Thoughts on the A7s - Sony A7r in low light

 Sony A7r Nikon 50mm f/1.4G at f/1.4 ISO 1600

 Sony A7r Nikon 50mm f/1.4G at f/1.4 ISO 6400

Unfortunately the A7s announcement has been greeted by a predictable amount of churlish, small-minded comments from brand centric fanboys. And yes Sony can be rightly questioned about their 'strange' policy concerning lenses and the lack of. However, one look at the 4k video footage and it's obvious that the A7s is a special camera. OK 4k doesn't record internally to the cameras SD card, but it's a professional format anyway and the chances are that the in-camera HD footage will be pretty good as well. Also good to see is that the price is apparently going to be in the same area as the Panasonic GH4.

As a stills camera it looks to be a pretty specialised but undeniably impressive camera. Restricting the output to 12MP should produce some pretty amazing high ISO performance, rivalling and maybe even surpassing that of the D4, D4s and Df in a much smaller, lighter and cheaper package. With low-light performance that m4/3 users, for example, can only dream about, it will have it's place in both the enthusiast and yes, professional marketplaces. Some idea of what it will be capable of can be seen from the examples at the top of the page. Shot with my A7r plus Nikon 50mm f/1.4G lens wide open and processed from raw downsized to 12MP, the 100% blowups are pretty impressive, but I would imagine not even close to what the A7s is capable of. 

I'm expecting to see something like a 5 to 6 stop advantage over anything m4/3 can offer and probably 2 stops or even more over what the Fuji X system can come up with. Which of course begs the question of what a Fuji X-Pro with a 35mm sized sensor might produce. Particularly if Fuji follow Sony's lead and keep the MP count down to 16MP or below. 

I think it's actually a good thing for the A7 FE system which now offers three distinct alternatives offering quite specific things. I was writing previously about me not being able to sell my A7 at a price I thought it merited, but now I'm actually glad I didn't. I wrote in the previous post about how the A7s isn't a camera for me, but thinking about it, I'm not so sure that I wouldn't like to try one. 

I don't usually shoot at high ISO's, but that isn't set in stone and a sensor with this kind of performance might open up all sorts of possibilities for what I could shoot in the future. Certainly being able to produce hand-held indoor shots of the same quality I can obtain outdoors in good light is an intriguing prospect. And the thought of being able to do it without the back breaking and bank account emptying consequences of a D4s or Df plus lenses is very tempting. The thought of what I might produce with an A7s and my Sigma 35mm f/1.4 and Zeiss 55mm f/1/4 lenses is a mouth-watering prospect. There are all sorts of low-light and high-speed photography I would like to try and I've always been put off by the poor results from most sensors high ISO output and the aforementioned cost, both financially and physically, of a DSLR system that is good at high ISO's. So the A7s might be a rather nice addition to my A7 and A7r. 

Now I'm sure I'm not alone in this. But of course there are those who seem to have a blinkered anti-Sony mindset and they won't be interested and will rubbish the camera and it's creators at every possible opportunity. But then who cares about them? I certainly don't.

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