Sony has announced the update to their Alpha A7 full frame mirrorless camera, with the announcement of the Alpha A7s. This is not to be confused with the later released Alpha A7R, which sports an enormous 36.4 megapixel sensor, identical to that of the one in Nikon’s D800, but packed into a body less than half the size of the D800. The original A7 came with a 24 megapixel sensor, while the A7R comes with a 36 megapixel sensor, and now the A7s comes with a 12 megapixel sensor. All of this may seem a bit bizarre and confusing until you realize why the A7S is 1/3 the resolution of the A7R, and that has to do with the fact that the A7s has some of the craziest ISO performance on earth, oh and it supports 4K video at 30 FPS, something only one other photo camera in the world can do. In fact, this may actually be the smallest 4K consumer camera in the world.
The A7s also sports an impressive ISO range of ISO 50 to 409,600 with the standard ISO range for stills ranging from 100 to 102,400 which is still within the range of most professional DSLRs with their expanded ISO ranges. The Expanded range is 50-409,600 and when shooting video you can use ISO 200 to 409,600.
The camera also has a lot of video friendly features and supports 4K video, however, you cannot record the 4K video directly to the Sony or SDXC memory cards within the camera. Sony states that 4K is a ‘Pro-Quality’ feature and as a result requires an optional external 3rd party 4K recorder, which means that Sony isn’t even the company that’s going to sell you what you need to record your own 4K video. Considering that the camera supports All of the fancy Sony Memory Stick standards as well as SDHC and SDXC, there should be no problem recording 4K video directly to a UHS-1 SDXC card, there are even cards being made specifically with very high write speeds for 4K use. I believe that if you have to use the camera’s HDMI output (which does 4K @ 30 FPS) and record that to an external HDMI recorder, this camera has defeated its own purpose of supporting 4K.
That aside, this camera does support NFC and Wi-Fi which means that you can wirelessly stream your images out to your wireless devices incredibly easily, especially if you have a device with NFC which makes pairing effortless. Overall, I think this camera is pretty awesome, but it remains to be seen if the 4K feature is really worth noting considering the fact that it can’t record directly to an SDXC card that’s inside the camera. If they can fix this, then maybe this camera might be worth getting over Panasonic’s GH4.