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Andrew Reid

A new (and extraordinary) Sony A7S 4K low light test

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

Highlights are clipping... at night.  :rolleyes: 

This is my next 3-4 years 5D replacement.

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if the Jello is really nasty, then the lowlight capablities will just be a gimmick for video.

 

If a camera has serious lowlight capabilities that's a huge value and not a gimmick...even with limitations.  I can't tell you how many times I could have used a strong low-light camera in the field over the past few decades.

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This camera is coming out anyday now, and I am having a lot of trouble finding footage shot with it.  Can anyone link me to everyday footage? Not just super low light video capabilities.  Thanks

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If a camera has serious lowlight capabilities that's a huge value and not a gimmick...even with limitations.  I can't tell you how many times I could have used a strong low-light camera in the field over that past few decades.

Oh i'm with you man! Just imagine never having to worry about the light going & its got s-log too!

You're right, Jello be damned!

I'd love to see some photos from this as well...

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

Rolling shutter, to a point, is acceptable for me and will not hold me back from the camera.

The "point" is somewhere around the 5D's rolling shutter.

Though, If it's worse than the 5D (something like their AX100 4K mode, which makes you "unable" to move the camera) it will be a severely severe limitation for the camera, and might be my dealbreaker. Hope it's acceptable!

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Rolling shutter, to a point, is acceptable for me and will not hold me back from the camera.

The "point" is somewhere around the 5D's rolling shutter.

Though, If it's worse than the 5D (something like their AX100 4K mode, which makes you "unable" to move the camera) it will be a severely severe limitation for the camera, and might be my dealbreaker. Hope it's acceptable!

concerning rolling shutter

start at 16:40

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I'm as excited as anybody over this camera, but one reality check: if this sensor is really as good as everybody's hoping, why is it showing up for the first time ever in a $2500 NEX body?  It just doesn't make sense from Sony's perspective.  Having Den Lennie shoot the promos and all the non-line skipping, low megapixel (or rather, APPROPRIATE megapixel) etc talk gives it the whiff of being aimed at video people strongly.  But again, if I had this "perfect" megapixel full frame sensor that is a low light monster, and goes to slog, xavc, designed around an E mount, I'd toss it in a FS700 body and call it the FS700FF or something and put a $10-12,000 price tag on it.  I guess it makes some sense in terms of volumes to put it in a slim stills body, but I don't think this camera is going to sell that high of volumes to stills shooters - they are probably looking for megapixels.  Anyway, it just seemed to me that if this sensor is really everything that everybody's dreaming about, they would put it into a flagship, higher margin product, and then maybe let it trickle down later. 

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I'm as excited as anybody over this camera, but one reality check: if this sensor is really as good as everybody's hoping, why is it showing up for the first time ever in a $2500 NEX body?  It just doesn't make sense from Sony's perspective.  Having Den Lennie shoot the promos and all the non-line skipping, low megapixel (or rather, APPROPRIATE megapixel) etc talk gives it the whiff of being aimed at video people strongly.  But again, if I had this "perfect" megapixel full frame sensor that is a low light monster, and goes to slog, xavc, designed around an E mount, I'd toss it in a FS700 body and call it the FS700FF or something and put a $10-12,000 price tag on it.  I guess it makes some sense in terms of volumes to put it in a slim stills body, but I don't think this camera is going to sell that high of volumes to stills shooters - they are probably looking for megapixels.  Anyway, it just seemed to me that if this sensor is really everything that everybody's dreaming about, they would put it into a flagship, higher margin product, and then maybe let it trickle down later. 

 

Maybe the A7s is a beta product or a proof of concept that can be sold.  Sort of like the very first generation of Apple's MacBook Air.

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I have heard of day for night.....but who would want to shoot night for day?

 

ISO 12,800 has a very other-wordly feel at night

 

 

Here it is on the humble GH2.

 

Low light is about 'low' not 'no light'... Imagine lighting up a large forest floor with a single match... amazing.

 

The movement of light changes when you have less of it... becomes more magical...

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maybe it's half strategically, Bob, and half the necessary pricedrop by massproduction of sensors...

 

A fullframe sensor is very very expensive if only built in small quantities, you would never ever be able for any competition.

 

Canon/Nikon make the most money with cheap plastic bodies, not with (semi-)prof. Dxxx III's. But sometimes you need a superb product just for reputation. Take for example Nikon: Technically they were nearly dead, kaput, finished in 2008 - and rescued only by the miracle of the D3 sensor (which Sony build). Allthough only few D3 were delivered in comparision, the mass market react positivly.

 

Most customers still imagine 'quality = DSLR', no matter how useless the mirror indeed is for their needs or how much the product is in reality overdated. So, Canikon dictate the DSLR-market and Sony's own DSLR adventures have never meet their expectations in selling turns, but only providing their sensors for Nikon.

a mirrorless body is cheaper to produce nowadays then a prism, but people are still reluctant to invest in high end mirrorless systems; Sony can't go much higher with the price.

 

 

If we assume mirrorless is the future, than one could assume too Sony wanting to become a big player in this market just at the beginning.

And in the end, it's of course not only the body - you are investing in lenses, flashlights and so on.

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I'm as excited as anybody over this camera, but one reality check: if this sensor is really as good as everybody's hoping, why is it showing up for the first time ever in a $2500 NEX body?

 

This is a bit silly really... it is a photo sensor. The stills will be a huge selling point of the A7S.

 

Full frame is not a video standard. Doesn't make much sense to have a full frame sensor in a professional video camera. There's a reason Arri don't do that. Lens compatibility. Focus manageability.

 

It's not a NEX by the way... Right label is now Alpha. NEX is discontinued.

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Looks more cinematic than the GH4. Though, idk if that is because of grading, cinematography, lighting. I have no horse in this race (I'm a Canon fanboy! :lol:). I can't believe people would sacrifice low light performance for less jello. Unless you specialize in filming trains, or out the window of a car I don't see how extreme rolling shutter is encountered on a frequent basis. And it can be mitigated in post. A low light monster has so much more artistic potential, jello or no jello.

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That was an incredible display of low light capabilities.  I'm willing to work around the jello to gain access to that level of low light performance.  I may have to rig the camera out more but I would not have to carry around as many lights, light stands, extension cords etc.  It's crazy how fast technology is advancing....5..10 years from now I can't begin to fathom what will be possible at the $3k price point.  

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ISO 12,800 has a very other-wordly feel at night

 

 

Here it is on the humble GH2.

 

Low light is about 'low' not 'no light'... Imagine lighting up a large forest floor with a single match... amazing.

 

The movement of light changes when you have less of it... becomes more magical...

Nice piece, especially the score.....it is.....otherworldly.

 

I admire you, Andrew. You are out there, doing it. I am sitting here, reading about it. Kudos, and thanks for the great site.

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I'm as excited as anybody over this camera, but one reality check: if this sensor is really as good as everybody's hoping, why is it showing up for the first time ever in a $2500 NEX body?  It just doesn't make sense from Sony's perspective. Having Den Lennie shoot the promos and all the non-line skipping, low megapixel (or rather, APPROPRIATE megapixel) etc talk gives it the whiff of being aimed at video people strongly.

 

Far more people are going to buy it for stills. Almost any enthusiast photographer is keen to shoot in low light.

And yet Sony can put this sensor in FSsomething, make a 10-bit color output and sell it for 10 grand.

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