The Sony reps came by yesterday to let us check out the new FS700 NXCAM, and another local vendor came with a new set of Leica Summilux-C Cinema lenses, so it seemed like a great opportunity to grab some test footage!
First of all, this is not a review, as we only were able to have the camera in house for a few hours, but more of a first impressions of the Sony NEX FS700. It’s a bit larger than the FS100, but has the same basic form factor. The main handling differences are the large ring with the built in ND filters at the front, and the re-positioning of the XLR inputs to the side. The big news is of course that it is 4K “ready” and does some pretty impressive slow-motion.
4K “ready” is interesting language, and the Sony rep said that it will be available to output 4K over the 3G HD-SDI link on the back in a future firmware upgrade. I asked if this is a paid upgrade or a free upgrade, and the rep said Sony hasn’t decided yet. They also said that they will be making a standalone 4k recorder to go along with it.
For now the camera records to AVCHD, which is sub-optimal in terms of image quality, and ease of use in post. This baby is pretty much meant to have some kind of external recording solution attached to it.
The first shot we did, was at the standard native ISO 500 setting, exterior sunlight at 1080p25. Coupled with the astounding Leica 40mm Summilux-C, this is probably the best image you’re going to get with this camera.
The next shot we tried was to activate the slow-motion feature, of 200fps at 1080p25. Firing off the slow-mo was a little fiddly, and will take some experience to get the timing right. It’s not as simple as just pressing the record button, as there also needs to be a buffer that needs to get initialized first. Practically what that meant for us, was that most of our slates got cut off the front, but with some more experience I’m sure we could have gotten the timing right. It looks nice of course, and you can go up to 400 fps if you drop down to SD resolution, but you really noticed the shift in quality.
The final shot we tried was an extreme lowlight situation. We opened the Leica Summilux-C up to 1.4, and set the ISO of the FS700 to 6400 ISO. This was to see what the worst image would be that you could get with this camera. At these settings, the amount of light in the room was difficult to see with the human eye, and was lit approximately like a night-light in a bedroom. There was noticeable noise in the picture (to be expected), but there was an image and it did have dynamic range. With some de-noising and color correction in post you could probably save this shot.
We viewed the footage on Sony’s new OLED monitors which were very impressive. The Leica Lenses were astounding, with absolutely no breathing, though I don’t know if anyone will be using this $10,000 camera with a set of $185,000 lenses. I thought we brought out the best from this camera as we possibly could given our time constraints. It seems like a likely candidate for success in it’s market. Though the thoughts of people finding way too many excuses for 200fps slow-mo at extremely shallow depth of field make me a bit wary. 🙂
(You can view the .mts files here with VLC.)