The Sony PXW-FS7 and FS7 II cine cameras can be quite confusing devices, especially when it comes to shooting modes. That’s why Alister Chapman of xdcam-user.com has written up an official and complete FS7 guide for these cameras (free to download). Let’s dive straight in!
The first lesson you have to learn when dealing with the Sony FS7 or FS7 II is that these cameras are basically two-in-one devices. You can set them to old-fashioned Custom Mode and you’ll get a traditional camcorder. Alternatively, you can set them to the so-called Custom EI mode, which basically turns them into completely different beasts. It is also here where things get interesting. A lot of menu items are suddenly greyed out, the sensitivity is set to 2000 ISO, the gain stages read EI and what you see on the screen is no longer exactly what gets recorded. Sounds confusing? Well, that’s why you should read that FS7 guide.
Alister Chapman’s Sony FS7 Guide
This guide does not replace the user manual. It is intended to be used in conjunction with the user manual and it is recommended that you read both this guide and the user manual to get the very best from the camera.
As you might have experienced for yourself, a user manual usually doesn’t provide you with the answers to your pressing questions. This FS7 guide, on the other hand, might provide you with exactly that! A brief round-up of covered topics include:
- Saving custom camera setups to ALL FILES for convenient switching between them
- Different shooting modes (custom vs Cine EI)
- Detailed guide to the Cine EI mode (this one is gold!)
- Error messages and common problems
The Sony FS7 and FS7 II cameras tend to demand quite a lot of technical understanding from its operator. Sometimes a specific setting is greyed out due to a dependency somewhere else in the menu but it won’t tell you why. For example, you have to know that HDMI Target has to be set to Monitor in order to apply a monitor LUT to the HDMI output. That’s one of the cases in which this guide comes in very handy.
Personally, I struggled quite a bit with the High/Low Key function when shooting in Cine EI mode. This is really such a great tool but without guidance it’s a bit tricky to understand. After attending a workshop, I finally got my head around the whole concept. Page 58 of the guide will teach you just how to use it – and save you having to attend a workshop.
I think this FS7 guide should be kept handy whenever you’re on a shoot with these cameras for quick and clutter-free reference. Highly recommended!
Share your thoughts about the camera(s) and this guide in the comments below!