Introduced by Sony in 2014, the FS7 has rapidly become one of the most popular production cameras in the industry. Sony is now expanding its FS series of camcorders by introducing an advanced model, the FS7 II. The FS7 II builds upon the proven FS7 platform, adding the latest, state-of-the-art Sony technology, including Electronic Variable ND Filter and a robust “Lever Lock Type" Sony’s E-Mount. Extensive refinements to the viewfinder support system and SmartGrip arm mechanism ensure super-fast and secure “on the run” rig repositioning--all of this while still retaining the Zen-like simplicity, flexibility and operational comfort of the FS7’s “multi-award winning” industrial design.
Lever Lock Type E-Mount system
Cinematographers have noted how Sony’s E-Mount not only accommodates native E-Mount lenses, but also accepts simple third-party adaptors for PL mount cinema lenses, SLR and DSLR glass and even classic rangefinder lenses. With the FS7 II, we’ve made the mount even better. Sony’s Lever Lock type E-Mount provides more confidence when changing lenses and more security once the lens is mounted. To mount a lens, simply hold it steady and turn the collar instead. When the collar clicks, your lens is securely locked into place. This minimizes image shifting as you work. The Lever Lock type E-Mount also supports heavier cine and ENG lenses without additional rigging.
Electronic Variable ND
Here’s a fresh way to control exposure. Aperture adjustments affect your depth of field. Shutter speed adjustments affect the presentation of motion. But Sony’s Electronic Variable ND maintains optimum exposure without sacrificing any other parameters. Auto ND mode achieves auto exposure with cine lenses, rangefinder glass and third-party SLR lenses. And Auto ND empowers you to park your iris at the lens “sweet spot,” where distortions are lowest and resolution is highest.
The system uses a Variable ND filter behind the lens that changes in quarter-stop increments from 1/4 (2 stops of filtration) to 1/128 (7 stops). Select Electronic Variable ND and you have 21 levels of ND that you can dial in at any time. In addition, the dedicated ND filter knob includes positions for Clear and three user presets. Finally, Auto ND mode goes even further, automatically adjusting exposure as lighting conditions change. Just imagine what you can do.
Super-smooth exposure control with any mountable lens. You don’t want visibly stepped exposure changes during a shot. The filter’s quarter-stop increments are smoother than typical iris and shutter speed adjustments. In Electronic Variable ND mode, you can set ND by turning the thumbwheel on the camera body or the assignable dial on the Smart Grip. In Auto ND mode, it’s automatic.
Auto exposure with any mountable lens. Now you can run and gun with cine and rangefinder lenses that provide no electronic iris adjustment. If you can put it on the E-Mount, you can have auto exposure. You get auto exposure with Canon® and Nikon® SLR lenses that don’t communicate with the E-Mount. (Of course, non E-Mount lenses require third-party adaptors, sold separately.)
Optimum motion rendition. By maintaining your desired shutter speed, Electronic Variable ND frees you to portray motion as best suits your project.
Optimum depth of field. By maintaining your desired aperture, Electronic Variable ND enables you to keep your ideal depth of field. And with Auto ND, you can even maintain depth of field when shooting conditions change, as when the sun pops in and out of the clouds.
Stay in the “sweet spot.” Photographers know that most lenses perform best a few stops down from full open aperture. That’s the sweet spot where optical distortions are lowest and optical resolution is highest. With Electronic Variable ND, you’re free to park the iris in the lens sweet spot – and leave it there full time.
Always at your fingertips. In documentary and cinema verité, you can’t stop the action to mount front-of-the-lens ND filters. But with the FS7 II, you can jump into Auto ND instantly. You can even momentarily hold ND constant when something like a large white truck moves into your frame.
No more filter stacks. Bright exterior sun can force cinematographers to stack multiple ND filters in front of the lens. Unfortunately, filter stacks are prone to IR pollution and color shifts, as blacks tend to go orange. With up to seven stops of ND, the FS7 II solves the issue.
“Depth of field pulls.” Auto ND also enables a new type of special effect. Moving the iris in Auto ND mode creates a depth of field pull. The depth of field changes while overall exposure remains constant.
A more efficient and versatile operator control layout
Buttons and controls are placed at intuitive locations for easy access while shooting. The operator side of the camera now also includes all the necessary controls for operating the new Variable ND feature. And the number of assignable buttons has increased from six to ten.
Upgraded monitor arm. Now you can reset the LCD monitor position with speed and confidence, even as you run and gun. The robust, articulated monitor arm provides separate clamps at each end that operate completely without tools. Thanks to the square cross-section 15 mm rod, the monitor stays in horizontal alignment when you reset positions. For an even greater range of monitor mounting, you can substitute a standard 15 mm round rod (sold separately). For left-eye shooting, you can also swap the LCD monitor and mic holder.
Upgraded eyepiece with more robust attachment to the monitor.
Pop-up monitor hood. The FS7 II supplements the detachable eyepiece with a pop-up hood that maximizes visibility in sunlight.
The FS7 II can record directly to ITU-R BT.2020, suitable for BT.2020 monitoring, workflows and distribution channels.
4K Super35 Exmor® sensor
Compared to small-format sensors, the Super35 sensor delivers more "bokeh," the defocused backgrounds made possible by shallow depth of field. A common technique for directing audience attention within the frame, shallow depth of field is far easier to achieve with a larger sensor. The 35mm sensor also contributes to greater low-light sensitivity and lower image noise. In addition, the field of view is wider for any given focal length lens.
With the FS7 II sensor, size is just the beginning.
14 stops of exposure latitude deliver powerful grayscale rendition without crushing shadow detail or blowing out highlight detail.
ISO 2000 sensitivity enables you to shoot well after sunset, without tons of lighting and grip.
4K resolution. The sensor incorporates 11.6 million total pixels and 8.8 million effective pixels to deliver full 4K resolution. Even if you’re delivering in HD, your recordings will capture detail and image texture that HD sensors cannot see.
High frame rates, minimal image skew. Sony’s Exmor CMOS design achieves extremely fast readout, minimizing image skew and contributing to Full HD frame rates up to 180 fps (on-board recording) and 240 fps (outboard recording).
Record Full HD up to 180 fps (on-board) and up to 240 fps (outboard)
From freestyle skiing to water sprays to pyrotechnics, High Frame Rates underscore the beauty and drama of everyday motion. That’s why the FS7 II provides continuous recording at Full HD at frame rates of up to 180 fps with 10-bit precision and 4:2:2 color. When you play back at 23.98p, you’ll enjoy Super Slow Motion of up to 7.5x. Compared to burst mode, the continuous recording of the FS7 II reduces mistimed shots and extra takes. The camera also provides Slow & Quick motion from 1 fps to 180 fps, in 1 fps increments. This enables time-lapse effects to make the clouds race by or flowers bloom before your eyes. And for even higher frame rates, you can attach the XDCA-FS7 extension unit and connect an outboard recorder, both sold separately, for 2K RAW recording at up to 240 fps. This creates 10x Super Slow Motion when played at 23.98p.
RAW recording, Apple ProRes 422 and multi-cam with Sony’s extension unit
To keep the PXW-FS7M2 small, light and easily hand-holdable, Sony engineers reserved some functions for an outboard module, the XDCA-FS7 extension unit, sold separately. The unit adds significant capabilities:
External RAW recording. To preserve the maximum in color, contrast and resolution, the XDCA-FS7 enables RAW recording when connected to outboard recorders, sold separately. The XDCA-FS7 supports the vivid color of 12-bit linear RAW at either 4K or 2K resolution. A single BNC cable connects the XDCA-FS7 to compatible RAW recorders including Sony’s HXR-IFR5/AXS-R5 combination and the Convergent Design® Odyssey 7Q+ equipped with the Sony FS RAW option. In addition, the Atomos® Shogun Inferno and Shogun Flame support Apple ProRes and CDNG recording from the XDCA-FS7 output. Even when you record outboard RAW, you can still record time code-synchronized Full HD on-board, a convenient proxy for offline editing.
Apple ProRes 422 recording. Sony understands that some workflows are committed to the Apple ProRes 422 codec. That’s why the XDCA-FS7 supports Apple ProRes 422 and Apple ProRes 422 HQ – 1920 x 1080 recording to an XQD™ card in the camera.
Multi-camera operation. The XDCA-FS7 also provides Genlock and Timecode In/Out for multi-camera shoots.
Ergonomics to work faster, with more confidence
Working from the practical suggestions of cinematographers, Sony has taken the original FS7 ergonomics a step forward with the FS7 II. Refinements help make the FS7 II an even more intuitive tool, even more responsive to your needs in the midst of a cinema verité shoot.
- Assign Buttons expanded from six to ten, all extra-large for use with gloves on
- Smart Grip telescoping arm adjusts without tools; parks against the camera body for waist-level shooting
- LCD monitor arm retains horizontal alignment when you reset the position; adjusts with separate clamps on either end.
- LCD monitor and mic holder can be swapped for left-eye shooting
- Pop up LCD monitor hood in addition to the detachable
- Improved eyepiece hook for more secure attachment
- Redesigned audio level control door opens down and out of the
- Easier access to media cards for convenient removal
Sony’s highly capable 18-110 mm servo zoom
Sony engineered the new SEL-P18110G for moving pictures. You can switch between motorized zoom or full manual, with snap zooms just a flick away. Across the entire zoom range, there’s minimal shift in focus, minimal shift in image axis and no loss in F-stop. The direct focus ring offers 240° of travel and 0.8 mm gearing, the standard for follow focus. We also took care in selecting the focal lengths. 18mm is nice and wide, while 110mm is perfect for interviews.
Quiet power zoom is also responsive thanks to advanced mechanisms and actuators.
6.1x (18-110mm) zoom range is optimized for documentary shoots. 18mm is nice and wide, with no conversion factor, while 110mm is perfect for interviews.
Direct manual zoom, snap zoom. Instead of fly-by-wire zoom control, the SEL-P18110G has a direct manual linkage. You can immediately snap from full wide to full tele. The direction of the zoom ring is reversible.
Smooth Motion Optics represent Sony’s most advanced optomechanical design for motion imaging.
No ramping. The F-stop does not change as you zoom in. The lens maintains constant aperture.
Parfocal. The lens holds focus while zooming.
Minimum optical axis shifting. The image does not move in the frame while you zoom.
Minimum breathing. The image size doesn’t shift while focusing.
Switchable click or click-free iris operation. If you want them, the detents occur at 1/3 stop increments. In clickless and auto exposure modes, the iris advances in phenomenally small increments, just 1/128 stop. So adjustments are seamless.
Quiet iris actuator minimizes interference with your sound track. The iris mechanism is also uncommonly accurate and responsive.
Quiet focus actuator minimizes the noise picked up by your microphones. Contactless linear motors eliminate gears and mechanical couplings.
Push-pull focus ring enables you to turn Auto Focus on or off without taking your hand off the lens barrel.
Accommodates follow focus with a standard 0.8 mm pitch gear on the focus ring.
Generous 240° rotation on focus ring enables precise, repeatable focus pulls.
Sony’s Optical SteadyShot® (OSS) image stabilization is optimized for motion imaging.
Support for Sony’s teleconverters. SEL-14TC 1.4x converter yields 25 to 154mm zoom range at a constant F/5.6, while the SEL-20TC 2x converter yields 36 to 220mm at a constant F/8. (The SEL-14TC and SEL-20TC teleconverters are expected to be available in the future.)
Lens metadata transfer to the FS7 II. Lens data appears in the viewfinder display and is recorded into the metadata (for Sony’s recording formats only).