Having reached number one in full frame sales in North America, the Sony Alpha series of mirrorless cameras has been a huge hit, with myself even converting across from my Nikon D750. Not all Sony Alpha cameras can record video internally in 4K though with the first Sony Alpha series mirrorless camera to offer this being the Sony a7Sii (ILCE-7SM2).
If you are in the market for a Sony Alpha mirrorless camera for video production, especially earlier models to save some money and 4K is what you are after, luckily for you I have compiled a bunch of Q&A to help you decide which Sony Alpha series camera you should look into:
A: The Sony α7 (ILCE-7), whilst having a 35.8×23.9mm CMOS full frame sensor, does not record video in 4K (3840 x 2160). It offers 1920x1080p at 60 fps (28 Mbps), 1920x1080p at 24 fps (24 Mbps) as well as some lower resolution feeds (e.g., 640 x 480 VGA @ 30fps).
Q: Does a7ii film 4K?
A: Building upon the success of the Sony α7, the Sony α7ii (ILCE-7m2), this full frame mirrorless camera does not record video in 4K. Like its predecessor, the Sony α7ii offers 1920x1080p at 60 fps (50 Mbps).
Q: Does a7iii film 4K?
A: Yes! The Sony α7iii (ILCE-7m3) offers 4K (3840×2160 pixels) video recording across the full width of the full-frame 35.6×23.8mm image sensor. In video mode, the camera uses full pixel readout without pixel binning to collect about 2.4x the amount of data required for 4K movies and then oversamples it to produce 4K footage.
Video clips can be up to 29 minutes long (NTSC/PAL).
Specifically for 4K, the Sony α7iii records 3840 x 2160p at 23.98 (24), 25, 29.97 (30) fps in 100 Mb/s and 60 Mb/s.
A: The Sony α7R does not record video in 4K (3840×2160 pixels). It offers 1920x1080p at 60 fps (28 Mbps), 1920x1080p at 24 fps (24 Mbps) as well as some lower resolution feeds (e.g., 640 x 480 VGA @ 30fps).
A: Yes! The Sony α7Rii (ILCE-7RM2) does offer internal 4K recording at 100 Mbps at 24, 30 fps.
A: Yes! The Sony α7Riii (ILCE-7RM3) offers internal 4K (3840×2160 pixels) at 100 Mbps at 24, 25, 30 fps.
A: Yes, the a7S (ILCE-7S) can record video in 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels) however, it cannot do this internally. It can output ‘clean’ 4K via HDMI and depending on where the model was purchased, it may be NTSC-only, PAL-only or offer bother NTSC and PAL. As such. You may have access to only 24 fps or 30 fps (PAL) or 25 fps (NTSC) frame rates in 4K.
Technically, the Sony α7S is 4K but in terms of practicality, avoid this one model as it can only do so externally.
A: It sure is. The Sony α7Sii offers internal 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels) in 24 (NTSC), 25 (PAL), 30 (NTSC) fps at 60Mbps and 100Mbps for a maximum duration of 30-minutes, in XAVC S format. For those wanting 120 fps (100fps for PAL users), you can achieve this in 1080p mode. This means that you may slow the footage by 4-5x in post.
A: You bet it is! The Sony α9 records internal 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels) in 24, 25, 30 fps at 60 Mbps and 100 Mbps for a duration of up to 29-minutes.
A: No the 2014 Sony α6000 does not offer 4K video recording.
A: Replacing the 2014 Sony a6000, the 2016 Sony a6300 does offer internal 4K video recording in 24 and 30 fps at 100 Mbps for a maximum duration of up to 29-minutes.
A: At the time of writing, the Sony a6500 is the company’s top-tier APS-C mirrorless model. Naturally, it offers internal 4K video recording in 24, 25 and 30 fps. When filming in 30p, a 1.23x crop takes place. Additionally, the a6500 has the full array of customizable picture profiles (Cine1, S-Log2, S-Log3).
Older Sony Alpha mirrorless cameras offer great value for film makers. However, most early models of Sony Alpha cameras do not offer internal 4K video recording. The a7Sii, a7iii, a7Riii, a6300, a6500, and a9 are the cameras you should look into if 4K video recording is a must-have