Sony Releases the A7S II

Sony A7S II
Sony A7S II

Sony has announced the Alpha 7S II, an update to their low-light king, the A7S. This update brings the same 5-axis in-body image stabilization found in the A7 II and A7R II to the A7S camera, as well as 4K video recording.

Resolution is the same, at 12.2 megapixels, probably in order to keep noise levels as low as possible. Like the predecessor, the ISO can be set from 50 to 409,600 (through ISO expansion; standard ISO is only up to 102,400.), and the 35mm full-frame sensor. The BIONZ image processing has also been optimised for improved noise reduction in the mid-high end of the sensitivity range.

The Sony A7S II features 4K video recording at 30fps with full pixel readout and without pixel binning, using the Sony XAVC S codec. At 1080p, it can record up to 120fps, allowing for a 4-5x slow motion footage.

Video capabilities are also improved with the addition of new profiles: S-Gamut3.Cine/S-Log3 and S-Gamut3/S-Log3. These new profiles deliver a wider dynamic range (up to 14-stops) and makes colour grading easier in post production. S-Gamut/S-Log2 is also supported.

The AF capabilities on the A7S II has been improved over the previous model, and now offers 169 AF points for fast and precise auto focussing. Sony says the AF speed during video recording is twice that of the A7S.

Finally, the XGA OLED EVF has also been upgraded with a magnification of 0.78x, which Sony claims to be the world’s highest. It also features ZEISS T& Coating to reduce reflections on the viewfinder.

The Sony A7S II will be available in Europe from November. No details on pricing are available at this point of time.

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Sony A7S High ISO Samples (UPDATED!)

P1020413Update (20/06/14): Adobe announced the latest version of Adobe Camera Raw, so I have updated the post with the ACR processed RAWs at the end. This also makes the post even larger, so it is best to view this on a fast connection.

As referenced in the last post, I spent a little time with the Sony A7S, and was pleasantly surprised when I was told I could take some sample images and put them up online. This is from an A7S with firmware version 1.0, and I was told this should be almost a production-level camera. This is not a definitive look, as a show floor is not the place to form final judgements, but it still allows for some decent first impressions, especially for low-light high ISO ones.

Some large images after the break, along with my comments. Continue reading Sony A7S High ISO Samples (UPDATED!)

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Broadcast Asia 2014 Begins; YS Gets Booted Out by Panasonic but Finds Solace with Sony

P1020406There are a few trade shows for cameras that stick in most people’s minds, the two that dominate are usually PMA (Photo Marketing Association) and Photokina. With video taking a more prominent focus, the NAB Show (National Association of Broadcasters) is the big one for video and film-making. Well, Singapore has its own show too! BroadcastAsia is now in its 19th year already, and this time round, I paid a visit. As you can see from the above image, it has no problem attracting well-known names. Time was a bit short today so my tour was a bit of a whirlwind one – what you see here represent about 5% of the exhibitors present!

Continue reading Broadcast Asia 2014 Begins; YS Gets Booted Out by Panasonic but Finds Solace with Sony

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Sony Announces A7S – “S” for Sensitivity


This is starting to remind me of a reverse Nikon. Instead of ramping up the pixels with newer cameras a la Nikon with the D800, Sony has gone down to 12 megapixels with the A7S, which boasts an ISO rating of up to 102,400, with a boasted value for 409,600. Seriously, the numbers are getting silly now. Can we just use ISO 100k and ISO 400k respectively? I know I will.

The news with this, I think, is that this is Sony’s first stills camera featuring 4K video. However, to capture, it does require a HDMI recorder, and unlike the Panasonic GH4, it does not offer 10 bit video, only 8 bit. Still some will like the super shallow depth of field in their videos, and the promise of no moire with the sensor dumping all of its data out without line skipping or pixel binning. I wonder if it will lead to some epic rolling shutter effects, the likes not seen since the Nikon D90.

No word on pricing or availability. Again. This is officially now very annoying.

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