Boasting new sensors and a host of new features, this raft of new cameras from Sony are enticing prospects for videographers
The Sony Alpha 7R II comes packing not only the world’s first back-illuminated full-frame CMOS sensor but also a fast hybrid AF system, and an in-camera 5-axis image stabilisation borrowed from the Alpha 7 II.
At 42.4MP, the full-frame sensor is Sony’s highest-resolution yet, and Sony says that gapless on-chip lens design and anti-reflective coating on the surface of its glass seal will dramatically improve its light collection.
In layman’s terms, this should allow the camera to perform at high sensitivities of up to ISO 102,400 without incurring too much noise.
Of course, the headline feature here is the Alpha 7R II’s ability to record movies in 4K quality (QFHD 3840×2160).
It can shoot 4K in either full-frame mode, or in new Super 35mm crop mode. This mode collects its information from approximately 1.8x as many pixels as 4K by using full pixel readout without pixel binning, and then oversamples the information to produce 4K movies. In practical terms, this should mean 4K video with minimal moire and ‘jaggies’.
It utilises the XAVC S codec for video shooting, recording at a high bit rate of 100 Mbps during 4K recording and 50 Mbps during full HD shooting. The Alpha 7 R II also lasts various extra features for video workflow – Sony lists ‘Picture Profile, S-Log2 Gamma and S-Gamut, 120fps high frame rate movie shooting in HD (720p), time code, clean HDMI output and more’.
Also announced today were the compact Sony RX100 IV and the superzoom RX10 II, both of which feature a 1.0-type stacked Exmor RS CMOS sensor with an attached DRAM memory chip.
The sensor and chip work in tandem to deliver five-times faster readout of image data, and Sony says it is this pairing that has allowed it to bring in new features for videographers that were previously only available in professional level video cameras.
Chief among these is super slow-motion video. both the RX100 IV and the RX10 II have the ability to record super slow-motion video, and we do mean super slow-motion – to the tune of up to 40x slower than the current standard of slow-motion.
Users will be able to choose between 1000fps, 500fps and 250fps frame rates, and between 50p and 35p playback formats, allowing them to precisely tailor the level of slow-motion to the moving subject.
In case you’re having trouble visualising this, think of it this way: if you shot two seconds of footage at 1000fps and 25p, playing it back would last about 80 seconds.
Like the Alpha 7R II, both cameras use the XAVC codec to record at a bit rate of 100Mbps during 4K recording.
An important difference between the two cameras, though, is the length of time for which they can record 4K. The RX10, the slightly bigger and more sophisticated of the two, can shoot 4K video clips of up to 29 minutes, while the pocket-sized RX100 IV can shoot 4K clips of around five minutes.
Pricing and availability details for all three cameras are yet to be announced.