Thursday, April 5, 2012

Sony NEX-FS700 First Video - "Sony, I cain't quit you"

Ok, Sony. I resisted the FS100 and the VG20 - but you've got me with the FS700. I will be selling the GH1, GH2, TM900, H1 recorder, DR-40 recorder, ND filters - and eyeing everything else I own for its resale value. I must have this camera.

This is as close to the still/video singularity as any camera under $10K.  Its competitors at that price point, the FS100, AF100, 5DMkIII, D800 and GH2 all require too many compromises, hacks or add-ons.  I just want to go back to where I can pull out a camera, a microphone and a set of headphones and produce clean images in normal light without a bunch of matte boxes to make up for the lack of ND filters, recorders to compensate for poor in-camera audio, or thousands of dollars worth of lights to make up for crummy low-light performance.  And I don't want to have to sharpen a fuzzy image in post (5DMkIII), avoid shooting patterned objects for fear of moire (D800) or hack my camera (GH2) to get the best out of it.

240fps HD slow motion, 4K and HD-SDI on top of that?  This camera really is the proverbial game changer.

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Monday, April 2, 2012

It's Real! - Sony NEX-FS700 Press Release & Photos!

Goodbye AF100.

For "under $10,000", Sony's new Super 35 cam is getting closer to the still/video singularity.  A real video camera with large photosites, almost no moire or aliasing and stunning low light capability (if it's anything like the FS100), it will also produce 8MP still photos.  It will be no Nikon D800 or Canon 5DMkIII for stills - but those cameras don't have XLR inputs, HD-SDI out, a top handle, or camcorder style control of video.

With built-in ND filters and HD-SDI out, it blows away the two main advantages the AF100 had left.  And when it gets its 4K upgrade, look out Scarlet X -- and as for the C300, well, 'we hardly knew ye'.

I am as excited by this camera as I was for the AF100 (before I was let down by its resolution, low light performance and lack of still photo capability) and as I was for the FS100 (before I was let down by the lack of NDs, HD-SDI and stills).

With this camera, DSLR/DSLT/DSLM shooters like me might be able to finally sell all their old camera bodies and workarounds (external recorders w XLR inputs, attenuating cables to connect recorders to cameras, matte boxes w ND filter slots, backup small sensor camcorders, etc., etc.) and just buy one large sensor, interchangeable lens video/still camera.

If you're a Sony NEX shooter, of course, you're golden, because you already have system lenses.  Good thing I still have NEX adapters left over from renting the VG20 for my VG20/GH2 side-by-side comparison.

I'll be renting the new FS700 as soon as it comes out for a test - so please watch this space - and, if you like this blog, please support us by shopping with our sponsors through these links: Adorama, Amazon, Crutchfield, OneCall, and Unique Photo.

Thanks - and more video power to the people (press release after the break).

Euro Model Overview

Press Release


NEX-FS700U Delivers High Quality, Flexible and Creative Shooting Options for Workflows of Today . . . and Tomorrow

PARK RIDGE, N.J., April 2, 2012 -- Sony is pushing the creative boundaries once more with the new NEX-FS700U Full-HD Super Slow Motion camcorder, the latest in Sony's line of NXCAM interchangeable E-mount camcorders. The new Super 35mm model is designed for high-speed shooting, capable of capturing footage at up to 960 frames per second. The camera also features a range of capabilities such as 3G HD-SDI output and built-in ND filters. Additionally, it also offers several creative options, shooting styles, and enhanced ergonomics – all based on customer feedback -- to deliver a flexible production tool that can fit seamlessly into a variety of shooting applications.

"This camera opens a new door to creative shooting," said Juan Martinez, senior product manager at Sony Electronics' Professional Solutions of America group. "You can record beautiful high speed full HD movies with the freedom of creative interchangeable lens choice. The NEX-FS700U, with its super slow motion mode, is ideal for promos, TV dramas, commercials and documentaries as well as sports and a variety of event shooting."

The camera delivers full HD quality at 120 and 240 frames per second in a 16 or 8 second burst mode respectively. The NEX-FS700U's high sensitivity and low noise shooting capability makes super slow motion shooting more convenient without the need for additional equipment. Its 480 fps and 960 fps at reduced resolution are available for faster frame rate recording.

The NEX-FS700U camcorder uses a new 4K "Exmor" Super 35 CMOS sensor (Total 11.6 million pixels). This high-speed readout chip is optimized for motion picture shooting, giving high sensitivity, low noise and minimal aliasing.

The NXCAM line's E-Mount flexibility is designed to accept virtually all SLR and DSLR 35mm lenses, with the use of simple, inexpensive adapters without optical degradation. FS series owners can use their existing lenses and add more lenses without being limited to brands or mounts.

Users can capture high-quality still images with the NEX-FS700U. The camera also includes "face detection" and auto focus to help ensure that a subject is always kept in focus.

With the NEX-FS700U, operators can take advantage of the camera's built-in ND filters, with a newly designed ND filter wheel that rotates across the sensor like a turret. The wheel includes positions for Clear, 1/4 (2 Stop), 1/16 (4 Stop), and 1/64 (6 Stop).

The camera is 60/50Hz switchable to give shooters the freedom of working in any geographic region without being restricted to only PAL or NTSC recording.

The NEX-FS700U's 3G HD-SDI and HDMI connectors can output full HD 50p and 60p, in addition to standard HD 60i, 24p, 25p or 30p frame rates with embedded time code and audio. With 3G HD-SDI, it can output native 23.98, 25, 29.97 progressive signals. Users can elect to output PsF over the 3G HD-SDI. Thanks to flexibility of the digital ports virtually any external recorder can be paired.

Users can save up to 99 camera profile settings on a memory card, and can copy the same setting to multiple cameras. Compatible media includes SD and Memory Stick cards, and Sony's HXR-FMU128 flash memory unit that attaches to the camera.

The NEX-FS700U features a robust detachable top handle, secured by a pair of screws (a cold shoe, plus two sets of 1/4 and 3/8 inch holes) to allow secure mounting for heavy accessories. The handle is attached with a rosette mount.

A key element of the handle is an "active grip" that features four buttons for commonly used functions – expanded focus, auto iris, still capture and recording start/stop. Function buttons are also enlarged to make operation easy even while wearing gloves.

The camcorder's enhanced design also includes anchor points for compatibility with third-party accessories and a more durable design than previous models.

Sony is planning a future firmware upgrade that will enable the NEX-FS700U to output 4K bitstream data over 3G HD-SDI when used with an optional Sony 4K recorder.

The NEX-FS700U (body only) and NEX-FS700UK (with 18-200mm zoom lens) are planned to be available in June at a suggested list price less than $10,000.