October 10, 2016 at 9:27PM


Potential for 10 bit output in a7s/a7sii?

Hey everyone. With the release of the Panasonic GH5 coming up soon, I was wondering if anyone thought that Sony may decide to release a firmware update that would allow the output of 10-bit 422 to an external recorder.


...I suspect that 10-bit recording will require new hardware, so it might not be possible with a firmware upgrade if the camera has been designed for 8-bit recording.

Also, Sony may want to protect sales of their higher end cine cameras like the FS5 ( records 1080p 10-bit internally ) and the FS7. ( records 4K 10-bit internally )

October 10, 2016 at 11:23PM, Edited October 10, 11:24PM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

I suppose it could require new hardware, but I'm not sure if it's that much more for the camera to process since it's being sent to an external recorder.

I know why they didn't want to include 10 bit output in the a7 series due to protecting the sales of their higher end cameras, but I think Sony will need to make an upgrade or they could lose out in sales with the GH5 coming out and recording 10 bit internally.

October 11, 2016 at 2:22AM, Edited October 11, 2:22AM

Adam Wright
Freelance Cinematographer

Actually, it is a lot more to process.
8-bit is 256 values per channel resulting in 16,777,216 different colors.
10-bit is 1024 values per channel resulting in 1,073,741,824 different colors.
Going from 8 to 10 sounds like a small step, but it increases the amount of raw data 4x4x4=64 times. (2 bits extra is multiplying with 2^2. 2 bits extra on 3 channels: (2^2)^3 = 4x4x4 = 64.)

October 11, 2016 at 7:57AM

Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer

I am aware of this, but the camera itself is not internally processing the entire file and writing it to an SD card. I am asking if it has the potential to externally send the signal for an external recorder to process the information and record it.

Now if the a7s/a7sii does not have the processing power to even send a 10 bit signal over HDMI, then that would be an issue with what I'm asking.

October 11, 2016 at 6:50PM

Adam Wright
Freelance Cinematographer

Actually (I could be wrong) I'm pretty sure the camera IS processing the video internally before sending a stream out through HDMI. Think of a graphics card in a computer. The graphics card processes the video and then sends it to the monitor. Essentially there's a "graphics card" in the camera sending a stream out through HDMI which then can be monitored and recorded. Processing happens internally, but data is written onto a hard drive externally in the case of sending a signal out through HDMI.

Also I remember hearing about Canon using mpeg for their 4k video because the processors are very efficient at encoding that format for some reason, so I'm pretty sure the hardware in a camera is built for a very specific purpose. Basically I'm saying I wouldn't doubt if this was a hardware issue more than a software issue. Either way there will be an a7s3 coming out that'll probably blow the GH5 out of the water so I'm not worried. The a7sii still produces fantastic images! At much lower file sizes!

October 14, 2016 at 6:23AM

Jeremiah Kuehne

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