Jump to content
Andrew Reid

Evolving Sony A7S Review (Part 1)

Recommended Posts

New to this forum. I know it's funny to ask questions when I have 2 A7s cameras in my possession and a 3rd on it's way, but I don't always have the time or means to test these things accurately so here's my questions that I'm hoping Andrew can answer in detail:

 

1) We shoot everything at 60p for our events/weddings. I'm currently using the APS-C mode which from your review it sounds like it's the best choice at 60p. I was looking forward to getting full frame lenses in the near future because I've seen a few videos that show that APS-C "crop mode" is about one full stop MORE noisy than full frame mode. Have you experienced this? And would that mean it just comes down to...

 

When shooting at 60p: APS-C mode has less moire and aliasing and rolling shutter and is "impressively detailed"  ... while Full Frame Mode is less noisy as you start to crank up the ISO, but apparently it's softer?

 

2) One thing I'm not sure you touched on but bothers me a bit is the inability to adjust White Balance while recording. While rolling during the sunset hours the other day for a long event, colors changed like crazy and while good old AWB did a nice job...it went from looking normal, to looking overly blue for 2 minutes, then to looking like the camera adjusted properly. 2 minutes of ugly color is a bummer. Wish I could have adjusted the white balance in camera while recording.

 

I'm bummed that the time limit for recording even for NTSC versions is under 30 mins. I have the GH4 as well and it's nice to know that I don't have to monitor that during a long recording. Granted, I'll be selling my GH4 shortly because, well, when the sun goes down...nothing seems to come close to the A7s.

 

Thanks for your response and great review so far!

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

I agree with Quirky on a lot of his points. I'm not sure why 5D RAW comes into this at all... It's a massively different kettle of fish. Although I think it's ok to show how cameras such as the a7S can match it in perceived performance.

Why wouldn't we want to see 5DMkIII raw?  I do, and I would think most people would want to see this in a comparison test, since it is the current benchmark for many.  I thought it was very interesting.  I guess you can skip over it if it is not of interest to you.

 

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice tests. I personally felt the 5d3 raw had the richer colors. There seems to be a magenta shift on the A7s. When I tested f55 I noticed this as well which lead to either faces timed nicely to the expense of other colors being off or vice a versa or lots of windowing in the grade.

 

I know good tests are time consuming, but it'd be great to see a similar shoot out with a face and a color chart. Grade to the face and see what happens to your chart and grade to the chart and see what happens to the face. This reveals a lot about a camera's color accuracy. Of all the camera's I've tested, the Alexa by far won this test while the F55 was a fail. I'd love to see how the A7s stacks up in this regard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Michael1... You missed the part where I said it's ok to compare the cameras in perceived performance, but I'm puzzled why some people ask "Should I shoot with a7s, GH4 or 5D raw?"

I guess it's ok to ask the question, however, they are totally different.... Those considering a 5D with the raw hack should be looking at Blackmagic, another affordable raw shooter.

I'm pleased that Andrew included the raw shooting cams in the test to compare with the performance of the a7S. It shows it is very capable and will be able to achieve very high quality footage in the right hands.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Really? 

 

His piece, especially the first half of it makes no logic sense. It makes him sound like yet another narrow-sighted gadget nerd. I agree with him about two pretty obvious things, though, that the piece is only his opinion, and that the A7s and himself aren't a good match. 

 

That's not the fault of the camera, though. It's merely tells us that the A7s is absolutely the wrong camera for him and for the likes of him. Which is fine, no camera is perfect, no camera can be a perfect fit for everyone, and there are plenty of other nice cameras around." 

 

Ha! Thats pretty funny!

I'm not "narrow-sighted in the least. Maybe you should check out the rest of my blog eriknaso.com. I write more about other stuff than just cameras.

 

I wrote about what I felt are issues with the A7s for me and I'm finding that others do feel the same. Not everyone of course. The single biggest issue is the price. It's a hybrid camera so for me I want it to work as one. If it only becomes a video tool then I prefer other cameras to use. I actually want to keep it for it's strengths but to really get the most from the A7s I would have to spend a whole lot more on Sony lenses to take full advantage of auto focus for stills and maybe even video. I think I made that pretty clear in my article. 

 

A little about that "Erik guy." I'm a broadcast DP in San Diego. I work in local broadcast shooting commercials and news image promos. I use a lot of different cameras to get the job done. At work it's the C300 and C100. I just added the GH4 too. I have lots of lenses for it since I also used to shoot with the AF-100. 

 

My thinking in writing the article was a wake up call for myself. It's good to know the bad things too right? Good to know how much you need to invest to get the camera usable for you right? Thats pretty much it. Thanks for reading the article.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very interesting data from the video.  I appreciate Andrew's time and care to these matters.  Some intersting insight from Erik as well.

 

I agree with almost all of Erik's point in his blog, and some other points not... when will people realise on the internet that it's ok to differ! Different opinions do not need so much hatred attached.

 

Thanks Erik for coming on here and defending your views.

 

As Erik said in his article it wasn't a review but a look at the shortcomings and quirks. I have a similar article in the works as well.

 

It isn't a honeymoon period for me, the camera is delivering on the fundamentals in a big way, for my uses.

 

Agree on the battery life Erik. You really need the vertical grip to improve that. The ergonomics of that are quite nice but not ideal. The lenses are indeed too expensive and there are not enough fast primes. Sony seem to have compromised aperture size to get the size of the lenses down which is why there's no F2.8 zoom. They need to introduce one, and quick, and get the prices to a more reasonable level to compete with Sigma.

 

I have bought the Zeiss FE 55mm F1.8 for when I need AF. It is true that the other glass on the camera is a manual focus only affair which suits me just fine for video but not so much for stills.

 

I am having the same problem as Erik with the Metabones adapter and blank screen occasionally, it is an incompatibility with the adapter and Metabones are working hard to fix it.

 

Don't share the same view of Erik who prefers S35 to full frame. I love the look of the larger sensor for almost everything, especially 24-50mm range of focal lengths. For me it is about shallow DOF yet, but not how extreme you can get it, but that you can get any control over it at all at wider focal lengths or when your subject is further away from the lens. To have a little bit of subject / background separation when they are 5m away is wonderful. I can't get that with a smaller sensor unless I use a longer focal length and that changes the rendering of the whole scene.

 

Obviously the low light is a big attraction for me as that's just how I work creatively. I love using minimal light and natural light sources. I am not a broadcast guy like Erik or a studio shooter. I can absolutely appreciate why some people would not need ISO 12,800!!

 

As Erik and I both said in our articles, grading S-LOG 2 is indeed rather tricky. But the camera has extensive pro FS700-like control over the image. Switching colour mode to ITU709 for instance with S-LOG gamma makes it easier to get the correct hue in post.

 

It's definitely a valid observation that auto white balance and the exposure meter aren't really to be trusted a whole lot when shooting S-LOG. Do it manually though and you will end up with a stronger image, at the expense of maybe working a bit slower, which to some will be a deal breaker, to others not. There's no ONE way is right here!

 

Disagree Erik actually about the 120fps. I am really enjoying it! Good bonus feature and creative. I was just shooting 120fps by candle light at 1/200, getting a usable S-LOG image at ISO 12,800. How many other cameras can you name that can do that let alone for $2500?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ha! Thats pretty funny!

I'm not "narrow-sighted in the least. Maybe you should check out the rest of my blog eriknaso.com. I write more about other stuff than just cameras.

 

Heheh, I knew this was going to come back to bite me in the derriere, and fair enough, I deserved it.  :)

 

I wasn't really calling you "narrow-sighted," but I did say that particular blog post may make you sound like a proverbial narrow-sighted gadget nerd. There's a difference, you know. But perhaps that remark sounded grumpier than it needed to be.

 

As for checking out the rest of your blog, that's a deal. I will do just that at some point. 

 

 

I wrote about what I felt are issues with the A7s for me and I'm finding that others do feel the same. Not everyone of course. The single biggest issue is the price. It's a hybrid camera so for me I want it to work as one. If it only becomes a video tool then I prefer other cameras to use. I actually want to keep it for it's strengths but to really get the most from the A7s I would have to spend a whole lot more on Sony lenses to take full advantage of auto focus for stills and maybe even video. I think I made that pretty clear in my article. 

 

What I was referring to with the not making logical sense remark was the part under the Lenses header in particular, but explaining that in full would be a bit too long a story for this thread. Suffice to say I didn't agree with some parts of the piece, but that's okay, it's just life. As said, it was nothing personal, just differences in viewpoints.

 

I totally agree about needing to invest in native lenses for a new system, be that a Sony, Canon or whichever one. That's always the ideal case, isn't it. Whichever system you go for, you are likely to invest quite a bit in its lenses, too. Otherwise it makes not much sense, except in some special cases.

 

But apparently I was skimming the blog post too quickly, because that part didn't actually seem too clear in that article. Maybe I shoud re-read it with more time. FWIW, what stuck in my mind from that part of your blog post was your complaining about how bad the A7s was with Canon lenses, and how you'd have to spend a fortune on native Sony lenses, which you were not willing to do.

 

That would beg the question why would one invest in an expensive Sony camera in the first place, then, if that was an issue? If one had a significant collection of existing EF lenses and one had no intention of ever trading them for something else, or even investing in the native lenses, wouldn't it make more sense to stick with the Canon system, and not wasting money on a new one?

After all, it's not really the A7s's fault if the native Canon lenses aren't ideal for it, because they haven't been designed for it. As you no doubt know, the fact that you can use them as, say, in MF mode in the first place is a great thing.

 

A Canon camera would be equally bad with Sony lenses, provided that  was even technically feasible, with flange distances being similar and all. Whichever way it goes, using non-native lenses is always a compromise. But as you know, that compromise is sometimes worth having, and the camera can deliver beautiful footage, even with Canon lenses. 

 

No need to answer the rhetoric questions above, though, I'm just trying to clarify my previous talking points. However hasty my first read may have been. It was not about you personally, it wasn't about defending the Sony camera, it was more about choosing the right camera for each of us. And I do get your point now. 

 

 

 

A little about that "Erik guy." I'm a broadcast DP in San Diego. I work in local broadcast shooting commercials and news image promos. I use a lot of different cameras to get the job done. At work it's the C300 and C100. I just added the GH4 too. I have lots of lenses for it since I also used to shoot with the AF-100. 

 

My thinking in writing the article was a wake up call for myself. It's good to know the bad things too right? Good to know how much you need to invest to get the camera usable for you right? Thats pretty much it. Thanks for reading the article.

 

Yes and yes. 

You're welcome, and I'll read more, whether I agree with your views or not. :) Judging by this reply, I'll probably disagree less than some people here might think.

Peace & rock'n'roll.  ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ha! Thats pretty funny!

I'm not "narrow-sighted in the least. Maybe you should check out the rest of my blog eriknaso.com. I write more about other stuff than just cameras.

 

I wrote about what I felt are issues with the A7s for me and I'm finding that others do feel the same. Not everyone of course. The single biggest issue is the price. It's a hybrid camera so for me I want it to work as one. If it only becomes a video tool then I prefer other cameras to use. I actually want to keep it for it's strengths but to really get the most from the A7s I would have to spend a whole lot more on Sony lenses to take full advantage of auto focus for stills and maybe even video. I think I made that pretty clear in my article. 

 

A little about that "Erik guy." I'm a broadcast DP in San Diego. I work in local broadcast shooting commercials and news image promos. I use a lot of different cameras to get the job done. At work it's the C300 and C100. I just added the GH4 too. I have lots of lenses for it since I also used to shoot with the AF-100. 

 

My thinking in writing the article was a wake up call for myself. It's good to know the bad things too right? Good to know how much you need to invest to get the camera usable for you right? Thats pretty much it. Thanks for reading the article.

Eric, thanks for the coming on here with your retort.  I always think it is good the hear both the good and bad before buying something of substantial value.  It creates realistic expectations, and greater satisfaction with what one bought.  I thought you blog post was a nice summary, and a bit of eye opener, if not a reality check. :)

 

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eric you are not the only one that feels that way. One strange thing about this camera is its not easy to find footage. Over at dvxuser there is a thread that's is for a7s footage its 117 pages and counting. But its mostly stills or screen grabs. btw I want this camera to replace my 5dii but will wait until the dust settles some. There is still much to learn about this new camera what its good at and what its not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jeez I feel kinda bad posting that link from Eriks site, but it does help to get a look at all the different aspects of a camera....especially if you are going to shell out bucks and buy it, its good to be well informed of strengths and weaknesses, I made sure that I read all the good and bad on the GH4 before I decided to buy it, so no real nasty surprises.

 

On another note...I found Andrews video tests very interesting, one thing tho, resolution and dynamic range aside, the color of the ground and trees on the later A/B's (2min 10sec on) seemed  brownish tinged especially with the BMPCC and also somewhat with the a7s, whereas on the GH4 and 5DMk3 they were more or less green.

Has this been mentioned before, what color were they?

Just wondering.. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One strange thing about this camera is its not easy to find footage. Over at dvxuser there is a thread that's is for a7s footage its 117 pages and counting. 

 

Is it really one strange thing about the camera, or is it one strange thing about the audience of these sites? After all, that sentence pretty much sums up most of the A7s discussions up until very recently, and also the GH4 discussions before that.

 

Until recently, no one actually had the cameras, still only very few own an A7s, but 'everyone' has a strong opinion about it. Hence the 100+ pages of opinions, rather than footage in a topic for footage. Not much different over here, for obvious reasons. Until more people have one.

Maybe it's strange, or maybe it's business as usual.  ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think your exuberance with the A7s needs to be a little more balanced between personal preferences and real facts. Not because I deny anyone personal preference choices, but because there are people who follow your writings and respect your expertise and sometimes depend on your personal interpretations as vital information. Knocking off a camera from your personal likes doesn't make the guy who put his hard earned dime on the camera feeling very well. That same thing can be done using just results without deflating the follower of your site.

 

Saying you want the Sony A7s because you have "full frame lenses" is not a factor in any decision making process at all. Those lenses will fit on many body styles and give different results on each. The guy that is in love with extreme shallow depth of field would certainly go for a camera that specializes in that. However, the truth is there is certainly a reason on the flip side to want the light gathering performance of an f/1.4 lens but have the buffer of an f/2.8 in the process. Saying it is the beginning of the end of a camera like the GH4 you have been heralding really puts a nice taste in the mouth of people who used your exuberance with that camera to put money down to purchase it.

 

What is in the market now is a much wider choice than ever before and one does not cancel out the other. The GH4 gives you added light gathering abilities and the advantage of a wider depth of field, while the A7s gives the opposite with a very narrow DOF and cannot match what the GH4 does. The GH4 however can certainly give a very narrow DOF for people with the skill set to do it.

 

So my objection really is very simple, there are a lot of people who read these articles and opinions standing there holding a camera they bought with their money that suddenly gets trashed for reasons no greater than personal preferences. I think that just ain't so hot :)

 

There is really a ton of facts that come through a web site like this, and for me it is very appreciated. A little more respect for the guy "holding the bag" for a sharp turn of preferences would be nice. Exuberance of why a camera is earth shattering is lots of fun and exciting, but there are lots of people who already hold one of the other bodies that are suddenly on a poo poo list that can be done a lot smoother than this is being done. My 2 cents.

 

Peter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think your exuberance with the A7s needs to be a little more balanced between personal preferences and real facts.  Saying it is the beginning of the end of a camera like the GH4 you have been heralding really puts a nice taste in the mouth of people who used your exuberance with that camera to put money down to purchase it.


So my objection really is very simple, there are a lot of people who read these articles and opinions standing there holding a camera they bought with their money that suddenly gets trashed for reasons no greater than personal preferences. I think that just ain't so hot :)

Peter

 

I have to totally agree 100% with this!! Thats how it came across to me too.

I appreciate the efforts Andrew puts into his reviews...there is some great information and he does a good job.

I have the GH4 but I certainly didn't buy it on Andrews recommendation tho.

However the mood of this article came across to me as being a little bit fickle.

The GH4 was the best thing that happened only a month or so ago, and suddenly its now the Beginning of the end for that camera...wow!! OK

Maybe he could have waited a few more weeks LOL!!

We know the GH4 has some flaws and weaknesses and so does the A7S...as many have pointed out..

But after reading his article, it does read a little bit like "New Toy" and as you said that will definitely piss people off that bought the GH4 based, or part based on his previous enthusiasm...just a matter of weeks ago.

The end result? People will be suspicious that his views are highly changeable and a bit fickle at best.

I know Andrew loves Full Frame Cameras and all that, and I know technology moves fast, and I am sure the Sony fits the scope of his work very well, but the radical switching of opinion and the "Beginning of the End" stuff is really not necessary.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If people are buying a product based on a single person's perspective and then pissed after the original reviewer changed their mind thus infuriating the buyer of the said product, the buyer should see mental help ASAP. 

 

 

I enjoying asking questions, getting responses, and taking a long time to decide.  But if I went out and bought an a7s based on Andrew's video and commentary alongside whatever Philip Bloom says, and realize my 5d3 was a better choice for me due to aesthetics in the video I would not be pissed at them and use it as a learning experience.

 

Some of you give too much credit to individuals, it is scary.  Then again this is how masses follow religion :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think my statement is purposely being misinterpreted. I don't think most people make their purchases based on any one person's opinion so why would anyone make an argument based on that ridiculous point of view? It sounds more like chumming the waters to me.

 

There are people who hold a position of influence though, who you can trust to interpret what you cannot hold in your own hands for yourself. They have developed a track record and may likely be trusted over any Tom, Dick, or Harry (no offense to any Tom, Dicks or Harrys :)

 

Based on this I think Andrew's opinions may just carry some weight out there, I think a little more thought should go into the wording and presentation of a dramatic and fast change of direction. I agree the A7s presents some very compelling features, and in my own presentations I introduce the camera as the full frame lover's mirrorless camera of choice right now. However, I am not going to slam the GH4 presentation I made a couple of weeks ago or the presentation of the EM1 I made before that. These cameras still hold appeal for people who are looking for certain features or advantages. The argument of buying something based on one person's opinion being silly doesn't apply here, and just dilutes my point that the good will collateral a reviewer may be building shouldn't be put on the line.

 

Peter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If people are buying a product based on a single person's perspective and then pissed after the original reviewer changed their mind thus infuriating the buyer of the said product, the buyer should see mental help ASAP. 

 

 

I enjoying asking questions, getting responses, and taking a long time to decide.  But if I went out and bought an a7s based on Andrew's video and commentary alongside whatever Philip Bloom says, and realize my 5d3 was a better choice for me due to aesthetics in the video I would not be pissed at them and use it as a learning experience.

 

Some of you give too much credit to individuals, it is scary.  Then again this is how masses follow religion :)

 

Yeah, this is getting funny and sad at the same time.

 

Oh boy. Now I really feel sorry for Andrew. Damn if you say this, damn if you say that, and damn if you don't say this about that.  :wacko:

 

Seriously people, you're supposed to be grown-ups, so grow a pair. Bloggers like Andrew Reid, Erik Naso, Philip Bloom and others cannot possibly be held responsible for your gear choices or your gear happiness. They are not telling you what to do, they are merely sharing their informed opinions. Do you really want and expect this to be a all-encompassing nanny state with disclaimers and restrictions everywhere? 

Nevermind.

 

This sounds like a bunch of Canon and Panasonic fankids are pouting because Andrew got excited about a new toy and is no longer paying as much attention to their favourite toy as he used to. Oh well, such is life in the playground. 

 

Some of you give too much credit to individuals, it is scary.  Then again this is how masses follow religion  :)

 

The masses follow almost any meme in the mainstream. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quirky I agree... I enjoyed Andrew's tests and work. I also am able to appreciate Erik's post.  Every single camera will those who use models of inquiry that look for the good and some will choose to focus their writing and reviews on deficits.  Both help us all make informed decisions.  I personally felt in Andrew's tests that the gh4, a7s, and 5d3 raw if seen separately and not compared would make just about any of us pleased to be invested in the system.  I personally have an eye more attuned to a7s and 5d3 raw but still have seen excellent gh4 footage (usually by someone who knows how to grade and expose properly) I have conversely seen crappy 5d3 raw and a7s footage.  The end user is the biggest determinant of how a product will look.  You may be someone who is used to shooting and grading 5d3 footage and would probably be more inclined to do so with a7s (though slog seems to be a pain) and if you're a MFT shooter gh4 for you...either way pick your poison and system based on professional or personal needs as well as budgetary constraints and be happy...I personally have no further use for looking at bushes and trees with violins narrating the emptiness of such videos.  Wasn't there a vimeo blogger who posted some great stuff with a t3i that was well shot, graded, and had great narrative?

 

Anyway, I look forward to Andrew's final a7s review and his personal subjective opinion on which of the 3 he would make an A cam as I do also anticipate the same type of review from Bloom in the next few weeks.  Until then, lets be constructive and reduce inflammatory rhetoric.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Look guys. A blog is chronological. I will give you my objective opinion. I will inform. I will give you the facts. It is up to you to figure out what decisions to make based on your research of my site and of many others. The A7S wasn't available when I was reviewing the GH4. Everything positive and negative I pointed out about the GH4 has not changed. What has changed is that the competition has stepped up and offered something that is in many ways even more appealing. It will happen again, to the A7S. That's life! Enjoy your cameras. Enjoy shooting. And invest the most funds in lenses not cameras. There is always eBay for those who want to stay on the treadmill.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...