Sony just announced the new PXW-FS7, a new 4K XDCAM camera with a Super35mm CMOS sensor. Unlike some other site’s speculation, this is not going to replace the FS700, it’s rather a new category of Sony camera.
I was lucky enough to be invited to London by Sony in August for a hands-on with the still very secret FS7 camera alongside some other bloggers and some YouTubers, where this video was shot.
The FS7 has a unique new compact design meant to be used on the shoulder “out of the box” with a built-in adjustable grip and handle which features zoom control (for compatible lenses). No rig required.
It can shoot 4K in XAVC Intra and XAVC Long GOP formats (up to 600Mbit/s) in 10-bit 4:2:2 in up to 60 frames per second. It can shoot slow motion in up to 180fps in proper 1080p resolution. According to the press release, support for QFHD 3840 x 2160 resolution will be available by the date of launch, but 4096 x 2160 resolution support will be provided by firmware update scheduled for early 2015.
When saying “4K” Sony really means Quad Full HD (QFHD or UHD), which will be upgradeable to real 4K (4096 x 2160 pixels) in early 2015. The native sensitivity of the sensor seems to be ISO 2000 (like on the F5), but this has yet to be confirmed by Sony.
Sony decided to go with 2 XQD card slots instead of SxS Pro+ due to the fact that XQD cards offer the high speed required for internal 4K recording at lower prices.
The camera has 4 built-in ND’s which are mechanically switchable with a dial similar to the one on the F5 and F55. The LCD viewfinder comes with an attachable loupe which seems to be the same Sony used on the FS100 and FS700 (yes, really – unfortunately … I wish they would have gone with a new mechanism that can be attached easily with one hand).
Sony also announced an extension unit called XDCA-FS7 (don’t you love those names?) which enables the FS7 to natively record ProRes 422 (in 1080p), and it features a 4K/2K Raw output which works with Sony’s HXR-IFR5 and AXS-R5 recorder as well as the Convergent Design Odyssey Q7.
With its α Mount System, the FS7 makes use of Sony’s Silent Focus Technology and Electrical Iris Control, and Sony also ships the FS7 (as “FS7K”) with its new powered E-Mount zoom lens FE PZ 28-135mm F4 G OSS. (I wish this lens would be wider though, it’s really not wide enough for documentary applications on a Super35mm sensor).
The new lens is fully powered and can be powered through the grip, it includes steady shot stabilization and features a new kind of motor (SSM – Super Sonic wave motor) for reduced zoom and focus noise.
The Sony FS7 is expected to be available in November for around $8000.
We will update this post with more information continuously.