Short Film "Moonlight" Shows Off Extreme Low-Light Capabilities of Sony a7S

Ever since the Sony a7S was released, the photography world has been abuzz about its incredible low-light performance. The folks at California based Carbon Studios were motivated to test just how well the a7S would perform under the dim natural lighting conditions of a full moon. Enter their latest short film, “Moonlight.”

Filmed almost exclusively during the full moon of September 8th, the crew traveled the California coastline shooting between 12:30AM and 2:00AM. That’s certainly surprising, because the footage used in “Moonlight” looks much more like the break of dawn. A few shots even look as late as mid-morning. One thing that stuck out for me was the astounding capability of the a7S to capture good shadow detail with crisp edges– in the middle of the night! As someone who is looking to make the switch to mirrorless, seeing these technological advancements being made by Sony and other compact system camera makers is truly the most exciting thing to watch in the market today.

According to the Vimeo description, all clips used in "Moonlight" were cut in straight from the camera without color grading, noise reduction, or sharpening. The first two scenes, captured a few days prior to the full moon, were shot 1/25 f/1.4 at 25,600 ISO and 1/25 f/1.4 at 32,000 ISO. The rest was shot around 1/30 f/1.4 at 32,000 ISO. Carbon Studios lists the gear they used on “Moonlight” to include the Sony a7S, a Zeiss 55mm 1.4 Otus, a Zeiss 28mm 2.0 Distagon, and a Metabones EF to NEX adapter.

Below are some images from behind the scenes that show just what kind of light they were working with.

All images used with permission.

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jeff calbom's picture

Need to correct the headline guys. This is the a7S not the a7R.

Ryan Mense's picture

D'oh! Thanks for the polite correction, Jeff.

Anonymous's picture

Why is the real dark only on the beginning scene ?

Edward Khoma's picture

We shot the first two scenes on a different day when there was no moon. We wanted to capture a shooting stars as you can see in the 2nd scene.

Anonymous's picture

Ok looks greaat

Hessam Yekta's picture

Wow Unbelievable!

Anonymous's picture

Canon 5D Mark IV better have capabilities like these.. Get to work Canon.

Chris Blair's picture

Thats odd, thought you said it was filmed on the A7R, but now says A7S. Anyhow, interesting test film shot using moonlight.

Johnny Barbarino's picture

Can't wait to pick mine up in a few months!

paulo Sousa's picture

Nothing against the tecnology, but to me it doesnt look like it was filmed at night, it looks filmed on a somber day, blue hour time, but not night, and to me it loses the magic of nighttime, its nol like im on the beach at night and i see like this, to me the inovation you ll be a camera with a so massive dynamic range that night photography and video would really look like the perception we have of night.
and i really miss the moon light, maybe some color correction would benefit it, i miss the blue tones of nightsky, the whithe light of moon, the orange light of man made lights. like shown in this video i dont see the benefits.