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Sony a7s Review

There are currently three full-frame compact system cameras available from Sony, giving photographers an option based on the characteristics that are most important to them as individuals.

The Sony Alpha a7R, with its 36 megapixels of resolution, is the best choice for photographers who place a premium on the highest possible level of detail resolution. On the other hand, the Sony Alpha a7S, with its 12 megapixels of resolution is the best choice for photographers who place a premium on low-light performance and video quality.

The Sony Alpha a7 with 24 megapixels is positioned as the camera that best represents the middle ground since it can record a great deal of detail while still providing faster reaction times than the A7R.

The Sony E-mount is present in the A7S, just like on the A7 and the A7R. However, the full-frame Exmor CMOS sensor on the A7S has 12.2 million effective pixels. This is combined with the most recent processing engine from Sony, Bionz X, which enables Sony’s diffraction-reducing technology to provide better images when the aperture size is reduced.

Sony a7s Video features

Additionally, Sony has crammed a significant amount of video technology inside the A7S. To begin, it is equipped with the capability of recording 4K video to an external device that is linked through an HDMI connection. This feature alone will make it appealing to both amateur and professional filmmakers.

An audio level display that allows sound to be changed over 32 steps Live (real-time) and Lip-sync settings, and an optional XLR Adaptor kit that connects professional microphones via the camera’s hot shoe all contribute to the camera’s pro appeal.

In addition, there is a stereo headphone port for monitoring the sound. This zebra view shows regions that are getting near to burning out and focus peaking that assists with manually focusing the camera.

It is also the first full-frame camera to include full-pixel readout without pixel binning, which should result in improved image quality and a more appealing bokeh. Sony released the A7S.

The resolution of the videos that the camera may capture is restricted to either full high definition or a lesser setting. Recording in the XAVC S format is now feasible, thanks to Sony. This paves the way for Full HD recording at 50Mbps, which results in improved image quality and lower overall noise levels.

Sony a7s Build Quality.

The Canon 6D and the Nikon D610 have been responsible for significantly reducing the size of full-frame cameras during the past several years. However, Sony’s Alpha 7-series of compact system cameras (CSC) establishes a new standard for the length of full-frame cameras.

The Micro Four Thirds sensor found in the Olympus OM-D E-M5 is smaller than the APS-C format devices found in CSCs, such as the Fuji X-T1 and the Samsung NX30. The Sony A7S, along with the A7 and A7R camera bodies, are very similar in size to the Olympus OM-D E-M5, except a slightly more bulbous grip.

The A7S has a sturdy and reliable sensation when held in hand due to the use of magnesium alloy in the construction of the top and front covers, in addition to some interior areas. The texture of the little control buttons that are dispersed around the surface of the body is quite high-quality, and each of the dials has a knurled edge that increases the purchase that can be achieved with them.

Sony a7s Performance

Even while the Alpha 7S has a lower pixel count, which means that it cannot resolve nearly as much detail as either the Alpha 7 or 7R or the 16-megapixel Nikon D4S, the photographs nevertheless look sharp right after they are taken and have enough detail to generate high-quality prints on an A3 size paper.

Noise is very nicely managed, and although I wouldn’t advocate using ISO 409,600 unless you have to, the results when photographing real-world situations appear a tiny bit better from the 12Mp A7S than they do from the Nikon D4S. This is because the noise is better controlled on the A7S.

Even when set to a high level of sensitivity, JPEGs have a relatively low amount of chromatic noise, as we have seen from the results of other contemporary Sony cameras. However, there is a stippled texture that appears at 100% (actual pixels) on the screen and becomes more pronounced when the sensitivity is increased. This may seem not comforting when viewed at 100%, but when viewed at more typical viewing sizes, it successfully conveys the idea of detail.

Sony a7s Image Quality

During this evaluation, the Sony A7S captured photographs of exceptionally high quality. The ISO range of the Sony A7S can go from 50 to 409,600, which is rather large and helpful. ISO 50-3200 is noise-free, while ISO 6400 and 12,800 yield results that are more than satisfactory, and even ISO 25,600 and 51,200 are appropriate for usage in an emergency.

Although the most sensitive settings of 102,400, 204,800, and 409,600 have a lot of background noise, they let you take photos in almost full darkness. However, the RAW examples show exactly how much processing the camera undertakes by default since they are significantly noisier than their JPEG counterparts across the board, regardless of the ISO value.

The 312-megapixel photographs come out of the camera slightly soft when using the default creative style. For the best results, you should sharpen them some more by utilizing an application such as Adobe Photoshop; alternatively, you may adjust the degree of sharpening that the camera applies automatically.

The night shot turned out well thanks to the camera’s maximum shutter speed of 30 seconds and its Bulb mode, which allow lots of room for creative experimentation during nighttime shooting.

The efficient Dynamic Range Optimizer function may extract additional data from an image’s shadow and highlight sections without adding any noise or other artifacts that aren’t wanted.

The High Dynamic Range mode combines the results of two separate images taken at various exposures into a single image. The result is an image that has a higher dynamic range than what would be produced by a single photograph. However, it does yield some excellent effects even though it can only function with JPEGs and stationary subjects. Even after all these years, using Sony’s Sweep Panorama is still a delightful experience.

While the many Picture Effects enable you to create unique looks in a short amount of time, which would generally need you to spend a significant amount of time in the digital darkroom, the Creative Styles make it simple and quick to adjust the JPEG photos captured by the camera.

Sony a7s Specs

Body typeSLR-style mirrorless
Body materialMagnesium alloy
Max resolution4240 x 2832
Other resolutions4240 x 2384, 2768 x 1848, 2768 x 1560, 2128 x 1416, 2128 x 1200, 1376 x 920, 1376 x 776
Image ratio w:h3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels12 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors12 megapixels
Sensor sizeFull frame (35.8 x 23.9 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ProcessorBionz X
Color spacesRGB, AdobeRGB
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
ISOAuto, 100-102400
Boosted ISO (minimum)50
White balance presets10
Custom white balanceYes
Image stabilizationNo
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsExtra fine, fine, standard
File formatJPEG (DCF 2.0, EXIF 2.3)RAW (ARW 2.3)
Image parametersContrast, saturation, sharpness
Optics & Focus
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Multi-areaCenterSelective single-pointSingleContinuousFace DetectionLive View
Autofocus assist lampYes
Digital zoomYes (2x)
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points25
Lens mountSony E
Focal length multiplier
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDTilting
Screen size3″
Screen dots921,000
Touch screenNo
Screen typeTFT-LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeElectronic
Viewfinder coverage100%
Viewfinder magnification0.71×
Viewfinder resolution2,400,000
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed30 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/8000 sec
Exposure modesAutoProgramAperture priorityShutter priorityManual
Scene modesPortrait, Landscape, Macro, Sports Action, Sunset, Night Portrait, Night Scene, Hand-held Twilight, Anti Motion Blur
Built-in flashNo
External flashYes (via Multi Interface shoe)
Flash X sync speed1/250 sec
Drive modesSingle, continuous, speed priority continuous, self-timer, bracketing (AE, white balance, DRO)
Continuous drive5.0 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 10 sec; continuous (3 or 5 exposures))
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedSpot
Exposure compensation±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±5 (3, 5 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV, 2 EV steps)
WB BracketingYes
Videography features
ResolutionsXAVC S 1080/60p(50Mbps), 30p (50Mbps), 24p (50Mbps). 720 120p (50Mbps). AVCHD 60p (28Mbps), 60i (24Mbps/17Mbps), 24p (24Mbps/17Mbps)
Videography notesXLR support via adapter
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC, Memory Stick Duo/Pro Duo/Pro-HG Duo
USBUSB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMIYes (micro-HDMI port with 4:2:2 8-bit 4K or 1080 video output)
Microphone portYes
Headphone portYes
Wireless noteswith NFC and wireless control via smartphone
Remote controlYes (wired)
Environmentally sealedYes
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionNP-FW50 lithium-ion battery and charger
Battery Life (CIPA)380
Weight (inc. batteries)489 g (1.08 lb / 17.25 oz)
Dimensions127 x 94 x 48 mm (5 x 3.7 x 1.89″)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingNo

Sony a7s Verdict

Compared to the Sony A7 and the Sony A7R, the pixel count of the A7S is significantly lower, and its price is also considerably more. As a result, I do not believe that the A7S will find widespread favor among photography enthusiasts. Wedding photographers will appreciate its low-light capability and rarely need to produce prints larger than A3. However, it could be very popular with enthusiasts and professional videographers who want to build a rig around a small camera. Wedding photographers also rarely need to produce prints larger than A3 size.

These users will discover that the camera is capable of delivering high-quality photographs and video recordings in a variety of settings and environments. However, to get the most out of the A7S’s video capabilities, the camera has to be integrated into a setup that also consists of an external recorder. Only then will it be possible to store 4K footage. Experimentation with the wide variety of video parameters will also be required of users to get a look that is pleasing to them or one that is acceptable for grading after capture.

The A7S also benefits from having the same lens mount as the higher-resolution A7 and A7R. This allows professional users who invest in the range to choose which model to use based on the shoot’s requirements, such as low-light capability (with the A7S), maximum detail resolution (with the A7R), or a more responsive all-rounder (A7).

Sony a7s Pros & Cons

Good For
  • A significant amount of control over the video
  • 4K video output through HMDI
  • Sensitivity may be adjusted up to ISO 409,600 Cons
Need improvements
  • The lens’s field of view is now restricted
  • A low number of total pixels for still images
  • 4K recording is only available using a separate recorder.

Build quality
Ergonomics & handling
Metering & focus accuracy
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Movie / video mode
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There are currently three full-frame compact system cameras available from Sony, giving photographers an option based on the characteristics that are most important to them as individuals. The Sony Alpha a7R, with its 36 megapixels of resolution, is the best choice for photographers who place...Sony a7s Review