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A7s vs. A7rII - 1080p Quality?


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Hi Chris, thank you for jumping in again with your insight.

I've been shooting a feature doc film on 1080 that is going to broadcast and have been looking for a new camera to continue shooting 1080 with, and the occasional 4k wide etc. The 1080 coming from the A7rii is better than anything previous I have been shooting with. Problem is that I need the camera to hold up in a very hot country and with the reports I'm concerned that shooting 4k on the A7rii will be a problem. I was hoping that that the 1080 on the A7rii would be as least as good as the A7s but it appears that is not the case.

My big question here is: how does the image compare between the A7rii and the A7s at ISO under 6400? In other words, is the 1080 image of the A7rii and the A7s comparable (on par) before ISO 6400?

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Anyone else care to confirm how they feel about the 1080 coming from the A7rii?

The most notable difference I've seen is in low light conditions. 1080 on the A7RII is significantly worse in low light than my 5D Mark III, whereas 4k/Super35 on the A7RII is significantly better. There are several different 1080 codecs and bitrates on the A7RII. I should re-test this in both normal and low light using each one, but I won't have time for at least a week.

So far I haven't had any problems with the A7RII shutting down from overtemp when shooting 4k documentary material in real world conditions. However that is mainly because the ratio of shooting to non-shooting time is typically high, e.g, 1:3, 1:5, 1:8, etc. If you set it on a tripod and let it record a 2 hr lecture in 4k (restarting every 29:59), it will definitely overheat in ambient conditions above roughly 65F.

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  • 4 months later...


I bring this back to live because I was trying the HD modes myself. What I found out is that the FF mode is quite better that the S35 mode in terms of sharpness and noise levels, which is what the Cinema5d guys wrote on their a7rII vs a7sII analysis: 

"In crop mode the a7R II is softer with some aliasing and not really recommendable.In full frame mode however the Sony a7R II gives us acceptable results that are comparable to the quality of the original a7S and are very similar to the image of the Sony a7S II."

Another user tested this and got totally oposite results (http://www.eoshd.com/comments/topic/9027-sony-a7r-ii-official-user-thread/?page=9), so there is something weird going one here. Has someone else tried HD S35 mode? What is for sure is that HD S35 mode has an extremely reduced rolling shutter (less than 10ms!).

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Yeh, I had hopes on the HD S35 mode. I'm using anamorphic adapters and the rolling shutter is two times more noticeable with them, so 4K S35 is not even an option. I will have to stick wit the FF modes then...

Thanks again for you help Don Kotlos.

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

Lets make a list for FF lovers. I am one. It's a GORGEOUS look for beauty shooting and epic modern narrative work.

(Keeping it under 5000$ish bracket)

First we have to classify them into two:

-Full frame size sensor camera
-Mirrorless S35 camera can take Metabones Speedbooster EF converter 

1- Full frame cameras

-Sony A7s and A7sII 

-Sony A7rII

-Canon 5D MKIII (ML)

-Nikon D750 and D810 

-Canon 1DC (1.25x crop)

2- S35 mirrorless cameras

-Sony A6000 + SB 

-Sony A5100 + SB

-Sony A7rII (explanation later!) + SB


1- First the FF cameras. 



The A7s series have a 12 megapixel FF sensor, with 1:1 native 4K crop and easy 1080p downsample

A7rII has a 42 megapixel sensor, so has to o a lot of pixel-binning/line-skipping to reach 4K or HD. In S35 mode, it uses a 15mp portion of the sensor and thus easily makes a 4K downsample. 

What does that mean: 

A7s has an extremely clean non-binned FF image (HD on the A7s and 4K on the A7sII)

A7rII has worse binned slightly aliased FF image (4K&HD), BUT has a very clean s35 cop mode (4K), That's the reason the A7rII is included in the second s35 SB segment, because you treat it as a s35 4K camera + SB and get a very clean EF-mount FF camera. 

How does an A7rII + SB-EF image compare to A7SII FF + dummy EF mount using sme lens? 

Pretty close. A7sII having an advantage in super high ISOs, and has S-Log3 mode + can get the FF look with e-mount or any lenses not just the mounts that come with a SB. 

Conclusion, best Sony in A7 series for FF shooting is A7s/A7sII.   But A7rII can shoot a bit compromised FF too if one needs its 42mp stills.



5D MKIII (raw) has a 21mp sensor that does a very clean HD binning-downsample, reserving resoution similar to A7s HD (pretty sharp HD), The advantage with the 5D is that it's a 14bit uncompressed raw colour data vs heavily compressd 8bit 4:2:0 with hugely better colour appeal and thickness in the image. It's an overally better FF HD than the A7 series can achieve EXCEPT: it's not as clean at high ISOs. Doesn't have an EVF (need a loup), bigger/heavier files and a fixed LCD. But has a better UI, buttons, menus, video aids, ruggedness etc.


1DC: while not a FFF (full full-frame) i's pretty close in aesthetic to FF (just 1.25x crop). Vs the 5D it has higher resolution 4K, smaller files that are still not very compressed, C-log gamma encoding and a leaner/sharper 1.2x HD HDMI output. It's also fully resistant to the world. The 5D still has thicker colours, better kin and gradients at HD raw. Plus smaller and lower cost.



D810 and D750 both have a solid FF HD image. Slightly lower resolution than a7s/5D HD but very close and with post sharpening pretty similar. Ther's no alisaing/moire, much less rolling shutter than a7s/1DC FF, pretty colours straight off the card that need minimal grading and still yet remarkeably small files and solid high ISO performce. Great ergonomics/buttons/UI/speed. Compared to a7s it loses the EVF (need a loup), ISO performance and 4K capability, ability to adapt to all glass (but gets a more solid/ronomic ody, better/easier colours, large lens lineup with VR/AF native). The D750 is the best no-fuss FF aesthetic camera on the list. No haking/raw data, no Davinci grading wars/overheating/rolling shutter), just easy good enough FF HD. Solid.

D810 loses tilty screen and adds 36mp stills and slightly stronger body and a good non-aliased s35 mode. 


 2- S35 Cameras with SB

-The A7rII S35 4K + SB has een discussed earlier. 

-A6000 is the main contender here: if you want the cheapest best FF video camera, A6000 + EF-SB is that. It has a good 1080p image (good resolution), an EVF, small size, and with FF EF/Nikon/m42 glass it's a FF HD camera. Yes not as high of IQ as the higher-end models especially in ISO perormnce (a7s) or Colour (5D), but it's a lot cheaper and offers that good clean, FF HD image at lowest cost. 

-A5100 is even cheaper with no EVF


recap Q&A


-Only need HD FF looking for absolute best image and can handle any downsides?



-Need 4K FF looking for absolute best image and can handle any downsides?



-Only need HD image and don't want to deal with many downsides (loup/raw data/size) and still get a pretty good similar-ish results to the best (5D raw)?

A7s original if you value EVF and amazing high ISO and 4K HDMI,

D750 if you value easily graded colours/ergonomics/battery life/stills/rolling shutter/ruggedness


-Need 4K image and don't want to deal with many downsides (loup/1dccost/largefiles/size) and still get a pretty good similar-ish results to the best (1DC)?

A7sII. (A7rII + SB only if 42mp stills are needed)


-Only need HD FF and don't want to pay a lot?

A6000 + EF-SB 

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