Tagged: Review

Click here to view the embedded video.

Dave Dugdale has published his Sony A7S review ahead of time. In it is an enlightening video review of the differences between the Sony A7S and Panasonic GH4.

The two most innovative and highest performing stills cameras for hybrid video and photographic work are not from Canon and Nikon.

Dave sold his 5D Mark III for video and has chosen to pick up the Panasonic and Sony.

There’s no place for the mirror in a video camera and increasingly there’s less benefit to one in a stills camera.

Yet the smaller size of the GH4 and A7S are NOT the selling point for me. It’s the performance.

The GH4 has the cleanest 1080p in post from an internal 4K recording mode, the best resolution when shooting 4K. The A7S has the best low light performance on the market, whether you’re a photographer or a videographer. Canon and Nikon don’t have an answer. Canon do not have a high megapixel 36MP sensor and ageing factories. Nikon do not have a meaningful presence in the video segment. Neither companies have a low light 12MP sensor at their disposal. Sony do.

The is one of the best reviews Dave’s ever put out. Congratulations and count me as a regular reader.

Particularly liked the timelapse of the low light interview setup at night in the video and some of Dave’s stills from the cameras are lovely…

dugdale a7s shot

Dave makes some great points in the video…

The ingenious battery runtime of the GH4 which can shoot 4K constantly for over 4 hours on a single charge. How do they do that? The A7S can’t shoot 1080p for half that amount!

The GH4 with internal 4K avoids the banding in blue-skies you will get with sensor downsampling. It isn’t actually an artefact of 8bit as both cameras record 8bit internally. The GH4 does have the advantage of 10bit over HDMI but I find this of increasingly less benefit.

The only thing I disagree a bit with Dave over in this review is the assessment of S-LOG 2 on the A7S. It’s not really there just to increase dynamic range, rather to give you more flexibility in the grade. It’s just so flat and pushes around so much in post that a professional colour grader can do to colour what they like. It’s almost as powerful as raw video. I really hope for a LOG mode on the GH4 with a firmware update, though grading LOG is not for the consumer. They’re better off without it.

In the video is a very interesting comparison with the Epic. It’s amazing just how much more detailed the GH4’s 4K output is compared to the Red and how much cleaner at the native ISO of 3200 the A7S compared to the very noisy Epic sensor. Versus the newer Dragon sensor would be a different story I expect but I don’t think anyone has the answer to the low light abilities of the A7S yet.

Interesting to note too the audio delay of the GH4 by approximately 1 frame on an external mic. That definitely needs a firmware fix.

A7S firmware update suggestions

Without spoiling Dave’s conclusion, a large part of his review should absolutely be required reading by the Sony engineers. There’s several things about the camera that just don’t make any sense at all!

The histogram disappears when you change the aperture, which is when you need it most. We don’t want an animated F-stop scale instead, taking up valuable screen space and vanishing the on-screen information we need the most.

In S-LOG 2 on the A7S the histogram is a vital requirement as the exposure meter isn’t accurate.

The lack of F2.8 zooms is due to Sony wanting to minimise the size of the lenses, but the selling point of the Sony flagship should be performance not small size. Let’s see a bigger bodied mirrorless camera that dispenses with the Japanese electronics industry obsession with ‘small’ to the benefit of ergonomics.

There will always be a place for size reduction and light equipment which is easy to rig and carry. That’s always been one of the advantages of DSLRs in the film industry, that they can go where an Alexa can’t and weigh a lot less incidentally! But let’s not be silly about it. Maximum aperture is more important so give us that choice.

In these snaps from Dave’s video it is abundantly clear there are times when ‘small’ is an advantage…

5D Mark III vs GH4 vs A7S size comparison

And times when it just isn’t!

GH4 & A7S battery size comparison

Does the A7S battery and body really need to be as small as they are? No. The GH4 strikes that balance better.

On the software side Sony need to make a lot of improvements. The apps store is not available in so many countries and the apps that are available are poor, many of which crash the camera. For such a large company, Sony can do better on software. They really do need to be at the Apple level and not at the camera-firmware level when it comes to both the design and sophistication of their software.

The conclusion of my own Sony A7S review and footage are both coming on Monday 15th September just before Photokina 2014.

The post Dave Dugdale compares the Panasonic GH4 and Sony A7S appeared first on EOSHD.

All credit is given to author EOSHDAndrew Reid (EOSHD)

In this gear review, we check out the XUME Quick Release Lens Filter Adapters and how they can increase your speed on set.

All credit is given to author NextWaveDVTony Reale

I’ve had the pleasure of working with the Sony A7s for about a month now and have shot a couple projects on it. Lovely camera that fills in some gaps other cameras possess. In this episode, I do an in-depth review of the Sony A7s and compare it to the current alternative and popular Panasonic GH4.

Sony A7s $2498

sony-a7sSpecifications

  • 12.2MP Full-Frame Exmor CMOS Sensor
  • BIONZ X Image Processor
  • Gapless On-Chip Lens Design
  • 3.0″ 921.6k-Dot Tilting LCD Monitor
  • XGA 2.36M-Dot OLED Electronic Viewfinder
  • Full HD Recording in XAVC S
  • 4:2:2 UHD 4K Output via HDMI
  • Full Pixel Read-Out, S-Log2 Gamma
  • Expandable Sensitivity: ISO 50-409600
  • Fast Intelligent 25-Point AF System

Pros

  • Incredible low light sensitivity
  • Full-frame sensor
  • Great dynamic range
  • S-Log2
  • APS-C capture option
  • 60FPS @1080p
  • Flexible mount
  • EVF
  • Included port protector

Cons

  • Rolling shutter
  • Terrible ergonomics
  • Finicky screen
  • Confusing menu layout
  • 8 bit camera even through HDMI
  • No internal 4K

Show Notes

Various gear and links mentioned in the video.


Music from PremiumBeat.com:

Let’s Make it
School of Rock

The post Sony A7s Review appeared first on DSLR Video Shooter.

All credit is given to author DSLR Video ShooterCaleb Pike

sony a5100 300x235 LAB Review   Sony A5100 [UPDATED!]3 days ago Sony announced the new Sony Alpha 5100 mirrorless camera that has made some headlines on the film blogs as it brings the powerful new XAVC S codec as well as 1080p at 60 frames per second.

At cinema5D we already had this new camera in our test labs today and we have some interesting things to share. We tested dynamic range, rolling shutter and observed sharpness and aliasing.

c5d lab logopsd21 LAB Review   Sony A5100 [UPDATED!]What is the cinema5D test lab?
At cinema5D’s new test lab we accurately measure and evaluate the performance of cameras in a controlled testing environment. We are using precise imaging tools, techniques and software to measure each camera’s performance.

At $550 the Sony A5100 is indeed a “video camera” that looks quite interesting. After Sony’s success with the Sony A7S everybody’s wondering if the same intriguing video functionality can be found in the much smaller sized mirrorless successor of the Alpha 5000. Well let’s take a look.

Dynamic Range

Testing the dynamic range on this camera wasn’t easy. We didn’t have an official native ISO and looked at all ISO combinations ranging from ISO100 up to ISO1600 and measured each with different “Creative Styles” that would provide the best rendering.

Clearly the strongest ISO values are ISO200 and ISO800, while ISO800 provides slightly more dynamic range reaching 13 [UPDATED!] 10.5 measured stops with Creative style “Portrait (-3, 0, -3)”.

Here is a chart that shows you dynamic range in comparison to other important cameras:

[UPDATE Aug. 22 '14:] These test results are the exact numbers the software IMATEST provided in our test at a signal to noise ratio of 1/0.5 in the camera’s respective resolution and compression. Many factors influence these numbers and each sensor has its own characteristics. At this point we want to emphasise that these numbers differ from the subjective opinion we have about the camera, which for us at cinema5D is a very big point as we want to give you an ideal understanding of what the cameras can actually do for you. So we decided to mention it here. Subjectively, in comparison to the other cameras the maximum rating we would give to the Sony A5100 is 12 stops.

[UPDATE 2 Aug. 25 '14:] The software manufacturer informed us that their software had a bug that misinterpreted the Sony A5100′s blacklevels (that seem to inherit green noise) and strongly affected the results for the Sony A5100 dynamic range test. We apologise for any inconvenience this might have caused. At cinema5D we will no longer rely on software results should they ever again differ from subjective evaluation. The software we use has been updated and the bug has been resolved.

Test Scores DR sonya5100 corr LAB Review   Sony A5100 [UPDATED!]

sonya5100 zeiss 300x168 LAB Review   Sony A5100 [UPDATED!]Interpretation
Here we tested usable dynamic range of the given cameras. [UPDATED:] The 10.5 stops of usable dynamic range the Sony A5100 provides is good considering it’s just a $550 mirrorless camera.
As you can see it performs slightly worse than the GH4.

We will go into more detail concerning overall handling and usage in the field in our upcoming video review. But one should point out at this point that the camera feels very much like a consumer camera (which it is). In that sense you will not find the log-curve picture profiles like on the A7s or other prosumer models. Instead the A5100 offers “creative styles” where as mentioned Portrait performed best. We also tested “Picture Effects” like “Soft High-key” which may seem to improve dynamic range, but in our tests we found it doesn’t.

On all our tests we use the same ultrasharp Zeiss 50mm T/2.1 Macro lens and the DSC Labs XYLA 21 step dynamic range chart. If you want to know how we test, we explain that in this article: Sony A7S dynamic range test.

Rolling Shutter

On the rolling shutter chart we can see how the Sony 5100 is also a winner. The Sony A7s while providing amazing images has a really bad rolling shutter performance, meaning the images tend to wobble on fast motion. The Sony A5100 however reads out the image even faster than the very well performing Panasonic GH4.

Test Scores RS SonyA5100 LAB Review   Sony A5100 [UPDATED!]

It is interesting to see that rolling shutter performance is identical in 25p (PAL model) mode as well as in 50p. On other cameras rolling shutter is usually half as severe in slow motion. This tells us about how the sensor reads out the image in slow motion mode.

Sharpness / Detail / Aliasing

SonyA5100 SUB iso800 portrait 300x168 LAB Review   Sony A5100 [UPDATED!]We just talked about how the sensor reads out the picture similarly in slow motion as in normal mode.
This can also be observed when we take a subjective look at the image which looks identical in both modes as opposed to how the Sony A7s behaves. (Meaning 5100 is better in this regard)

SonyA7s SUB iso3200 ff 300x168 LAB Review   Sony A5100 [UPDATED!]sony a5100 crop1 LAB Review   Sony A5100 [UPDATED!]On the left you can find full frame grabs from the Sony A5100 and the Sony A7s for comparison.
Each frame is an i-Frame extracted from the original files. They were recorded under identical lighting conditions. The A7s was set to ISO 3200 (F/11) which produced a very dark image, as opposed to the A5100 shot at ISO 800 (F5.6). In both cases measured with a light meter.

On the left we’re displaying some 1×1 crops of the original images in which the Sony A7s image was brightened up with a curve where highlights were retained.

sony a5100 crop2 LAB Review   Sony A5100 [UPDATED!]You can see that in terms of sharpness and detail the Sony A7s outperforms the A5100.

In the image with the sector stars (kindly provided by Danes Picta) it becomes apparent that there is some aliasing going on in the A5100 and that it can’t hold up to the crispy clean image of the A7s.

Here’s another crop of the dark cat that shows us the soft rendering of shadow areas on the A7s where I must say the A5100 actually doesn’t perform so bad. We’ve seen much worse and this is most probably due to the good dynamic range and noise performance on all of Sony’s latest cameras including the A5100.

sony a5100 crop4 LAB Review   Sony A5100 [UPDATED!]The overall pink tint of the A5100 is a weird shift in the Portrait Creative Style, but the color you can see in the dark fur, that seems to be moiré.

Where moiré can more clearly be seen on the A5100 is in the tie. It must be noted that most other DSLR kind of cameras have had worse moiré and aliasing performance. The 5100 will look good next to a T3i or most Nikon cameras for example.

sony a5100 crop5 LAB Review   Sony A5100 [UPDATED!]Highlight rendering on the A5100 is good. But the A7s really shines with its Slog2 profile that has a beautiful, organic highlight rolloff.

You can clearly see how nicely the Sony A7s renders all the highlight details while they seem less organic and slightly overblown on the A5100.

You might think the Sony A5100 was exposed much brighter, but then again, they were exposed with the same exposure values and the Sony A7s’ Slog2 simply has a different way of storing the data inside the luma range which isn’t an option on the consumer A5100 (yet).

Conclusion [UPDATED]

The Sony A5100 clearly comes in behind the Sony A7s in terms of image quality, with a softer, less clean image. However for $550 (what do you expect) it is still a good performer among DSLR cameras that currently shoot video on an APS-C sized sensor. On top the slow motion mode gives you the same image quality as normal shooting mode.

In terms of dynamic range the Sony A5100 surprises with the measured results and beats most other important cameras we tested, even more expensive ones. [UPDATE:] As mentioned above the subjective impression we have about dynamic range on the A5100 is lower than the software results and can’t compete with the Sony A7s.

It also shines in rolling shutter performance. Overall it seems Sony has built its latest processing technology into this little mirrorless camera, providing good lowlight noise levels as well, which however we see nowhere close the A7s (not tested scientifically yet).

Add to that the internal XAVC S codec as well as the uncompressed 8-bit 4:2:2 output via hdmi in up to 60p and you’ve got a very interesting entry-level large sensor video camera in a tiny form factor.

We will take the Sony A5100 into the field and see how it performs in terms of usability. Watch out for our upcoming video review.

The post LAB Review – Sony A5100 [UPDATED!] appeared first on cinema5D.

All credit is given to author cinema5D » NewsSebastian Wöber

This is a rolling shutter comparison between the new Sony A7S, the Arri Amira, Panasonic GH4, (Canon C300), Canon 5D mark III and Canon 1D C. In the first part in this series of tests we compared the usable dynamic range of the A7S and found that it comes surprisingly close to the dynamic range of the Arri AMIRA (find the dynamic range test here).

Rolling shutter is a phenomenon where straight vertical lines look bent on moving objects, or a “jello effect” appears when the recording device itself is in motion. It is a common issue with CMOS sensor cameras that read out a frame line by line over a certain period of time. A sensor with a global shutter however reads out the entire image at once, avoiding the rolling shutter effect altogether. A severe rolling shutter can be disturbing in certain shooting scenarios.

c5d lab logopsd21 Rolling Shutter   Sony A7S vs. the othersWhat is the cinema5D test lab?
At cinema5D’s new testing lab we accurately measure and evaluate the performance of cameras. As a source for reviews about cinematic cameras we strive to provide objective comparisons and share insights to help you choose the right camera for your projects.

The test lab has been developed over the past 6 months. We are using precise imaging tools, techniques and software to measure each camera’s performance. The following test measures one of several attributes we test about a camera sensor. Stay tuned for more.

IMG 384820 300x300 Rolling Shutter   Sony A7S vs. the othersThe Sony A7S is a stunning new compact camera that currently makes a lot of headlines due to its amazing lowlight capabilities. In this regard it outperforms any other cinema camera we know and therefore offers interesting new applications.
See Johnnie Behiri’s comprehensive video review on the A7S HERE.

Some of the strengths include not only lowlight performance, but also the high resolution OLED viewfinder, a strong cinematic picture, full-frame coverage, ease of operability, 50p mode, crop-mode and more.

In this scientific test we take a look at the aforementioned rolling shutter phenomenon in comparison to several other very important cameras. The C300 needs further testing and will be added soon.

Let’s take a look at the results:
rs chart a7s Rolling Shutter   Sony A7S vs. the others

Interpretation
Over the past weeks several people reported a severe rolling shutter on the Sony A7S. Many people disliked the strong “jello effect” that appeared when shooting with the camera handheld without any form of stabilization like a handheld rig. Some claimed it was more severe than on any other camera out there.
Our test results show that the A7S’ rolling shutter in full frame HD mode is severe, but we also found that the Canon 1D C performs similarly in 4K mode. Among DSLR style cameras in our test the GH4 in 4K mode performed best and is more or less on par with the A7S’ crop mode, and the 5D mark III coming in right behind that.
As expected the Arri AMIRA has an outstanding shutter readout speed almost looking like a global shutter.

rs grab Rolling Shutter   Sony A7S vs. the othersHow did we test?
On the left you can see a framegrab from the A7S video file used to determine its rolling shutter. We used a rotating test chart framed identically with all cameras. We used the sharp Zeiss 50mm CP2 T/2.1 makron on all cameras with which we could come so close to the small rotating chart. The amount of horizontal offset between the first and last line of pixels determines the severity of rolling shutter which we measured in milliseconds. These are approximate values (Precision is limited by our method of testing as it involves a slight amount of motion blur).

Stay tuned for more tests which we will publish over the course of the next two weeks. In our upcoming tests we will compare actual resolution (sharpness), lowlight performance, line skipping issues, moiré and will also give you an insight at codec performance and color reproduction. We will certainly try to include more cameras in the future.

Please share your opinion and thoughts on these test results in the comments.
Disclaimer: We’re not getting paid to do these tests. If you consider buying a camera please help us continue our efforts and investment by simply buying your gear through our links to B&H in USA and Marcotec in Europe. Thank you!

The post Rolling Shutter – Sony A7S vs. the others appeared first on .

All credit is given to author » NewsSebastian Wöber

Click here to view the embedded video.

I’ve had the A7S for over a week now and can share my initial thoughts, even some firm conclusions. Here’s one I’ve come to already – the Sony A7S is the best consumer camera Sony have ever made.

For $2500 the video performance of the A7S sits between the FS700 ($8000) and F5 ($17,000) yet the full frame sensor lends more character and allows for groundbreaking low light performance.

However there’s one thing missing from the A7S that I’d really love to see in a firmware update – the ability to load your own LUT for S-LOG 2 onto the SD card.

It is really tricky to get your exposure right when shooting S-LOG 2 on the camera display. The Atomos Shogun will have support for LUTs so that is yet another reason to get the 4K recorder when it is released this coming September.

There’s another caveat that isn’t really the fault of the camera at all. S-LOG 2 requires serious grading knowledge to get the best out of. If you have never used this before…

DaVinci Resolve curves

Then unfortunately it is time to learn how!

Sony have put professional video features on the A7S and S-LOG 2 is one of them. The more general consumer that will buy this camera simply will not be able to get the best out of the image.

The consumer Sony picture profiles for JPEGs just do not give you the same workflow or image quality, so you are compelled to learn to grade or at least apply the LUTs and looks created by others (such as my own here). Even raw on Blackmagic cameras is more friendly than S-LOG because you can just open the raw files on default settings. With S-LOG you have to grade, you have no choice. You have to learn how to use LUTs, how to export them from Resolve to Premiere, how to manipulate the luma curve, the RGB curves, the lot. It is a steep learning curve. L-Curve!

From left to right: 5D Mark III, Fuji X-T1 and Sony A7S

Above: from left to right – 5D Mark III with Canon 50mm F1.2L, Fuji X-T1 and Sony A7S with Voigtlander 35mm F1.2 Aspherical

The best sensor I have ever shot on

Digital cameras have usually been sold on the basis of megapixels per dollar. Here with the A7S it is the quality of the pixel not the quantity, that matters. After covering the mainstream bases with the A7 (low price) and A7R (high megapixels for the price) Sony now targets that smaller niche of people who actually just want a good image – and know what one is.

The higher price of the A7S is justified on so many levels. Firstly that 12MP count is a big marketing risk. Secondly the yields from a silicon wafer with such a larger sensor are far lower than for APS-C.

Additionally the yield of megapixels per dollar is much lower compared to the A7 or A7R so the A7S has to be sold to a more educated consumer willing to look beyond the ‘headline number’. The end result is brave, compelling and unique. Sony are alone in having the guts to do a 12MP consumer camera in 2014 albeit one with pro leanings.

ISO 12,800 on this camera looks like ISO 800 on the GH4. ISO 3200 looks like ISO 200 on the 5D Mark III. Dynamic range is 14 stops in raw stills – close to it in S-LOG. The overall  image is spectacular.

Sony A7S with vertical battery grip

Codec

In the A7S one of the world’s best full frame sensors is finally backed up by a professional standard video processor and codec.

Having seen mediocre performance from XAVC-S on the AX100 and RX100 III, my expectations were that this would be the Achilles heel of the A7S but it is actually one of the camera’s greatest strengths. The encoder in the A7S is far better and actually I’d rank it higher than Sony’s pro camera the FS700. It is incredibly efficient and grades on par with ProRes recorded via HDMI.

It only has one flaw and that is on fast unpredictable motion blur you get a lot of macro-blocking, so a recorder like the tiny Atomos Ninja Star will be useful there.

SLOG 2 which was a $3800 upgrade just a few years ago on the Sony CineAlta F3 really does work on this camera to deliver enormous dynamic range without the usual artefacts and banding we’ve seen with flat picture profiles before on DSLRs. The image once graded is silky smooth at the native ISO of 3200. What grain there is left helps to dither the 8bit bands together more smoothly. Yes there is some more ugly noise in the very deepest darkest areas of the S-LOG image but this should not appear in your final image unless you’ve made a mistake either with exposure or with your grade.

The 5D Mark III in raw files cannot achieve the same dynamic range as S-LOG on the A7S while still maintaining low noise in shadow areas lifted in post.

Like the GH4 the A7S has a full pixel readout which means much crisper detail and less banding in skies and areas of plain colour. Resolution in 1080p is extremely good internally, yet 4K to the Shogun in September is an absolutely mouthwatering prospect.

Less rolling shutter skew is a button press away

In full frame recording mode at 24p rolling shutter is of course more severe than on the more expensive professional Super 35mm cinema cameras. It is easy to over-blow the problem though because in practical every day shooting rolling shutter is sometimes a problem, sometimes not. It depends on the kind of shoot and shooting style. Those who do fast handheld camera movements, whip pans or shoot handheld at the long end of a telephoto lens will want to enable the reduced rolling shutter skew mode of the A7S of which there are two.

Super 35mm mode (APS-C mode as the A7S calls it) gives you roughly equal rolling shutter skew to the FS100. That’s incredibly impressive given that the A7S is reading out 4x the resolution from the sensor.

Switching to 60p in Super 35mm mode further reduces skew. The results are impressively detailed and you get a clean image with no increase in moire or aliasing.

APS-C mode also works over the 4K HDMI output. How is this possible? The camera appears to crop the 12MP full frame sensor to approximately 2768 x 1560 and upscales this 2.8K image to 4K with only minimally less detail than in true full frame 4K mode. You can add a Metabones Speed Booster if you need the look to match your 24p shots in full frame mode. If you enable 60p in full frame mode the sensor starts pixel binning and you get moire and softness so always shoot at 24,25 or 30p in full frame mode.

Image quality

The A7S resolves slightly more detail in 1080p than the 5D Mark III can manage even in raw 1080p – and of course compared to the stock H.264 video on the Canon it’s a non contest as you can see from the shootout video.

As I noted in the shootout video, the A7S scratches a very large itch. I haven’t felt this satisfied with a camera since the GH2 came out.

I liked 4K on the GH4 and still do, it’s a fantastic camera and cheaper than the A7S, doing 4K internally with much smaller file sizes than 4K externally to ProRes will clock in with. Dynamic range on the GH4 is also pretty impressive given the much smaller sensor and higher megapixel count.

However the A7S is full frame. There’s no getting away from that. Even versus the 1.5x crop of Super 35mm over full frame, the feel of your images,especially at the 24-50mm range of your lens is completely different. Good though Speed Booster is, the GH4 cannot quite mimic it with one, not without softer edges and corners if you push beyond a 0.71x focal reducer to something like 0.58x.

The Sony A7S is timely because I need a replacement for my ageing 5D Mark III despite the fact I love the image with Magic Lantern Raw video, the file sizes mount up over the months and become a real headache, deleting the raw masters a folly. I’ve also found reliability for continuous recording to be an issue at times, probably due to file fragmentation on my cards. So I am over the moon that the XAVC-S codec in the A7S with S-LOG is able to give me an equivalent image which grades fantastically for my needs yet with small file sizes.

In short all I wanted was the image quality of 14bit raw from a full frame sensor in small compressed files, the mirrorless form factor of the GH4 and the option for 4K when required later….Not too much to ask surely!? :)

Well Sony have delivered it!

Atomos Ninja Star on A7S

Cleaner and quieter for stills compared to A7R

For some uses the 36MP resolution of the A7R is going to still be useful for photographers, but I am not one of those people. For me the sensitivity of the A7S is far more creatively important.

The difference in number may seem large between 12 megapixels and 36 but the difference in reality feels far less when you view or print the images.

Additionally the silent electronic-shutter mode of the A7S like the GH4 is just lovely….it makes the camera far sleeker and stealthier to use, overall more pleasing and more mannered in public spaces.

The A7R clanks away, the shutter feels like a diesel engine in a Tesla Model S. Electricity is the FUTURE! Someone tell Canon and Nikon!

The continuous shooting rate of the A7S in e-shutter mode is significantly quicker than on the A7R. The images have the same wide dynamic range and colour gamut I am accustomed to from the excellent 36MP Sony sensor in the Nikon D800 and A7R so there’s no compromise there.

Also the camera feels more responsive overall, due to a faster processor. It seems snappier in the menus and quicker to start up.

Areas of improvement and caveats!

A lot of the quirks here are forgivable but some of them are a little bit silly.

Mainly they are ergonomic quirks like not being able to assign APS-C or silent shutter mode to a custom button, or even the function menu for quicker access.

The batteries are rather on the small side, certainly compared to the GH4. Because of the massive sensor and very fast processor the A7S runs down the juice quicker than the GH4. You really need the A7 battery grip for this one. The grip works well ergonomically apart from one glaring fault – the shutter release button is too easy to put pressure on as you hold it for horizontal video shooting. There doesn’t seem to be a way to disable or lock it. The button should really be on a sloped part but it is flush to the flat surface and right against your hand.

The video record button is really awkwardly placed, but bafflingly cannot be assigned to the C1 button next to the shutter release or the shutter button itself in video mode.

In video mode you can’t take stills and in movie mode you can’t get the full quality magnified focus zoom and peaking is less effective where it is most needed.

If you try shooting video in stills mode and silent mode is enabled, you can’t select S-LOG or the other pro video picture profiles unless you enable the mechanical shutter, which is deeply odd :)

It is a shame the EVF is not up to the benchmark set by the Fuji X-T1 considering Sony led the way here with the A7R but I am sure on a Mark II update this will be an area of further improvement. To be honest it isn’t exactly that bad as it is, just not the best any more.

Fuji X-T1 and Sony A7S ergonomics

The US model is NTSC locked and the European & Hong Kong version is PAL / NTSC switchable. However when set to NTSC you get a persistent Running on NTSC message to dismiss on every boot-up which is a bit unnecessary.

There’s some more minor quirks which I have sent to Sony, who appear to be doing an excellent job listening to users.

Evolving review continues…

The Sony A7S is the first camera to really beat the Canon 5D Mark III on pretty much every level for both stills and video, especially the latter. The A7R did not have the video quality to topple Canon. The A7S not only topples Canon, it destroys their claim to video quality on DSLRs. Canon’s dated consumer and semi-pro DSLRs are now in serious disarray for video and in some ways stills too (dynamic range and low light for instance). In terms of the video shooter they risk losing the market which gave birth to their pro line of Cinema EOS cameras altogether. I warned them about this 3 years ago and nothing has been done. They have focussed all their efforts on Cinema EOS and completely neglected the lower end video shooter.

I can think of absolutely zero reason to shoot on stock Canon 5D Mark III video settings when you can shoot XAVC-S on the A7S.

As for raw, it’s becoming a little harder to justify the larger files now the gain in image quality and grading ability has narrowed to the best compressed codecs. S-LOG is fantastic. If you’re competent at grading LOG footage (quite a complex acquired skill that takes time to master) then S-LOG 2 on the A7S will give you an image in the ballpark of raw with Magic Lantern on the 5D Mark III but with XAVC-S file sizes which are 300 MB per minute compared to 6GB per minute of uncompressed raw. These images also have far less noise and are delivered from a form factor more suited to shooting video.

Those without the necessary grading expertise can wait for Film Convert to support S-LOG for the A7S. It already supports S-LOG on the FS700.

For Blackmagic and Panasonic GH4 users it is a tougher choice and it will definitely come down to individual taste, lenses, needs and projects. Further on in the review I’ll try and delve deeper into that and allow you to make your own mind up about which way to go. For instance the GH4 and Blackmagic cameras still have unique features not offered on the A7S, like global shutter and internal 4K recording.

I’ll keep adding parts to this review. There’s just too much to cover in one session!

The post Evolving Sony A7S Review (Part 1) appeared first on EOSHD.com.

All credit is given to author EOSHD.comAndrew Reid

This is a dynamic range test and comparison between the Sony A7S, Arri Amira, Panasonic GH4, Canon C300, Canon 5D mark III and Canon 1D C.
The dynamic range is the range in luminance any given camera can capture. More range allows for more flexibility in post production and usually provides a more natural and hence more cinematic end result.

c5d lab logopsd21 Dynamic Range   Sony A7S vs. the othersWhat is the cinema5D test lab?
cinema5D has established their own scientific testing facility to accurately measure and evaluate the performance of cameras. As a platform for reviews about cinematic cameras we strive to provide objective comparisons and share insights to help you choose the right camera for your projects.

The cinema5D test lab has been developed over the past 6 months. We are using precise imaging tools, techniques and software to evaluate each camera’s performance precisely. The following test indicates one of several attributes we test when looking at a camera sensor. Stay tuned for more.

IMG 384820 300x300 Dynamic Range   Sony A7S vs. the othersThe Sony A7S is a stunning new compact camera that currently makes a lot of headlines due to its amazing lowlight capabilities. In this regard it outperforms any other cinema camera we know and therefore offers interesting new applications.

Johnnie Behiri reviewed the A7S and found numerous points that make it a candidate to replace our all time favourite, the Canon 5D mark III (see full review here).

Some of the strengths include not only lowlight performance, but also the high resolution OLED viewfinder, a strong cinematic picture, full-frame coverage, ease of operability, 50p mode, crop-mode and more.

In this first scientific test in a series that we will publish over the next weeks, we want to take a look at the aforementioned dynamic range in comparison to several other very important cameras.

Let’s take a look at the results first:
Test Scores DR Dynamic Range   Sony A7S vs. the others

Interpretation
Here we tested usable dynamic range of the given cameras. With 14.1 stops the usable dynamic range of the A7S comes surprisingly close to the Arri Amira with its legendary Alexa sensor (see our full review here).
This is an extremely good dynamic range rating and is fascinating considering that the A7S is available at a fraction of the Amira’s price and is also in a completely different weight and size class. While the Amira will outperform the A7S in other tests, the dynamic range is a very important attribute to consider when working with a camera.

The Canon cameras come in at 11-12 stops of usable dynamic range. This is still a very strong dynamic range rating, but in comparison to the A7S the Canon’s are way behind.

The Panasonic GH4 had the worst dynamic range in our test. This is in line with the rather videoish look and contrasty colors we can subjectively observe.

Why did the C300 perform worse than the 5D mark III?
Before we go into details about how we test let me explain why the Canon 5D mark III outperformed the C300 and 1DC in our test. As mentioned before we’re measuring usable dynamic range. This means we’re observing actual dynamic range relative to the noise ratio of the signal. In other words, we only measure dynamic range where the signal still upholds a certain quality which is measured in noise.
This is where the bad resolution and codec of the 5D mark III gets a few extra points of dynamic range rating, because its softness blurs the visible and measurable noise. While this might be deemed unfair, the worse quality also gives the viewer an impression of a cleaner image in view of its actual resolution.

A7S dynamic 300x168 Dynamic Range   Sony A7S vs. the othersHow did we test?
On the left you can see a framegrab from the A7S video file used to determine its dynamic range. We use the DSC labs XYLA-21, a high quality LED-backlit transmissive chart that displays 21 stops of dynamic range. Each vertical bar represents one stop of light.
marko Dynamic Range   Sony A7S vs. the othersThe chart is filmed in a completely dark room using the same very sharp Zeiss 50mm CP2 T/2.1 makro lens with interchangeable mount adjusted for the camera bayonet.

GH4 dyn 300x158 Dynamic Range   Sony A7S vs. the othersThis second picture on the left shows how the same stepchart is recorded on the Panasonic GH4. Each camera is set to its native ISO and the F-stop of the lens is adjusted accordingly.

After extracting i-frames which retain the highest image quality from the video files they are loaded into the testing software. Our software of choice is coming from IMATEST. They are among the industry leaders, provide very flexible and complete solutions as well as being very supportive and helpful in setting up testing standards and understanding the science behind it.

Please stay tuned for more tests which we will publish over the course of the next two weeks. In our upcoming tests we will compare actual resolution (sharpness), rolling shutter, lowlight performance, line skipping issues, moiré and will also give you an insight at codec performance and color reproduction. We will certainly try to include more cameras in the future.

Please share your opinion and thoughts on these test results in the comments.
Disclaimer: We’re not getting paid to do these tests. If you consider buying a camera please help us continue our efforts and investment by simply buying your gear through our links to B&H in USA and Marcotec in Europe. Thank you!

The post Dynamic Range – Sony A7S vs. the others appeared first on .

All credit is given to author » NewsSebastian Wöber

First off my apologies for the bad audio quality – a setting in the lav mic wireless kit was wrong and we only discovered afterwards. I keep preaching that audio is just as important as video but we messed it up in this one!!

In this Minute Review, I tested the Pad Prompter from OneTakeOnly (in Europe available via AF Marcotec). It’s a mirror box contraption that allows you to use your iPad as an efficient teleprompter.

Screen-Shot-2014-07-09-at-19.04.57

In many instances, teleprompters are very helpful – for clients that need to address the audience directly, but often are unable to memorize lines quickly, this is the way to go. Or for minute reviews like this one, which needs to be perfectly timed (and therefore scripted) to fit into exactly one minute. There are many, many applications for a teleprompter and it’s one of these devices that you quickly get used to once you actually start using it.

I think it’s better than all the other iPad prompters that I have seen so far. Unlike many others, it doesn’t put the entire weight of the prompter and iPad onto the lens. It connects to an included rod system and distributes the weight to where it should be, the tripod head.

Screen-Shot-2014-07-09-at-19.05.39

You need to add a teleprompter app for the iPad, and there are a lot of them out there to choose from. I recommend Teleprompt+ (click here to buy in iTunes), which in my opinion is the most advanced iPad teleprompter app that I know. It can also be controlled via the iPhone (iTunes link), so an assistant can adjust the speed of the text during the recording.

The Pad Prompter (European order link here) also packs up into next to nothing, and it actually looks like a MacBook in a sleeve when it’s all put together.

I would definitely recommend to get the rod version (there is also a slightly cheaper one that only works on a light stand) as it’s much more versatile during a shoot.

Screen-Shot-2014-07-09-at-19.01.16

All credit is given to author cinema5D » NewsNino Leitner

DSC05098

EDIT: New from Cinema5d!. As part of our commitment to our readers, the A7s is the first to be tested in our lab. What is the cinema5D test lab? cinema5D has established their own scientific testing facility to accurately measure and evaluate the performance of cameras. As a platform for reviews about cinematic cameras we strive to provide objective comparisons and share insights to help you choose the right camera for your projects. Test 1: Dynamic Range – Sony A7S vs. the others 

ORIGINAL POST: The Sony A7 camera family is constantly growing and the new kid on the block is dedicated for video filming. My respect to Sony for listening to professionals and advanced hobbyist alike by bringing to the market what I consider to be the best full frame HD “DSLR” camera released in a long time. Unfortunately when conducting this review no 4K external recorder was available for testing the 4K video quality but let me tell you, the HD footage coming out of this camera is shockingly impressive. For me, if it is to choose between the Panasonic GH4 or the Sony A7s, then with no doubt, it’s the A7s. The picture aesthetic in combination with full frame is simply more pleasant to my eyes then the GH4 footage. On the other hand, internal 4K recording is what we want (and sometimes need), so I guess we can consider the A7s as a “bridge camera” and it won’t be long before we will see a Sony camera that can do so for a hopefully attractive price. 

The direct competitor to this camera is naturally the Canon 5D Mark III. Personally, I think it is time to move on and say goodbye to the Mark III. The good thing is, you don’t have to invest in an all-new lens system. Simply use the excellent Metabones Sony E-mount to Canon EF adaptor (Generation III in order to cover the full frame sensor) and there you go. You now have an amazingly sharp looking video camera that records in a new robust codec (XAVC S), very small with a build in great OLED EVF and last but not least, also a lowlight king. I also have to had that the audio recorded directly to the A7s is much better then the one recorded on the Mark III because of better internal preamps. All in all, if you are looking for a working tool that is small enough to look “un-professional” yet one that records great looking video footage at a price which is not modest but affordable, look no further. The Sony A7s is your best friend.
Sony also deserves compliments for its menu stricture and flexibility when it comes to assign functions to the Fn button. Simple, elegant and very useful. Almost every function you need in the tip of your finger. 

OK, it is time to take the “pink glasses” off and see some of the limitations this camera has:

- World camera. Please be aware that only the the model which intended to be shipped to PAL countries is a switchable PAL/NTSC camera. All NTSC models are only NTSC!
- 30 minutes maximum recording length in all cameras regardless if they are PAL or NTSC
- Sony S LOG 2. While this is not supposed to be a limitation the implementation of this feature is not entirely clear to me as the starting ISO point in this mode is 3200 (which is the native ISO). If you shoot outdoors and want to keep your aperture open you will have to look for stronger variable ND filters then the ones normally used. 

Firmware/menu improvements I would love to see:

– The ability to record higher frame rate in more then 720p
- This camera has the ability to crop into the sensor (APS C mode). Assigning a short cut to this feature is a must (via the Fn button).
- Another thing regarding the APS C mode of the camera: the indicator symbol which lets you know you are in this mode should not only be visible in the full “info” display, but also when “info” is turned off. It’s easy to forget that you are in this mode just to find out later it’s not what you intended to do.

Camera Settings for this review:

-Picture Profile – off
-Picture style – NTRL (all settings on “0″)
-Internal recording codec –  XAVC S, 1080/25,  50Mbps

About this video: By no means this video intends to be a “corporate video”. It is just me having fun for 2 days in a beautiful location together with an amazing camera. My aim was to see how it functions during real life production and see how little equipment I can take with me (in comparison to the amount of equipment I would have taken with my Canon 1DC)  and let me tell you, it is much less…

I can not even describe how dark it was inside the wine cellar. I’ve decided to leave it “as is” and add only 1 small LED light to enhance a spot I wanted. This camera can easily shoot in ISO 5000 for broadcast. Very well done Sony!

I also recommending downloading the original HD file from Vimeo for a better viewing experience!

Edit: As of readers request, here are the different Picture Profiles as described by Sony. Those can be modified if wanted by going to MENU-PP selection-Modify.
Screen Shot 2014-07-06 at 11.40.35

 

Music: Themusicbed Artis: Tiny Houses-Cerulean

A special thanks to the people at Castello di Gabbiano

Federico Cerelli – Head Wine Maker
Francesco Berardinelli – Executive Chef , Ristorante Il Cavaliere (del Castello di Gabbiano)
Cornelia Reali – Director of Hospitality

All credit is given to author cinema5D » NewsJohnnie Behiri

Click here to view the embedded video.

Don’t fancy the GH4? Then the full frame Sony A7S is now in-stock at B&H

Philip Bloom has his take on the Panasonic GH4 ready, the highlight for me is the footage – it simply looks superb. Great job on the grading as well.

Reviewing cameras is a difficult business at the moment with so much choice, so many variables and so many different needs. However Mr Bloom does a good job in putting the strengths and weaknesses out there for your consideration. The final decision is up to you!

Head over to Philip’s blog for the fully evolved review

Meanwhile Steve Huff has his Sony A7S review out – in short he loves it but did not test video fully

The post A great in depth review of the Panasonic GH4 by Philip Bloom appeared first on EOSHD.com.

All credit is given to author EOSHD.comAndrew Reid