The other week I had the privilege of collecting video at the opening of an exhibit of photography by Yegor Malinovskii. I brought the new, full frame, 12 megapixel Sony A7S with a couple of cannon lenses and a monopod. The show is the first exhibit of this up and coming photographer whose work has been featured in Maine magazine and in collections throughout New England. The event, held at Akari in Downtown Portland, was very well attended. The walls of the upstairs salon were adorned with Malinovskii’s stunning, colorful landscapes. The glossy, large metal prints were displayed without frames. The night was a total success for the artist, Yegor, and for the Sony A7S. Not only did the footage look great but the camera was really easy to operate and super flexible.
Sony A7S Compatible Lenses
I had brought along 2 lenses, an 18-22 wide angle and my trusty prime 50mm f 1.2. I had been using a Cannon 7d and had reluctantly relied on the wide angle for closer situations. With the Sony A7S’ full frame I was able to get so much more out of my prime that I ended up using it exclusively.
There was some variety in the amount of available light but I had no problem making adjustments to get the shots I was looking for. The controls are well designed for adjusting the ISO, F-stop and Shutter speed, so making adjustments to the look was nice and easy. I do wish that the audio was easier to manipulate. That being said, it was great to be able to monitor the audio live, both visually with the audio display and in the headphones. As a video shooter, audio is a hugely important component that has been a bit of a pain when shooting with DSLRs. Also, in terms of video collection, I don’t think the shutter speed is that useful of an adjustment that it warrants a dedicated controller. I just set it and leave it alone.
Sony A7S Low Light Capabilities
The low light capabilities with this camera are phenomenal. With an ISO range from 100-409,600 this camera has massive flexibility. I was able to dial in whatever aperture I wanted, no matter the light level. The room was pretty well lit so it was not an ideal test but I had done some tests earlier and had enough confidence in the camera to lean on the ISO more than usual. The A7S has a native ISO of 6000, well above where I would normally be comfortable shooting. There was no problem with noise in the images. It was a cool experience to be able shoot in a different, less limited way.
Sony A7S Batter Life Could Be Better
The one major issue with the A7S is the battery. In 3 hours I blew thru 2 fully charged batteries and had to call it a night. I did get everything necessary to put together a cool video of the event but the limitation is vexing. It’s like they took the batteries from a remote control car and repurposed them for this otherwise excellent camera. The short battery life issue can be addressed by acquiring more batteries so, it’s not that much of an issue.
I can’t wait to take this camera out into some more situations and push it further. The low light sensitivity opens a lot of new looks and moods and with a full frame, video optimized imaging chip we are moving forward into this creative frontier well equipped.
If you're interested in art from Yegor Malinovskii be sure to check out his website at http://www.yegormalinovskii.com/
About Matthew Ferrel
Matt is a motion graphics artist and video editor with a fine arts background. He is passionate about the art of editing and enjoys layering graphics and color to enhance the visual experience. Outside of work he does production design and lighting design in the vibrant Portland theater scene.
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