Sony A7RII Lowlight Footage – How Well Does it Handle Nighttime Shots?

Since its release early this week, the new Sony A7RII has left many filmmakers quite impressed. After our reviews these last days we also had many positive things to say about Sony’s newest 4K mirrorless camera.

As we know, the famous Sony A7s is legendary in terms of lowlight and the Sony A7RII vs. Sony A7s scientific lowlight comparison gave us some idea of how well the A7RII performs (Check it out HERE). But we wanted to know how that lowlight performance works in the field, so we took the camera out for a spin last night.

Watch and download the ungraded version here

Notes:

  • The majority of the footage was shot at ISO 3200-6400. In some shots I was courageous enough to go as high as 12800 (0:44:20) and ISO 10000 (01:11:16) for test purposes….
  • I tried staying close to neutral colours rather than applying a certain look during grading.
  • In a few shots I adjusted the white balance contrast a bit.
  • I started shooting with a tripod/slider and after 3 shots decided to move handheld. It is less intimidating when shooting people after midnight…
  • I was using 3 lenses. The Tokina 11-16mm f2.8, Samyang 35mm f1.5 and the Samyang 85mm f1.5. It is not the first time I feel that these old Samyang lenses are not suitable for 4K shooting. Much too soft. In my opinion, those are great for HD but not 4K. (Note: I’m not referring to the 50mm T/1.5 Cine that shined in our review)
  • Originally I wanted to shoot in APS-C mode with the Metabones Speedbooster, but I discovered that the Tokina can not reach infinity focus when the adapter is on.
  • The crop mode for this video was: APS-C (better in lowlight sensitivity in our tests).
  • No noise reduction was applied to this video

Conclusion: 

In my opinion it is safe to work with the Sony A7rII (for broadcast purposes) up to ISO 6400 without a problem. You can go higher risking some noise in your footage, but in some occasions it will be more than acceptable.

5S6A0775-3

 

Links to our other tests of the Sony A7RII:

Music:
Holly Maher – “Hiding places” supplied by themusicbed.com

Johnnie Behiri is a freelance documentary cameraman/editor/producer working mostly for the BBC and other respected broadcasters. He is also co-owner of cinema5d.com

Watch it on Vimeo

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Dan Buck Joyce
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Looks good, you doing anything with the RX10ii? I’ve had mine for 2 weeks.

Thomas Jahn
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Thomas Jahn

Why would you use a token 11-16 with a Sppedbooster in APS-C Mode??? Makes no sense at all.

Sebastian Wöber
Member

Oh it does make sense. At 16mm it covers full-frame and with the Speedbooster you get 1 stop more light, meaning a minimum of F2 which is great for a 16mm focal length. Too bad the Speedbooster didn’t match infinity on this lens.

A Lim
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A Lim

Is it true that when using speedbooster with APS-C mode enabled, you reduce rolling shutter as claimed by Philip Bloom when he tested this combo with the a7s?

Sebastian Wöber
Member

It’s true for the A7s, not for the A7RII. We measured a stronger rolling shutter in APS-C Mode:
https://www.cinema5d.com/sony-a7rii-rolling-shutter/

Patrick Zadrobilek
Member

Hey Johnnie,

very nice night shots, as always ;-)

But it seems there is a hot-pixel on the sensor. Look at the red circle:

comment image?dl=0

Greets,
Patrick.

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