If someone was to ask me what camera I currently think was best for Shooting Real Estate videos, I’d would say ….. the Sony A7s mkii.
The good people at Sony NZ kindly loaned me the Sony A7s mkii with the Sony 16-35mm f4 lens so I could evaluate it for shooting real estate video. There is no doubt that it is a fantastically spec-ed camera but here’s the four main reasons I’d say (that on paper anyway) its currently the best camera for shooting real estate video;
1: Its Low -light shooting capabilities as you are often dealing with low light scenarios with interior real estate video
2: Its log shooting format options i.e. slog 2 and slog 3
3: It can shoot 4k and high frame rates
4: Its small compact size which is great for using on sliders and handheld gimbals
So to give these spec’s a real world test I put it up against my Canon 80D with the Tokina 11-16 f2.8 lens which is my current goto real estate video shooting camera.
I ran both cameras in 1080p and the Sony in PP3 mode to test.
To be honest as you can see from the video there wasn’t really that much in it to be honest, to my eye I found the Sony pictures a little more crisp and also you had to be careful not to over expose the images.
Obviously where the Sony out shines the Canon is in low -light where it leaves the Canon behind and most other compact cameras on the market for that matter.
I tested both cameras in the video with just the bedroom lights and then just the bedside lamps. The Canon at iso 800 was barely usable and you could see a static or sparkle in the dark areas. Then at iso5000 and the canon was pretty much unusable while the Sony was rock solid.
The Sony’s low light abilities are amazing.
Another test I did was where I compared shooting in a standard picture profile mode like PP3 in this case against slog2 and it actually surprised me how much detail it would retain in these difficult exposure situations where you can see detail retained in the outside over exposed areas.
Another point for the Sony is due to its compact size and weight it is easy to use on sliders and my Zhiyun hand held gimbal which I have had problems trying to get it to work well with the heavier Canon 80D and Tokina lens.
However its not all roses for the Sony and a few gripes I have with it are with its usability which is a big factor for me when looking at cameras.
I’m probably bias as I have owned the Canon 80D longer but prefer the flip out lcd monitor and touchscreen on the 80d, Sony has no touch screen and a pivoting monitor.
Another factor I found was that its also a little harder to get sharp focus with the Sony and find it a lot easier with using the touchscreen monitor on the Canon. However in bright conidions you could also use the optical viewfinder on the Sony which you cannot on the Canon.
Lenses, I have to say after using both the Sony and Tokina lens side by side I prefer the Tokina 11-16 lens as it f2.8 but more importantly has a proper manual focus ring on it whereas the Sony has a focus by wire style of ring.
i also found you had to be careful shooting inside with the Sony as I found it too wide on the 16mm end and kept forgetting to zoom it in a bit more to the 20-24mm settings. The 16mm end of the lens you tended to get too much ultra wide angle distortion which is not your friend when shooting real estate interiors.
I can’t rodviuolsy compare the 4k and high frame rates of the Sony to the Canon 80D as the Canon doesn’t have 4k and only shoots up to 60 high frame rates. The 4k and high frame rates are great tools to have at your disposal with the Sony.
Pricing at the time of recording this Canon 80D body US $1099
Tokina 11-16 f2.8 $429
Sony a7smkii body US $ 2598
Sony 16-35 f4 lens $1248
So the Sony is more than double the cost of the Canon – So is the Sony A7S mkii more than twice as good as the Canon 80D? Like anything it comes down to your jobs or purpose for the camera, if you need slog 2or 3 or your client is asking for 4k and need high frame rates then yes its definitely worth considering.
So to conclude
Yes I would still say the Sony A7smkii is currently the best camera I’d recommend for shooting real estate video.
Both are very capable cameras and there is no doubt that the Sony packs an amazing amount of features into its small compact form, if you have the time and budget then in my opinion using the sonys slog format will get you an excellent and better image quality than the Canon.
If money was not an object then I would definitely say go for the Sony, if you are on a limited budget then i’d say go for the Canon as it does a great job for its price point.
I hope that is some help for you real estate video shooters out there and sadly I have to send the Sony back tomorrow.