Photography / News

Unveiled: Internal 4K Comes to the Sony Alpha a7S II

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Hot on the heels of the astounding a7R II, Sony has once again surprised us all by unveiling the latest full-frame E-mount upgrade, the Alpha a7S II Mirrorless Digital Camera. This camera maintains the same 12MP resolution as its predecessor but offers enhanced image quality for even less noise, keeping its title as the master of sensitivity with an ISO range up to 409600, ensuring phenomenal video quality with full pixel readout. Professional-level video is perhaps the major selling point of this model, with the addition of internal UHD 4K recording and a serious heap of video-centric enhancements. And, as with all “II” series a7 cameras, it has received a major makeover that includes a revamped 0.78x EVF and 5-axis in-body stabilization.

Starting with video, the a7S II offers a revamped recording setup to go along with the much appreciated internal UHD 4K capabilities. This includes the implementation of a high bit rate 100 Mbps option for the XAVC S format and the ability to record Full HD video at a maximum frame rate of 120 fps, enabling users to play back their footage at 4x or 5x slow motion with no loss of quality. The a7S II will be able to utilize S-Log3 Gamma and S-Gamut3, in addition to S-Log2 and S-Gamut2, for expanding the dynamic range of their video to 14 stops. This is also the same log setting available on Sony’s top-of-the-line video cameras, meaning footage from the a7S II will fit more easily into high-end workflows.

Ease of use was a big concern for shooting video with earlier models and we see a couple of major improvements on this—most notably in the form of Gamma Display Assist. This allows users to utilize the S-Log3 Gamma while still being able to monitor a high-contrast image. Another change is the enhanced zebra function, which allows users to dial-in their video signal target anywhere between 0-109% for highly accurate monitoring.

Being a hybrid camera, there are many updates that will benefit both still and video, such as 5-axis SteadyShot INSIDE in-body image stabilization and an upgraded 169-point Fast Intelligent AF system that is twice as fast as the original a7S, which maintains reliability down to -4 EV. Moving on to body design, we see a more substantial grip, the relocating of the shutter release to a more natural position, the use of a more durable and quieter shutter mechanism, and improved button customization. This camera will seem familiar to anyone who has handled the a7 II or a7R II. This body also takes on the sharp 0.5" Tru-Finder EVF as the a7R II, something stills shooters will greatly appreciate.

Overall, the a7S II is targeted to those with demanding video requirements with internal 4K recording, S-Log3, Full HD at 120 fps, and Gamma Display Assist. On the other side of things, stills shooters who desire the ability to capture high-quality stills at exceptionally high ISOs with minimal noise will find the a7S II an excellent companion.

48 Comments

To cover a few of the conversations... amount of pixels is important but, what they seldum/never say is, how big is each pixel. Most of the newer DSLRs are are 3.9 to 4.9. Most of the top cameras have voer 5µ to 6µm. The units with

7.3µ or more are much better in the darker areas... (Like Sony's 7s). I think the problem with the new Sonys are that they put out a newr and better model every year and do nother to help the people who have an older model... What about a special trade-in deal, like $1500 for an exelent older 7 model. It was the same with the NEX series with so many models of 3/5/6/7 and then into the 5000 and 6000... you get what I mean?

Is there any difference in image sensor  quality from the a7s to the a7sII?  I keep seeing them compare the A7RII, but not to the origional a7s.  In a tripod situation, will we be able to see any differnece?

How about SUPPORT  for professionals like Canon has???? Sony has fingers in too many pots.

I thought they did... At least they have it in Germany. The deal with them all is you have to have a certain (Newer/Pro) model and 3 lenses (Newer/Pro lenses). Meaning you have to have about $8,000 or more in cameras/lenses.

WHERE IS THE A99 2

Unfortunately Sony has not announced any update to the A99 as of yet.  We'll just have to wait and see what they do.

Will the A7SII be weather proof like the A7II?  I haven't seen anything on this yet.  It seems that the body design has followed suit so I would hope this was considered.  As a travel cinematographer, this is very important to me, and I chose the A7II over the A7S because of image stabilization for handheld work and the ability to withstand the elements.  Also, what will be the minimum ISO for use of S-Log3?  This was another weakness of the A7S that kept it out of my bag.  

And then... I watched the video.  OK... dust/moisture resistance... check.  But my other question still stands.  Did I miss this too?

Strange yes, that you see the A7RII description talk all about Dust/Moisture resistance on the B&H site, but not the A7SII description eventhough at 3:25 in this video the guy says it is (although I wonder if it REALLY is). The bodies do seem identical. Would love to get "confirmation of this from B&H" please!

As for SLOG3, the minimum ISO is 1600. 

JMH see your previous inquiry as I just updated it with a reply.  -  Yossi O.

If you compare the older 7s with the 7IIs you will see the grip is larger and has the release on top, not on the body and the dial on top looks a little higher. And, if you always use a filter and put some easy to remove black tape over the place where the lens attaches to the camera and over the mic. or the simple answer put a plastic bag over the camera with only the front of the lens, with filter.. There are also some products that do just that. A clear bag is good, A white one will keep things cooler in the sun and a black one will have a stealth/cool effect. If it is really a problem by a second camera for $150-$400 that shots 3-5 Mtrs underwater and can be droped from 6Ft. and work in the cold... Only Olympus has a model that looks like a regular small camera.. I think it is a 350.

At this point they have not confirmed what the minimum ISO for S-Log3 will be.  From researching other independant websites the common comment about the base ISO is 1600, but please note we are not yet able to confirm that.  Once the camera is released we will be able to hand test one.

At 3:25 in the video, he mentions that it's dust and moisture resistant...is this true?

It's stated in the description of the A7Rii but not in B&H's A7sII description. Thank you in advance for clarifying this.

Yes it is accurate.  The guest featured in this video with Alan is named Kenta Honjo, he is Sony USA's Alpha Product manager, and he acknowledged Alan's comments about the dust and moisture resistance ability in the video. It like the A7rII is also dust and moisture resistant.    - Yossi

Thanks for your reply. Wasn't sure if he just acknowledged it because it wouldn't have been good to stop the interview and say "actually it's not dust and moisture resistant". I'm curious then why B&H doesn't mention anything about this when you talk about the body in your description of the A7SII on your product page. And why it's all over the place on the A7RII's description?

The 1600 ISO thing was mentioned by several Sony reps in numerous videos on various sites. What I don't know is the minimum ISO for SLOG2 on this camera. 800? Or is it still 3200? Guess we'll have to wait and see. I'm also curious if the white balance can be changed while the camera is recording much like a traditional video camera. Or if you still have to stop camera to make that adjustment.

I am reading these comments and i love it. this is all i hear.  ah the sony A7s ii Disappoints me.  it doesnt have a touch screen, it doesnt have app, it doesnt make me coffee, it doesnt have the same dynamic range as the ARRI Alexa, it doesnt do 1000fps like the phantom flex, I cannot pair it with my iphone 3000, it doesnt have a 80mega pixel sensor, boo hooo.  My point is that its a camera, an affordable camera and again its just a camera.  Instead of complaining about features that wont help you tell your story, you sit down and write down how to best shoot what you want to shoot like the professionals do it and get better at shooting with whatever tool you have?   No camera is perfect. if you come from a photography point 12mpix wont do it for billboard photos (maybe) and for video compared to a canon its like comparing apples to oranges. So to all film makers, stop B^%#$ng and work on your story telling and technique. I swear you will have a lot more fun in the process :)

With all the new sensors Sony has been releasing, it would seem the NEX-EA50 and NEX-VG900 are way overdue for update/replacement.

The right tool for the job.

Ok, so this is not what you would use for landscape or archetectural prints that get enlarget to 48 inches, or commercial magazine spreads, but at 400,000 ISO with a compact frame, it's the best choice for available light portraits, candids, editorial, that no one else would be able to get.

The way Sony should have fixed the resolution vs the low light sensitivity, was to ad a little more megapixel, fairly to 16 / 18 but with a BSI sensor, that should keep the same sensitivity as the A7S but with a higer megapixel and 4K recording, THEN I would have purchased two of this... This Sony A7S II its not BSI sensor... :(

Have been waiting to see what the a7sii brings with it. As much as I would buy one, I will hold off a few more months before deciding. Main reason for that is the "Lossless RAW" function. Will see what their next step is.

Either way, this is a great improvement on the a7s. 

Lets not forget guys, it's a business and money is it's prime objective. Improvements will come slowly as it brings more sales. Be stupid for them to introduce everything we want in this camera on a series 2. 

I have a nex-6. I love the size and features of the camera, so far sony has not produced anything this size that would make me want to purchase it. Are they giving up on this sizes of camera and lens? A good 24-70 low light lens would be good. i see they have revamped the A 2.8 24-70. Anything comng down the pipe Sony. Like others have said Christmas is comming

Hello.  I am reasonably new to digital photography.  Most of my experience is with an old Mamiya 6X7.  I absolutely love the high resolution medium format provides and have been eagerly awaiting the digital age to catch up.  Yes, I am aware that Hassleblaud makes a nice 200 MP camera, but 50K is out of my price range.  I have a question.  The direction of this camera seems to be lower resolution (12 MP vs more than 40 for some of the other Sony Models).  What is the trade off?  Lower MP means larger pixels capable of displaying more noise free photos?  Is that it?

Less noise at high ISO, yes. In daylight conditions/low ISO the only advantage is the smaller file-size.

Full-pixels read-out video. Google "line-skipping in video" and you will understand the importance.

Take the FullHD - 1920x1080, double its width and height (and get 4x more megapixels).
Now keep the width while increasing the heght to get the 3:2 aspect ratio.

Now you have sensor that makes
12MP 3:2 photos with low noise
and UHD/4K 16:9 video with full-pixel readout/no line skipping

I think Smart Guy said it rather well, but yes, the takeaway of it all is that with a lower overall pixel count there is less occurence of noise in the image. 

Yes, meaning it's incredible low  noise in low light conditions! On the other hand 12MP in today's photography it's not enough  

Well, the joke is on me. Last night after a month of dithering I ordered an A7S, and today they announce an A7S II. I should have dithered another day!

B&H will accept a return up to 30 days I believe for buyers remorse. Go for it if you want. Amazon too I think.

I did the exact same thing!

I am waiting for A9 for Sony OLD USERS Amount

I'm passing on the A7RII which I am reluctant to buy because of complaints of poor on spot focusing and the raw compression issue. This camera (A7sII) is for video renthusiasts which I am not, though I would love that high ISO. My question now is... what's next Sony? A new revamped camera line ala an A9? Is this the last of the A7's? Christmas is coming and I'm sure you must have something big up your sleeve.

Does it have a painted hotshoe?

Unfortunately it is not a detail that Sony publishes any information on.  Until it begins shipping we will not be able to access one to confirm. I am sorry about that. 

It's a 12mp sensor which is still 35mm, so the pixel density and size is gigantic! This is what allows the super low light no noise awesome performance.......c'mon! If you want MP for some reason get Medium Format or a 5Ds or a A7r II!

Has the overheating issue when recording internally (as found in the A7RII) been addressed?  Twenty minutes of recording before a necessary cool-down period is hardly enough...

The a7SII has just recently been announced, and I have yet to see any hands-on reviews.  Unfortunately, at this time, it would be impossible to say how the camera will handle in terms of overheating during video.  That being said, with a sensor that has fewer pixels than the a7RII’s sensor, I would think that it would be less prone to overheating.

I hear people constantly asking about heat issues after around 15-20 minutes on the a7r2... I guess my question is what are you not able to shoot in 20 that you could shoot in 30? Also, the reality is that most of these form factor cameras have a 30 minute hard stop, so if you are doing any kind of serious video work you have 2 options... Get a video/cinema style camera, or purchase and use some form of external recorder. I did the latter (atomos shogun) and have no issues with my current a7s or the a7r2

Hi Chris -

Well said!   The Atomos workflow is an excellent choice.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:  AskBH@BandH.com

12mp?

That is insane no matter what the DR.

If it is primarily a video camera the form factor is kind  of odd.

You have a choice calaverssgrande. If you want high resolution, the a7r II shoots at 42mp. If you need low light, the a7s II is unbeatable. Since magazines and electronic media are as large as most of my paid work needs to print or display, the 12mp of the a7s II is just fine. Having more mega pixels doesn't mean better quality at all print sizes. It just means you can print larger. I've had posters for a known brand of lingerie shop you find in the mall printed from 12mp.

What Sony is doing is catering to both needs instead of having to compromize and meet in the middle by producing a single camera in the line. I hope that's where Canon is heading by splintering off the 5D into 3 cameras. I've got my fingers crossed that since they've made the 5DS and 5DR for landscape photographers, the 5D Mark IV will sacrifice resoultion for sensitivity. Please Canon, sensitivity, dynamic range, and better autofocus. Don't cater to the uninformed who think the highest number of mega pixels equals the best camera. 

Don't forget to include lossless RAW compression... Until then, Sony will have to wait.

Sony just announced they've added an option to shoot completely uncompressed 14 bit raw files for the a7s II. By the time it ships, that firmware should already be installed, and an update for some of their other cameras will be available too. You can read an article on DP Review.

Yes, very good move on Sony's part. They desrve a thumbs up for recoginizing what consumers want/require and acting accordingly. I've been wanting to ditch the FF DSLR for a while. This seals the deal for me.

Tell them to call me when they add a fully articulating screen... with touch navigation... and a menu system that doesn't look like it was developed by a 2nd grader.

You're spot on about the menu system. For once I'd like to see any camera company come up with an intuitive menu system similar to one Apple would design. In fact--why don't they just create an intuitive app for the iPhone that I can connect to via bluetooth. I would gladly use that kind of remote when shooting video.

Anyway. The internal 120fps is a big deal. That's at least worth the rental price, maybe not a full purchase.

Anonymous wrote:

Tell them to call me when they add a fully articulating screen... with touch navigation... and a menu system that doesn't look like it was developed by a 2nd grader.

So what you're saying is you want even shorter battery life.

:) Just messin' with ya, Jerry.

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