Sneak Peek: The Sony A7S
Sensitive in a Good Way
We first reported on the Sony A7S back in April, and today we had a chance to get a sneak peek of the camera before it launches here on the 26th of June. That’s right, the Sony A7S will be available in Singapore this week, making us one of the first countries in the world to have access to this camera.
Virtually identical to the A7 and A7R physically, the A7S features a 12.2-megapixel 35mm full-frame Exmor CMOS sensor paired with a powerful BIONZ X image processor, allowing it to go from ISO 50 to a whopping 409,600. What’s more, the sensor is capable of full pixel read-out without pixel binning for 4K HDMI output to a 4K- compatible recorder like the Atomos Shogun.
The Exmor CMOS sensor is constructed with gapless on-chip lenses that leave no wasted space between them, thus increasing the amount of light captured by the sensor.
The lenses have also been optimally appositioned so they pick up as much light as possible even when at sharp angles. This helps the sensor deliver extremely low level of noise, which translates to a low signal to noise ratio (SNR) for both stills and video.
There is also a "Silent Shooting" function that can be activated which activates an electronic shutter instead of the mechanical one, which we can imagine will come in handy if you’re capturing wildlife at night, or covering a live performance on stage where discretion is key.
To test out the low ISO claims, we ran a quick test with the A7S in our lab in near darkness – the only light available was from a crack in the window blinds. We must say we were impressed by how the auto focus was still able to pick up focus quickly and accurately.
Sony says the AF on the A7S has been enhanced to perform in as low as -4 EV, and the A7S certainly seemed to live up to that. Usable images up to ISO 25,600 seem highly likely from this camera, and we're pleased to be able to share some shots here so you can make your own judgments too.
The Sony A7S will be available for S$2,999 (body only) from 26 June at all authorized retailers.
As you can see, ISO 25,600 on the A7S is quite usable, though you will start to see some smudging and loss of detail, acceptable given the high levels it has been pushed to. Just for reference, below are two shots at the A7S's highest limits - ISO 256,000 and ISO 409,600. It's not something you'd use for stills, but if you're shooting a video in pitch black, it's good to know what you can get up to.