May 16, 2014

Sony Releases Pricing & Availability for the Ultra-Sensitive 4K A7s Camera

The Sony A7s may be small, but it is mighty! Since making its big debut at this year's NAB, we've seen some incredible test videos revealing exactly why this new full frame 4K camera deserves that little "s" at the end of its name -- picking up clean 4K in candlelight thanks to its unprecedented ISO range of 50 to 409,600. Sony has finally announced the pricing and availability for the A7s, so continue on for pricing information as well as when it'll be available.

The Sony A7s will be available in July for $2,500, which puts it in the same arena in terms of pricing of many DSLRs, a couple of members of the Blackmagic family, like their Cinema Camera and Production Camera 4K, as well as the highly anticipated Panasonic GH4 (if you bundle the body with the interface unit). Each camera in this price range has its own unique benefits to offer filmmakers on a budget, which might be why Sony decided to keep costs relatively low considering the competition.

But dat dynamic range tho.

In case you missed them before, here are a few noteworthy specs:

  • Wide ISO sensitivity setting from 50 to 409,600 and unprecedented dynamic range
  • World’s first full-frame sensor capable of full pixel read-out without pixel binning process for movie and 4K (QFHD: 3840 x 2160) HDMI video output
  • S-Log2 Gamma
  • Professional video functions including XAVC S Full HD recording at 50Mbps, time code and optional XLR audio inputs
  • High ISO sensitivity range allows faster shutter speeds during low light shooting
  • α Mount System compatible with a wide range of high quality lenses, including power zoom lens ideal for movie shooting
  • Improved Fast Intelligent AF performance in light as low as EV-4
  • Ultra compact, light-weight body for comfortable pro-style operation

You can check out the A7s' ultra-high sensitivity and 4K capabilities in these videos from SonyHowTo:

Amazon and B&H are now taking preorders for the A7s. Sony doesn't have much in terms of new information about the the camera on their site, but we'll keep you updated as more comes in.

What do you think of the A7s' price? Let us know in the comments.

Links:

[via PetaPixel]

Your Comment

123 Comments

I hope they fixed that terrible rolling shutter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlxCSrdhyW8
Looks like a killer problem!

May 16, 2014 at 3:34AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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it also thought it is so terrible at first, but i realise that my fs700 display shown terrible rolling shutter while not in recording. But when press the record buttong, everything goes well. So even there is a rolling shutter problem also wont be that terrible, that is just display without recording

May 16, 2014 at 3:40AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Alan TJ

Well let's just hope that's the thing with this camera too. Maybe it's showing up that bad because it was recorded from an another camera, but only time will tell.

May 16, 2014 at 8:02AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ignore that video.

They are idiots not to realise that the rolling shutter of the first camera that is feeding the TV is compounded the refresh rate of the TV they are shooting it off, then the camera thats filming the TV.

Thats 3 LAYERS of lag and rolling shutter.

That is not the actual rolling shutter of the camera. You cant point a camera at a monitor and think the image captured is that of the original camera!!!!

May 17, 2014 at 1:08PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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+1

May 18, 2014 at 5:59PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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grade.one

+1

May 19, 2014 at 9:33AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dominik Belancic

Rolling shutter is a situational thing, it matters in some cameras and not in others depending on who you ask. We all have biases.

Rolling shutter is a small issue as any given shot will rarely require moving the camera fast enough for the rolling shutter to affect the image.

May 17, 2014 at 1:13PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene

Huge miss for Sony to ship this camera and not be able to record 4k internally. The GH4 is not doing 4k internally at a lovely 100Mbps on bargain-bin SD cards.

Otherwise, the A7s specs like an amazing piece of cinematographic gear. Full-frame yay! Low light yay! Gimme my 4k Sony!

May 16, 2014 at 3:49AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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GH4 v A7s
FFS ffs!

May 16, 2014 at 5:17AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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jerry the carpenter

Why? As if the A7s is so greatly better?

May 17, 2014 at 4:41PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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foljs

This will be my first preorder of a camera.

May 16, 2014 at 4:14AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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So, Samuel, as someone who understands bits and bytes, what's your opinion - is it possible for the internal codec to go through a fake 10-bit by adding it to the recording at the various points and then bring it down back to an 8-bit output? (in other words, can it go to the internal 10-bit on the high contrast shots, only to squeeze it down later).

Also, how much higher than 50 Mbps in XAVC-S do you think can it go in bursts to eliminate (some of the) the rolling shutter effects by a higher frequency sampling?

May 16, 2014 at 11:02AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

I don't think the rolling shutter will be improved in the final version. It's a very difficult thing to improve, because the limit is imposed by how much heat the sensor itself generates when operating at a high frequency. Either you redesign the circuits in the sensor (takes an awful lot of time, but could be already underway; I doubt it) or you improve the way in which you take the heat away from the sensor (bigger and better heatsinks, which are also unlikely in such a small body). I think it will be as it is, which is very close to what I have in my NEX-5N: the second slowest RS I have measured, behind the D90... and never a problem *for me*.
http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?303559-Measuring-rolling-shutte...!

May 17, 2014 at 2:57AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ánd I'm not completely sure what you mean about the 10-bit thing. The camera reads linear 14-bit RAW and outputs 8-bit with a curve that's somewhat close to log (slog2) or with a more complex curve, probably somewhat s-shaped (the other modes). Spreading a very wide DR on only 256 values can create issues when you restore contrast in post (banding, macroblocking, etc), but this is minimized if the codec is really good (which seems to be the case here, so: no cinestyle-like macroblocked skin tones). Still, 20-25 values per stop of light is a very low number, but hey: the proof is in the pudding, right?

Now, if you record 8-bit 4K 420, you have enough information for 1080p 444, with 8 bits in the chroma channels and 10 bits in the luminance channel. It's not as good as an actual 10-bit luminance channel, because it can only smooth the banding transitions by making them one pixel wider, but well, it's better than nothing. Denoise and add grain, and you're nearly at 10-bit color depth (the usual prolost trick) (the "denoise" may not be needed here, since the image is so clean and the codec is good).

In any case, I don't plan to shoot 4K. I will record internally. OK, I may rent a shogun from time to time if there's a project that calls for that; it's great to have options :)

May 17, 2014 at 3:10AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I was wondering if there was an intermediary step between Raw and the final 8-bit output that might be performed, sort of like using a 10-bit wrapper off an 8-bit output. But, off your explanation, it doesn't seem to be needed. (and, yes, I lurk on those other forums too)

May 17, 2014 at 3:19AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

Those high ISO shots... I'm speechless!

May 16, 2014 at 4:26AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Pooyan

Worth every penny! Unmatched sensor for video production at this price range at the moment.

May 16, 2014 at 4:59AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Quobetah

If the 15 stops of Dynamic Range is a real measurement... and people use and external recorder and down-sample the 4:2:2 8-bit 4k to 2k... the image might even be better than the Alexa. It is on paper already. We'll have to see how it pans out...

May 16, 2014 at 7:00PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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bwhitz

Does someone know what fps options it will have in 1080p?

May 16, 2014 at 5:00AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Hugo

24,25,30 and 60

May 16, 2014 at 2:38PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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William

No 4K internally is a serious compromise. I don't wanna be bothered with external recorders when I'm using a DSLR form factor. Then again why α7S has to be more expensive than α7 or even α7R?
Next year they are going to release a similar model with that option added for a slightly higher price... and the story goes on with Sony...
So far they haven't provided a complete solution for DSLR/DSLM video. It's either a poor codec or mic input is missing or it's getting overheated or this or that...
No wonder why Canon is still selling obsolete cameras with great success...

May 16, 2014 at 5:32AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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demetris

THE CANON 1DS KILLER

I concur the lack of internal 4k is definitely a let down. Also only limiting it to 720p at 120fps is also cheap of sony.

I feel it is just marketing and politics, If this camera would have had internal 4k and 4k external 10 bit with 120fps at 1080p then it would be no purpose of getting a F5.

Still an interesting camera, i see this camera as two things. It is a lowlight camera when for certain scenes and probably best 4k solution for ariel shots.

May 16, 2014 at 6:08AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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JAYEE

I also was looking at this camera because of its really exceptional low light. But with this price compared to the GH4 Sony just priced me out of its market. GH4 has great low light too. :-)

It does not do 4K internally. You were going to attach a Shogun Ninja to it for the aerial shots?

May 16, 2014 at 6:47AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene

I don't think the 96fps on the GH4 is 1080p...more like up res'd 720p...I would say +1 for A7S here, and this is coming from a GH4 owner.

May 16, 2014 at 1:57PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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good camera, but i'll wait for something better or go for a dedicated video camera...

May 16, 2014 at 5:59AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Peter

What is the native ISO?

May 16, 2014 at 6:02AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Hamid kh

Price is a bit high, but there are no other 4k capable full frame cameras available right now, at least in this price ranger there aren't. It does full pixel readout, extremely high sensitivity/usable ISO, and records to the new XAVC-S codec in S-Log2. It will cost another $2000 + SSD for Atomos Shogun, to take advantage of its 4k video, but for what it's offering it might be worth it. Hopefully more 4k footage gets released that blows us away to make it worthy of its price tag. The rolling shutter definitely worries me.

May 16, 2014 at 6:16AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dane

The price of this camera is not in the price "arena" of the GH4. It cannot record 4K internally. It REQUIRES an external record which could cost $2000.00 more. This may hurt the sales of the Canon 1D but it will not hurt the GH4. The price of this camera will likely help the GH4.

May 16, 2014 at 6:41AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene

I own a GH4 & I'm still buying one of these.

Better low light, better DR, full frame, significantly better stills (GH4 is weak in that department).

I'll be using an external recorder for both, so that's not a factor.

I think the price is great...people are forgetting the fact that photographers buy these cameras too.

May 16, 2014 at 8:05AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I am certain this price will help the GH4. The low light of the GH4 is great too, not not as good as the A7s, but it is still great. I am disappointed by this price. I was hoping to recommend this Sony to a church near where I live. But it's out now. The GH4 is what I will recommend to them. In fact, for every church I will be helping in the future I will be going with the GH4. Because of this price, just on general principle, the Sony A7s is out!

May 17, 2014 at 12:34AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene

One could actually record 4K into the Black Magic Ultra Studio 4K piece like Den Lennie did. It's not a mobile unit, however, so it's pretty much confined to indoors or some sort of an static situation (one would need a power inverter, obviously, to run it off a battery). Since Ultra Studio 4K will accept the HDMI, it's the only currently available 4Ksolution for A7s until Atomos Shogun comes out. At the same time, BMD just released an HDMI to SDI 4K converter but I have no idea if the signal is compatible with the 4K recorders that are out there, namely Convergent Design's Q7 and AJA Ki Pro Quad.

May 17, 2014 at 3:13AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

I'm looking for the simplest work flow possible. The A7s won't fit for that. The GH4, with complete internal grading, is the closest for that I can find while still being future proofed with 4K. Maybe we need to stop calling having 4K future proofing. It's here now. But really, for what I need the Panasonic x920 works great too, just doesn't have 4K. It's down to $700.00 now:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/801065758-USE/Panasonic_HC_X920K_H...

May 17, 2014 at 5:04PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene

Sony needs to reevaluate the price of this this camera. With ths specs out it should be sitting around $1700-$1900.
But knowing Sony, They have an annual target to reach!!!!!!!!

May 16, 2014 at 6:59AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Henrovee

It is common these days for early adopters to pay the premium price.
In few months, price will come down as it has for A7/r.

May 17, 2014 at 9:21AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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don hogfan

That would be good if it did come down. It does have a fantastic sensor. And the low light really gave me high hopes! But not having the ability to record 4K internally really should have knocked the price of this down below the GH4. It being 50% higher then the GH4 is quite a turn off to me.

May 17, 2014 at 9:50PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene

Very excited for this camera but I'm really hoping sony slips this sensor in an fs100 style camera with xlr inputs and native 4K.. wish upon a star

May 16, 2014 at 7:16AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Adam

+1

May 16, 2014 at 3:26PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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+1

plus external 10bit output!

May 16, 2014 at 4:58PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Mida Chu

This or 5D Mark III? Thoughts?

May 16, 2014 at 8:11AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Daniel

Do you need the extra resolution/higher sensitivity? 4k will cost an extra $2000 for the shogun recorder + more for the SSD. For regular 1080p strait out the camera (not compared to 5d iii raw) it will probably be better. Another factor is what glass are you invested in?

May 16, 2014 at 8:35AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dane

Yes the glass is important since the A7s can only use Canon, Nikon, Sony, Minolta, Leica, Konica and a couple of others... ;)

May 16, 2014 at 8:53AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Mr L

+1

May 16, 2014 at 9:25AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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henrovee

Yeah, you're right. Pretty much all full frame glass can adapt to the emount. Though, to get electronic control over Canon EF lenses you need a smart adapter which goes for $400 new

May 16, 2014 at 8:05PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dane

Don't have an extra 2k for the external recorder for a while and i only have a kit Lens from a 60D so far. Not sure where to go from here. I want to expand my glass for sure first and then was thinking of the 5d3 but so much is changing recently. Money is a big factor and I'd obviously want the best bang for my buck... I'm happy to hear some opinions on this.

All in all, you think the 5d3's raw output is better overall in comparison? Will Sony make raw for this camera eventually too?

Also, why isn't there any noise in the low light ISO video here? My 60D gets tons of noise at lower ISO levels...

Thanks for the help!

May 16, 2014 at 9:46AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Daniel

The reason the A7s has significantly less noise is because the photosites on the sensor are significantly larger than those on your 60D's image sensor. The is the reason that this camera is only 12 megapixels, compared to yours which is 16MP(?), is that the extra size of those photosites, while reducing the overall amount of photosites/Megapixels in the camera, allow more light to be captured and processed. The increase in light captured requires less gain to added to that light information, versus the 60D which requires more gain to be added to its collected information due to the comparatively lower amount of light being absorbed by the smaller surface area of each photosite. The need to increase the gain on that information is what causes more digital noise to be imprinted on your footage.

Hope that made sense.

May 16, 2014 at 10:37AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dan

Buy cheap, fast glass (get one fast 24/35 Rok or Nikon AI lens and your 60D will already be better!) and wait. :-)
The 5D3 RAW is fantastic, but the realistic lifespan of that camera for video is now about 2 years max.
There will be a ton of new 4K all-round cameras over the next 6 months. The A7s (like the GH4) is a great camera but with significant flaws. They work well as part of a larger camera selection.
I will be buying one to go WITH my 5D3.

Finally, have you tried ML RAW on your 60D? I've seen decent results with that.

May 16, 2014 at 11:04AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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marklondon

I'm thinking it won't be long, maybe a year or a little more, until more camera companies start releasing 6K cameras.

May 17, 2014 at 12:38AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene

Just bought a 5d mkIII. Shooting Raw on that camera will be more than adequate for most purposes. In fact, it may be too much to handle if you don't have the right equipment, same goes for editing 4k -so what's the point of rushing to get it? Everyone is jumping on board the 4k wagon but for common web delivery purposes, 1080p is still the go-to format and most audiences/clients won't know the difference. Raw gives you great dynamic range for color or the "film" look. The dynamic range on the G4 and Sony still kind of suck and that's more important to me than 4k. Really, when push comes to shove every camera available now is a good choice so it boils down to personal preference. There is no perfect camera. Make a choice, buy a camera and focus more on story/what you shoot then what you shoot on. You can always sell it and go for something else.

May 16, 2014 at 12:58PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Stephen Herron

Agreed. I'm thinking of grabbing a Mark3... again. 14bit color is more appealing to me than 4k. The low light is good enough on the Mark3 especially with raw.

May 16, 2014 at 1:22PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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VinceGortho

If the DR on the a7s is truly 15.3 stops, then it doesn't suck at all. It beats out everything in the price range by a long shot, 5D3 shooting raw included.

May 16, 2014 at 4:59PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ryan

My bad, wasn't aware the dynamic range was that high, if true that is actually really impressive. I'd probably go with the A7s over the G4 just for that. But, I still think any of these cameras would be fine for most purposes and they all fall in the same basic price range.

May 16, 2014 at 5:10PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Stephen

I don't think Sony will ever open up raw video for this camera. Heck Canon never opened up raw video for the 5D but some hackers did it for them. IF the Sony community can find enough interested MIPS programmers it might happen for the Sony cameras as well. The thing you have to ask yourself is "do I really want to mess with raw"? Shooting raw will give a marginally better IQ in many situations but the A7S will have higher native dynamic range and with the better (though still not "best") codec combined with S-LOG2 Sony is really chipping away at the advantages of raw—while working in a much manageable and friendly workflow.

Plus you get a high-res EVF, lens flexibility, better CDAF, the option for PDAF with Sony's A-mount lenses in video, plus a host of video features like peaking and zebras that don't require hacking your camera. If you're buying a full-frame SLR for video I can't see why you'd buy a 5D right now unless really, really need raw.

May 18, 2014 at 2:54AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Joel Richards

I'm happier with my GH4 & Speedbooster than with my Mark III with Magic Lantern. The downscaled, in-camera 4K has amazing clarity, dynamic range, and color.

Plus I get better HFR & the ability to cut 4K projects.

Here's a comparison:

GH4: https://vimeo.com/95246522
5D3: https://vimeo.com/69803484

Even if you can't tell the difference online, keep in mind the GH4 is cheaper, smaller, lighter, can use a wider variety of lenses, and has way more resolution for high end delivery.

May 16, 2014 at 3:53PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Hey Ryan! When's your movie coming out? Excited to see it!

May 16, 2014 at 6:05PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Drew

Thanks Drew...it's almost wrapped up & we're trying to decide between a buy-out or sales agent. So should definitely hit festivals & VOD before the end of the year.

May 16, 2014 at 11:19PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Thanks everyone for all the input and advice! I guess I'll wait and see a bit more but like everyone is saying, all seem to be pretty good options... Glass first! And I'll try out the 60D raw to see how that looks as well. Thanks again :)

May 17, 2014 at 12:30AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Daniel

Super excited!, could anyone help me out though...not sure about an adaptor for canon glass. As far as I understand metabones don't do full frame?

May 16, 2014 at 8:40AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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You voted '-1'.
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May 16, 2014 at 11:06AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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marklondon

Every time one of these "new" cameras is announced, the public flocks to them just like every time a new Iphone is announced. When is it going to register with you guys that camera images are not solely determined by a machine, but by the person shooting the image? Enough of this "latest thing you have to get" mentality! We just shot our last feature with the canon t3i, t2I and a cell phone. How much quality do you need for images that will most likely be viewed on an Ipad or smartphone? Let the consumerism commence! SHeepppple! Bahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! LOL

May 16, 2014 at 8:42AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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You can't possibly expect to bring out a T3i & a smartphone to a serious, paying gig. If it suits your needs however, and/or if you're a hobbyist, then more power to you.

If you look at my first ever paid project, which was shot on a Sony EX1 & Letus adapter, and my latest shot on whatever hot-topic prosumer camera suits my needs, you will see a drastic difference. As time passes, obviously my skills improve, but at the same time these incremental improvements in technology only enhance that advancement & open up new possibilities (better low light, better dynamic range, smaller body size, higher frame rates, etc). Not to mention, the technology continues to drop in price & pays itself off more quickly as time goes on.

I don't consider myself a sheep by any means. If affordable technology is being released that will add to my arsenal, improve my end product, and eventually make me a little extra cheddar, it's a no brainer.

May 16, 2014 at 10:10AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Actually I HAVE seen a very serious photographer shoot a campaign on a smartphone (and he wasn't being paid to do so).
That outlier example aside, your point AND William's are both true.
I do think people get into a feeding frenzy with new cameras, and if you're shooting for your own projects that can interrupt (and corrupt) the creative process. You can do amazing things if you know your tool, whatever tool, backwards.
As a jobbing camera op/nascent DOP you will need equipment that is flexible enough to cover a wide range of work, and technically good enough for broadcast/big screen. Under $20k that usually means a camera within the first two years of its life cycle.

TLDR: Both of you are right.

May 16, 2014 at 11:13AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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marklondon

He's right in the sense that consumerism exists, but it exists in a ton of commercial/electronic industries...it's not exclusive to film (TVs, phones, tablets, etc). Just look at what people are willing to spend on stupid Beats by Dre headphones. There will always be people who are stupid with their money.

One thing I've noticed...it would take me a lot longer to get used to a new camera when I upgraded infrequently. It's kind of like driving a car...when you finally replace that P.O.S. from your teenage years, the upgrade takes a little getting used to, but once you've driven a few different makes & models, a new car feels natural very quickly.

Jumping from body to body, I've learned so much more about the why & how, such as Sony teaching me how to avoid rolling shutter (EX1), F3 teaching me how to use a log look for grading, FS-100 teaching me how to adjust in-camera profiles for best results, Red forcing me to stay at constant ISO to maximize DR (which happens to create a more consistent look, plus teaches you how to light like a real DP), Blackmagic teaching me about the importance of OLPF and Blackshading (thanks to their lack thereof), and I could go on & on.

May 16, 2014 at 3:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I've shot on quite a few of those cameras listed, but haven't owned too many. I am looking to upgrade by the end of the year, mainly for personal narrative projects for festivals, etc. You mentioned quite a few cameras I am interested in at the moment, so I would be curious to see what you think. Given used/new camera prices, and the fact that 4k isn't relevant to me or most film festivals yet, I believe a used F3 with SLOG gamma and an external recorder (samurai) which I already own would be my best bet. For around 5,000 I can't think of a more dynamic and beautiful HD image that would be suitable for narrative work. The Blackmagic cameras are unappealing to me despite some of their images, mainly because of their complete disregard for logistical use, but was wondering if you could shed your opinion on this since you seem to be experienced with many of these lower-end cameras.

May 16, 2014 at 5:13PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DaveShooter

Yes all of that is good.
To continue your car analogy though, racing a Miata can be just as fun and fulfilling as racing a Ferrari.

May 16, 2014 at 6:02PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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marklondon

Dave, decide on a budget and make a pros & cons list. Factor other needs into the list (add-ons, accessories, post workflow requirements). That's what I do every time I buy a new camera.

As a past owner of the F3, and a current owner of the GH4 and BMCC, I'm pretty sure my favorite of the three is the GH4. Then the BMCC and lastly the F3. Once you start shooting 4K, even for 1080p delivery, it's very hard to go back. GH4 colors are nice, DR is much better than I expected, and you can get a cinematic image by tweaking the internal settings. Don't let those promo videos fool you.

Image quality is hitting a plateau, so there are many other strengths & weaknesses you need to look at (low light, body size/form factor, lens compatibility, post efficiency of codec, etc). Here are projects of mine from each of those 3 cameras:

GH4: https://vimeo.com/95246522
BMCC: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tKF6cONUS8
F3: https://vimeo.com/52086084

FYI: I had to send my BMCC to customer service after the screen turned purple & distorted, so if you go with Blackmagic, always have a backup body. Many customers have had to send them in for repairs/replacements.

May 16, 2014 at 11:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Mark those are out of my league...I have two Kia's on my set for combined horsepower...sometimes they break down unexpectedly & need to go back to the manufacturer for repair. This new hybrid that just came in from Japan seems pretty reliable though...might have to let the others go.

May 16, 2014 at 11:33PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ryan,

Thanks alot for your detailed reply. I've pretty much ruled the blackmagic cameras out, which I'm sad to do because of the image quality, but as you mentioned reliability (and for me casual shooting logistics) just makes it a no go. I am very on the fence about the GH4, I've shot on a GH2, and I currently own an af100. I don't upgrade cameras often because I wait until I have gained enough skill as a cinematographer to warrant such an expense. As far as accessories, I have mattebox, filters, lenses, rods, tripods, sliders, etc, that would all work just as well with an F3 as they would a GH4. I love that the GH4 is 10 bit out, my only complaint is it seems the dynamic range is closer to 11-12 stops than the Slog of the F3 (from what I've seen) just curious what your experience is with the dynamic range of the GH4 is. A GH4 with some 4x4 ND filters and the shogun will be about the same as a used F3, so both would be affordable 10bit cameras for a great price. I just don't want to loose out on that extra stop of dynamic range... its really that range vs 4k when it comes down to it. Your thoughts on that battle, specifically for personal narrative projects and the occasional film festival? BTW I loved your samples of work you showed me, the F3 in particular "Red Rock" was hilarious and I would love to see it in it's entirety. Thanks again for your helpful suggestions!
Best,
-Dave

May 17, 2014 at 4:32AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DaveShooter

Hi Dave, your decision probably depends on how proficient you are with in-camera tuning, and how much control you'll have over your lighting.

I would assume the F3 is the 'safer' camera to use, but if you have the option to light properly & can dig into the GH4's internals, you'll probably get a better overall picture.

May 18, 2014 at 10:52PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ryan, thank you so much for your suggestions and advice, they are greatly appreciated. Looking forward to seeing more of your work from the GH4!

May 19, 2014 at 6:37AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DaveShooter

The fact that this doesn't offer true cinema 4k is kind of a downer, considering the real win they had with all that sexy dynamic range.

May 16, 2014 at 9:25AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Marshman

If it's OLPF or lack thereof renders an image like the GH4 & BMPC, it's UHD will still be sharper than the Red Epic @ 5K.

May 16, 2014 at 9:47AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Supposedly, there will be a slew of announcements at this September's PhotoKina (a biannual trade show). The A99 Mk II has been bandied about for awhile and it's quite likely to have the internal 4K due to its large body. Canon and Nikon might also announce something beside their point&shoots.

May 16, 2014 at 11:09AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

You sir are VERY correct.

May 16, 2014 at 11:15AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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marklondon

I would LOVE it if Nikon has a lower priced 4K camera coming out. I love the Nikon color palette.

May 17, 2014 at 12:50AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene

I think it's funny all the comments about it being too expensive/ over priced. At $2500, it's still $500 CHEAPER than the 5D MkIII, which is almost 2 years old at this point. Our expectations change so quickly. Even with external 4k only, it's still a bargain for what you're getting. The GH4 is a great camera from what I've seen, but it's not perfect, that sensor size alone is a big drawback for me personally.

The pluses for me are: full frame sensor, insane ISO, 120 FPS, S-Log2, & zero Line skipping. We are truly blessed with some excellent camera choices today.

May 16, 2014 at 11:12AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Sean K

I just want to know what it's dynamic range is. When I threw out 13 stops at NAB, the representative balked and said it would be way higher. So, what is it? "unprecedented dynamic range" doesn't tell us much.

May 16, 2014 at 11:58AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jonesy

EXACTLY. Until tests show otherwise, i'm assuming 11.5-12 stops in video mode. If it was truly "unprecedented", they would have some data to tell us all about. I'm hot on this camera, no doubt. But I'm waiting for the ventral 1-2 month after release price drop. Unless I see 14 stops of range, 2,500$ just doesn't do it for me.

May 16, 2014 at 1:34PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Daniel Inzitari

I am 100% with you on this!

My guess is 12 stops, at best.

May 16, 2014 at 1:47PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dig

That shot inside the boat is pretty impressive. Maybe not 15.3 stops but definitely well above 12... Good comparison of it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtbRLRhu0tg

May 16, 2014 at 5:57PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ryan

Hmmm. Is it just me, or does the "Slog2" version look like its lit in the cabin? If you watch the side by side, you'll notice that the exposure inside the cabin seems much darker, in general. Then when we cut to the full size slog version, and they "apply" the correction (meaning add back in saturation/contrast) the interior (most notably the skin) looks lit by a tungsten light.

Maybe I am wrong, but I would not be surprised at all if I am right…. what do you all think?

May 17, 2014 at 3:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Daniel Inzitari

B&H has it listed as 15.3 stops dynamic range. So there's that...

May 16, 2014 at 1:55PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dustin

15.3? Wowzer... Never thought I'd go back to shooting with a DSLR but this actually is pretty darn good looking if that's true.

May 16, 2014 at 5:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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If they did once, they don't anymore.

May 17, 2014 at 10:17AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Brian

I see they are using FF lenses and other lenses that are not FF. How does that work? I thought only FF lenses would avoid vigneting.

May 16, 2014 at 12:12PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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FE stands for Full Frame E-mount. All E-mount lenses should work.

May 16, 2014 at 4:50PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

That EVF is over 1080P resolution and OLED!

May 16, 2014 at 12:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Wouldn't 720p be enough? I'd rather have 4k internal than this.

May 16, 2014 at 1:46PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dig

Well, the EVF resolution it's actually much less than 1080p...
2.4 million dots is translated to 1,024 x 768 RGB pixels
1024 x 768 x 3 = 2.359.296 dots

May 19, 2014 at 2:55PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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demetris

After seeing the price, I just went out and bought a 5D Mark 3. Less jello and video artifact, higher MP count, multiple codec options (including Raw via ML) and better color science.

I would have bought an A7s had it been priced sub $1800, but at the $2500 price point it is less attractive to me than both the 5D Mark 3 and GH4. 4k down-sampled to 1080p is about as gorgeous as 5D3 raw...and considering the 5D3 is OLD as @#$#%, I'm not impressed with Sony at all.

"Unprecedented DR"? Not likely given all the videos I've seen online have seriously clipped highlights.

May 16, 2014 at 1:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dig

Dont belive you at all.

May 16, 2014 at 1:47PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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M

Do I care?

May 16, 2014 at 1:48PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dig

pics or it didn't happen

May 16, 2014 at 3:15PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Yes, thats why you replied.

May 17, 2014 at 5:50AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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M

Still love my 5D3 raw, even up against my current fav hire cam, the F55 (and we have an EPIC and ALEXA in-house).
6 months in with ML RAW I find I can REALLY push it around now. Its certainly sped up a lot of my shooting.
I think people are perhaps out of the loop with it a little - the ML software's changed a lot just this year.
There are also still strong rumors about both a hardware upgrade, or a physical solution to the data bottleneck stopping it from even higher bitrates. Oh, and its still a mean stills camera.

There are a few intriguing 4K cams coming (VERY SOON!), but none I know of at this price-point. I'll probably get an A7s because while the 4K-ness is nice, its an S-LOG 2 1080 camera right now!
The F3 is STILL one of my favorite cameras: so now I can get that lovely F3 high DR look, easily using my current Canon glass, in FULL FRAME for under $2500 (@ £1500)?
Yes thanks.

May 16, 2014 at 6:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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marklondon

Hey Mark-
I've got a Mark III with the newer firmware. Have you tried any of the builds for that, or have you been working off the older, more stable Magic Lantern hack? I've been waiting to start playing with ML until they've stabilized the hack for the new firmware, but the wait is killing me!

May 16, 2014 at 11:06PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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You do realize that the higher MP count is a bad thing for video? And if your priority leans towards stills, the A7s was never meant for you.

May 17, 2014 at 3:10PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Daniel Inzitari

When you say "unprecedented dynamic range," what exactly do you mean by that?

May 16, 2014 at 2:21PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Brian

15.3 stops according to b&h

May 16, 2014 at 2:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dustin

Unless I'm missing it, B&H no longer states 15.3 stops.

May 17, 2014 at 1:53PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Brian

I got it in the announcement email B&H sent out. I don't see it on their site either

May 18, 2014 at 12:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dustin

Well, it is stated on the Amazon.com page now

May 18, 2014 at 5:40PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gareth

If I see anymore pre-release footage for any future cameras with: boats, aerial footage, ducks, close-ups of trees/flowers/models holding a camera - I am going to shoot myself.
Please show me some narrative!!

May 16, 2014 at 5:15PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Seriously

EXACTLY... and to make matters worse the first consumers to get their hands on the camera pollute vimeo and youtube with worthless footage of them walking around gardens and beaches. As if their close up of a flower with bokeh is somehow different than any large sensor camera that came out in the past 5 years... it's really not. Light that scene, stretch that dynamic range, shoot some flattering skintones, bring in some interesting colors, create a mood!

May 16, 2014 at 8:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DaveShooter

+1

May 18, 2014 at 11:30PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Maxim Drygin

Hhmmm... Sony keeps firing, now new RX1000 III, small compact camera with full-sensor 1080P output (24P, 30P, 60P etc.) compressed with XAVC-S at 50 Mbit/sec !

And the price, about 800 dollars... Ok, it is only small 1" sensor, but still... The video quality will blow away all the $500+ high-end phones... (and many, many small real cameras too).

May 16, 2014 at 5:55PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Juhan-i

Obviously, that should be "RX100 III".

May 16, 2014 at 6:01PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Juhan-i

You left out the built in 3 stop ND filter! 24-70 1.8-2.8 lens doesn't suck either.
Its a killer news/doco cam.

May 16, 2014 at 6:50PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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marklondon

I'm really digging the videos coming from the A7s. It's a really interesting option, much more to me than the GH4.

In the meantime I'm enjoying inmensely the Blackmagic Pocket, it's a very sexy little beast:
https://vimeo.com/94990068
http://fauxtogramme.imgur.com/all/

May 16, 2014 at 11:22PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I like the DR but the footage still lacks the cinematic characteristics of the bmpcc or bmcc. Not sure if it's simply the 'full frame look' that makes it seem like DSLR video, regardless of nice colours. It's like how the 5D Raw footage has beautiful colours but still screams video. Even a GH3/GH4 with Voigtlanders looks more cinematic quite frankly.

The other thing that bothers me is the look of the A7s itself. It looks more toy like than a GH2.

May 17, 2014 at 5:16AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jerkstore

I'm sure others have mentioned this in the thread, but I would love to see a GH4 vs. A7S comparison, including comparisons on usability/ergonomics. The ability to do internal 4K on the GH4 is huge and probably makes it the more ergonomic system (less boxes hanging off one little camera), but if the A7S produces a better overall image, then where do you draw the line? Plus, if you want 10-bit 422 from either camera (in 4K or 2K) then you'll be using an external recorder anyway.

May 17, 2014 at 11:32AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Arendee

This comes down to what rig you are using and what you are using on your rig. A fully packed unit of a $2,500 camera, $2,000 external recorder and/or recorder/monitor, the matte box, the follow focus, a separate battery for all the above, the rig itself, etc. may run more than an all-in-one camcorder with similar features anyway ... and, if everything goes as expected, those will be out shortly and AJA Cion won't be the only 4K pro piece for under $10K.
.
PS. Nijkon released their financials ... and half of their corporate board. It seems like there ain't much money in those point&shoots. One can move them in droves but the margins there are slim and none and slim just went to work for Panasonic.

May 17, 2014 at 12:03PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

By the way, A7 price was lowered to $1,498, A7r seems to be steady at $2,300 (although, there are some lens deals that can be had) and A7s is listed as a June, 8 arrival at B&H.

May 19, 2014 at 1:40AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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DLD

"But dat dynamic range doe" = best line ive read on here in so long hahaha :)

May 22, 2014 at 4:20AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Steve

"But dat dynamic range tho." Keep in mind: high ISO doesn't directly equate to dynamic range. DR means the amount of resolvable detail before clipping in a single frame. ISO (esp. at 400k) and resolving power in low-light is more directly linked to computational power and fancy algorithms. "But dat low-light tho" might be more accurate here.

May 22, 2014 at 4:30AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Except for the rumour that this camera could be capturing above 16 stops of dynamic range.
So I think the original line is quite appropriate. I still haven't been able to find a solid piece of literature that concretely states actual dynamic range, but with s-log2 and the new sensor, I'm very curious to see.

May 23, 2014 at 12:10AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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JuMo

Sony a7s is indeed a jewel that most of us would love to get hold off though as a Canon user I am anxiously waiting for 7D Mark ii from quite some time and if it didnt came in next few months or turned out to be a dissapointment then seriously I am saying good bye to Canon and moving to Sony or Panasonic for good.

May 22, 2014 at 4:35AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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SMSabir

Kind of in the same boat, but let's face it, Canon cannot compete at this stage. They are still usinga 500micrometer process for their CMOS sensors, and shifting fabrication would involve a massive investment that might not make much sense from a financial point of view. If that investment is done, to a 180micrometer process (which Sony is using atm), then by the time that investment is set in place, the technology will be in use for years to get a return. Look at what is happening now with all the rehashing of the current 18MP APS-C sensor on the entire line. Canon has been using the same sensor technology and worse, the same sensor, on their cameras for the past what, 10 years now?
When they finally catch up, the competition will have moved too. Panasonic has some very nice patents on sensor technology, this might translate or not into real world tech, hopefully it will. The same for Sony, they have amazing technology now and they aren't sitting on their laurels like Canon did, in a arrogant manner.
I'm waiting to see the specs of the 7D Mk.II, but frankly, i think we all know what this is going to be: a sports, nature oriented camera, with a rugged body, long reach (1.6x factor of APS-C is great for BIF, nature, sports), a wonderful AF system i have no doubts, probably the DPAF technology from the 70D.
And the same banding artifacts, same noise in shadows, same decade old noise, dynamic range.
Meanwhile, the competition moves on, and the sensors Canon is using although adequate 10 years ago, are frankly laughable now.

May 23, 2014 at 12:33AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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jtr

Speaking of moving on it can't be that much longer before 6K becomes more common, maybe 1 1/2 years from now. We may start seeing high end 8K soon too.

May 23, 2014 at 11:41PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene

I just WOW'd so hard when I saw that 400K ISO example... Well, I think i know my next camera...

May 22, 2014 at 12:00PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Matheus

Very nice for natural light lock-offs. How does it perform in a studio lit situation with dynamic camera movement?

May 22, 2014 at 1:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Laika Bark

The 4K of this camera is almost totally irrelevant since it doesn't record internally. Typical Sony stop-gap product...like their so-called 4K TV's which don't even have HDMI 2.0 (the "firmware upgrade" is also marketing bullshit as it doesn't give TRUE HDMI 2...ie no 4k/30p).

Why encourage this sort of half-assed product marketing. This thing ain't a cheap throwaway product...ignore it until Sony releases a camera with internal/external recording. Probably only a few months away...but Sony marketing know there are enough impatient idiots out there to justify releasing this half-baked crap.

Just got my two Panasonic GH4's...fantastic. Well done Panasonic!

May 22, 2014 at 7:48PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Skeptikal

What lenses you planning to use?

May 23, 2014 at 11:55PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gene

The GH4 and the Sony a7s are both great cameras for different solutions. I think owning them both can be a good idea considering what they both offer. I want that, though i always wanted the BMPCC, will just depend on the budget.

May 24, 2014 at 5:22AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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KineticA