Today I’m going to be talking about the camera that I’m currently using for my more involved motion picture shooting. I shoot and direct a lot of promotional videos as well as independent film projects and just recently I got this amazing Sony a 7 s 2 as my main motion picture camera.
I got this to replace my beloved Canon 6D, with which I did a lot of great projects. I really wanted to upgrade to something with more dynamic range and better slow motion, among other things.
Out of the dizzying array of cameras available, I chose the A7s 2 for several reasons.
First, it has great dynamic range. About 13 stops when shooting in S-Log3 which puts it in the realm of cinema cameras that cost from 10,000 to 50,000 dollars. That gives me great pictures now, and when I can afford to shoot on a higher end camera, I can use this as a second camera and have a decent match, especially if I use other Sony cameras with S-Log.
Second, it does shoot in 4K. Now to be honest, I haven’t been all that crazy about jumping on the 4K bandwagon, but I have to say that now that I’ve done a couple of shoots with this thing, it’s really nice to do a wide shot in 4K and know that you can jump into tighter shots of the scene in editing
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Third, the form factor is small and lightweight, so it fits on a one-hand gimbal like my DS1 Beholder here, BUT it still has a full-frame sensor, unlike the GH4, which is micro four thirds.
Fourth, it has AMAZING super slow motion ability. Internal recording at 120 frames per second.
I also like the fact that it records to inexpensive SD and SDXC cards, although I have found that it’s REALLY PICKY about exactly which cards it will record to.
Having said that, one of my next additions to my kit will likely be an Atomos recorder/monitor, like the Ninja or Samurai series, so I can record to ProRes or Avid formats and use SDD drives to record on.
But overall, the bang for the buck just made this camera a no-brainer. It is about twice the cost of a GH4, but it’s about half of what I’d have spent on an URSA MINI, once I added the accessories and recording media, and it’s an even smaller fraction of what I’d pay for a RED or an ARRI.
So everything is a trade-off and there are a couple of limitations to the A7sii. One is the rolling shutter, which is a common issue for mirrorless cameras. That really doesn’t bother me that much because I don’t do a whole lot of swish pans and even the URSA MINI 4.6K was released with a rolling shutter.
The one and really only other issue with this amazing little camera is the battery life. You only get about 20 minutes of life out of these tiny little batteries. Now you can feed power in through the USB port on the side, but I didn’t find this to be a good solution. I also didn’t really want to spend tons of money setting up my rig with either v-mount or anton bauer batteries, which cost hundreds of dollars per battery.
So I found this cheap and elegant solution. I got this battery adapter, which comes with both the adapter and an AC power supply. And then I also found this great little Sony battery plate. It uses sony NP style batteries of several sizes and with one of these puppies the A7s2 will run all day long.
So that’s my a7s 2 and why I chose it. In another video, I’ll show you some of the rig configurations I use when shooting films.