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Sony FS7 Review – Shooting 150fps in the dead of night


Andrew Reid
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I  jest with maxotics...because he's delusional. Much too sensitive and political correct...and parental....to a bunch of strangers.  I question someone's sanity when I see that. However, he seems like a well meaning kid.

Phil Kenny - a grumpy cat, un-talented DP, cruising EOSHD because he has no work and no fan base. Jealousy and poverty is a bad combo. This sad clown is just pathetic. I actually feel sorry for the motherfucker. Another lost, lonely douchebag in the city of angels.

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The FS7 can take some pretty pictures..its just not the best ergo/or time saving machine - production or post.

SLOG 3  is a HUGE learning curve, and an enormous time succubus....even if you know what you're doing.

The brand new Canon C300 ll will put it out of it's short life.

I do think Sony is very progressive, and will no doubt come out with something else within a year.  Gotta respect that. 

For low budget indie shooters/music video guys, the A7s ll will probably be a dream come true. 

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When we're all done slinging mud, let's talk about the camera. I'm seriously considering buying one for smaller jobs and docwork. Though usability is always a top priority. What in particular makes the menu "dog shit". Can anyone give specifics? I use an Amira for my day job and it took my AC all but five minutes to show me how to set the camera up. Big Fisher Price toy like buttons, even a caveman.... I've used F5/55's often and the Sony menu is a bit maddening but after enough swearing and clenched fists you learn it like anything else.  At least unlike RED it won't change settings on you when you're not looking.

As for the C300 2 destroying S Log 3, it's still vaporware. 

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When we're all done slinging mud, let's talk about the camera. I'm seriously considering buying one for smaller jobs and docwork. Though usability is always a top priority. What in particular makes the menu "dog shit". Can anyone give specifics? I use an Amira for my day job and it took my AC all but five minutes to show me how to set the camera up. Big Fisher Price toy like buttons, even a caveman.... I've used F5/55's often and the Sony menu is a bit maddening but after enough swearing and clenched fists you learn it like anything else.  At least unlike RED it won't change settings on you when you're not looking.

As for the C300 2 destroying S Log 3, it's still vaporware. 

If it's anything like the FS700, probably just clunky and convoluted. It looks like it has the same 3-setting ISO switch on the side, but now it's shared with WB and Shutter (so an extra button push). If you want to change your ISO to anything other than what's available from your three presets, you need to dig through a few layers of menus, change the preset options, leave the menu, and then flick the switch if it's not in the right position already. There's a similar 'ethos' to the whole system- everything is there, just takes longer than it needs to. Again, this is judging by the FS700. Hopefully someone can give some specifics on how it's improved.

 

One feature that was great on the FS700 was the ability to use one mic in both channels. You could set the level manually in channel 1, but use channel 2 on auto in case you're in a busy environment with lots of volume changes and can't ride the level. I had a doc gig with the C300 where I was filming a band practicing and had to constantly adjust the mic level between loud music and normal talking. Is this feature held over on the FS7??

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Vaporware?...its reality in a month.

I'd like to mention that Sony products...speaking mostly of the FS700 and FS7 seem to need firmware updates ad nauseum. 

Canon C series works pretty much when you pull it out of the cheap box.

Yes, FS7 is clunky and convoluted..AKA - Dog Shit...however, if you're a past Sony user that may not be a problem for you. It does look good in the right hands. So does the FS700.

I can't remember what video it was...but ER made a killer vid using the FS100. (street scene).

Comparing again to Canon...People sometimes see data sheets and forget about real world usability and.....time....which  =  $.

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I think its funny that people with high priced cameras look at the NX1 as a toy or a joke but the 4k image quality is as good and better then a lot of other cameras out that cost much more.

I would love to see the side by side shots from the FS7 and NX1 i would bet the NX1 is sharper and shows more details that's what i see from all the FS7 videos i have seen.

I would think from low iso settings up to 1600 the NX1 has the better image that takes much less work to get the colors right from the camera and past 1600 the FS7 starts to take over. I would think they are both very equal on how they handle highlights with maybe the FS7 being a little but not a lot better. 

But when you can buy 5 NX1 cameras for the price of one FS7 you sure could use all the extra cash for other things.

Plus the NX1 has many features no other DSLR or ENG style camera has

If anything when they ever have a NX2 out i think that will probably be a dream come true if they can up the iso to match the A7s it all ready beats it for image details, features, video auto focus, 4k recording and price. 

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​On to the topic at hand. I don't doubt that the FS7's menu layout and operations are atrocious, though I much rather that Steve Job was not employ as a reference model, not because he was incapable of conceiving some of the most functional and beautiful design in gadgetry that the world has ever seen and put to good use, but precisely because he may have accomplish more by being more tactful and less corrosive/coercive with his interpersonal dealings/interactions.

Here for the first time on EOSHD we have seen the potential of a top management consultant for Apple! You should be paid millions! You're a genius!

So you suggest to any future Steve Jobs that by being more vague and sweetening feedback to employees, you will get better decisions out of them and a better conceived product? You are living in cloud cuckoo land.

​The point is, if you have such flawed menus, management needs to be tough enough to prevent it going into the final camera. It's not hard to read the blog post especially the bit about giving vague feedback like it's some kind of popularity contest with the manufacturers. It actually harms the product. If something is shitty you have to call a spade a spade.

In engineering, if there is a design problem you don't sweet talk it until it goes away or make the designer feel good about his terrible mistake.

All this watered down vague feedback is essentially to lubricate people like Johnnie Behiri's path into Sony's inner sanctum. They don't give a shit about honest feedback or improving the product.

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My job is my filmmaking and EOSHD. Much as I want improved products, I don't see my role as unpaid consultant to a major manufacturer.

I could compromise my editorial pretty badly here in an effort to nurture that relationship. What for? I might get the occasional chance at a workshop (Samsung have already asked), but I'd rather be out shooting so would turn it down any way.

There's very little in it for me. I just don't see myself in that role. They are welcome to continue reading EOSHD for my feedback though!

I deeply respect and like most of the people working at these companies to put such amazing cameras out there for us. If there's a fault with the product it isn't personal, but it has to be pointed out for what it is. Not a single FS7 user has praised the menus yet.

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Wow this thread got very personal. It's only cameras and "dog shit" talk! What's not to like? ;) 

Onto the FS7.... the menus are really my only strong criticism of the camera for these reasons

  • The responsiveness is slow, which wastes time on a shoot. 
  • The naming scheme and menu arrangement is complicated - everything is everywhere. For example, I want to select codec and frame rates in the same menu option. This slows things down too, especially when you are shooting 4k and then need a slo mo shot.

 

I would suggest ways to improve this by: 

  • Doing a complete overhaul of the user interface, structure of the menus and naming scheme. 
  • Improving firmware by making the buttons respond better. 

 

Do I think this is a deal breaker? 

  • Absolutely not - the menus are something you can get used to. It would be better to see an improvement - the camera is still the best option for the money and can match much higher priced cameras under skilled hands. 
  • I would 100% recommend the FS7 as it's a brilliant all-in-one solution, and can be upgraded to raw. 
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Here for the first time on EOSHD we have seen the potential of a top management consultant for Apple! You should be paid millions! You're a genius!

So you suggest to any future Steve Jobs that by being more vague and sweetening feedback to employees, you will get better decisions out of them and a better conceived product? You are living in cloud cuckoo land.

​The point is, if you have such flawed menus, management needs to be tough enough to prevent it going into the final camera. It's not hard to read the blog post especially the bit about giving vague feedback like it's some kind of popularity contest with the manufacturers. It actually harms the product. If something is shitty you have to call a spade a spade.

In engineering, if there is a design problem you don't sweet talk it until it goes away or make the designer feel good about his terrible mistake.

All this watered down vague feedback is essentially to lubricate people like Johnnie Behiri's path into Sony's inner sanctum. They don't give a shit about honest feedback or improving the product.

"Here for the first time on EOSHD we have seen the potential of a top management consultant for Apple! You should be paid millions! You're a genius!"

"You are living in cloud cuckoo land."

Well Mr. Reid, I supposed anything less from you would have been unacceptable.  Instead of debating on substance, you ridiculed the opponent. That's brilliant.

For the record, and unwittingly on your part, you were right. I was with a major management consultant firm, whose services were retained by Apple, Samsung, and many CE products and services that at varying times you had hyped beyond hyperbole on one extreme and savagely sagged on the other extreme depending on the day of the week, or sometimes the hour of the day.  There were sporadic balanced and objective analysis and discourse, but that's fast becoming a tantamount search for Waldo in the entire western hemisphere.

"So you suggest to any future Steve Jobs that by being more vague and sweetening feedback to employees, you will get better decisions out of them and a better conceived product?"

"In engineering, if there is a design problem you don't sweet talk it until it goes away or make the designer feel good about his terrible mistake."

False on both counts. I did not suggest that feedback to one's own employees or from third parties to camera makers should be sugar coated or vague, what I did suggest was that management and user feedback should be assertive and tactful. There is a world of difference between what I said and what you thought I suggested. Effective communication is key and too much easier said than done. You want to convey the facts of what's not working, what went awry, and what would be the best alternative/end state without humiliating and demoralizing. If you glossed over my previous post, then I understand the misconjecture, please reread. I don't know if you have to work in a corporate environment and/or team environment, and charged with delivering results--quality results--both individually and at the same time collectively. This magnifies when a multitude of cross-functional teams have to collaborate toward a common goal. Essentially you're managing, balancing, directing a multitude of personalities all of whom are quirky on some level, and how you accomplish that is effective communication and interpersonal skills, not verbal diarrhea.

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Please people don't take the bait and keep this on topic about what makes this camera tick. 

Now that we know the menu is wonky how does this camera fair in the grade? What are it's color biases? Noise threshold? Etc. Can we hear some comment on ergonomics with and without rigs? I personally would like to know if its practical sans rig to hold for a half an hour steady in an interview. Does it balance well on gimbals? Are the internal ND's any good or do they suffer from IR? Can anyone who shoots for living comment on how it performed on a job with clients watching your every move? There are loads of questions we can answer if we don't get sidetracked. 

I'm intrigued by this camera mainly for doc work. In the past few years, docs have been dominated by C300's. But I find for the C300 to be functional for extremely long takes, you need to rig it out (EVF, shoulder rig, AB batts) to the point where I think, why didn't we just rent a real camera? How do the flesh tones stack up to the C300? At the end of the day that is one aspect that people who pay my bills really care about, even more so than DR or rez. It's the reason Canon and Arri dominate the market and Sony and Red do not.

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Tim - I have professional experience with the FS7. I don't own it yet, I'm just giving it some whirls on rental. I've been offered a handsome discount if I buy it, I think I defintely will be an owner very soon. I have a feeling the C300 mk II will be great but will cost £435,456,876. 

  • The colour bias is magenta - although I think this is being fixed in the next update. 
  • Noise - it's clean at ISO 2000. You have to be careful using Slog3 with 1080p slow motion modes. Noise city!
  • You have to be strong to hold this camera for hours. I get knackered because of the weight on the right arm. I'm going to try it next time by adding another handle for my left hand and mounting the Silencer Trigger Follow Focus, so my left hand doesn't need to move. Aperture never changes after I hit record. 
  • Never used it on a gimbal. I use smaller DSLR size cams.
  • ND's seem great to me. 
  • Used it on paid music video jobs. Clients were happy with the images HOWEVER one client was getting annoyed with the slow menus and crashes (the manager was stood near me watching me use it.) it was a difficult shoot so the added stress wasn't ideal. 
  • The camera can certainly be used bare bones. If handheld for a while, I would consider a 2nd handle for your left hand. 
  • Flesh tones are nice but need more work than Canon footage. Less "real", if that makes any sense. Canon out the box is great. 

The FS7 is the best all-in-one camera right now. It has a flavour of everything. It's great for corporates, music videos and documentaries. Great partner to the A7S. 

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Tim - I have professional experience with the FS7. I don't own it yet, I'm just giving it some whirls on rental. I've been offered a handsome discount if I buy it, I think I defintely will be an owner very soon. I have a feeling the C300 mk II will be great but will cost £435,456,876. 

  • The colour bias is magenta - although I think this is being fixed in the next update. 
  • Noise - it's clean at ISO 2000. You have to be careful using Slog3 with 1080p slow motion modes. Noise city!
  • You have to be strong to hold this camera for hours. I get knackered because of the weight on the right arm. I'm going to try it next time by adding another handle for my left hand and mounting the Silencer Trigger Follow Focus, so my left hand doesn't need to move. Aperture never changes after I hit record. 
  • Never used it on a gimbal. I use smaller DSLR size cams.
  • ND's seem great to me. 
  • Used it on paid music video jobs. Clients were happy with the images HOWEVER one client was getting annoyed with the slow menus and crashes (the manager was stood near me watching me use it.) it was a difficult shoot so the added stress wasn't ideal. 
  • The camera can certainly be used bare bones. If handheld for a while, I would consider a 2nd handle for your left hand. 
  • Flesh tones are nice but need more work than Canon footage. Less "real", if that makes any sense. Canon out the box is great. 

The FS7 is the best all-in-one camera right now. It has a flavour of everything. It's great for corporates, music videos and documentaries. Great partner to the A7S. 

​Thanks for the notes. You said more useful insight than everything above. Please keep it coming. I have an A7s already. I thought the two would compliment each other well. Have you screwed around with any of the pre-sets outside of S Log? Often I have clients that want it 90% "burned in" and rather not screw with log. Looks to me the camera is front heavy. The rigs I've seen on line don't seem to get that as they have the balance point too far back. The Amira I use, when I let go of the handles, it sits balanced on my shoulder. This is the ideal. If you know of any rigs that can achieve this that aren't a big to do, give us the inside scoop. 

Also, did you try any of the internal  ND's on bright sunny days? I'm curious if there was any IR contamination. This is the bane of many a digital camera that really screws up the grade.

I don't buy any gear that can't pay its rent and then some. While I'm not expecting Red/Arri IQ, do you feel it'll catch on with clients like Canon did?

 

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My client don't know anything about the cameras. They'll mutter RED, 4k and slo-mo from time to time - but that's about it. They just want high quality images and trust me to deliver. They care more about my ideas and creativity then my tools. I help create the ideas, I shoot, edit then deliver. All in-house. So "burning in" doesn't apply to me. Only tried Slog3. Personally my clients love the FS7 results because of the slo-mo and cinematic look achievable. 

The 10 bit is a big deal. It saved me on a shoot where the main image didn't work out and we ended up making a green screen from pale green rags and green gels to light it. The DIY screen was awful and blotchy but it really pulled off in post! 

My main rental houses have multiple FS7's and they are almost always booked out. One of them said that their Epic isn't going out because people are trying the FS7. So to answer you question... This camera is making major waves! Don't know if the C300 mk II will change that. 

I used the ND outside. Didn't notice anything, I couldn't really say as I've only done most of my shots in controlled lighting. 

You can balance the camera by using lighter lenses and putting a V-lock on the back. Used it this way, seemed fine although it was mostly on sticks that day. 

 

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The irony is that you have more potential to make money as an amateur freed of 'industry dogma' today than as a work-a-day pro like Tim Naylor.

All it takes is talent, imagination and the internet.

I agree with Oliver when it comes to clients, they are there for the vision and their understanding is based on ideas rather than on some obscure camera technicality. That's our job - to put the two together to = reality.

The FS7 has hit the rental shops in a big way in Berlin. Many professional filmmakers using them straight away. The day rate is approaching 300 euros because demand is outstripping demand until they can stock up. That's nearly 3x more than a C300, yet it retails for half the price of one.

My advice to any budding filmmakers is to avoid the established commercial industry altogether and go online. Base your services online as that is the future.

You can go and invest £5k in a FS7, rent it out and establish a production studio purely from your living room without ever leaving the house, because the internet really is that powerful, a new 'universe' which we live in whether we like it or not, or even understand it or not (the dinosaurs don't!)

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