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Sony Alpha a7S Mirrorless Digital Camera

by Sony
4.7 out of 5 stars 76 customer reviews
| 58 answered questions

List Price: $2,498.00
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DPReview Gold Award
From the experts at DPReview
Overall score: 86%
See review summary and sample images
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Digital Photography Review is the most popular dedicated enthusiast digital photography site on the Internet. Our authoritative reviews have earned us the trust of photographers and camera buyers all over the world, for more than 15 years.

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  • Screen Size: 3"
  • Screen Features: Tiltable TFT-LCD with 921K dots
  • Megapixels: 12.2MP
  • Image Resolution: 4240 x 2832
  • Optical Zoom: Not Available
14 new from $2,198.00 25 used from $1,589.99 5 refurbished from $1,794.98

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Technical Details


Review summary from DPReview

DPReview Gold Award
March 2015
Professional videographers and independent filmmakers, who may be a bit more deliberate in their choice of equipement and don't mind setting up a rig with an external recorder, will find a lot to like in this camera. For these users the a7S delivers an unquestionably cinematic look that's difficult to achieve without increasing your spend by an order of magnitude.

Personal takes

Dale Baskin Dale Baskin Reviewer
It's not surprising that the camera has started to develop a bit of a cult following among videographers. The a7S simply records beautiful video. Whether you shoot internally at 1080p or externally at 4K, the video files out of the a7S are among the very best we've seen from an interhchangable lens camera at this price point.
Rishi Sanyal Rishi Sanyal Deputy/Tech Editor
The Sony A7S faces stiff competition as a stills camera by solid DSLR offerings from its competitors, as well as from its own A7-series siblings, which generally offer better features for still imagery. But you'll be hard-pressed to find a better video camera, where the A7S offers class-leading resolution and noise performance.

Reasons to buy

  • Video quality: The a7S produces superb 1080p video footage with virtually no moiré
  • Image quality: Although only 12 megapixels, the a7S produces impressive image quality even at high ISO
  • S-Log2: Sony's excellent S-Log2 gamma profile preserves impressive dynamic range to facilitate color grading of video
  • Professional video tools: Adjustable zebras and focus peaking assist shooters in evaluating exposure and achieving sharp focus, particularly with third-party lenses

Things to consider

  • 4K video: The a7S produces class leading 4K (Ultra HD) video, but you'll need an external recorder to capture it.
  • Resolution: Despite having a full frame sensor, the a7S is limited to 12 megapixels for still photography
  • No touch screen: The a7S does not have a touch screen, a useful feature common on other hybrid still/video cameras
  • Battery: Battery life can be restrictive, especially when shooting video
Notable features
12MP CMOS sensor
12MP CMOS sensor
The a7S' sensor may have only 12 million pixels, but this helps it excel in low light, while still allowing for wide, but not class-leading dynamic range. In addition, the low resolution allows for full sensor read-out, which means the a7S produces best-in-class video.
Tilting LCD
Tilting LCD
The a7S has the same 3" tilting LCD as its a7 siblings. The screen has 921k dots - average for this class - but sadly isn't touch-sensitive.
Electronic viewfinder
Electronic viewfinder
Photos and videos can also be composed on a large and beautiful 2.4 million dot OLED viewfinder.
Detailed score
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Build quality
Ergonomics & handling
Features
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (RAW)
Image quality (JPEG)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Performance
Movie / video mode
Connectivity
Value
86%
Overall score
Scoring is relative only to the other products in the same category.
DPReview is the world’s most popular dedicated enthusiast digital photography website. Since 1998 its mission has remained unchanged: to deliver the best reviews of cameras and lenses anywhere on the Internet, and help you find the right gear for your needs.

Product Description

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Product Description

Easily share photos and videos with friends and relatives using this Sony a7S DSLR camera that features built-in Wi-Fi and NFC (near-field communication) technology for simple wireless pairing with select smartphones and tablets.

From the Manufacturer

Sony make . believe


Sony make . believe
Presenting the world’s smallest and lightest1 full frame interchangeable lens camera. With a groundbreaking 35mm large pixel image sensor rated at 15.3-stops of dynamic range and an ISO 409,600 sensitivity2, the α7S reveals astonishing detail and color even in the dead of night. Video excels with Full Pixel Readout, a 4K-optimized sensor and uncompressed 4K output. Fast, intelligent autofocus completes the picture.
a7S




Technology



35mm large pixel image sensor with 15.3-stops of dynamic range

The groundbreaking α7S features a 12.2 effective megapixel 35mm Exmor CMOS sensor paired with a powerful BIONZ X image processor. The α7S can shoot at a sensitivity range of ISO 100 – 4096004 with low noise and unprecedented 15.3 stops of dynamic range. The extra-large pixels on the α7S collect dramatically more light than traditional cameras to produce beautifully detailed, low-noise images in even the most challenging lighting environments.

12.2MP sensor optimized for 4k and low light video

The α7S is the world’s first 35mm camera to incorporate ‘direct pixel readout’ utilizing the entire width of the full-frame image sensor without line skipping or pixel binning. Therefore in both HD and 4K video acquisition it can read and process data from every one of the sensor’s pixels. This allows video shooters to utilize all of the artistic and creative benefits provided by the unique sensor.

High ISO up to 409,600 w/ fast AF in light as low as EV -4

Equipped with the same high-precision Fast Intelligent AF system as the award-winning α7R camera, the α7S drastically improves AF sensitivity in low-light that can go as low as EV -4.


New-generation RGB filter with gapless on-chip lens design

The larger than normal pixel size on the 35mm full-frame image sensor with effective 12.2MP, employs Sony’s latest image sensor technologies on the α7S. To boost the image sensor’s light collection efficiency, a new-generation RGB color filter has been adopted, in addition to the gapless on-chip lens design, light concentration technology and photodiode expansion technology delivers unprecedented high sensitivity and low-noise levels with high dynamic range in every light condition from severe low light to bright sunlight. By applying an AR coating on the surface of the seal glass over the image sensor, ghosting and flare have been minimized, further contributing to the α7S’s high image quality.

Uncompressed 4:2:2 Full HD and 4K QFHD output via HDMI1

In video mode, the α7S can output 4K video at QFHD (3840x2160) in 4:2:2 to an optional external 3rd party 4K recorder via the HDMI1.

50Mbps XAVC S 1920x1080 at 60P, 1280x720 at 120P

For the first time ever in a Sony α camera, the α7S adopts the workflow-friendly XAVC S recording format in addition to AVCHD and MP4 codecs. XAVC S format allows for full HD recording at a data rate of 50 mbps with lower compression for improved video quality. The α7S can record full HD (1920x1080) at frame rates of 60p, 60i, 30p and 24p directly to a compatible memory card. Video modes can be changed from full-frame to APS-C (super 35mm equivalent) if desired, and in this crop mode, the camera can support high frame rate 120fps shooting at standard HD resolution (1280 x 720p), creating a 5x slow-motion effect.


Additional Features


Silent shutter mode for discreet shooting

Silent shutter mode is ideal when discretionary shooting is required; like capturing a recital or wildlife. Activating the silent shutter eliminates the use of the mechanical shutter and therefore shutter noise by utilizing an electronic shutter in its place.

3.0" 1.23M dot LCD tilts for high and low angle framing

The tiltable 3.0” (1,229k dots) Xtra Fine LCD Display makes it easy to photograph over crowds or low to capture pets eye to eye by swinging up approximately 84 degrees and down approximately 45 . Easily scroll through menus and preview life thanks to WhiteMagic technology that dramatically increases visibility in bright daylight. The large display delivers brilliant-quality still images and movies while enabling easy focusing operation.

Simple connectivity to smartphones via Wi-Fi or NFC

Connectivity with smartphones for One-touch sharing/One-touch remote has been simplified with Wi-Fi/NFC control. In addition to Wi-Fi support for connecting to smartphones, α7S also supports NFC (near field communication) providing “one touch connection” convenience when transferring images to Android smartphones and tablets. Users need only touch devices to connect; no complex set-up is required. Moreover, when using Smart Remote Control — a feature that allows shutter release to be controlled by a smartphone — connection to the smartphone can be established by simply touching compatible devices.

Pro-workflow w/ Picture Profile, S-Log2 and time code

The α7S is equipped with S-Log2 gamma. Common to Sony’s range of professional video cameras, S-Log2 expands the dynamic range by up to 1300% to minimize clipped highlights and loss of detail in shadows. The α7S includes a picture profile that can adjust settings like gamma, black, level and color adjustment, and can be saved for use in a multi-camera shoot. It also has Full HD and 4K base band HDMI output, time code/user bit for easier editing, synchronous recording feature with compatible devices, various marker and zebra displays on both the LCD screen and viewfinder.

Audio level controls, AAC/Linear PCM2, optional XLR kit

The α7S has a Multi-terminal interface shoe that is compatible with Sony’s XLR Adaptor Microphone Kits (XLR-K1M plus a new model under development), allowing the use of professional microphone systems.

PlayMemories Camera Apps allows feature upgrades

Personalize your camera by adding new features of your choice with PlayMemories Camera Apps. Find apps to fit your shooting style from portraits, detailed close-ups, sports, time lapse, motion shot and much more. Use apps that shoot, share and save photos using Wi-Fi that make it easy to control and view your camera from smartphone, and post photos directly to Facebook or backup images to the cloud without connecting to a computer.11

High contrast 2.4-million dot XGA OLED Tru-Finder EVF

View every scene in rich detail with the XGA OLED Tru-Finsder, which features OLED improvements and the same 3-lens optical system used in the flagship Sony α99 Full Frame DSLR. The viewfinder faithfully displays what will appear in your recording, including the effects of your camera settings, so you can accurately monitor the results. You’ll enjoy rich tonal gradations and 3 times the contrast of the α99. High-end features like 100% frame coverage and a wide viewing angle are also provided.

Compatible w/ Sony E-mount lenses and many others3

Directly compatible with the growing family of E-mount Full Frame lenses, the α7S camera can also be used with A-mount and others lens systems with optional adapters. Sony’s complete α lens system includes several premium offerings from Carl Zeiss and G Series Lenses. Sony’s E-mount lens system is particularly well-suited for video shooting, with a variety of models containing “movie-friendly” features like smooth focusing, powered zoom control, and silent iris/aperture control.



1. Requires compatible recorder. 4K movie recording requires a 4K-compatible recorder.

2. Linear PCM in XAVC S

3. Compatibility with lenses other than Sony E-mount requires optional adaptors. Function is not guaranteed and may vary by adaptor.

4. Standard ISO range: Still 100 – 102400, Movie 100-102400; Expandable ISO range: Still 100-409600, Movie 100-409600

11. Requires an active 802.11 Wi-Fi network (802.11n recommended) or PlayMemories Mobile app installed on compatible Android or iOS device. PlayMemories camera app requires download with existing Sony Entertainment Network account. Download available in all countries/areas where Sony Entertainment Network is available. Content is subject to change and may require fees.


Sony, BIONZ X, BRAVIA, Exmor, InfoLITHIUM, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo, the Memory Stick logo, PlayMemories Home, Remote Commander, Smile Shutter, Stamina, Theatre Sync, Sweep Panorama, Xtra Fine LCD and the Sony make.believe logo are trademarks of Sony. AVCHD is a trademark of Panasonic Corporation and Sony Corporation. Microsoft, Windows, and Windows Vista are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. Mac OS and iMovie are trademarks of Apple Computers, Inc. HDMI is a trademark of HDMI Licensing LLC. All other trademarks are trademarks of their respective owners.

Product Details

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Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here [PDF]| User Manual [9.07mb PDF]
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.9 x 3.7 inches ; 1.1 pounds
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • ASIN: B00JIWXTXG
  • Item model number: ILCE7S/B
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #790 in Camera & Photo (See Top 100 in Camera & Photo)
  • Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here [PDF]
  • Date first available at Amazon.com: April 6, 2014

Read about our customers' top-rated cameras and lenses on our review pages: Compact System Cameras, Lenses

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Style Name: Base
I do not do many Amazon reviews for cameras as I have a huge review website for this purpose. But every once in a while a special camera comes along that does almost everything so so right. It is then I feel the need to come here and write a short review on Amazon. The A7s is one of those cameras.

I have used every camera made over the past 7 years. ALL of them, even DSLRs. I only review and write about the ones that move me, the ones I like, the ones that offer something special whether that is in the form of usability, IQ, abilities, lenses, versatility, etc.

The A7s offers so much, that it is probably the favorite camera I have ever reviewed or used in 7 years. I have loved and adored many cameras for what they offer. The Olympus E-M1 is a micro 4/3 masterpiece. The lenses for that system are the best there is. The Sony RX1 and RX1r..magical and quite special once you know how to use it and exploit what it offers. The Leica M 240, again, it can provide an emotional experience while delivering class leading IQ.

But today I am talking about the virtues and benefits of the Sony A7s. I find it sad that many just look at the words "12MP" and assume it is not good for photos. NONSENSE 100%, and that is a fact.

In reality, 12MP is more than 99.8% of us will ever need (see my review at my site for more on this) ad I can make beautiful 20X30 prints from an A7s file (just got one back today) just as I used to do with my 4MP Nikon D2hs. Huge MP is NOT needed for large prints! Now if you want to shoot massively detailed landscapes, go for medium format as that will deliver what you need more than any 35mm based camera. For everything else, the A7s is plenty.
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Style Name: Base Verified Purchase
As a professional wedding photographer/videographer I've now gone through quite a few cameras, exploring different options and new technologies. My recent favorite was the pixel dense 36mp Nikon d800.

When I read the announcement for the upcoming Sony A7s I was both nervous and excited. 12mp would be a major drop from 36mp, but all the other improvements had me drooling. Clean, usable ISO past 10,000, 120fps 720p video, 15 steps of dynamic range, all in a body half the size of my d800. When earlier reviewers started comparing the camera's picture quality to medium format images (in color quality and accuracy not resolution) it almost sounded all too good to be true. Especially for Sony! Maybe I wouldn't have been so skeptical if all this was coming from Canon or Nikon, but Sony? I remember shooting with there first few generations of DSLRs and being very disappointed. Now they are claiming there little A7s can do it all and more? Well yesterday mine arrived. All the hype was true.

For yesterday's wedding I brought a Canon 5D MKIII and this little guy, hoping to shoot with it here and there if I could figure out the menus quickly enough. This was my first mirrorless camera and it definitely handles different from a DSLR but in a very nice way. The menus and layout was all simple enough that I was able to do a lot of shooting with it yesterday. I shot video and am so happy with the results. The image came out so clean. The 50mb codec allows for so much latitude. For 120fps shooting I doubled the shutter to 1/250. Worked great during the day -- worked just as good when the sun went down and I jumped past 10,000 ISO to maintain exposure.

Today I've delved into the menus a bit deeper and am pleasantly surprised by the amount of customization.
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9 Comments 118 of 124 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Style Name: Base Verified Purchase
I had little interest in this camera when it was first announced, but after reading some of the reviews I decided to give it a chance. I was hesitant for the obvious reason: 12 MP. What is this, 2008? I understand why having fewer, larger pixels results in better high-ISO performance, but the previously reigning low-light king (according to DxOMark), the Nikon Df, has 16 MP, so 12 seemed a little stingy. As a street photographer who often shoots from the hip, literally, I like to have the option to crop, and 12 MP would leave me precious little margin for error.

First, the bad: Yes, 12 MP is limiting. People who tell you otherwise are either being disingenuous or only do photography where there's plenty of time to compose and adjust zoom or get closer as necessary. Any photography that demands capturing fleeting moments, including street and wedding, is going to suffer from the cropping constraints.

And yet, I still consider this the full-frame street photography king for two reasons: High ISO performance and the silent shutter option. I'm not interested in making night look like day, but the high-ISO performance allows me to use faster shutter speeds and greater depth of field so my subjects are neither blurry nor out of focus. I've never used any images above 6400 from the other cameras I've recently owned (D800, A7, E-M5), but with this camera I feel comfortable using 12800 and even 25600. People who say images are "usable" up to 51,200 probably have a different definition of usable than I do. Some claim the noise on this camera has a film grain quality to it; I think all digital noise is ugly, and if I want grain I can add it in post. Good thing there's just less noise with this sensor.
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Sony Alpha a7S Mirrorless Digital Camera
This item: Sony Alpha a7S Mirrorless Digital Camera
Price: $2,198.00
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com