March 10, 2015 at 6:02PM


A7S like a Cinema Camera

How does the Sony A7S relate to a traditional cinema camera?


Here is a short list...

- No moire in 1080 HD or 4K shooting modes
- 13 stops of dynamic range
- Gamma and Gamut image controls
- Wide variety of picture profiles, including S-Log2
- Focus peaking with adjustable strength and color
- High bit-rate recording

Most of these features also apply to the Panasonic GH4 camera, with 11 stops of dynamic-range instead of the 13 that the A7S has. ( also we are still waiting for the firmware update that will add S-Log recording to the GH4, but it's supposed to be soon )

March 10, 2015 at 7:08PM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

In case you are wondering, these are all features you would expect to find in a digital cine camera.

March 10, 2015 at 7:16PM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

Thank you!

March 11, 2015 at 3:59AM

Hovig Kazandjian
Writer, Director

Guy, what lenses would you recommend for Sony A7S?

I use a t3i with the Canon's 85mm f1.8. I pretty much decided to get an A7S and the only thing that holds me back is the attachment to that 85mm f1.8 -- I love it to death!

I shoot short films and music videos using tripod and a slider. I might be full of inertia but would be interested in something fast, prime, and giving great bokeh. Any recommendations?


March 11, 2015 at 7:00PM


You could keep your Canon 85mm f/1.8 lens and buy a lens adapter to mount it on the A7S camera.

I have no direct experience with the Sony version of these adapters, but here are two that I would investigate...

FotodioX Adapter for Canon EF/EF-S Lenses : $100

Metabones Canon EF Lens Mount Adapter Mark IV : $400

I have more faith in the Metabones adapter, but the low cost of the FotodioX adapter makes it worth checking out.

If you go this route you could then flesh out your lens kit with something wide ( 24mm / 28mm / 35mm ) and a "normal" lens. ( 50mm f/1.4 )

If you were starting out from scratch, then I would get one stabilized lens for handheld shooting ( Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70mm f/4 ZA OSS Lens : $1200 ) and use manual primes like Nikon AI-S lenses with a Metabones Nikon G adapter. ( $140 for this adapter that provides step-less aperture control )

March 12, 2015 at 9:59AM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

In terms of glass, as I started with Canons I went with the Metabones adapter and mounted them all straight onto the A7s. 50mm 1.4, 85 1.8, 24 -105mm 4 are all amazing on the A7s and the beauty as well is that you can swap from APS-C to Full Frame from the click of a button in the menu! As Guy mentioned, declicked primes where you can manually dial in the exposure on a ring are awesome! Can save you a lot of dollars by not having to get a smart adapter.

March 12, 2015 at 5:36PM

Promotions / Production

Okay answering this from the perspective of doing a lot of Red shooting (owning a scarlet) and now shooting a lot with th A7s as well.

First cons:
- the rolling shutter is quite bad, no sudden movements
- for maximum dynamic range use slog2 but that requires iso of 3200 (on red im most often shooting 320 - 800) which means on the a7s you'll need lots of nd filtration. Slog2 color isn't stellar. Theres some strong green casts that can come in and be more problematic with heavy nd use if its not really good/expensive nds.
-the menu system could be better, but you get used to it
- its 8 bit whether you shoot 4k to an external re order or internal 1080p. It holds up way better than the old canon5dmkii but beware banding in the sky and on plain walls especially in slog2 where u need to inject contrast in post
Skin tones not great, but can be improved in post

For the price it rocks
havent noticed moire in 1080p
sharp image
good internal codec (for 8bit)
Dynamic range is slog is awesome
internal 50fps 1080p is good
low light... wow!

After shooting a lot of Red (not a fanboy its just my businesses workhorse camera) I would say the Red image (and this is just my opinion) feels more organic. The colour is nicer and more natural looking... less digital feeling and the skin tones are better (especially in daylight). Raw footage has a lot of lattitude, its very flexible in post (red not good in low light though) you can push the grade a lot and it holds up. You may want to overexpose the a7s a little for a cleaner image in slog2, bringing exposure down in post. But you have to beware of doing this too much. Its only 8 bit and theres only so much information there to adjust before it starts to show (break). Dont get me wrong its still good to grade. But after working with a more traditional cinema camera that lattitude difference (how far you can adjust or correct exposure in post) is a big difference.

That said the dynamic range of the a7s in slog2 is slightly better, but being 8 bit the latitude just isnt there to push and pull the image later in post. The more accurately you expose and nail your shots in camera the better.

If the a7s could do 10 bit 4k out (instead of 8bit) then boy i think it'd in many ways in that package, be a cinema camera. (Aside from the fact that the weather sealing leaves a lot to be desired). If the next model can output 10bit ill get it.

Overall great camera though. Heres a blog i did where I used both cameras on a corporate shoot and had to match them in post.

May 30, 2015 at 10:41PM, Edited May 30, 10:55PM

Dean Butler
Writer Director Shooter Editor

Many thanks for this answer, this is what I need. :)

September 11, 2018 at 5:44AM, Edited September 11, 5:44AM


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