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Sony A7s - Starter Kit?


Angelo Lara
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Hi everyone!

I'm going on holidays in about 2 weeks time and am looking to buy an A7s to accompany me on my travels.

These are the main reasons I've decided to go with the A7s:

  • Size - I own a 5D Mark III, but it's too cumbersome to carry with me everywhere and is hardly discrete.
  • sLog - I usually shoot RAW via Magic Lantern on my Mk3, so sLog will give me similar flexibility in post without the painful workflow.
  • Ridiculous low-light capability

Now, I have a few questions...

  1. Are there any accessories that I should definitely look into buying? Memory cards (obviously), loupes, ND filters etc...
  2. What would be an ideal all-purpose travel lens?
  3. I have a Zeiss 35mm which I've adapted for my Canon. If I change the mount to suit the Sony, what focal length will it effectively be?

Any help with the above would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers!

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There's really not that much that is a 'must-have' for the A7s - you can shoot relatively comfortably out of the box. I would say you should get at least 2x more batteries, and maybe the battery grip; the battery life is not awesome. Also, you can only shoot XAVC-S onto SDXC cards.

Forward of that though, it will really come down to personal preference.

My favourite 'walk-around' lens is the 24-70 f/4.0. I also really like the 70-200 f/4.0 but again will depend on how you like to shoot. I like using primes on it, but for holiday shooting, I'm more inclined to use the zooms. Really depends - do you want more than one lens? Do you like to shoot wides or CUs or both...? The 16-35mm f/4.0 is also a really nice lens, though I don't own it as I don't shoot wides all that often (and have a 14mm Rokinon Cine prime if I want to). 

Your 35mm will be a 35mm. Sony A7s is full frame, just like your 5D mkiii (leaving aside the fact that a lens actual focal length doesn't change based on the sensor you put it on).

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Hi,

What workflow do you use with ML raw that you call painfull? Right now there are great tools to work with MLV files.

Current fastest workflow: (you have to install MLVFS first, its free of course - takes couple of minutes, maybe you know this way):

-insert CF card to the reader

-select all MLV files, right click > quick mount > wait couple of seconds

-start resolve, import footage

- edit, color correct> render.

Thats all.

or if you use Premiere CC2015

-insert CF card to the reader

-select all MLV files, right click > quick mount > wait couple of seconds

-start premiere CC2015, import footage

- edit, color correct> render.

I dont know if faster workflow is even possible, it is really only one click more than working with h264. I have tried to work with some downloaded slog2 files from a7s, dont think that 8 bit 4.2.0 log footage will be as flexible as 14 bit cinema DNGs. It will be much smaller files though. Getting great colors out of slog2 will take you much more work and time unless you are very experienced colorist.  I was also thinking about such a change once but the cost of the switch to a new system (metabones for canon glass, couple of batteries etc) was higher than just buying a couple of new hard drives. A7s looks great though and mark ii will probably blow it out of the water. Oh, and about low light - MLraw works briliantlly with neat video - i am impressed how much better it cleans the image and how much more detail it retains when its raw and not compressed h264. 

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There's pluses and minuses for both approaches. I have absolutely fallen in love with the A7s 1080p image recently though. It's beautiful and clean. Once you get a handle on the colours you'll get some stunning results. Just bear in mind that there's always a learning curve with a new camera, you'll get better footage from your 5D on your next holiday than with the Sony A7s because you have experience using the 5D.

In terms of accessories, the batteries do run out quickly. Getting an extra 2 will keep you safe for long days out, but 2 will just about suffice if you're conservative. If you want to use SLOG2 you'll need a good variable ND filter. I have a Genustech one which I really really like. I pair that up with the Canon 24-105 which is a great all round travel lens. I'd stick with lenses that have IS, also.

Speaking of batteries btw, anyone have any good tips for alternatives to official Sony batteries? Don't really feel like shelling out mega bucks for batteries. Amazon have batteries made by a company called Tera for 7 euros each.

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2 batteries came with my A7S and I purchased a further 2 aftermarket batteries at $24 apiece.. For an intensive day's shooting I would be happier with 6-8 though. Sd cards as previously mentioned. Mine came with a Metabones Sony-Canon as a freebie which I am using with a Canon 70-20mm L series in addition to the kit SEL2870 (bought at a different time). At the end of the day it is how much weight you want to carry about.

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 Mine came with a Metabones Sony-Canon as a freebie which I am using with a Canon 70-20mm L series in addition to the kit SEL2870 (bought at a different time). At the end of the day it is how much weight you want to carry about.

​I opted for the native glass purely because it's smaller and lighter (in addition to autofocus/exposure performance for stills).

The downside to the native glass is it's all 'fly-by-wire' focusing which is not necessarily the greatest for video - just takes a bit of getting used to.

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