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Sony FS700 – review & corporate film

February 23rd, 2013 Jump to Comment Section 11

fs700I’ve been working with the Sony FS700 for several weeks before shooting this corporate film in September.

Slow Motion
The Sony FS700 brings one unique and very exciting feature, the slow-motion mode that allows you to grab 240 frames worth of HD images per second. At this pricepoint slow motion has never been accessible, it’s wonderful to be able to experiment with this new tool.
But there are limitations too: This might not be visible on Vimeo, but the already very weak AVCHD codec of the FS700 (lots of artifacts generally) doesn’t get any better during slow-motion. Also the controls and any external SDI monitoring is disabled in slow-motion mode, so if you’re not connected via hdmi then all you have is the tiny screen on the back of the camera and no technical information at all. It still works somehow though, you’ve got to check after recording.

[UPDATE]:
User Minh adds: You can monitor via SDI during high speed recording, but you have to set the SDI output to 60i, and not the usual 24p/30p.

Lighting
While the camera is strong in lowlight situations, I found that the way it treats light is extremely challenging. Like on other Sony cameras you have to be careful with your highlights, but shooting flat didn’t help in getting a filmic look out of this camera. Even with very soft lights and strong post processing it was hard to get away from a videoy look. I wasn’t used to this look and surprised during editing.

Run & Gun
Not for me. This camera is a little bulky and not very ergonomic in terms of handling. It takes some getting used to and everything is not really where it should be. The design makes run & gun situations very difficult. A very big plus are the internal ND’s though.

The strong points:
– strong in lowlight / dark situations
– slow motion is a new artistic tool at this pricepoint
– battery life
– card capacity (small files)
– low price (very low in rental)
– E-mount means lots of compatible lens systems
– can be used with new Metabones Speedbooster
– built-in ND is very handy

The weak points:
– weak codec, compression too high
– ergonomics
– the way the camera treats highlights
– video look
– too many picture profile options, no standardized/tested LUT for good post workflow
– feels like plastic
– no monitoring during slow motion
– sometimes flickers in slow motion when it shouldn’t

Conclusion
While it’s not the ideal camera for me personally it also has some plus points like the slow motion function that would make me consider it for a second project or some specific shoots. This is a camera you have to run a full test on before you should use it, because it gets better when you know its weaknesses and can adjust for example your lighting setup and accessories accordingly. I would not use the flat profiles unless you have them tuned to your workflow or really need them for your scene.

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