony today, the rolling shutter at 4K is absolutely horrendous. I mean, it's JELLO vision. as jello-ey as images can ever get! Thus I found my self shooting at the excellent 1080p mode and lovely codec. The camera is extremely well made and designed. When I was invited to try it I was under the impression it's a consumer little sony handycam. It turned out a much more serious camera in features, design, size, and image, It's a mini c100/300 

The point is it seems Sony screwed up the 4K recording option on the A7S like they did on the AX100. But I will still get one for 1080p. Which I speculate is going to be magnificent, especially for low-light.

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The point is it seems Sony screwed up the 4K recording option on the A7S like they did on the AX100. But I will still get one for 1080p. Which I speculate is going to be magnificent, especially for low-light.

 

I think it still does a full sensor readout for full frame 1080p at 24/25/30p, so its probably going to have the same rolling shutter in that mode.

60p may line skip, halving the readout time, but then does resolution, noise and image integrity suffer?  I'm not sure how binning effects this.

Apsc crop might help with having about 2/3rds the number of lines to read.  But we will have to see.

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Rolling shutter does not just affect us when we're panning the camera like a mad man whilst filming a straight fence. No, rolling shutter affects the "entire" image, you see rolling shutter ugliness with "every" bit of movement, from the subtlest of handheld movements to whip pans. Plus it doesn't only occur while moving the camera, it occurs while the image moves, even if the camera is locked off. If you have someone walking at a fast pace from the end of the frame to the other whilst keeping the camera locked off, you will see rolling shutter (given it's as horrible as we see here).

Rolling shutter after exceeding a certain limit, makes the camera unusable for recording moving images. Yes we could say we can still use the camera for recording locked off- motionless landscapes, but that would be called photography :) 

I spent a couple of hours shooting with the AX100 from sony today, the rolling shutter at 4K is absolutely horrendous. I mean, it's JELLO vision. as jello-ey as images can ever get! Thus I found my self shooting at the excellent 1080p mode and lovely codec. The camera is extremely well made and designed. When I was invited to try it I was under the impression it's a consumer little sony handycam. It turned out a much more serious camera in features, design, size, and image, It's a mini c100/300 

The point is it seems Sony screwed up the 4K recording option on the A7S like they did on the AX100. But I will still get one for 1080p. Which I speculate is going to be magnificent, especially for low-light.

Great review thanks! Sounds like: unusable 4k mode, but.. nice 1080 codec, nd filters, 1 inch sensor, nice stabilised zoom lens

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As someone who actually tested this in person. The a7s was only slightly worse than the Canon 6d I had on hand. While that's not amazing, it's far from a deal breaker. Sony reps said that the firmware was in the very early stages and that the rolling shutter would be better than the 5d mark III by the time it was released. They pointed specifically at 12mb sensor versus the 5d mark III's much larger sensor and total read times. 

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Well you've confused me now.

 

It means just forget the hype, ignore the whiny enginerds and wait for the real thing with the final firmware to arrive. Then, and only then draw any far-reaching conclusions. All conclusions drawn before that are just meaningless nerdy-nam-nam. 

 

As for the literal meaning of that one sentence, surely you don't want to fall into the pedantic mode. He just made a slight typo, and he was simply referring to the 5D3 sensor being larger in megapixels than the A7r one, and thus it's slower to read and process all the pixels on the sensor. I believe the rest of Noob's comment was pretty clear.

 

In other words,  just hang on and wait for the final product. Meanwhile, get off the internet, grab your existing camera, and go out and shoot something. I think that one single "test" video has got way more attention that it actually deserves.

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Yes to be honest all my previous talk of the AX100 is based on a pre-production model. Sony actually promised rolling shutter will improve with the production model and be less than the 5Ds? Maybe the AX100 will too?

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Yes to be honest all my previous talk of the AX100 is based on a pre-production model. Sony actually promised rolling shutter will improve with the production model and be less than the 5Ds? Maybe the AX100 will too?

The AX100 is selling already. I had assumed the one you said you were playing with was a release model in a store. If not we need a person to provide an updated report. I don't think I'll get another handycam though.

 

I just downloaded the 1.5G vid file from

(GH4) and it really is gorgeous. The annoying thing is having to get quicktime to edit it. I've handily avoided that (and the devastation apple does to my pc) for years. I wonder if I can get the codec and nothing else.
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I just downloaded the 1.5G vid file from

(GH4) and it really is gorgeous. The annoying thing is having to get quicktime to edit it. I've handily avoided that (and the devastation apple does to my pc) for years. I wonder if I can get the codec and nothing else.

I know what you mean about Apple software running on a PC.  Horrible.

 

I know you can play Quicktime files with the free open source player VLC Media Player on Windows.  I don't know if that will give you codec to enable you to edit them, though.

 

You can also try the K-lite codec pack.

 

http://www.codecguide.com/

 

Michael

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60p may line skip, halving the readout time, but then does resolution, noise and image integrity suffer? 

 

Yes but considering that the original 1080p is already very clean, the 1080p60 might be very good rolling shutter wise and not suffer from much artifacts.

 

I mean the 5dmarkIII RAW looks very clean and it skips lines.

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I know what you mean about Apple software running on a PC.  Horrible.

 

I know you can play Quicktime files with the free open source player VLC Media Player on Windows.  I don't know if that will give you codec to enable you to edit them, though.

 

You can also try the K-lite codec pack.

 

http://www.codecguide.com/

 

Michael

Yes I can play it on VLC but not in Vegas Pro or Premiere CC - it asks to install QT.

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Forgive me if someone else has already brought this up, but what about dead pixels?  For example: my 5D II has been aging pretty gracefully, but hot-and-or-dead pixels became impossible to ignore last year at the higher ISOs.  When I bought my 6D, it had a few straight out of the box, but thanks to pixel remapping they disappeared immediately.

 

Direct pixel-to-pixel recording in 4K is going to mean that if a photosite dies, you can't get around it in-camera.  And at the high ISOs where the a7S is so awesome, I think there could be a huge risk of the image being spoiled by these little buggers, and possibly sooner than you'd think, which will make high sensitivity shots a massive pain every time you go into your NLE.

 

I wanted so much to love the a7S—I think Sony is producing some of the best new sensors (D800, a7R, and yes a7S), codecs (S-log, XAVC), and all around cameras (I love the F55 and FS700 so much).  Unfortunately, for my purposes at the moment, I think the GH4 is just a more usable day-to-day tool. I'll use the a7S when it's needed, but...

 

Anyone have any other thoughts on hot pixels with this baby?

 

@krisicwalsh

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Direct pixel-to-pixel recording in 4K is going to mean that if a photosite dies, you can't get around it in-camera. 

 

That's a very good point you've raised here... Of course one would imagine that Sony would've thought of that and found a way to get rid of the problem BUT, given the secrecy this camera is being dealt with -not only pricewise, because by now we should have more test footage from different filmmakers- I can only imagine that firmware  to avoid shortcomings form the camera is not nearly ready.

 

Also, with the exception of Canon, most brands tend to release the camera 2-3 months after the announcement. I expect the GH4 to be out by late April-early May, but there are many questions floating in the air with regards to the A7S...

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That's a very good point you've raised here... Of course one would imagine that Sony would've thought of that and found a way to get rid of the problem BUT, given the secrecy this camera is being dealt with -not only pricewise, because by now we should have more test footage from different filmmakers- I can only imagine that firmware  to avoid shortcomings form the camera is not nearly ready.

 

Also, with the exception of Canon, most brands tend to release the camera 2-3 months after the announcement. I expect the GH4 to be out by late April-early May, but there are many questions floating in the air with regards to the A7S...

 

Agreed, and I hope they do resolve this and other issues (cartwheeling shutter) at release time, although it seems like their options are pretty limited for pixel remapping, I suppose there could be interpolation from nearby pixels, but you'd still get artifacts.  Everybody remember AJW's Pixel Mask plugin?  So handy, yet so painful when it's something that needs to be applied to every. single. clip.

 

Also Pablo, I would love to see it in the hands of more filmmakers, too!!! (I volunteer.)  In my eyes, the simple fact that everybody seems to already be using the GH4 and it looks great even with the flaws, makes me want to get my hands on one myself, confident that it's a good, usable product.  I wish Sony would do the same.  

 

By the way, I was speaking with Polish filmmaker Amadeusz Andrzejewski who's been doing GH4 tests, and he said in his experience the "The rolling shutter in HD is barely noticable, it gets more painful in UHD though."   Here's his 96P test and rolling shutter review: 

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The rolling shutter that I really can't stand is on the GoPros. They are horrendous, and with the kinds of action people shoot on them, even more horrendous. It feels like the video is fed into some kind of hallucinogenic warp program. I know I am watching GoPro footage because I start to feel sick.

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why every time there's something wrong in a camera the wedding market should embrace it? We are all fools? We all do only tripod shots of embalmed people? In my experience weddings are much more animated than that and rolling shutter is a serious issue.

Ha, come to Japan, the wedding video monopoly hires videographers that setup a fancy cam on a tripod and just record, may go around stuffing the camera in people's faces and ask for a message to the couple over the shoulder, that's about it. Nothing fancy, nothing nice, simple edits and with no taste for color or getting a nice feel, just boring and uninspired... but oh boy does the addition of a videographer cost like crazy for what people get~

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Had a feeling the rolling shutter was going to be bad, if Sony can't get it right on a smaller 1" sensor then asking more from a full frame sensor is out of the question. It's all about how fast the camera can scan the rows, and the data coming off a 1" sensor will get scanned faster than one coming off a full frame sensor all other factors being equal, that's just simple physics. Sony will really have to improve their scan rates for good 4K. The GH4 looks better all the time, I'm wondering what's keeping other companies from using Aptina's 1" sensors for 4K?

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Yes, rolling shutter will probably be lessened by release date for both cameras, and we certainly will hope for it from the a7S since Sony are giving themselves a little more time, but these are first-gen cameras for this form factor, feature set, hardware, and price.  I think we have jello for mirrorless 4K in 2014, and that will be it.  Honestly, the 1DC has jello. The FS700 had/has some pretty wiggly stuff at lower frame rates.  

 

I doubt there's much to be done about the RS, except hope it's better in 1080p mode.  Can't do much with a set processor speed holding you back.

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  • 3 weeks later...

You guys dont seem to realise you CANT judge rolling shutter by filming a monitor with a second camera. 

 

You have the native rolling shutter of the actual camera. 

 

You have the refresh rate of the monitor its being fed into with HDMI. 

 

You then have the rolling shutter of the camera filming the monitor. 

 

 

Thats a compounded 3 layers of lag and NOTHING like what the cameras actual rolling shutter would actually be, and I'm really surprised anyone would even try it. 

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