Philip Bloom Compares His Eyes to Sony’s A7s in Beautifully Shot Low-Light Video

Award-winning filmmaker Philip Bloom recently got his hands on the new A7s, and as part of his ongoing review of the newest mirrorless full-frame offering from Sony, he put it to the test in low-light to see how it compared to approximately 520 million years of eyeball evolution.

Being as the video is produced by a filmmaker of Bloom’s skill and reputation, you know it’s going to be well shot. Mostly an artistic piece that snaps between what Bloom was seeing and what the camera could see, it was captured on Brighton Beach using a Canon 24-70 f/2.8II, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II, Sigma 35mm ART f/1.4 and Sigma 50mm ART f/1.4.

Screen Shot 2014-07-04 at 11.04.27 AM

Bloom explains what you’re looking at in the video’s description:

With the shots where in goes from dark to light and vice versa, these dark parts are what I could see with my eyes. They were all shot with high ISOs and graded down to show you what I could see and what the camera could see if it was set to around 800-1600iso as opposed to what I actually was shooting at. At night between 6,400-80,000!

Check out the video for yourself to see the dramatic difference — be sure to stick around for the end where he cranks up the ISO gradually as you watch — and then be sure to head over to Bloom’s “evolving review of the Sony A7s” to find out more about this exciting new camera.

(via EOSHD)

  • jon

    Am I seeing rolling shutter in the long shots?

  • Polisonico

    Now I see the perfect camera for popular skinny dipping beaches

  • PhilipBloom

    nope. it’s static. there is rolling shutter for sure but that’s the usual long distance haze

  • jon

    right, the only reason I wanted to note it is that in the past, I’ve seen rolling shutters have jello outside of haze when using very long lenses (probably longer than this. did you use any digital zoom?). the rolling shutter artifacting on the a7s is really quite prominent for anything other than short or static from what I’ve seen. it must affect motion in the frame (static) on some almost imperceptible level that our brains pick up on, no? thanks for the response.

  • George Loch

    Philip, you have a nice sense of feel for your ‘review’ films. Thanks for making them engaging instead of analytical.

  • David Liang

    Very interesting footage. Now I’m really anxious to see what the Sony a99 mk2 can do, because I’m close to reaching into my pocket to pay for an a7s.

  • Fullstop

    Rolling shutter is an annoyance no doubt and it seems to be worse than on the Canon full frames but there are plugins that you can use to reduce the rolling shutter look.

  • Fullstop

    It’s quite amazing, the lowlight that is. I can’t fathom to think where we will be in 5 years with how quickly sensor technology is advancing.

  • Mike

    I don’t get why this is so amazing. Its just a 4min poorly made camera commercial.

  • PhilipBloom

    fair enough. i shall try to make my “commercials” less poor next time and either longer or shorter depending on whether the 4min was another criticism :)

    Thanks for your time Mike!

  • Brett

    The pacing of PB’s “films” or his camera exercises is so nice. I enjoy watching them simply for the enjoyment, but seeing it demonstrated as well is great. While I don’t think I’d ever get an A7, I hope it’s strengths are introduced into other cameras.

  • pgb0517

    If it isn’t ethical to make people look nicer in photos than they do in real life, then it isn’t right to make it look like day when it is really night. We need to take all these features out of cameras to protect ourselves from the evils of the thinking machines.

  • Peter Kenneth

    I wish I could get a security camera/s which sees like this.

  • Mike

    Sorry, I just can’t stand the Title. That is NOT what human eyes sees at night. That is a camera sees at 3 stop under-exposure at night. There’s a big different!

  • DigitalCyclops Video

    I keep thinking these insane iso’s would work well for Reality TV.

  • Ufupuw

    It’s dark night. How on earth would you know what he was “seeing”: that night? I trust him that that what he could see.

  • Cam Macduff

    Wow, truly beautiful Phil. Really quite surreal and impressionist. Just beautiful. Look forward to more on the A7s.

  • k_nonymous

    Hahahaha. That was actually pretty funny.

  • JackyPatonubm

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    eight months but last month her pay check was $21794 just working on the
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  • Bill Binns

    Dammit! If this thing was made by anyone other than Sony, I would be heading over to B&H with my rent money. That blood oath I made over a decade ago to “never buy another Sony product as long as I live” is getting harder and harder to keep.

    Cmon Canon! The ability to shoot in low light handheld is a million times more important than doodads like GPS, WIFI, HDR and most of the “innovations” that we have seen over the last 5 years from the Big Two.

  • Chris L

    Funny that some people “don’t get why this is so amazing”. Like as if the only advantage usable ultrahigh ISO brings is being able to film later in the day or at night. It’s actually game-changing for all kinds of photography, where previously we’d have needed tripods, flashes, long exposures we can shoot fast shutter speeds hand-held. We can use narrow apertures and fast shutters speeds even in low light. Previously impossible shots are now possible.

  • Mike

    This is exactly why I dislike this video. He makes you believe what his camera sees is what he sees by eyes…. That just can not be true. Because Normal human eyes do not see 95% pure black and bokeh at that kind of environment.

  • Woody ONeal

    Yup, This is EXACTLY why folks need to stop worrying about comparing ISO performance between full frame and other sensor sizes. The supposed “crop factor math” simply doesn’t matter anymore (as if it ever existed anyway). Sensor technology is rapidly advancing.

    Beautiful footage, as always, from PB.

  • Eden Wong

    Thanks for the chuckle, pgb…

  • Ufupuw

    That’s isn’t the point he was making about “bokeh”. It was approximation of night time darkness that he could see, and then what he could see on LCD at if he bumped ISO.

    I perfectly understood what he meant, and not sure what exactly you are whining about. It’s part of evolving review of camera that he bought (with his own). What’s your problem, really? Grow up.

  • Caput

    Is no one going to mention the thing floating away in the top left corner at the 4 minute mark?

  • Caput

    Also I only have an 8-15 on a full frame so it’s really hard for me to film people making out on a beach. Should I buy something along the lines of a 70-200 so I don’t get sand kicked in my face anymore?

  • Eden Wong

    Unbelievable. Sensors are going to be scary in no time.

  • evelynfmorrison

    just before I looked at the receipt ov $8130 , I
    didn’t believe that my sister woz like actualy bringing in money part-time from
    there pretty old laptop. . there aunts neighbour has been doing this 4 only
    about 22 months and at present repayed the mortgage on their appartment and
    bought themselves a Chrysler . see here M­o­n­e­y­d­u­t­i­e­s­.­C­O­M­

  • Brad Trent

    UFO Conspiracy?!!

  • PhilipBloom

    Hello again Mike. You are someone who takes life incredible seriously I see. A shame, a bit of humour is good for one.

    The fun aspect of the title “Now I see” is lost on you. It’s supposed to be ironic because yes this camera can see better than my eyes.

    In regards to the image representing what I saw. I am sorry but next time you are with me when I am filming do say hello as it’s weird to find out that you were next to me the whole time! Oh sorry, that was sarcasm. You were not there, you do not know what I could see and what the exact exposure was.

    Now please just lighten up will you. It’s exhausting dealing with angry people like you. It takes up energy I would rather use on filming other things that wind you up :)

  • PhilipBloom

    how funny! He is right though. Human eyes can’t do shallow depth of field at all! I am going to the opticians to see if they do “Speedbooster” glasses so not only can I see one to two more stops of light but I want to see bokeh with my eyesight! Actually I wonder if they do anamorphic speedbooster eyeglasses? I want to see lens flares too! :)

  • PhilipBloom

    thank Cam!

  • PhilipBloom

    If Panny can solve their sensitivity issues…

  • PhilipBloom

    the 8-15 is fine if you have confidence to convince them to let you film them but then it becomes something quite different! Best not to do that on a beach though :)

  • Cam Macduff

    actually Phil, if you have totally crappy eyesight like my wife, and you take your glasses off, everything looks bokeh ;-) not so sure about the lens flares.

  • Justin Grimaldo

    You are awesome my friend. Your work is super inspiring and you’re, well, Ill just say it, a Bad Ass. My friends and I have followed your career for a long time now. Your reviews on cameras are some of the best on the web. Very in depth and you give your unbiased opinion (from what it seems). Keep on keeping on brother!! More favor and blessings on your journey.


  • Kyle Clements

    Sensitivity issues? I apologize for my ignorance, I’m just a hobbyist shooting with a panasonic G5 and I haven’t noticed sensitivity issues. Then again I don’t shoot in low light that much either… Except for long exposure stills.

  • jtan163

    I dig when we hit 3:56 at about 102k ISO and you see the satellite come into view above the first third of the pier or so and then exit toward the top left.

    Cool. I reckon you could do some really interesting stuff aerial and space tracks of both living, natural and man made aerial phenomena.
    (My concept, you saw it here first, please line up in an orderly queue for licensing)