Sony A7s Rolling Shutter Tests

Ed David

tests the rolling shutter performance of the Sony A7s and compares it to the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera:

Here’s a test between the Sony A7S vs Blackmagic Pocket Camera using the Leica R 50mm f1.4 and 24mm lens. Both cameras taken out with no support or stabilizer – naked. Lets see these boys wobble.
Sony A7S Specs:

Slog, s gamut, +2 phase, -7 detail, -3 saturation, white balance all over the place. night went to 2500k a lot so it gets noisy

Blackmagic Pocket camera with speedbooster shot at 5600k and 4000k, shot raw

This is an informal test – its not a good test – not scientific or even done correctly. A lot of scientists would frown.

I was really looking at how bad the rolling shutter is on the A7S and how far I can push the 4:2:2 8 bit 50mbps XAVC codec in post. And it’s not a perfect comparison with the black magic because the blackmagic had a 24mm lens on it while the a7s had the 50mm for similar field of view. So the jello is different. I was stupid. And I realized that when we were already on the subway.

I used osiris m31 lut and filmconvert arri alexa lut fujifilm vivid. corrected them hard to see how to break the Sony A7S 8 bit 422 XAVC codec.

What have I learned?

Sony A7s seems off the bat to have a much richer color palette – the sensor seems to respond better to fluorescent light and tungsten and daylight – mixed conditions. It also seems to have more perceived resolution, less moire than the blackmagic.
Also my grade of the Blackmagic was pretty horrible – I was tired – went till 2am last night. And I could go back in – but I am still tired and it’s time to celebrate july 4th.

The dynamic range of the A7S and the greater sensitivity of it and the beautiful color makes me love the Sony A7S. I pray that Sony will go against their better judgement and fix the rolling shutter – if it heats up, make a mode that you can only record for 30 minutes then it shuts down – get wacky. that rolling shutter makes it feel like we are back to the 5d mark ii all over again.

grading 8 bit is fun – like shooting with it on the old days – Varicam, or the C300 – you want to make sure you nail your exposure in camera or its going to get noisy!!! And the noise is a weird chroma noise which is not that pleasing to have.

The A7S has so many lovely features – peaking, zebra, ability to record hdmi to the odyssey 7q right now as 1080p – soon maybe one day 4k – and a swivel LCD – and its just a really smart good dslr – I think this camera will cut nicely with Alexa and other log cameras. Those really rich colors make it quite lovely and I think Sony will sell a boatload of these. How many times have you needed to steal a shot on the subway or airport or bar or anywhere? How many times have you wanted to quickly get an overhead shot or underwater shot or throw the camera in some small space for a creative shot? This is the guy for that. Hopefully rolling shutter gets fixed by Sony (maybe it will make it overheat but maybe they can do a shut off thing) but still even with its bad rolling shutter its still usable for a lot of filmmaking. Dynamic range is very important to cut with higher end cameras and it can do that. It’s not the perfect dream camera everyone had in their mind back in the day when red promised 3k for $3000 – the scarlet at the time, but for its price and size and image quality and its reliability – it will do just fine.

Also to see how it compares with the other cameras – here’s a f3 test I did in the same areas – vimeo.com/20956233