With the release of the Sony A7S only a few months ago, this mirrorless camera is giving Lumix and Canon a run for their money. Unlike its two older siblings(a7r & a7), the Sony A7S (which stands for “sensitivity”), its major selling points are that it’s full frame, records 4K (3840×2160) video with an external recorder, has a 12.2MP CMOS sensor, and brags up to ISO 409600.
The camera itself is very small and sleek. This makes it incredibly easier to take it into concerts or places that don’t allow the obvious DSLRs. Like the Canon 6D, it has built-in Wifi capabilities that lets you instantly share and control the camera from connected mobile devices. I love that you’re able to use it with Canon and Nikon lenses. Only, you have to purchase the Metabones adapter which costs around $369 on B&H. With the body itself, your options on lenses are limited to four Zeiss lenses.
Hector and I decided to try it out for video at AJ Rafael’s last two shows before his hiatus from music. We headed down to the Queen Bees’s Art and Cultural Center in San Diego and started shooting at 2pm up until 11pm. Being that the venue was for a banquet hall and it was going to be dark, we decided to pair the Sony A7S with the Sigma 70-200mm 2.8 OS on a tripod. We also got our Canon 6D with the same lens on a different tripod (for comparison’s sake).
After the first show, we had to switch out the battery from the A7S twice. A drawback of the Sony A7S is that battery life is ridiculously short. But to make up for that, the batteries themselves charge as fast as they lose power (which is a huge plus from the LP-E6 battery).
The show was really great the first round, but what we didn’t expect was that there were more and longer opening acts than the second show. The show featured Youtube artists such as Mark Meija, Kat Badar, Nessarica, Jeremy Passion, TJ Brown, Jesse Barrera, Andrew Garcia, and guest performer Tori Kelly.
At the end of the night, we had to swap the Sony A7S batteries another three times(total: 5). The 6D had to change batteries three times the whole nine hours. Surprisingly, the A7S took 1 and a half of 32gb SD cards, while the 6D took up three 32’s and a bit of a 16gb. Both cameras shot in JPEG. If you have an outlet handy, battery life shouldn’t be a concern for you.
When it comes to low light performance, it’s a beast. In the dark venue, the A7S shot at ISO 8000 with zero noise. The focus peaking was really helpful. The footage was extremely sharp! I did find it quite odd that the recording button is on the right side of the camera and you sort of have to dig your finger or nail to press it.
We also had to test out its photo capabilities. We headed out to our local coffee shop, Canabru, to film an Instagram video for them. When we finished, we decided to take some pictures. Taking pictures with no flash was fairly simple with this camera. We shot a couple of pictures outdoors at 51,000 and there was very little grain. You get around 250 shots on one battery.
Overall it’s a great camera for any low light situation with great dynamic range. The Sony full frame mirrorless cameras all serve a different purpose and the Sony A7S lives up to its reputation.
Nancy Li of Kreativisuals.
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