I have been saying for a few years now that I believe that Sony will end up being the main competitor/threat to Canon as the leading camera company in the video/DSLR space. Sony continued its path to prove me right with their recent release of the Sony FS7 (Sony FS7 site).
The FS7 is aimed directly at Canon's C-series cameras. The Canon C300 is the leading rental camera in the world right now but is now approaching three years old. The FS7 can record 4K internally and is built to be more of a handheld camera than most of the other competitors. This makes it possibly the best docu-style camera on the market. (See our recent blog post “Sony FS7 is to the FS700 as the Canon C300 is to C100?”)
Out of the box you can record in Sony's XAVC codec which is quite remarkable and gives you an amazing image. For those of you wanting to work in a Prores workflow you will be able to add an external unit that will allow you to record Prores 422 encoding in the near future.
At a price tag that is $3000 less than the Canon C300 this camera deserves a strong look. I have not had the chance to shoot with it yet but I have shot on the F5 and F55 and I assume the picture quality will be comparable.
In general I'm not in love with sensor image straight out of the camera as much as I do off the Canon C100 or C300 as the Sony sensors due tend to look overly sharp and in my opinion too “video” like. However, I find with some really good diffusion filters attached to the camera I can shape the image just the way I like it.
I won't lie, I love Canon cameras. Specifically how skin tones are captured and how the image feels more “filmic” of Canon's DSLR and Cinema cameras. With that said if I was in the market to buy a camera in the $7,000-$15,000 range I would not look at the C series (unless there is an update). If I was buying a camera today it is necessity for me to have higher frame rates at 1080 (Sony camera has – Canon does not) and the ability to shoot 4K footage. I don't believe 4K is in high enough demand for most projects to be the sole factor in buying a camera today but I don't believe you can do without it for another 2-3 years (which is how long I would hope my investment might be able to still work for me) so it is critical for me as a feature in my next camera.
Check out the new Sony FS7 and let us know what you think. Happy shooting.
Sony FS7 Overview
High mobility professional camera with continuous Super Slow Motion capabilities and α Mount lens system compatible with wide variety of E-Mount and A-Mount* lenses
PXW-FS7 XDCAM camera has an ergonomic grip design for easy handling and operability, making it ideal for one-man operation in situations where the extraordinary flexibility of its α Mount lens system and compatible interchangeable lenses can be used to maximum advantage. The PXW-FS7 features a 4K Super 35mm Exmor CMOS sensor and support for shooting in 4K** 60p or Full HD at high frame rates up to 180 fps (frames per second). Selectable recording formats include XAVC, which supports 4K* 60p, Full HD 60p even in 4:2:2 10-bit recording, as well as the common MPEG-2 HD 422 format used by many broadcast stations around the world. Attach an optional Extension Unit (XDCA-FS7) to open up the possibilities of multi-camera shooting and ProRes 422 encoding**. Connect an HXR-IFR5 interface and AXS-R5 recorder to support parallel recording and 4K/2K RAW recordings up to 240fps in 2K.
* A-Mount* lenses require LA-EA4 lens adaptor.
** QFHD 3840 x 2160 resolution from launch. 4096 x 2160 resolution with firmware update, early 2015.
** Firmware update, early 2015.
Lightweight ergonomic design and low power consumption ideal for one-man operation and lower investment costs
The PXW-FS7 has a host of ergonomic design features including a grip design for easy handling and operability, and adjustable arm section.
High-sensitivity 4K Super 35mm Exmor CMOS sensor supports 4K* motion-picture shooting
The PXW-FS7 supports internal recording at 4K resolution as well as a wide range of frame rates 59.94P, 50P, 29.97P, 25P and 23.98P), and provides outstanding sensitivity of ISO2000 and the dynamic range of 14-stops.
* QFHD 3840 x 2160 resolution from launch. 4096 x 2160 resolution with firmware update, early 2015.
Super Slow Motion continuous recordings
The PXW-FS7 offers continuous recording in Full HD image quality and a frame rate of up to 180 fps on internal XQD media. Using external RAW recorder images can be captured in 2K up to 240fp
α Mount System for a wide selection of E-Mount and A-Mount lenses
The PXW-FS7 incorporates the α Mount System with an E-mount lens mount, ideal for the SELP28135G 35mm full frame powered zoom lens. The use of A-mount lenses via the LA-EA4 lens adaptor.
Learn more about Sony PXW-FS7 Specifications and Features
(cover photo credit: snap from Sony)