Sony a7S – Seen at Cine Gear 2014

Since early April, the photographer underground has been rumbling with rumors about Sony’s a7S. NAB was the camera’s debut party and it was a show stealer, displaying its versatility as a mirrorless still camera as well as a 4k video shooter with cinema lens compatibility.

Some photographers have looked at the 12.2 megapixel spec, comparing it to the other a7 series cameras that boast 24.3MP and 36.3MP sensors (the a7 and a7R respectively), questioning the relatively small number choice.

But this was a very specific design decision by Sony.

Sony a7S

Sony a7S

We caught up with Sony Product Manager Kenta Honjo at the Cine Gear Expo on the Paramount Studio Lot in Los Angeles, CA, this past weekend to find out more about the camera’s sensor and video features.

“It’s full frame, but 12 megapixels, meaning each pixel is huge,” says Honjo. “Because each pixel is huge, you’re gathering more light, so you’re able to get a wider dynamic range and better sensitivity in low light.”

In fact, while we had known that the a7S had a 50-409,600 ISO, Honjo let us in on Sony’s weekend announcement that the a7S has 15.3 stops of dynamic range.

For primary still photographers still on the fence about pixel count, Honjo reminds us that pig pixels mean big performance for lowlight autofocus functioning. “Because the pixels are so big, you’re able to capture more light, and therefore autofocus in EV -4 situations,” says Honjo.

Sony a7S with Atomos Shotgun 4K recorder

Sony a7S with Atomos Shotgun 4K recorder

For the multimedia shooter the a7S is a truly game changing tool. The a7S records 4k without cropping or line skipping, using a recorder (such as the Blackmagic Hyperdeck Studio or Atomos Shotgun) and captures XAVC S, AVCHD and MP4 formats. It’s also compatible with the Sony XLR Adaptor Microphone Kits so the camera can be used with professional mic systems.

The Sony a7S will be available in July for $2,499.