Impressions from Sony A7s. Article by Rodion Eshmakov

Material prepared Rodion Eshmakov.

Sony a7s.

Sony a7s.

For the last almost 4 years, I have been doing material for all my reviews of various optics using a Sony A7s full-frame mirrorless camera, which I need to purchase readers of Radozhiva helped in 2019. My other camera was and remains an old one Canon 600D, but in fact, I solve all the tasks related to filming with the help of Sony A7s.

The choice of the Sony FE system is due to its versatility: Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras allow you to use almost any optics, including with very short back focal length. In addition, the E mount is very popular with optical manufacturers.

The Sony A7s (ILCE-7S) camera was introduced on April 6, 2014 - 8 years have passed since then and it is not at all new. Compared to the previous models Sony A7 and Sony A7R, the camera has a number of significant differences and improvements.

Sony A7s uses a full-frame CMOS sensor with a resolution of only 12 megapixels. This is half that of the Sony A7, and three times that of the A7R. The same matrix resolution was in the old "legendary" Canon 5D и Nikon D700. The choice of matrix is ​​associated with the desire of the manufacturer to increase sensor sensitivity due to the large pixel size, contrary to the well-known tendency to increasing the resolution of matrices. However, in 2013-2014, the fashion for the “fat pixel” even touched Смартфонов.

For me, the choice of a camera with a “fat pixel” was a priority, since this not only reduces the requirements for optical resolution, but also reduces the requirements for the design of lenses: to the telecentricity of the optical system, to the back focal length. For example, with the Sony A7s, I have never seen a color shift even when using optics with an extremely small back focal length, but the 20 MP APS-C sensor of the Sony A3500 with suffers from this with some lenses, exactly like 24 MP full-frame Sony A7. However, only Leica M cameras, originally designed specifically for use with lenses that are not telecentric in image space, can really be called “omnivores”.

The letter "S" in the name of the camera means "Sensitivity" - "sensitivity", and the large pixel size made it possible to achieve an incredible ISO range for those times: from 50 to 409600 (native - from 100 to 102400). It is unlikely that anyone will seriously use the camera at ISO 400k, but it cannot be said that these hundreds of thousands are completely meaningless: I was extremely surprised when, when shooting with a “dark” lens, Rubinar 1000/10 saw much more on the camera screen at night than I used to to the darkness with my own eyes. In general, the camera copes very well with shooting in low light, especially when compared with the old 18 MP APS-C Canon 600D: picture at ISO 12800 on Sony A7s looks something like picture at ISO 1600 on Canon 600D.

The resolution of photos at first seemed unusually small compared to 18 megapixels Canon 600D... Using some reasonably good lenses there is a feeling that the resolution of the matrix is ​​not enough. In part, this shortcoming helped me to solve the shift adapter, with which it is possible to obtain panoramic photos with a resolution of about 20 megapixels - I actively use it during filming, it also helps to get information about the behavior of lenses on medium format cameras. The consequence of the modest resolution of the Sony A7s matrix is ​​the small size of RAW files and the high speed of their processing, even on weak computers.

I do not discuss in detail the issues related to the color reproduction features of the camera matrix, since the optics I use and my own color perception are almost always the decisive factors that determine the color in a photograph. However, when using the same lens compared to Canon 600D the difference is palpable. In the course of working with the camera, it was also noted that Sony's "Imaging Edge" software does not work satisfactorily with the camera's RAW files, significantly reducing the dynamic range in the highlights. Adobe Lightroom does not have this drawback. For this reason, I had to abandon the "native" RAW developer, contrary to the common assertion that it should "work" better with color.

Extremely significant are the improvements related to the functionality of the camera shutter. The Sony A7s for the first time in the lineup has a fully electronic shutter: in the camera menu, to turn it on, you must select the “Silent Shooting” mode. It is also possible to shoot with the electronic front curtain. The mechanical shutter is a component of the camera that has a limited resource, and the use of an electronic or shutter allows you to reduce the load on the mechanics when the camera is actively used. I have defaulted to electronic shutter primarily because of the shorter blackout time in EVI and the absence of annoying (yes, you get used to silence quickly) noise.

A return to mechanics is usually required when shooting with people (it is easier for models to focus on the sound of the shutter when shooting), as well as to prevent the appearance of artifacts such as “rolling shutter” and some other. In my practice, there was a case when the lens I installed on the camera did not allow the use of a mechanical shutter, so the presence of the “Silent shooting” option allowed me to get unique material.

Burst speed is quite average - up to 5 frames per second. This, of course, is more than 3.8 frames per second for 600D, but, for example, an old and nothing at all reflex camera on the secondary market Sony SLT A55 boasts a rate of fire of 10 frames per second. The shutter speed range is standard for advanced cameras - from 1/8000 up to 30 s.

Significantly expanded in comparison with the previous cameras of the A7 line of video capabilities, in connection with which the Sony A7s has become popular among videographers. The camera can record 1080p video at 50 Mbps and 720p Slow-motion video at 120 frames per second. Recording occurs with the participation of all pixels of the matrix.

But the autofocus system turned out to be reduced in comparison with the first Sony A7: the A7s model does not have phase autofocus sensors, and therefore it works mediocrely with autofocus optics. I haven't tried Sony branded lenses, but when using Canon EF lenses through an electronically equipped EOS-NEX adapter, autofocus speed and accuracy were extremely poor. Probably a good solution to this problem would be to use an adapter LA-EA4.

Otherwise, the camera differs little from the A7 and A7R: the same rotary displays, an acceptable resolution of 0.71x EVI (mandatory option when working with manual optics!), identical controls. The body materials of the A7s are better: the camera is entirely made of metal (magnesium alloy), and the bayonet mount is made of stainless steel (in the A7 and A7R it included plastic elements). Also Sony A7s is the least "gluttonous" in the line, but in comparison with 600D The power consumption of the Sony A7s is still very high. For example, on trips I took exactly Canon 600D, since its two LP-E8 batteries were enough for three days of shooting without recharging, while with the active use of the Sony A7s, three batteries may not be enough for one photo session, especially at low temperatures.

I can't say that A7s has a comfortable body. The camera is too small for a comfortable grip, working with heavy lenses is very difficult due to the lack of finger support on the handle. Even the amateur Canon 600D was much, much more comfortable. A partial solution to the problem was the purchase of an additional aluminum frame that adds room for the little finger on the handle, as well as a thumb rest that fits into the camera's hot shoe. The appearance of my Sony A7s is shown below.

It is easy to see damage to the camera sensor shaft - this is a consequence of my experiments with optics from night vision devices, the rear lens of which comes extremely close to the matrix. The defect is, fortunately, only cosmetic.

Throughout my time with the Sony A7s, I have photographed with a huge variety of lenses ranging from 17mm to 1000mm. Below are pictures of some of them.

All Full Frame Sony E-mount Cameras

List of original Sony FE lenses

Fixes:

  1. Sony FE 14 mm F / 1.8 GM [April 2021, MOYO]
  2. Sony FE 20 mm F / 1.8 G [February 2020, MOYO]
  3. Sony FE 24 mm F / 1.4 GM [September 2018, MOYO]
  4. Sony FE 24 mm F / 2.8 G [March 2021, MOYO]
  5. Sony FE 28 mm F / 2.0 [March 2015, MOYO]
  6. Sony FE 35 mm F / 1.4 GM [January 2021, MOYO]
  7. Sony FE 35 mm F / 1.4 ZA [August 2014, MOYO]
  8. Sony FE 35 mm F / 1.8 [July 2019, MOYO]
  9. Sony FE 35 mm F / 2.8 ZA [October 2013, MOYO]
  10. Sony FE 40 mm F / 2.5 G [March 2021, MOYO]
  11. Sony FE 50 mm F / 1.2 GM [March 2021, MOYO]
  12. Sony FE 50 mm F / 1.4 ZA [July 2016, MOYO]
  13. Sony FE 50 mm F / 1.8 [March 2016, MOYO]
  14. Sony FE 50 mm F / 2.8 Macro [August 2016, MOYO]
  15. Sony FE 50 mm F / 2.5 G [March 2021, MOYO]
  16. Sony FE 55 mm F / 1.8 ZA [October 2013, MOYO]
  17. Sony FE 85 mm F / 1.4 GM [February 2016, MOYO]
  18. Sony FE 85 mm F / 1.8 [February 2017, MOYO]
  19. Sony FE 90 mm F / 2.8 Macro G U.S.S [March 2015, MOYO]
  20. Sony FE 100 mm F / 2.8 STF GM U.S.S [February 2017, MOYO]
  21. Sony FE 135 mm F / 1.8 GM [February 2019, MOYO]
  22. Sony FE 400 mm F / 2.8 GM U.S.S [June 2018, MOYO]
  23. Sony FE 600 mm F / 4 GM U.S.S [June 2019, MOYO]

Zuma:

  1. Sony FE 12-24 mm F / 2.8 GM [July 2020, MOYO]
  2. Sony FE 12-24 mm F / 4 G [May 2017, MOYO]
  3. Sony FE 16-35 mm F / 2.8 GM [May 2017, MOYO]
  4. Sony FE 16-35 mm T / 3.1 PZ G C [November 2020, MOYO]
  5. Sony FE 16-35 mm F / 4 ZA U.S.S [September 2014, MOYO]
  6. Sony FE 16-35 mm F / 4 PZ G [March 2022, MOYO]
  7. Sony FE 24-70 mm F / 2.8 GM [February 2016, MOYO]
  8. Sony FE 24-70 mm F / 2.8 GM II [April 2022, MOYO]
  9. Sony FE 24-70 mm F / 4 ZA U.S.S [October 2013, MOYO]
  10. Sony FE 24-105 mm F / 4 G U.S.S [October 2017, MOYO]
  11. Sony FE 24-240 mm F / 3.5-6.3 U.S.S [March 2015, MOYO]
  12. Sony FE 28-60 mm F / 4-5.6 [September 2020, MOYO]
  13. Sony FE 28-70 mm F / 3.5-5.6 U.S.S [October 2013, MOYO]
  14. Sony FE 28-135 mm F / 4 G PZ U.S.S [September 2014, MOYO]
  15. Sony FE 70-200 mm F / 2.8 GM U.S.S [October 2017, MOYO]
  16. Sony FE 70-200 mm F / 2.8 GM U.S.S II [October 2021, MOYO]
  17. Sony FE 70-200 mm F / 4 G U.S.S [October 2013, MOYO]
  18. Sony-FE 70-300 mm F / 4.5-5.6 G U.S.S [March 2016, MOYO]
  19. Sony FE 100-400 mm F / 4.5-5.6 GM U.S.S [April 2017, MOYO]
  20. Sony FE 200-600 mm F / 5.6-6.3 G U.S.S [June 2019, MOYO]

Autofocus full-frame lenses for Sony E / FE mount are also available from other manufacturers:

Results

My experience shows that the Sony A7s is a very good "digital back" for exotic optics, which is facilitated by a small working distance, a large pixel matrix and the presence of a fairly convenient electronic viewfinder. The camera compares favorably with the A7 and A7R with an electronic shutter, which turned out to be a very useful and pleasant option, as well as advanced video capabilities, but it has a weak autofocus system. In general, Sony A7s is rather a niche solution (video shooting, shooting with old and specific optics), A7 series cameras (starting with A7M2) have a better balance of properties.

You will find more reviews from readers of Radozhiva here... All Rodion reviews in one place here.

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Comments: 5, on the topic: Impressions from Sony A7s. Article by Rodion Eshmakov

  • elhotag

    I had S-ka first, R-ka first and second. In the picture, I liked R-ka the most, but in the aggregate, R-ka the second one is much better. A back-illuminated matrix, phase sensors with gas autofocus, a stabilizer ... This was very missed with the first R-coy. Between S-coy and R-coy for the photo I would choose R-ku. Detailing due to the resolution of the matrix and the lack of an anti-aliasing filter and for video S-ka.

  • B. R. P.

    Finally you did it, Rodion! Very good stuff, thanks.

  • Human

    With a recorder, it can shoot 4k25 / 30r, which I actively use, the only thing is that it turns out to be a very bulky design, and it takes a long time to assemble. It seems to me that this is more intended for the studio or for shooting some kind of concerts. Due to the lack of matrix stabilization, it is inconvenient to shoot handheld, it is better to use a tripod or at least a monopod, lens stabilization is not enough for a smooth picture, and 25 and 30 frames are not enough for good AND fast software stabilization.

    For some reason, the rear display is peeled off and looks ugly ..
    And also its brightness is not enough for the bright sun. I don’t know how much there, visually somewhere around 1250-1500 nits.

    The phone app for transferring photos is kind of a sucker compared to canon. I don't know what's wrong, but I couldn't get it to get anything other than 1600x1080 jpg photos. From the reviews, I seem to have seen that there is some kind of old version where you can transfer full-size photos, if anyone knows, please share.

    The camera is on some ancient android, so the Sony app store is built in there. In general, the idea is excellent, but for some reason a huge chatterbox was immediately laid by the company. Giant. In fact, you can write some of your own applications for it, for example, with due diligence, you can write an application that unlocks the ability to shoot 4k on a memory card or remove the annoying requirement to insert a 64GB card to shoot in XAVC, and this is just the beginning.

    You can also make a bunch of applications for easy transfer of photos to your phone via wi-fi or wi-fi direct. I launched a file server on the camera to download photos through the browser, but I don’t have enough skills to write something for android. Yes, and it’s not convenient, you can’t see the thumbnails, saving one photo at a time is not comme il faut.

    I read on one forum that a focusing module from the A4 was inserted into the LA-E77 adapter, so all the points in the center of the frame are stuck there. That is, there are several cameras with A mount, with more advanced focusing (A77II, A99, A99II).

  • Andrei

    Nareshti, otherwise they couldn’t get through.

  • CryptoGicky

    Trust a financial bot to become rich. https://Guino.pumpati.de/Guino

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