The Sony a7S has been the subject of a hotbed of conversation for the past four or five months as a camera with a lot of potential to really shake up the cinema world. This of course was extremely interesting to me as a videographer. I've finally gotten my hands on the camera and after a few days shooting with it on set, I'm not quite ready to write a review, but I do think it is important to address a feature about which I feel lied to: 4K.
Though it isn't the biggest selling point of the camera, the ability to do 4K certainly was something that put it nearer to the top of the list of enviable video cameras. Sure, the camera isn't capable of recording 4K natively like the GH4 is, instead requiring an external recorder, but having the option at all was extremely welcome.
Sony's advertising and website are covered in happy 4K wording and colors, exclaiming that with a "compatible 4K recorder," you too can start shooting in the next generation of high resolution.
Except you really can't. You can't until at least September of 2014 and even then you'll only have one option, the Atomos Shogun.
For the sake of those Googling for answers to thie question, I'll reapeat: The Sony a7S cannot record 4K without a compatible recorder, of which there are none until Quarter 4 of 2014.
Sony is selling this camera based on features, like any camera manufacturer. Unfortunately, it's selling a major feature that is actually impossible right now. Though there is a lot more to consider with this camera (and I'll be honest, the quality of the footage is spectacular), if you want the ability to shoot 4K it's going to be hard to recommend the a7S for purchase until testing on the medium can be done.
I'll end with a couple videos on the camera that Philip Bloom has posted, which show how spectacular the sensor is (a statement that right now I very much agree with).
Photos by Trevor Dayley