The theme of this year’s NAB Show seemed to be powerful new cameras, as you can probably tell by our NAB coverage thus far. This includes Sony’s newest camera in the A7 series of full-frame mirrorless cameras, the A7S.
The bodystyle of the A7S matches that of the previous two models, with the added power of the new sensor. As Sony Electronic’s El-Deane Naude explains, “The ‘S’ stands for sensitivity, so it still has the full frame sensor, and it has 12.2 megapixels. So way fewer pixels, which means each individual pixel is much bigger”. This helps the A7S produce a clean image regardless of lighting, keeping its low light noise to a minimum. This also extends to brightly lit areas as the sensor allows for shooting in very high dynamic range, letting you capture every little detail.
The new sensor also has several new features, including an RGB color filter, a gapless lens array, AR nano coating to reduce glare and flare. All this comes together for a much sharper and more powerful sensor overall, and “enhances the low light high dynamic range of the sensor.” The A7S utilizes the same W-series batteries as the rest of the A7 series cameras and can be run off the USB power supply.
The A7S produces several file formats: MP4, AVCHD (up to 60p at 28mbps), and the new XAVCS, all onto an SD card. XAVCS shoots 50mbps, up to 6op or broadcast quality. There’s also the ability to shoot slow motion and (the big draw for many) 4K. To take full advantage of the A7S’ 4K (and full HD) shooting ability you need to go through HDMI out to take advantage of an external recorder, such as the new Shogun from Atomos which was on display with the A7S in the Sony booth.
All in all, the A7S was built with sensitivity in mind, making it a powerful camera for many different applications, from photography to videography. Naude explains that the A7S even addresses a couple of the issues commonly caused by DSLRs: pixel binning and line skipping. These are solved by specifically building the sensor to keep the overall camera resolution down, and a feature called ‘Direct Pixel Readout’ which eliminates line skipping altogether.
Other features include Sony S-Log2 gamma controls, picture profiles (which can be saved to an SD card for sharing across cameras), timecode, center markers, zebra, peaking, focus, magnification and more. The A7S also has stereo mic inputs, with full audio control available through the menu. On top is an MI or multi interface shoe mount that has an extra 20 pins for mounting one of Sony’s XLR boxes from Sony’s higher end cameras for “true, balanced XLR audio”. If utilized with an external recorder you can even output to linear PCM audio.
Pricing and availability have yet to be announced, so please stay tuned to HDSLR Shooter for information as it arises. You can find out more about the Sony A7S in our video above, as well as at store.sony.com