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Sony A7s II vs. The Human Eye in Low-Light Demonstration

By Hanssie on January 4th 2016

The A7s wowed us last year with its low light capabilities and its high ISO performance turned many heads and hearts to the mirrorless system. Now with the Sony A7S II, the already impressive low-light powerhouse is even better with more pixels, added internal 4K, and in camera IS. The $3000 successor can shoot with virtually no light and look good doing it with its max ISO of 409,600.

YouTuber VideoArt GR (Armen Bojikian) was looking for a dark place to challenge the ISO performance of the A7S II with his Rokinon 50mm t1.5 Cine Lens and “found out that there isn’t any place dark enough” for the camera. In the 48-second video below, Bojikian pushes the A7S II’s ISO from 64.000- 160.000 with the last shot at 256.000. You’ll see his side-by-side comparisons in a series of astonishing images.



To simulate the naked eye, he explains that using the same camera, he adjusted the settings to ISO 1600 and a shutter speed of 100-200 to match what he saw with his eyes. He then “used those shots as a reference in post to stop down the exposure of the higher ISO shots in the same level like the reference videos.” No noise reduction was used in post for any of the images. While the test isn’t perfectly controlled and scientific (See DXOMark’s ratings for all that), it’s still pretty awesome. Makes me seriously consider not paying my rent (and car payment) next month to spring for one of my own.

[Via Reddit]

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. adam sanford

    Love the sensitivity of the sensor, but consider:

    1) For stills, 12 MP is DOA in the age of 42-50 MP FF SLR sensors. Sure, 12 MP is fine for many purposes, but how badly do you want low light performance? Enough to give up all the detail you’d get with an A7R II or 5DS?

    2) Your DR and color goes to hell when shooting at these ISO levels. Yes, you get the exposure you need, but ouch, it’s not terribly pleasing to look at.

    So I see the A7S II as a videographer’s dream to shoot a film a la Barry Lyndon or The Revenant entirely with natural light without needing a dump truck full of cash and Emmanuel Lubezki to do it. Points to Sony there.

    But as a stills shooter, unless you’re chasing Bigfoot or P-22, surely there are better options for you.

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    • Hanssie

      I shoot with the Fuji X-T1, so I am longing for any low light performance. Haha…sob.

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    • Paul Empson

      yep the natural light goes and the X-T1 heads for the bag..

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