Sony A7RII Rolling Shutter – Compared to Sony A7s Samsung NX1 Canon 1DC Panasonic GH4

Sony-a7rii-rolling-shutter-featured

Over the last days we’ve conducted several scientific lab tests, reviewed and taken the new Sony A7RII out into the field. In this article we are looking at the  Sony A7RII rolling shutter performance and see how good the sensor is in comparison to several other cameras.

Links to our other tests:

Rolling Shutter

The so called “rolling shutter” is a phenomenon that skews a camera image when fast moving objects are recorded or during fast pans and handheld camera movement. The reason for this is that most sensors read out the image line by line via a buffer.

On many CMOS cameras the rolling shutter effect has become a common issue, but some cameras have a stronger rolling shutter than others. When comparing the Sony A7RII to other cameras we can see that the rolling shutter effect is quite severe in 4K (UHD) Crop Mode. See the comparison below:

Sony-a7rii-rolling-shutter

We test the rolling shutter with a rotary chart. It always spins at the same speed and has a scale printed on it. The horizontal shift between the top and bottom line of pixels lets us roughly calculate the rolling shutter latency in milliseconds.

In Crop Mode we measured 29ms of latency on the Sony A7RII whereas in Full Frame Mode we only measured 16ms. In HD (Crop Mode) Rolling Shutter is minimal with 7ms, not far off the famous Arri AMIRA camera that has the lowest rolling shutter rating in our tests. Below you can see a chart comparing rolling shutter between several cameras:

Test-Scores-RS-Sony-A7RII

As you can see the Sony A7RII joins the Samsung NX1 which had the most severe rolling shutter we ever tested. The Canon 1DC and Sony A7s perform a little better and the Panasonic GH4 has the best values among small cinema cameras.

Conclusion

Rolling Shutter is for many not a purchase criteria. The phenomenon is mostly an issue when there is overly fast handheld movement or you film fast moving objects. However a rolling shutter of 29ms raises concerns. It is the highest measured rolling shutter among all cameras we every tested.

As we found out on Friday the Full Frame Mode is quite acceptable in terms of quality and offers a much better rolling shutter behaviour, but we also noticed that it performs badly in lowlight. It might come in handy when a better rolling shutter performance is needed and you have sufficient light available.

Comparing the Sony A7RII HD mode with that of the Sony A7s we can see that the Sony A7RII performs much better.

So rolling shutter on the new Sony A7RII is both good and bad. If you need a camera with good rolling shutter performance in 4K (UHD) you can either resort to the Sony A7RII Full Frame Mode or avoid this camera altogether and go with the Panasonic GH4 instead. The Sony A7s performs better, but the difference is not huge.

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Gum Bum
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Gum Bum

My dream camera at this point: a 4k A7s with a global shutter.

The first of these small camera manufacture to put a global shutter in their product win a price.
I don’t know if it’s technically possible, but I would buy that camera in a heartbeat.

User Experience
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User Experience

Sorry if I missed this in your post but I actually can not find any info regarding the rolling shutter measurements for the Sony A7rII in full frame HD.

You’d think this would have been included in the test?

User Experience
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User Experience

Sorry, I mean full frame 1080.

Andrew Howe
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I am starting to wonder whether rolling shutter is something audiences worry about or whether they just accept it like backwards turning wagon wheels in old westerns? I see it all the time on TV these days. A part of my brain says “Ooh look rolling shutter” but any attempt on my part to engage my family on the pitfalls of CMOS sensors is greeted with contempt or the occasional well aimed cushion.

Kris
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Kris

That’s not rolling shutter. The spinning-wheel thing is, I think, stroboscopic effect, a.k.a. judder. A larger shutter angle would blur the spokes, though the blurred spokes themselves might be spinning the wrong way. ALL cameras have that issue.

With the A7RII, the spokes on the backward spinning wheels (strobing) would look like they’re made of bendy noodles (rolling shutter.)

I mention this because I think the rolling shutter on the new Sony is a huge problem, given its price point, and shouldn’t be shrugged off.