If you’re a Sony FS7 owner already or you’re just getting into the system and wonder whether it is worth jumping straight to the upgraded Mark II version of the camera (currently costing $1,500 more), the video produced by LensProToGo below should give you a few helpful insights on the topic.
All in all, it covers the new features implemented in the Sony PXW-FS7 Mark II including the locking E-Mount, Variable ND Filters, more user buttons, updates to the Viewfinder and LCD, as well as the new power on/off LED.
First and foremost, you should be well aware of the fact that the latest iteration of the camera has no new internal changes whatsoever as all of the updates have been exclusively done to the outside of the unit. For instance, the latest model boasts a sturdier locking E-Mount mechanism that in essence should allow you to utilize much longer and heavier lenses without the need of lens support.
Beyond that, you still will be able to find the integrated Electronic Variable ND Filter that is also available on the original model, but now just like the FS5, you’ll also have access to physical built-in variable NDs which can be super handy when controlling exposure in multiple run-and-gun or doc-style shooting situations out in the field.
What’s more, you can make more precise automatic exposure adjustments through the built-in ND mechanism, so instead of changing your aperture, shutter speed or ISO settings, the camera can compensate with the electronic variable ND filters instead.
Furthermore, on the Sony FS7 Mark II, you can now quickly adjust the length of the arm for the shoulder rig setup with the provided thumb screw thus eliminating the necessity of using a screwdriver that’s required for the same adjustment on the previous model. The viewfinder support has also been overhauled as it now sports a square tube that prevents the unwanted rotation of the attached accessories. In addition, there is also a new sun hood for the viewfinder itself.
Unlike its predecessor that has only six custom buttons, the Sony FS7 Mark II provides four more options that can be quite beneficial considering the notoriously cumbersome Sony menu system. The physical space in the SQD slots is also increased which makes putting and swapping cards much easier on the fly in comparison to the original counterpart. Plus, the camera now has a green indication right above the power switch that clearly indicates whether the camera is turned on or off.
As Greg of LensProToGo points out, with all of these minor changes, the FS7 Mark II is clearly much more user-friendly and faster to work with on set. It’s totally up to you, however, to decide whether these newly added features worth the extra $1,500. If you plan to use the camcorder extensively on a daily basis on multiple run-and-gun situations, then you should consider the newer model as it will save you a ton of time and effort while operating, especially in the long run.
If the internal features such as the menu system, available codecs, resolutions and image quality are your major consideration as well as the lack of built-in physical ND filters doesn’t bother you that much, then probably you should be more than happy with the older model since both units share the same internals. Yet, the original FS7 sells for a much reasonable price.