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Sony Announces Palm-Sized 7S With 4K, 'Sensitivity Mastered' Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

7 April 2014

Sony announced its 7S at the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas yesterday, describing the palm-sized camera as having "phenomenal sensitivity up to ISO 409,600 with supremely low noise, courtesy of Sony's new 12.2-megapixel 35mm full-frame Exmor CMOS image sensor and optimized high-speed Bionz X image processing engine."

Sony A7. Compact, full-frame, 4K video, ISO 409,600.

The 7S can use "the entire width of a full-frame image sensor in 4K video acquisition and does this without cropping or line skipping as it can read and process data from every one of the sensor's pixels."

In addition to capturing low-noise images in even the darkest environments, the 7S features on-sensor technology to optimize the dynamic range throughout the entirety of the ISO 50 to 409,600 sensitivity range.

Among the key features of the 7S are:

  • Ultra-high sensitivity 35mm full-frame sensor up to ISO 409,600
  • World's first full-frame sensor capable of full pixel read-out without binning process for movie
  • Bionz X image processing engine
  • XAVC S format for Full HD image recording at 50Mbps
  • Advanced movie functions including Picture Profile, S-Log2 gamma setting, Time code/User bit and 120fps (100fps) shooting at HD resolution
  • Clean HDMI output for 4K movies
  • Alpha E-mount system

At the Visual Science Lab, Kirk Tuck reviews the specs:

  • The camera will record "2K video in a 4:2:2 configuration which means wonderful 1080p files but to actually record 4K you'll need an outboard digital video recorder to make that work."
  • Sony's new consumer codec XAVC S "is actually a smaller frame (consumer 4K) versus the Panasonic's more professional and full frame codecs."
  • The battery will give one "a blustery 90 minutes of total run time."

Tuck also points out a worthwhile discussion at The Luminous Landscape.

More details are in the news release below with full details on Sony's Web site.

Sony's 7S Full-Frame Camera Realizes a New World of Imaging Expression

Features newly developed, wide dynamic range sensor with awe-inspiring sensitivity

SAN DIEGO, -- Joining the acclaimed 7 and 7R family of the world's smallest full-frame interchangeable lens cameras1, Sony's new 7S model puts extraordinary sensitivity, low noise and spectacular 4K video quality into the hands of professional photographers and videographers.

The innovative 7S camera features a newly developed, 12.2 effective megapixel 35mm Exmor CMOS sensor paired with a powerful Bionz x image processor, allowing it to shoot at a sensitivity range of ISO 50 -- 409,600 with unprecedented dynamic range and low noise.

The new model is also the world's first camera to utilize the entire width of a full-frame image sensor in 4K video acquisition and does this without cropping or line skipping as it can read and process data from every one of the sensor's pixels. This allows 4K video shooters to utilize all of the artistic and creative benefits provided by the unique sensor.

"The 7S gives Sony the most complete, versatile lineup of full-frame cameras in market today," said Neal Manowitz, director of the interchangeable lens camera business at Sony Electronics. "Between the 99, VG900, RX1, 7, 7R and now 7S models, we have completely revolutionized what it means to be a full-frame' camera, bringing a new level of quality and portability to enthusiast photographers and videographers."

Wide ISO Sensitivity, Impressive Dynamic Range

Sony, the world's largest manufacturer of image sensors, has developed a unique 12.2 MP sensor with extraordinary sensitivity that allows the 7S camera to collect dramatically more light than traditional cameras and to produce beautifully detailed, low-noise images in even the darkest environments.

The camera also features a newly developed on-sensor technology that allows it to optimize the dynamic range throughout the entirety of the ISO 50 to 409,600 sensitivity range. This on-sensor technology also broadens the range of tonal gradation in bright environments and minimizes noise in dark scenes, allowing the camera to deliver impressive results in these extreme conditions where other cameras (and image sensors) typically struggle.

Full Pixel Read-out

With the new 7S camera, the high-speed read out of the 35mm full-frame image sensor combined with the high-speed processing of the Bionz x processor enables significant improvements in video quality.

These powerful components allow the camera to process data from all of the sensor's pixels and output stunning HD and 4K (QFHD 3840x2160 pixels) video3 while utilizing the full-width of the sensor. In addition to the benefits for low-light shooting, the read out of all pixels frees the video from aliasing, moir and false color artifacts (as opposed to pixel binning) to achieve the highest quality video.

Additional Pro Functions

In video mode, the 7S can output 4K video4 at QFHD (3840 2160) to an optional external 3rd party 4K recorder and can record full HD (1920 1080) at frame rates of 60p, 60i, 30p and 24p directly to a compatible memory card. Video modes can be changed from full-frame to APS-C (super 35mm equivalent) if desired and in this crop mode, the camera can support high frame rate 120fps shooting at standard HD resolution (1280x720p), creating a 5x slow-motion effect.

The 7S camera is also equipped with S-Log2 gamma. Common to Sony's range of professional video cameras, S-Log2 expands the dynamic range by up to 1300 percent to minimize clipped highlights and loss of detail in shadows. Additionally, for the first time ever in a Sony camera, the 7S adopts the workflow-friendly XAVC S recording format in addition to AVCHD and MP4 codecs. XAVC S format allows for full HD recording at a data rate of 50 mbps with lower compression for improved video quality.

Other specialist video functions on the new camera include a picture profile that can adjust settings like gamma, black, level and color adjustment and can be saved for use in a multi-camera shoot. It also has Full HD and 4K base band HDMI output, time code/user bit for easier editing, synchronous recording feature with compatible devices, various marker and zebra displays on both the LCD screen and viewfinder and can dual record XAVC S as well as MP4 (1280 720 @30p).

The camera also has a Multi-terminal interface shoe that is compatible with Sony's XLR Adaptor Microphone Kits (XLR-K1-MB plus a new model under development), allowing the use of professional microphone systems.

Low-light Shooting Advantages

The high ISO sensitivity range of the 7S camera is extremely effective for still image shooting, especially in low-light conditions, where the camera can shoot at high shutter speeds while keeping noise as low as possible. This is particularly useful for shooting indoor, dimly lit sporting events or other situations where most cameras typically struggle.

The camera is also equipped with the same high-precision Fast Intelligent AF system as the 7R camera, with drastically improved low-light AF sensitivity that can go as low as -4EV.

Expanding Mount System and New Power Zoom Lens for Movie Shooting

Directly compatible with the growing family of E-mount lenses, the 7S camera can also be used with A-mount and others lens systems with optional adapters. Sony's complete lens system now includes 54 total lenses for both A and E mounts, including several premium offerings from Carl Zeiss and G Series Lenses.

As a whole, Sony's E-mount lens system is particularly well-suited for video shooting, with a variety of models containing "movie-friendly" features like smooth focusing, powered zoom control and silent iris/aperture control. Building on this, Sony has announced development of a brand new, full-frame power zoom 28-135mm f4 lens E-mount lens that is an ideal match for the powerful movie capabilities of the 7S model.

Pricing and availability of the 7S full-frame interchangeable lens camera will be announced at a future date. To learn more about the product in the meantime, please visit and follow #SonyAlpha on twitter for the latest camera news.

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