Sony Alpha A7S Review: Capturing Incredible Low-Light Photography

If you're looking for a mirrorless camera that excels in low-light conditions, the Sony Alpha A7S is an excellent option. With its impressive ISO range, superb dynamic range, and full-frame sensor, this camera is perfect for shooting in dark environments. In this blog, we'll delve into the Sony Alpha A7S specs, features, and performance to help you make an informed decision.

Written by Victor Chan | Updated: Mon May 01 2023

Sony Alpha A7S article cover photo

Key Features

Apr 06 2014


12 megapixels


Sensor TypeFull frame

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Sony Alpha 7

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Released Feb 13 2014 | 36MP resolution

Sony Alpha A7S II thumbnail

Sony Alpha A7S II

Released Oct 12 2015 | 12MP resolution

Overview of the Alpha A7S

When it comes to low-light photography, finding the right camera can make all the difference. That's where the Sony Alpha A7S comes in; it's widely recognized as one of the best cameras for shooting in low-light conditions. This camera boasts an impressive ISO range of 100-409,600, ensuring you can capture stunning images in even the darkest environments. In this review, we'll explore the Sony Alpha A7S in-depth and look at how it performs in different scenarios. Whether you're a professional photographer or just starting, read on to discover everything you need to know about this incredible camera.

The Sony Alpha Series Lineup

Sony Alpha A7S thumbnail

Sony Alpha A7S

Released Apr 06 2014 | 12MP resolution

Sony Alpha A7S II thumbnail

Sony Alpha A7S II

Released Oct 12 2015 | 12MP resolution

Sony Alpha A7S III thumbnail

Sony Alpha A7S III

Released Jul 21 2020 | 12MP resolution

Sony Alpha A7S Pros and Cons

Now, we will look more closely at our review of the Sony Alpha A7S camera. We will see what it can do and compare it to other cameras like it. We will tell you what's good about it and what's not so good. This way, you'll know if it's the camera for you!


Low-light performance
Full-frame sensor
4K video recording
Excellent dynamic range
Affordable price point
Compact and lightweight design
Fast autofocus system
Image stabilization
WiFi and NFC connectivity


Limited resolution at 12.2 MP
Short battery life
Limited lens selection
Slow continuous shooting speed
No touchscreen or tilting LCD
Limited durability for professional use
Limited weather sealing
No built-in flash
Limited processing speed compared to higher-end models.

Build and Construction

Body and dimensions

Sony Alpha A7S

Weather sealed
Dimensions127 x 94 x 48mm

Weather Sealing

The Sony Alpha A7S camera is equipped with environmental seals that make it resistant to weather, preventing water and dust from entering the camera. If you enjoy outdoor photography and need a camera that can handle extreme conditions, the Alpha A7S is an excellent choice.

Design and Handling

Main design features

View FinderElectronic
Screen TypeTilting
Screen Resolution1,230k dots
Body typeSLR-style mirrorless

Suitable for:

PhotographyAbove Avg.
VideographyAbove Avg.
TravelAbove Avg.

LCD Screen

This camera has a tilting 3.00" screen, with a display resolution of 1,230k dots. This makes the Sony Alpha A7S not as suitable for those looking for a vlogging camera as you cannot view yourself while shooting selfies easily. Unfortunately, the camera does not have a touch screen, which may make it less user-friendly.


Alpha A7S includes a electronic viewfinder with 2,359k dots of resolution with a coverage of 100% and a magnification of 0.71x. This feature enhances the camera's suitability for outdoor photography in bright conditions.

Image Quality

Sony Alpha A7S has a 12MP sized CMOS sensor. You can shoot at maximum resolution of 12 pixels. Sony Alpha A7S has a native ISO range of 100 - 409600 which can be boosted to null - null. It can also save files in RAW format which gives you a wider room for post processing.

Key Features

Apr 06 2014


100 - 409600

ISO Range

SensorFull frame
Extended ISOnull - null
Max resolution4240 x 2832 pixels

DXO Sensor Scores


87 / 102

Color Depth

23.9 / 26.5

Dynamic Range

13.2 / 14.8

Low Light ISO

3702 / 4505

DXO mark sensor scores

The DXOmark rankings indicate that the Sony Alpha A7S camera has excellent color depth performance, which refers to the number of colors the sensor can distinguish. Additionally, its dynamic range is also above average, allowing it to retain high amounts of details in both bright and dark areas of a scene. The camera's low light ISO performance is above average, which is an important factor to consider if you plan to use it in dimly lit indoor environments or at night. Overall the image quality of the Alpha A7S is above average

Crop Factor

Camera crop factor (or focal length multiplier) refers to how a camera's sensor size affects the apparent field of view of a lens. Crop factor is determined by comparing the size of a camera's sensor to that of a full-frame sensor, which is a standard reference size for camera sensors.

Size comparison

Medium FormatFull FrameAPS-C (Sony, Nikon)

Crop factor calculator

Crop factor


Full frame equivalent


This camera: Full frame



Connectivity, storage, battery

StorageSD/SDHC/SDXC, Memory Stick Duo/Pro Duo/Pro-HG Duo
Battery Life360 shots
Battery ModelNP-FW50
Wireless Connectivity


The Sony Alpha A7S supports SD/SDHC/SDXC, Memory Stick Duo/Pro Duo/Pro-HG Duo with 1 slots for storage. This may suffice for everyday use. However, for professional applications such as wedding photography, it is not recommended as a memory card malfunction could lead to the loss of all footage.


The Sony Alpha A7S uses the NP-FW50 model of battery pack. This is rated for 360 shots shots which is high. If you intend to take photos or record videos for an extended period, it might be a good idea to bring along additional batteries.

Photography Features


The Sony Alpha A7S does not have a built-in flash, but it does offer a flash shoe that allows you to attach external flashes. This provides more versatility in your lighting choices.


The Sony Alpha A7S boasts a maximum mechanical shutter speed of 1/8000s, which is ideal for shooting fast-moving subjects in bright environments, such as in sports photography. Faster shutter speeds enable you to freeze the action and capture every detail, making it easier to get the perfect shot.

With a continuous mechanical shutter speed of n/a or an electronic shutter speed of n/a, this camera is not capable of capturing the perfect moment more easily, making it not as suited for wedding, sports, and wildlife photography. Higher shutter speeds make it easier to capture fast-paced action, ensuring that you never miss the perfect shot.


The Sony Alpha A7S includes contrast detection autofocus (AF), with 25 number of focus points.

While contrast detection is generally more accurate and precise, phase detection autofocus is faster and more effective in most situations, particularly when photographing moving subjects.

Phase detection autofocus works by dividing the incoming light into pairs and then analyzing how they intersect on the camera's sensor. This method allows the camera to determine not only if a subject is in focus but also the direction and distance needed to adjust the focus to achieve perfect sharpness.

On the other hand, contrast detection autofocus works by analyzing the contrast of an image and adjusting the focus until the highest contrast is detected. While this method is very accurate, it can be slow, especially in low light conditions or when photographing moving subjects.

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What is the sensor size of the Sony Alpha A7S?

The Sony Alpha A7S features a CMOS sensor

Is the Sony Alpha A7S weather sealed?

Yes the Alpha A7S does have weather sealing.

When was the Sony Alpha A7S announced?

The Sony Alpha A7S was announced on Apr 06 2014

Does the Sony Alpha A7S have in-body image stabilization?

No the Alpha A7S does not have in-body image stabilization that can compensate for camera shake, making it easier to shoot handheld in low light conditions.

What is the ISO range of the Sony Alpha A7S?

The Alpha A7S has a native ISO range of 100-409600, which can be expanded to ISO null-null for even greater sensitivity in low light conditions.

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