Report Claims the Sony A7s’ Image Quality is Comparable to Medium Format


Sony’s new A7s camera has been blowing minds when it comes to low-light performance; and, frankly, with a full-frame sensor made up of pixels three times as large as those in the A7r, we expected impressive low-light performance. But it seems low-light performance isn’t the camera’s only forte.

According to a report by Michael Reichmann of The Luminous Landscape, the image files he’s getting from the A7s are capable of going toe-to-toe with medium format cameras in terms of image quality!

Reichmann managed to get his hands on a review unit, and his first impressions are generating some serious photographic hype for this powerful video capture machine.

Of course, the large pixels of the full-frame sensor offer the impressive high-ISO performance we’ve already seen; however, according to Reichmann, the 12-megapixel sensor also renders images to such a high degree that he was inspired to make direct comparison to the performance capabilities of medium format cameras.


Specifically, he writes the following as a “sidebar” note of his first-impressions review:

With the Sony A7s we see that Megapixel count isn’t the be-all and end-all either. There is something to the look of A7s files that reminds me of medium format, and the only thing that I can think of that could be at work here are the large individual [pixels].

With no direct image comparison to see for ourselves, we can only take his word for it. But, seeing as he’s known for his thorough reviews and insights into cameras though, he’s an extremely reliable source, even for such a bold claim.

As more time goes by and more information about Sony’s latest full-frame mirrorless beast comes to light, we’ll be sure to keep you updated. In the meantime, you can read Reichmann’s original article by following the link below.

Sony A7s First Impressions Review [The Luminous Landscape via The Phoblographer]

  • Will

    no it doesn’t

    longer focal lengths are usually used as a further distance away, which is what gives the compressed background, it has nothing to do with the focal length itself

    try it for yourself, even on the same camera compare the image between a 35mm cropped in VS a 50mm shot, the perspective/compression is exactly the same

  • BigEnso

    “Five years from now he probably won’t remember the camera at all.”

    And who among us will?

  • Joe

    Bull, Panasonic uses Leica not Zeiss .

  • Joe

    A Zeiss logo is not the same as a lens made by Zeiss. I also have a Logitech webcam with Zeiss lens but it is not the same as my 55mm F1.8 FE or 35mm F2.8 FE Zeiss lenses for my Sony A7r.

  • Younes

    the camera has a full frame with 12 MP the pixel size is huge compared to the contemporary competitors that’s why it has a very good low light performance, it is a nice camera indeed and I personally prefer using it for video, but comparing it to Mid format camera is wrong because usually mid format cameras has a huge pixel count !!!

  • Stephen431

    No. It seems more like he’s saying “I think medium format photos look a certain way, and this camera takes photos that look similar…to me, but I can’t explain why”.

  • NickGHK

    Oops. Oh well, if it did, it still wouldn’t make it MF.

  • imajez

    Will is correct, distance is what alters perspective, lens focal length is irrelevant.
    Different focal lengths tends to be favoured for subjects at certain distances, which is why people think it it the lens that controls perspective.

  • genotypewriter

    Are you sure? I guess my chances of going pro with my webcam are lost :(

    Btw, check the Zeiss website. They don’t differentiate like you do ;)

  • genotypewriter

    It’s not all clear cut like that. A lower pixel density alone doesn’t mean proportionally larger photosites unless the manufacturing process is up to it. Even when the photosites are bigger, microlenses even the playing field out to a great extent because their benefits are more for smaller photosites than larger ones.

    E.g. see how the 36MP a7r images compare to the 12MP a7s when compared properly.

  • Edgar Allan Bro

    Luminous Landscape hasn’t been relevant in a decade. This kind of tripe is why.

  • Katsudon

    Report claims the Sony Alpha A7s can walk on the water.

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  • Fritz McCorkle

    I pre ordered the A7r and have owned it since December. I suppose it’s a great camera, but for it to be a great camera Sony needs to show some support for it. nothing I loved about my Nex 6 carries over to this camera. Sony has developed no apps for this camera and have only released 5 lenses for it. pitiful. I bought the 35mm 2.8 but it’s not a lens that I have much use for. when are you going to stop cranking out cameras sony and start making products for the ones you have?

  • Cinekpol

    “will reduce light sensitivity & increase noise” – great in theory, but in practice not so much – RX100 with 1″ sensor got better high-ISO performance than medium format bodies.

  • Cinekpol

    Noone. But at the same time there are cameras that are remembered after 5 years – Obvious examples include Nikon D90 or D300s.

  • Stephen431

    “RX100 with 1″ sensor got better high-ISO performance than medium format bodies”

    I don’t know if you actually read the comments in this tree, because we’re discussing the size of the individual photodiodes, not the sensor size.

  • Guest

    DXO Mark doesn’t seem to agree.

  • Martin Savoie

    Petapixel version : According to a report by Michael Reichmann of The Luminous Landscape, the image files he’s getting from the A7s are capable of going toe-to-toe with medium format cameras in terms of image quality!

    Michael Reichmann version: I normally don’t comment on what’s said on other web sites, but the site Petapixel wrote in a headline “Report Claims the Sony A7s’ Image Quality is Comparable to Medium Format”. Well, actually no. That’s not what I wrote. Rather, what I wrote in part was… “There is something to the look of A7s files that reminds me of medium format…” . Quite a difference, don’t you think?

    Oh well, at least they spelled my name right.

  • Silvestro Crino

    Right…and on a 20mpix 1-inch sensor those photodiodes are dang small…no? And yet given it’s BSI configuration some of that smallness is mitigated. To me, based only what I’ve seen on the internet, there is something to the claim of a richness to both color and B&W pictures coming from this A7s camera. Some guy on YouTube did a shoot out between this camera and the 16mpix GH4… Nice thing about it was he setup 12 nearly the same stills side by side using a mix of glass to hide the obvious Depth of Field difference… Without tell which came from which camera…. 12 out of 12 the ones I preferred came from the A7s….there was a “richness” to the shots that I can’t explain …but was obvious….even though the GH4 has more resolution and they only differ 12.8 vs. 13.2 Evs in dynamic range…. The A7s is the better stills camera….. And while visually the resolution difference with the D800 and A7r is obvious…. I think it’s less obvious with sensors 24Mpix and under…. The real issue for me is losing the headroom to crop…. But maybe there is something to be said to slowing down and thinking about composition….

  • Silvestro Crino

    Both 12Mpix APS-C sized sensors I believe with much less color depth, DR and ISO than this one…. I’m not so sure this camera will be forgotten in 5 years…. Though I may wait for the Mark II version…..

  • Silvestro Crino

    Just because we like the gear….old and new…..doesn’t mean we don’t use what we have too…. And those cameras on Ebay had to come from somewhere, no?

  • Brian Allan

    The A7S takes nice pictures! The A7R takes nice pictures! Medium format cameras take nice pictures BUT the A7S and A7R are not medium format cameras…