December 26, 2015 at 4:01AM, Edited December 26, 4:03AM

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Sony A7s Low Light quality in an FS7 body

So we've seen with the A7s which was released a while back, that Sony is capable of excellent noise reduction with High ISO's, the question is - what is stopping them from putting this technology in a proper video camera with an ENG body, XLR support, and so forth such as the FS7 and FS5? It has been clear that the A7s has been a huge favorite among videographers, so would Sony not make a killing if they incorporated its noise reduction capabilities into a real video camera? Is this just another 5D Mark II type situation of coincidental excellent video in a stills camera? Or is this part of a plan which they aim to capitalize on later by putting this technology in a real video camera? I personally believe that it is the latter, keep the excellent professional video with the FS line, and keep the excellent noise reduction with the A7 line. That way you have to pick and choose, and it would also give something for Sony to improve upon and maximize profit. Please share your thoughts on this, thanks.

7 Comments

A Full-Frame sensor is not the standard for film production. The standard is Super35 which is what the FS5 and FS7 use. A Full-Frame sensor cine camera would be very big and very heavy once you factor in the size and weight of proper Full-Frame cine lenses.

If you are really keen on having a Full-Frame cine camera there is always the RED Weapon 8K camera which uses a Full-Frame size sensor and costs a small fortune.

December 26, 2015 at 12:04PM, Edited December 26, 12:05PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
29875

I think you missed the point of the original post, Guy. His comment is less about the sensor size and more about the sensitivity of the sensor.

"Proper full-frame" lenses are already used on the a7s. No, not "cine" ones, but there are plenty of folks using still lenses on the FS7 and FS5. I think that's a weak argument for why not to do it.

Matt is asking something many have recently—what's keeping Sony from doing this? Is there a technical limitation on their still sensors? I guess all we can do is speculate.

A thought, however, is the rolling shutter issue with the a7s/a7sii. It's not a real-world issue when shooting on sticks, but when moving handheld it can become a significant problem—and quality handheld shooting is marketed as a feature of the FS5 and 7.

December 26, 2015 at 4:37PM, Edited December 26, 4:37PM

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David S.
2902

Yes, the question is not about sensor size, but the performance of the A7s is linked to the sensor size. (So is the rolling shutter issue...)

I guess it is part of Sony's plan to devide and conquer ;-)

December 28, 2015 at 8:47AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
9070

This is a very interesting thought. You would think that if Sony had the ability to create a full-frame camera with that light sensitivity and the small form factor (a7s), they should be able to construct a camera with an FS7 style body around the a7s/a7sii sensor and incorporate more features of a cinema camera. It's possible that they want to keep these camera lines separate for a reason.

December 26, 2015 at 5:53PM

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Adam Wright
Freelance Cinematographer
81

>>>I think you missed the point of the original post, Guy. His comment is less about the sensor size and more about the sensitivity of the sensor.

I think that the sensor size is a big issue because it will increase the size and cost of a cine camera along with the cine lenses that you would want to shoot with. Most proper cine lenses won't cover a Full-Frame sensor, so you are either forced to use adapted DSLR lenses ( many of the low cost cine lenses are adapted DSLR glass ) or very expensive proper cine lenses.

I also think the low-light sensitivity difference is over-blown as we are only talking about 2 F-stops of difference for usable ISO ranges, and most shooters are still going to use lighting because the "found" lighting on location is often terrible looking light.

The only case where I could see this type of camera being used is for documentary work, where everything is shot on the fly and all you have to work with is natural light.

>>>"Proper full-frame" lenses are already used on the a7s. No, not "cine" ones, but there are plenty of folks using still lenses on the FS7 and FS5.

This is largely because of the cost of cine glass. If you want to spend $10K+ for a Full-Frame cine camera body you might have the budget to rent cine lenses.

>>Matt is asking something many have recently—what's keeping Sony from doing this?

I would say that it's largely because of the high cost and low demand for a Full-Frame cine camera. The Super35 format pretty much does everything that most shooters want at a very reasonable price, and it is well supported by cine rental companies.

December 26, 2015 at 8:28PM, Edited December 26, 8:38PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
29875

Bigger pixels = better low light. That's it. That's why the A7sII (at 12mp) beats the A7RII (at 40mp or whatever it is).

Also, camera manufacturers have to pay higher taxes on 'cinema' cameras vs DSLRs. Adding all the cinema features built around the A7SII sensor in a cinema body will require higher taxes, thus a higher retail price. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

December 28, 2015 at 11:45AM

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Brandon Shafto
Cinematographer
161

You can have your cake and eat it, but you'll still be wishing it tasted like... :-p

December 29, 2015 at 8:47AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
9070

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