Night Owl: Sony a7S II Shoots Up to 409,600 ISO

September 11, 2015

By RF Staff

Sony just released its update to its full frame mirrorless a7S--the a7S II. Like its predecessor, the a7S II is focused on low light performance and 4K video recording. The 12-megapixel camera delivers a native ISO range of 100-102,400 with an option to expand to 50-409,600 (!).

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According to Sony, the camera’s BIONZ X processor has an updated algorithm to help it crunch the image data to ensure an optimized dynamic range and to keep noise at bay as you push into those higher ISOs. Also helping to get more light to the sensor is the camera's 5-axis stabilization system (similar to what was introduced in the  a7 II and a7R II), which allows you to shoot at slower shutter speeds.

As far as video goes, the a7S II can now record 4K video (3840x2160) internally using the XAVC S codec with full pixel readout and no pixel binning, which Sony says helps improve clarity and reduce moire. Bit rates hit as high as 100Mbps and you’ll have an option of 30, 24 or 25 fps frame rates for 4K recording.

You can take advantage of full pixel readout without pixel binning when shooting Full HD video at either 24 or 30p. The a7S II gathers roughly five times as many pixels that are required to produce an HD video and oversamples them to improve quality. The a7S II can record Full HD at a motion-slowing 120fps in full frame format.

Sony also added a number of new picture profiles so you can record a flatter, more desaturated video file which will be easier to color grade. These new profiles include S-Gamut3, Cine/S-Log3 and S-Gamut3/S-Log3--the S-Log3 profile delivers 14-stops of dynamic range, putting the a7S II on par with many cinema cameras when it comes to recovering details from shadows (at least on paper). When shooting in S-Log, Sony added a new Gamma Display Assist feature to make it easier to monitor images and check focus.

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The autofocus system on the a7S II now features 169 AF points with improved contrast detection in low light environments down to -4EV. The AF performance is also twice as fast as the original a7S during video shooting, Sony claimed.

Rounding out the a7S II feature set:

* an upgraded XGA OLED viewfinder with .78x magnification and T* coating

* a redesigned grip and shutter button

* silent shooting mode for 5 fps burst shooting

* clean HDMI output (422, 8-bit)

* a reinforced lens mount

* USB recharging while the camera is in use to extend battery life

* Wi-Fi and NFC

The Sony α7S II ships in October and is available for pre-order now for $3,000.

Sony also announced that it will ship seven new FE-mount lenses by “early 2016” though no other details were available.

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