I’m in Las Vegas for NAB right now and will be covering the event starting tomorrow with interviews and updates on some of the highlights from the show. Although the exhibitions don’t actually start until tomorrow, Sony has just held a press conference and announced a number of exciting new products and updates, including their brand new 4K Full Frame DSLR – the Sony A7S which shoots a maximum of 409,600 ISO which is absolutely ridiculous!
The A7S is going to directly compete against the GH4 (which of course also shoots 4K in a DSLR-style body), but the big advantage of the A7S is the fact that it is full frame, which is a huge plus for many shooters. One of the big upsides to full frame is low-light capability, the A7S may just be the new low-light king as far as DSLR video goes. Not only because it can shoot at up to 409,600 ISO, but more importantly because it uses a relatively small, 12 megapixel sensor (which is great for video – less downscaling, larger pixels which are more suitable for low light, etc.). The camera also can shoot at up to 120fps, but only in 720 mode. The only downside here is that in order to shoot 4K with this camera, you will need to use an external recorder. Internally the camera will shoot to 1080p using an XAVC-S 50Mbit codec, so if you need 4K internally in a DSLR body, the GH4 is still the way to go.
Here is the official information from their press release:
- Wide ISO sensitivity setting from 50 to 409600 and unprecedented dynamic range
- World’s first full-frame sensor capable of full pixel read-out without pixel binning process for movie and 4K (QFHD: 3840 x 2160) HDMI video output
- Professional video functions including XAVC S Full HD recording at 50Mbps, time code and optional XLR audio inputs
- High ISO sensitivity range allows faster shutter speeds during low light shooting
- α Mount System compatible with a wide range of high quality lenses, including power zoom lens ideal for movie shooting
- Improved Fast Intelligent AF performance in light as low as EV-4
- Ultra compact, light-weight body for comfortable pro-style operation
Sony also has announced a number of other releases, including the addition of ProRes and DNxHD recording capabilities to their F55, which is another huge leap forward for them as it will certainly make this camera even more competitive against cameras like the Arri Alexa/Amira.
What Else To 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 demanding, and the usual scheduled updates of various products, here is a bullet point list of what we may see announced tomorrow at the show:
- GoPro Hero 4 (with full 4K capabilities at 24p)
- Canon C200/C400 (4K additions to their cinema camera lineup, 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 generate a lot of interest)
- Possible 4K Arri Alexa camera
- Many Movi alternatives/knockoffs – Hopefully at least one that will match or exceed the quality level of the original Movi, but at a lower cost
- 4K external recorders (HDMI and/or SDI), possibly released by Atomos or Convergent Design
- Major update to DaVinci Resolve (likely more online NLE tools/upgrades to their timeline system)
- FCP X Update – Apple does not attend NAB, but they do typically release an update right around this time of year, so we will likely see something soon
I will be at the Blackmagic press release tomorrow at 9:30AM and will be conducting interviews throughout the day, so be sure to check back soon for more updates from the show!
Noam Kroll is an award-winning Los Angeles based filmmaker, and the founder of the boutique production house, Creative Rebellion. His work can be seen at international film festivals, on network television, and in various publications across the globe. Follow Noam on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more content like this!