April 6, 2015 at 1:16AM

9

Sony A7s or Blackmagic Cinema??

I do promotional videos and id like to buy a new camera. Till now i shoot with Dslrs and i have Nikon & Canon lenses mostly primes.
I want to have mobility, quality but i especialyneed a camera for night filming. A7s or Blackmagic Cinema??

15 Comments

Sony A7S takes the cake for low-light shooting. Nothing else compares to it. ( the Canon C100/C300 are about as close as you will get )

April 6, 2015 at 2:14PM

0
Reply
Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32834

I shoot with a C300 at work and personally with an A7s... the A7s high ISO is ridiculous... and the C canon line holds it's own as well.

If low light is a must, I'd absolutely go with the A7s.

David Luderer

April 7, 2015 at 12:50PM, Edited April 7, 12:50PM

A7s is totally BA when it comes to low light. Like it sees 10x what your eyes see... it's astounding...

Clark McCauley

March 16, 2016 at 8:20AM

I would go with the A7s. Then, for bigger more professional shoot that require it, rent a cinema camera.

April 7, 2015 at 6:27PM

1
Reply
avatar
Brad Tennant
Director / Cinematographer
458

Even the A7s looks stunning. When graded right I cut it in with some scarlet footage that I was working on. Last camera upgrade my two camera options were the A7s and Scarlet just because of how awesome that little camera is!

Clark McCauley

March 16, 2016 at 8:21AM, Edited March 16, 8:21AM

Having shot with both cameras, I agree completely with Brad.
You just can't compare with the low light quality the A7s puts out.

April 8, 2015 at 10:08AM

0
Reply

I have both the bmpcc and the A7s. I love both.

Here's something I shot in a completely dark recording studio at f5.6

https://vimeo.com/122160970

and on my reel, around 2:36 is a dark bmpcc footage ISO 800 f2.8. You can judge the grain.

https://vimeo.com/124129425

hope this helps, but as others said, for low light, A7S.

April 9, 2015 at 4:48PM

0
Reply
avatar
Almosh Taltosh
DP/Director
221

I fundamentally agree with Ben that you should be lighting your shots, but here's a real-world example of where that doesn't really apply: I did an outdoor shoot at an NYC park. A character was standing under a street lamp. I put an extra light on the street lamp to accentuate that and then another thing to kick up light on his face. It looked good, and the BM would have been able to hand that as well... but what it wouldn't have shown was the rest of the park. But in SLOG at f/4, the a7s showed the actor and the park and streets beyond. I was actually kind of blown away by just how much detail there was in everything in the image. The BM would have showed the lights in the distance, yeah, but there's no way I would have been able to get the same level of detail of the rest of the park.

As an aside: I've used the BM4K and that thing over-exposes images like whoa. You straight-up can't trust anything the camera tells you. When I used it, RAW wasn't an option (came in a later firmware update), and/but I lost a lot of information on a pretty simple shoot without realizing it, and I will never forgive them for that.

(Yeah, I should have used a scope system to check exposure or whatever, but that's not always a viable option, and I should be able to at least generally trust my camera to tell me if things are in danger of over-exposing, let alone completely disappearing in white light.)

So: a7s

Though it might be worth waiting. If the a7s has image stabilization built in like the a7 II, that thing will become a true monster of a small factor form camera.

April 11, 2015 at 7:00AM

0
Reply
avatar
Alec Kubas-Meyer
Writer/Director/DP
254

I own the BMPC4k and according to your needs, (mobility, quality, night filming.) This is not the camera for you. A7S all the way for mobility and night filming.

April 12, 2015 at 7:02AM

4
Reply
Nicholas Bradford-Ewart
Director/Producer/DP
185

I would recommend the A7S because of its Low Light performance, great image quality and it is very lite and compact. It will allow you to you be flexible in poorly lit lighting situations.

However, i would wait after NAB is finished before making that final decision.

April 12, 2015 at 11:42AM

1
Reply

The A7s is an awesome camera. Biggest flaw would be rolling shutter but it is small and light and produces superb images. If you need raw and internal 4k then you should probably consider going with the blackmagic. I've worked with both and I can say that the images I got where great from both cameras. Finally I bought the A7s for the smaller file size.

April 12, 2015 at 3:21PM

9
Reply
avatar
George Pada
Filmmaker
154

The rolling shutter on the A7s seems terrible, but in practice it hardly matters.

The most important limitation is that vintage lenses (without stabilization) might produce jello hand held. But I tested out the canon 24-105 with stabilization, all through the focal range, and I could use it hand held without a problem, even at 105. Same withe the Sony stabilized kit lens. I tested the Zeiss FE 55mm 1.8 that has no stabilization, and it was still possible to use hand held without much jello. So I guess vintage lenses below 50mm should be OK as well.

Now for a fast swipe, you will see a prominent bending angle. If you look at the above (first) video after around 6:10, it is obvious. It did not bother me until I thought about rolling shutter, and I was looking for it. Now I see it all the time :), but I guess it doesn't bother most people.

In conclusion, so far I encountered only a few real life situations where this truly matters, and you can always mitigate it by switching to APS-C mode, where the rolling shutter is much smaller due to the faster read out of the chip. I don't know how it looks in 4k (upscaled), but in 2k the APS-C mode is great, doubles the utility of each lens.

April 13, 2015 at 11:34PM

3
Reply
avatar
Almosh Taltosh
DP/Director
221

Actually had the BM 4K, but it murders highlight like no other camera. Got the A7S for two reasons: latitude and sound. With the XLR adapter you get a very small extremely effective little package with a viewfinder that has peaking and zebra. A zoom focus option, the e-mount that lets you use almost every lens, fullframe and APS-C. But with all the things coming at NAB, I'm sure someone will introduce something crazy, and I hope Sony will actually be one of those introducing a A7S II with internal 4K in a month or two.

I use it to shoot interviews, documentary, theater stuff, not having any ND's is sometimes annoying because with the S-log you sometimes need ND's inside if it is sunny outside. But te image is fantastic and yes the light sensitivity is a lot of fun. But I still light my promo work and interviews as usual, the only advantage is you can use less light if you want to show more dark background, or even get some detail in a window outside on a sunny day.

The dynamic range and proper XLR audio is what I like most about the A7S.

April 14, 2015 at 12:16AM, Edited April 14, 12:16AM

6
Reply
avatar
Mark Paterson
Filmmaker
246

For mobility and night time run and gun A7s is better than Blackmagic Cinema. However BMCC is not as bad in low light as everyone makes it out to be. Yes there is grain, but it's not horrible to look at and you can push the brightness pretty far when you shoot RAW.
Check the grain and highlights towards the end of the video, it gets pretty dark.
Shot on BMCC 2.5, ISO 800, f5.6.
https://vimeo.com/117205041

August 10, 2015 at 12:15PM

0
Reply
avatar
Artem Ruski Palchevskiy
Director, Visual Effects Artist
74

You're also going to need a pretty good computer system and a decent amount of hard drives to work with any of the Blackmagic cameras. XAVC-S (the A7s codec) is much easier (and subsequently cheaper) to work with than Prores HQ and RAW on the Blackmagic.

March 14, 2016 at 2:55PM

0
Reply
avatar
Bertrand Lee
Student
74

Your Comment