I was a contributing writer on this review (along with my footage) and I think it is spot on about the a7S as a video tool. DP Review are mainly a photography site but this is the best review of a video orientated hybrid camera they’ve yet done.
You can read my case for the camera at DPReview here!
If you missed all the coverage of the Sony a7S on EOSHD last year, the piece at DP Review offers a great chance to catch up and see a summary…
“I find the a7S has some great creative advantages over a number of other cameras, thanks to the 12MP full-frame sensor with stunning low light capabilities, adaptable mirrorless lens mount, and the built in EVF”
The camera landscape is rapidly shifting at the moment, but everything I said about the a7S still holds true. Mine has been a good investment so far, the images I’ve made with it will stay with me for a long time.
However I have a feeling the Panasonic GH4 could be making a resurgence if what I here about the next firmware update is true. A big resurgence!
It’s great to have so much choice at the moment for video, where Canon have singularly failed to deliver. Let’s hope that changes soon as I welcome as many manufacturers as possible to our little ‘niche’!
If you’re not yet ready for 4K, or don’t want the hassle of the workflow (on the 1D C, NX1 it is indeed a more longwinded process than with XAVC 1080p) the a7S is still the one to go for. It’s also a good way to learn how to grade LOG footage, since S-LOG2 is pretty challenging to get the best out of in post. Alternatively you can just put everything on ‘standard’ and still get some lovely images. My Shogun footage was shot this way, which you can see below.
Here’s what 120fps looks like on the a7S in low light. Shooting at these ISOs before at such high shutter speeds (1/240) has never before been doable. Usually slow-mo sequences have to be brightly lit, with a harsher look. The aim with this was to get a glowing, almost ghostly softness in the light. The original cut of this material was made for a pitch to the Radiohead drummer for his new solo music video.
And here is 4K on the Shogun. Here the camera stands toe-to-toe with the 1D C but you do need to factor into your shooting style that very large external monitor / recorder and the file sizes. If you’re comfortable shooting this way the results are simply stunning – it’s a very sharp image even for 4K and if you have an 85″ 4K TV (prices are dropping crazily) that’s where the magic really starts to happen. 50″ – nah, 65″ – getting warmer, 85″ – woah. You will not want to watch anything else once you’ve seen it that way. Huge TVs and 4K were made to be together.
Finally here’s a broad range of ProRes from the Shogun from a number of filmmakers including myself in the official Atomos show reel –
I won’t spoil DPR’s own conclusion about the camera so head over to DPReview here for the full piece, with the pros and cons. Big thanks to Richard and Dale for working with me on the review and the filmmaker’s perspective page.