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Sony A7S Review Part 2 and Conclusion


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Bought it recently and have used it at one wedding. Quality is fantastic, although the cam has a slight learning curve (especcially s-log and the other color profiles are a bit complicated and need testing and fiddling to get it right).

 

The handling is ok, but the weird placement of the record button bothered me more that I thought beforehand. I agree with you 100% on the shortcomings as well, so weird that you cant map aps-c mode for example. A simple firmware upgrade would improve this lovely camera so much, its ridicilous. Lets just hope Sony reads your review as well.

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I love this comment, by which i mean its just plain idiotic. Everything you've seen from the FS7 has been shot within the first 5 minutes someone has had the camera. Let's wait a few months before ma

To read part 1 of my Sony A7S review click here A long time has passed since part 1 of this review but I've been spending a lot of time with the A7S. I am really under the skin of this camera.Â

Heres a short clip from a documentary i'm working on. This was shot probably 50/50 full frame and crop mode. The opening slider shot was in full frame mode.    I am not finding the rolling shutter t

@Andrew: Regarding S-log and mechanical shutter

 

I've just read at Imaging Resource that the A7S switches to 12 bit raw (stills) when using electronic shutter, while it is 14 bits with mechanical shutter. Apparently that's a common thing to do, to achieve faster readout when using electronic shutter. Since you have to enable mechanical shutter, the sensor is forced to work in 14 bit. Sounds like this means the A7S uses the 14 bit raw data to make the S-log2 image. Of course the resulting file is still 8 bit, but coming from a 14 bit source.

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@Andrew: Regarding S-log and mechanical shutter

 

I've just read at Imaging Resource that the A7S switches to 12 bit raw (stills) when using electronic shutter, while it is 14 bits with mechanical shutter. Apparently that's a common thing to do, to achieve faster readout when using electronic shutter. Since you have to enable mechanical shutter, the sensor is forced to work in 14 bit. Sounds like this means the A7S uses the 14 bit raw data to make the S-log2 image. Of course the resulting file is still 8 bit, but coming from a 14 bit source.

 

Interesting, thanks

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Agree with your review Andrew, but I can't shoot 1080 anymore. My two main broadcast clients now demand 4K acquisition (I work in LA). I rent an F55 a lot, but also bought a GH4 as "my" camera to replace my trusty Canon RAW/Nikon setup. 

I was very reluctant to even try the GH4, but having worked with it daily now for about 2 months, I can't go back to non-4K. I'll put up with its many quirks for that frame size. I've dealt with worse in the past :-)

 

When a range of 4K recorders are out I'll try the A7s again, but to be honest I'll probably get an FS7, with the GH4 as the B cam. And one day the A7s II will be out, which will hopefully address the skew issue, which is also a deal-breaker for me. 

 

The image from the A7s is lovely, but only if its not moving, and you're ok with 1080. The S-Log2 implementation is odd, and it tilts WAY Magenta. 

 

 

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Great article Andrew!

I'm eagerly reading your thorough informations about the A7s, very well written and very clear.

Even though I've been reading about the A7s for quite a while now, still I've found your article extremely informative.

There's been a point that I've found really intriguing, it would be awesome if you could elaborate a bit further:

 

Over time however, I find the A7S is less digital looking and does better skin tones. You just have to get it right in the grade, which sadly with S-LOG 2 is no simple thing.

 

and also:

 

If you’re competent at grading LOG footage (quite a complex acquired skill that takes time to master)

 

I do already motion graphics and design, even though I started to look at LUTs only lately. It would be great if you could give some of your thoughts about grading, or even just some reference where to read more about it.

I usually use Color Finesse as I find it pretty complete as a color correction tool. I've started looking at Resolve & Film Convert.

 

Any info would be really appreciated!

Thanks again.

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Agree with your review Andrew, but I can't shoot 1080 anymore. My two main broadcast clients now demand 4K acquisition (I work in LA). I rent an F55 a lot, but also bought a GH4 as "my" camera to replace my trusty Canon RAW/Nikon setup. 

I was very reluctant to even try the GH4, but having worked with it daily now for about 2 months, I can't go back to non-4K. I'll put up with its many quirks for that frame size. I've dealt with worse in the past :-)

 

When a range of 4K recorders are out I'll try the A7s again, but to be honest I'll probably get an FS7, with the GH4 as the B cam. And one day the A7s II will be out, which will hopefully address the skew issue, which is also a deal-breaker for me. 

 

The image from the A7s is lovely, but only if its not moving, and you're ok with 1080. The S-Log2 implementation is odd, and it tilts WAY Magenta. 

 

 

Very well written Andrew and complete.

 

This is not the first time Ive read about people using the GH4 as B-roll for the F55.  I know someone who did that and it was for SONY who hired him to do an F55 video.  For me its about over-all GH4 ergonomics and the flexibility 4k gives me in editing. I Love the A7s image but Id rather wait for the FS7, which I have the cash for, but Im not ready to move there just yet.  Meanwhile the GH4 will be my 4k training ground.  Its the best value to feature ratio Ive ever seen.

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Very well written Andrew and complete.

 

This is not the first time Ive read about people using the GH4 as B-roll for the F55.  I know someone who did that and it was for SONY who hired him to do an F55 video.  For me its about over-all GH4 ergonomics and the flexibility 4k gives me in editing. I Love the A7s image but Id rather wait for the FS7, which I have the cash for, but Im not ready to move there just yet.  Meanwhile the GH4 will be my 4k training ground.  Its the best value to feature ratio Ive ever seen.

 

You won't regret it. As long as you can control the light on your set the GH4 will give you great images, and the first time you drop 4K on to a 1080 timeline and reframe it you'll be sold. Plus all the other niceties and fantastic button ergonomics. Even the 96frame is not useless. 

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The rolling shutter argument is blown out of proportion. I don't find it any less usable than any other rolling shutter camera on the market right now, especially in S35 crop mode

 

Yes, that's what I get a full-frame sensor for, to crop it. 
Its not crippling, but when you're in that early phase with any camera anything that 'catches' you turns into a huge problem. 

Pans that I have been doing for the last 5 years on my other DSLRs were unusable on the A7s. Then i'd remember I had to crop it. 
Over time you'd plan for that. At this point its not worth me investing the time. 

 

Let me repeat - the A7s LOOKS great. I just found it too annoying to learn to love, especially for 1080. Once the 4K recorders are out, my opinion may happily change :-) 

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I agree, you don't buy a FF camera to shoot cropped.  You can buy a speedbooster to get it back close to FF, but you lose 4K capability, which i'm not loving. The rolling shutter is THE reason I'm not going to get the A7S.  Leaning toward the Mark III, even though i'd love 4K capability.

 

Really wish someone would just release a FF, 4K internal cam with log / acceptable rolling shutter. Closest thing on the horizon seems to be the fs7 with speedbooster, but it's way more $$$.

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Thanks for a very good review, Andrew!  I'd appreciate if you'd list any specific tweaks you've made to the settings for S-log or any other picture profiles you used.  It's a complicated business!  Specifically, have you adjusted any of the Detail settings and subsettings like Crispening?

I second that suggestion. Any tips you could offer on PP or Slog settings. Its definitely complicated!

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