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Sony Alpha 7S II Review
Sony a7S II - Video Juggernaut
As an independent filmmaker/photographer, I’m always trying to find ways to improve my gear list to create the best possible work for my clients. When I was shopping around for a new camera body, I was looking for something that was capable of shooting internal 4k and had great low-light performance within a moderate price range ($1,500 - $3,000). The cameras under consideration were the Panasonic LUMIX GH4, Samsung NX-1, Sony a7R II, and the Sony a7S II. All of my work up until this point has been carried out using Canon DSLRs, which I’ve always been a huge fan of, so I was little hesitant about switching brands but at the time, Canon didn’t have what I was seeking. While quite a few cameras on the market shoot 4K, the biggest deciding factor for me was low-light performance. I do everything from events/weddings to documentaries and in certain situations, the lighting may not be ideal. I researched many different cameras and the a7S II is by far the best performer in low-light conditions for the price. While the a7R II and a7S II are close in performance, I had to choose the a7S II because its smaller sensor makes it a little bit better for low-light video which is what I’m mainly hired for. When I first began testing the low-light capabilities with the a7S II, it blew me away. Since switching to this camera, it has truly given me a lot more confidence as I walk onto location for shoots because I know that I can capture beautiful images up to 12,800 iso and beyond which is so liberating. Additionally, the image quality is crisp and the possibility that exists for coloring in post is unmatched with its high-dynamic range achieved through using the S-LOG picture profiles. It can shoot 4K internally at 30fps/100 mpbs as well as HFR HD video at 120fps/100mpbs which is extremely handy if you need a versatile professional camera for a variety of purposes. The A7sII also has IBIS (in-body image stabilization) which allows you to shoot at slower f stops while still being able to capture a relatively sharp, smooth image. My main concern with this camera was overheating because it shoots such large, high-quality video and risking equipment failure on location could be catastrophic. That fear was quickly alleviated while I was capturing a festival in the middle of summer for hours at a time (80+ ℉) and never ran into any issues. I’m amazed at how durable and reliable the A7sII is while shooting in different conditions from being out in the summer sun to filming competitive skiers in sub-zero temperatures for multiple hours. There are a few things you should be aware of if you’re considering this camera. For starters, while I find the price relatively reasonable, it is 2-3x more expensive than other cameras in this category so if low-light won’t be an issue for your shoots, you could probably get away with something else and save money. Next, this camera is only capable of shooting 8-bit video so if that is important to you, it may be best to wait for the next release of this camera within the next year or so because Sony will probably introduce 10-bit into the a7 series. Lastly, the batteries are a little small and only last about 45 minutes to an hour so you’re constantly changing them out if you don’t have a battery grip. That being said, nothing is perfect and I find these to be pretty minor inconveniences to an exceptional camera. Overall, I cannot recommend the Sony a7S II highly enough. It’s superior in low-light, produces stunning 4K video, extremely reliable, and an amazing camera for the price. You can’t go wrong with this camera!
Here is a video I shot with the a7S II for a local music festival as well as a lightly retouched still from a recent shoot in Steamboat Springs, Colorado (pictured at top).
Sony Alpha 7S II
Sony Alpha a6300 Review
Great things come in small packages
Being fairly new to photography, all I’ve shot on before this camera was a point-and-shoot so I didn’t really know what to expect but I saw great reviews of the Sony a6300 so I picked one up for myself. I just wanted something to capture pictures and videos of my family during holidays and vacation. Like I said, I didn’t have previous experience with other mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras but I was blown away by the quality. The camera is very easy to use, the focus is quite fast, and the pictures/video are super crisp. I’m very impressed with this camera! This seems to be a great camera to enter into the photography world with if you’re semi-serious before jumping into the prosumer range cameras and I’ve been able to capture some stunning pictures with my family without having had too much experience with it. If you’re a hobbyist or traveler, I think this would be a great camera for you!
Sony Alpha a6300
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 Review
Amazing camera and high quality video for the price!
I was looking to buy a camera that was capable of very high quality photo and video that was under $1,500. One of my friends told me about the Panasonic Lumix GH4 and after a ton of research, I decided to give it shot.
WOW. This camera is absolutely spectacular for the price. I was looking at the Sony a7SII to compare features like internal 4K recording and great low light performance but from what I found, the Sony was maybe slightly better and twice as expensive. On top of that, the GH4 is capable of 10 bit recording (with an external recorder) while the Sony a7SII is restricted to 8 bit recording regardless of whether you have a recorder or not. While the difference between 8 bit and 10 bit may not seem like a big deal, it's actually HUGE. 8 bit allows for about 16 million possible colors while 10 bit allows for over 1 BILLION. Bit depth is crucial for creating realistic, high quality images and pictures. I also love that the GH4 has v-log so I can get the most out of my color grading for video.
This camera seriously is the best bang for your buck if you're looking for a moderately budget mirrorless camera that's capable of 4K recording as well as sharp, beautiful stills.
Here's a video that helped seal the deal when I was considering whether or not to buy it:
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4
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