Sony’s lineup of full-frame mirrorless cameras is exceptional and has become a staple for videographers and photographers worldwide. But these days, the a7S II has gone beyond just our world, capturing incredible 4K footage from outside the International Space Station.
The a7S II was fixed on the ISS on the KIBO Japanese Experiment Module made by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Japan’s space agency. After the organization identified that it was resilient and reliable enough to survive outer space conditions, including vacuum, radiation and extreme temperature swings of up to almost 400 degrees Fahrenheit depending on whether the camera is positioned towards the sun or not.
The amazing thing about the a7S II’s environmental resistance is that it’s principally unmodified – JAXA says there are a radiator and a heater built into its mounting hardware to help with the temperature variance, but that the “camera’s hardware itself is virtually untouched.”
JAXA’s original plan was to use an a7S on the external mount, but they exchanged in the a7S II in their plans in 2016 because of its potential to record 4K video internally. The high sensitivity full-frame sensor, which works well in low light situations, also makes plausible excellent night shooting, while the device it’s replacing didn’t work at all in nighttime conditions.
The camera will also be inured to capture stills, which JAXA says will be better for applications like comparing changes in the color of oceans and forests over time because of its enhanced tone reproduction vs. video. But the video capture is tremendously fascinating for docking operations, or for recording gripping clips.