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Why I Ditched My Lumix GH4 For A Sony A7S II

As a loyal Lumix shooter and customer for years, replacing my GH4 with a Sony A7S II was no easy decision. Since the GH2 I’ve been a big fan of the Lumix mirrorless lineup, and their cameras have done very well for me on countless projects. But after several years of shooting on the GH2, GH3 and GH4, it was finally time for a change. This is why –

When Lumix hit the scene with their GH2, the DSLR market was shaken up for the first time since Canon’s 5D MK II. Indie filmmakers finally had a viable alternative to the notoriously popular 5D, which in many ways offered superior image quality at a lower cost.

Lumix seemed to be all about innovation. They were pushing the boundaries of what was possible from a feature and cost perspective, and filmmakers everywhere were catching on. Ultimately, this is why I was loyal to their brand for so long.

It wasn’t until the GH4 though, that we saw a substantial conversion of Canon users to Panasonic/Lumix… This was largely because the features and quality that the GH4 delivered were so far beyond any Canon product in the same price range. The fact that the GH4 was able to record beautifully high quality 4K footage internally when Canon was still struggling with 1080p, was reason enough to make many users jump ship.

But right around the same time the GH4 was getting momentum, Sony was gaining a lot of ground too with their A7 lineup – or more specifically their A7S. For some former Canon users, switching to Lumix wasn’t ideal (mainly because they were accustomed to shooting with a full frame sensor), and as such many of those shooters turned to Sony instead.

Personally, I was always impressed by the original Sony A7S but never wanted to invest in one as I was quite happy with my Lumix GH4. I’d been shooting with cropped sensor cameras for so long that the full frame look didn’t really matter to me all that much, and the low light abilities of the A7S weren’t that important to me either. Don’t get me wrong, having the ability to shoot relatively cleanly at 25,600 ISO is pretty awesome, but I don’t particularly make a habit of shooting in underlit situations, and I saw the A7S low light capabilities as more of a luxury than a necessity.

So the two biggest benefits of the original A7S (low light and full frame) were largely irrelevant for me. I was much happier to stick with my trusty Lumix GH4 which was able to record 4K straight in the camera, and still captured beautiful results under the right conditions.

But then the A7S II was announced…

Sony A7S II impressions

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t already tempted by the A7R II before the A7S II was announced.

The A7R II seemed to offer a true hybrid video/photo experience that could capture impeccable motion and stills with ease. While I mainly shoot video of course, I do shoot stills from time to time and having the ability to capture 42MP stills and 4K video on the same device was extremely tempting. Not to mention, the 5 axis internal stabilization was almost reason enough to bring me over to the Sony brand.

But ultimately I waited. I knew that it was only a matter of time until the A7S II would be released, and I really wanted to see what Sony had up their sleeves. In the end, the A7S II was pretty much exactly what I expected and hoped for.

On the A7S II, Sony was able to improve low light abilities by about a stop, while also offering internal 4K recording, S-Log 3, 5 Axis Stabilization, and loads of other great features. The only trade off (from my perspective at least) between the A7S II and A7R II was the stills resolution – 12MP vs 42MP. But even 12MP stills have more than enough resolution for the vast majority of web and print usages, and I already owned several other stills cameras, so the lower stills resolution on the A7S II was definitely not a deal breaker for me.

In the end, I made the jump over to Sony and haven’t looked back.

I’ve only had the A7S II for a week now, but already love what the camera is capable of. The video and stills quality are both absolutely amazing, and I’m truly impressed by the dynamic range when shooting in S-Log 3.

From strictly a dynamic range standpoint, it can feel very Alexa-like at times – although the color science has a long way to go still. The images can be graded to look beautiful, but I don’t find the color balance to be particularly great straight off the cards. Canon still seems to have the best color science in the DSLR world, and Blackmagic have certainly mastered it on the budget cinema-camera side of things…

Sony will surely continue to improve their color science with time, but for now I’ll factor in a little extra time in DaVinci when working with my A7S II footage. Regardless, I am extremely impressed by the camera so far and can’t wait to put it to use on some real world productions.

Why I Ditched Lumix

While I’ve touched on some of the technical reasons why I switched from Lumix to Sony, the story doesn’t end there. In fact, if I was only comparing tech specs between the two cameras I’m not sure I would have switched at all…

At the top of this article I mentioned that one of the biggest elements that drew me to Lumix initially was their innovation. When I see manufacturer is coming from a place of true innovation, that goes a very long way in making me want to invest in their products.

Lumix was leading the way for several years with regards to innovation in mirrorless technology, but Sony is simply innovating faster than anyone else right now. Their cameras are pushing technical and creative limits, and their ability to roll out new cameras so quickly is starting to make the competition fall by the wayside.

A year from now, who knows where things will go. Maybe the Lumix GH5 will blow everyone else out of the water, or maybe it will show us that the GH4 was in fact the peak of Lumix’s lineup. Only time will tell of course, but for now Sony is definitely raising the bar for innovation, and I hope to see the other competitors step up to the plate.

Be sure to follow me on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter for updates on future articles and reviews!

About Author

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!

85 Comments

  • 24 shots
    February 9, 2019 at 3:40 pm

    A loyal Lumix shooter and customer for years, replaced my GH4 with a Sony A7S II was no easy decision. their cameras have done very well for me on countless projects.

    Reply
  • FUNMI DARAMOLA
    May 9, 2018 at 12:36 am

    Hello Noam,

    Read your article and followed the comments. This is 2018! However, I am also more concerned about colour science than any other factor…

    Would you say that the GH Series i.e. GH4, GH5 and GH5s have better colour science than the A7sii? I really love neutral/natural skin tones. I shoot in Africa, so most of the time I shoot Africans (lol)

    N.B. I usually shoot with high end digital cameras ALEXA ans RED Dragon/Weapon but I need relatively inexpensive cameras to shoot for personal use and pet projects like shorts and TV Series. (Low-Light is not necessarily an issue because I prefer to light to my taste.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      June 13, 2018 at 3:18 am

      Yes – I definitely think the Lumix cameras, especially the GH5/GH5s, have better color science than Sony. Fuji’s colors are the best in my opinion (Canon’s are a close second), but obviously in both cases you won’t get a camera that is as feature rich.

      Reply
  • david kashner
    April 13, 2017 at 6:39 am

    in the heat of orlando, there wasn’t a choice…i knew the gh5 was on the horizon so i snagged the G7 for a few projects and was waiting for the gh5. glad i did…

    Reply
  • Taylor
    January 30, 2017 at 1:27 am

    Hi Noam,

    I think Sony is okay, but not worth the price. I downloaded a lowlight video with correct exposure from the Sony a7sII. I was shock to see all the noise and how everyone hype up this camera with being lowlight king. It would be a king a if there was no noise from the footage. I’m glad I downloaded that video from Vimeo it being original footage straight from the camera. What is the point of spending all that money and in the end I have to denoise everything losing dynamic range?

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      February 9, 2017 at 8:31 pm

      You’re not wrong! Since writing this article I sold my A7S II for a number of reasons (mainly due to color performance). And while it is still a great camera, it is by no means perfect…

      Reply
  • jacobo giraldo
    January 27, 2017 at 5:06 am

    Would you recommend this a7sii for narratives over the blackmagic cameras? I’m looking for a camera for film and I don’t know where to invest my money.. thanks

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      February 9, 2017 at 8:30 pm

      For narrative, I would personally go with Blackmagic over Sony! I think the colors are much better and it has a more filmic image.

      Reply
  • Arya Boustani
    January 10, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    Sorry I forgot to mention I was also thinking I could use the low light monster A7S II in crop mode (I really don’t care about 4K vs. HD) since it probably has the least tendency of imposing the noise as a result of fainted light I get from 2/3″ broadcast lens extender glass blowing up the 2/3″ format image to 4/3″. I imagine loosing 2 stops of light means I need to crank up the iso a bit further (let’s say 6400 instead of 1600).

    Reply
  • Arya Boustani
    January 10, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    Hi Naomi,
    I was wondering if you had a chance to get a demo model of GH5. I was looking to the GH5 demo video noise level at low light which was my nightmare in GH4 especially using my B4 mount adaptor and my 2/3″ broadcast lens. I don’t know how GH5 will hold up. It is definitely cleaner image than GH4 but I just don’t know how much noise I will end up with, especially loosing 2 stops (or more) of light through my 2/3″ zoom lens with built-in 2x extender. With GH4 and my broadcast lens I would say probably around 90 percent of my indoor shots are just not good enough.
    Noise is my deal breaker, and of course dynamic range is very important. I just don’t know how much dynamic range is left when someone has to push the iso to let’s say 6400. Let’s say if the dynamic range is 14 stops at optimum iso, would that drop to let’s say 10 or 11 when you crank up the iso in a low light condition? Unfortunately low light situations and servo zoom requirement is the common ingredient of my projects. Thanks for your feedback.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      January 23, 2017 at 9:20 pm

      Hey Arya! I actually haven’t been able to shoot on the GH5 yet, but when I do I will absolutely follow up on this. Low light on DSLRs is a big factor for me too, and like you I am certainly hoping the GH5 is able to deliver cleaner images than the GH4. Stay tuned and hopefully I can write a post on this in the future.

      Reply
  • Shelly
    January 10, 2017 at 12:39 am

    So are you now switching back to Panasonic with the GH5?

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      January 23, 2017 at 9:16 pm

      I’m definitely going to try it out – and I very well may purchase one… As I’ve mentioned in the past, for me it all comes down to color science. If they’ve been able to nail that down on the GH5, I will likely pick one up myself.

      Reply
  • Cross
    December 10, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    I am grateful for the time it took to create this article.
    But this must be drafted differently.
    It’s amazing how Noam starts talking about the wonders of the A7s II and in the end he sold it because he is not convinced. I think the article is not much help in decision making.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      December 13, 2016 at 5:47 pm

      You are right that I sold my A7S II! However – I also wasn’t satisfied with the GH4, and still very much feel that what I wrote here was accurate at the time. Sony was (and is) pushing their technology ahead very aggressively… I just don’t love the fact that their color science seems to be falling by the wayside. And for me, that’s a deal breaker!

      Reply
  • Jeff
    July 1, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    GH4 owners, don’t bother switching to Sony. Go out and buy a set of Veydra Primes. It will open up a whole new world for you on what can be achieved with your GH4 and Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera.

    I have heard a number of serious issues with the Alpha Camera’s like battery power, and over heating that should not be overlooked. There are a lot of ways to improve your game without buying the latest and greatest camera offerings. They depreciation is so fast its hard to call it an investment especially at 2x the cost.

    Reply
  • Alex
    June 14, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    Thanks Noam, really appreciate your insight!

    Reply
  • Marianna
    June 8, 2016 at 6:19 am

    Has the a7sii replaced your c100? I’m going back and forth about which to buy. I do more staged than run and gun documentary work for theatrical projection in independent (non-4k capable) cinemas. Wish a low light capable non-8 bit 4k camera under $5,000 was currently on the market! Main concerns with a7sii are overheating and autofocus. Banding (lots of skies) is a concern in both, though I’ve read that keeping away from the log profiles helps. a7sii seems to handle the codec better or maybe that’s just because its a bit sharper overall or the noise/sharpness settings in some c100 tests I’ve seen weren’t set properly?

    Interested in whether you still consider the c100 a contender or past being worth it for the price.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      June 9, 2016 at 7:09 am

      Great question. I no longer own either camera, believe it or not! I bought the A7S II to replace my GH4 but after a few months of working with it, I didn’t love the images it was producing. That said, I think the C100 is still an amazing option and a better all round run and gun camera from an ergonomic and practical standpoint. It doesn’t have 4K, and some of the other bells and whistles that the A7S II has, but it is a better “camera” in many ways. That said, both are capable of producing great images in the right hands, so it really comes down to what kind of camera system you prefer to work with.

      Reply
      • Alex
        June 10, 2016 at 4:01 pm

        Hi Noam! Can I ask you why you dumped the a7sII? Currently I am working with a c100mkII but since I do many handheld and run and gun, I was thinking about swapping my canon with a sony a7sII…can I ask your opinion?

        Reply
        • Noam Kroll
          June 13, 2016 at 9:18 pm

          Absolutely, and the answer is simple: color. Coming from a C100, you are probably used to getting some really nice, organic and natural colors from your camera. It’s going to be very hard to achieve that on the A7S II, even with lots of time spent in the color suite. That doesn’t mean you can’t capture beautiful images on the A7S II, but if you’re a bit of a color freak like I am, you’ll probably never be as satisfied with the end results. Personally, if you don’t need some of the bells and whistles the A7S II offers, I would say stick with the C100 II.

          Reply
  • Andro Stern
    May 1, 2016 at 1:24 am

    Hey Noam, I stumbled upon your blog while searching info about the GH4, and even though I’m getting more and more convinced about buying it (Nikon user here), I can’t help but feeling curious about the long awaited GH5. Any news about it? We are in May already and so far I haven’t read nor heard anything about it being released anytime soon.

    I’ve always had Nikon cameras but I’m a videographer and I’m not really happy with the results you get for video, specially on terms of dynamic range and cinematic quality. For stills, it’s awesome.

    Very informative post, keep up the good job!

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      May 4, 2016 at 3:48 am

      Thanks Andro! I just heard the other day that some of the GH5 rumors are very likely to be true – including internal 6K recording. We should get an official announcement in September, so definitely stay tuned.

      Reply
  • William
    April 12, 2016 at 10:42 am

    Hi Naom,

    Great post, thanks for the info. I am relatively new the the video scene, the GH4 was the first camera I ever bought about 7 months ago. We make all our videos on it and are getting to the point where we need 2 cameras and we need to invest in a new set up. Would you say that the A7S ii is what we should be getting rather than waiting for the GH5 which is rumoured to shoot 8K and 4K at 60fps.

    The marketing on the A7S ii is very persuading and it looks fantastic but I am skeptical about taking a £2000+ lunge into this small sony camera. What are your thoughts?

    Thanks

    William

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      April 17, 2016 at 4:41 pm

      Thanks William! Right now, I would say wait until NAB as there may be a number of new camera announcements next week, and that may affect your decision. But as things stand now, I would recommend waiting until September if you aren’t in a huge rush, as the A7S II is a big investment (especially when you purchase two), and the image quality isn’t that much better than the GH4. It really just has better specs… Hope this helps!

      Reply
      • William
        April 18, 2016 at 3:47 pm

        Awesome, thanks for the reply Naom. I keep seeing your name pop up on blogs all round the place. Keep at it… #WiseWords

        Reply
        • Noam Kroll
          April 19, 2016 at 5:04 am

          Good to hear! Thanks for the kind words William.

          Reply
  • Beth Cramer
    April 5, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    Hi Noam,
    Have you done a review of the sony a6300? I’m just starting out in wedding cinematography and leaning to the A7SII, however the a6300 might be a better entry level choice? Heard it overheats and I have seen the rolling shutter is far more noticeable. Also I love the internal stabilization the 7s II has, but I may feel more comfortable putting either camera on a stabilizer. Do you use a stabilization system with the A7S II?
    Thanks in advance! Going to B&H today so hope you can respond!

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      April 17, 2016 at 4:25 pm

      Not yet Beth. I would love to try it out, but as you said apparently it has some issues – notably really poor rolling shutter artifacts. I only have used tripods/shoulder rigs with the A7S II, but I’m sure it would work beautifully on a Movi or other gimbal based stabilizer.

      Reply
  • Danz
    April 4, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    I’ve always loved the Sony A7 series, I have used all of them except the A7 and A72; A7r2 is definitely my favourite camera for stills, paired with Zeiss Otus. However, in terms of filming, I have to admit that GH4 beats both my A7r2 and A7s2 hands down, especially recording through Atoms Shogun, the GH4’s 4K images are so much sharper in comparison, I really wish I could say some nice things about the A7s2, but apart from the shallow DOF, the ability to film wide angle in full frame and the low light shooting, the GH4’s 4K picture quality is so much better, so I doubt I’ll be ditching my GH4 anytime soon.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      April 17, 2016 at 4:23 pm

      Thanks for the note Danz. I still miss my GH4 and have actually since sold my A7S II since writing this article. I like them both for different reasons, but neither are quite perfect. Appreciate the comment!

      Reply
  • Arya
    March 17, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    Hi Naom, thanks for the info. I was looking to A7S low light photos and videos about a year ago. I had a feeling that the city lights in the dark were so bright that I wasn’t sure if I’m getting a natural look of a wide dynamic range camera. Perhaps A7S ii is improved but still it’s good to see how dynamic range shrinks with the higher values of iso in that camera.
    Is there any table that you know to spell it out, or if you could compare it yourself and give us feedback?
    Thanks a lot.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      March 19, 2016 at 12:26 am

      Hi Arya. That’s a great point, and to answer your question – no, I haven’t really tested dynamic range on the A7S II when shooting at high ISO values. Generally speaking, I always aim to shoot at the native ISO of the camera to avoid losing any DR. That said, I’ll try to do a test on this in the future if I can. Thanks for the suggestion!

      Reply
  • Matt Culley
    March 2, 2016 at 7:44 am

    Totally understand why the pros may have jumped ship already but man, sometimes the gear heads just give up too fast. I know people that go back and forth between android and ios every other year lol. Not a super great comparison, but you get my point. I shoot in a controlled environment doing mostly talking head stuff so the g7 and gh4 have been great for me, but I do think the gh5 will be shit or get off the pot time. If it’s just an incremental upgrade, I’ll go to Sony. Also Panasonic needs to start competing with the f5 and f7 and upgrade the af100.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      March 6, 2016 at 5:57 pm

      Totally hear you on this Matt. To be honest, I don’t love the A7S II and I only find it marginally better than the GH4 in some ways. The main reason I jumped over was because I didn’t like Panasonic’s overall path. It just felt that they weren’t innovating the same way they were in years past. At the same time, I don’t see myself sticking with Sony forever either. I like to choose cameras based on my needs at any given time and switch as needed, but only when I really need to.

      Reply
      • Samad Khan
        March 17, 2016 at 11:39 am

        And that should exactly be the way it should be. I dont understand brand loyalty. I am surpised at fools who feverishly defend (or pretend to defend) particular brands on forums and stuff.
        I have a GH4 but I dont own any Panasonic lenses. I have mostly Olympus and Voigtlander. I was shooting Nikon before this.
        One should always buy according to their needs. Fortunately, the mirror-less revolution gives us freedom from actually buying into a particular lens system. You can pretty much use any lens on the GH4 with an adapter. I love the A7sII and I have downloaded a lot of footage from forums to test my hands at grading it. To my eye it looks great and the full frame charm is there. But I love my GH4 too. I had no problems with ergonomics when moving from Nikon (amazing ergonomics) and it was easy to feel comfortable. I will most definitely wait for GH5. Meanwhile, I am still finding new stuff within the menus of the GH4 that I didnt even know existed (discovered shutter angle settings last week after owning it for a year and a half). 😀

        Reply
        • Noam Kroll
          March 19, 2016 at 12:22 am

          Thanks for the note Samad! And you’re totally right – the best thing about mirrorless cameras is your ability to invest in glass that will work across multiple cameras in the future. I’m certainly not married to the A7S II (or any camera for that matter), and it’s nice that I don’t need to feel guilty about selling it when I feel the time is right, since the main investment has been made in lenses.

          Reply
  • Flaaandeeers
    February 12, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    Thought about that as well, but I’ve been there (BMPCC and Oly camera) and ended up using one of them most of the time and keeping the other gathering dust in a bag.
    I guess that for my kind of work (one short narrative a year, some live music stuff and mostly run n gun shit) it would make more sense to have something versatile. Even when I don’t take so many stills but would like to have the option available if I want to.
    The GH4 was really versatile, and I certainly had the right glass for it. But for some reason I ended up selling it like you, and now here I am, wondering which camera to get…

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      February 16, 2016 at 8:40 pm

      It’s a really tough call. And as much as I enjoy the A7S II it’s still far from a perfect camera. Yes – it beats the GH4 in most ways (which is why I upgraded), but it still has it’s quirks… If you aren’t in a rush, it couldn’t hurt to hold off for NAB in April to see what might happen.

      Reply
  • Flaaandeeers
    February 6, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    And then I ended up selling my GH4 as well.
    4:3 mode itself was not enough to justify the lack of love between us.
    I think that beyond the specs, there has to be some kind of love between the operator and the image that the camera produces. There was never that kind of love with the GH4.
    Now I need to sell all the m43 glass.
    And decide what camera to buy…
    I was almost decided to go with a Nikon D750, looking for better stills, more usable DR and low light, and especially that lovely Nikon color science.
    But now the A6300 makes me wonder if I should wait for it… it’s pretty awesome on the specs, but i kinda hate Sony’s color.
    Any ideas? No more than $2000 to spend.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      February 8, 2016 at 7:32 pm

      Interesting to hear, and thanks for the update. I’m also very interested in the a6300 and if Sony can get their colors right, that will be one of the best bang for your buck cameras out there, hands down. Are you set on a DSLR/Mirrorless camera? Or would you consider a lower cost cinema camera? One option might be to pick up a separate camera for stills (even a used 6D or something similar), which might open up your options for which camera to purchase for video…

      Reply
      • Dan Burke
        February 19, 2016 at 5:05 pm

        Yeah here’s waiting! a6300, almost a done deal for me as long as it doesn’t overheat & moire is manageable. Cinema raw is delicious, but slog should be more cost effective. Your thoughts on BMMCC are very interesting.

        Reply
        • Noam Kroll
          February 23, 2016 at 5:42 pm

          Absolutely – I can’t wait to try about the a6300 either… Looks like it packs a lot of punch.

          Reply
  • zach
    January 29, 2016 at 7:15 am

    A7sii s-log 3 internal 8-bit or Gh4 Vlog with atomos ninja 10-bit for better picture quality and grading?

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      February 1, 2016 at 1:32 am

      I would say if you need low light and/or full frame go with A7S II, otherwise GH4 is a great option with the ninja, especially since you can use the ninja with other cameras in the future.

      Reply
  • evan
    January 28, 2016 at 10:49 pm

    Hello,
    following your nice blog, just a note about comparing ISO luminance across the brands. From my experience (and I think it has been reported too on the web quite a bit) the contrary of what Van claims is true.
    At same ISO levels and with same lens and aperture settings, the GH4 image appears to be a stop or two darker than other cameras of larger sensors both APS-C and FF from either Sony or Nikon.
    It is as if the GH4 is cheating with the ISO number using a lower value one in essence, like when other cameras exposure at say 800 ISO is the same the GH4 image looks like using 400 ISO.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      February 1, 2016 at 1:32 am

      Interesting to hear Evan, and thanks for sharing. I haven’t tested this yet myself, but it would make sense seeing as the smaller sensor of the GH4 would theoretically gather less light. Will definitely look into it when I can.

      Reply
    • Eric Pontbriand
      July 13, 2016 at 7:48 pm

      Evan, of course. Crop factor effects f-stops as well, because a smaller sensor collects light from a smaller area. If you loaded up a Zeiss EF @ f2.8 on an A7sii and exposed a Caucasian subjects skin at 50 IRE, and then loaded up on the GH4, You’d effectively be at f5.6 (2x crop factor) So, after stepping back 3 feet to compensate for the crop, you’d fix your exposure by either doubling your shutter ANGLE (which you can’t do for video) or double your ISO to get the same 50 IRE due to the smaller sensor.

      So see it like this, if the A7Sii’s sensor is full frame, 1:1, no crop, then it’s automatically 1 stop faster right out of the gate than the GH4. (And other 2x crop cameras like Red MX)

      Keep in mind that ISO represents approximate film speed equivalents simulated by gain. The higher the ISO, the higher the gain. The A7 is cleaner at high gain AND it’s one stop faster (by practical means) than the GH4 BECAUSE it’s full frame.

      Reply
      • Noam Kroll
        July 14, 2016 at 9:55 pm

        Thanks for sharing this Eric. Good points!

        Reply
  • VanWeddings
    January 19, 2016 at 12:47 am

    having all three main brands of video DSLR/M cameras, canon, panny and sony, they all have their strengths and weaknesses. canon has the best skin color but wide shots are mush and slow-mo is awful. panny has amazing color in good light but can look bad in low light, superb details and best ergonomics. sony has the best low light, best slow-mo, but the worst menu and battery life is pitiful.

    if i could only keep one, i’d keep the a7sii but the gh4 is a very close second, and in some instances the gh4 is still better. i’m still optimistic on the gh5, not so on the 5d4 unfortunately.

    one thing i’ve noticed is that at equal iso ratings the gh4 seems much brighter than both canon and sony, it’s easily one stop. maybe it’s the lumix glass but the gh4 is actually better in low light than many give it credit for.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      January 19, 2016 at 5:19 am

      That’s a really interesting point about the GH4’s sensitivity. I’ve never done a side by side comparison with the GH4 and another DSLR to compare ISO levels, but will definitely check that out in the future.

      Reply
  • Jason
    December 20, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    Well I have been on the gh4 for over a year and I shoot dog training videos mostly outside and can be 20 or 25 mins long. The gh4 kept everything in focus and worked well for us and I loved it. We have thousands invested into this system but then I couldn’t shoot a video at my sons b day party the other day because of lightling. …lol. So I might be the only guy who switches because I want to be able to shoot videos of my kids and not need to break out lighting equipment.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      December 21, 2015 at 7:21 pm

      Sounds like a good enough reason to switch! Unfortunately we have yet to see a perfect camera that can do it all, which is why many of us have many camera bodies for different situations. That said, the A7S II seems to be a great all rounder.

      Reply
    • Marcel
      January 31, 2016 at 5:14 pm

      Haha, I had a RED Scarlet and switched to the A7s II for kinda the same reasons. Now I can film my kinds anytime. Had it for a week now, using XEEN lenses, and it is by far the best camera I have ever owned. You can really go everywhere at every time and create decent images. It makes me feel free.

      Reply
      • Noam Kroll
        February 1, 2016 at 1:36 am

        Glad to hear Marcel – I need to get back to shooting with it more, as I haven’t used as much recently as I would have liked to. Really nice to hear you’re enjoying it with the Xeen lenses.

        Reply
  • Bryan
    December 17, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    Let’s keep in mind, the GH4 and the A7S (first version) were released about the same time. From what I can find, Sony A7S came out in April of 2014, and Panasonic GH4 came out the next month in May (please correct me if I’m wrong). When they were both first announced, there didn’t seem to be a clear winner, as they both excelled in different areas.

    18 months later (1.5 years), the A7S II is released, and now has many of the features that gave the GH4 an edge over the original A7S, while still keeping it’s original strengths and adding new features that neither camera had. Many people are jumping ship or considering it because some of the reservations they had with the A7S are now rectified with the A7S II.

    However, what features does the GH5 bring to the table? No one has a firm grasp on that yet. There is no reason to believe that there will not be a GH5, and there is also no reason to believe the GH5 won’t have many improvements over the GH4. From previous time tables, we can reasonably expect the GH5 around April-May of 2016 (2 year production cycle, which is common and on par with their GH line). I believe people who have bought into the m43 system should at least wait until the GH5 releases to decide to move over to the Sony E-mount system (unless money is not an issue, then I think having both GH4 and A7S II would be awesome).

    Panasonic and Olympus have showed no signs of abandoning the m43 system, and both continue to innovate with it. So it stands to reason that the GH5 would be something that Panasonic would want to be successful, and are putting time, research and money into. Panasonic has shown in the past that they try to meet their customers needs, and I’m sure the advantages that the A7S II introduced are not lost to them. 4 months from now there could be discussions and posts about “Why I should have waited for the GH5 rather than jump to A7S II.” I’m not saying that will happen, but we are comparing Sony’s new generation of A7S to Panasonics LAST generation of GH. It’s like saying “the Playstation 4 is clearly better than the Xbox 360, and I’ll probably switch over to the Playstation ecosystem” before waiting for the Xbox One to come out (just an illustration, not trying to tell people which system is better).

    Remember also that the advancement of technology can always change things. At a point in time, probably about 2 years ago, the Canon 5D Mark III was one of, if not, the best low-light performer(s). The sensor in the A7S is the same physical size as the one in the 5D, but with innovation and advancement in technology, the sensor destroys the 5D in low-light now. Pixel count plays a role, but iso technology and noise reduction algorithms play a larger role. Maybe not for the GH5, but there is a high probability that a few years down the road, sensor technology will have advanced to the point where m43 sensors can achieve low-light results similar to the current A7S. In development is a new sensor tech called “organic sensor,” and noise reduction algorithms will continue to improve. With the addition of speedboosters, smaller form sensors can have larger form look and feel with smaller lenses.

    Personally, I feel that the future will end up moving down to aps-c sized sensors or even m43 type sized sensors as the “standard” (in the way that full frame 35mm is todays “standard”). Once sensors are able to deal with low-light with less noise, focus will turn to lens development. Look at Sigma, producing the first f1.8 constant zoom lens. This lens was made for aps-c size sensors, and would be very large and cumbersome to make for full frame. Also consider speed boosters. They currently turn a m43 sensor on the gh4 into a super 35mm sensor equivalent. If, in the not too distant future, sensors have gotten to the point where low-light noise is not as big of an issue, the only difference will be bokeh differences between sensor sizes. So far, and compact, constant f1.8 zoom lens has only been able to be produced for aps-c sized sensors. What if they made that with a built in focal reducer for a m43 sized sensor? You would start to able to achieve full frame, prime lens type results with a zoom lens on a smaller sensor. If this type of thing happens, we will be able to produce images same or similar to “full frame” standards of today, using smaller lenses and bodies that are already starting to be developed.

    Much of this does not directly deal with the topic at hand: GH4 vs A7S II. But the main thing is, lets see what GH5 gives us! If they do not keep pace with Sony in terms of new features and innovation, the next couple years could see a huge shift towards Sony. I personally like the m43 system, and hope that it can keep pace and stay relevant so that the format sticks around for future development. I think there is more potential for m43 in the future if they can stay as a common mount system for years to come the way Canon and Nikon have done. If m43 can fully establish itself as a system that will be around for years to come, more companies will invest more money into developing new and improved lens/sensor/accessories for the m43 system, and we could see some great stuff.

    All that being said, if the GH5 does not compete, and does not innovate with new/better codecs, features and options, and does not at least close the gap a little bit in terms of low-light performance (even if that just means clean or relatively clean performance up through 3200 iso), I will be hard pressed not to seriously consider switching to Sony. I would still prefer the ergonomics and physical size of m43, and I still feel that smaller sensor formats will advance to the point where the differences between m43 and full frame sensor size differences will be more or less negligible, but if that is going to take 5 years or so to develop, it would be hard to hold off switching systems for 5 years until that becomes a realization, and then maybe you can switch back (Canon and Nikon users, I’m sure you understand).

    P.S. a great thing happening right now is adapters that are getting smarter and allowing different mount formats to connect and use electronic controls for auto focus, aperture and image stabilization. Hopefully these keep getting better so that they are virtually indistinguishable from using them on their native mount. That will make switching systems much less of a costly chore than in the past, since buying a handful of adapters is MUCH cheaper than investing in all new lens selections.

    Reply
    • Marcel
      January 31, 2016 at 5:21 pm

      After extensive research on the web, it seems the only reason why folks buy a A7s / A7s II is of its low light capability. Now with the A7s II also maybe its sensor 5 axis stabilisation. It would be perfect if there would be an adapter like RED`s “motion Mount” with a global shutter and ND. That and 10 bit recording, won’t buy anything else ever again.

      Reply
  • Monkmonk
    December 17, 2015 at 5:49 am

    Good review. I keep wanting to go back to m43 but then I shoot at ISO 25,600, f1.8, my toddler, natural light into dusk, and it keeps me on the Sony track. This is not extreme anymore – it’s the back quarter of my day. Definitely clinical feeling, the S II as a body is still a well constructed and thought out piece of technology that needs some competition (or faster glass in m43 camp) to make the GH5 or M1II viable alternatives. I do wish Sony would quit holding back features to protect lower and future models (phase detection, touch screen), and just deliver the goods. I could see the competition pulling out all stops but low light in the next year and making a compelling case to reconsider our decision 🙂

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      December 21, 2015 at 7:19 pm

      Great points – I agree across the board. I feel that Sony is the best fit for many of us in the mirrorless market right now, but they are still far from perfect. Looking forward to NAB 2016 – I think it’s going to be an exciting year.

      Reply
  • Pietz
    December 1, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    you know how they say “you dont just buy a camera. you buy yourself into a camera system” well its still true, but theres another aspect thats probably even more important: The potential and technological leaps than can be expected in the near future. and while m43 often hits the limit concerning sensor size and low light capability, the future is wide open for APSC and FF.

    do you remember last year how the press guy from panasonic said: “well we couldnt have added IBIS to the gh4. the sensor is quite large and moving it with a heatsink on the back is pretty much impossible.” in the meantime the engineers at sony sit in their freaking lab and making it work with a camera that has a sensor 4 times the size and also making it fit 42MP as well. thats the kind of engineers we need today.

    m43 was never a professional choice for filiming and additionally panasonic bet on the wrong horse by putting OIS in the lenses. i cannot tell how excited i am to put my vintage takumar lenses on my a7s2 and shooting stabilized footage out of my hand.

    i said it before and i say it again: panasonic is done, while sony keeps to amaze with every new camera they put on the market.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      December 8, 2015 at 4:58 pm

      Thanks for the note Pietz, and I agree – it’s hard to deny Sony is leading the way right now. Panny is still in the game and offering a viable alternative at a lower price point, but I feel like we are starting to see the differences between Sony and Pansonic’s business model much more clearly now that their camera lines have been maturing. Thanks for the note, and glad to hear you’re putting the A7S II to good use!

      Reply
  • Harold House
    November 30, 2015 at 6:05 am

    I enjoyed your article. I see that Dave Dugdale also switched from a GH4 to Sony. These new Sony cams with their low-light capabilities and now, 5-axis stabilization, are very tempting for this hobbyist bird and insect shooter of stills and video. However, as a hobbyist, I personally cannot afford the Sony route. If I were making a living doing this then I would seriously consider switching to one of these Sony FF cams, especially because of that nice 5-axis ability. As it is, I’ll cross my fingers for some great new features on the next GH camera.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      December 8, 2015 at 4:55 pm

      That’s a great point Harold. Cost is obviously a consideration and Lumix unquestionably has a better pricing structure across the board. Especially when you factor in the cost of high quality MFT glass. Thanks for sharing.

      Reply
  • Marco
    November 29, 2015 at 7:32 am

    Thanks for sharing, great. As a stills Photographer im always amazed about the MP counting and think its funny to read about 12 mp is fine for most web stuff? I have have worked with Mercedes, Nike, several fashion magazines, Sony, Ericsson, Porsche on an international level often on jobs that resulted in big poster prints all over europe and i can tell you that as late as 3 years ago one of my main cameras was a 12 MP Nikon d700. 12 mp is not fine for most web stuff, 2 mp is. 12 mp is fine for most fashion, catalog, poster and big print jobs. This year we shot Hugo Boss with a d3s with prints bigger then 3 meter high hanging at som airports. Sure my Hasselblad and 645z have more resolution and there are times when you absolutly need them. Im just saying- 12 is not just fine, it more than enough, 42 mp on the other hand thats something that is going to be to much even 2035.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      December 8, 2015 at 4:54 pm

      Good points Marco! I have been so impressed with the stills from the A7S II and do not have any issue with 12MP stills. Especially since I don’t like cropping/reframing, so there is really no need for more resolution.

      Reply
  • Flaaandeeers
    November 28, 2015 at 11:45 pm

    I was about to ditch the GH4. I’ve already told you that.
    But then I tried 4:3 anamorphic mode with a 2x attachment and SLR Magic Rangefinder… and the GH4 came back to life.
    Now I cannot think of going back to a camera without 4:3 mode.
    A7S II looks nice, but the severe rolling shutter and no 4:3 mode is kind of a no-go for 2x anamorphic.
    I’d love to have a cam with better low light, though.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      December 8, 2015 at 4:52 pm

      Fair enough! I can’t lie, I do miss my GH4 at times, but for my current needs at this exact moment the A7S II is the better fit. That said, the GH4 is still an amazing camera and I hope they blow us away with the GH5 and bring me back to team Lumix.

      Reply
  • Curtis Judd
    November 28, 2015 at 4:49 am

    Thanks for this Noam. As a GH4 shooter, I too have been very impressed with what Sony has done in the last couple of years to the point where I am considering the move to one of the a7 cameras. In regard to color grading, I’m curious what you generally find yourself doing with the a7SII footage. Does it require basic corrections (e.g., white balance is often a little off) or do you end up having to do fairly extensive secondary corrections to get things to a basic starting point? How well does the 8 bit footage hold up when grading? And how is the battery life? Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      November 28, 2015 at 9:44 pm

      Hi Curtis! To answer your questions –

      The footage doesn’t usually need a ton of grading. Just a white balance adjustment and sometimes another secondary to get the skin tones looking right. I am working on a LUT right now (that I will share on the blog soon) that I think will be ideal for A7S II Slog 3 footage.

      I find that the footage is quite gradeable, even though it’s still 8 bit. Battery life is a bit of an issue, but I have 6 batteries total and plan to get a battery grip soon which should solve the issue.

      Reply
  • Finn
    November 25, 2015 at 9:57 pm

    How is the A7S2s Video Quality (4K) compared to the GH4?
    Ive seen comparison between GH4 and A7S and the GH4 looked sharper.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      November 28, 2015 at 9:41 pm

      Good question! Will try to compare this at some point soon…

      Reply
  • David
    November 25, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    I’ve had my 7sii for a little over a week now and I’m finding it extremely difficult to use. The menus are atrocious, and the autofocus (for stills) is unusable with canon glass and Metabones. Big bummer when I’m trying to capture a moment on the fly. You can’t.

    May return.

    What’s your experience after using it for a bit now?

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      November 28, 2015 at 9:41 pm

      Hi David,

      I have found that there are autofocus issues as well when using certain Canon lenses with the Metabones adapter. There are also some other small quirks (limited battery life, etc.). That said, all in all I’m very happy with it – especially since I am almost exclusively shooting video. I would give it another week or two and see if you get used to the menus… For me, I am loving the quality off of this camera!

      Reply
  • Justyn Rowe
    November 25, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    Is the battery time better cause it was really poor on the A7s, and is it still a mini swivel LCD? Those were small things I didn’t like, but mostly it was how small and lightweight it was. Even smaller than the Gh4, so I was hoping they would come out with a battery bottom. I think that is also essential on the GH4 and hate shooting without it now.

    Cheers for the good report. Would like to see some video when you get ready to show that.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      November 28, 2015 at 9:39 pm

      Thanks Justyn! The LCD and limited battery life are definitely still small issues, but for me personally they aren’t deal breakers. And I do agree that the battery grip should make things a lot more manageable when shooting. Will be sure to update soon with some test footage!

      Reply
  • Bobby
    November 25, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    I’ve been using a GH3 and got a used GH4 recently and love the improvements. My question is glass. Since I have no lenses for the sony except 2 aps-c zooms, do you have a good recommendation for lenses that won’t break the bank while I experiment with it. Naturally the DOF is a major consideration for the switch. My use will be mostly interviews and shorts for my yoga studio.
    Thanks in advance
    Bobby

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      November 28, 2015 at 9:34 pm

      Hi Bobby,

      The nice thing with Sony is you have a lot of options for glass – especially if you are willing to use adapters. If you already have 2 EF lenses, I would consider getting a Metabones adapter and picking up some more inexpensive EF glass. Rokinon or even Canon offer some great budget-friendly lenses that still deliver great results.

      Reply
  • Arnaud
    November 25, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    full frame isn’t for everyone. Not for me at least.
    I have invested massively on the m43 system since the GH4 is out, and sold all my other gear.

    If the GH5 supports 4K50 and much cleaner 100fps or 120fps slow motion I would be more than happy to keep investing in this system. If it doesn’t, well I guess I’ll save money and wait for the GH6, and work harder to increase my production quality with the same system.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      November 28, 2015 at 9:33 pm

      Agreed that full frame isn’t for everyone… And in many cases I still fall into that camp. I like Super 35mm by far the most as a sensor size… Seems to be the perfect middle ground. But I can work with either MFT or FF as needed and compensate to get the right look.

      Nice points on the GH5 – I hope they come out with something amazing.

      Reply
  • Joseph Moore
    November 24, 2015 at 10:41 pm

    Pleas post a follow-up after you’ve spent more time with the A7SII. I’m particularly curious you’ll grow to miss the video-friendly ergonomics and features that are lacking on the A7SII, such as not being able to use the shutter button, not being able to view shutter angle, etc. All those little niceties that make the GH4 so video-shooter friendly compared to other DSLR-style cameras.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      November 25, 2015 at 5:00 am

      Good points Joseph, and you’re absolutely correct about those features – I already do miss them. Unfortunately no camera will be perfect, but for me image quality is most important and I’m willing to deal with the minor tradeoffs. That said, they are both amazing cameras in their own right!

      Reply
  • Bill
    November 24, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    It may be my destiny, but for now, even though many bloggers I respect have gone over, I continue to resist the Dark Lords of Ginza, Chuo: https://youtu.be/IaWUsIOLDoE?t=9m22s

    Reply

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