Forget 4K video, 400K ISO’s the big news! Find out if the Sony A7S is the camera 4 you in our First Shots


posted Tuesday, June 17, 2014 at 4:31 PM EST


Early this April, Sony set pulses racing with the launch of the Sony A7S mirrorless camera, a full-frame model whose name hinted at its forte: sensitivity. Thanks to much lower resolution than is typical these days -- especially for a full-frame camera -- Sony has been able to crank up the ISO sensitivity to almost unheard-of levels, gifting its latest compact system camera with some seriously impressive low-light chops. Only the Nikon D4S, a camera that costs 2.6 times as much, can match the Sony A7S at the high end of the sensitivity scale.

Since the A7S' launch, we've been hearing plenty of requests to get this exciting camera in our lab -- and fear not, low-light fans, we've been listening! Our review sample of the Sony A7S has just arrived, and no sooner did it come through the door than we rushed it down to the IR Lab to get the shooting underway. And here's where we go from the good news to the great. (Drum roll, please!) Your waiting is over: Senior lab tech Luke Smith has done his thing in record time, and turned out our initial batch of First Shots, ready for your viewing pleasure!

A comparison of similarly-priced full-frame cameras at ISO 12,800: Sony A7S (left, US$2,500) vs. Nikon Df (right, US$3,000). Note that the 16.2-megapixel Nikon Df image has been downsampled to approximately match that from the lower-res, 12.2-megapixel Sony A7S.

A comparison of cameras at the same maximum sensitivity of ISO 409,600: the Sony A7S (left) vs. the Nikon D4S (right). Note that the 16.2-megapixel Nikon D4S image has been downsampled to approximately match that from the lower-res, 12.2-megapixel Sony A7S.

As always, these First Shots are available in our Comparometer™, for direct comparison to any other camera we've reviewed. Above are a couple of comparisons we found particularly interesting, however: The Sony A7S versus a similarly-priced full-frame camera (the Nikon Df, which lists for $500 more than the Sony), and against the only other camera offering a maximum sensitivity of ISO 409,600-equivalent (the Nikon D4S).

Hop on over to the Sony A7S sample photos to see more lab shots at a range of sensitivities, or compare to other cameras using the Comparometer™. And if you're not familiar with the camera and how it differs from its siblings, the A7 and A7R, be sure to read our in-depth Sony A7S preview!