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06-18-2014, 05:13 AM   #1
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Sony Alpha 7S sensor review: New low僕ight champ

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Side-by-side with the firm痴 24-Mpix A7 and the 36-Mpix A7R, the A7S comes closer in the overall score with the former, but it痴 someway behind the latter.

Both the A7 and A7R have similar color depth and dynamic range throughout their native ISO range, while the A7S sacrifices some performance at base for improved performance at high ISOs from ISO3200 onwards the A7S is measurably better. The same goes for noise levels though as we致e already proven it痴 really only a slight improvement.
Sony A7S versus Sony A7 versus Sony A7R - DxOMark



I purchased the 36mp A7r instead since I want to use it for daytime stills under 3200 iso and 24x36" prints using the ultra sharp Zeiss 35mm F2.8 FE and 55mm F1.8 FE prime lenses. I use my Panasonic GH4 for cinema 4K video and full frame 24mp Sony VG900 camcorder for low light stills and 1080p60 video using F1.4 24mm-85mm primes.

06-18-2014, 08:00 AM - 1 Like   #2
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It's a good ISO performance sensor.
For the rest, i find it quite deceptionnal.
The main critic beeing the lack of AA filter, producing big alliasing default on some samples i saw.
06-18-2014, 08:19 AM   #3
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Surprisingly little gain. The D800 scores 2850 on high iso score, D4s scores 3074. An improvement of 700 iso points sounds big, but it ends up being, what, a quarter of a stop? Less than that? And dynamic range at low iso isn't improved at all over those other cameras, which I had hoped with larger pixels that would be something that would be benefited quite a bit.
06-18-2014, 09:14 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
And dynamic range at low iso isn't improved at all over those other cameras, which I had hoped with larger pixels that would be something that would be benefited quite a bit.
This surprises me a bit, too. The bit depth and DR are lower than the other A7 variants
But still, good high ISO performance is important for certain types of photography

06-18-2014, 09:29 AM   #5
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It takes around ISO 6400 before you get a stop of more DR with the A7S than the A7R. But starting around ISO 800 you get a stop more of DR and up to about 2 stops more by ISO 6400 than the K-3, for example. For a low light camera the base ISO DR is more tolerable, IMHO. Most everyone exposure blends for landscapes/still life these days anyway. The DR vs ISO range is on the A7S is not that much different some current sensors in other cameras it seems.
06-18-2014, 10:41 AM   #6
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The 36mp full frame A7r is amazing since it's so much smaller then my K-7 . Here it is with the ultra sharp 35mm F2.8 FE Zeiss and my K-7 with 105mm F2.8 Kiron Macro.

06-18-2014, 11:54 AM   #7
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Purely optimized for low light. There is no do-all.

06-18-2014, 01:10 PM   #8
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The other big news about the A7s is the expanded AF sensitivity range of -4 to 20 EV, and the wider metering range of -3 to 20 EV.

For NEX/Alpha, this is all something new. Until the A7s and the new A77II, no NEX/Alpha metered below 0EV for AF, or anything else.

Now the A7S low-light AF metering matches the likes of the Panasonic GH4, GM1, GX7 at -4 EV, and betters the -3 EV of the K-3/K-5II and Canon 6D.

It's interesting that there are now only two cameras out there that can meter for exposure in extremely low light - the K-3, and the A7S. Both will meter -3 to 20 EV.

So in terms of AF and exposure metering, the K-3 is about the only camera out there that can match the A7S as a low-light shooter.

If Pentax ever wrap the K-3 body around a FF sensor, Sony will need to watch out.
06-18-2014, 04:08 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
...
So in terms of AF and exposure metering, the K-3 is about the only camera out there that can match the A7S as a low-light shooter.
ISO 800-6400 does not necessarily need -3 EV metering. And I'd argue FF cameras that delivers cleaner shots with more dynamic range in that ISO range are still are better low light cameras than the K-3. Of course, YMMV.
06-18-2014, 04:43 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
The other big news about the A7s is the expanded AF sensitivity range of -4 to 20 EV, and the wider metering range of -3 to 20 EV.

For NEX/Alpha, this is all something new. Until the A7s and the new A77II, no NEX/Alpha metered below 0EV for AF, or anything else.

Now the A7S low-light AF metering matches the likes of the Panasonic GH4, GM1, GX7 at -4 EV, and betters the -3 EV of the K-3/K-5II and Canon 6D.

It's interesting that there are now only two cameras out there that can meter for exposure in extremely low light - the K-3, and the A7S. Both will meter -3 to 20 EV.

So in terms of AF and exposure metering, the K-3 is about the only camera out there that can match the A7S as a low-light shooter.

If Pentax ever wrap the K-3 body around a FF sensor, Sony will need to watch out.
K-3 the only camera to match the A7s as a low-light shooter ? I don't think so.

06-18-2014, 04:47 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
And I'd argue FF cameras that delivers cleaner shots with more dynamic range in that ISO range are still are better low light cameras than the K-3.
And that's a valid argument. But great AF and metering sensitivity doesn't do any harm, and sometimes it helps get the shot. There have simply been times in the past when shooting dark scenes even at lowish ISOs with the K-5 or K-x (both -1 EV AF sensitivity) when the AF simply refused to work, so -3 EV would have gotten me some interesting shots I regret having missed. Plus better sharp and in-focus with some noise than no-noise but OOF.

Best situation is both sensitive AF+metering and a high DR FF sensor. In K-mount, of course.

---------- Post added 2014-06-19 at 09:49 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by jogiba Quote
K-3 the only camera to match the A7s as a low-light shooter ? I don't think so.
In terms of getting the shot, yes it probably is.
06-18-2014, 07:00 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
Surprisingly little gain. The D800 scores 2850 on high iso score, D4s scores 3074. An improvement of 700 iso points sounds big, but it ends up being, what, a quarter of a stop? Less than that? And dynamic range at low iso isn't improved at all over those other cameras, which I had hoped with larger pixels that would be something that would be benefited quite a bit.

Still far more than I expected. I didn't think they were going to improve the fundamental sensor; the last time we saw an improvement in noise was 2010!

Kudos to Sony, look forward to seeing the tech on other sensors...
06-18-2014, 10:01 PM   #13
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a few low-light raw processed comparisons, against the nikon d3, i think, using imaging resource pics:

A7S Hands on experiences and samples: Sony Alpha/NEX E-mount Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review
06-21-2014, 12:06 PM   #14
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Sony A7s Review

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The A7s is quite unique for a hybrid stills/video camera because it bucks the trend of going for ever increasing megapixels. Instead Sony have used a full frame 12MP CMOS sensor - which results in increased low light sensitivity and dynamic range. This camera really is the new low light king - I can say that without a shadow of a doubt.
06-21-2014, 02:18 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by ElJamoquio Quote
Still far more than I expected. I didn't think they were going to improve the fundamental sensor; the last time we saw an improvement in noise was 2010!

Kudos to Sony, look forward to seeing the tech on other sensors...
The noise graph on DxOmark makes it look like Sony use some NR processing on RAW data for highest ISOs. It might be this more than improved sensor that makes up for the improved noise performance. Up to 25k and 56k there is not much difference in noise compared to A7r or Nikon Df.
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