Sony A7S Review (On-Going)

Sony A7S

This is not a tech spec review! This is simply my review of this gear and what I have experienced with this camera. There is a lot of info that will be posted here that others won't post. There will be lots of stuff not posted here that others will post. lol... But I am sure if you are looking to buy this camera, my perspective will def help with your decision!

Enjoy as I post now and keep posting about this cam as I use it more and more.

Sony A7S Review Camera Profile Picture

Sooo.... We decided to hold of on the Panasonic GH4 and go with the Sony A7S after stepping away from Canon gear as our usual everyday shooting gear. (4K Coming Soon)!!! There is A LOT to talk about and I don't have a great deal of time today so I am going to be doing a revolving review as I get more and more comfortable with this new gear. 

1st... Let me say to move away from one camera system I am so familiar with to a whole new system is mind blowing. This camera has more buttons than the space station it seems like compared to many other cameras and especially since I was so use to using Canon gear, breaking out of my comfort zone has been a definite change. Not a bad one, but a change none the less. When I first saw the A7S I said, 'This thing has a freaking keyboard wrapped around it"! It does have a number of buttons, but after a few days of playing around with it, I am starting to get it! 

Sony A7S Review Buttons Top View

What I immediately notice about the A7S is the body. Its slim, sleek design makes it seem like a consumer sized camera body. But its no doubt built well and buttons seem to be strong and built with durability in mind.

Buttons!

Sony A7S Review Buttons Photo Side

Speaking of buttons.... From what I have read about the A7S, it was designed with video and low light in mind (S means sensitivity), but if it was meant for video, they put the tinniest button on this thing to start and stop recording... The button isn't located on the main top right or top right front either, it is located on the right side of the camera. Not such a bad deal if you use the monitor to film, but starting and stoping from that button using its AMAZING EVF would be cumbersome. But no big deal, just seems a bit misplaced. 

Memory Cards

SDXC, Class 10, UHS-1.... Do no be fooled into thinking a SDHC will work for every feature on this camera. It won't. If you want to use the 50mbps, XAVCS format, you will need SDXC. Nothing worse than trying to set up the camera for testing and being told the SDHC chip I had wouldn't support the format I wanted....

EVF

Sony A7S Review EVF View

This thing is awesome! Its clear with high contrast 2.4 million dot XGA, OLED and just awesome!. However you can't frown on the display in daylight either! Its the same way! This picture taken with my iPhone 5S doesn't even come close to how clear and crisp this EVF is!

It has a sensor just above it that turns the back display off when you put your face (or hand) against the viewfinder. Thought the sensor hasn't really caused any issues yet, I can see how it could be for some.

Apps

So Sony allows you to download its Apps using its PlayMemories Camera Apps Store to this camera and I am sure this isn't the first camera Sony has allowed you to do this with, but its the first camera I have done it with! They don't have a ton of them you can download, but it is pretty cool to have that ability. I recently purchased the time-lapse app to test it. This particular app has presets for time-lapse situations you may want to use. Such as sunrises, sets, etc... You can manually adjust the presets so that is pretty awesome! The presets seem to be fairly accurate with the way I have done a few before, but what I don't like about them I can change manually.

They also have an app called remote that will allow me to use the A7S with my iPhone as the remote. It will also send images to my iPhone in files sizes up to 2MB's directly. It will also connect to my computer using a Wifi network to transfer files! Awesome stuff! But check out the apps! I have no doubt many many more will come!

HD Image!

I can say without a doubt this camera produces some amazing footage just from what I have seen in the short few days I have had it. It is a very clean HD image! I first used the S-Log profile in my initial handling of this camera to see exactly what it did as I have read soooo much about it. It looked stunning in terms of range! The blacks looked awesome! I am not a great color grading editor but some of the preset I added to it from FCPX made this footage stand out! It also has its own feel to it... Not like the Canon image you get... As awesome as the footage from Canon DSLRs are, this footage is better in my eyes. Just seems cleaner, more crispy feeling. And this is with the Sony F4 24-70mm Zeiss glass. So not even a prime lens! Thats encouraging! But I haven't played too much yet with the profiles as of yet! I will share when I do get some footage put together!

Picture Profile

This camera has picture profiles. Don't confuse it with picture effects. Like Canon has C-log for the C100 and others, this camera features S-Log. Known as PP7 in the picture profile menu. Below are what the Picture Profiles are and what they are called!

PP1: Example setting using [Movie] gamma

PP2: Example setting using [Still] gamma

PP3: Example setting of natural color tone using the ITU709 gamma

PP4: Example setting of a color tone faithful to the [ITU709] standard

PP5: Example setting using [Cine1] gamma

PP6: Example setting using [Cine2] gamma

PP7: Example setting using [S-Log2] gamma

Photos!

So I took this camera out with the Sony Carl Zeiss FE 4/24-70 and did a few still with it in standard mode. The images are awesome! They are clear, crisp and the color is amazing straight from the camera! 

Also, while the camera does say you can get 12MP out of a photo, let it be known that you must be in RAW to get those 12MP's. The highest end jpeg you can get is 10MP. 

Auto Focus

Photo and video auto focus is pretty dog-on good. It is fast as anything but I would say you can get it on the first try 75% of the time and getting the Green Conformation square is key to success as expected. But getting that square isn't always so easy. I had the settings set for center focus all day.

As far as video auto focus, this camera will make you lazy.. lol.... I found myself trusting the camera more and more during a commercial shoot. It is so nice to be able to point the camera, auto focus and hit the record button. Then to shift focus, point in the direction you want to shift your focus to, hit the auto focus mode and it SMOOTHLY shifts focus to your new target. The camera makes the transition amazingly! Like I said it takes some time to learn and get use to perfecting the art of it, but its an amazing feature I have missed from Canon gear. Not to mention the OSS the Sony lens provides makes hand holding an actual option to use!

I was honestly, honestly, excited to be using the camera on my last shoot. And found myself still excited about it after the shoot! I even sent a text to another shoot and told him I was done with Canon! lol... 

I will post more about the video and camera later as I get the commercial shoot edited. I will also share some more photos.

 Photo Setting in Aperture Priority, 24-70mm, f5, Adobe RBG, 1/160 Shutter

Photo Setting in Aperture Priority, 24-70mm, f5, Adobe RBG, 1/160 Shutter

Time-Lapse with the Sony A7S

While out and about on a mini family vacation/ commercial shoot, I decided to test out the capability of the time-lapse app that you can download from the Sony camera app store online. After struggling for a bit to let go of what I thought I knew about photo time-lapse, I let the app do the time-lapse in 24p instead of stills. The results are mind blowing! I had to adjust some of the settings as the presets didn't take a shot as often as I thought needed. The clouds where I was for the Super Moon (July 12, 2014) were moving way to fast to capture every 10 seconds like the night sky preset was set at. So I moved it to 3 secs and let it roll! I have seen some other reviews about how bad this app is... But I thought it was a breath of fresh air once I realized how to use it! Once you have selected the application you want to use, you can adjust setting of the time-lapse mode you selected. Then you can change to specifics while leaving the overall capture mode the same or even create a custom time-lapse from the menu.

 

Keep Checking In And See Updates! Feel Free To Ask Questions!

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