by Sebastian Wöber | 9th November 2016
Sony just introduced the new Sony FS7 II as a successor to their flagship single-operator large sensor camera: the successful FS7 (should we call it “Mark 1”?). Recently, I had a chance to have a hands-on with the new Sony FS7 II, and in this article I’ll run you through all the new features. For those who have been expecting something big: I should inform you that the new specs will probably not throw you off your seat. Sony FS7 II Hands-On The introduction of the original Sony FS7 was a huge event. With the launch of this camera 2 years ago, large sensor shooters received an amazing tool that was ready for a variety of 4K productions at a competitive price, a position it has held until this day. The Sony FS7 II was going to mark the next step in the evolution of the successful FS7 line – or so it seemed. After being introduced to the new features, we had half a day with the new camera and, during my FS7 II hands-on, it quickly became clear that this is more of an “update” rather than an entirely new camera. If your expectations are low, you will probably enjoy the new features, but if you thought you’d see a rival to the Canon C300 mark II, you are likely to be disappointed. Sony FS7 II hands-on – literally The Sony FS7 II Has an Electronic Vari ND Filter Sony first introduced the electronic Vari ND Filter technology on their X180 and X160 cameras in 2015, but the feature received more attention when it was implemented in the Sony FS5 as besides the added convenience, it also made stepless adjustment of ND filtration possible. The new filter is an LCD layer placed between the sensor and the lens-mount. The strength of the filter can be assigned to presets or dialled in via the “Variable” wheel on the side of the camera. This allows you to keep the same aesthetics while changing the amount of light that hits the sensor during a scene (see a sample of the technology here). It’s certainly nice to see the electronic Vari ND filter added to the Sony FS7 II. Users report they find this feature handy and adds to the ergonomics of the camera. In my opinion, this is not a “must have”, but a useful update indeed. E-Mount Lever Lock – A New Locking Mechanism E-Mount is a great lens mount. Its sensor distance makes it possible to use a variety of third party lenses via adapters, and it is so popular that almost all lens manufacturers produce specifically for this kind of mount by now. What is not so great about it, however, is that it was made for stills photography lenses, and thus lacks stability and a rotation-less locking mechanism. Sony addressed both issues with the new E-Mount Lever Lock. Sony FS7 II E-Mount Lever Lock Mechanism The innovation about the E-Mount Lever Lock mechanism makes it very similar to the PL mount system used in cinema productions: instead of turning the lens you now turn the collar. This helps lock lenses more tightly and is ideal for large camera setups such as when you have a matte box and follow focus setup, as you don’t need to twist the lens. This mount is ideal for cinema, large lens setups and also when the camera is on a tripod. For everyone else — and I assume this will be 90% of FS7 II handheld users — this new mount will probably be a huge problem. It’s nice that we don’t have to twist the lens, but twisting the lens mount and pressing the lock release, while holding the lens is an almost impossible task to perform for any single-operator shooter. Yes, there is innovation here and I applaud Sony for introducing this system, but as you will need an assistant to conveniently use this mount, most people will probably not find this update so welcome. The way I see it, this camera is targeted at single operators, broadcasters and handheld shooters and will rarely be used in environments where this mount will make a positive difference. Sony FS7 II, What Else Ya Got? These two are the biggest updates of the Sony FS7 II in comparison to the Sony FS7 Mark 1. Internally, the camera is 99% the same machine. They’ve only added a color space option (BT.2020) that we’re likely to see on the FS7 Mark 1 via firmware soon. Besides that, we have the same super35 sensor, 4K DCI resolution at up to 60fps, the same internal slow motion in HD up to 180fps, XAVC-I codec, etc… Externally, there are a few more tweaks Sony added to the new Sony FS7 II: We now have a power LED next to the on/off switch. So you can see wether the camera is turned on. There’s now a thumb screw on the grip arm extension. The Mark 1 required a screwdriver there. 10 assignable user buttons. The Mark 1 only had 6. The XQD cards now stick out 4.3mm more than on the FS7 mark 1. This means you can now grab them easier. Improvements to the big viewfinder loupe. One of the two flimsy loupe attachments has been removed. They also added a nice foldable sunhood as an alternative to the loupe when using the LCD in sunlight. The LCD attachment was improved. They’ve replaced the round rod with a square one, so the LCD doesn’t tilt so easily. Unfortunately, the rod is still too short for proper shoulder work with the big loupe. New square rod on FS7 II LCD mount Sony FS7 II XQD Card Slots 4 New User Buttons on the Sony FS7 II Why Should You Get the Sony FS7 II? At the time of its release, the new Sony FS7 II will retail for $10,000 (body only). In comparison to the Sony FS7 Mark 1, that will be a $1,500 step up in price. If you are surprised about the lack of innovation and improvements to the Sony FS7 II, you are certainly not alone. For most other people who attended this Sony FS7 II hands-on session this was one of the more puzzling moves Sony has pulled off. While it is frankly rather underwhelming as a camera release, I am sure there are users who are looking to buy a camera that will give them the best options. If you are one of those, at the end of the day the decision probably comes down to wether or not you should go for the camera with the E-mount Lever Lock (FS7 II), or the normal E-mount. I personally would go for the Mark 1, just because I think the Lever Lock is a big potential problem for my work as a single operator with this camera. Sony FS7 II with Sony E PZ 18-110mm f/4 G OSS Lens and XDCA Extension Unit Another reason to go for the Sony FS7 II would be the new Sony E PZ 18-110mm f/4 optional kit lens. This lens was introduced in September, and as the successor to the 28-135mm, it is the ideal choice for FS7 users. In the bundle, the lens could be is $500 cheaper than when bought separately, saving on its standalone $3,500 price-tag. I hope you liked our little Sony FS7 II hands-on. If you have any questions or thoughts, let us know in the comments. Is the new Sony FS7 II worth the step up in price? Would you go for the Sony FS7 II or rather the Mark 1? In behalf of the whole cinema5D team, I would like to thank Sony for inviting us to look at their new camera. One must say that this is a manufacturer who takes user opinion seriously, and we honor that. We hope to see and we are sure to see more innovation on the next camera release.Read more
by Tim Fok | 15th September 2015
Genus unveiled a very interesting product at IBC. The prototype is an electronic lens adaptor that will remotely control your lens and most importantly, offers an electronic variable neutral density filter. ND (or lack of) has been an ongoing saga in the compact camera body world. The DSLR filmmaker was highly trained in the fast operation of switching his/hers variable ND filter as they changed lens. This is a skill that has been carried through to the use of mirrorless cameras; camera manufacturers simply have not, and are not installing any kind of ND system in their compact stills/video cameras. Third party companies have tried everything to solve this issue; we’ve seen fader NDs, lens adaptors with in-built filter wheels, magnetic lens threads that enable fast mount and remove of filters; there hasn’t been a definitive solution. With the sensitivity of mirrorless camera nowadays, this issue is more apparent than ever. Genus have a working prototype that looks very interesting indeed, a remote control adaptor with inbuilt electronic variable ND. Our friends at newsshooter.com took a closer look at the new product: To be clear, this is a prototype. The black box that the adaptor currently sits on will not make the final cut; this is merely proof of concept. The ND works using a liquid crystal display that when voltage is applied you can accurately dial in the level of ND. We’ve seen the same kind of technology being implemented in the new Sony FS5 camera that works with a variable electronic ND system as well. Genus make a point of this not simply being billed as an electronic ND; it is a remote control lens adaptor. This means you can adjust the aperture and focus of the lens remotely, which is very useful where you can’t reach your camera (drone, crane) and/or you camera doesn’t offer any native wireless support for such features. Little is given away by Genus in the above interview at this point. It sounds as if they’ve had some issues with color shift (as with many variable ND systems) and won’t disclose anything on sharpness (or reduction of). The ND will be effective around 2 to 12 stops, the prototype is adapting Canon EF to Sony E mount, a very popular conversion in this sector however the interview leads reason to believe that other adaptors will follow. Genus are hoping to launch the product by BVE 2016 (February) if not by NAB 2016 (April). via/NewsShooterRead more
by Sebastian Wöber | 2nd May 2013
Every large sensor & HDSLR shooter needs an ND filter for outdoor shoots and Variable ND’s have proven mighty useful if you’re a one-man band or on the clock. But it is also a known fact that some Vari ND’s dampen your shots quality to some extent. So which is the best Variable ND for the money? Tim Fok put together a very useful test in which he compared the most common brands in detail. This is a guest post written by Tim Fok So I’m on the look out for a new variable ND filter. I’ve used the LCW mark II for a couple of years now, and have never been particularly keen on the softness it’s always seemed to add. But whilst trying to complete my L series lens collection, the hunt for a new ND filter kind of took a back seat, until now.Read more
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