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Sony's Full-Frame Mirrorless α7S II Shoots Astonishing 4K Videos from Outer Space

Press Release   •   Jul 27, 2017 13:09 CEST

Sony today released a variety of immersive 4K (QFHD 3840x2160) footage from outer space recorded by the acclaimed α7S II full-frame mirrorless camera. This is the world's first[i] commercial camera to be mounted outside of the International Space Station (ISS) used to capture video in 4K. The videos showcase the Japanese islands from outer space with footage taken during day and night, showing off its majestic snow-covered peaks and metropolitan lights right down to the differences in colour tone. These were able to be captured by virtue of the α7S II's high sensitivity performance as well as high resolution 4K recording capability.

The α7S II has been selected[ii] as the camera for the new exterior platform on the ISS's Japanese Experiment Module known as "KIBO". As a result of various tests conducted by JAXA, it was confirmed that the α7S II possesses the durability and reliability to withstand the unique and unforgiving environment of outer space, including high vacuum, cosmic radiation, and abrupt temperature fluctuations.

The α7S II was carried to the ISS by the "KOUNOTORI" cargo transporter that launched from the Tanegashima Space Centre on December 9, 2016, and was subsequently installed on 8th February, 2017[iii]. From 400 km above the surface of the earth, the α7S II completes an orbit around the planet approximately once every 90 minutes, recording a variety of 4K videos and still images from outer space.

Sample content taken outside of the ISS can be viewed at the "α Universe" official site. The English site includes the footage of the East coast of the United States by night.

The α7S II boasts high sensitivity up to ISO 409600[iv], wide dynamic range; 5-axis image stabilisation; internal recording of 4K movies with full pixel readout and no pixel binning; and a 35 mm full-frame Exmor® CMOS image sensor packed into a compact body. It was honoured as the top camera in its category at the prestigious EISA Awards (EUROPEAN PHOTO & VIDEO CAMERA 2016-2017), and its outstanding sensitivity in particular has met acclaim around the globe since its release. Its high sensitivity performance allows the camera to produce clear, high quality images with minimal noise, even in the extreme low light conditions of outer space. There is a lot of excitement around the camera's ability to capture previously unobtainable footage such as the earth at night from space, and will take vivid 4K videos of sights such as cargo transporters like the "KOUNOTORI" approaching the ISS.

Mounting position of the α7S II on the ISS (© JAXA/NASA)

[i]As of July 27, 2017

[ii]Selected by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

[iii]With the FE PZ 28-135mm F4 G OSS power zoom lens

[iv]When set to expanded sensitivity mode

Sony Corporation is a leading manufacturer of audio, video, imaging, game, communications, key device and information technology products for the consumer and professional markets. With its music, pictures, computer entertainment and online businesses, Sony is uniquely positioned to be the leading electronics and entertainment company in the world. Sony recorded consolidated annual sales of approximately $76 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2017. Sony Global Web Site: http://www.sony.net/