Hello to the Ronin A7S Combo

A frame grab to see the fine noise/grain.

A frame grab to see the fine noise/grain.


Regular camera tests, although quite informative, are boring. So I decided to do something a bit different.

After quite a while of waiting, my DJI Ronin came in (it’s a stabilizer like the MoVI) and it happened to arrive the same day as the Sony A7S, which I have been eagerly awaiting.

I’ve been thinking about this combo for a bit, as even though the Ronin can support the weight of my fs700… it would certainly be extremely heavy. I toyed with the idea of dedicating the hacked 5D3 RAW to the Ronin, but the idea of dealing with THOSE file sizes when free-shooting on the gimbal, well, no thank-you.

Of course, the big draw and my reason for getting the A7S is the lowlight. Unfortunately the 7Q can’t take the 4k signal from the A7S, but once the Shogun ships I’ll be able to just replace it. Kinda funny isn’t it… Ronin… Shogun…. no?

Anyway, to see what I could do with this setup, I decided to film 2 different things. First up was just filming walking around my building, and trying various settings and kind of going blind. My goal was for everything to be in focus, so I set the aperture to f/7.1, and basically let the camera decide on the ISO. It ended up pushing it into the 64,000 ISO range (yes, those numbers are not a typo!) in order to be visible. This became a bit too noisy and murky. Using Neat Vision’s Noise Reduction I was able to get the footage to “alright”. It’s not stellar, of course, but given that you can actually SEE what’s happening AND keep it all in focus, it’s pretty good. That’s the first video here. At the end of it, are a few different combinations I tried.

Using my findings, I decided to shoot something else… keep the aperture to f/4 (i may have knocked it to f/4.5) and set the max ISO to 16,000. This produces some noise, but I think it’s actually much closer to grain than digital noise. The second video has no noise-reduction at all, but some color-grading is applied. Instead of shooting the exact same thing, I asked Kat to go skating in her derby shoes around Marina. Partly for fun, and partly to see how much Dynamic Range I could get out of the footage (at night, in 16,000 ISO)… she wore a black dress and a white wig. I exposed for the wig in this case.

It’s important to note, in the second video, there is ZERO stabilization done in post… it’s all the Ronin. In the first video though, where were a couple, just to see how it would react.