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A7S as Backup for A7R

hcubell

Active member
I will be heading to India for a fairly lengthy trip with lots of photography. My primary camera will be the A7R with a full complement of FE lenses. Since my A7R recently died and had to go to Texas for a repair(very quick turnaround by Sony!), I am particularly sensitive about having a good backup. I will either buy or rent another A7R or an A7S. I would appreciate hearing real world experience as to whether the A7S provides a significant upgrade over the A7R in shooting at higher ISOs. If it's "just" a stop or two, I don't think that's such a big deal, and I am not thrilled about giving up 36MP. (The 4K video is irrelevant to me.) OTOH, being able to shoot clean images at 12,800 ISO versus 800 ISO on the A7R, that is a big deal. That would open up opportunities to shoot at lower light levels at night, the early morning and very late afternoon.
Thanks for any input.
 

Viramati

Member
The high iso files from the A7s are truly astounding, take a look on the 'fun with A7s' thread to get an idea. If you don't need gigantic prints it's a no brainer. Anyway I don't have the A7r but the A7 (24Mp is way enough for me) and I now use the that for landscape work and the A7s for my documentary work
 

Guy Mancuso

Administrator, Instructor
You know the A6000 which also takes the same lenses is 24mpx and can shoot at ISO 1600 is not a bad option. I used it for a bit myself. Nice thing is your 55 becomes a 85. It's the same sensor as my A77II which I'm very happy with. I actually shot a image of my wife's company event which is models and talents from the balcony of the runway that I'm using right now in a 24x36 inch poster for print that looks outstanding. Its small it tucks into a bag and the image quality is very good and it has some meat to it as far as IQ. It's also lighting fast AF in case something comes up on your trip. Hell there cheap enough to have two of them.
 

iiiNelson

Well-known member
I tried the A7s in the store against my better judgement and yes it's a significant improvement to high ISO and locking on focus with AF lenses. People aren't exager when they say it can see in the dark and let's be honest. Not every snap needs 36mp". I think you may actually find yourself reaching for the S more frequently than the R. It's on my "to buy" list.
 
Agree with HiredArm. You run the risk of the A7s becoming your main camera.

The biggest problem with the 7 and 7r is not ISO performance, it is the AF ability in low light. The A7s just blows them out of the water. The AF won't be blazing fast (about the same as the 7r) but it will lock right in on your subject in pitch dark.

Then you will start to notice the perception of greater edge sharpness at normal viewing (read not huge prints), better CA and better WA performance.
 

jonoslack

Active member
The A7s is a thing of glory and wonder.
The files are beautiful (IMHO much more beautiful that the A7r)
The electronic shutter gives you at least 2 stops advantage over the A7r for hand holding
.. . . and the ISO is better, but that really isn't the point.
I suspect you'll find that if you take the A7s as a backup . . . it'll be the A7r which ends up being the backup.
Get It!
 

CharlesK

New member
My very recent experience, just before my trip to Pontevedra in Spain in August, I had two M240's as my main system, with A7r's as my backup and for high res work. My wife could not really gel with M240, but loved the A7r with the FE 55 and 35.

Then when the A7s arrived in Australia, I ordered one for low light street shots. I had about two weeks before I left for Spain to join my wife in Pontevedra, and I thoroughly tested the A7s. I was amazed with the 12 MP images and just seemed to have so much richness and life to them.

I ended selling my two M240's, and now have two A7s as my main system, and the two A7r for high resolution work. I still have all my M lenses and they are here to stay!

So my setup now is A7s(2) and A7r(2). WATE, 21 SEM, 24 Lux Asph, 28 Cron Asph, 35 Lux FLE, 50 Lux Asph, 50 Nocti f/1.0, 50 Cron Rigid DR, 75 Lux, 75 Cron AA and 90 Cron AA, of course FE 35 and 55.

In Spain, both my wife Marisa and myself loved the A7s. I did not miss the M240, and I did not use the A7r much as I had intended. Instead I used the WATE on the A7s.

I don't think you will be disappointed with A7s :)

Here are some A7s images just before my trip to Spain.

FE 55












75 Lux
 
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iiiNelson

Well-known member
So I guess the answer is get the A7s but do have the A7r with you for when you see a shot that needs to be printed on your wall. I ended up using my A7r about 3:1 compared to my A7 on the Safair I took this past summer. There's a look to them that isn't quite MF but it's a bit more than your average FF 35mm look as well. The A7s will be perfect for when you just wanna snap away
 

jfirneno

Member
I will be heading to India for a fairly lengthy trip with lots of photography. My primary camera will be the A7R with a full complement of FE lenses. Since my A7R recently died and had to go to Texas for a repair(very quick turnaround by Sony!), I am particularly sensitive about having a good backup. I will either buy or rent another A7R or an A7S. I would appreciate hearing real world experience as to whether the A7S provides a significant upgrade over the A7R in shooting at higher ISOs. If it's "just" a stop or two, I don't think that's such a big deal, and I am not thrilled about giving up 36MP. (The 4K video is irrelevant to me.) OTOH, being able to shoot clean images at 12,800 ISO versus 800 ISO on the A7R, that is a big deal. That would open up opportunities to shoot at lower light levels at night, the early morning and very late afternoon.
Thanks for any input.
Howard:

I would recommend having an A7S instead of another A7R. The high resolution of the A7R will fulfill certain requirements for landscape where you want to crop heavily. But, in my opinion, for everything else (portrait, street, anything handheld) I'll bet you're gonna really enjoy the results and the ease of the A7S. I've used all three A7 cameras and this is my experience but of course your preferences and requirements may vary from mine.

Regards,
John
 

Chuck Jones

Subscriber Member
Howard:

I would recommend having an A7S instead of another A7R. The high resolution of the A7R will fulfill certain requirements for landscape where you want to crop heavily. But, in my opinion, for everything else (portrait, street, anything handheld) I'll bet you're gonna really enjoy the results and the ease of the A7S. I've used all three A7 cameras and this is my experience but of course your preferences and requirements may vary from mine.

Regards,
John
Howard, I am 100% in the same camp as John. I've been using the A7R and a Canon 5D Mark III. I traded my Canon for an A7S about a month ago, and haven't looked back. The A7S is ASTOUNDING. I would go so far as to say once you get to know it, it will become your main camera as it sounds like it has for John, and more than likely will for me as well.

But having access to both the S and the R means you lack nothing... and give up nothing. Your locked and loaded for pretty much whatever situation comes up. I will caution you on one thing though. The S is far more than just a 12MP version of the R. I've spent the last thirty days with my S trying to learn it, what it does and what it doesn't, when I would use it and when I would use the R.

I am trying to write up a story now on my first thirty days using the S, but brief summary from using both, the S is clearly the superior video camera and my own primary reason for adding it to my kit. The R is substantially more resolution, and a better choice for anything with lots of high frequency stuff going on, but honestly 12 MP is a whole lot more than the 10 megapixels my DMR had so I have nothing to complain about it.

My best suggestion to answer this question for you though would be to send you over to Roger and the boys at LensRentals.Com, and have you rent an A7S body and try it. I think you'll like it, but there is no proof like actually trying it out for yourself. You can't really take anybody's word for it, because we all work differently.

Warmest Regards,
Chuck Jones
 

hcubell

Active member
Thanks for the all of the feedback. The A7S does seem like the better option as it will give me a low light capability for portraits and street photography that will facilitate some images that would be difficult with the A7R. That's probably more the type of shooting I will be doing in India than typical landscapes. The "look" of the A7S images is very attractive. My only concern is the relatively low resolution. How big can can you really print good files from an A7S? At 240 dpi, what is the native image size?
 

iiiNelson

Well-known member
I'd say you could realistically expect photo quality prints at 13"x19" at the largest with 12 megapixels in 35mm FF format.
 

jfirneno

Member
Thanks for the all of the feedback. The A7S does seem like the better option as it will give me a low light capability for portraits and street photography that will facilitate some images that would be difficult with the A7R. That's probably more the type of shooting I will be doing in India than typical landscapes. The "look" of the A7S images is very attractive. My only concern is the relatively low resolution. How big can can you really print good files from an A7S? At 240 dpi, what is the native image size?
The maximum resolution is 4240x2384.
 

CharlesK

New member
I have been printing A7s images with an Epson 3880 printer A2 size, 16.5"x 23.4" with Image Print 9/10 with excellent results. I am sure with good printing technique that A1 print sizes are very possible too. I am finding using the FE 55 with A7s yields excellent ability to print larger sizes.

For detailed foliage in landscapes the A7r is better and with printing larger sizes yields amazing detail.

Having both the A7r and A7s allow for a lot of flexibility in your style of shooting. Even though I prefer the detail of the A7r, I still keep taking the A7s instead :)
 

jfirneno

Member
I am trying to write up a story now on my first thirty days using the S, but brief summary from using both, the S is clearly the superior video camera and my own primary reason for adding it to my kit. The R is substantially more resolution, and a better choice for anything with lots of high frequency stuff going on, but honestly 12 MP is a whole lot more than the 10 megapixels my DMR had so I have nothing to complain about it.
Hello Chuck:
I read your article on the A7S on the Camera Forum and found it very interesting. Of course I know nothing about video so that part of it is opaque to me but the stills info is very useful. What you said about the blue channel caught my attention. I wonder if that contributes to "the look" that the A7S seems to have.

Regards,
John
 

skimmel

Member
Hello Chuck:
I read your article on the A7S on the Camera Forum and found it very interesting. Of course I know nothing about video so that part of it is opaque to me but the stills info is very useful. What you said about the blue channel caught my attention. I wonder if that contributes to "the look" that the A7S seems to have.

Regards,
John
Would love to review the article but not sure where to find it. Is there a link?
Thanks.
 

Chuck Jones

Subscriber Member
Hello Chuck:
I read your article on the A7S on the Camera Forum and found it very interesting. Of course I know nothing about video so that part of it is opaque to me but the stills info is very useful. What you said about the blue channel caught my attention. I wonder if that contributes to "the look" that the A7S seems to have.

Regards,
John
John, it almost has to I would think, to some degree. It takes all three channels to produce white, so if nothing else, it should produce better and stronger whites than most others. But I know what your talking about, I see it as well. There is a special quality to A7S still images.

For B&W, a good strong blue channel is so critical I know people who substitute the green channel or the red for the blue to make it stronger when the normal blue channel is too lame.

The A7S conversions knock my socks off, they are really great and with more balls than even my A7R, which isn't so bad in and of itself. Combine the dynamic range the S has with that strong blue channel and you get the deepest D-Max blacks with detailed nuances, and a wonderful tonal range of grays transitioning to whites (fifteen stops worth!) to work with.

I don't have a printer available at the moment, but experience leads me to feel these S files should print up handsomely. S files are crisp and richly detailed to begin with a good lens, so they size up nicely I'd guess for even larger prints.

Things with a lot of high frequency detail stuff going on, like trees with their millions of tiny branches and leaves, take resolution to capture the finest details. That is territory for an A7R, D800/810, and especially the medium format backs. Those kinds of subjects really aren't suitable subject matter for an A7S if the intent is large prints. Those subjects depend on quantity as much as quality.

I'd add one thing more on this printing size subject. I printed and sold many beautiful prints from files I shot with my Canon 1D, 1D MKII, 1Ds and Leica DMR. Those prints I still have were done at 24x36 up to a couple at 40x60. They still look good, even by today's higher resolution standards. The Sony A7S has more megapixels than the Canon 1D, 1D Mk II, 1Ds or the Leica DMR.

My point being it is not always the megapixels that count. I find it is the quality of the pixels I have, the subject matter, and the detail present in the original file that determines how well I can upres to print larger if I want. I have a few, though not many 11 Megapixel camera files I will print at 40x60 and I have several 33MP Leaf Aptus Medium Format and 36MP A7R files that I wouldn't print larger than 8x10 or 11x14.

The very idea that there is a "standard" maximum or minimum print size is wrong thinking to me. Print size can only be calculated individually taking the specific image into consideration first.

Warmest Regards,
Chuck Jones
 

jfirneno

Member
I'd add one thing more on this printing size subject. I printed and sold many beautiful prints from files I shot with my Canon 1D, 1D MKII, 1Ds and Leica DMR. Those prints I still have were done at 24x36 up to a couple at 40x60. They still look good, even by today's higher resolution standards. The Sony A7S has more megapixels than the Canon 1D, 1D Mk II, 1Ds or the Leica DMR.

My point being it is not always the megapixels that count. I find it is the quality of the pixels I have, the subject matter, and the detail present in the original file that determines how well I can upres to print larger if I want. I have a few, though not many 11 Megapixel camera files I will print at 40x60 and I have several 33MP Leaf Aptus Medium Format and 36MP A7R files that I wouldn't print larger than 8x10 or 11x14.

The very idea that there is a "standard" maximum or minimum print size is wrong thinking to me. Print size can only be calculated individually taking the specific image into consideration first.

Warmest Regards,
Chuck Jones
Thanks Chuck:
I am interested in the size limits for printing with the A7S but I have a 24 mpixel camera for high resolution stuff. To my way of thinking the A7S will be the street and event camera and most general photography usage. I had intended my A7R to take care of everything else but other than tripod work I never got along well enough with its shutter to be happy. I tried to compensate for possible vibration problems by using much shorter shutter speeds and this eventually soured my attitude toward it. Eventually Sony will provide a hi res camera with an electronic first curtain shutter and I'll buy it. But right now I'm having a blast with the A7S and my 24 mpix will cover me for the exceptions.

Regards,
John
 
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