The Sony a7S Can Overexpose Video at Midnight in an Unlit Forest

Since its announcement in April, 2014 the Sony a7S has been getting quite a bit of press for its out-of-this-world high-ISO video performance. This palm-sized, sub $3k camera can shoot up to ISO 409,600 (a value that was unheard of until the D4s) allowing low light video shooting like nothing you've ever seen.

While we've already seen some low-light test footage from the a7S, this real-world test shows you just how powerful the sensor in the a7S really is, overexposing in the middle of the night.

Below are some screen grabs of video at various ISO settings from 800 to 409,600.

Austin_Rogers_Fstoppers_a7S_low-light_test_1Austin_Rogers_Fstoppers_a7S_low-light_test_2Austin_Rogers_Fstoppers_a7S_low-light_test_3Austin_Rogers_Fstoppers_a7S_low-light_test_4Austin_Rogers_Fstoppers_a7S_low-light_test_6Austin_Rogers_Fstoppers_a7S_low-light_test_7Austin_Rogers_Fstoppers_a7S_low-light_test_9Austin_Rogers_Fstoppers_a7S_low-light_test_10

[Via Maaz Khan @ DIY Photography & EOS HD]

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20 Comments

David Geffin's picture

This is insane

I call BS......clearly the light from the monitor was reflecting off the trees and leaves and providing light to the scene....test is invalid....... ;-)

Umm, no, something shady going on here somewhere. Either that is:

-dusk and not midnight
-midnight during summer in Alaska where it's still somewhat light out
-wrong specs listed

Go out at midnight, tonight, when there's still a bunch of moon left, and try taking a shot at 35mm, f/3.2, ISO 800, 1/60th sec...you won't get anything even close to what they are showing.

I think I speak for most of the intelligent ones here....we want to see where the disconnect is between what's listed and reality.

Jason Ennis's picture

Really? I left work at 1.30am last night and there was a distinct strong blue glow to the east. Could easily have exposed it at the above settings.

It's easy to say anything. Difficult to back things up. I'm still waiting for proof from anyone. Why? Because it's not coming. I tried the same thing, and it was almost black, not as these images would try and have you believe.

Just wondering which camera were you using and did you remember to resample the image down to HD?

Depends on how close to a city that is really, how much light pollution, with what kind of clouds. While i agree it seems bright at 800, i've lived places that are so lit up all hours of night, that it's plausible. Toss in overcast, and that's just reflecting the light back down. A forest doesn't really mean middle of nowhere away from light, so i think that might be misleading. It would be nice if they said where this was exactly.

For reference, i live in a town of about 15k people, at least ten miles from another town. There are so many lights here, that it's hard to see any stars at all. I have to drive several miles just to get nighttime shots, and yet even then the glow of the town shows up, overcast and it's even more so.

I'm confused, what do I want with totally unusable footage?

To show off!! Duh!

Not exactly "middle of the night", but still pretty cool.

Whilst it's technically impressive - poor light is still poor light, better ISO & cleaner images won't make up the difference in that. I can see this having some use but in practice we can already get around these issues with better solutions (lights!)

Actually, from an independent filmmaker's perspective, this is very good, because you can have sets that can be lit with standard lighting, even across an entire city block, and get the same kind of lighting effects that now take insane amount of lights, gear, crew, and money to achieve.

I think this is something that's just gone right over a lot of people's heads.

metabones adapter from a full frame lens to full frame sensor? why??

wondering the same thing

They weren't using a Speedbooster. The standard Metabones adapter allows use of Canon EF lenses, utilizing all of Canon's autofocus, aperture control, and image stabilization. It's a standard adapter with electronic contacts that allows the Sony and Canon electronics to communicate.

Cause Canon lens only operates via electronic contact, the most important being aperture control.

Chad Andreo's picture

Wedding and event cinematographers are going to eat this up.

yeap, especially those candid wedding shots, for portraiture or set-up kind of shots, the A7 or A7r would fulfil those needs.

please don't talk nosence if you don't even try the camera yet; I was lucky to try it out for a few minutes at night and you can check my video here (in spanish): https://vimeo.com/98137975

Okay, that's incredible low light performance for video. I agree with you on some people just making a habit of making a judgement without even trying it first.