Sony A7S Comparison Review
The Sony Alpha A7S is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera that was officially introduced in April 2014 and is equipped with a full frame sensor. It offers a resolution of 12 megapixel.
Is the Sony A7S a good camera? The A7S has a Camera Elo of 2253. This rating puts the A7S below average of all mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (full frame cameras), the A7S also ranks below average. – Well, the Sony A7S is more than 6 years old, and there have been many other good digital cameras released since 2014.
|Mirrorless system camera|
|Sony E mount lenses|
|12 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|ISO 100 - 102 400 (50 - 409 600)|
|Electronic viewfinder (2400k dots)|
|3.0 LCD, 921k dots|
|Tilting screen (no touchscreen)|
|5 shutter flaps per second|
|380 shots per battery charge|
|127 x 94 x 48 mm, 489 g|
Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.
Body comparison with a credit card
The physical dimensions of the Sony A7S relative to a credit card are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Sony A7S alongside a set of comparators. If you want to review a camera pair side-by-side, just select a right-side comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.
|Sony A7S||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||489 g||380||Y||Apr 2014||2,499|
|Nikon D750||141 mm||113 mm||78 mm||750 g||1230||Y||Sep 2014||2,299|
|Nikon Df||144 mm||110 mm||67 mm||760 g||1400||Y||Nov 2013||2,749|
|Panasonic GH4||133 mm||93 mm||84 mm||560 g||500||Y||Feb 2014||1,499|
|Sony A6300||120 mm||67 mm||49 mm||404 g||400||Y||Feb 2016||999|
|Sony A7R II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||625 g||290||Y||Jun 2015||3,199|
|Sony A7S II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||627 g||370||Y||Sep 2015||2,999|
|Sony A7 II||127 mm||96 mm||60 mm||599 g||350||Y||Nov 2014||1,999|
|Sony A7||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||474 g||340||Y||Oct 2013||1,699|
|Sony A7R||127 mm||94 mm||48 mm||465 g||340||Y||Oct 2013||2,299|
|Sony RX1R||113 mm||65 mm||70 mm||482 g||270||n||Jun 2013||2,799|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Sony A7S was launched in the US market at a price of $2,499. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
The Sony A7S features a full frame sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Sony A7S among the large-sensor cameras that aim for top notch image quality.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|Sony A7S||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||1080/60p||23.9||13.2||3702||87|
|Nikon D750||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/60p||24.8||14.5||2956||93|
|Nikon Df||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||none||24.6||13.1||3279||89|
|Panasonic GH4||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||23.2||12.8||791||74|
|Sony A7R II||Full Frame||42.2||7952||5304||4K/30p||26.0||13.9||3434||98|
|Sony A7S II||Full Frame||12.0||4240||2832||4K/30p||23.6||13.3||2993||85|
|Sony A7 II||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.9||13.6||2449||90|
|Sony A7||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.8||14.2||2248||90|
|Sony A7R||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.6||14.1||2746||95|
|Sony RX1R||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||25.0||13.6||2537||91|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The A7S indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the A7S can use is 1080/60p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A7S has an electronic viewfinder with a resolution of 2400k dots. The viewfinder offers a field of view of 100% and a magnification of 0.71x. The following tables report on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Sony A7S and comparable cameras.
|Sony A7R II||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
|Sony A7S II||2400||n||3.0||1229||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
|Sony A7 II||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||Y|
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Sony Alpha A7S and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|Sony A7R II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Sony A7S II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Sony A7 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the A7S has a microphone port. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
While the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the A7S in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased. This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).
|Sony A7S||..||86/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Apr 2014||2,499|
|Nikon D750||+ +||90/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||2,299|
|Nikon Df||..||81/100||4/5||4/5||4/5||Nov 2013||2,749|
|Panasonic GH4||+ +||85/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||1,499|
|Sony A6300||+||85/100||5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2016||999|
|Sony A7R II||+ +||90/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Jun 2015||3,199|
|Sony A7S II||+||..||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Sep 2015||2,999|
|Sony A7 II||+||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Nov 2014||1,999|
|Sony A7||+ +||80/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||1,699|
|Sony A7R||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||2,299|
|Sony RX1R||..||..||4/5||o||4.5/5||Jun 2013||2,799|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Sony A7S FAQ
Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the A7S.
What is the technology behind the imaging sensor in the A7S?
The camera is build around a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor.
Which image processing chip is used to convert the raw signal into an image file and perform noise reduction and image sharpening?
Sony equipped the A7S with the BIONZ X image processor.
What is the ISO sensitivity range of the A7S?
The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 102400, which can be extended to ISO 50-409600.
What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Sony Alpha A7S?
Sony does not publish a shutter rating for the A7S. Yet, shutters in comparable cameras from other manufacturers are said to be good for at least 200 000 actuations. It should be noted, though, that this number represents a Mean Time before Failure. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust an expected shutter life of 200 000 shots over, say, three years, one would have to take about 200 pictures each and every day.
How do I find the shutter count on my Sony A7S?
Sony embeds the number of shutter actuations in image metadata. You can check the number of shots that your A7S has taken up to now by uploading a recent image to the online shutter count app.
Is completely silent shooting possible with the Sony A7S?
The camera has an electronic shutter option, so that it is indeed feasible to capture images without any shutter noise.
Is it difficult to use manual focus lenses with the Sony A7S?
The A7S offers focus peaking as a manual focus aid. This feature works by placing a colored highlight on in-focus zones within the image.
Does the Sony A7S feature an autofocus assist light?
Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.
What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?
The A7S's flash sync speed is 1/250 sec.
Does the Sony A7S support the Ultra High Speed (UHS) bus interface for SD cards?
Yes, the camera can indeed use UHS-I cards (data transfer speed of up to 104 MB/s).
Which battery does the A7S use?
The camera gets its power from the NP-FW50 (here at amazon), which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.
Is there a vertical grip available for the A7S?
Yes, Sony offers the VG-C1EM as an optional accessory to facilitate shooting in portrait orientation and to provide additional battery power.
Camera to camera comparisons
If you would like to see a side-by-side review of this and another camera, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
|Camera Model||Sony A7S|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||April 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 2 499|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||35.8 x 23.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||856 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4 240 x 2 832 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||8.45 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.40 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 102 400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 409 600 ISO|
|Image Processor||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||87|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.9|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.2|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||3702|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2400k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|LCD Size||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||200 000 actuations|
|Silent Shooting||Electronic Shutter|
|Time Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Type||NP-FW50 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||380 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging|
127 x 94 x 48 mm
(5.0 x 3.7 x 1.9 in)
|Camera Weight||489 g (17.2 oz)|
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