Sony a7S II Review – First Impressions & Footage

The new Sony A7s II is available now and definitely a best-seller mirrorless video camera. But what makes this camera so wanted and how does it perform compared to the already excellent Sony a7R II? I took the new camera out in the field and here are my first impressions.

I took the Sony a7S II for a short spin and thanks to the help of police officers Birgit Neuwirth and Thomas Lagler (not to forget Dinozzo, the 11 months old Belgian shepherd from the Austrian K9 unit) I came up with the short test video above. My “artistic” decision was to shoot everything with available light only and use two lenses, the Sony 28-135mm F/4 and Sony 16-35 F/4. Needless to say it was a “zero budget gig” and as a single operator I’ve tried to keep this production as simple as possible. 

I’ve tried to squeeze “normal footage”, “lowlight” and “slow-motion” parts into one video. The lowlight footage in this large office building was filmed with F/4 lenses in up to 8,000 ISO (mostly 6,400). The two short slow-motion sequences were recorded in 100p at 100Mbit/S and I used Adobe Premiere’s “Time Remapping” function to slow them down.

Sony a7S II

So what are the main advantages of the Sony a7S II over the original A7s? (in no particular order)

  • Internal UHD 4K recording
  • S-log 3 (in addition to S-log 2)
  • Gamma Display Assistant (allows you to monitor your flat S-log 2 or 3 image in a more vivid Rec 709 way)
  • Internal IBIS stabilisation system (5-Axis SteadyShot)
  • A possibility to charge the camera via the USB port
  • A possibility to assign “REC” to other buttons than the awkwardly placed rec button
  • 100fps (PAL), 120fps (NTSC) in HD quality
    Note:

You can record slow-motion in 2 different ways: HFR will give you an instant slow-motion (recording data rate is 16Mbit/s) or, you can shoot at 100/120 fps in full HD (100Mbit/s which spread between the up to 120fps) and then conform to 24/25p in post.
Also, when choosing to shoot in slow-motion note there is 2.2x centre crop of the sensor.

  • Higher OLED EVF resolution
  • ISO 1,600 is the “native ISO” (In 4K and full HD recording modes. When switching to Full HD 100p the base ISO is 3200 as on old Sony a7S).
  • Reduced rolling shutter effect especially noticeable in Full HD mode
  • Two additional Picture Profiles (PP8 and 9)
  • Additional Custom-Key button

We have yet to test how the HD quality coming out of the Sony a7S II compares to the original a7S.

When it comes to comparing the a7S II to the Sony a7R II, the most noticeable differences are: 

  • The addition of S-log 3
  • Up to 120fps in full HD (compared to 60fps)
  • Gamma Display Assist
  • Sony’s a7S II is cleaner in low-light situations compared to the a7R II
  • Because of its higher pixel count, the Sony a7R II can shoot in APS-C S35 crop-mode in 4K. The a7S II can not do that. Further more, any APS-C lens that will be attached to this camera will have strong vignetting at the edges in 4K-mode (APS-C mode is limited to HD resolutions).

So which camera I should get? 

As far as I’m concerned, there is not a clear answer to that question. If you are doing a lot of photography on top of your video productions, then the Sony a7R II is the way to go, otherwise personally I would consider the Sony a7S II as my preferred option because of the small refinements they put in over the a7RII. Also there is a price difference of $200 to consider.

DSC04384

Conclusion:

The Sony a7S II feels like a matured product. It is truly amazing to see how much technology is packed inside this little thing. As a documentary film shooter, this will become my preferred working tool. I treat those cameras like “a brain” that can be expend or minimise depending on the type of work I do. Additionally, I prefer internal 4K recording over an external device when ever possible or needed, so the Sony a7s II is the perfect working tool for me.

Last but not least, It is also worth mentioning that I did not have any overheating issues with the camera during the long shooting day. All was shot inside at normal room temperature. I would love to hear other user’s experiences and see if they had similar issues as reported with the a7R II.

Setting for the above video: XAVC-S 4K, 25p, Slog2. For the slow-motion sequences: XAVC-S HD 100p/100M

Music from musicbed:
Cedric Conti – The Hotel and Cultus – First snow
Graded with James Miller’s Deluts

Edit: As requested by some, here is the ungraded version of the above video. Please head directly to Vimeo and download the 4K version if you like to try it for yourself.

 

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

 
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Reply
Daniel Vuong October 22, 2015

Hi Nino,
hab erst jetzt gecheckt, dass du tatsächlich aus Wien kommst! :D
Cooles Video übrigens. Kurze Frage, da ich ja schon mal vor kurzem beim first Impression der A7rII gefragt habe, wollte ich mal kurz fragen wie die f4 FE Objektive von Sony sind? Vorallem für Fotografen. Bin ja noch auf ner 7D und will den richtigen Moment abwarten das richtige für zu kaufen.
Gruß Daniel

Nino Leitner Reply
Nino Leitner October 22, 2015

Hi Daniel,
This is my friend’s Johnnie’s review! Sorry don’t have experience with the Sony f4 FE lenses, but actually that is something that Johnnie might be able to answer.
Nino

Reply
Daniel Vuong October 22, 2015

Oh yeah, I totally overread who made this review post. :D
But thanks though!

 Ord Mantell Reply
Ord Mantell October 22, 2015

Schickes Review, Danke :)

Reply
Val R October 22, 2015

Hi Johnnie, this is really cool, what rig did you use to do the handheld shots at the end where the guy was sitting on the chair? Thank you

 Philipp Benedikt Reply
Philipp Benedikt October 22, 2015

Just wanted to ask the same question about the rig we can also see in the picture above :) ?

Reply
Johnnie Behiri October 22, 2015

Hi Val R.

CAME-TV CAME-Single is currently my preferred gimbal. Very easy to use and adjust.
Yes, the guy is sitting on the chair…

Thank you!

Johnnie

Reply
Stéphane Lefort October 23, 2015

Hi. Did you also try pilotfly h+ ? I want a single hand gimbal for sony a7s with 1635 but its Hard to choose just looking at internet reviews…

Reply
Johnnie Behiri October 24, 2015

Hi Stéphane Lefort

Sorry, no experience with the pilotfly h+

Thanks.

Johnnie

Art Sanchez Reply
Art Sanchez October 22, 2015

Will you measure the DR in the next tests?

cinema5D Reply
cinema5D October 22, 2015

Sure! coming up during next week.

Marcus Gelhard Reply
Marcus Gelhard October 27, 2015

What day are they coming? Cant wait :-)

Ed Mahoo Reply
Ed Mahoo October 22, 2015

Nice! :)

Reply
Johnnie Behiri October 22, 2015

Thanks Ed!

Luke Holley Reply
Luke Holley October 22, 2015

Nice review as always. Did you find that the Came-One and 16-35mm combo worked well? Personally I have had issues with Came-Mini 2 and the A7S with the 16-35mm with motors being stressed to the point that I cannot get a very stable image wall walking with the combo.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri October 22, 2015

Hi Luke.

It was very easy to adjust and use the CAME-TV CAME-Single to work with the Sony a7S II in combination with the Sony 16-35 lens. At no point I felt like the motors are being stressed…

Thanks!

Johnnie

 Clive McLaughlin Reply
Clive McLaughlin October 23, 2015

Hi Johnnie,
I’m a CAME Single user also – I assume this used native sony lens autofocus?
I’ve been using autofocus on the gimbal with a6000 and a7s – most people still think it’s mad.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri October 23, 2015

Hi Clive.

Happy to be mad…:) (as long as everything is in focus)….

The a7SII worked very well in combination with the Sony 16-35mm lens.

Thanks!

Johnnie

 Giorgio Milone Reply
Giorgio Milone October 28, 2015

HI,but A7sII with 16-35 isn’t in big overweight for the Came single tollerance? ? thanks

Yura Makarov Reply
Yura Makarov October 22, 2015

Great review and great video! Thanks!
I have a few questions, I saw in the beginning of footage in the sky there were these visible gradients strips (when it goes from bright to dark.) Is it due Vimeo compression, post production or just because of 8-bit?
Also, have you tested usb power option? Is it possible continuously shoot with external usb battery and sometimes do hot swap?
Is there still 29 minute recording limit?

Reply
Johnnie Behiri October 22, 2015

Hi Yura Makarov

-Wish I could share the 10 GB ProRes file…It looks cleaner with less bending. (still there but much less). 8 bit, low contrast grey sky and Vimeo compression does not help here….

-29 min recording limit is still there.

-Regarding powering, will try and come back to you.

Thanks!

Johnnie

Yura Makarov Reply
Yura Makarov October 28, 2015

Thanks!
Do you convert footage to ProRes for editing?

I wish a7s ii has 10bit at least output for external recorder. Sometimes it feels there is no reason to have such high dynamic range and to have almost no color/shadows information within these 14 stops.
I realized that for some less contrast scenes it’s better to use cine profiles, since they have about 50% more color/shadows information per stop than slog. Sometimes it can help to reduce banding.

Philippe Claes Reply
Philippe Claes October 22, 2015

Hi
1)Is the only 2.2x crop mode in 1080HD 120p or can we shot 1080p 25-50p in APSC or 2.2x crop too ? ( I don’t speak about the 4K APSC, I know there is not, but 1080p)
2)Can we put a Speedbooster adapter in HFR to have 2.2x 0.71= 1,56 (APSC) in HFR mode ?

Reply
Johnnie Behiri October 22, 2015

Hi Philippe Claes

-There is no APS C mode in 4K.
-You can work in full frame in 25/50p.
-As soon as you turn to XAVC HD 100p the 2.2x crop is activated.
-HFR mode will automatically crop the picture. You can use a speedbooster adapter and instantly get APS C perspective.

Thanks

Johnnie

Reply
Rob Migrin October 22, 2015

Great review thank you! I am very curious about the overheating issue. If you have any addition information or run long recording overheating tests please let us know. I am considering getting this camera as a B-camera to my FS7 and a primary use would be recording second angles on long interviews in 4K. Overheating seems to be the big issue with doc work on the A7Rii and if this camera can do internal 4K with no heat issues then it would be the obvious choice for me.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri October 22, 2015

Hi Rob.

Will do my best to check as we all have this question open for now.

Thanks!

Johnnie

Reply
Rob Migrin October 22, 2015

Thanks! I figured you guys were looking into it.

 Peter Borrud Reply
Peter Borrud October 23, 2015

I just got my A7sII this week and filmed a 35 minute interview this morning with my camera. I had the camera on for setup some before, but the camera shut down twice during the interview due to overheating. The temperature inside the hotel was about 75 degrees. I didn’t pull the screen out on the camera which is supposed to help, but I was really surprised to see it overheat like that especially when you need it to record continuously.

Besides that I’ve been really happy with the camera, but this has a caused a real concern for me as far as using it on professional. Hopefully there is a way to resolve the issue to some degree soon.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri October 23, 2015

Hi Peter. Thanks for your feedback.

Doesn’t sound good….(BTW you stated your interview lasted 35 min., does your camera can shoot over 30 min in one go?. the one I have is restricted to 29:59).

Regarding solutions. Please try moving the LCD screen away from the camera body. That might help a bit to reduce heat.

Regarding a warning before shutting. I’m surprised, as the RX10 II and RX100 IV both have heat warning signs before switching off.

I’m almost sure Sony will not release a firmware update. In fact, I don’t even think they regard this as a malfunction as it is clear for them that heat in such a small camera body over a certain length of recording time can happen.

Hope this helps.

Thanks!

Johnnie

 Rodrigue Llado Reply
Rodrigue Llado October 22, 2015

Hey thanks a lot for this review ! Just one question, the A7s is able to shoot 1080p 60fps in both full frame and APS-C mode, right ? Only the 1080 120fps is limited to APS-C ? Thanks !

 Steve Cosi Reply
Steve Cosi November 18, 2015

for those who haven’t found this answer yet– yes, it is flexible between full-frame and APS-C (super 35) ONLY when 1080 60p/i or slower frame rates. in 4K it is fixed at full frame, and in 1080 higher frame rates (120p) it is fixed at a 2.2 sensor crop (hence cropped even more than APS-C crop). this causes some head scratching and physically moving the camera about, when using fixed zoom lenses and changing between regular and slow mo (unless of course shooting all in 120p and altering speeds in post– but there will be some iq loss with lower mbps dedicated to real time, less frame covered for shallow depth, etc.).

Aaron Danger Nathanson Reply
Aaron Danger Nathanson October 22, 2015

Hey Johnnie! Noticed you’re rocking the Altura eyecup- I’ve been using it with my A7S for months now, and it’s one of my favourite accessories. Glad to see it fits the updated A7 bodies! Definitely adds a good contact point, blocks out all the light, doesn’t interfere with eye sensor, and doesn’t block the screen when it’s pulled out. Awesome!

Cheers from Vancouver,

Aaron

Reply
Ehrin Macksey October 23, 2015

Hi Aaron,

I tried googleing the eyecup you mention but can’t find anything for Sony. You have a link or tutorial to adapt to a Sony a7?

Thanks,
Ehrin

Reply
Johnnie Behiri October 23, 2015

Hi Ehrin

http://c5d.at/eyecup

Hope that helps.

Johnnie

 Yannick Derennes Reply
Yannick Derennes October 22, 2015

Hi there, can you tell us how was the battery life during your test? This is a major flaw for all miroless cameras ’til there.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri October 22, 2015

Hi Yannick

It’s a small camera with a small capacity battery yet, it needs the power to run..

Honestly speaking, I just got some more batteries plus a Varavon pack as a back up, and never looked back.

Thanks!

Johnnie

Reply
Sasz Gorskii March 6, 2016

What Johnnie means to say is that the battery capacity isn’t great. They’re high draw devices. You’ll need to spend extra on batteries.

 Steve Cosi Reply
Steve Cosi November 18, 2015

one thing sony finally did was allow the usb power to be plugged in while battery is inserted, to allow camera power for those shots when given access to power outlets. i guess when this process is used, the battery still supplements power to the camera when needed though. why it doesn’t just have full power coming in through the cable, i have no idea. i ended up getting the atomos power station– it DOES allow full continuous power direct to the unit when plugged in to wall (using a dummy battery in camera) and can last ultra long on the two supplied batteries in the power station (much as a vertical grip could do). the down side of course is that there’s this rather bulky external unit that can be attached to the camera but not as locked in/ ergonomically efficient as a vertical grip would be. according to 3rd party tests, the regular sony single battery lasts a bit longer per charge than it did in the original a7s, at least.

Reply
Wintson Smith October 22, 2015

Did the base S-log ISO (800 for A7Rii vs. 1600 for A7Sii) or the better autofocus on A7Rii play into your decision?

Reply
Johnnie Behiri October 22, 2015

For purchasing the a7S II over the a7R II?

Reply
Wintson Smith October 22, 2015

yes, or I guess if not your personal decision, should people take that into consideration? It seems ISO 800 would be more helpful for day-time shooting without having to resort to an ND filter. And phase detection seems like a pretty big feature, especially if the user is going to be doing any kind of photography.

 William Reynish Reply
William Reynish October 27, 2015

AFAIK phase detection AF doesn’t work in video mode on the RII. But for stills its great.

Reply
Jonathan Rapoport October 22, 2015

SLOG in HD has a minimum ISO of 3,200 not 1,600 on A7SII?

Reply
Johnnie Behiri October 22, 2015

Hi Jonathan.

Sorry about the confusion. Slog in HD 100p has a minimum ISO of 3200. In 25/50p it is 1600. (Article is now updated)

Thanks!

Johnnie

 Craig Spirko Reply
Craig Spirko October 22, 2015

“ISO 1,600 is the “native ISO” (In 4K recording mode only. When switching to Full HD, the base ISO is still 3200 as on old Sony a7S)”

I’m able to shoot ISO 1600 in S-Log3 HD on my A7S2. (24p NTSC, btw)

Reply
Johnnie Behiri October 22, 2015

Hi Craig.

I’ve updated my article. It meant to be “in full HD 100p.

Thanks!

Johnnie

Javier Mollo Reply
Javier Mollo October 22, 2015

5D Mark III Raw, in my opinion, has better skin tones.

Jason Brooks Reply
Jason Brooks November 5, 2015

Sure, lovely images. The things I’ve shot in raw on the 5d3 are some of the most beautifully natural images I’ve ever caputered.

HOWEVER, it’s a complete PITA when it comes to the post workflow, not being able to playback properly in camera, etc., etc…

I’ve moved onto the FS-7, and trust me – I don’t miss the raw hack that much! Each to their own though – whatever floats your boat.

-jason

 Tanju Ture Reply
Tanju Ture October 22, 2015

Hi Johnnie…
Great review and video. I have a question about the focus…especially at the end when you walk to the guy in the chair with the camera and stop at a closeup of his face. How do you do your focus…manually or does the camera do the adjustment by itself?
Greetings Tanju

Reply
Johnnie Behiri October 22, 2015

Hi Tanju Ture

The mentioned shot (like all other “action” movement shots), were done in autofocus mode.
The combination of this camera together with the Sony 16-35mm full frame lens, proved to be powerful!.

Thanks!

Johnnie

 Andrew Ray Reply
Andrew Ray October 22, 2015

Great video, thanks for sharing this.

One question about the video and one about the camera.

1) In the video skin tone turned green, is it camera’s fault or just personal choice?

2) So far I saw only 4k video around (which makes sense as this is new in the A7sii). Anyhow, I’m wondering if the more traditional HD shows improvement compared to the previous A7s model or if they are just the same.

Thanks for any info!

Reply
Johnnie Behiri October 22, 2015

Hi Andrew. Thank you!

Regarding your questions:

-Green skin tone is most evident when the police woman starts her walk with the dog into the corridor. Other then that, I think the skin tones are nice. (Thank you James Miller for a great LUT).

-I intend to test the HD quality of the camera during early next week and share my findings.

Thanks!

Johnnie

 Andrew Ray Reply
Andrew Ray October 22, 2015

Awesome,

I really look forward to hearing what you’re going to find out about the HD. I don’t do 4k really, and HD is still what I’ve to deal with for most of my work.

Thank you for doing your tests!!

 Peter Borrud Reply
Peter Borrud October 23, 2015

I just shot an interview this morning with my A7sII and my camera shut down twice from overheating and the interview as only 35 minutes. I’m now very concerned if I’ll be able to use this as a BCAM on professional shoots. I’m happy with the look of it, the latitude, the image stabilization, and a lot of other things about it.

Does anyone know of a fix for the overheating issue? Will Sony release a firmware update that will help with this. Even just having some form of warning would help or a way to push the camera little further when you need it. You can’t have a camera shutdown during the middle of filming without any warning.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri October 23, 2015

Hi Peter. Thanks for your feedback.

Doesn’t sound good….(BTW you stated your interview lasted 35 min., does your camera can shoot over 30 min in one go?. the one I have is restricted to 29:59).

Regarding solutions. How about trying to move the LCD screen away from the camera body. That might help a bit to reduce heat.

Regarding a warning before shutting. I’m surprised, as the RX10 II and RX100 IV both have heat warning signs before switching off.

I’m almost sure Sony will not release a firmware update. In fact, I don’t even think they regard this as a malfunction as it is clear for them that heat in such a small camera body over a certain length of recording time can happen.

Hope this helps.

Thanks!

Johnnie

 Peter Borrud Reply
Peter Borrud October 23, 2015

Hi Johnnie,
Thank you for your input and fast reply. Yes it does have the same 29:59 restriction. But, it shutdown before that and with the overheating warning. Thankfully it turned on again within about 10 seconds and I could continue rolling ( and thankfully I also had a 2nd camera in the interview because the subject was still talking). The camera then shutdown again about 5-7 minutes later with another overheating warning. The second time it took about 20 seconds to turn on again. After I got it up and running, I waited for one of the questions and shut the camera down for about 30 seconds to let it cool so hopefully I could make it through the rest of the interview. Then I got through the remaining 10 minutes or so without a shutdown. After that shooting B-Roll wasn’t a problem.

I’m going to do a test this weekend to see if I have the same issue again with continuous 4K recording. I didn’t have the LCD pulled out so that could certainly help and I also left image stabilizer on during the interview (because it was a fast setup I didn’t have time to switch it off and didn’t think it would have an issue). So those two things could help the issue, but still I’m concerned now I can hold to this camera or not. I would like to, but I would also like to not have to worry about it shutting down while filming.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri October 24, 2015

Hi Peter.

Thanks for sharing and thank you for the detailed scenario description.

Please keep us updated. Overheating issue is a deal breaker for many!

Johnnie

 Cool Blake Reply
Cool Blake October 23, 2015

Sadly I think this guy doesn’t have the a7sii ….. He just wanna spark attention. No one yet has had overheating issues with this camera…..Except “this guy”

 Peter Borrud Reply
Peter Borrud October 23, 2015

Sorry but “this guy” actually did get his A7sII on Tuesday and shot with it for the first time yesterday. I’m not trying to cause a stir, but I want to alert people that this is a real issue that needs to be resolved. I personally didn’t think I would have a problem with it when I pre-ordered the camera so I wasn’t concerned about potential overheating.

I’ve never come across an issue quite like this with any camera I’ve owned or shot with. I’ve seen some Reds have occasional overheating issues but that was from extended use, a fan issue, or extreme heat. My 7D back in the day had occasional overheating when it was really hot and I shot with it for hours. But, even then it gave me a warning for about 10 minutes before it shutdown so I had time to take a break to let it cool. The A7sII on the other hand gave me no warning except for the one that was telling me it was shutting down. Thankfully I didn’t lose the shot, but my confidence in the camera went down a notch. But, I hope that with trying out the solutions that this can be alleviated.

Torben Greve Reply
Torben Greve October 27, 2015

Erik Naso did a very thorough overheat test… This is a quote from his Facebook page:

“Recorded full 30 min. no problem. When the clip stopped I started the recording again. Got a warning around 10 minutes in then it overheated at 15 minutes. So basically I got 45 minutes of continuous recording in 4K with IBIS on. After shutting the camera down then restarting it I was able to get around 4 minutes of recording before it overheated.”

But as I commented on his page, if your need is to record continously why would you use a camera that isn’t made for it?
I really don’t see an issue in this, just use the right tool.

 Peter Borrud Reply
Peter Borrud October 27, 2015

Thanks for letting me know about this. That’s good to know what its benchmark is and now I’m wondering what length it can go to with IBIS off. This is good to know, but I’m still concerned. A lot of jobs won’t want to work with a camera that is unreliable like that, whereas the A7sI is still more reliable in that sense. So for them to upgrade the camera to version II with this issue is really unfortunate.

Reply
Jack McClintock December 18, 2015

I gave up my Mark III and purchased an A7S II specifically to be able to have the capability of 4K interviews for smaller educational documentary shoots… and “this guy” has also had major overheating issues, with interviews that have only lasted 15-25 minutes… The problem with all these overheating tests that I keep hearing about is that they didn’t calculate runtime AFTER setup time like Peter mentioned in his original post… I don’t know if I just got a bad egg or what, or if everyone else can magically turn their camera on for an instantly lit interview, but in both of the circumstances that I have used the A7S II, I have had a 15-20 minute setup time, and have had it overheat about 8-10 minutes into the interview… I have read a ton about it, and this seems to be a major flaw in this camera still… If you’re shooting 4K 30 at 100 for a while and then decide to switch to an interview, expect this camera to overheat pretty quick!

I was in a temperature controlled environment (72 degrees or so), with the screen pulled out (although I admit it was not pulled out for the setup time)…

ALSO, another HUGE issue, while recording in the 4K you can not view both the display and external monitor via HDMI.. The onboard display goes black when you hit record…

Only other workflow I can think of to try next time is the following:
Arrive, frame shot (with screen pulled out), turn off camera, prepare lighting, turn on camera, tweak lighting, have talent sit in and finish tweaking / last looks for makeup, turn off camera and switch to a fresh (cool) battery…

 Peter Borrud Reply
Peter Borrud December 18, 2015

Hey Jack, thanks for sharing! That is scary indeed to hear that you are having these problems. I really love the camera so far and I don’t want to lose it, but the overheating is my biggest issue/concern still. The camera has overheated/shutdown on me during an important interview with a CEO. Thankfully it was intermittent recording, but I don’t know what I would do if I had to film an hour interview or longer (especially after setting up for an hour with the camera running). I really wish that Sony would address this issue more, because its really ridiculous that they would release a camera with this happening.

I might need to pick up a Shogun or an Ninja assassin for future interviews. This is one of the reasons why I’m going to move to a Scarlet-W as a main camera so that the A7sII can be more for additional B-Roll and a BCAM during interviews. That is also good suggestion with the interview setup workflow. I will give it a try on the next one.

Reply
Jack McClintock December 18, 2015

Yeah man! No good… I’m on the fence about what to do… I am excited about the Scarlet-W though and might consider that as well!

I feel like I read somewhere that people had still experienced overheating issues even with a Shogun though too… I would be really interested to see if that works, so please let me know if you get one!

 Peter Borrud Reply
Peter Borrud December 18, 2015

Oh wow, I haven’t heard about overheating with the Shogun, I’ll have to look into that. I’ll let you know if I go that route and/or find another solution that helps. Please keep me posted too on your progress with overcoming the A7sII overheating problem.

Karoliina Salminen Reply
Karoliina Salminen October 23, 2015

Looks great! Canon has lost it now completely.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri October 23, 2015

Dear Karoliina.

Good to see you here again! Thanks for watching the video and commenting.

Johnnie

Reply
Cezar Cheng October 23, 2015

Hi! Do you have overheating problems with a7sII in 4k video capturing?

Reply
Johnnie Behiri October 23, 2015

Hi Cezar Cheng

For me, so far so good. BUT, let’s wait till more users are using the camera and reporting about any overheating problems, if any.

Thanks

Johnnie

Reply
eduardo munoz October 23, 2015

Hi Jhonnie!
Video looks amazing! The concept, the quality, being a single operator, and just using only 2 lenses and natural light. Really run and gun style for a proper corporate film with such a nice outcome
A couple of question about motion:
-did you use any tripod? or everything’s handheld with a7s internal IBIS and with came single gimbal? everything’s looks so cinematic
-how good it’s the came single when walking and running? any major bumpy issues?
thanks in advance for you time and for posting such a nice review!
edu

Reply
Johnnie Behiri October 23, 2015

Hi eduardo

Thank you for your thumbs up!.

-Yes, tripod was used for the static shots.
-I truly like working with CAME single, together with the Sony 16-35mm lens it was a good combination for this short test.
-Best will be if you can try the gimbal for yourself, then decide if it works for you. For me it was the easiest and fasts gimbal to balance among all those I’ve tested before.
-Regarding movement quality, 3 axis has its own limitations, but a bit of practice can do wonder.

Thank you!

Johnnie

Reply
eduardo munoz October 23, 2015

Thank you Johnnie!
ok, I was really amazed how still the static shots are, that’s because they are on trips,hehehe..
Did you rent or buy the came single in order to test it?
I like to rent stuff before buy it, but doesn’t really know where I can find the gimbal here in Spain to test it before buy it, that’s why I asked you that much
Asked the service in China and it seems they haven’t got a distributor here in Spain :(
Nice to know it’s the easiest and fastest one, and that really work good with A7S, these are really nice things to start
Thank you again for your time mate!
keep it doing good work with your website!
edu

Reply
Grégory Leroy June 28, 2016

Hello Johnnie,
Nice video. I don’t think you have answered eduardo last question, did you activate the IBIS on the video?
Some people say we should avoid it cause it creates an artificial vibe.
What’s your opinion? Should we used IBIS in addition to a shoulder rig?
Pleas let me know, I plan to rent this camera for a shooting.
Thank you.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri June 29, 2016

Hi Grégory Leroy.

Yes, IBIS was activated in this video. Personally never had a problem working with it when the camera was on a shoulder rig.

Best will be to try for yourself and see if it is working for you as the combination of lenses you are using with your camera might differ from the one I’m using.

Thank you!

Johnnie

Reply
Grégory Leroy June 30, 2016

Thank you for your answer, I will follow your advice and experiment.

Anthony Salerno Reply
Anthony Salerno October 23, 2015

I heard when shooting in 4K after 30 minutes of continuous rolling the camera will over heat. Can any one confirm or deny that?

Reply
Johnnie Behiri October 24, 2015

Hi Anthony Salerno.

I did not have that problem (yet)? but encouraging other users who got the camera to share their findings.

Thanks.

Johnnie

James Winters Reply
James Winters October 23, 2015

Sure thing. Any tools to help us shoot at night with minimal lighting should be celebrated.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri October 24, 2015

Agree! A god sent feature for the documentary shooter.

 Daniel Ridicki Reply
Daniel Ridicki October 24, 2015

Hi Johnnie, thank you for your review. I have a question: how good is the sound recorded with this camera? Do you use additional sound recorder or is built in sound good enough? I mean, my 5D sound can’t really be used for serious work
Thanks,
Daniel

Reply
Johnnie Behiri October 24, 2015

Dear Daniel.

With the original a7s I moved completely to record my sound “in camera”.
The build in amp is better if not best among of those found in DSLRs. Further more, using one of Sony’s XLRs attachments (K1m, K2m) will bypass the camera build in amp and will supply even higher sound quality. When working with a soundman/woman, he/she will connect directly to the camera (when that XLR attachment is attached to the camera) and so far I never had a complain about the sound quality. The a7S II is no different. I guess Sony did not change anything in the sound department when compered to the original a7S.

Hope that helps.

Thanks!

Johnnie

 Daniel Ridicki Reply
Daniel Ridicki October 25, 2015

Thanks mate. It does.

 Peter Carroll Reply
Peter Carroll October 24, 2015

What is the stabilizer rig you are using?
Thanks.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri October 24, 2015

Hi Peter Carroll

CAME-TV CAME-Single

Thanks.

Johnnie

 Fab Chaundy Reply
Fab Chaundy October 24, 2015

No special thanks to the dog? :P

Reply
Johnnie Behiri October 24, 2015

Taken from the beginning of my review:
“I took the Sony a7S II for a short spin and thanks to the help of police officers Birgit Neuwirth and Thomas Lagler (not to forget Dinozzo, the 11 months old Belgian shepherd from the Austrian K9 unit)”

Dinozzo, is the brave dog!

:)

Thanks!

Johnnie

Reply
Kevin Gates October 26, 2015

So how does the internal 4K compare to outputting via an Atomos Shogun as with the A7S? That’s the key question for me. Any thoughts?

Reply
Johnnie Behiri October 26, 2015

Hi Kevin.

Can’t answer that question as I did not compare it, BUT we will try and include that comparison test in our up coming a7SII lab article.

Thanks!

Johnnie

Alex Cook Reply
Alex Cook October 27, 2015

Just did this https://vimeo.com/143555047

Damian Dodd Reply
Damian Dodd October 27, 2015

“If you are doing a lot of photography on top of your video productions, then the Sony a7R II is the way to go, otherwise personally I would consider the Sony a7S II as my preferred option” The A7R(2) is better for photography and A7S(2) is better for video. So what you do the most should drive which to get?

Brian Godsey Reply
Brian Godsey October 28, 2015

Any heating issues using internal 4K?

Paul Ward Reply
Paul Ward October 28, 2015

No one’s mentioned how bad the rolling shutter is? Is it worse than the 5D mk3 or better?

Justin Ho Reply
Justin Ho October 28, 2015

Great to hear there’s less rolling shutter!

 Emile Modesitt Reply
Emile Modesitt October 28, 2015

Just wondering: why did you shoot the test footage in Slog-2 instead of Slog-3? Since that’s one of the new features of the mark ii, I would think you’d want to test it out, no? Also, just a quick note: the A7s mkii shouldn’t have any overheating issues because it doesn’t do pixel binning like the A7r mkii.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri November 3, 2015

Hi Emile.

I felt more comfortable shooting in Slog 2 which I know well as this was my first encounter with this camera. Shooting in Slog 3 will come next.

Regarding overheating. Apparently the a7SII do suffers for some extents for the same issue.

Thanks!

Johnnie

 Alex Clear Reply
Alex Clear October 29, 2015

Hi there, two quick questions:

1) What have you done for recording sound while using the A7S (or variations!) on this Game-TV gimbal? Especially while run ‘n’ gunning it! With your set up there … have you tried to add a wireless receiver or anything on top or is this too heavy as you have to be pushing it to the limits with the 16-35mm lens on there!

2) Run and Gun hand-held with the A7Sii while moving/adjusting your position … your thoughts on the built in 5-axis stabilization compared to the A7S ??

Thanks :-)

Reply
Johnnie Behiri November 3, 2015

Hi Alex.

1- In this particular review I did not use any sound from external device/microphone. Saying that, the CAME TV gimbal has a simple way to screw a magic arm on the left hand side of the handle so you can place anything on it that can help you capturing better audio. I can easily imagine adding a wireless receiver on top of the magic arm and connect the cable to the camera which is on the gimbal.

2- The 5-axis is nice to cancel some of those small annoying shakes. It is by all means not meant to be a replacement for a Steadicam…

Thanks!

Johnnie

Ryan Lawrence Hinman Reply
Ryan Lawrence Hinman October 29, 2015

That’s because the A7S II is impossible to focus on the rear screen. Worst screen I’ve ever had on a camera.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri November 3, 2015

To my opinion, The a7S has one of the best LCD screens out there.

Maury El Prooducer Reply
Maury El Prooducer October 29, 2015

mmmmmm ok great thas wha i was thinking thanks Ryan

Gj Castro Reply
Gj Castro October 29, 2015

Getting mine tomorrow in the mail! Will post test footage soon as well.

 Tamir Platzmann Reply
Tamir Platzmann October 29, 2015

Hi dear Johnnie!
How are you?

I’m thinking about changing my gh4 to sony.
I have the sigma 18-35 and the tokina 16-35 for super 35.
Do you think the A7SII worth to lose those lenses or maybe to buy the A7RII?
2. Can I change the place of the video record button in the A7RII as well?
3. There is an option to see in the viewfinder in greyscale like in the gh4?
4. Other option for me us to stay with the gh4 and use the sony A7II as a stills camera.

I will be happy to hear your thoughts.
Thanx a lot!
Enjoy, Tamir

Reply
Johnnie Behiri November 3, 2015

Hi Tamir. All is good thank you!.

Both Sony’s are an excellent cameras!.

1.Personally I will choose the a7SII over the a7RII due to:

– Better lowlight performance
– Slog 3
– Gamma Display Assistant
– It also looks like the a7SII tends to shutdown less quickly then the a7RII due to overheating problems.

2. Yes!
3. No
4. If you need a camera to also act as a photo camera, I guess the a7RII will serve you better. (then you can also keep you APS-C lenses)….On the over hand…. please take in account that Sony’s a7RII in HD mode is NOT producing nice looking videos in oppose to the 4K footage. The a7SII in HD mode is doing better!.

Thank you!
Johnnie

 Giorgio Milone Reply
Giorgio Milone October 29, 2015

HI, A7sII with 16-35 isn’t in big overweight for the Came single tollerance?? thanks

Reply
Johnnie Behiri November 3, 2015

Hi Giorgio

I did not have a problem with this camera/lens combo.

Thanks!

Johnnie

 Manos Kokolakis Reply
Manos Kokolakis November 3, 2015

Hi,
I have bought the Sony A7S II and I use it with the comlite adapter to attach my canon L lenses.But I get the light leak phenomenon every time I pass through a light source so It is useless to work with canon lenses. I search the net and I found that there is that problem and with more expensive metabone adapter. Does anyone have use canon lenses on Sony A7S II?

Reply
Johnnie Behiri November 3, 2015

Hi Manos.

The commlite adapter is very problematic. The one I had was sent back the following day after getting it…
Metabones improved their version III which had a similar problem with version IV and now it is definitely better.

In general, I’m trying to work with native Sony E-mount lenses as the Metabones adapter can occasionally suffer from electronic connectivity problem resulting in false or no F stop information. You will find yourself turning the camera on/off or screwing/unscrewing the lens until you gain this information again…

Thanks

Johnnie

Darek Os Reply
Darek Os November 4, 2015

There is another issue. Red dot in blazing sun:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i18njoFhcag

Reply
Johnnie Behiri November 4, 2015

For the record.

Although this is very alerting, the camera I was testing did not have that issue.
I’ll send Sony the link to the above video.

Thanks!

Johnnie

 Daniel Wharton Reply
Daniel Wharton November 25, 2015

There is some beautiful footage here, but man, those frequent, jarring needle scratch sounds as transitions are not good. I had to mute it. I feel like they were really out of place with the subtle and otherwise very nice soundtrack.

Thanks for the review. I’m going to check out that gimbal for my a7SII

Reply
Johnnie Behiri November 25, 2015

Hi Daniel.

I’m with you. I over used the needle scratch.

Thanks!

Johnnie

Reply
Jack McClintock December 18, 2015

I have had big overheating issues with my new A7S II… I would love for someone to do an overheating test taking into consideration setup time (or shooting BROLL in 4K) before using the camera for an extended record…

What I have found is that my camera will shut down while recording after about 8-10 minutes if i have either been using it for a while before I do an extended record, or simply having it on for previewing during setup of an interview.

Pretty frustrated at this… Wondering if it’s just a bad sensor in my camera or something?

Reply
Dan Hopkins February 24, 2016

Hey Jack,

I had some overheating issues also in 4k. I was shooting back to back 4 minute performances in a 75 – 80 degree room. After about the 5th song, I started getting the overheating symbol.

This was before I did the firmware 2.0 upgrade. So far, I haven’t shot in any conditions like that again, but I’m wondering if you’ve tested it out again since the update? If this issue continues without a firmware fix, I’ll probably have to downgrade back to A7s..Can’t be having overheating during the ceremony of a wedding!

Lastly, have you had any issues shooting extended periods in regular HD?

 Joel Boucher Reply
Joel Boucher February 4, 2016

Can you use a speedbooster to reduce the 2.2x crop when recording in 1080p 120fps? As a wedding shooter I need wide slo motion shots during the reception. Speedbooster + sigma 24 art would get me there coming from a gh4 with speedbooster.

Reply
Dan Hopkins February 24, 2016

Still no overheating issues? I experienced it while filming a concert in a 75 – 80 degree room. This was before the firmware update though.

 Ian Stewart Reply
Ian Stewart April 1, 2016

Johnnie, thanks for your article! I am attempting to decide between shooting the a7S II strictly with the 4K internal codec or expand color depth by hooking up an external recorder. How flexible is the internal 4K 4:2:0 codec in post? Is the external recorder worth the bulk and cost? I will be shooting an indoor/outdoor event documentary-style.

 KC Bassett Reply
KC Bassett April 5, 2016

What is the song on the B&h portion? Thanks!