Thank you Sony – now can you send me one he he

This was a conversation I had on an online forum that was about the qualities of the newly announced Alpha mirrorless camera, the a7s from Sony compared to the Gh4. My rambling thoughts…..


The aesthetic is one I love and this Sony has me really considering offloading a lot of my GH series stuff – I have never really loved the Panasonic thing despite owning them for years. Mind you I am a struggling musician who wishes to shoot his own stuff soon so my budget is limited somewhat and all these cameras are the most empowering we have seen in years. I own a GH1 and Gh2 but I always wish that that they had more of the refined Sony fidelity. I dunno – Pana has a look – kinda too solid and contrasty to me. Best example of this is the Af100 – never jived with me – all Panasonic cams have that similar vibe. It is not bad quality at all, I just never loved it, just a personal preference. I still like Blackmagic cams better than all of these offerings from a colour rendition point of view. But perhaps I may wish to have clinical and clean with superb low light at some point. Now I did cancel my Gh4 pre-order because the camera I have been waiting for has arrived. Does the GH4 trump the Sony in certain departments. Sure. But you also need to spend a bit of extra dough to get it to perform to its best. I am afraid to my eyes all the early GH4 1920 X 1080 vids seem to have a few aliasing issues ( including the out of camera unedited ones ) so the best seems to be to get a 4k recorder or use the internal 4 k which is not doing it for me as I will probably use a few 3D luts and in my early tests it isn’t so encouraging. So if we add a Shogun – bumps it up a bit then. Seeing as I already have a Nanoflash it partners perfectly with the Sony and I can use my Nikon lenses at native FOV without buying a Speedbooster.

I would be shocked if anyone had trouble intercutting the a7s with all these Sony cams. F65, F55, F5 and even FS700. What is undeniable is that this camera is incredible on so many levels and I am sure there will be a more expensive FF offering from Sony in the future that offers higher bit depth, higher frame rates, xlr inputs, RAW etc. That’s a given – Afraid I cannot afford that one but this will still be called baby……hopefully one of my babies as Sony are allowing a little bit of the high end quality filter down into affordable territory – with the expected crippling of something of course. In this case 8 bit – and to me it’s not a deal breaker as most of us if we are honest are not going to get on Sky, Fox or whatever. Most of the HD stuff, especially HD nature and sport is probably all in 8 bit. I won’t pretend – specs are not important this year. If we cannot shoot amazing stuff this year it will not be because of specs……


We live in good times indeed that we are haggling over less and less. I wish I could merge the features of both into one cam. As an aside in the comments on the blog, Den owns an F5 and he says it is on par as far as the rhetoric on dynamic range with S-log2 – probably not colour but that itself is impressive. Perhaps it is a baby F5 after all.

As far as 8 bit is concerned, I think this is where a 10 bit intermediate codec may show a little usefulness. Cineform make a big deal about how banding is reduced in post by transcoding to the codec prior to editing. Suspect the same goes for Prores. The C100 and C300 family are considered overpriced by many but despite being predominantly 8 bit internally, I think they can produce startling colours so there is more to this than meets the eye. If the internal processing is from a much higher bit depth ( 14 bit in this case?) then it stands to reason that the mapping of the final bits will be quite accurate if the processing is done right. Sony make a big deal about reading every pixel in 1080p mode and 4k. Seems the GH4 may possibly not do so in 1080p mode – speculation on my part. All to say 8 bit is not perfect for acquisition but delivery in 8 bit underscores that you can do it right – that if you don’t need to mangle the snot out of your image, then you can produce exceptional ‘close to delivery’ images. Just about everything I watched on Vimeo shot on The Canon C series is 8 bit 4:2:0 but is fantastic. Looks amazing as the source pipeline is exceptional. If the a7s pipeline is exceptional and all indications are that it is, then we may be a little surprised that the 10 bit thing isn’t as big an issue for lower downs like me who just wish to be in the game – especially if capture is from the hdmi port.

I see this as an exceptional music video camera which is my main interest in it. Modern, clean look with crazy stupid DOF, slow mo, amazing low light for creative stuff at night or in dark rooms. For others ( not me ) nature, sport, weddings. incredible – and I mean incredible low light timelapses – ( get ready to see the milky way like never before) . Stick one of these in the ISS and forget about hubble. Cinema type shoots. . . . . . nah. I’ll stick to my BMPCC and Sgblade crazy combo. Don’t get me wrong, I would prefer 1920 x 1080 DNG internally on this cam or the GH4 despite my leaning. That would have been a dream cam but it wasn’t going to happen at this price point. I do wish Sony or Pana just made an option to dump the RAW data to a card like Blackmagic – oh I do wish the hackers among us would. . . . .cough, cough. . . . imagine that. Crazy that the thought even entered my mind ha ha but I guess that’s what Magic Lantern has done. A great PR move IMHO – if it did come out at about $3000 – would be cool if the software engineers at Sony left a little exploit for tweakers/ hackers/programmers to modify a ‘few’ things. Unlikely but even they must be aware of how ML turned an ordinary cam into an extra ordinary beast = money in the bank + cult following. One can dream

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