Sony adds 4K video with Alpha 7S camera

The Alpha 7S can capture clear videos in low light and record in 4K with an external recorder

Sony's new Alpha 7S brings 4K video support to its line of full-frame interchangeable lens mirrorless cameras.

Sony's new Alpha 7S brings 4K video support to its line of full-frame interchangeable lens mirrorless cameras.

Sony has added 4K video capability to its Alpha 7 line of lightweight interchangeable-lens mirrorless digital cameras.

Unveiled at NAB 2014 in Las Vegas, the Alpha 7S can shoot in 4K with a resolution of 3840 by 2160 pixels.

The palm-sized camera has a 12.2-megapixel Exmor CMOS full-frame sensor, meaning it's the same size as a traditional 35 mm film frame.

Sony said that when used in the 24p/30p 4K movie setting, it's the only full-frame sensor that can read the entire width of the pixel array without pixel binning for video.

Pixel binning refers to the process of combining the data from a group of pixels into a single pixel. 24p and 30p refer to video formats with 24 and 30 frames per second, respectively.

For photography buffs who like shooting at night, the camera also has a sensitivity range that extends from ISO 50 to 409600, allowing users to capture clear videos in very low light conditions.

Indoor, poorly lit sporting events, which would require a high shutter speed with low noise, are one situation where the Alpha 7S would excel, according to Sony.

Since the 7S has a relatively small footprint, recording in 4K video requires an external third-party 4K recorder via an HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) link. The camera can record to a compatible memory card at full HD with 1920 by 1080 resolution at frame rates of 60p, 60i, 30p and 24p.

For those who want to create slow-motion effects, switching to APS-C (Advanced Photo System type C), a smaller image sensor format than full frame, will allow it to capture footage at 120 frames per second at standard HD resolution.

The shooter has shutter speeds ranging from 1/8000 to 30 seconds, a 25-point autofocus system and a body-only weight of 446 grams.

Sony has not yet announced pricing or availability for the Alpha 7S.

The camera follows in the tracks of Sony's Alpha 7, which has a 24.3-megapixel sensor, and the Alpha 7R, which has a 36.4-megapixel sensor. Sony's online shop lists the bodies of the Alpha 7 and 7R for US$1,699 and $2,299, respectively.

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