Sony A7s Crowned New King of Low Light by DxOMark, but…

by Hugh Brownstone1 Comment

It’s all over the web now: Sony has pulled a rabbit out of its hat with the low light performance of their new A7s, sibling to the A7 and A7R. The imagery is stunning, the ISO numbers staggering.

DxOMark confirms that the A7s has supplanted the Nikon Df as low light king, scoring a record-breaking 3702 ISO (vs. the Df’s still-incredible 3279).

Compare these numbers to the camera that brought many of us into the HDSLR fold, the Canon 5D Mk II (1815 ISO) and its update, the Mark III (ISO 2293), or Canon’s newest crop factor camera, the 70D (926 ISO), and the achievement is all the more impressive.

But with all of these amazing numbers, what does it really mean?

Well, it means that along this one particular dimension, the Sony offers about 2 stops more light sensitivity than the 70D; one stop more light sensitivity than the 5D Mk II; and just under 2/3 stop more light sensitivity than the 5D Mk III.

And what does THAT mean?

If you’re shooting a concert using the A7s instead of your trusty 5D Mk II, you can get away with a 70-200 at an aperture of f/4.0, rather than f/f2.8. It means if you’re shooting a sporting event, you can get away with 1/1000th of second instead of 1/500th.

Or if you’re shooting a night scene for a film, maybe you can get away renting half the lighting gear.


And maybe you can shoot in light that the others simply cannot, but don’t expect images that are particularly usable except for surveillance.

Hmm…Sam Spade, anyone?

I’m not knocking the A7s – it is, truly, a crowning achievement and reflects the much-over-used-but-absolutely-correct-in-this-case term “out of the box” thinking. Who else would have the guts to challenge our assumptions about what’s important by sacrificing so many megapixels (it’s only 12mp) for so much speed?

By the way: how much sacrifice is that 12mp really — if you're shooting 1080p or even 4K video?

And it turns out that its color depth and the dynamic range are — if not at the very top of the charts – still impressive as all get-out, with 23.9 bits and 13.2 EV’s, respectively (vs., say the Canon 5D Mk III at 24 bits even and only 11.7 EV’s).

The A7s is a camera that heats up the kind of competition a healthy market needs and consumers – whether pros or amateurs – benefit from.

And it raises a bunch of excellent questions about what's important; what's not; and by how much, especially around video.

Kudos to Sony for that.

Learn more about it here.

Sony A7s Crowned New King of Low Light by DxOMark

Via Phoblographer:

Yes! It’s one of those days again where our friends from DxOMark release another sensor test, and this time it’s the one of the new Sony A7S. Just yesterday, we reported on Michael Reichmann’s first impressions review of the A7S, and he was so bold as to claim that the camera exhibits medium format-like image quality. Well, according to DxOMark, things aren’t quite as shiny. Head past the break for more.

Before we go into the details, let’s make one thing clear: yes, the Sony A7S is the undisputed new king of low light photography, scoring an incredible 3702 points. By this, it dethrones the previous rank holder, the Nikon Df (which we reviewed here), which scored a no less impressive 3279 points when it was tested. We’ve all seen what the A7S can do when light gets sparse, and it’s like Sony sprinkled magic dust on its sensor.

DxOMark Crowns the Sony A7s the New King of Low Light image 2

Read Phoblographer's Full article “DxOMark Crowns the Sony A7s the New King of Low Light”

A7s Low Light Footage

Description by Matt Allard:

I've been lucky enough to have a Sony A7s for the past week and in between working for at Broadcast Asia in Singapore I've been testing the camera out.

One of the big draw cards is the cameras low light ability. In short the A7is is without a shadow of a doubt is the new low light king. I have never seen another camera that can compete with this cameras low light ability. I would use it happily at 20,000ISO and even up to about 50,000ISO.

What i'm more excited about is the ability to shoot at say 10 or 20,000ISO and be able to stop the camera down to get a greater depth of field and sharpness from my lenses.


Note: it is our policy to give credit as well as deserved traffic to our news sources – so we don't repost the entire article – sorry, I know you want the juicy bits, but I feel it is only fair that their site get the traffic and besides, you just might make a new friend and find an advertiser that has something you've never seen before

(cover photo credit: snap from Phoblographer)


  1. the A7s it is really the king of the night, check this out:

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