Video: Testing the Atomos Shogun 4K and Sony a7S at Pearl beach

By technical editor Matt Allard:

I’m in Sydney this week and Atomos CEO Jeromy Young dropped by with a shiny new Shogun 4K recorder for me to test out. I wasted no time in rigging it up to my Sony a7S and heading to Pearl Beach, a few hours north of Sydney.

This was my first chance to see some real world footage from the recorder and the a7S in combination. I’m not going to run through all the features here as we have already covered them extensively in previous posts.

I used the Sony Zeiss 24-70mm f2.8 and Sony 70-400mm Alpha lenses with a LA-EA4 adapter. The camera was set to shoot 4K 25P in Picture Profile 5. ISO ranged from 200 up to 10,000 ISO.

I tried to shoot in a variety of lighting conditions and test resolution and sharpness by shooting at a variety of different focal lengths. I also played with going between full frame and APS-C crop mode. I found myself shooting a lot of stuff at the 400mm end of the zoom range. I used an ND filter where needed to keep the shutter speed 1/50th. Because Variable ND filters tend to be soft at longer focal lengths I used an ARRI MMB2 matte box and True ND filters.

No sharpening was added either in camera or in post, and I’ve made only very minor colour adjustments. What you see here should be a pretty good representation of what you can expect to get out of the a7S/Shogun combo.

The Shogun with the  a7S, Movcam cage and ARRI mattebox
The Shogun with the a7S, Movcam cage and ARRI mattebox

Obviously there are many different ways the a7S/Shogun combo can be set up it but for now these are my initial impressions. I found the combination very easy to use, it was almost plug and play. The entire time it worked flawlessly.

The HDMI record trigger from the a7S worked perfectly and the production recorder seems very well made and robust. The touch interface was intuitive and responsive. The peaking, zebra and waveforms all work as expected. The recorder came in the lovely fitted HPRC case and with a quick start guide.

On the downside I did find it hard to see the screen outdoors in sunny conditions. This is not helped by the fact that it is quite reflective as well. I would recommend a good screen shade in future. Also the NP batteries in the kit did not last as long as I expected. I suspect some of them may not have been very new as this was Jeromy’s personal kit – I’ll try to check with newer batteries soon and report back.

As far as the image is concerned the a7S does seem to exhibit more noise in 4K mode versus it’s output in HD. This is most likely the camera and sensor that are doing this – all the recorder is doing is capturing the output from the HDMI as it receives it. At super high ISOs the noise it quite obvious before any kind of post noise reduction is applied. It would also appear that the crop mode is noiser than the full frame – as you would expect. You can download the video above for yourself from Vimeo if you want to make your own judgements.

These are just early findings at the moment and Newsshooter will have a full review coming soon.

The wonderful song used is called “When You Were Born” by Cloud Cult. You can find out more information about them at cloudcult.com

Subscribe to our newsletter