With features such as a 4K Full-Frame sensor, 5-axis image stabilization, log gamma profiles, external recording capabilities, and crazy-high ISOs of up to 409,600 it’s no wonder why the Sony A7S II was the most rented mirrorless camera in 2017 according to ShareGrid camera-rental company.
Since the A7S II continues to be highly demanded by both professionals and enthusiasts alike for a wide range of applications, one may wonder how does it actually hold up against more professional, cinema-grade cameras. ShareGrid recently released a video that compares the $2,500 Sony A7SII to the much more expensive ARRI Alexa Mini which goes in the market for a whopping $50,000 – and that’s just the camera body itself. The tricky part – can you guess which is which?
In the video, both rivals are shooting the same subjects side-by-side where most, if not all of the clips were shot in situations where sunlight is the primary source of light, which is perfect in testing how well these cameras can handle bright sources of light in a high-contrast environment.
If you have not watched the video yet, please do so before reading on since we are about to reveal which shot corresponds to which camera. Alternatively, you could evaluate the screengrabs below.
At first glance, most people can barely notice a difference between the two shots. From colors to sharpness and even dynamic range, most wouldn’t be able to spot any significant discrepancies between the footage captured by the cameras.
Despite the similarities between the shots, however, there are some subtle differences that can be easily spotted by anyone with a trained eye. For example, if you look in Slides 1 and 3, the Alexa Mini was able to retain just a few more details in the highlights, attributed to its slightly higher dynamic range.
Speaking of which, you will also notice that the Alexa Mini has a flatter image, which allows for softer highlights and detailed shadows. Lastly, the colors of the Alexa Mini seem to be more true-to-life whereas the A7S II footage is slightly tinted too much with a green color, an infamous attribute found in Sony cameras. If you didn’t already know, shot A was the Sony A7S II whereas shot B was the ARRI Alexa Mini.
In the end, it should be no surprise that the Alexa Mini beats the A7S II in image quality alongside many other aspects, hands down. As always, the point of this comparison is not to outline which camera is better, but rather aims to show how close you can get the A7S II footage (or any other camera in this price range) to match shots from the unrivaled Alexa Mini, proving that you don’t need a $50,000+ camera to produce beautiful cinematic images.