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Thread: Higher iso vs IBIS?

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    Senior Member Rawfa's Avatar
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    Higher iso vs IBIS?

    Latelly I've been finding a lot of good deals on used A7S cameras and they are around the same price as a new A7II. For low light would you benefit more from the A7S's high iso awesome performance or from the A7II's IBIS (which would allow you to shoot at lower shutter speeds)? My gut feeling tells me the A7S, but I haven't tried either camera.

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    Re: Higher iso vs IBIS?

    What a great question. Expect different answers. I'll give you my take on it and a different answer than mine would be logical too. This one is a little tough since we do throw in the equation a much nicer body in the A7II but you have to add it in anyway because its part of the buying process. So first check mark goes to the II version. Now given the A7II does a very nice ISO 1250 your not at the bottom of the low light barrel. Than add the 2 stop IBIs advantage which now brings the S ISO to the equivalent to ISO 5000. Now how good is ISO 5000 on the S compared to the A7II at ISO 1250 which could be pushed more. Given the numbers given the 24mpx than I would be buying the A7II right now. But is a new S version II body hit the streets than that maybe worth waiting for but I still have the bottom line issue of only 12mpx. That's my head thinking and YMMV
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Senior Member Rawfa's Avatar
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    Re: Higher iso vs IBIS?

    Thanks for your insight, Guy.
    I'm hopping we'll see some exciting stuff on CP+ . I'm very curious about the rumored A9.

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    Senior Member Rawfa's Avatar
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    Re: Higher iso vs IBIS?

    Here is a comparison: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEEtD1AUtbw It doesn't take IBIS and other factors mentioned above in consideration, though.

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    Senior Member MikeEvangelist's Avatar
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    Re: Higher iso vs IBIS?

    For the types of things I like to shoot, you can't directly substitute the slower shutter speeds of the A7ii for the higher ISO of the a7S. For subject motion, rather than camera motion/shake, the higher shutter speed enabled by the a7S is a big win for me. I can sometimes capture subjects which would be blurry (or completely gone) at lower shutter speeds.

    However, as Guy already mentioned, it's only 12 mpx, somewhat reducing cropping potential.

    On the other hand, the IBIS is very appealing, and I'm about to add an a7ii to the arsenal.
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    Senior Member MikeEvangelist's Avatar
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    Re: Higher iso vs IBIS?

    Oh, I forgot to add -

    The a7S is a FANTASTIC camera. Probably the most satisfactory, overall, of any camera I've ever owned.

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    Senior Member Rawfa's Avatar
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    Re: Higher iso vs IBIS?

    Very valid point, Mike! I too shoot moving subjects.
    Last edited by Rawfa; 31st January 2015 at 10:17.

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    Re: Higher iso vs IBIS?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rawfa View Post
    Latelly I've been finding a lot of good deals on used A7S cameras and they are around the same price as a new A7II. For low light would you benefit more from the A7S's high iso awesome performance or from the A7II's IBIS (which would allow you to shoot at lower shutter speeds)? My gut feeling tells me the A7S, but I haven't tried either camera.
    Hello Rawfa:

    Based on your posted photos, you like to take available light shots during events like weddings and parties. Based on my experience with the A7 (mark 1), A7R and A7S I'd say that unless you need prints larger than 12" X 24" the A7S will provide an advantage in very low light. Sony says that it focuses better in very low light. This is definitely true, but remember that Sony contrast-detect AF is not as sophisticated as some of the other camera makers. Sometimes it will focus on the wrong thing. As far as noise at high ISO expect at least 1 stop (and sometimes maybe 1 1/2 to 2 stops) better than the other A7 cameras. It's defintely an improvement but the problem is you become tempted by even higher ISO sensitivities (even 50,000) and then you need much more fiddling around in Lightroom.

    Regards,
    John
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    Re: Higher iso vs IBIS?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rawfa View Post
    Very valie point, Mike! I too shoot moving subjects.
    well, higher iso is what you want.
    ibis cant help you with moving subjects.

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    Re: Higher iso vs IBIS?

    Combining the A7II IBIS with a fast lens, and post processing with Optics Pro' "prime" de-noiser buys you a lot of f stops.

    Substitute an A7s and you get even more, which means even darker scenes can be shot or being able to use a faster shutter speed. Add to that a fully electronic shutter.

    So I guess it depends on just how "low light" your low light needs are, and if 12 mpx is sufficient resolution.

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    Re: Higher iso vs IBIS?

    As Guy said 12MP is on the low side esp after I used a 12MP LX100 for a weekend. I loved my 5Dc but the sensors have changed a lot since...

    A7II has better pdaf sensors which should give you better af/tracking in normal light. However pdaf sensors are not the greatest in low light where A7s -4EV af should help. If you are using mf or la-ea4 adapter, the A7 II ibis might be better. I use gm1/gx7 with silent shutter and -4EV af and I like it a lot. That is why I was looking A7s as option.

    Here is low light af comparison to A6000:
    Sony A7s/A6000 Low Light AF Speed Test

    Also the high iso comparison:
    Sony a7II vs a7S vs Nikon D810 Low-light/High ISO Video Test

    A7 II stabilization test:
    Sony a7 II Sensor Stabilization/SteadyShot

    Also A7II vs GH4 resolution where you can see that low 12MP gives much better corners and even resolution vs GH4 peaks at the center:
    Panasonic vs Sony A7S GH4 - Resolution System

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    Re: Higher iso vs IBIS?

    A7S owner here.

    I use it for a very specific goal: night time street photography. Where IBIS really becomes irrlevant as I need to freeze motion by needing higher shutter speed. Also this kind of photography usually calls for a wider focal lens, which typically have slower aperture (unless you want to plunk down 8 grand for a summilux)

    Also, the A7S will get you more drastic ISO usage than you'd ever achieve with IBIS, which would only give you 2-3 stops. I usually put the camera on 6400 iso and above.

    my two cents
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    Re: Higher iso vs IBIS?

    I have both and they have different low light advantages as detailed above - noting that I appreciate the IBIS for manual focus even with shorter focal lengths. Ignoring resolution differences I'd take A7s over A7ii for low light as higher ISO helps with both static and moving subjects.

    And if you do video, while I haven't tested this formally, it seems the high ISO advantage of the A7s is even greater than for stills.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Higher iso vs IBIS?

    Some very valid points all around. Great work folks
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Higher iso vs IBIS?

    I have both as well as the a7r. The a7s and a7ii purchases were for difference specific purposes. The a7s is a specific tool that can't be replaced by any other camera at this point. For High iso as everyone pointed out it is unparalleled, but is also has not only the electronic first curtain but the silent mode. That silent mode is what will allow be to use it as behind the scenes production camera where I can shoot behind a principal photographer with absolutely no sound being made. Before this camera I would use the rx1 with its leaf shutter that is nearly silent. This takes it to a whole new level being completely silent. So for street and pure silence its a great tool, but the low megapixel count isn't going make it a primary body.

    For me the a7ii is closer to that goal, I haven't shot a ton with it yet, but the ibis seems nice and the camera seems quite capable. I would use it for a much broader range then the a7s, but in those situations where the a7s shines, it will be my go to tool.

    For instance,

    I shot this from my seat on a recent United flight coming into Chicago. This would just not be possible with any other camera as I'm shooting through gold tinted airline glass at night with clouds in a fast moving jet. I only get one chance to make these shots while travelling so I want to have the best odds possible. In this case I could barely see anything from the cloud cover until this chance opened up to shoot the skyline.

    Shot with the Sony a7s at 256k ISO
    Through the Clouds by PeteTsai, on Flickr
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    Re: Higher iso vs IBIS?

    That's one of the best plane window shots I've seen.
    ISO 256,000!!!

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    Re: Higher iso vs IBIS?

    try it at night on the street. totally silent. turn the iso way up and shoot with almost no light. Post the result in monochrom and the noise turns into very natural grain.

    beats the leica monochrom for me. (i had the monochrome and it was nearly impossible to focus at night with a fast lens, A7s makes it a breeze)

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    Re: Higher iso vs IBIS?

    I own boths, I use the A7II more often because I like the C-AF and the handling and to have 24MP.
    On the other side the A7s allwows me to shoot with the 24-70 indoors without flash.
    I dont care too much about IBIS because I often have people in my images and IBIS doesnt help too much here.
    So I would say if you plan to shoot low light still subject and like to have a little spare pixel/resolution for cropping or larger prints I would prefer the A7II.
    If yo plan to shoot more low light with people, party, events and dont plan to print big big I would prefer the A7s. If I had to sell one it would be the A7s.

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    Re: Higher iso vs IBIS?

    I'd wait a couple of weeks until the Sony announcements as the prices will likely go down further. Or, who knows, they could announce an A7SII.

    That said, the A7S is a camera that just seduces you if you shoot at night. The high ISO really is amazing and AF with the 55/1.8 in tricky lighting situations might work even better than the venerable Oly (this was me, an auto-focus newbie shooting side by side with my other using his OMD).

    Above all, imo, is the silent shutter. There are so many instances, I've found, where I either can't shoot or have to fire off a quick one because of the intrusion of the shutter sound. With the A7S, you can take multiple shots without anyone knowing and/or having them "pose" for you, waiting for you to take a shot, and then get bored and do something far more natural and interesting. It's like you're hiding in plain sight with this camera.

    Never more than in this instance, silence is golden.
    my flickr
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    Re: Higher iso vs IBIS?

    Quote Originally Posted by petetsai View Post
    I have both as well as the a7r. The a7s and a7ii purchases were for difference specific purposes. The a7s is a specific tool that can't be replaced by any other camera at this point. For High iso as everyone pointed out it is unparalleled, but is also has not only the electronic first curtain but the silent mode. That silent mode is what will allow be to use it as behind the scenes production camera where I can shoot behind a principal photographer with absolutely no sound being made. Before this camera I would use the rx1 with its leaf shutter that is nearly silent. This takes it to a whole new level being completely silent. So for street and pure silence its a great tool, but the low megapixel count isn't going make it a primary body.

    For me the a7ii is closer to that goal, I haven't shot a ton with it yet, but the ibis seems nice and the camera seems quite capable. I would use it for a much broader range then the a7s, but in those situations where the a7s shines, it will be my go to tool.

    For instance,

    I shot this from my seat on a recent United flight coming into Chicago. This would just not be possible with any other camera as I'm shooting through gold tinted airline glass at night with clouds in a fast moving jet. I only get one chance to make these shots while travelling so I want to have the best odds possible. In this case I could barely see anything from the cloud cover until this chance opened up to shoot the skyline.

    Shot with the Sony a7s at 256k ISO
    Through the Clouds by PeteTsai, on Flickr

    WOW! Which lens, aperture, and exposure time please?
    With best regards, K-H.

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    Re: Higher iso vs IBIS?

    Quote Originally Posted by k-hawinkler View Post
    WOW! Which lens, aperture, and exposure time please?
    If you click on his flickr link, all the exif is there.
    my flickr
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    Re: Higher iso vs IBIS?

    Quote Originally Posted by cam View Post
    If you click on his flickr link, all the exif is there.
    I see from the EXIF that the ISO is actually 25,600 not 256k (256,000). Still a great shot though, just not quite as miraculous as I thought!
    If I'd have stopped to think about it I should have realised at the time!
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    Re: Higher iso vs IBIS?

    Quote Originally Posted by cam View Post
    If you click on his flickr link, all the exif is there.
    Many thanks.

    Sony ILCE-7S
    FE 55mm F1.8 ZA
    ƒ/2.0 55.0 mm 1/640 25600 Flash (off, did not fire) Show EXIF

    A terrific shot nevertheless.
    With best regards, K-H.
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    Re: Higher iso vs IBIS?

    Hi yes, the exif is there for all to see. Sorry about the typo on the ISO, once it get up into the k range I'm not as accustom to the values, it should be 25.6k

    I'd have preferred to shoot it a stop lower in ISO if I had time to set it up, but as the skyline was approaching quickly on our approach I didn't have much time at all to react.
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    Re: Higher iso vs IBIS?

    Great shot, the A7s is great at 25.6k!
    I only BEGIN to hesitate in the 32-64k ISO range.
    Which is.. INSANE.
    The extra digit really throws one off after talking about 1000s for so long, we are now in the 10,000s..!
    blog
    steve
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