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Monday, April 07, 2014
Sony's New α7S Full-Frame Camera Outputs 4K Video

Joining the α7 and α7R family of full-frame interchangeable lens cameras, Sony's new α7S model puts extraordinary sensitivity, low noise and 4K video quality into the hands of professional photographers and videographers.

The α7S camera features a newly developed, 12.2 effective megapixel 35mm Exmor CMOS sensor paired with a powerful BIONZ X image processor, allowing it to shoot at a sensitivity range of ISO 50 - 409600.

The new model is also the first camera to utilize the entire width of a full-frame image sensor in 4K video acquisition, and does this without cropping or line skipping as it can read and process data from every one of the sensor's pixels. 

These components allow the camera to process data from all of the sensor's pixels and output HD and 4K (QFHD 3840 x 2160 pixels) videowhile utilizing the full-width of the sensor.  In addition to the benefits for low-light shooting, the read out of all pixels frees the video from aliasing, moire and false color artifacts (as opposed to pixel binning) to achieve high quality video.

In video mode, the α7S can output 4K videoat QFHD (3840 x 2160) to an optional external 3rd party 4K recorder, and can record full HD (1920?1080) 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.

The α7S camera is also 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.  Additionally, 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.

Other specialist video functions on the new camera include 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 and can dual record XAVC S as well as MP4 (1280?720 @30p).

The camera also has a Multi-terminal interface shoe that is compatible with Sony's XLR Adaptor Microphone Kits allowing the use of professional microphone systems.

The camera is also equipped with the same high-precision Fast Intelligent AF system as the α7R camera, with improved low-light AF sensitivity that can go as low as  -4EV.

Directly compatible with the family of E-mount lenses, the α7S camera can also be used with A-mount and others lens systems with optional adapters.  Sony's complete α lens system now includes 54 total lenses for both A and E mounts, including several offerings from Carl Zeiss and G Series Lenses.

As a whole, Sonys 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.   Building on this, Sony has announced development of a new, full-frame power zoom 28-135mm F4 lens E-mount lens.

Sony did not provide any pricing and availability of the α7S camera.

Key specifications

Lens mount α E-mount
Image sensor
Type 35mm full frame (35.6 x 23.8mm), Exmor CMOS sensor
Number of pixels (effective) Approx. 12.2 megapixels
Recording system (still images)
Recording format JPEG (DCF Ver. 2.0, Exif Ver. 2.3, MPF baseline compliant), RAW (Sony ARW 2.3 format)
RAW output 14 bit
Recording system (movies)
Recording format XAVC S / AVCHD format Ver. 2.0 compliant / MP4
Video compression XAVC S: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264
MP4: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264
Audio recording format XAVC S: LPCM, 2ch
AVCHD: Dolby Digital (AC-3), 2ch, Dolby Digital Stereo Creator
MP4: MPEG-4 AAC-LC, 2ch
Image size (pixels) XAVC S: 1920 x 1080 (60p/50Mbps, 30p/50Mbps, 24p/50Mbps), 1280 x 720 (120p/50Mbps)
AVCHD: 1920 x 1080 (60p/28Mbps/PS, 60i/24Mbps/FX, 60i/17Mbps/FH, 24p/24Mbps/FX, 24p/17Mbps/FH)
MP4: 1440 x 1080 (30fps/12Mbps), 640 x 480 (30fps/3Mbps)
Movie functions Audio Level Display, Audio Rec Level, Auto Slow Shutter, HDMI info. Display (On/Off selectable), Time Code/User Bit, Picture Profile, Creative Style, Picture Effect, Rec Control, Dual Video Rec, Marker   Setting
Picture Profile Yes (Off / PP1-PP7) Parameters: Black level, Gamma (Movie, Still, Cine1-4, ITU709, ITU709 [800%], S-Log2), Black Gamma, Knee Colour Mode, Colour Level, Colour Phase, Colour Depth, Detail, Copy, Reset
Clean HDMI output
Output signal 3840 ? 2160(30p/24p) / 1920 ? 1080(60p/60i/24p)YCbCr 4:2:2 8bit/ RGB 8bit
Media Memory Stick PRO Duo, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo, Memory Stick XC-HG Duo, SD memory card, SDHC memory card (UHS-I compliant), SDXC memory card (UHS-I compliant)
Focus system
Type Contrast-detection AF
Focus point 25 points
Sensitivity range EV -4 to EV 20 (at ISO 100 equivalent with F2.0 lens attached)
Exposure control
Metering type 1200-zone evaluative metering
ISO sensitivity Still images: ISO 100-102400, Movies: ISO 200-102400 equivalent (both expandable to 409600, for still: expandable down to 50)
(Recommended Exposure Index)
Type XGA OLED, 1.3cm (0.5 type) electronic viewfinder (colour)
Total no. of dots 2,359,296 dots
Field coverage 100%
Magnification Approx. 0.71x (with 50mm lens at infinity, -1m-1)
LCD screen
Type 7.5cm (3.0 type) TFT drive
Total number of dots 921,600 dots
Adjustable angle Up approx. 90 degrees, down approx. 45 degrees
Other features
PlayMemories Camera Apps Yes
Wireless LAN (built-in) Wi-Fi Compatible, IEEE802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz band)
Playback of still images and movies on smartphones, PCs and TVs
NFC? Yes (NFC Forum Type 3 Tag compatible, One-touch remote, One-touch sharing)
Multi Interface Shoe Yes
HD output HDMI micro connector (Type-D), BRAVIA Sync (link menu), PhotoTV HD, 4K still image playback
Type Electronically controlled, vertical-traverse, focal-plane type
Shutter speed Still images: 1/8000 to 30 sec., Bulb
Movies: 1/8000 to 1/4 (1/3 step), Up to 1/60 in AUTO mode (up to 1/30 in Auto Slow Shutter mode)
Electronic front curtain shutter Yes, On/Off
Drive modes Single shooting, Continuous shooing, Speed Priority Continuous shooting, Self-timer (10/2 sec. delay selectable), Self-timer (Cont.) (10 sec. delay, 3/5 exposures selectable), Bracketing (Cont., Single, White Balance, DRO)
Speed (approx., max) Continuous shooting: Max. 2.5fps, Speed Priority Continuous Shooting: Max. 5.0fps
* May vary depending onshooting conditions and media)
Battery Rechargeable battery pack NP-FW50
Still images Approx. 320 shots (viewfinder) / approx. 380 shots (LCD screen) (CIPA standard)
Movies Actual*2: Approx. 55 min with viewfinder, approx. 60 min with LCD screen (CIPA standard)
Continuous*3: Approx. 90 min with viewfinder, approx. 90 min with LCD screen (CIPA standard)
External power AC Adaptor AC-PW20 (optional)
With battery and Memory Stick PRO Duo Approx. 489g (approx. 1 lb 1.2 oz)
Body only Approx. 446g (approx. 15.7 oz)
W x H x D (excluding protrusions) Approx. 126.9 x 94.4 x 48.2mm (approx. 5 x 3 3/4 x 1 15/16 in.)
Operating temperature
Range 32-104F /  0-40C

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