Only a month after Sony released their first 4K XDCAM camera, the PXW-FS7, the device still generates a lot of buzz and interest among filmmakers as one of the highly anticipated 4K professional cameras hitting the market this year.
I’m sure, there is a lot more to come in the next months as the camera is scheduled to be released this month, and more and more orders are fulfilled. With its Super 35 CMOS sensor, E-mount, the very robust Sony XAVC codec, which uses a true 10-bit 422 color sampling, the ability to record 4K internally and the fact it can do incredible slow-motion at 1080p up to 180fps internally puts the camera in high demand. Further, the PXW-FS7 will be getting 4K DCI (4096×2160) as a firmware update in early 2015 as well.
Again, a quick summary of the Sony PXW-FS7 specs:
- Sony’s Super 35 Exmor CMOS Sensor
- On-board UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) up to 60fps and Full HD (1920 x 1080) recording up to 180fps
- Wide choice of recording systems
- XAVC Intra & Long GOP
- MPEG HD, 4:2:2, 50 Mbps (HD only)
- Apple ProRes codec (with future upgrade and extension unit, sold separately)
- RAW recording (with extension unit and outboard recorder, sold separately)
- Slow & Quick Motion for over and under-cranking
- Dual XQD card slots
- 16-bit analog-to-digital converter
- ISO 2000 (native)
- S-Log 3 Cine Gamma Curve
- Die-cast magnesium frame
- Environmentally sealed electronics
- Wireless operation with CBK-WA100 sold separately
Besides the impressive specs, the camera is priced at a little over £6,000 or $8,000, while producing remarkable 4K images as well. Italian-based filmmaker Filippo Chiesa revealed two quick video tests shot with the FS7 just a couple of days ago.
Sony PXW-FS7 UHD XAVC very quick test (one hour in my garden) from Filippo Chiesa on Vimeo.
And, the second video:
Sony PXW-FS7: another UHD XAVC very quick test from Filippo Chiesa on Vimeo.
Both videos were shot in S-Log3 gamma mode and graded in Film Convert. There is nothing much to say about those images, besides they simply look fantastic – true film-alike colour rendition, great tonality, lack of moire or aliasing artifacts, high dynamic range.
In the second video where the camera tilts slowly down in the wagon, we can clearly see a lot of details preserved through the windows outside while the interior inside remains correctly exposed. Those shots were taken with available light only, so we can get a clear idea what the FS7 is capable of regarding dynamic range while shooting in S-Log3.
It’s interesting how the competition (the usually conservative Canon) would respond to the aggressive marketing policy and the highly competitive products recently released by Sony. The Canon C300, which despite its 4K sensor, is still only an HD camera. And it’s three years old already. The release of the FS7 may very well disrupt Canon’s hegemony in this market segment.