The results of this testing clearly reveal that the A7s' strengths are in (low) read noise that comes into effect particularly in shadow areas of the image.That being said, I wonder whether the TRUE advantage of the A7s sensor might be in allowing to significantly underexpose images and to boost shadows in postprocessing to much better effect than would be possible with other cameras. The benefits of this would be: you could use much higher shutter speeds, particularly when you want or need to avoid motion blur (moving objects inavailable light) or when you use non-stabilized lenses and want to avoid camera shake blur.
In other words, could it be that the A7s may provide much more leeway for boosting underexposed image areas in PP and this being the *true* (albeit not yet systematically explored) advantage of the A7s over its A7 siblings or other FF cameras?
Any opinions / comments on that?
ottonis: Question to DPReview:First of all, thanks a lot for this beautifully designed and very well conducted shootout. It is extremely useful for all those pondering with a camera for low-light / hi-ISO use.That being said, I would like to ask about your test procedure (not sure if someone already asekd):In the introduction you say: "2.Aperture and shutter speed were matched across all cameras for any particular ISO setting"Does that mean that all three cameras were set to identical aperture and shutter speed settings at any given ISO step?
Thanks in advance!David
@RishiThanks a lot for explaining, much appreciated.
Question to DPReview:First of all, thanks a lot for this beautifully designed and very well conducted shootout. It is extremely useful for all those pondering with a camera for low-light / hi-ISO use.That being said, I would like to ask about your test procedure (not sure if someone already asekd):In the introduction you say: "2.Aperture and shutter speed were matched across all cameras for any particular ISO setting"Does that mean that all three cameras were set to identical aperture and shutter speed settings at any given ISO step?
ottonis: I find it funny that some people actually compare the A7s with professional grade cameras such as D4s or 1Dx and then conclude that "A7s sucks".
The point is: Sony never positioned the A7s against D4s or 1Dx. Sony positioned the A7s as a special FF interchangable lens camera, capable of super high quality video under low-light conditions. The A7s is optimized for video (Sony needs some beating here for implementing 4k video only as an external option).The A7s is apparently neither optimized for landscapes stills (12 MP of resolution being a limitation here) nor for sports /action stills shooting (low fps and probably same AF as in the A7r).Many of us have seen (or wanted to see) the A7s as the ultimate low-light monster for stills photography, and while it certainly can catch up with the best of the best in low-light performance, it is still NOT a camera really optimized for stills photography.
... cont. from post above: Therefore, I tend to see the A7s as an ultra-luxury interchangable lens version of the RX10. The RX10 was made with great video shooting in mind and while it can be used for stills photography, most people NOT interested in video will pick the much more compact and thus more versatile RX100 mkIII over the RX10.
That being said: Like the RX10, the A7s can probably be used for some great stills photography, too. And while it has not been developed for neither fast action shooting nor for super detailed landsacpe shooting, some people will be more than happy to make use of its class-leading low-light capabilities. We definitely need some more tests and thoroughly performed reviews but I can imagine myself attaching some affordable great legacy lenses onto a A7s and doing great available-light / low-light shooting at weddings, in churches, museums and parties.
I find it funny that some people actually compare the A7s with professional grade cameras such as D4s or 1Dx and then conclude that "A7s sucks".
Where the A7s excels is shadow noise and black noise. The other thing that impresses me is how little difference there is between ISO 3200 --> 6400 --> 12.800. While other Sony cameras such as the A7 or the A6000 show a very notable increase of noise in that ISO range, the A7s seems to keep noise increase under control. THis means that when shooting in low light, ISO 12.800 is not much worse than ISO 3200, which is huge and gives lots of leeway with shutter time and aperture control under low-light conditions.
Walter: The effort that Adobe has taken to make this change is obviously a response to thought out comments that mainly pros have made. There are a lot of hair trigger responses by ideologues to every post about Adobe that will not change anything. A quote from the wonderful Maya that could just make life better for each one of us is... "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain."
I really believe that if there are genuine flaws in CC software Adobe will listen. Bleating on about the "Cloud" and wanting something for free just is not going to change anything.....can't change it......?
Now the Facebook app that uses your computer microphone to record everything you say and stores it ...that is worrying.....:) Anyone strong enough to give up FB?
@Walter: you are talking just like someone familiar with the marketing 101 handbook for Adobe employees. I can tell that because you are defending the subscription model like you were getting some substantial benefit for doing so. There are downsides to it and ANY independent user would see both: the advantages AND the downsides. For me, the downsides clearly outweigh the advantages. The fact, that for you no disadvantags exist, is indicative of being an Adobe employee. You should at least indicate your motives when posting, so that people can better understand where your arguments are coming from.
"CREATIVE CLOUD LOGIN OFFLINE FOR 24h AND COUNTING"...
Apparently these cloud based services can be shut down or hacked ANYTIME, which could kill your business if you are using this software for a living.
Michael Ma: Adobe is never going to change it back. Don't waste your time people.
Actually, I take that back. You are probably keeping them from raising prices.
Fight on! Don't give up! Tell them again how you're never going to upgrade CS6!
A company will do everything in order to be profitable. If nobody were going to apply to the ridiculous cloud thing, they would offer non-cloud options faster than I can type a comment at dpr.
1. "if you can't change it, change your attitude" - if people had followed that advice, we wouldn't have great things such as human rights, democracy, freedom of speech etc. People have given their lives and fought for these achievents that you and me are taking for granted. There is almost nothing that cannot be changed, and if only many enough people were voting with their wallets, Adobe would change their new policy faster than you can say 'hello'.
2. Nobody wants anything for free! But many people want the freedom to choose when and where they want to upgrade their productivity tools. Many people are willing to pay lot of money for a piece of software that will be sitting on their desktop without the ridiculous need to be always connected to a hilarious cloud that anytime can be shut down or hacked.
It is mindblowing that anyone in ther right mind can defend such a policy!
Introducing a subscription business model for already established and de facto industry standard software is a modern way of robbery.Adobe will have to change this way of dealing with its customers if only many enough people refuse to change from CS to CC for a couple of years.
ottonis: It is remarkable how some people already bash the A7s and some others already praise it like the new holy grail.
We still don't have any serious review of this camera. What we have are some extremely promising specs that are of particular interest for those people whose main interest is in the low-light capabilities for stills/video.
We have the extraordinary specs and we have some stunning video/stills samples, but I would really wait for some serious and more detailed reviews and testing before making a conclusion about this camera.
Personally, if the A7s is at least one full stop better (with regards to SNR) compared with its A7/r siblings, then it would be of interest of me, as it would put it 2+ stops above the best APS-C cameras today.If on my Nex 5N ISO 800- was the maximum tolerable ISO with regards to IQ/noisefloor/SNR, then the A7s would allow to shoot at ISO 3200 at the same quality, which is just astonishing.
@abortabort - assuming that the sensor tech of the A7s was developed at the same time as the A7 and A7r sensors, and assuming that it utilizes the same advanced technology as it siblings, SNR of the A7s should scale linearly with pixel size when compared with its A7s siblings. I know that quite a few people disagree with this view but I would indeed expect the A7s to roughly double its photon gathering ability per pixel which should translate to a full stop advantage.Anyways, I am just speculating here and we all will know much more after the A7s actually gets released and thoroughly tested.
It is remarkable how some people already bash the A7s and some others already praise it like the new holy grail.
Just a Photographer: Pretty expensive considering the fact that you need an external 4k recorder to be able to use this camera to its full.
@Shamael: in my understanding, the main point of the A7s is its superb low-light capability - hence the "s" in its name that stands for "sensitivity".Considering the way it was implemented, the 4k video recording option seems to be more of a marketing gimmick rather than the true selling point of this camera.
pew pew: I suspect this camera will blow the dxo sensor stats.
@Shamael: This an interesting information that the A7s is using the same sensor as the Nikon 700. Do you possibly have a source / link for this info? Thanks in advance!
The pictures are mostly stunning. Pictures 5, 8 & 12 are obviously staged to a degree that makes them not only implausible and non authentic but also disturbing.
The real mastermind behind Nokia's advanced camera technology was Damian Dinning, who jumped ship around the time when the Lumia line started. He was responsible for the incredible Nokia N8 and for the PureView 808 camera development and - in my opinion - the one who was driving camera tech innovation and development. Everything that Nokia/Microsoft brought out after Dinnig left, was symptomatic of stagnation. In fact, the camera module in the Lumia 1020 was infetior in many aspects compared to 808, despite introducing OIS.
That being said, as I see it, Apple should have hired Damian Dinning if they want to take the leadership in cameraphone technology.
waxwaine: At least they achieved a prettier body than what Sony without succes are trying to design for years.
The Lytro camera design is decidedly futuristic. Sony cameras are targeted to a much broader audience, many of potential customers might feel alienated by such a novel futuristic design. That being said, Sony managed to make some extraordinarily well crafted and elegant camera bodies in recent time (e.g. RX1, RX100, the entire Nex line etc).
This Lytro camera represents the consequential evolution of a revolutionary concept that had been presented to the public a few years ago. Not necessarily this particular camera but the concept behind it certainly represents the future of photography. I dare to predict that in 10y from now most cameras will use further refined and improved implementations of this technology. People who are ridiculing the Lytro camera are the same type of people who ridiculed the emerging digital photography 20y ago. We all know how digital phography has evolved and developed and how it almost entirely replaced film photography.This is the future. Certainly not in its final form, but the idea represents the future of fotography. Progressive photographers will embrace this (and other= novel technologies and romantic souls will dismiss it - till the Nikon Df mark 8 will be based just on this Lytro concept.
These are amazing pics. To all the notorious naysayers in this comnent section: please be specific and tell EXACTELY which photos have allegedly been photoshopped or HDR-ed or whatever. Please be specific, when giving negative comments, otbetwise your critique is going to come across as hating rather than being helpful.Thanks!