Sony Alpha a7S Brief Review

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REVIEW SUMMARY

Specifications

  • 12.2 megapixel full frame CMOS sensor
  • ISO range 50-409600
  • Burst shooting 2.5 fps (5 fps with fixed focus and exposure)
  • Electronic viewfinder
  • 25-area contrast autofocus
  • Maximum shutter speed 1/8000
  • No built-in flash
  • Optical image stabilization
  • UHD/30p/25p 4K video via HDMI port only
  • 1080/60p HD video at 50 Mbps
  • 3” tilting LCD
  • Wi-fi and NFC
  • Lithium-ion battery rated at 360 shots
  • Weighs 17.2 ounces
  • Release Date: 2014-06-01
  • Final Grade: 95 4.75 Star Rating: Recommended

4.75 Star Rating: Recommended
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Sony Alpha a7S
Sony impressed last year with full frame mirrorless cameras--now they've added 4K to the mix.
By Hillary Grigonis, Last updated on: 6/21/2014

As if Sony's announcement for a full frame mirrorless camera last fall wasn't enough, the camera giant is now offering the a7S that boasts 4K video and a top ISO of 409600. The a7s cut the megapixels in half to manage the 4K and higher ISOs, but if the performance of the a7 and a7R are any indication, the A7S should be a solid performer.

Outside of the boost in image quality and ISO, the a7S offers a full frame sensor in small package; the body weighs less than 18 ounces. The large image resolution, however, makes the camera a bit slower than other mirrorless and even DSLR models with just 2.5 fps burst shooting, upped to 5 fps if the focus and exposure settings don't need to change. The 1/8000 maximum shutter speed and optical image stabilization will help capture crisp, sharp images.

What the Sony a7S has going for it, it has in a big way. The resolution is excellent in both stills and video. Be aware though, that the 4K video is only available when recording directly out of the HDMI port. And if you don't have a 4K screen to view it on, you're better off shooting in 1080 HD. The A7S can shoot in 1080p at a rate of 60 fps with a huge 50 Mbps, so even plain "old" HD will look pretty sharp. Here's Sony's official video announcing the camera, shot with the a7S itself:





The Sony a7S may not the the fastest or have the longest battery life, but the resolution, image quality and video quality should be quite excellent. An official list price and release date hasn't yet been announced.

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Sony Reviews

Sony has been at the forefront of the market for consumer electronics for the past 30 years by offering innovative imaging products in response to changes in the market. Sony has made cameras that are ideal for casual users, hobbyists, and professional photographers through their dedication to implementing the most current technology with a sleek and minimal style, resulting in an end result of the highest quality.

Sony was the first to put a full-frame sensor inside of a mirrorless camera, the A7 and A7R, and a little later, the A7S. While the first-of-its-kind cameras aren't without flaws, Sony executed their ideas fairly well and made some pretty solid cameras to start the new line.

Speaking of first-of-its kind, Sony also designed a “camera-without-a-camera,” the QX10 and QX100. These cameras have a sensor and lens, but no operating system—instead, consumers use their smartphone via wi-fi or NFC to operate the camera. While the cameras certainly have flaws (mainly in the slow response due to operating through wi-fi), we still have to applaud Sony for the way they've responded to the rise in smartphone photography (plus the cameras have actually sold remarkably well).

Sony has also been highly successful with the RX compact camera line that began with the RX100, a compact camera with a 1” sensor, excellent image quality and full manual modes. The camera has since seen some solid updates, and remains a good option. Sony also added the RX10, a camera with a 1” sensor but instead of focusing on compact size, adds a much bigger zoom.

While their focus is on more advanced models, it’s usually a pretty safe bet to pick up a Sony compact, even a budget priced one, and still get a lot of bang for your buck. We're also big fans of Sony's designs, making their cameras easy to use and adjust, like the HX400 that has an automatic sensor on the electronic viewfinder as well as a control ring around the lens.

We here at Digital Camera HQ offer unbiased, informative reviews and recommendations to guide you to the right camera. We're not an actual store; we're just here to help you find the perfect camera at the best price possible by using our camera grades. Let us know if you have any problems or questions, we're happy to help.