Last weekend I had the chance to play with the Sony FS700. Some of you may remember that I own the Sony FS100. Keep in mind my observations are based on only a few hours with the camera:
Sony listened and made a few major changes, the buttons are easier to detect by touch and we get built in ND filters! The lens mount is now nested in a very sturdy metal plate, and there is a strong top plate for a proper top handle. External recorders can be connected via HD-SDI.
If you are currently shooting with the FS100 you will be happy to hear the basic control layout hasn’t changed much, I found myself right at home coming from the FS100!
As you can see in the images below, the top layout for sound control, playback and menu access didn’t change at all.
The biggest news about the FS700 is the new 4k sensor. Rumor has it Sony will release the external 4k recorder any day now and I can’t wait to get my hands on it! This should attract a fair amount of Indy film makers on a budget.
Don’t know about you, I was very curious about the slow motion feature on this camera. We can now shoot up to 240fps in full HD! It was one of the first things I had to try. There is a 10sec limit for shooting 240fps. Before you can shoot slow motion, you need to enter the slow motion menu and choose between START TRIGGER, SPLIT TRIGGER or END TRIGGER. Once in super slomo mode the camera starts buffering, when set to START TRIGGER mode -press record and the camera will start recording moving forward in time for about 10seconds, SPLIT TRIGGER mode, press record and the camera will start recording in the middle, about 5seconds backwards (using buffered images) and 5 seconds forward in time, or, END TRIGGER mode, press record and it will record 10seconds moving backwards in time, writing buffered images from the past 10 seconds to the SD card. I found end trigger the best option while shooting this hair clip since I could decide to record what I just saw.
Image Sensor 4K Exmor Super 35 CMOS Image Sensor (11.6MP)
Effective Pixels HD: 8,400,000 pixels
Photo: 7,100,000 pixels
Aspect Ratio HD: 16:9
Photo: 16:9 or 3:2
Sensitivity ISO 500 (0 dB) – ISO 16,000 (30 dB)
ND Filter Switching Mechanism Clear
1/4 = ND.6 (2 stops)
1/16 = ND1.2 (4 stops)
1/64 = ND1.8 (6 stops)
Super Slow Motion 120 fps
Signal System 50/60Hz (NTSC/PAL)
LCD Monitor 3.5″ (8.9 cm)
Viewfinder Supplied VF tube for LCD
Shutter Speed Not specified by manufacturer
White Balance Not specified by manufacturer
Memory Card Slot SD/SDHC/SDXC
Recording Formats 1920 x 1080/60p
1920 x 1080/50p
1920 x 1080 (23.98p)
1920 x 1080 (29.97p)
1920 x 1080 (25p)
File Format AVCHD
MPEG-2 (SD video)
Recording/Playback Time Not specified by manufacturer
BNC Connector 3G/-HD-SDI / 4:2:2 / 8-bit (59.94p, or 50p) / 29.97p or PsF, 23.98p or PsF)
HDMI Output HDMI 4:2:2 8-bit (59.97p & 50p, 29.97p, 25p, 23.98p)
THE NOT SO GOOD:
While the camera writes the 10 seconds of slow motion to the memory card, it will play it back and we can watch it but we can’t keep shooting until it has finished writing to the card, this takes about 75-80seconds. Definitely something one has to keep in mind when shooting slow motion.
Unfortunately there wasn’t enough time to do a proper low light high ISO comparison between the two cameras, the FS700 produced stunning footage, however, I noticed at ISO 6400 and above it is not quite as clean as the FS100. I hope to get a chance over the next couple of weeks to shoot a low light test.
Should we upgrade from the FS100? If you find yourself slowing your footage down in post all the time, by all means YES. Sell the FS100 and get the FS700. Keep in mind this is no Phantom but at this price point there is absolutely no alternative. For most, including myself, the biggest reason to upgrade are the built in ND filters. I am still waiting for the official 4k announcement before I make up my mind.
A few of you have emailed asking which route to take, Canon 5Dmk3 or Sony FS100/FS700.
There is no easy answer to this question since it will mainly depend on your type of assignments and shooting style, but I can tell you about my experience over the past 10 month:
Approx 90% of my video assignments were shot with the FS100. I still love the shallow depth of field look of full frame video from the Canon 5Dmk2/mk3 and Nikon D800 and they are still my first choice for beauty and photo/video combo shoots. For everything else I reach for the FS100. The advantages shooting with a camera like the FS100 over DSLR’s are just too big to ignore, much cleaner and sharper footage up to very high ISO values, 1080/60p, 1080/50p, picture profile tweaking, external Prores422 recording using a Ninja or a similar device and practical/professional controls and input options for sound recording. The video specific super35mm sensors in the FS100/FS700 only fall short in the shallow depth of field department to Canon’s full frame sensors. The difference between the latest generation FX Nikon’s, like the D800 and D600 is not as big since Nikon’s full frame video records at 1.2x crop . Many of my general assignments call for distinct “Bokeh” shots and personally I find it often makes more sense to carefully select the right lens to achieve that particular look with the super35mm sensor-although, depending on the subject, it can be more difficult due to the1.5x crop factor- while maintaining all other advantages over DSLR’s, like fiddling with a work around for sound recording and potential aliasing and moire problems.
Equipment used and mentioned in this article:
Sony FS100-SUPER DEAL AT BH
Canon 5Dmk2-SUPER DEAL AT BH
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