In-Depth Sony FS7 Video Presentation For Documentary Work

Ten months ago Sony dropped the (4K) bomb with their PXW-FS7 at last year’s IBC trade show in Amsterdam, by introducing an extremely powerful 4K machine for less than $10K. It was, and still is a ground-breaking achievement, not only from a value standpoint, but also from the standpoint of a company going all-guns-blazing after a large market share, which was severely underserved at that point by cameras that were either lacking in features, or too expensive for what they had. The Sony PXW-FS7 was an evolution in terms of camera design from previous Sony attempts like the predecessor NEX-FS700, to which the FS7 owes a significant amount of features, but also a shrunk down, more one-man-band type sub-F5/F55 camera, with all of whom it supposedly shares a sensor and a lot of features.

Sony_FS7-v2

The FS7 combines lightweight optics, efficient compression with high-performance 4K, excellent colour, wide dynamic range, a multitude of in-camera codecs, Log modes, shooting modes (CineEI/Custom) in a minimalist, rig-less, ergonomic package optimised for cinéma vérité type production. Recently, Sony invited Award winning cinematographer Andrew Young takes a critical look at the camera and workflow while by lending him a Sony FS7 to use for a documentary in the Middle East.

He recently gave a 50 minutes long presentation on his recent experience with the Sony FS7.

[via Cinescopophilia]

Things he liked about the FS7:

  • Ergonomic, Scalable Design easy to transport on airplanes
  • Best value for money in its class
  • 4K on-board, flexible on-board codec options
  • Timecode
  • 4 Channel audio
  • High Frame Rates & Variety of lens options
  • High Dynamic range, Log and Raw recording options

Things he would like to see improved on the FS7:

  • Needs flat bottom grip mounting option
  • Needs rubberised menu wheel
  • Needs movable magnification area
  • Eyepiece should maintain horizon while adjusting
  • Waveform not always visible
  • S&Q needs direct access to dial in frame rates

If you are unfamiliar with the FS7 specs and features, here’s a brief rundown from B&H below.

  • Super 35 Sized 4K CMOS Sensor
  • Sony E-Mount
  • 4K/UHD Up to 60 FPS, HD Up to 180 FPS
  • 4096 x 2160 Raw Via External Recorder
  • XAVC-I, XAVC-L, MPEG-2
  • XAVC-I Up to 600 Mb/s
  • Dual XQD Memory Card Slots
  • Dual HD/3G-SDI & HDMI Output
  • Ergonomic Handgrip with Camera Controls

While, the camera is a solid grab-and-go type of solution for documentary work, it does lend itself to extensive rigging for studio work, whether it be a corporate job, commercial (where that slow-motion comes in really handy) or a narrative project like a short or even a feature film.

The FS7 has enough gusto and horsepower to satisfy most projects with robust in-camera 4K 10bit 422 XAVC codec and 12bit Raw out of the (XDCA-FS7 ($1,999 at B&H) attachment unit) to a compliant external recorder like a Convergent Design Odyssey7Q+ and soon (after a future firmware update) Atomos Shogun, for more VFX heavy or colour grading intensive work. At $8K,  you’re getting a whole lotta 4K for your buck in my book. B&H are even throwing in a free EF to E-mount Metabones adapter when you buy an FS7 or the now super-cheap FS700. Use the links below.

B&H Links:

Sony NEX-FS700R Super 35 Camcorder (Body Only) – $4,999

Sony PXW-FS7 XDCAM Super 35 Camera System – $7,999

Sony PXW-FS7 4K XDCAM Super35 Camcorder Kit with 28 to 135mm Zoom Lens – $10,499

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