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Andrew Reid

Photokina report day 1 - Sony FS7

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Sony FS7 - Andrew Reid

Day one at Photokina and first on the agenda is a catch-up chat with Sony product managers Bill Drummond, Ben Pilling and Robbie Fleming who had arrived fresh from IBC. I took a tour of the Sony booth and briefly tried the new Sony FS7 Super 35mm cinema camera for filmmakers!

Read the full article here

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

"........This is, I believe, the key to why Canon are able to do the sales figures they do on such lacklustre specs and features."  - POW ...  you nailed it right there!

I think you hit on something significant here and I'd not thought of it in relation to this business.  Simplicity.  

C-100/500 and the new Fs7 hit a strong point of ergonomics.  Good ergonomics adds simplicity.  The appeal of the Black Magic Cinema camera is image quality and price.  But if it were $7,000, it would be panned on horrid ergnomics alone.  I want the option to go it alone without tons of add-on gear to make it work.

 

Simplicity is worth a great deal, dont believe me, ask Apple with a market cap of over 616 BILLION dollars.  

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Incidentally, I just watched an in-depth presentation on camera ergonomics (presented by Sony about a year ago) that is worth a look:

 

 

As a former FS100 owner and frequent C100 user, I think that Sony got it right with the FS7. Not only does the spec sheet check all of the boxes, but the ergonomics looks just about right.

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Your request of focus change is huge! I wish my A7s has a setting such that the 55mm f/1.8 FE lens can be set to linear focus instead of logarithmic. Thanks for this request. 

 

Below are all my firmware requests I have for the A7s. If you agree with any of them, I hope you can pass the word :)

 

  • Function and Custom customizability of "Silent Shooting Mode" (A7s only)
  • Function and Custom customization of "APS-C Size Capture"
  • Function and Custom customization for "Format"
  • Deactivate Monitor function should turn off the monitor rather than turn the screen black
  • Improve Timelapse application
  • Allow linear mode manual focus (instead of logarithmic mode such that manual focus wheel use depends on the speed you turn the wheel)
  • Fix "Pre-AF" disabled functionality. (When “Pre-AF†setting is disabled, it should apply to both photo and video mode. It currently applies only to photo mode and there is no way to disable pre-af when camera is set to S-AF in video mode as far as I know.)
  • Allow focus point to be shown when in manual focus mode. (It is useful to know where the focus point is for those of us using AF/MF Control Hold in manual focus mode for video and photography. To remedy this, allow the focus point to be shown when in manual focus mode so that we can use both manual focus mode and back-button focus effectively without having to leave manual focus mode.)

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I love this camera, nice review Andrew.  I just wish it excited me more.  whats up with the SDI?  why cant it send a RAW signal without the breakout box? not a deal breaker but why? why Sony?  the fs700 can send the signal, for the price of the fs7 all dressed up I think i'd rather own the F5. But I have a feeling we're gonna see the F6 soon maybe even better than the F55. hopefully canon can answer, at least they stick with their cameras longer than a year 1/2, certainly a better investment. 

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If this camera had anything other than an E lens mount it would be killer (though obviously being a Sony cam that's all you'd expect). PL would be nice at the very least.

 

Pretty much on the contrary. E-mount is one of the most adaptable mounts, allowing you to use both cine lenses and stills lenses from Canon, Nikon, etc. including legacy lenses. If PL is what you are after, it is simple:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/808236-REG/16x9_Inc_169_CLM_PLE_Cine_Lens_Mount_PL.html

 

As an added plus, you can use a speedbooster if you want a "Full Frame" cinema camera.

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why cant it send a RAW signal without the breakout box?

 

Why can't it send a raw signal directly to the XQD cards the same way that the Ursa sends one to its CFast cards? CineForm RAW 4K at 24 fps is typically 50-75 MBps, well within the rating of an XQD card. Higher-speed ones could handle 4K at 60, 96, or even 120 fps (though the FS7 tops out at 60 fps). By the way, CineForm is the basis of SMPTE's newish VC-5 standard.

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

Why can't it send a raw signal directly to the XQD cards 

Because then they wouldn't be able to sell you:

this XDCA-FS7 module for 2500$

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Plus this HXR-IFR5 interface for 2200$

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Plus this AXS-R5 external recorder for 5300$

http://www.abelcine.com/store/image.php?type=P&id=1005759

Plus these AXSM memory cards for 1800$ for a 512GB card

'>

Plus their card reader of course for 600$

'>

Plus their BP-FL75 batteries (which is required to power the FS7 when the module is on) for 600$ a piece

'>


So it will cost around 20K$ to get raw recording out of the FS7 that's with one 512GB card and one battery. A little more than buying the F5 + raw recorder. 

Now good luck rigging and shooting with this: 
 

FS7_03.jpg
 

It feels like a solution from the 1970's when we were transporting tapes/decks to the location by trucks... 

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Ebrahim, you nailed it. For commercial use I think this camera is probably just right, but for cinema... no way. I am definitely more interested in cinema capabilities and the ursa, as odd as it is (and btw this FS7 will be even more odd and heavy once equipped for cinema), is much more attractive to me. 

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Incidentally, I just watched an in-depth presentation on camera ergonomics (presented by Sony about a year ago) that is worth a look:

 

 

 

This is interesting as FS7 seems to inspired by this talk. Everything in FS7, including shape and size of handgrip, is exactly copied from this talk. 

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Funny how crazy those raw rigs are when you can capture 1080p raw with the 5d internally to fast CF cards - with the assistance of magic lantern. Ok, it isn't 4k but not even the Alexa captures it's RAW material internally (I've been having a "blast" with the Codex and Alexa Arriraw workflow).

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Pretty much on the contrary. E-mount is one of the most adaptable mounts, allowing you to use both cine lenses and stills lenses from Canon, Nikon, etc. including legacy lenses. If PL is what you are after, it is simple:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/808236-REG/16x9_Inc_169_CLM_PLE_Cine_Lens_Mount_PL.html
 
As an added plus, you can use a speedbooster if you want a "Full Frame" cinema camera.


I should clarify that I work for a rental house in LA. I showed my boss the camera and he thought it sounded great until I said it was E mount. We have tons of EF and PL lenses and I said we could always get adapters. He said "Nope. No adapters," and the conversation ended right there.

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This is the one I'm most interested in so far. This and the LX100.

 

I wonder, is the FS7 slow & quick mode buffer based or continuous recording?

 

It looks as though it's not buffered:

 

  • Super Slow Motion continuous recording is possible

    The PXW-FS7 offers continuous recording at Full HD image quality and a frame rate of up to 180 fps. This makes it possible to attain up to 7.5x Super Slow Motion when played back at 23.98 fps. Furthermore, support for unlimited shooting at Super Slow Motion means no more mistimed shots leading to extra takes. It also lets you pick out footage at exactly the point that you want.

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I should clarify that I work for a rental house in LA. I showed my boss the camera and he thought it sounded great until I said it was E mount. We have tons of EF and PL lenses and I said we could always get adapters. He said "Nope. No adapters," and the conversation ended right there.

 

Your rental house guy needs his head feeling - no offence.

 

E mount is the most versatile mount on the market, you are not stuck to one brand of lens - loads of modern and vintage lens options. Don't take his word for it - E mount is awesome and there is nothing wrong with using adapters. 

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The biggest problem I see with E mount is the lack of well built adaptors. Yesterday,  I returned a full set of Rokinons EF mounts and Metabones EF to E mount because the Metabones has the slightest bit of play between the lens and adaptor. I tested some others and they all seem to suffer from that. It may not be a big a big deal for hand held or run and gun but for precise focus work on a stable platform, the slightest jiggle becomes noticeable even more so on longer lenses. I'll actually be using my A7s for an ambitious commercial campaign mixed with the F55. It's really the best Full Frame option. But I can't have a client watching us blow macro takes or slider moves because of focus jiggle. 

 

It's the same problem I had with the Nikon to Red 1 mount that Red used to sell. So I worked with Jacek at Optitek and he designed a PL style Nikon mount (based off the old vista vision mounts) that is rock solid. I was his beta tester. It soon became the standard for Nikon to PL. He makes an EF to Sony F mount (for F55/5) based on the same PL lock principle and it too is a rental house standard. Nothing moves. I'm sure if enough people write in to him, it may get him interested enough to design an EF to Emount that's bullet  proof. He did that with Nikon to Red and there will be a lot more Emount out there than Reds. Here's the link: http://optitek.org

 

So my solution for  now, I bought all Emount Rokinons. Solid mount. For my Nikon AIS, I use a Velo adaptor. This one is pretty solid and cheap. Metabones for the price is a big disappointment in terms of their tolerances, pro price, toy like precision.

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Your rental house guy needs his head feeling - no offence.

 

E mount is the most versatile mount on the market, you are not stuck to one brand of lens - loads of modern and vintage lens options. Don't take his word for it - E mount is awesome and there is nothing wrong with using adapters. 

That's exactly the opinion  of the rental houses here in NYC. I can't blame them. Emount adaptors are made like toys. The last thing they want is a client bitching about the amount of play. The only adaptor situation they seem to accept is Sony F (F55/5) to PL or whatever. They're made to pro tolerances. 

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