The Sony A7s and Silent Shutter mode!

The Sony A7s and Silent Shutter mode!

I just might have the Sony A7s THIS WEEK but check out this video showing the Silent Shutter mode. The #1 complaint of the A7 series, the loud shutter, seems to have been remedied in the new insanely low light capable Sony A7s. Take a look at the video below:

The focus confirm beep should be able to be turned off for a fully silent mode, so this is pretty cool. I should have the A7s any day now for review, hoping to get it before my big road trip. If I get it this week I will do a first look video the day I get it. You can pre-order the A7s at Amazon or B&H Photo. 


  1. Hi Steve, i am considering the A7S for studio still-life macro purely because of the “Silent Shutter Mode” feature… NO VIBRATION! Is this so? I also read of some degradation to pics with this turned on… how?

  2. I just don’t get why “silent mode” needs to be off when using a picture profile. Every time you set a picture profile for video you have to turn off “silent mode”. Not sure if there’s a way to get around this.

  3. Speaking of shutter on this A7S, is this camera capable of high speed flash sync? I believe the A7 & A7R have ability.

    I have a pdf copy of the A7S instruction manual and ti does not list high speed flash sync as one of the possible flash modes.

    However, on B&H website where they list out specs of the A7S, it shows it has Hi-Speed Sync.

    So, confused if it has or not, really important for the work I do to have it.

    I’m wondering which information is correct? does the A7S instruction manual copy I have not 100% complete or accurate and it actually does have hi-speed flash sync?
    Did B&H simply do a copy and paste of some of the other A7 model specs and it really does not have hi-speed flash sync?

    Steve, anybody?.. Can we get clarification on this particular Flash question? If it has hi-speed flash sync, it should show up in the flash menu, I would imagine.


    • FYI, in the A7S manual, I only see this

      Flash Mode Sets the flash settings.
      (Flash Off/Autoflash/Fill-flash/Slow Sync./Rear Sync./

      No Hi-Speed Sync?!?! Hope somebody can check this out and let me know. Thanks.

  4. This camera has some tremendous application potential. Motion picture and television unit still photographers, for example, would be all over this (no more awkward and cumbersome sound blimp).

    The problem for Sony (as it always has been) is suitable lenses. Take for example the current Sony 70-200mm F2.8 G. No weather sealing or image stabilization, and it costs $3000! Are they frickin’ kidding!

    Fuhgettaboutit… Sony will never put a dent in the Canikon monopoly with a strategy that’s so fragmented and ever-changing.

    • Robert Falconer.
      Hear hear! Though I don’t see or hear about blimps being used much any longer. Regardless, the lack of lenses is the biggest issue. Criminy. All the Oly and Fuji’s and Panasonics have wonderful lens options. When Canikon does drop there own ff mirrorless feet the seas will part and the (professional) angels will sing. I’m thinking two Photokinas out. Though recently one of those bipolar company’s national sales manager refused to comment on mirrorless. And when it’s over lunch I think that’s a positive.
      What do you think?

      • I think that people have been saying the same thing since mirrorless arrived, that Canon and Nikon will come out and own the market… Well, they came out and far from own the market. So what now? they ‘proved’ to themselves there is no market for mirrorless so they are more or less dropping them as curiosities in their history. So what next? Who knows, but if they wait longer they will truly have missed the boat.

        As for Sony not having enough lenses, it’s a constant meme but it is a rather unfair one. Sony are the only company that are both a) Making a proper push into mirrorless and b) maintaining their legacy system. Nikon and Canon have been weak at supporting their mirrorless and they are close to abandoning the whole thing. Panasonic and Olympus completely dumped their entire legacy base (yet this is STILL a criticism pegged at Sony who never have? Weird) and moved in to mirrorless, their only olive branch to existing users is a weak wilted slightly more compatible camera, five years late and only because the technology happen to already been implemented. So they have one format and one system to deal with. Fuji dumped their (N&C mount) DSLRs some years ago. They started from scratch and have no need to support different systems.

        Yes Sony have a tough job ahead and pretty much can’t win any which way they go because ‘fauxtographers’ will always choose to bash them with memes they read once on the Internet then actually look at what is going on. If Sony concentrate on FE they gets bashed for ‘dumping’ other systems (by the very people using new systems brought about by the only companies to completely ‘dump’ systems in the last 30 years). If they develop for all of them they get bashed for not having everything in every segment that other manufacturers have in that particular segment – Somehow they are ‘supposed’ to have as much glass for A-Mount as Canon, as much for E-Mount as Fuji and Olympus and Panasonic combined. If they don’t the ‘Sony have no lenses’ police come out.

        Personally I see the A6 series as a ‘poor man’s leica’, a Small FF body with 2-3 smallish but lovely primes. The fact it also can be a DSLR and take big lenses etc is like adding a Visoflex, not perfect but means your camera can do double duty – and in that regard there is not one camera on the planet that does this as well or has as many options.

        • “fauxtographers” — that’s good. I like that. 🙂

          As to the rest…

          Sony is doing some interesting things, I’ll grant you. But here’s the problem: they’re not a still camera manufacturer. Not really. Canon and Nikon have 50+ years experience in this arena, along with the legacy glass, system, accessories … and historical reputation. Sony is not going to catch up overnight, nor are they going to dethrone either of the two major players. (No matter what the President of Sony USA said several years ago about displacing Nikon or Canon to become the #2 player, they haven’t come close to that objective.)

          All the other camera manufacturers abdicated the SLR market to Nikon and Canon years ago; Minolta, Pentax, Olympus, etc … even BEFORE digital arrived on the scene. Some of them retooled and — along with Sony — have decided to carve out a niche for themselves where Nikon and Canon don’t really compete: high performance mirrorless cameras. Which is fine.

          But by the time Sony (or any other mirrorless manufacturer) makes any meaningful dent in Canikon’s profits, both those companies will have advanced mirrorless systems into production faster than you can say “WTF just happened?”

          In the meantime, neither Nikon or Canon are going to enter a sector that is losing money hand over fist. Not in this market environment. No one in their right mind would make a business case to pursue a strategy like that.

          While I happen to believe that mirrorless is the future, in 2014 it’s a niche product. The vocal majority touting its benefits on forums and websites and chat rooms are actually a tiny minority of the camera buying public out in the real world.

          All that being said, I believe the next 12-36 months will be very interesting, however.

          • It is a fact that Canon and Nikon sales have been decreasing every year. Cameras like the Sony A7, E-M1 and Fuji models are indeed putting a dent in the Canikon world. Not huge just yet but everyday MANY are dropping their DSLR for a mirrorless. It’s only a matter of time before Canon and Nikon will have to get serious about mirrorless. By then, Sony may have the edge and they will have to play catch up.

          • Steve, I’m going to have to fundamentally disagree with that statement. Here’s why:

            – While it’s true Canon and Nikon sales have been decreasing, relative to other manufacturers they’re still profitable. Olympus, Fuji, Sony, Ricoh/Pentax, etc. are all presently operating in the red.

            – There is no evidence that mirrorless cameras are putting any meaningful dent in Canon and NIkon’s profits. Camera sales across the board are down, but DSLRs are outselling mirrorless by many multiples.

            – When we say “many” are dropping their DSLRs for mirrorless, once again, it depends on what metrics you’re using. Enthusiast sites may make it look this way, but global camera sales tell a different story.

            I do agree that Nikon and Canon will eventually have to get serious about mirrorless. As to Sony having an edge? I seriously doubt it, for three reasons: 1. Experience. Nikon and Canon have far more experience in the design, building, executing, and marketing of photographic systems … of all kinds for more than a half-century. That’s a lot of power that can be leveraged very rapidly when they put their minds to it; 2. Don’t kid yourself: Nikon and Canon undoubtedly have advanced mirrorless designs on the table and are watching what everyone else is doing. But they won’t push the button until it makes business sense; 3. Sony has had a spotty track record with cameras. It’s been a bit of a “throw sh*t at the wall and see what sticks” strategy, even as they lose money doing it (this goes back to the issue of experience I mentioned in my first point). I don’t think they’re much of a threat to Nikon and Canon in the foreseeable future.

      • Blimps are still de rigueur on television and motion picture sets since DSLRs are noisy.

        I think Sony has gotten a lot of really valuable things right with this camera, and I’m beginning to see the lack of lenses a minor hiccup, as I think they will (at last) commit to the FE series.

        The real problem is that two of the A7 cameras have no phase detect pixels on the sensor, and only shoot 2.5 frames per second in continuous mode with focus tracking…which is an abysmal performance. I think the A7 cameras also need some serious refining when it comes to haptics and ergonomics.

        When (not if) Canon and Nikon enter the fray with a serious mirrorless contender (which I think is still at least a year or two away), I can practically guarantee that they will be better conceived from a photographers point-of-view, and will probably shake up the mirrorless landscape significantly.

    • What lens do you need?

      For me, the 55/1.8 was all I needed to switch. Such an amazing lens. I am a whore for the focal length, though.

      • there’s no 21, no 28 and no 40mm in the sony line up. that’s what keeps me from buying it. ok, if you don’t have clients, that want this and that, one lens can do it.

        • for me I need a 28mm, a 40 or nice 50/55 mm and a 85mm lens … with Sony there are just not the AF lens that other systems have . Need AF for those times when my eyes are tired and don’t want to miss the picture

  5. I have to assume there’s some reason why this camera has a mechanical shutter in addition to silent mode. What are the tradeoffs?

    • If it’s anything like my Nikon V2, then there is pros and cons of each.

      Mechanical shutter – higher flash sync speed, better results under low light mixed with fluorescent lighting

      Electronic shutter – higher max shutter speed, can sometimes cause banding under the above written situation (but not common, I’ve never had it happen just seen it).

      I guess we’ll have to see what this camera’s compromises are. It’s always nice to have both available though.

  6. I have had a decent play with the A7S over a couple of hours of playing with different cameras including RX100 III. The silent shutter mode is very cool, but the other complaint about AF especially in low light has also been resolved. I have posted some thoughts and RAW samples (still the only ones I know of) here at DPR:

    The noise handling from this thing is amazing 🙂

  7. So the next step here will be for Sony to reintroduce their infamous “see through the clothes fabric” mode that they accidentally pioneered with their video camcorders some years ago?
    Cartier-Bresson would not have needed this. Provably.

    That said the previous model did seem to feature a poorly thought out rather trashy sounding “shutter” sound… Oh well. They did once invent the Walk Man. And make an annual profit.

    • I don’t know Cartier-Bresson, and I don’t think it’s much needed in street photography where the sounds of camera are reduced by the city sounds. I know because I’ve used a Fujifilm x-e1. But for nature I think it’s very needed this silent mode, not just to not disturbe the natural context, but to the camera is not between the photography and you. That is just one big reason, among others, I prefer fixed cameras to interchangeable.

  8. nice 😀 im hanging out for your review on the a7s.
    im thinking about making the switch from my 5dmkii to it but still not 100% convinced

    • +1 to that. The shutter really doesn’t bother me too much but having the option of situations like say covering a theatrical rehearsal or getting candids would be uber useful.

  9. What an awesome video. I love taking my Fuji X100S on the subway and taking photos of people and they have no idea what I’m doing. I just pretend to look through the viewfinder to take a photo and then “check” the LCD screen afterward. What they don’t know is that what I’m really doing is looking at the LCD screen to take their photo. They have no idea. It is just awesome the you can use the Sony A7s in stealth mode. Does it have an anti-alias filter? I hope not.

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