NAB 2014: Sony Releases New 4K DSLR With 409,600 ISO! & What To Expect From The Rest Of The Show
Sony A7s.jpg

I am currently in Las Vegas for NAB and will report on the event with interviews and updates on some of the highlights of the show starting tomorrow. Even though the exhibitions don't start until tomorrow, Sony has just held a press conference and announced a number of exciting new products and updates, including the brand new 4K full-screen DSLR – the Sony A7S, which captures a maximum of 409,600 ISO values, absolutely ridiculous!

The A7S will compete directly against the GH4 (which of course also shoots 4K in a DSLR case), but the great advantage of the A7S is the fact that it is full screen, which is a big plus for many shooters. One of the great advantages of full frames is the ability to work in low light. When it comes to DSLR video, the A7S may be the new king in low light. Not only because it can shoot up to 409,600 ISO, but mostly because it uses a relatively small 12-megapixel sensor (ideal for videos – less downscaling, larger pixels that are better suited for low light, etc.). The camera can also shoot at up to 120 frames per second, but only in 720 mode. The only downside here is that you need to use an external recorder to record 4K with this camera. Internally, the camera records with a XAVC-S 50 Mbit codec to 1080p. So if you need 4K internally in a DSLR case, the GH4 is still the way to go.

Here is the official information from her press release:

  • Wide ISO sensitivity setting from 50 to 409600 and unprecedented dynamic range
  • World's first full-screen sensor that enables full pixel readout without pixel binning process for film and 4K HDMI video outputs (QFHD: 3840 x 2160)
  • Professional video features, including XAVC S Full HD 50Mbps recording, timecode and optional XLR audio inputs
  • The high ISO sensitivity range enables faster shutter speeds when shooting in low light
  • α Mount system, compatible with a variety of high quality lenses, including power zoom lens, ideal for filming
  • Improved fast intelligent AF performance in light up to EV-4
  • Ultra-compact, lightweight body for comfortable pro-style operation

Sony has also announced a number of other versions, including the inclusion of ProRes and DNxHD recording functions in the F55. This is another big step forward for them as this camera is sure to become even more competitive with cameras like the Arri Alexa / Amira.

What else you can expect at NAB 2014

This is just speculation on my part at this point, but based on what I've heard, what the market seems to be asking for, and the usual scheduled updates for various products, here is a list of what we'll be announcing tomorrow at Show:

  • GoPro Hero 4 (with full 4K functions at 24p)
  • Canon C200 / C400 (4K additions to their cinema camera range, but this may be wishful thinking)
  • Update to the Blackmagic Cinema Camera and / or Pocket Camera
  • Panasonic Varicam (already announced, but I'm sure it will spark great interest)
  • Possible 4K Arri Alexa camera
  • Many Movi alternatives / imitations – Hopefully at least one that matches or exceeds the quality of the original Movi, but at a lower cost
  • External 4K recorders (HDMI and / or SDI), possibly released by Atomos or Convergent Design
  • Main update for DaVinci Resolve (probably more online NLE tools / upgrades for the timeline system)
  • FCP X update – Apple is not participating in the NAB, but usually releases an update this time of year, so we'll likely see something soon

I will be at the Blackmagic press release tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. and conduct interviews throughout the day. So check back soon for more updates from the show!

Noam Kroll is an award-winning filmmaker from Los Angeles and founder of the boutique production house Creative Rebellion. His work can be seen at international film festivals, on network television and in various publications around the world. Follow Noam on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more content like this!

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