CAMERA



Sony FS Series

Sony launched the FS- series in 2015.

Sony launched the FS5 and FS7 cameras in 2015. Since end of 2016 the successor of the FS7 - the FS7 II and since 2018 the FS5 II are available.

Both the FS5 and the FS7 use the Super35 Exmor CMOS sensor and are also equipped with 14 f-stops of dynamic range. The FS5 is limited to UHD (3840x2160 pixels) recordings, while the FS7 outputs to full 4K.

The FS7 is designed as a shoulder-mounted camera and the FS5 as a handheld. The large sensor allows a "film look" with a shallow depth of field, which has ensured that it’s popular with documentary makers. Both models feature a Sony E-mount that can be easily modified to work with other common optical mounts such as the Canon EF mount.

  • Sony FS5




Sony FS5


Sony FS5

The FS5 uses the AVCHD and XAVC codecs for recording in HD. The FS5 also supports UHD recording within the camera via XAVC. Media is stored on SD cards, however, it is important to note that XAVC can only be stored on SDXC cards (UHS3 specification). SDHC cards will only allow storage of the AVCHD codec. Similarly, UHD cannot be stored on SDHC cards, due to the differing write speeds of SDHC and SDXC cards.

The FS5 can shoot in full HD resolution up to 240fps, but only for 8 seconds, (or 120fps for 16 seconds) due to the use of an internal cache for high-speed shooting. In normal operation in UHD, it runs at 30fps. In HD it achieves 50 or 59.94fps, depending on the recording mode.

Using the AVCHD codec, the FS5 produces an 8-bit signal with a colour sub-sampling rate of 4:2:0.

The XAVC codec is qualitatively much better with a 10bit signal and 4:2:2. UHD recordings are 100 Mbit/s in XAVC with 8bit and 4:2:0.

Both AVCHD and XAVC are encoded in the FS5 as LongGOP. There are no intra-frame versions of the codecs available within the device.  XAVC is supported by all popular editing systems, however XAVC-LongGOP in UHD is computationally intensive. For a smooth post production experience, it is advisable to use a high-performance computer or to transcode using an intra-frame codec such as ProRes .

The FS5 allows two recordings to be made simultaneously, as it can write to the two memory slots independently. This allows for immediate back-ups to be created for production resilience. The camera also has a proxy function that can create a highly compressed file stored at 1280x720 or 640x360 on the same memory card.

An additional feature is the "Clear Image Zoom", where the optical zoom expands by oversampling the sensor without damaging the image. In HD this can be achieved to a factor of 2 and in UHD by a factor of 1.5.

  • Sony FS7




Sony FS7



Sony FS7

The FS7 offers recording formats in all popular variations from XAVC-Intra in 4K (recording at 600Mbits/s) to HD (with 111Mbits/s). All resolutions can deliver a frame rate of up to 60fps. It’s possible to achieve up to 180fps of continuous HD without the internal caching limits imposed by the FS5.

It is possible to capture 240fps in 2K RAW with the use of an expansion module (XDCA-FS7) and an external recorder. This module also allows external recording and storage of 2K / 4K RAW.

Internally, the XDCA-FS7 stores ProRes422 (HQ). A "Quick & Slow" mode enables frame rates of 1-180fps to be selectable. The internal recordings are stored on XQD cards, a new memory standard similar in size to CF but with much better performance.

The FS7 offers two shooting modes that can alter the image. In Standard Gamma mode, many aspects of an image are pre-configured with limited scope for an in-camera grade. In contrast, Cine EI mode allows the capture of all the information on the sensor. In this mode, an S-Log curve and a very flat image are recorded, opening up more possibilities in post production.

For both devices, the functionality depends on the firmware currently installed. Some essential functions, such as the 4K capability of the FS7, are only added with software updates.

It is advisable to check the firmware version against the associated release notes given by SONY on a regular basis.

Sony FS7 II

The Sony FS7 II is the successor to the successful and popular Sony FS7.
The camera looks identical to the FS7, but has some new features and improvements.

Sensor, focus and audio are the same as in the FS7 but the II features a "Lever Lock E-mount" for mounting lenses, This provides increased stability and easier closure and is stable enough to hold even heavy lenses safely. Other manufacturers lenses can still be used with adapters.

Like its stablemate the FS5, the Sony FS7 II has a variable, electronic ND filter. This can be adjusted via the filter wheel or via a control button on the handle. A big advantage of this is that the user can adjust the amount of light without changing the aperture, shutter or gain.

A further improvement is the integration of the Rec2020 color space for HDR recordings. This camera is equipped for both LOG Rec709 and Rec2020 recording. It also supports recording at upto 180 Frames per second.

Sony have made small changes to the ergonomics of the original FS7. Adjustment of the grip mount is now possible via wing-nuts rather than requiring tools. The viewfinder mount has been made from a square tube to prevent accidental rotation of the viewfinder. The on/off switch boasts a status LED. In addition, access to the XQD card slots has been improved which streamlines the process of inserting and removing the cards.





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Sony FS7 Mk II UT

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