When you don’t need to worry about high ISO settings. Shooting with Sony A7s, the most underhyped camera of 2014

When you don’t need to worry about high ISO settings. Shooting with Sony A7s, the most underhyped camera of 2014

shot with the Sony A7s and the Pentax SMC 135mm f2.5 wide open at ISO 200

After a fantastic photo session with incredibly talented Viola we had an idea for a quick video
more after the break

Earlier this year I decided to only buy cameras equally suitable for still and video work.
When the A7s arrived I wasn’t sure I would keep it, video quality was stunning, the ability to adjust image profiles unprecedented for a compact hybrid camera, but I wasn’t interested in getting just a video camera.
I almost didn’t order it because of the low megapixel count, I haven’t shot with 12mp in about 5 years and understandably wasn’t too excited about it.
As it turned out, the A7s quickly became my favorite camera for stills and video.

Another shot with the Pentax SMC 135mm f2.5. (links to this lens and the rest of gear at the end of the post)
Quite a bit smaller and lighter then the Nikkor 135mm f2.0 DC, a perfect match for the A7 bodies (see it mounted on the A7r here)

The video shoot:

Viola: on the move: Sony A7s, ISO 800 to ISO 10,000 from Mike Kobal on Vimeo.

The pedestrian bridge across the FDR drive was our main location. Not much available light there, ISO settings ranged from ISO 4000 for the brightest spots to ISO 10,000.

Camera set up:

A7s with Zeiss 24-70mm, zoom and focus lever, in a PNC gear box.
A monopod was used for most of the shots.
Picture profile: PP4, Cine2

Although I rarely use af for video, I prefer image stabilized lenses.
The bridge shots are good examples, every time a truck passed we noticed vibrations and without OSS one would certainly see the shake.

The beauty shots in the studio where shot in crop mode with the Sony G 70-200mm at 160mm at ISO 800.
Everything was shot wide open at F4 in mf.

After shooting with it for a couple of month, the A7s rates as the most under hyped camera of 2014 in my book, I absolutely love it.

Links to the gear mention in this post:
Sony A7s, here on Ebay (great deals), Adorama and BH.

Pentax Takumar SMC 135mm f2.5 here on Ebay
Adapter M42 to E mount
Adapter PK to E mount

Sony FE 70-200mm f4 OSS, here on Ebay (excellent deals), Adorama and BH.

Zeiss FE 24-70mm f4 OSS, here on Ebay, Adorama and BH.

PNC cage here on Ebay,
Focus levers here on Ebay
Manfrotto monopod at Adorama and BH
Manfrotto 700RC2 here on Ebay and BH

If you find this article helpful, please consider helping me maintaining this blog by purchasing your gear through my product links to Adorama and B&H and Ebay. It will cost you nothing and allows me to keep adding! Or consider making a direct donation using PayPal, thank you!

6 thoughts on “When you don’t need to worry about high ISO settings. Shooting with Sony A7s, the most underhyped camera of 2014

  1. mike.kobal Post author

    Thanks Laurence! Good to hear you find it useful! No other light sources. Yes, I still use the GH4, however, like a few other pro’s here in NYC, I am debating if I should sell it and get another A7s, the 1080 footage is simply stunning but since I also use the GH4 as street camera because of its phenomenal AF speed, I will hold on to it for a while I think. I could use zone focus with the 35mm at f8 on the A7s,that would also work. Undecided.
    I also like the ergonomics of GH4, the tiny lenses and of course af speed. I kept the Fuji X100s until last week, love everything about it but haven’t used it since I started shooting with the GH4 even though the files from the Fuji are better, for my style of street shooting af speed is more important. One major problem with the Fuji’s, for a hybrid shooter, the lack of video, I can’t use it in a professional environment.

  2. Laurence Zankowski


    Long time read of your postings. Read /watched along as you shifted thru your camera preferences. Truly like your no bs approach in what works what doesn’t. Do you still use the GH4? And do you still keep a fuji around in your work kit? As to Viola, stunning eyes, seems like an very straight forward model to work with, engaging looks.

    Any other lights sources used in this shoot besides ambient?

    Keep posting, I can say I am learning lots form your outings.

    Be well

    Laurence Zankowski

  3. Staton Winter

    Mike…nice to see the video shot with the A7s.
    I have been waiting some time to get my hands on it, though because I am in Japan right now, and thought that the price would be cheaper, it is, but you cannot get one with an English language menu.
    The only A7’s available with english menus, are for Foreign sales and I do not want the A7r, or A7.

    Anyway, when I leave I’ll get it at the airport or in Bangkok…

    Thanks for the video, I do enjoy your work, and wait for your updates patiently.
    Nice to see you are busy, and also that you do work with great cameras, and interesting lens combinations.

    Cool stuff.

    Staton Winter

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