Sony A7S sample gallery images: The low-res, high-ISO sibling in the ‘A7 trio’ goes out in the real world


posted Monday, July 7, 2014 at 3:14 PM EDT


Not long after Sony introduced the A7 and A7R full-frame mirrorless cameras, the company had photographers scratching their heads, as it prepared to announce a third A7-series camera, the Sony A7S. It couldn't be a replacement so soon, so what was the purpose of this third model?

The Sony A7S, it turned out, rounded out a trio of cameras nicely tuned to fit the specific needs of different photographers. The A7 is the all-arounder with on-chip phase detect autofocus, the A7R is the high-resolution monster, and the A7S is the high-ISO powerhouse that also doubles as a 4K video camera.

Eschewing the megapixel race, the A7S opts for an all-new 12.2-megapixel sensor with huge pixels -- by current standards, at least -- as well as some unique tweaks aimed at increasing dynamic range. The combination promises unprecedented low-light performance. By default, the Sony A7S has a sensitivity range of ISO 100 to 102,400 equivalents for still imaging or video. This range can be expanded for still shooting to encompass everything from ISO 50 to 409,600 equivalents in still shooting, and ISO 100 to 409,600 equivalents for video.

We've put the A7S through the gauntlet in our test lab, and now it's time to see how the Sony A7S does with some real-world shooting. Over the holiday weekend, I had a chance to see how this new Sony camera handled, particularly with high ISO shots. This is the first time I've shot with a camera that has the ability to use these ludicrously high ISO sensitivities. Shooting on RAW+JPEG and setting the Auto ISO to the maximum range -- 100 to 409,600 -- I set out ready to shooting in any condition, well-lit or otherwise.

(Note: The Sony A7S, as with other A7-series cameras, cannot currently shoot in RAW and "Extra fine" quality JPEG simultaneously. Knowing that a lot our readers appreciate RAW files for sample images, I shot these current samples in RAW+JPEG mode. In subsequent sample images with the A7S, I will provide a number of them in "Extra Fine" quality.)

While the super-high ISO shots, unsurprisingly, display noticeable noise, they still retain a lot of fine detail, which is quite an impressive feat. As expected from a full-frame camera, the low ISO shots also look very good with lots of fine detail and nice colors. Head over the Sony A7S gallery page for a look at all the new real-world sample images. 

A7S + Sony Zeiss FE 24-70mm F4: 24mm, f/5.6, 1/200s, ISO 100 
A7S + Sony FE 70-200mm F4: 116mm, f/4, 1/125s, ISO 20,000
Impressive detail for ISO 160,000! Shot in a very dimly-lit living room on a very dark bookshelf.
A7S + Sony Zeiss FE 24-70 F4: 54mm, f/4, 1/60s, ISO 160,000

[Quick Links: Sony A7S PreviewFirst ShotsGallery Images]