Sony A7s – Thoughts

Sony’s decision making can often be questionable (especially with regards to their lens lineup) but that sometimes leads to innovations and risk taking that other companies are not willing to invest in.  The introduction of the A7 and A7r was one such revolution in the world of digital photography despite the limit of just 3 lenses at release.  Even though the cameras had some issues (focusing, light leaking) they produce excellent images and had the specs of significantly more expensive DSLRs (Canon 5d3 and Nikon D800).  However, is it too early for Sony to release yet another body to the A7 FE lineup despite an ongoing shortage of lenses?

The A7s is basically an A7r that is aimed at the videographer.  It has a 12mp sensor that will allow for some ridiculous low light performance (upwards of 6 stops higher than a micro 3/4 system and 2-3 stops higher than the Fuji X system).  The sensor itself is said to have a new trick besides the large pixel size.  This sensor is supposedly able to automatically adjust to the environment and give a better dynamic range as a result.  Given the outstanding IQ from the A7r a little salivating at the thought of what the A7s can do is definitely in order.

Below are the specs for the A7s:

Weight: 17.2 oz (489 g)
includes batteries
Weight With Batteries? Yes
Weight Includes Kit Lens? No
Size: 5.0 x 3.7 x 1.9 in.
(127 x 94 x 48 mm)
Waterproof: No
Image Sensor
Sensor Type: CMOS
Sensor Manufacturer: Sony
Total Megapixels: 12.4
Effective Megapixels: 12.2
Sensor Format: 35mm
Sensor Size (dia.): 1.69″
Focal Length Multiplier: 1.0
Color Filter Type: RGBG
Self-Cleaning: Yes
Sensor-shift Stabilized: No
Image Capture
Image Resolution: 4240 x 2832 (12.0 MP, Other),
4240 x 2384 (10.1 MP, 16:9),
2768 x 1848 (5.1 MP, Other),
2768 x 1560 (4.3 MP, 16:9),
2128 x 1416 (3.0 MP, 3:2),
2128 x 1200 (2.6 MP, 16:9),
12416 x 1856 (23.0 MP, Other),
8192 x 1856 (15.2 MP, Other),
2160 x 5536 (12.0 MP, Other),
2160 x 3872 (8.4 MP, Other)
Image File Format: JPEG, RAW (14-bit ARW 2.3), RAW+JPEG
Video Capture
Movie Mode: Yes
Movie Resolution: 1920×1080, 1280×720, 1440×1080, 640×480
Movie Frame Rate: 60p/60i/30p/24p, 120p/60p/60i/30p/24p, 30p, 30p
Movie Audio: Yes
Movie File Format: XAVC-S, AVCHD 2.0, MP4 with stereo sound
Auto Focus
Auto Focus: Yes
Auto Focus Type: 25-point contrast-detect AF: Wide (25 points), Center-weighted, Flexible Spot (S/M/L), Zone
Face Detection: Yes
Auto Focus Assist Light? Yes
Manual Focus: Yes
Viewfinder: EVF
Viewfinder Type: EVF: 0.5-inch (1.30cm) 2.4M-dot XGA color OLED, 100% coverage, 0.71x magnification, -4.0 to +3.0 diopter
LCD Viewfinder: Yes
LCD Size (inches): 3.0
LCD Resolution: 921,600 dots (307,200 px)
Touchscreen: No
Articulating LCD: Yes
Max Playback Zoom: 13.3x
ISO Settings: Auto, 100 – 102,400, expandable to 50 – 409,600
Auto ISO Mode: Yes
White Balance Settings: Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent (4 settings), Flash, Custom, Color Temp./ Filter (2500-9900K with 15-step Magenta/Green compensation), Underwater
Shutter Speed Range: 30 – 1/8000
Bulb Mode: Yes
Exposure Compensation: +/- 5.0EV in 0.3EV steps
Metering Modes: 1200-zone Evaluative Multi-segment, Center-weighted, Spot
Program AE: Yes
Aperture Priority: Yes
Shutter Priority: Yes
Full Manual Exposure: Yes
Creative Exposure Modes: Scene Modes: Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Sports Action, Sunset, Night Portrait, Night Scene, Hand-held Twilight, Anti Motion Blur; Sweep Panorama; Picture Effect: Posterization (Color, B/W), Pop Color, Retro Photo, Partial Color (R, G, B, Y), High Contrast Monochrome, Toy Camera, Soft Highkey, Soft Focus, HDR Painting, Rich-tone Monochrome, Miniature, Watercolor, Illustration; Dynamic Range Optimizer (Auto/Level (1-5)), Auto High Dynamic Range: Auto Exposure Difference, Exposure Difference Level (1.0-6.0 EV, 1.0 EV step)
Self Timer: 2 or 10; 3/5 shots after 10 seconds
Time Lapse:
Built-in Flash: No
Flash Modes: n/a
Flash Guide Number (ISO 100): n/a
Flash Range Description: n/a
Max Flash Sync: 1/250
Flash Exp Compensation: +/- 3.0EV in 0.3EV steps
Ext Flash Connection: Multi Interface Hot shoe
Image Storage
Usable Memory Types: MS PRO Duo/ SD/ SDHC/ SDXC
Memory Included (MB):
File System:
DCF Compliant: Yes
Composite Video Out: No
NTSC/PAL Switchable: n/a
Video Usable as Viewfinder: n/a
HD Video Out: Yes
HD Video Connection: HDMI
Built-In Wi-fi: Yes
Computer/Printer: USB 2.0 High Speed, WiFi
PictBridge Compliant:
DPOF Compliant: Yes
Remote Control: Yes
Remote Control Type: Yes, via USB or Wi-Fi
Other Connection: Micro HDMI (Type-D), Multi Micro USB connector, Stereo microphone jack (3.5mm), Stereo headphone jack (3.5mm)
Battery Form Factor: Proprietary NP-FW50
Usable Battery Types: Lithium-ion rechargeable
Batteries Included: 1 x Proprietary NP-FW50 Lithium-ion rechargeable
Battery Charger Included: Yes
CIPA Rating: 380


If you are doing mostly still work and already have a full frame camera or the A7r this probably won’t be worth the extra investment unless you have the cash to burn.  However, if you do have the cash to burn or are an avid videographer, this body has a lot of potential to satisfy your 4k video needs at the professional and enthusiast level.  Given the low light potential of this camera, the possibility for some stunning night time stills is also there and I would absolutely love to play with one but at $2500 for yet another body, that is a bit of an unnecessary investment/toy.

Happy shooting and thank you for reading!


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