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Andrew Reid

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

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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...

That sounds like a bit of a stretch, even for this camera.

 

Nice video, BTW.

 

Michael

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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

I remember, last year, Canon teased a sensor, which, apparently did Superb low light. What we saw, unfortunately, was a highly pixelated and Very Noisy video of fireflies. The Sony A7S is actually the camera that Canon spoke about, but did not make. Anyway, that sensor was only 2MP or something, so it wasn't really made for production. 

 

 

Here's the url and the video:

http://petapixel.com/2013/09/13/canon-debuts-exciting-prototype-sensor-exceptional-low-light-capability/

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That's some serious crazy low light shit & it looks just fine - now did they leave it in s-log or did they grade it?

Was it me or did they blow the highlights, sorry blacks in the last ISO test!

The only thing that troubles me is if the Jello is really nasty, then the lowlight capablities will just be a gimmick for video.

 

I reckon the extreme ISOs probably clamp down on dynamic range. You can't apply that much gain without that affect I don't think.

 

Jello will probably be quite nasty given the sensor size and the A7's record, unfortunately...

 

EDIT: Actually it's half the amount of lines, Jello should reasonably be a lot lot better.

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Loving it. On the way to my dream camera: 4k internal, 10bit+, usable iso 0.5mln or sth, FF, 5 axis stabilizer and metabones: please add speedbooster for FF so we can use medium format lenses - I'm preordering if it comes true one day ;).

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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.

 

So? Red Epic is 27.65mm x 14.58mm at 5k. Dragon sensor is 30.7mm x 15.8mm at 6k. Most new cinema lenses actually do fit fullframe 35mm.

 

I don't see a problem. I see an opportunity.

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Loving it. On the way to my dream camera: 4k internal, 10bit+, usable iso 0.5mln or sth, FF, 5 axis stabilizer and metabones: please add speedbooster for FF so we can use medium format lenses - I'm preordering if it comes true one day ;).

 

Write down this suggestion dears metabones!

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

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

 

 

 

 

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

Best work I've seen from yours. Indeed, how light dances in the darkness is simply a beautiful aesthetic. 

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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. 

 

Or maybe it makes the most sense.  The stills camera market is much bigger than the pro camcorder market so there is the most profit and the best ability to reduce costs with much larger production runs, and dont forget they didn't even have to design a new body for this, they just re-used the A7/A7R body.  Why build 5 cameras at different tiers at 5x the R&D cost and greater production costs for several smaller runs, when you can make one amazing product that does 10x the business because it beats the competition and caters to many markets.  Why do extra R&D to build so many different cameras if they can build a camera head that no one doing photo/video can't afford not to have.  I mean it's a FF35 body that costs less than a 5D3 body and can take pretty much any lens ever made and has a proper XLR audio option and 4K output, not to mention possibly the best image quality to date?  Plus there is the added benefit that they might actually start to create exponentially more demand for E-mount lenses and other camera accessories if they capture more of the market.

 

I'm afraid if it ends up being too good it'll be tough to justify holding onto my FS700 just for 240fps HFR...

 

But you are right to some degree, there are a lot of claims that have yet to be verified and there may be limitations on what they were able to stuff into the small form factor or what they attempted to do for video if it has to also cater to the stills market.  We will know in a couple weeks.

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This was by far the camera that had me the most excited at NAB this year. I had not heard an actual dynamic range figure, but if 15 stops is true, daaang!!! Shoot, I'd be happy with 14. I realize this is not a straight up competitor to the GH4, which is fine with me. The A7S and a Shogun should be a pretty dope combo. The thing that has me most concerned is the 8 bit out. Looking forward to seeing some more tests. I'm guessing we'll be seeing quite a few in the next month. Btw, if anyone who has the opportunity to test this camera reads this, please shoot some blue skies and some difficult sunshine/shade shots. 

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This camera looks fantastic for times that I want to shoot a girl walking into the sea at night with a candle :-P

Unfortunately, Sony has let us down before in regard to things like Jello, moire, fast motion and every day/real world shooting environments.

 

If this camera can do 15stops DR in video mode, It's definitely exciting, I'm just not getting any hopes up just yet......

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I'm afraid if it ends up being too good it'll be tough to justify holding onto my FS700 just for 240fps HFR...

 

 

The only reason I use the FS700 is 240fps anyways. If the 5dmarkIII had those framerates, the FS700 would fly into the river and never come back.

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Just speculating...

 

I wouldn't be surprised if Sony charged for a "Low Light Firmware Update".

Then, when the internal codec can't handle the low light they will sell you the external recorder, plus, you'll have to buy the decoding software so you can edit the footage.

 

:)

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Andrew, if you're so concerned about the size of adapted lenses why not shoot with the native glass?

 

I *know* the internet tells you Sony's lenses suck but even the (admittedly expensive) unloved FE2470 is pretty comparable to the MORE expensive Canon 24-70mm f4. Sony made the mistake of releasing some poor quality, consumer focused lenses with the NEX cameras which got more traction with the enthusiast crowd. This birthed the "Sony can't make lenses" meme. 

 

Now, Sony's tried the opposite tactic with the FE lineup. The primes are top rate. The zooms are not bad but despite objective measurements and testing showing them on par with top flight Canon/Nikon lenses the internet won't let go of the Sony-lens-meme. Sure if you've got canon glass, use it! I find it a bit ironic that Yoshi used a Canon 35mm f1.4 but stopped it down to f3.2. Using the FE35mm at f3.2 would have given better results in a much more compact setup. 

[END RANT]

 

Do I wish Sony had enabled onboard 4K recording? Yes, but not as much as I wished they included an external 10-bit option. There's no good way (even with Slog2) to get 15 stops of dynamic range into an 8-bit pipe. Still quality 12 stop 1080p footage with no binning/skipping in a compact camera seems very promising.

 

As a side note, it would be great if Sony enabled a 1:1 pixel crop like the GH2. That would give us FF, ~S35mm, and 16mm shooting modes. Of course there would be more noise in 1:1 mode but I bet it would still be pretty clean up to ISO 3200.

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Hi Joel,  Good to see you again mate!

 

I have the FE 24-70 and if I were to make a comparison to Canon glass I've owned I'd say its very similar in performance to the 24-105, not thrilled by that, but its extremely usable.  The FE 35 however is an order of magnitude better, I have one glued (:-) to its own A7R, its a cracking little lens, my other A7R has the FE 55 welded (:-) to it and it is better than any Canon lens I've ever owned and I think that is where the problem arrises.  Compared to the FE 55, the other Sony glass kinda pale by comparison, its like comparing the OTUS to Canon's own glass -- not a fair fight IMO, but, for the price that FE55 is an absolute bargain!

 

What I & others were expecting from Sony/Zeiss was a 24-70 that was equal or better than the 24-70 f/2.8 L mark 2 but what we actually got was a short 24-105, again not a bad thing, but the 24-105 isn't a 2014 lens if you get my drift!

 

I'm a stills guy by trade but suspect the FE 24-70 may look surprisingly good as a video lens on the A7s!

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