Evolving Sony A7S Review (Part 1)

I’ve had the A7S for over a week now and can share my initial thoughts, even some firm conclusions. Here’s one I’ve come to already – the Sony A7S is the best consumer camera Sony have ever made.

For $2500 the video performance of the A7S sits between the FS700 ($8000) and F5 ($17,000) yet the full frame sensor lends more character and allows for groundbreaking low light performance.

Read moreEvolving Sony A7S Review (Part 1)

Grading the Sony A7S with S-LOG 2 and some EOSHD cinematic looks for download

Only a few years ago S-LOG was a $3800 upgrade for the Sony CineAlta F3, itself a $15,000 camera. S-LOG made its debut on the Sony F35, a workhorse of Hollywood.

Now Sony have put this on a $2500 consumer camera along with the best full frame sensor I have ever used for video. How good is it? Very!!

I am sharing a pack of LUTs for the A7S which can be applied in Premiere, Resolve, etc. for an instant cinematic look to your A7S S-LOG 2 footage.

Download

Three LUTs are provided in the zip. Dynamic – for best dynamic range, will suit a low contrast shot requiring high dynamic range and plenty of shadow detail. Also good for low light. Vivid will give a punchier look to those shots that benefit from it like a sunset and where some dynamic range can be scarified for higher contrast and saturation. S-GAMUT is for when shooting S-LOG with the Color Mode of S-GAMUT and compensates for the purple tint to reds I find I am getting in this mode. For the Dynamic and Vivid LUTs you must set the camera colour mode in PP7 to ITU709 Matrix.

Read moreGrading the Sony A7S with S-LOG 2 and some EOSHD cinematic looks for download

Slashcam test reveals Sony A7S 1080/60p softer than 24p mode

Slashcam have chart tested the A7S internal recording modes and the results for the regular frame rates 24-30p are incredibly positive.

However it seems that in 60p the camera cannot utilise the full pixel readout of the sensor, which results in a worse image with moire and aliasing.

You can read my take on this below or head over to Slashcam to read the original piece (Google translated)

Read moreSlashcam test reveals Sony A7S 1080/60p softer than 24p mode

DXOMark rates GH4 at 13 stops dynamic range – 1 stop better than 5D Mark III

DXOMark have tested the raw sensor output of the GH4. Raw stills have 12.8 stop dynamic range vs 11.7 stops on the 5D Mark III, illustrating just how far ahead almost everyone is on sensor performance over Canon.

Read moreDXOMark rates GH4 at 13 stops dynamic range – 1 stop better than 5D Mark III

A new (and extraordinary) Sony A7S 4K low light test

The Sony A7S is the camera I am most looking forward to in the coming months and although it is a shame it lacks an internal 4K codec, it does promise much improved internal 1080p and 4K HDMI output. Here Yosh Enatsu has used the Blackmagic HDMI to SDI Ultra HD converter to a Hyperdeck Studio deck to record this test shoot in the dead of night.

Read moreA new (and extraordinary) Sony A7S 4K low light test

Shooting 4K for 2K on the Panasonic GH4 plus my pre-review short film

My full review of the Panasonic GH4 (final retail unit) is coming next week. Until then I am enjoying Philip Bloom’s views on the camera here!

A big thanks to B&H Photo & Video in the US for shipping internationally a GH4 unit with no recording limits, I got it before it was even available in Europe. Delivery took just 2 days! Impressed! Also thanks to Susanna, the star of my video above shot in Berlin.

Read moreShooting 4K for 2K on the Panasonic GH4 plus my pre-review short film

Panasonic GH4 4K Production Diary – Day 2 – Test Footage

Above: GH4 test footage shot in 4096 x 2160 Cinema 4K DCI mode. Academy 1.85:1 aspect ratio. CineLikeD profile for best dynamic range.

Tip jar EOSHD just $5 if you think this article is useful

Below: Cooke S4i Mini (uncoated Panchro/i version) on the GH4 with Ciecio7 PL adapter (buy it on eBay here)

GH4 Cooke PL lens

Andrew Reid (EOSHD) and Frank Sauer (Filmmaker) are shooting with the Panasonic GH4

On Day 1 of shooting with the GH4 we did a location scout at the Spreepark abandoned theme park in Berlin. The park has granted us paid access to do a proper shoot with the free runners so I am going to save the location scouting footage for when it comes to that edit and the final piece. Frank is near Frankfurt now with the GH4 to shoot a piece with a new aerial drone and gimbal (similar to MoVi) and I have been out shooting with the GH4 around Berlin to get an idea of the image quality when it comes to 4K. I’ve also tried grading the 100Mbit/s 4K codec in Premiere to see how well it holds up. Here are the results in glorious 4K!

Disclaimer 1: This GH4 is a pre-production model. Firmware version is v0.5. The image quality may not represent the final camera.

Disclaimer 2: Because I don’t have NDs big enough or good enough for the Cooke lenses yet, most shots were shot at higher shutter speeds than 180 degrees (1/50)

Tip: if you don’t have a Vimeo Plus account to download the original file and pixel peep I’ve uploaded some short GH4 4K clips here in ProRes LT format. Try grading them and looking at the detail 1:1!

Read morePanasonic GH4 4K Production Diary – Day 2 – Test Footage