As with any new camera on the market, when priced competitively and featured similarly to others already in the field, comparison tests are bound to come about. Sony’s latest entry is priced at about 2/3 of the C300’s MSRB, half of the F5’s price tag, and less than a third of the F55’s base price. By including internal 4K with 14 stops of DR, and boasting high frame rates at full 1080, on paper the Sony FS7 is a clear contender. How does it stack up on set?
The folks at the ExtraShot podcast completed the tests, and shared their findings on their Vimeo page. The first test completed was purely image quality between the FS7 and the F5. The second test was to see how the cameras worked within a LUT for matching to differing systems. The third test compared the various Look-Up Table options of the FS7, and the fourth test compared the depth of field between the FS7 and it’s little darkness-loving sibling the a7S.
FS7 vs. F5 – When comparing the Rec.709 and S-Log image quality to its predecessor (and price-wise, big brother) in the Sony family, it appears that the F5 is a bit softer than the FS7. Highlights may also be less of an issue with the FS7, but it’s unconfirmed as to whether the shown clipping was a result of user error or difference in equipment.
LUT: Canon vs. Sony – While only an HD system, the Canon C300 is a beloved camera, with good reason. However, Canon’s C-Log is not one to play very well with Sony’s S-Log, at least to the extent that it works between the F55 and FS7. Meaning, if you’re an F55 owner/operator looking for a strong B-Cam candidate, the FS7 will likely be your better option from an LUT and grading standpoint.
LUTs of the FS7 – Rec709 ST5 appears to maintain the most detail, while the Final Cut-applied 709A LUT arguably finds the proper balance between magentas and yellows. The burnt-in 709A looks to be the lesser of the three options for your LUT on this model.
DoP Comparison: Sony A7s vs. FS7 – Something to keep in mind here is the marked difference in sensor sizes between the two cameras: the smaller hybrid-shooting a7S is outfitted with a full-frame 35mm sensor, and the purely video-minded FS7 used the Super 35 sensor. Logic would entail that the larger sensor would provide the a7S with the shallower depth of field, however the test shows that the FS7’s Super 35 sensor provided only 2” of acceptable focus where the a7S provided 3”. As the FS7 being Super 35 essentially means a crop-factor is applied, widening out the lens to match the field of view of the a7S resulted in 5” of acceptable focus.
So what can be said for the FS7? Of the tests performed here, it faired well when paired with cameras that are thousands (in the F55’s case tens of thousands) of dollars more off-the-shelf, but there are still a litany of tests to be done in varying conditions. As far as the basics of image quality go, there is now an $8k option in the Sony family that provides no discernable drop in quality from the F5, and that’s a positive addition.
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