Gear

5 Sony A7S Video Features That Could be Improved in a Firmware Update

I gradually switched all my cameras last year from full frame DSLR to mirrorless systems. I moved from filming with a 5D MKIII and a 7D to a GH4BlackMagic Pocket Camera and a Sony A7s.

If I was smart, I would have just picked one brand and stayed with it as trying to match the colour of all three systems is “challenging” to say the least. On the bright side, I have gotten really good at colour grading!

But that’s not what this article is about. I love so many things about the A7s:

  1. 1 – It’s really easy to carry about because it’s so small compared to other systems.
  2. 2 – It can practically see in the dark which is amazing for event shoots and being able to get some shots without lights that means I don’t have to schleps my lights everywhere.
  3. 3 – It has loads of lens options with more and more really good native lenses coming out and lots of adapter options to use other system lenses too.
  4. 4 – It has Slog-2, which whilst requiring some getting used to, allows us to get some great dynamic range out of the camera.
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Then there are some of the things I am really disappointed about with the camera. No, I am not talking about only having 4K available via an external recorder like the Atomos Shogun or Odyssey 7Q. I understand that to get 4K internal Sony would probably have had to make the body bigger, which they have done with the A7r MKII and I totally expect the A7s MKII will have it (I know nothing, this is just an assumption).

I am also not talking about the fact that it only gives us 8bit out via the HDMI port, whereas the GH4 gives us 10bit.

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Most of the things that I wish we would get from Sony for the A7s are things they could add or fix in software. Sony did a very good job of marketing the A7s as a camera made for video professionals and yet they put the exact same software on it as they did on the more photography-focussed models. You’ll notice this from the things I wish they would update and if you’re not an A7s user, you may even say “What? they haven’t got an option to do that?”

I like to think of myself as fairly reasonable. I know software isn’t easy and it’s not just a case of writing a single line of code and suddenly all these things are fixed, but the A7s has been out for almost a year now and even some very basic updates have not been pushed out.

5 Sony A7S Video Features That Could be Improved in a Firmware Update

So what things do I wish Sony would push out with a software update?

  1. 1 -Allow us to use the shutter button to start and stop video recording. Having to reach the small recessed button on the side, which is nowhere near any of your fingers, as you hold the camera is less than ideal.
  1. 2– Let us add video functions in the quick menu or even better allow us to customise them to C buttons. I would like to be able to quickly change from 25fps to 50fps without having to go into the menu settings.
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  1. 3 – Allow us to setup and assign a custom white balance whilst in video mode. At the moment, if I want to set a custom white balance, I have to switch to a stills mode, set the white balance and then go back to video.
  1. 4 – Having the level in the EVF is great, but how about you let us have it on the back screen too? When setting up the camera on a tripod, it would be good to see if I am level without having to put my eye to the EVF as the camera might be in a rig which makes the EVF not easily accessible.
  1. 5 – This may not be one that a lot of people need but the $10 time lapse app is a woefully lacking in features. First of all, allow us to create a video in different frame rates to 30fps. You do realise most of the world is PAL-land right? As for other time lapse features, just have a look at the GH4 built-in free time-lapse features and just copy them, ‘cause they are pretty darn good.

It was the release of the last firmware update a few weeks back that prompted me to write this article. I really hope Sony doesn’t come out with an A7s MKII in a few months and kinda forget about the original. So please Sony, the A7s is such a good camera and could be so much better with some software updates.

What would you like to see updated in the A7s software to make everyday use easier for you?

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