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Sony A7S Review Part 2 and Conclusion


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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

Movcam question here, does it help with run and gun shooting as well? I've got the Canon 24-105 lens attached and it's pretty difficult to keep steady.

Yes, I just filmed the SEMA Show in Vegas (which is huge, I walked 24-miles over 2 days and also shot the Red Bull Rallycross Finals) with the A7S and a Movcam cage (as well as a JuiceLink, Mics, and other accessories with a JAG35 shoulder pad and grips.) It saved me. I also had a BlackRapid strap attached to sling the camera on my shoulder when it wasn't in use. Worked great. 

 

Here's the videos from that event, shot with that setup:

extra-sema-show-day-1-coverage

sema-show-day-2-grc-finals-stars-cars

 

Lenses are the Tamron SP f/2.8 24-70 and 70-200

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Excellent review, Andrew.

I have a question, actually multiple questions about the same subjects: D750 vs A7S.

On http://www.eoshd.com/2014/09/nikon-d750-video-quality-step-forward-much-one/ you (Andrew Reid) wrote that "Although the D750 is definitely a viable alternative in video terms for an older 5D Mark III (without raw) or D800, it sits quite far below the Sony A7S and Panasonic GH4"

On http://www.eoshd.com/2014/10/sony-a7s-review-part-2-conclusion/  you wrote that "So I ended up using 90% A7S and just 10% D750 for this particular shoot" (

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I agree that Sony should have provided a 4k solution off the bat.  I also HATE that the only 2 current solutions for this camera in 4K will have 7" screens.  How stupid is that? Why can't someone make a 5.6`' DP-4 style solution that functions as a recorder, a monitor and with the addtion of a hood as an EVF?  Seems kind of obvious to me.  Shows once again that the people making these things are not shooters.

Or they're not doing the kind of work you are...

 

I think the a7s is meant more as a future-proof awesome quality HD camera than a 4k cinema camera (in fact that's the Sony rep said something to this effect to me last night).

The Blackmagic Pocket gets pretty damn warm even when shooting in ProRes, and that's only shooting HD in a body not significantly smaller than the A7s. I can imagine it would have been very difficult to get 4k internal S-log with XAVC-S. The 4k external output seems to me to be more of an 'added bonus' - to add to appeal and stay competitive.

 

Sony barely had (has?) the lenses to be able to support the A7s when it came out, let alone designing and manufacturing a 4k recorder as well!

 

In regards to 7" monitors - even a 7" monitor isn't really appropriate enough for pulling critical focus for projection onto a 30' screen. Even with Focus Peaking. 

The O7Q and Shogun etc. are not designed as EVFs. I've used many recorders incl. the O7 and O7Q on-set. Most of the time they're at Video Village. Sometimes they're on the camera (especially in the case of the O7), but they're for the AC.

I don't personally think that the O7/Q at least is designed to be your main source of monitoring for your camera/an EVF - it's an on-board recorder that also happens to have awesome monitoring functions. 

 

Which is one of the reasons why he chose Alexa over RED for Skyfall. 

 

If we're being semantic, the Alexa Studio was actually designed for him so he could use an optical viewfinder on Skyfall. He was using pre-release versions of the Studio in most cases. A lot of the film (and all of In Time) was shot with an EVF, which he has very publicly expressed his distaste for. And for good reason, I guess. He chose Alexa over RED because of it's image - at the time he 'switched' from film, there wasn't an optical VF digital camera on the market (and realistically, the Alexa Studio is currently the only one anyway).

 

I personally love looking straight through the lens. Allows you to focus solely on operating - granted he has a pretty top-notch team of DITs on set giving the Director (and himself, if/when he takes his eye off the lens) basically a real-time colour grade.

 

The Alexa has a nice EVF, but nothing compares to looking down the eyepiece of a proper viewfinder.

 

 

An Alexa can look over-sharp shot poorly. 35mm film can too. 

And a RED can look over-sharp even when shot well ;)

 

Seriously, I don't really understand the constant nit-picking about the technology. If there's one thing I've always tried to tell Directors is 'right tool for the job' - the RED is ergonomically awful; not something I'd want to sling on my shoulder any day, and I wouldn't shoot a creamy-looking drama on it. 

If you asked me to shoot a VFX heavy sci-fi on Alexa, I might try and steer you in the direction of a RED.

 

Every camera these days has its own look. It seems many want the absolute perfect camera at a price point ~$1500, plus lenses that can outperform Master Primes for $1000 each. 

 

I, personally, hope they don't come out with a perfect camera. I love that, like film stocks, I can choose the right camera (or stock) for a project. Both for look, and for ergonomics and practicability. 

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If you asked me to shoot a VFX heavy sci-fi on Alexa, I might try and steer you in the direction of a RED.

 

We did tests in our company, Alexa RAW (2880x1620) vs RED for a heavy VFX feature film. We chose the Alexa. Way better image, across the board. I thought the difference would be smaller and that the RED would win because of resolution. But it really didn't. And we have lots of tracking shots to do.

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We did tests in our company, Alexa RAW (2880x1620) vs RED for a heavy VFX feature film. We chose the Alexa. Way better image, across the board. I thought the difference would be smaller and that the RED would win because of resolution. But it really didn't. And we have lots of tracking shots to do.

it's a surprise…I'm in Los Angeles….but digital cameras Red or Alexa and VFX don't mix…try projecting to see….if you can find a film camera use it instead…

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Overall, nice in-depth review.

 

But, you're definitely trying too hard to negatively bash Canon;

 

"I can think of no reason to shoot on stock Canon 5D Mark III video settings when you can shoot XAVC-S on the A7S."

 

Let's see, how about because:

I still get paid to do video with my canon,

I don't like Sony Ergonomics,

I like my native Canon lenses and not adapters,

 

*and overall, for pro photo work, I need Canon's AF and 22 MP.

 

Not to mention, I don't feel like changing my equipment every time a new "killer" camera comes out that dethrones the previous one. 

 

For true artists, and those who focus on their work- gear is ALWAYS secondary to creative vision!

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I find the article really weird. It seems as if there is an anti Nikon agenda going on. Favouring the Sony A7 and then a list of serious quirks as long as my arm? I am shooting the D750 and recording to a Ninja Blade and loving it, so I just don't get what's going on here. Must be just me...

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There's no agendas just opinions.

 

There's definitely no anti-Nikon agenda. I have the D750 and love it http://www.eoshd.com/2014/09/nikon-d750-review-initial-thoughts-real-world-footage-ladies-gentleman-contender/

 

As far as Canon goes it isn't a secret, I am disappointed with them. Bitterly so. But I perfectly accept the gentleman's reasons above for wanting to shoot on a 5D Mark III. Shooting is personal, opinion based, needs based. Nobody will ever agree on the same thing all the time!

 

I can just shine a light on where a camera is better. Objectively and technically speaking, the A7S overall has more strong points for video than the 5D Mark III does. The ergonomics you will get used to. They are better for video than the 5D Mark III. It's smaller, lighter, articulated screen, EVF, list goes on.

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I own a GH4 and I like the camera.  It is not so good in low light as you all mentioned - even with the Voitlander 17.5 attached.  I struggle with the 24p stuff in a PAL region as it seems if the PAL system regularly tries to "catch" up to correct the output to 25p and then the output image has that %$%$ little "jump" I see in the video - which I hate with a passion!.

I'm confused - if you're delivering in 25p, why would you shoot in 24p...??? If you're in PAL land, the only time you would ever need to shoot 24p is if you were delivering for cinema, and in that case you would also be delivering in 24p....

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This looks like an awesome rigging solution for A7S users shooting 4k with a Shogun: 

http://www.edelkrone.com/eu/5-modula-series

 

A video here: 

 

Especially like the hand grip. Want!

 

I've used this rig with the BMPCC and am really not a fan. You have to have an EVF/external monitor with this, as the camera just ends up in a place that makes it almost impossible to see/operate otherwise. The hand grip is okay, but I can see it getting in the way of the A7s' record button. On the BMPCC, the record button is just a couple cm out of reach of my finger, which is frustrating as it means I have to use my left hand to hit record.

 

There's only one screw thread, and it loosens really easily. This means that halfway through a shoot, suddenly your camera will loosen and start swivelling. 

 

And in addition to all that, the whole rig is totally unbalanced, so it's so much work. It helps to steady shots as you can keep it on your shoulder, but the whole thing is really front heavy. It's great for the first 5 minutes, but try operating a whole day with this thing - it becomes almost impossible as your arm tires out.

 

This would be good if you're used to the prosumer cameras that had really sturdy top handles that you would use to operate rather than on your shoulder - a la Z1/V1, DVX/HVX etc. 

But if you're used to something that sits on the shoulder and balances relatively well, then you'll hate this rig!

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I've used this rig with the BMPCC and am really not a fan. You have to have an EVF/external monitor with this, as the camera just ends up in a place that makes it almost impossible to see/operate otherwise. The hand grip is okay, but I can see it getting in the way of the A7s' record button. On the BMPCC, the record button is just a couple cm out of reach of my finger, which is frustrating as it means I have to use my left hand to hit record.

 

There's only one screw thread, and it loosens really easily. This means that halfway through a shoot, suddenly your camera will loosen and start swivelling. 

 

And in addition to all that, the whole rig is totally unbalanced, so it's so much work. It helps to steady shots as you can keep it on your shoulder, but the whole thing is really front heavy. It's great for the first 5 minutes, but try operating a whole day with this thing - it becomes almost impossible as your arm tires out.

 

This would be good if you're used to the prosumer cameras that had really sturdy top handles that you would use to operate rather than on your shoulder - a la Z1/V1, DVX/HVX etc. 

But if you're used to something that sits on the shoulder and balances relatively well, then you'll hate this rig!

 

 

It's good to hear the opinion of someone who has used it. It looks great in the pictures and video, yet it's obviously made to look the business to drive sales. May work for some and not others. 

 

I can see the record button being an issue, why won't Sony enable recording from the shutter button? 

 

I know I'll be shooting with the A7S and Shogun fairly soon, so I'm looking for a solution like this one. I already have a rig suitable for "in-front" shooting, just that the addition of a Shogun will make it difficult to handle, hence my exploration of options. 

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I know I'll be shooting with the A7S and Shogun fairly soon, so I'm looking for a solution like this one. I already have a rig suitable for "in-front" shooting, just that the addition of a Shogun will make it difficult to handle, hence my exploration of options. 

I'm not sure what your current rig is, but my plan will be to use the Shogun as an EVF/on-board to operate from; or alternatively my AC can use it as a focus pulling monitor if I do end up going that route.

 

Personally, I'd have preferred the O7Q, but doesn't look like that will be supporting 4k thru HDMI in the near future..

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  • 4 weeks later...

Although... for my current needs/desires (light, easy, travel backpacking, stills w/4k) I'm REALLY loving the Pana FZ1000 I just picked up. The more I get it dialed in, the more impressed I am with it overall. 

But, after playing with a friend's A7s about a month ago... I'm seriously considering it for my next system. As primarily a stills photographer, the D750 looks awfully attractive, but that A7s felt just right to me. If I had to buy today, it'd be a tough call I think.

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

I take back everything I said about the A7s colours after trying it... It's definitely operators' error. I have no problem getting bright Nikon-like colours with grading, it's just a lot harder than Nikon and Canon which start very close.

i0R11X9.jpg

AXQdOBN.jpg

This is the best low-budget camera on the market. What a tiny little monster. I mean you don't need anything else more than this small wonder to make Alexa/Red/C300 like images and nobody would notice the difference. D810 is gone... 

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