The Ultimate Sony a7S II vs. a7S Test – What’s the Difference?

sony-a7s-vs-a7s-ii

The Sony a7S II is finally shipping and en route to filmmakers. It offers a few nice upgrades over its predecessor the Sony a7S. We shot a review with the new 4K mirrorless camera for some hands-on experience. But how do the cameras ACTUALLY compare in the lab? Here is the ULTIMATE Sony a7S II vs. a7S Test.

The two cameras have a very similar design, very similar functionality and a very similar if not identical sensor. Still there are a few enhancements Sony built into the new Sony a7S II, the biggest improvement is 4K internal recording. Let’s see how the two cameras compare in the lab, we will look at the specs in theory and then in real life.

Sony a7S II dynamic range tested with a XYLA-21 transmissive chart.

Sony a7S II dynamic range tested with a XYLA-21 transmissive chart.

Dynamic Range

Dynamic range is important for us filmmakers, it gives us the ability to capture high contrast scenes without over or underexposure, highlights and shadows are saved resulting in an organic, filmic look and possibilities in post production.

In theory:

Apparently the Sony a7S and a7S II share the same sensor and thus should have a very similar dynamic range.

In reality:

At 4K resolution in Slog2 (a7S via Atomos Shogun, a7S II internal) both cameras have the exact identical dynamic range slightly below 12 stops in our scientific lab tests.

Interestingly in Slog3 Gamma the a7S II gave us about half a stop more dynamic range.

We use a a DSC labs XYLA-21 transmissive chart and IMATEST evaluation software with a crisp Zeiss 50mm CP2 T/2.1 makro lens.

Conclusion:

Set your Sony a7S II to Slog3Cine (PP8 under Picture Profile Settings) in order to get the most dynamic range.

Rolling Shutter

a7s-vs-a7s-rolling-shutterThe 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.

In theory:

Due to the same sensor the rolling shutter could be similar, but the internal processing could speed up sensor readout and improve rolling shutter on the new a7S II.

In reality:

In 4K the Sony a7S II had the same rolling shutter performance in our tests as the a7S. Both in 4k as well as HD the a7S took about 20 milliseconds to readout the picture from top to bottom.

Same goes for the HD crop mode. Both cameras have the same rolling shutter performance in HD crop mode.

Conclusion:

No difference in rolling shutter performance.

Resolution / Quality in 4K

Obviously the Sony a7S II has the internal 4K advantage, but how does it compare to the Sony a7S recording 4K via hdmi to the Atomos Shogun?

In theory:

The quality of the images should be virtually identical with the only difference that the a7S II records to the XAVC-S codec in 8-bit and the Shogun will record the a7S data in a better codec like Apple ProRes HQ also in 8-bit color.

In reality:

Left: Sony a7S (4k via Shogun) Right: Sony a7S II (4k internal)

Left: a7S (4k external) Right: a7S II (4k internal)

Here’s a comparison crop image between the Sony a7S II vs. a7S in 4K. The only difference I see is that the 4K hdmi output does its typical Gamma change and slightly raises contrast and saturation. When matched the internal footage from the Sony a7S II looks virtually identical. I can definitely see more noise on the a7S though at its base ISO compared to the new a7S II. It’s nice to see also how well the XAVC-S 100 mbit codec preserves the image.

Concsluion:

In 4K the images look almost identical. The a7S II has a more accurate representation of Slog2 and less noise at the base ISOs (ISO 1600 & 3200). The image looks very similar to that of the GH4 as well.

Resolution / Quality in HD

Here’s where it gets complicated. The new a7S II has a lot of new format options. The original a7S had a full frame mode and a crop mode. The crop mode had slightly worse quality but was still acceptable.

In theory:

The new a7S II has the following options to record HD:

  • Full Frame HD
  • 1.6 crop HD
  • 2.2 crop HD
  • 2.2 crop HD slow motion 120fps

How do they compare to the original a7S HD modes?

Left: Sony a7S II 1080p Crop mode (1.6x) | Right: Sony a7S 1080p Crop Mode (1.6x)

Left: Sony a7S II 1080p Crop mode (1.6x) | Right: Sony a7S 1080p Crop Mode (1.6x)

Left: Sony a7S II HD crop (1.6x) | Right: Sony a7S II HD Slow Motion Crop (2.2x)

Left: Sony a7S II HD crop (1.6x) | Right: Sony a7S II HD Slow Motion Crop (2.2x)

In reality:

  • Full Frame HD looks virtually identical (best in HD)
  • 1.6 crop HD also looks virtually identical (see image above) (slightly worse)
  • 2.2 crop HD / Slow Motion looks worst of all 3 modes, yet still provides an acceptable image. We can see some aliasing / moire happening in this mode and the sharpness is slightly lower. Also there is more noise. Clearly a smaller portion of the sensor is used and blown up to HD.

As you can see on the danes-picta sector stars above (crop from full HD image, zoomed in), the images look really really similar between the a7S II and old a7S in Slog2.

The Slow Motion Mode degrades the image a little further introducing some aliasing / moire (see tie image above).

Concsluion:

2.2x Crop Mode is new and offers Slow Motion. The rest of the HD modes on the a7S II are virtually identical to the ones on the a7S. Keep in mind though, that a 4K recording, downscaled to HD in post production will definitely look nicer, but require more processing power and storage in your workflow.

Lowlight!!!

Yes, I kept the best for last. Is the a7S II EVEN better in lowlight than its predecessor which made big headlines as being the best lowlight camera available today. The short answer is: Yes.

Let’s go straight into reality on this one:

I compared all ISO speeds of both cameras. I used Slog3 on the new Sony a7S II and Slog2 on the a7S. Surprisingly the a7S II is better in lowlight and I would say it’s roughly a full stop if not more across the whole range as the footage is much cleaner. Very good news indeed. Below is a shot of medium to very low light levels compared at ISO 25,600. I felt the difference was most striking at this ISO:

Lowlight difference between Sony a7S (top) and Sony a7S II (bottom) at ISO 25,600. Shot brightness was matched.

Lowlight difference between Sony a7S (top) and Sony a7S II (bottom) at ISO 25,600. Shot brightness was matched.

Conclusion:

In lowlight the Sony a7S II is even better than the old a7S. Especially in terms of noise the annoying shadow noise of the a7S is gone and the images are cleaner and provide more dynamic range all the way.

Note that the camera has lowest noise levels at ISO 1600, ISO 2500 and ISO 3200. At ISO 2000 there is slightly more color noise in the shadows.

Overall Conclusion

There’s a small dynamic range increase for the a7S II with the new Slog3 Gamma Mode, but noise and lowlight is about 1 stop better overall. Rolling shutter is virtually identical as well as quality in HD and 4K, though the old a7S cannot record 4K internally.

Problems on the Sony a7S II

  1. We can see a raised amount of shadow noise in Slow Motion Mode in comparison to normal motion.
  2. There are some issues in HD Crop Mode when Slog3 is enabled (see image below)
There are issues in HD crop mode with Slog3

There are issues in HD crop mode with Slog3

Should you get the Sony a7S II?

This is the big question. Does it makes sense to go for a Sony a7S II? Here are some arguments:

The Sony a7S II is definitely the better camera. Noise performance is improved making also the lowlight behaviour even better. Many people complained about noise on the a7S even at its base ISO 3200. For really professional jobs the step up in quality to the a7S II makes sense.

On the other hand the a7S II quality is more like the honey on the bread. The cameras are really very similar overall and the old a7S gets you very far already, with the option of external 4K that looks almost identical. So for the camera enthusiast who is on a budget the $800 price difference might not be worth it eventually.

That said if not only the added convenience of internal 4K, but also the option of

  • “ok-quality” 120fps Slow Motion mode
  • a 50% quicker autofocus in video mode
  • the sensor-side image stabilization (for unstabilised lenses)
  • and some small ergonomic improvements

are useful to you, then you should definitely consider the Sony a7S II. It’s a powerful little camera and at the end of the day $2,998 for a tool that delivers such good quality and so many options is just the best you can get at this price-point at the moment.

 

Recommended read: Sony a7S II vs. a7R II Test – Which One Is Right for You?

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Reply
Ashley Bernes November 5, 2015

Interesting information here but kind of bizarr to me that you wouldn’t also compare apples to apples and draw a comparison of images recorded externally from the A7sii father than just the internal. If you need to use an external monitor for its waveform/better focus for example you might already own the shogun anyways. The codec into the atomos is far better than the internal a7sii and so this would hVe been interesting to see

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 5, 2015

Hi Ashley,
When you get to work with these files you realize that between ProRes HQ externally and XAVC-S the compression is the least of your worries. In other words: The difference in quality is not big enough to affect these tests that I made. On top of that, what I as a user really want to know IS the difference between the a7S external and a7S II internal…
So you could take away from this test: the difference is minimal and you can work with internal just fine. If you’re going for maximum quality though and want an instant edit file format, you want to choose external of course.

Reply
Ashley Bernes November 5, 2015

Totally, and its a super useful test to see. The trade off of not needing to carry a shogun is massive but out and out quality is what im looking at at the moment. To me the value of having an external monitor for its waveform is fantastic, especially when exposing sLog3 for maximum latitude sits 3 stops over or so and using 3D luts to compensate vs the display gamut from sony which is useless if your exposing the camera for minimal noise (3 stops over). I own the A7sii and have been doing several tests but ive not got access to a shogun yet to straight up see the difference. Would still love to see this.
Thanks

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 5, 2015

Got it. The Shogun’s scopes are very good. But I doubt you will be able to tell the difference if I show you a non Shogun vs Shogun image… The camera’s 4K is not perfect. So the codec will not make it more perfect, first the camera needs to be better, the codec is not the bottleneck on this one. it is not an Arri ALEXA and not a RED camera. This is a Sony.

Anand Vyas Reply
Anand Vyas December 29, 2015

The image is as good as it gets from this camera. Youre kidding with that. Have you even seen, much less learned anything from “the Great Zacuto Shootout”?

 KC Bassett Reply
KC Bassett January 2, 2016

I’m guessing he’s not really talking about the sensor specifically but the fact there is no 10 bit or raw output from the a7s therefore the 4k is somewhat crippled in comparison to a real cinema camera.

Michael Hammar Reply
Michael Hammar November 5, 2015

Good read…

Chris Gibbs Reply
Chris Gibbs November 5, 2015

Thank you, I bet that was a great deal of work to produce! I’d be interested to see a similar test between the A7Sll & A7Rll. As a stills guy (coming from an A7S & A7R background) I opted for the A7Rll as a generalists hybrid camera. I’d appreciate (even pay for) a good article /tutorial on setting up an A7Rll for hybrid “multi-media” photography, stills and motion.
Something that explains the inner workings of picture profiles would be extremely helpful too. As stills guys LOG profiles are very difficult to work with as they tend to peg minimum ISO for both motion and stills at there base ISO, 800 ISO on the A7Rll.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 5, 2015

Thanks for your remarks and feedback Chris. This definitely helps to better understand what our readers are interested in. We’ve seen a lot working with all these cameras and technical stuff, so it is really a question of understanding what our readers want.
Yes, these tests are a lot of work. So if more people can comment on what they find helpful we know where we can direct our energy. We try to listen. Take care

Chris Gibbs Reply
Chris Gibbs November 5, 2015

Hi Sebastian,

I’ve been looking for that “Swiss Army Knife” approach to motion imaging. Whenever I see one of Johnnie Behiri’s camera reviews pop-up on cimena5d I’m loving every second of them! That’s my idea of “Swiss Army Knife” motion imaging, they’re PERFECT! Give me a whole series of tutorials like those, please!

Like the military, there are those who need a flushing toilet, commissary, and step-by-step instructions of what to do all day (and a whole mess of money & support to do it). Then there are those special operators, who only take what they can carry, and get there under their own steam and get the job done every time, that’s what I’d like to learn, and the best thing I’ve seen to date is one of Johnnies “Photo Ninja” camera reviews.

This is perfect https://vimeo.com/80148687 and there isn’t a (transitioning) still photographer alive who wouldn’t kill to learn how to; think-up, shoot and edit a piece like that each day! I’ve seen thousands of short films since watching this one, but this sticks in my mind, especially the ending, fantastic work!

Thanks again,
Chris

Reply
Johnnie Behiri November 9, 2015

Chris.

Thanks for your kind warm wards. Highly appreciated!!.

All the best for now.

Johnnie

Reply
Olaf von Voss November 12, 2015

Hi Sebastian,

as a follow up to Chris’ post I’d like to chime in on his suggestion. A comparison of the sony a7s II and a7r II would be a really great piece of advice for me – And I guess a lot of others, too. All these different A7x mk I or II models out there right now makes it really difficult to see through clearly.
In addition, I’m having a hard time to find anything about the differences on the web, as well.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 12, 2015

Ok Olaf, Thanks for letting me know. I’m working on this and it should be finished by today and then we’ll see on what publish time it fits. It should come some time between today and Monday at the very latest.
Looking into the differences in great detail I now understand the need for a comparison. Indeed it’s hard to compare those two, but the lab tests help a great deal to see the differences clearly. I hope I can present them in a way so it is helpful and makes sense.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 13, 2015

Hi Chris and Olaf,
Here’s the a7R II vs. a7S II comparison:
https://www.cinema5d.com/sony-a7s-ii-vs-a7r-ii-test-which-one/

Reply
Ashley Bernes November 5, 2015

Chris, I can recommend this. Have a read

http://videoproduction.training/sonya7riiguide.html

Chris Gibbs Reply
Chris Gibbs November 5, 2015

Thanks Ashley, I’m going to have a good look over it. ~Chris

 Tim Foster Reply
Tim Foster November 6, 2015

Andrew Reid discusses both cameras on EOSHD.com. His consensus seems to be that there is no advantage to the A7SII over the A7RII. I purchased the A7RII for both stills and video as well. As for the S-log, many overexpose it by two stops, so you can rate it for ISO 200.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 10, 2015

Hi Tim,
There is actually a big difference between a7S II and a7R II. Maybe your source was not the best choice.
Concerning Slog, you can definitely not rate it at ISO 200. I don’t know how you came to that conclusion.

 Tim Foster Reply
Tim Foster November 12, 2015

You haven’t quantified your argument. What advantage does the A7SII offer over the A7RII? And you most certainly can rate S-Log for ISO 200, I generally do unless there’s extreme contrast in the scene.

 Tim Foster Reply
Tim Foster November 12, 2015

I should clarify I was referring to rating the A7RII at ISO 200 (two stops over native). You’d have to rate the A7SII at ISO 400 to achieve the equivalent exposure.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 12, 2015

How do you “rate” your ISO speed differently in practice?
We’ve got a a7S II vs a7R II comparison coming up.

 Tim Foster Reply
Tim Foster November 12, 2015

You set your incident meter to ISO 200.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 12, 2015

I want to make a guess how many people who buy the a7S II or a7R II use an incident meter on their shoots. But you go first.

 Keith Forman Reply
Keith Forman November 5, 2015

Though somewhat unrelated I am curious about the image stabilization of the A7S2. Does it work well enough that it will this save me thousands of dollars on lenses?

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 5, 2015

I have no personal experience with the stabilization, but I enjoyed this review where he says it does actually work quite well:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDsBvZbjasA

Farhad Shams Reply
Farhad Shams November 5, 2015

yes i think many people are waiting to know the exact difference between a7sii and a7rii
Noise in photo and video ( there seems to be a difference …a7rii seems not to be great at higher iso’s in photographs compared to canon ?!)

Thanks

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 5, 2015

Thanks Farhad. Maybe this helps, we did an in-depth review on the a7R II and also looked at lowlight in comparison to the a7S here:
https://www.cinema5d.com/sony-a7rii-sony-a7s-lowlight-review/

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 13, 2015

Hi Farhad,
So we did an in-depth test to find out the exact difference between the a7R II and a7S II. Here it is:
https://www.cinema5d.com/sony-a7s-ii-vs-a7r-ii-test-which-one/

Reply
Otto Haring November 5, 2015

I have the 7s I am ordering the new version for sure. It is worth for me to spend the extra $800.

Reply
Otto Haring November 5, 2015

I really hope that I can achieve the same color saturation and depth as I achieved with the a7s:
http://www.haringphotography.com/south-east-asian-weddings/innisbrook-resort-tampa-wedding-photos/

 Παναγιώτης Σκορδίλης Reply
Παναγιώτης Σκορδίλης November 5, 2015

very nice work my friend.u correct colors with photoshop?

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 6, 2015

no, not photoshop :) Premiere Pro CC Lumetri and some other tweaks with custom LUTs.

 Παναγιώτης Σκορδίλης Reply
Παναγιώτης Σκορδίλης November 8, 2015

the shots is export from video?

James Coe Reply
James Coe November 5, 2015

You didn’t mention the a7sii internal 4k is 4:2:0 and so using an external recorder you’re getting twice the color information – good for heavy grading and for greenscreen. I wonder if you can verify the noise differences mentioned here if you output the a7s and a7sii BOTH to an external recorder?

Let me know what you think! Thanks

Reply
Ashley Bernes November 5, 2015

Could you elaborate on getting twice the color information James?
+1 though id love to see this

Jim Phillips Reply
Jim Phillips November 5, 2015

Nice article. Well done!

James Coe Reply
James Coe November 6, 2015

Just Google 420 vs 422 there are some images which show it – 420 has color info for 1 pixel spread over 4 pixels (bad) . 422 spreads it over just 2 pixels – (and for reference 4:4:4 is each pixel has its own data) – 420 isn’t really a problem for most – but if you want to do some heavy grading or greenscreen for pro film purposes 420 doesn’t cut it

Reply
James H November 5, 2015

Great post. But no one has done a single auto focus test yet. No one. Yes they said it’s twice as fast in video mode but I haven’t seen one review that’s tested this claim. Otherwise, this was a good review overall. If you can, can you go into a bit of detail about the issues you mentioned seeing (in lab and in real life) when shooting crop mode using slog? Thank you so much!

 Amir Kh Reply
Amir Kh November 5, 2015

Funny the article nowhere mentions IBIS, a huge advantage, anywhere in the article.

Reply
James H November 5, 2015

it does in one of the last bullet points at the end. However, that and the AF improvements aren’t really discussed or tested which was disappointing.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 6, 2015

Those are features. I also didn’t compare 120fps slow motion. Because the a7S doesn’t have any of those features there’s nothing to compare it to. This was not a a7S review, but a comparison…

Gerardo Campos Reply
Gerardo Campos November 5, 2015

nice comparision, but please never do low light shots in S-Log2, of course you will ended up with noise; all S-Log curve are designed to work in Hi Lights, so most of the increased DR is in the lights adding 4 to 6 stops in that area; in low light you are just droping that info to the trash and leave to little room in the codec to write the rest of the image information, so you are using about 4 to 5 stops to write all the data and the rest is useless, so you get noise all over the image; when you go low light the best is Cine curves and Pro color, but never, never, never use S-Log in low light

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 6, 2015

@ Gerardo:
I recommend you should shoot your lowlight footage also in Slog2. Adding a profile to preserve shadows significantly reduces your dynamic range and makes it impossible to grade with LUTs in post production, so you have to grade all manually. Also you will have a harder time to match your shots with non Slog2 footage.
It is an illusion to think non Slog2 will help in lowlight. It does not. It just cust off your shadows and thus makes it appear you have less noise. If you try to overexpose in lowlight and avoid shadowy areas with Slog2 you will get the best results.
Hope that helps

Yura Makarov Reply
Yura Makarov November 6, 2015

Actually, Gerardo is right. S-log wasn’t build to be used in low-light. Also it’s not recommended by Sony to use it in any other ISO different from base ISO (3200 for Slog2, or 1600 for Slog3), since you are loosing DR each time when you raise ISO.
Moreover, camera doesn’t record more data with s-log, it’s just squeeze all 14 stops slog to the same bitrate. If you shooting a scene with only 5 exposure stops, like most of night scenes are, you will have almost two times less information in S-Log than if you are shooting with Rec 709 or at least Cine gammas.
With 8 bit codec you have only 256 values for one color (in practice a bit less). If you record 14 stops with 8 bit you have only 18 color/shadow values per one stop of exposure (approximately). If you record with REC 709 which is 5 stops, you have 51 color/shadow value per stop. If you recording 5 stops night scene with to 14 stops Slog you don’t use more than half of your possible color/shadow information.
It’s only math, but in practice I found too that cine gammas and standard picture profile perform better in low-light. You just basically have more flexibility to tweak color/exposure in post. With slog I couldn’t change anything without raising noise and pixels blocking.

 Markellos Plakitsis Reply
Markellos Plakitsis November 5, 2015

50% better AF performance?? Only in your dreams. Its hardly a 15% on studio, and in real life, almost identical.

 Markellos Plakitsis Reply
Markellos Plakitsis November 5, 2015

The most important in video af, is not the speed. Is all about the reliability and the iq. Comparing to the old a6000, a7s mkii is as stupid as the a7s. Dont ask me how i know. I have them all.

Reply
James H November 5, 2015

Markellos, would you mind elaborating on your findings of the AF performance of the A7sII and the A7s? In Sony’s A7sII press release they touted that the AF performance is twice as fast in video mode vs the A7s. Do you see any improvement at all? How about tracking (or center lock AF)? Is that improved at all? Do you have any samples that could show the difference or the lack thereof?

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 6, 2015

Look at this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uK0lWCfs8gM
To me it seems Sony’s claims are accurate here.

 Markellos Plakitsis Reply
Markellos Plakitsis December 3, 2015

According to my tests in real life, a7s ii autofocus has the same feel and look as the a7s. Numbers and “controlled” studio tests are made to tell what you really want to hear my friend. My “old” a7s was NEVER that slow as the test shows. I am sure that Sony made this test 1000 times, until the results match with the conclusions. The truth is somewhere in the middle. The a7s ii autofocus in real life is a bit better than the a7s. Not a big difference. I have them both, and after some months of testing, I could tell the diffence, if there was any. The best autofocus that Sony has to be proud of, is the one of the a6000. Distance between a7s i or ii and the a6000? Centuries.

 Markellos Plakitsis Reply
Markellos Plakitsis December 3, 2015

Hello James. Sorry for the delay, I do not login often.
To me, the autofocus of both cameras, feel and look almost the same. 10, 15 or 20% of speed improvement says nothing. The fact is that the autofocus iq of both cameras is still the same. (almost) stupid.

A7s and a7sii are GREAT cameras. But the truth is that Sony has already invented the perfect autofocus, and it is not on any of them. It’s funny, but a 500€ camera has it, and it’s called a6000.
Unfortunatelly, all of us have to live with any manufacturer’s marketing “tricks”… Im sure that the a7s iii or iv will focus like the a6000 #$

If you have some free time, check my post here:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/Sony.a7S.Cinematography.Video.user.group/permalink/1007522405978439/
I have posted some samples with my gimbal and the a6000 as well. What you will see, I believe that no camera in the a7 range is able to do it so perfectly.
Cheers

 Charles Bergquist Reply
Charles Bergquist November 5, 2015

The last test that you guys performed on the A7S last year gave it a rating of 14.1 stops in SLOG 2. What’s going on with your lab results? I’d like to believe them but you’re now posting that it’s at 12 stops in SLOG2. Makes me wonder about the C300 MKII tests.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 6, 2015

You have a good memory.
We wrote about this numerous times. We had a different noise threshold at this time and came across a bug in the evaluation software which was then fixed by the manufacturer. Since then we decided to change our method and redid all our first tests with new standards shortly after starting our lab tests over a year ago in order to “get it right”. Unfortunately this change is confusing and haunts us every time we do one of those tests. I understand its confusing. We’re trying hard to be very careful in these tests. We definitely compare cameras with identical standards in order to show the differences. This is most important to us.

 Charles Bergquist Reply
Charles Bergquist November 6, 2015

Good to know. You should post all the results under the new standards in one place for reference, it’d be a great tool for keeping camera and sensors straight. Thanks for the tests, and the response, always helpful.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 6, 2015

Indeed, we’ll do that one day, but we’re always so busy :)
Cheers

 Rudolph Lagarrigue Reply
Rudolph Lagarrigue November 6, 2015

thanks for sharing your analyse!

Reply
Kaster Troy November 6, 2015

Killer article as usual, keep up the good work!!

Balder Akermo Reply
Balder Akermo November 6, 2015

Thanks for all the info, greatly appreciate it! 2 questions; Is the fullframe HD mode the same in both camera for rolling shutter? And are the 2.2 crop the same in quality in 25p and slowmo?

Cheers

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 6, 2015

That’s a yes for both questions.

James Coe Reply
James Coe November 6, 2015

Just thought I’d mention as well the internal codec is only giving you 100mbps – the original is 50mbps so you get 4x the resoltion but only double the bitrate so again its an improvement but half the colour info of using external and half the bit rate. Good for most – but I’m planning on shooting a short film using some heavy post colour processing and for this I’ll need the extra info to get the effect I’m after

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 6, 2015

Ok, but don’t overestimate external ProRes. I believe you will not be able to do much more in post. I have not tested this extensively, but from experience many times people don’t notice a difference. It is mostly the color bit depth that makes a big difference. But we are still at 8 bit here. Especielly when your end result is HD. 100mbs means you get a more stable image than on the original a7S.

Reply
Ashley Bernes November 6, 2015

If I could get my hands on internally vs externally recorded content we could compare apples to apples on the same camera to find out.

The 420 to 422, that data has to go somewhere.

Does anyone have the real world specs as to what recording externally gives you data rate? So we know we can get 100mps internally and each recorder will be different but Sony state “clean HDMI output”, what’s the maximum data rate here

James Coe Reply
James Coe November 7, 2015

The video devices pix e5h which is what I’m looking at using I think goes up to either 330mbps or 220mbps with the a7s but like I said 422 as well so for vfx greenscreen purposes should be noticeably improved not at first sight but when you push it for vfx work – just thought I’d make sure people were aware its 4x resolution but only double the data rate – real improvements would be seen in 1080 work only. What I mean is its not “proper” professional 4k, its in between. Which is good, but IMO its not a proper 4k camera. It is bloody brilliant though! It can see in the dark! Anyway I’ll stop banging on…

James Coe Reply
James Coe November 7, 2015

I would like to see extreme grading (and I really do mean extreme) tests of internal 4k 420 @100mbps vs external 4k 422 @220mbps – on paper the difference should be pronounced. But for 1080p and non fx work there won’t visibly be much or any difference out of the box and will suit 95%+ of users – I’m talking about cleanly isolating colour channels and maxing them out and stuff which is what I want to do on a short film project. I think the stabilization is an awesome feature and enough for me to consider upgrading (plus charging while using) – defo a better camera but for proper proper high end use I think 4k 422 would be finally an acceptable standard and for that you’ll have to go external

Reply
Ashley Bernes November 7, 2015

From my tests so far you really dont have to push it much when isolating colors and pulling qualifiers to see the blocky internal codec stuff. I dont have an external recorder to test but I will be testing the Assassin soon.

 Lyubo Yanev Reply
Lyubo Yanev November 6, 2015

Thanks for the comparisson, do you know how the 60fps and 120fps modes compare in dynamic range and sharpness? Thanks

Bgd Videography Reply
Bgd Videography November 6, 2015

Whoe. Hold the phone, the little A7s ii is equal to the mighty C300 Mark ii in dynamic range!

Bgd Videography Reply
Bgd Videography November 6, 2015

Is this 12+ stops of ‘usable’ dynamic range.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 12, 2015

Yes

Reply
Kris November 6, 2015

Have you considered putting the Canon XC10 through the same battery of tests?

I’m not trying to run this thread off the rails, but, believe it or not, I’m deliberating between a first-gen A7s and external recorder, versus the XC10. But empirical testing for the latter is nearly impossible to find, given all the hate that camera engendered.

Reply
Marcos Avlonitis November 6, 2015

I just wanted to thank you everyone at Cinema5D for an excellent comparison. There is so much talk about the features and specifications of new cameras on the internet that it’s often hard to tell what’s real, what’s marketing hype and what’s public misconception. These tests are exceptionally useful and I hope you continue to provide this information so professional cameraman like myself can make informed decisions about future purchases or get to grips with a new camera. Thanks again!

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 10, 2015

Thanks for your comment Marcos, much appreciated, keeps us going.

 Andrew Ray Reply
Andrew Ray November 6, 2015

How about a fair comparison like A7s HD vs A7sii HD?
That would be truly 100% apple vs apple and would really show the differences between the two cameras.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 10, 2015

Hi Andrew,
Please check under “Resolution / Quality in HD”, it’s all there.
Thanks

Joachim Richter Reply
Joachim Richter November 9, 2015

There is an important function that I am missing. If working with several cameras it would be very helpful to save all settings in a file on the sd-card to import this file in another camera. Maybe this would be a proposal for a further firmware update to report to Sony by Cinema5D?

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 10, 2015

I can comprehend the need for file loads on a camera with a color matrix as complex as the FS7 and while it would be a nice feature on the a7S I don’t see enough users needing that to justify implementing it. Also usually Sony isn’t too keen on developing firmwares much further. They rather give us another camera to buy in my experience.

 Ash Tailor Reply
Ash Tailor November 10, 2015

Hey guys

Thanks for the great article. If you could, and im sure others will find this very useful is a video based comparison between the A7rII and A7sII.

Why? I know you have something similar up but a technical run through the video capabilities would be excellent. The A7rII is proving very popular, especially in the super35mm mode in regards to 5K downsampling and great low light capabilities too.

Just wondering what is actually the better video camera when you consider SLOG3 isn’t really that great.

So my choice is A7rII with speedbooster (to the better video capability in a format that is back to full frame with additional light) VS A7sII.

I need one final statement about which is better.

Thanks :)

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 11, 2015

Ok Ash, I’ll do this.

 Ash Tailor Reply
Ash Tailor November 12, 2015

Awesome. Thanks Seb. Really interested to see what you’ve got to say.

 Παναγιώτης Σκορδίλης Reply
Παναγιώτης Σκορδίλης November 12, 2015

is better to create jpeg from a video? or just snap as raw?

Reply
Franklin Quinten November 13, 2015

How do you think the A7Sii stacks up as a documentary camera? What would be the best zoom lens option considering that? A Sony lens or using an adapter such as Metabones + ?

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber November 13, 2015

If the quality and filmic look is worth the extra hassle for you and you’ve got the skills then the a7S II can be used for documentary. We’ve used it on several such projects. But again, you need the skills and practice. The best lens for documentary was the http://c5d.at/28135 for us. It has some drawbacks, but I think there’s nothing comparable right now.

Reply
Franklin Quinten November 13, 2015

Thanks. Have previously shot a doc that was distributed by WB, but have never used a DSLR for shooting video. I like the low-profile, though, for an upcoming project. As far as skills/practice, can you get away with run-and-gun shooting with the camera as is, considering the tiny viewfinder/screen?

And as far as lenses, why the Sony FE PZ 28-135mm f/4 G OSS Lens? Why not the Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS Lens? The one you mentioned is $2.5k and has a much more limited focal range. Is the price just for the power zoom or is it really much better glass?

Reply
Emrah Cahit OZER November 15, 2015

Probably just because of the power zoom. With 28-135 you are being like and ENG Camera. But in any case I d not prefer that glass.

 Timothy Adèr Reply
Timothy Adèr November 23, 2015

You did not cover the horrible blue color event LED par clipping on the A7S, being fixed on the a7sii which made the deal for me.

 Paul Gayagay Ballola Reply
Paul Gayagay Ballola December 11, 2015

Did it get fixed?

Reply
Wesley D February 1, 2016

I’m a little late to the party but thank you so much for this! Makes me extra happy that I went with the a7S II.

The part i was most intrigued by was your note about ISO increments for low noise:

“Note that the camera has lowest noise levels at ISO 1600, ISO 2500 and ISO 3200. At ISO 2000 there is slightly more color noise in the shadows.”

As someone who frequently shoots in low light situations I was wondering what the next low noise ISO increments would be if you were to keep listing them at higher ISOs.

There is a lot of information about this for canon cameras and how you should stick with multiples of 160, but very little information for the a7s.

 Ernie Prieto Reply
Ernie Prieto February 4, 2016

Thanks for the tests! If i own an a7s and shogun, do you think its worth selling the a7s for the mk2?

Or should i just hold onto that combo i have now and keep saving up for the fs5? I do wedding videos atm but im trying to transition to more narrative work in the near future

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber February 16, 2016

Really hard to say. You should weigh all pro’s and con’s based on your individual needs and with all the info we’ve put out on the individual cameras. We should have more regarding FS5 soon as well.

Reply
Dan Hopkins February 28, 2016

Great article. However, being someone who upgraded from the A7s to the MarkII, it would be good to note that 4K overheating does exist. I believe the new firmware update helps, but doesn’t fix the problem completely. Also, I was surprised to see a good amount of aliasing on a tennis net when shooting 1080 60p on a wide lens (24mm and 35mm). I was lead to believe that due to a full-pixel read out on this camera, that moire and aliasing would be gone, but there is still some in certain conditions. Still an awesome camera!

 Amazonia Beats Reply
Amazonia Beats March 1, 2016

thank you, very clean and instructive!!

 Alec Crichton Reply
Alec Crichton March 14, 2016

So compared to the a7s, is 50/60p on the A7s2 clean now? Or still got that minimal aliasing due to line skipping compared to 25/30p?

Reply
Dan Hopkins March 14, 2016

It’s pretty damn clean, same with 120fps. However, under the right circumstances I was able to get a bit of aliasing to show up in 60p. I was shooting with an aperture of between f/9 – f/10 on a 24mm lens. Shooting at 50mm with an aperture around f/4 – f/5, I haven’t seen any moire or aliasing.

 Gary Marsh Reply
Gary Marsh March 15, 2016

Great info. One thing I noticed when comparing the two side by side. In the silent shutter mode thE A7sII shoots bursts but the A7RII does not.

Reply
Kite Cumbuco July 28, 2016

Thanks for the interesting article. My main issue is the rolling shutter problem, as I shoot with handheld / moving camera.

My question is: Shouldn’t the RS problem have improved by the 5-dimensional image stabilizer? With the A7s the RS only came up for me when you did quick shaky movements in wide angle. I never had a problem with shooting out of the car window, I dont care if the trees are slightly vertical ;-).

Thank you !!