UPDATE: November 17th. We will be including a FREE Metabones Canon EF lens adapter with the purchase of the Sony FS7 cinema camera. Thats a $300 value, absolutely FREE.
It was an exciting day at Professional Video world headquarters. Our Sony technical rep made a bit of a surprise stop by our office to show us what he had in his special box. Drum roll….. the brand new Sony FS7! He managed to get his hands on one of only three pre-production models in the United States. These were the same units that were on the IBC floor just a few weeks ago. He also had the new 28-135mm f/4 cine-servo zoom lens with it. Alas, he didn’t have the expansion module for the FS7. We’ll have to wait till December to see that.
Getting a chance to handle the camera for about an hour was great. Here are some of my quick, off the cuff, impressions. Its small and big. It’s small for a shoulder mount camera. When its stripped down to just the body it’s about 4 pounds. Physically it’s bigger then a Canon C300, perhaps 20% bigger. So if your goal is to get the smallest, lightest, cinema camera on the market this isn’t quite it. On the other hand if your looking for a good balance of- big enough to put on your shoulder but still very light- this will be perfect. The side mounted viewfinder was extremely nice to have after years of screaming at manufacturers to stop putting viewfinders in the rear of cameras that can’t really be hand-held any way Sony’s finally addressed this properly. Speaking of the viewfinder the LCD screen is nice. Sony’s finally upgraded the quality of the LCD their putting on this level of camera. The image was very smooth and clear. The contrast was good and the text was high resolution. The handgrip felt nice, it wasn’t perfect but the rep mentioned that was going to be refined in the final production model. Another aspect that i’m hoping gets refined is the viewfinder mount. It was very limited in what you could do with it in terms of positions. Thankfully it is completely removable which means that some 3rd party companies are probably already drawing up viewfinder mount replacements with added flexibility.
The servo lens didn’t disappoint. Sony’s first attempt at a hybrid photo-servo lens wasn’t that great. The 18-200mm f/6.3 wasn’t that great optically but the servo motor was very weak. Slow, noisy, and lacked much variation in speed, i wouldn’t recommend it. And that old lens sells for about $1200. This new lens is about $2500 and it’s worlds better. Although the servo zoom speeds still aren’t as varied or as powerful as a real ENG lens they’re much improved. the physical build felt nice. The “manual” zoom was still electronic servo but it was responsive. Overall i would say this is finally a kit lens that i would comfortably endorse as a good starter lens. The only noticeable drag is that its limited to f/4.
The Redrock Micro One Man Crew electronic slider has been a very hotly anticipated product around here. It was first teased about a year ago but the launch was pushed back. Then, at NAB 2014, RRM began to ship them more regularly. The demand was so high that they were chronically backordered for 4-6 weeks. That is, until recently. RRM has ramped up production to meet the demand. That means that we are now able to have one on our demo floor full time. We have the RRM One Man Crew motorized slider ready for your to evaluate today. Plus it’s in stock, ready for you to buy. We’re currently selling it for $1,485.
The RRM OMC is a parabolic slider. It features a slight curve in the track. Unlike a straight slider, the curve allows for the slider to move, completely unmanned, and keep the exact same distance from the subject though out the full range of the track. This means there is no need to pull focus during the move because your focus distance never changes. The motor is incredibly versatile. It run as fast as 12 seconds end-to-end, or as slow as 8 hours in the time laps mode. The track is 36” in length and can support a camera load of up to 20lbs. Come in and play with the One Man Crew today or take it out on an evaluation. Use it on your shoot in your circumstances with your camera. Its the best way to decide if a piece of gear is really going to work for you.
Sony recently released a very interesting camera called the PXW-Z100. We’ve used the word “revolutionary” a few times when discussing this camera. Personally, i think in 6-12 months, if you’re shopping for a traditional camcorder with a servo zoom lens, this is going to be the sure-bet camera for you. Here are my early thoughts.
I like the design. I’m not always a huge fan of Sony designs. They tend to use a a lot of clumps of buttons that aren’t well organized. This camera, while not my favorite, was fairly easy to wrap my head around in terms of control layout. The weight is good, coming in at 5.4lbs it’s lighter then a Canon XF305.
The images we’ve put up on the screen have been great. The ability to capture 1080p up to 60fps at 4:2:2 10-bit is amazing. The combination of an 8mp 1/2″ sensor and that great XAVC codec make this, i would say, the best image quality in a sub $10k 1080p non-large sensor camera. It might sound odd but I’ve already had multiple customers comment on how nice it will be to use something with a 20x servo zoom lens after spending most of the lat 3 years using interchangeable lens cinema cameras. Obviously it’s different tools for different purposes. But i think a lot of people have forgotten what the benefits of a great servo zoom lens are. Oh yeah, i can’t forget to mention, it’s “future proof” because it can record 4K at 60fps 10-bit 4:2:2 as well. While most of us might not have sue for 4K today it’s coming. It might not be a justifiable trade-off if the camera didnt’ also do amazing 1080p, but it does. Shoot amazing 1080p today, be ready for great 4K tomorrow. Plus, don’t forget about how useful shooting 4K for 1080p distrobution can be, zooming, cropping, and reframing.
Some other thoughts. The camera appears to lack a few basic things that it probably should have. There is no hystogram, no vectoscope, no waveform. It can’t do clip marking while recording. It also appears to lack any kind of pre-roll record. I’ve also never been a huge fan of Sony’s LCD screens in their hand held pro cameras. They’re always a little small and not super color/brightness accurate. The XQD cards that it records to are relatively inexpensive, 64GB cards run around $300. But in 1080p it’s about a 1:1 ratio, so you’ll get about an hour. At 4K it’s about a 3:1 ratio so you get about 22 minutes. Not the best dollar to minutes recorded ratios, but not the worst. Lastly i’m a little disappointed that, right now there is no 4K video output. A future firmware update will bring 4k via HDMI output, but SDI is 1080p only.
We’ve finally picked our winners of the 4K for a Day Giveaway contest. If you won you’ve been contacted by now. People who attended the Art of Visual Storytelling tour had the oppotunity to enter a drawing. The prize was the use of a Canon EOS C500 4k camera equipped with the AJA Ki-Pro Quad 4k recorder, a Canon cinema prime lens, and a full rod system with matte box and follow focus from Redrock Micro. This was all gear that Alex Buono featured during his workshop. The gear has a sales value of $40,000 and a single day rental rate of $900. Stay tuned to Professional Video news for more chances to win sweet prizes. Post by Eric C. Petrie
This week we’ve got an impromptu shoot out happening. A customer of ours is deciding what 4k tool to add to his mix so we scheduled a shoot out with the Sony F55, the Canon C500, and the Canon 1DC. Then we though “why not let everyone benefit from having this gear here and ready to analyze.” So on Thursday August 22nd and Friday August 23rd we’re going to have these three cameras hooked to broadcast monitors, staged around a lit scene, and ready for critical analysis. If you’re debating any of these choice or you just like to look at fancy toys come on down and check it out. If you have a shoot out you’ve been dying to see let us set it up for you. Did you know we can arrange almost any demonstration you’d like? That’s what we’re here for. Give us a chance to earn your business. What cameras do you want to see side by side? Post by Eric C. Petrie
Professional Video is the only place in Portland were you can get your hands on Canon 4k recording right now. Sitting in our showroom is a Canon EOS C500 equipped with an AJA Ki-Pro Quad recorder. This combination gives you true 4k recording to ProRes format. It works remarkably well. We’ve had the privilege of taking it out and shooting several times. Are you just kinda curious what the set-up looks like? Come down and take a look. Are you considering a 4k upgrade in the near future? Do a full demonstration of the camera, shoot test footage, put it on our 4k display. Perhaps you’d like to do an evaluation in your own facility? Rent the camera and we’ll cred the whole rental back towards a potential purchase. 4k, the future is now. Post by Eric C. Petrie