Lenses for Sony Alpha a7s

Sony Alpha a7s
What lenses do I use on my Sony a7s? I use everything I own, mostly vintage manual Nikon glass. I have even managed to find adapters on eBay for obscure lenses that most people haven't heard of.

Steinheil München 50mm f/1.9
How about this German made Steinheil München 50mm lens? Yes I got an adapter that allowed it to work with my NEX-7 and would allow it to work with my Sony Alpha a7s as well. I don't use the SM 50mm because I have a Nikon 50mm f/1.2 that serves as my 50mm lens for video.

I have reviewed numerous lenses on this blog and they all have been used with an adapter on my NEX cameras, most recently the Sony Alpha a7s.

No matter what manual 35mm photo lens you have, you can find an adapter to make it fit the a7s. Try eBay.

See my post on Have to Have Lenses for video, and this one on the use of Manual Lenses.

DSLR Rigs for Sony a7s

I suppose that we shouldn't refer to the Sony a7s as a DSLR, after all it is a mirror-less camera. OK, we still have to use a rig, if we are going to shoot professional video. Deciding what to get can be daunting and expensive. I'll let you in on some of my choices and hopefully you can get something out of it.

Matte box, the best way to implement ND filters
I've said it many times, I prefer the camcorder form-factor, but since I decided to get a Sony a7s I need to acquire all the accessories that will allow me to make it work for me.

The most common item to mount the camera and all its accessories on is a 15mm rod system. We'll get into that later. Lets look at the accessories we are going to use first.

First thing that comes to mind are ND filters. Pro-video camcorders normally have ND filters built-in. These allow one to use fast lenses on bright days. It is also the way we narrow our depth of field to create the beautifully blurred backgrounds we love. See DOF for more on that.

For a still camera with no built-in ND filters we can use a matte box. Matte boxes allow the efficient use of filters and also keep lens flares to a minimum because of their french doors.

The FOTGA M2 matte box is a Chinese knock-off. Try one of the Pro US video or photo equipment matte boxes, you'll end up paying $800 - $1200+. This one is made of hard plastic and metal. Works great for me. $88 free shipping on eBay!


I have two V-Mount batteries and two Anton-Bauer batteries I used to use with my large video camcorders a few years back. 

I decided to use them to run both camera and recorder for my set-up.  So I got a V-Mount Power station that will mount on the 15mm rods. I already have an Anton-Bauer to V-mount adapter that will allow me to use the AB on the V-Mount power station.

Power Station with multiple voltage taps
The third thing I decided to get was a cage. This one had me going for sometime. I looked at, or should I say, I researched on-line for over a week to decide which one to get. 

Because this is a new hot camera there are a few to choose from. I decided to get the CUBE from Motionnine in Korea. 

When I got it I was quite impressed. Very good system. I did't like the wood at first but after using it a little, I don't mind it. 

It has a top handle which is very useful and cable clamp that protect your HDMI cable from being pulled or damaged. Mounting holes everywhere and the cage envelopes the Sony a7s in a protective armor that can't be beat.

I'll talk more about the cage in another post soon.

CUBE cage

Lets not forget the follow-focus. Another FOTGA product made in China. Hey, it may not be a name-brand here in the US, but it works well and doesn't break the bank. I wish I could afford US made, but that's another blog post.

Here you can see the follow-focus, also FOTGA

The wood grows on you - The French flags are not attached

This brings us to the 15mm rod system. There are so many of these to choose from and they all are pretty much the same. They consist of two 15mm rods and a mounting point for the camera and a bottom mounting point to attach your whole system onto a tripod. The rods are there to mount everything in alignment to the lens and you can also mount all sorts of stuff to them; like monitors and wireless mic systems and more.

I am still figuring out the best way to set it up so I can quickly switch from hand-held to tripod shooting in the most efficient way. At this point I have the large battery on a separate rod system from the camera, attached by a quick disconnect system - still working on it - I'll let you know what I decide to go with.

In the meantime you give it a whirl - research your way of doing it. Google: "15mm Rod Support System." Have fun searching!

To insure no conflict of interest I would like to be clear, I have NOT been given any of these products in exchange for positive reviews. These items have all been purchased and payed for by me with no help from their manufacturers.


I have decided on a rig/15mm rod system. See my 4K Producer Blog:


4K Footage - XVAC-S S-Log2 From a Sony a7s and an Atoms Shogun

Today I received my Atomos Shogun 4K recorder/monitor and quickly set it up and shot a few seconds to test everything out. Below is the footage - first S-Log2 with no grading, then side by side, and finally full screen graded footage.

This is by no means a comprehensive review of S-log2 and the Sony a7s, I am merely sharing my first video testing.
Sony a7s Full-Frame 4K capable with external recorder like the Atomos Shogun

As most of you know S-Log2 is supposed to give you more dynamic range then Rec. 709. I've read some users claim excessive graininess or noise depending on how S-log2 is exposed.

I mostly eyeballed the exposure. These were +2 or more stops overexposed. I am going to delve deeper into this profile and experiment more closely to see what happens at different exposure settings.

Stay tuned...

I would like to be clear here, I have NOT been given any of these products in exchange for positive reviews. These products have all been purchased and payed for by me with no help from these manufacturers.

Sony a7s and some S-Log2 XAVC-S footage

I know I said I didn't care for the DSLR form factor. Mainly because DSLR's don't normally have all the features of a dedicated video camcorder, and because you have to purchase all the extra DSLR "rig" stuff. Like a matte box, and a whole rail system with a cage, and on and on.
Well, I got tired of waiting for Sony to release an interchangeable lens 4K video form-factor camcorder, that wouldn't break the bank. I'm sure there's one in the works, but I can't wait, besides I needed a new still camera anyway.
I purchased the Full-Frame Sony a7s camera to replace my NEX-VG900, and to get started shooting 4K video. I don't have an Atomos Shogun recorder yet but in the meantime I shot some 1080p footage using the XAVC-S and S-Log2 profile.

This is a short video shot using the Picture Profile 7 which is S-Log2. I didn't have any luck using FCPX built in Log Processing, under the Info tab in the Inspector window. I graded using FCPX's built-in Color Correction. Sorry for the shaky video.
You have to overexpose slightly or else you get noise. The lowest ISO for Profile 7 is 3200. If you are going to use this, experiment with it first and shoot plenty test footage. You may need an ND filter if you want to open your iris and shoot narrow depth of field. You can also increase shutter speed to something outrageous, you just won't get the 24p movie blur, when you pan.
The S-Log2 stuff looks flat and low contrast out of the camera and it must be graded, unless you like low contrast flat video. I guess the idea is that you have more range for grading. 

I believe this is 8bit S-Log2. I wonder if I can shoot 4k and down-convert to 1080p 10bit S-log2? As soon as I get my Atomos Shogun I'll post more footage - 4K footage, and I'll see if 10bit 1080P is possible from 4K footage.

Below you can appreciate this small camera surrounded by stuff just to make it more video friendly. I'm still missing the Shogun from Atomos - I'll review it soon - and more on shooting 4K on the a7s.

a7s with all the fixings - Atomos Shogun coming soon

I would like to be clear here, I have NOT been given any of these products in exchange for positive reviews. These products have all been purchased and payed for by me with no help from these manufacturers.