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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.

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Is the Sony A7S a good camera? The A7S has a Camera Elo of 2091. 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 5 years old, and there have been many other good digital cameras released since 2014.

Headline Specifications
Sony A7S
Mirrorless system camera
Sony E mount lenses
12 MP, Full Frame Sensor
1080/60p Video
ISO 100-102400 (50-409600)
Electronic viewfinder (2400k dots)
3.0" LCD, 921k dots
Tilting screen (no touchscreen)
5 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed body
380 shots per battery charge
127 x 94 x 48 mm, 489 g


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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.

Sony A7S vs credit card front
A7S versus credit card top view
A7S and credit card rear side

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.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Sony A7S 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 17.2 oz 380 Y Apr 2014 2,499- i Sony A7S
 
Nikon Df« » 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.6 in 26.8 oz 1400 Y Nov 2013 2,749 i i Nikon Df
 
Nikon D700« » 5.8 in 4.8 in 3.0 in 37.9 oz 1000 Y Jul 2008 2,999- i Nikon D700
 
Sony A7R II« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.4 in 22.0 oz 290 Y Jun 2015 3,199- i Sony A7R II
 
Sony A7S II« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.4 in 22.1 oz 370 Y Sep 2015 2,999 i i Sony A7S II
 
Sony RX1R II« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.9 oz 220 n Oct 2015 3,299 i i Sony RX1R II
 
Sony A7 II« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.4 in 21.1 oz 350 Y Nov 2014 1,999- i Sony A7 II
 
Sony A7« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 16.7 oz 340 Y Oct 2013 1,699- i Sony A7
 
Sony A7R« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 16.4 oz 340 Y Oct 2013 2,299- i Sony A7R
 
Sony RX1R« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.0 oz 270 n Jun 2013 2,799- i Sony RX1R
 
Sony RX1« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 2.8 in 17.0 oz 270 n Sep 2012 2,799- i Sony RX1
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as 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.

Sony A7S:
Check Ebay offers

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.

Sony A7S sensor measures

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.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Sony A7S Full Frame 12.0 4240 28321080/60p23.913.2370287Sony A7S
 
Nikon Df« » Full Frame 16.2 4928 3280-24.613.1327989Nikon Df
 
Nikon D700« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832-23.512.2230380Nikon D700
 
Sony A7R II« » Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p26.013.9343498Sony A7R II
 
Sony A7S II« » Full Frame 12.0 4240 28324K/30p23.613.3299385Sony A7S II
 
Sony RX1R II« » Full Frame 42.2 7952 53041080/60p25.813.9320497Sony RX1R II
 
Sony A7 II« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.913.6244990Sony A7 II
 
Sony A7« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.814.2224890Sony A7
 
Sony A7R« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.614.1274695Sony A7R
 
Sony RX1R« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.013.6253791Sony RX1R
 
Sony RX1« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.114.3253493Sony RX1

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.

Feature comparison

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.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Sony A7S2400 n 3.0 921 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n n Sony A7S
 
Nikon Df« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5 n n Nikon Df
 
Nikon D700« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0 Y n Nikon D700
 
Sony A7R II« »2400 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y Sony A7R II
 
Sony A7S II« »2400 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y Sony A7S II
 
Sony RX1R II« »2360 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/4000s 5.0 n n Sony RX1R II
 
Sony A7 II« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y Sony A7 II
 
Sony A7« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n n Sony A7
 
Sony A7R« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 4.0 n n Sony A7R
 
Sony RX1R« »- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Sony RX1R
 
Sony RX1« »- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Sony RX1
 

Connection comparison

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.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Sony A7SYstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7S
 
Nikon Df« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon Df
 
Nikon D700« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D700
 
Sony A7R II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7R II
 
Sony A7S II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7S II
 
Sony RX1R II« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-Sony RX1R II
 
Sony A7 II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7 II
 
Sony A7« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7
 
Sony A7R« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7R
 
Sony RX1R« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Sony RX1R
 
Sony RX1« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Sony RX1

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.

 

Expert reviews

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).

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Sony A7S-86/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Apr 2014 2,499- i Sony A7S
 
Nikon Df« »-81/1004/54/54/5 Nov 2013 2,749 i i Nikon Df
 
Nikon D700« »89/100+ +4.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2008 2,999- i Nikon D700
 
Sony A7R II« »+ +90/1005/54.5/55/5 Jun 2015 3,199- i Sony A7R II
 
Sony A7S II« »+-4.5/55/55/5 Sep 2015 2,999 i i Sony A7S II
 
Sony RX1R II« »-82/100-o4.5/5 Oct 2015 3,299 i i Sony RX1R II
 
Sony A7 II« »+82/1004.5/55/55/5 Nov 2014 1,999- i Sony A7 II
 
Sony A7« »+ +80/1005/54.5/55/5 Oct 2013 1,699- i Sony A7
 
Sony A7R« »+ +82/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2013 2,299- i Sony A7R
 
Sony RX1R« »--4/5o4.5/5 Jun 2013 2,799- i Sony RX1R
 
Sony RX1« »-79/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,799- i Sony RX1
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.

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    Specifications Summary
    Camera Model Sony A7S
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Sony E mount lenses
    Launch Date April 2014
    Launch Price USD 2499
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 35.8 x 23.9 mm
    Sensor Area 855.62 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 12 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4240 x 2832 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 8.45 μm
    Pixel Density 1.40 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100-102400 ISO
    ISO Boost 50-409600 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
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.71x
    Viewfinder Resolution 2400k dots
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen
    Shooting Specs
    Autofocus System Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus Peaking
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy200 000 actuations
    Silent ShootingElectronic Shutter
    Time Lapse Photographyno Intervalometer
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe
    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
    Body Specs
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed body
    Battery Type NP-FW50 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)380 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 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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