The Sony A7SII is one of the most popular compact mirrorless cameras on the market these days providing impressive features such as 4K internal recording, LOG profiles, built-in 5-axis image stabilization along with unrivalled low-light performance and loads of other powerful features. However, when the camera was announced at last year’s IBC trade show in Amsterdam, experienced filmmakers have instantly spotted a major drawback. Due to the limited megapixels the sensor provides (only 12MP), the camera lacks the ability to utilize the Super 35 mode of the camera when filming in 4K as on the A7R II.
The actual tradeoff is the significantly limited lens choice one can mount on the A7SII. Lenses such as Nikon DX, Canon EF-S, and many other Super 35mm cinema lenses that are only made for cameras with a Super 35mm sensor are not an option when shooting with the A7SII in 4K as they will not cover the FF sensor.
While the cropped APS-C mode is still available when filming at 1080p, it’s a big shame that you can’t use it in 4K. Luckily, the US-based wedding videographer Matt Johnson have found a simple workaround which he shares in the video below.
To enable the feature, just access the main menu of the camera, navigate to the gear icon, go to Heading 3 and scroll down to Zoom Setting. Select the ClearImage Zoom option from the list. In essence, the function enables you to zoom in-camera and turn your primary lenses into zoom lenses by using advanced algorithms to enable the magnification inside the camera.
To make this function easy accessible navigate to Heading 6in the menu and assign the ClearImage Zoom function to one of your custom buttons. In this particular case, Matt suggests utilising the Custom Button 4 that is located next to the scroll wheel of the A7S II.
Use the scroll wheel to zoom in and out of your image. According to Matt Johnson, there is no visual loss in quality when using this simple trick. Sony, on the other hand, explains that Clear Image Zoom is a function that uses the Sony exclusive By Pixel Super Resolution Technology. In essence, this method allows you to enlarge the image with close to the original image quality when shooting still images.
The camera first zooms optically to the maximum optical magnification, then uses Clear Image Zoom technology to enlarge the image an additional 2x, producing sharp, clear images despite the increased zoom ratio.
Whether one would get the original image quality is yet to be tested, but the major takeaway here is that now users have at least the option to use the APS-C lenses on the A7SII while still shooting in 4K. Obviously, there are many features that are either lacking documentation or hidden away in a menu somewhere, waiting to be discovered. So, if you have some more helpful insights to share with the community, feel free to do so in the comment section below.