Sony engineers were on a mission. To provide a sculpted, handheld design that remains comfortable even over the course of long shoots. To support hour after hour of recording—without changing memory cards. To provide the latest in resolution, exposure latitude and color reproduction. And to deliver it all in one affordable, practical package. With the original PXW-FS7 – and the upgraded FS7 II – that mission is a success.
Electronic Variable ND
Here’s a fresh way to control exposure. Aperture adjustments affect your depth of field. Shutter speed adjustments affect the presentation of motion. But Sony’s Electronic Variable ND maintains optimum exposure without sacrificing any other parameters. Auto ND mode achieves auto exposure with cine lenses, rangefinder glass and third-party SLR lenses. And Auto ND empowers you to park your iris at the lens “sweet spot,” where distortions are lowest and resolution is highest.
The system uses a Variable ND filter behind the lens that changes in quarter-stop increments from 1/4 (2 stops of filtration) to 1/128 (7 stops). Select Electronic Variable ND and you have 21 levels of ND that you can dial in at any time. In addition, the dedicated ND filter knob includes positions for Clear and three user presets. Finally, Auto ND mode goes even further, automatically adjusting exposure as lighting conditions change. Just imagine what you can do.
Super-smooth exposure control with any mountable lens. You don’t want visibly stepped exposure changes during a shot. The filter’s quarter-stop increments are smoother than typical iris and shutter speed adjustments. In Electronic Variable ND mode, you can set ND by turning the thumbwheel on the camera body or the assignable dial on the Smart Grip. In Auto ND mode, it’s automatic.
Auto exposure with any mountable lens. Now you can run and gun with cine and rangefinder lenses that provide no electronic iris adjustment. If you can put it on the E-Mount, you can have auto exposure. You get auto exposure with Canon® and Nikon® SLR lenses that don’t communicate with the E-Mount. (Of course, non E-Mount lenses require third-party adaptors, sold separately.)
Optimum motion rendition. By maintaining your desired shutter speed, Electronic Variable ND frees you to portray motion as best suits your project.
Optimum depth of field. By maintaining your desired aperture, Electronic Variable ND enables you to keep your ideal depth of field. And with Auto ND, you can even maintain depth of field when shooting conditions change, as when the sun pops in and out of the clouds.
Stay in the “sweet spot.” Photographers know that most lenses perform best a few stops down from full open aperture. That’s the sweet spot where optical distortions are lowest and optical resolution is highest. With Electronic Variable ND, you’re free to park the iris in the lens sweet spot – and leave it there full time.
Always at your fingertips. In documentary and cinema verité, you can’t stop the action to mount front-of-the-lens ND filters. But with the FS7 II, you can jump into Auto ND instantly. You can even momentarily hold ND constant when something like a large white truck moves into your frame.
No more filter stacks. Bright exterior sun can force cinematographers to stack multiple ND filters in front of the lens. Unfortunately, filter stacks are prone to IR pollution and color shifts, as blacks tend to go orange. With up to seven stops of ND, the FS7 II solves the issue.
“Depth of field pulls.” Auto ND also enables a new type of special effect. Moving the iris in Auto ND mode creates a depth of field pull. The depth of field changes while overall exposure remains constant.
Cinematographers have noted how Sony’s E-Mount not only accommodates native E-Mount lenses, but also accepts simple third-party adaptors for PL mount cinema lenses, SLR and DSLR glass and even classic rangefinder lenses. With the FS7 II, we’ve made the mount even better. Sony’s Lever Lock type E-Mount provides more confidence when changing lenses and more security once the lens is mounted. To mount a lens, simply hold it steady and turn the collar instead. When the collar clicks, your lens is securely locked into place. This minimizes image shifting as you work. The Lever Lock type E-Mount also supports heavier cine and ENG lenses without additional rigging.
An even better
Like its predecessor, the FS7 II has a large, bright and detailed LCD monitor that you can view directly or through the clip-on eyepiece. While cinematographers appreciated the arrangement, they had suggestions for making it even better. Sony responds with the upgraded configuration of the FS7 II.
Upgraded monitor arm. Now you can reset the LCD monitor position with speed and confidence, even as you run and gun. The robust, articulated monitor arm provides separate clamps at each end that operate completely without tools. Thanks to the square cross-section 15 mm rod, the monitor stays in horizontal alignment when you reset positions. For an even greater range of monitor mounting, you can substitute a standard 15 mm round rod (sold separately). For left-eye shooting, you can also swap the LCD monitor and mic holder. (This upgraded arm is also available for purchase to owners of the original FS7.)
Upgraded eyepiece with more robust attachment to the monitor.
Pop-up monitor hood. The FS7 II supplements the detachable eyepiece with a pop-up hood that maximizes visibility in sunlight.
The FS7 II can record directly to ITU-R BT.2020, suitable for BT.2020 monitoring, workflows and distribution channels.
4K Super35 Exmor® sensor
Compared to small-format sensors, the Super35 sensor delivers more "bokeh," the defocused backgrounds made possible by shallow depth of field. A common technique for directing audience attention within the frame, shallow depth of field is far easier to achieve with a larger sensor. The 35mm sensor also contributes to greater low-light sensitivity and lower image noise. In addition, the field of view is wider for any given focal length lens.
With the FS7 II sensor, size is just the beginning.
14 stops of exposure latitude deliver powerful grayscale rendition without crushing shadow detail or blowing out highlight detail.
ISO 2000 sensitivity enables you to shoot well after sunset, without tons of lighting and grip.
4K resolution. The sensor incorporates 11.6 million total pixels and 8.8 million effective pixels to deliver full 4K resolution. Even if you’re delivering in HD, your recordings will capture detail and image texture that HD sensors cannot see.
High frame rates, minimal image skew. Sony’s Exmor CMOS design achieves extremely fast readout, minimizing image skew and contributing to Full HD frame rates up to 180 fps (on-board recording) and 240 fps (outboard recording).
Record Full HD up to 180 fps (on-board)
and up to 240 fps (outboard)
From freestyle skiing to water sprays to pyrotechnics, High Frame Rates underscore the beauty and drama of everyday motion. That’s why the FS7 II provides continuous recording at Full HD at frame rates of up to 180 fps with 10-bit precision and 4:2:2 color. When you play back at 23.98p, you’ll enjoy Super Slow Motion of up to 7.5x. Compared to burst mode, the continuous recording of the FS7 II reduces mistimed shots and extra takes. The camera also provides Slow & Quick motion from 1 fps to 180 fps, in 1 fps increments. This enables time-lapse effects to make the clouds race by or flowers bloom before your eyes. And for even higher frame rates, you can attach the XDCA-FS7 extension unit and connect an outboard recorder, both sold separately, for 2K RAW recording at up to 240 fps. This creates 10x Super Slow Motion when played at 23.98p.
RAW recording, Apple ProRes 422 and multi-cam with Sony’s extension unit
To keep the PXW-FS7M2 small, light and easily hand-holdable, Sony engineers reserved some functions for an outboard module, the XDCA-FS7 extension unit, sold separately. The unit adds significant capabilities:
External RAW recording. To preserve the maximum in color, contrast and resolution, the XDCA-FS7 enables RAW recording when connected to outboard recorders, sold separately. The XDCA-FS7 supports the vivid color of 12-bit linear RAW at either 4K or 2K resolution. A single BNC cable connects the XDCA-FS7 to compatible RAW recorders including Sony’s HXR-IFR5/AXS-R5 combination and the Convergent Design® Odyssey 7Q+ equipped with the Sony FS RAW option. In addition, the Atomos® Shogun Inferno and Shogun Flame support Apple ProRes and CDNG recording from the XDCA-FS7 output. Even when you record outboard RAW, you can still record time code-synchronized Full HD on-board, a convenient proxy for offline editing.
Apple ProRes 422 recording. Sony understands that some workflows are committed to the Apple ProRes 422 codec. That’s why the XDCA-FS7 supports Apple ProRes 422 and Apple ProRes 422 HQ – 1920 x 1080 recording to an XQD™ card in the camera.
Multi-camera operation. The XDCA-FS7 also provides Genlock and Timecode In/Out for multi-camera shoots.
A handheld camera should be able to get you into tight places. To work in your lap. To move with the talent. To shoot high and low angles with equal facility. And a handheld camera should function perfectly against your chest or shoulder, comfortably steadied by your right hand. The Sony FS7 II does all of this, and more. The built-in shoulder pad makes for stable shoulder-style shooting. And the curved back can sit comfortably against your chest.
Ergonomics to work faster,
with more confidence
Working from the practical suggestions of cinematographers, Sony has taken the original FS7 ergonomics a step forward with the FS7 II. Refinements help make the FS7 II an even more intuitive tool, even more responsive to your needs in the midst of a cinema verité shoot.
- Assign Buttons expanded from six to ten, all extra-large for use with gloves on
- Smart Grip telescoping arm adjusts without tools; parks against the camera body for waist-level shooting
- LCD monitor arm retains horizontal alignment when you reset the position; adjusts with separate clamps on either end.
- LCD monitor and mic holder can be swapped for left-eye shooting
- Pop up LCD monitor hood in addition to the detachable
- Improved eyepiece hook for more secure attachment
- Redesigned audio level control door opens down and out of the
- Easier access to media cards for convenient removal
With its ergonomic design, Sony's original FS7 won the prestigious iF, Red Dot and Good Design awards.
Sony’s refined Smart Grip
First, we consulted extensively with videographers and cinematographers, asking questions and noting the answers. Then we created prototype after prototype—refining the size, shape, angle and control locations. The result is Sony’s Smart Grip: a highly adjustable control center located on a pivoting, telescoping arm. The Smart Grip includes Zoom Rocker and Start/Stop. Assign buttons 4, 5 and 6 can be set to operate any of 39 functions, including Menu. And you can use the Assign Dial to control Iris, ISO/Gain/EI, Electronic Variable ND Filter, Focus or Audio Input Level.
Bottom line: you can operate the camera without taking your eye off the viewfinder or your hand off the grip. The shape is comfortable, hour after hour. And the angle of the grip can be adjusted at the press of a button
Upgraded telescoping arm
Another key to handheld comfort is the telescoping arm that holds the Smart Grip. With the FS7 II, you adjust the arm length by simply turning a knob – no tools required. Another knob at the joint adjusts angle. So you can instantly adapt the arm to suit your physique and your shooting position. You can also park the arm alongside the camera body for waist-level shooting.
The upgraded FS7 II telescoping arm is also available for purchase to owners of the original FS7.
A knob enables you to quickly extend the telescoping arm. Release the joint knob to quickly pivot the arm to the most comfortable position, as shown on the right.
To put the Smart Grip in the ideal position for waist-level shooting, you can park the arm alongside the camera body.
Center Scan mode
To deliver the selective focus and beautiful bokeh of 35mm cinematography, the FS7 II incorporates a Super35 image sensor, and can scan the entire sensor for 4K, 2K or HD capture. But there are times when productions can benefit from scanning a smaller 2K “window” within the 4K frame. That’s why Sony offers Center Scan mode. This provides a 2x crop factor, which is almost like doubling the focal length of your 35mm glass, turning your 15.5 to 45 mm zoom into a 31 to 90. Your 300 mm telephoto becomes a 600 with no light loss, no degradation in lens quality.
Sony designed the PXW-FS7M2 to stand up to the rigors of real world shooting. The frame is magnesium, for high rigidity and light weight. Buttons, dials and other parts are sealed to prevent dust and water spray from entering.* Cooling is an urgent requirement in a high-speed 4K camera. That’s why Sony engineers developed special heat pipes that whisk heat away from the electronics and into a remote heat sink. An air duct cools the heat sink while isolating the electrical components from exposure to dust and water spray.*
Multi-Interface (MI) Shoe
The FS7 II takes advantage of Sony’s flexible Multi-Interface (MI) Shoe, which provides power, signal connections and coordinated on/off switching to compatible Sony accessories. For example, you can attach the HVL-LBPC light or connect and control Sony wireless microphone systems such as the UWP-D11 or UWP-D12 (all sold separately). You can also connect the URX-P03D two-channel receiver using the SMAD-P3D (both sold separately).
Sony's 4K universe
Like high definition a decade ago, 4K is emerging as a consumer entertainment platform. And Sony is playing a pivotal role in this transition. When we launched the world's first commercial 4K projectors in 2005, we had to explain that a "K" was 1024 horizontal pixels and that "4K" meant 4096 x 2160 resolution. We had to itemize the advantages with tutorials on resolution and seating distance. Today 4K is a robust production platform. It is enshrined in the Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) specification. The ITU and SMPTE have both issued 4K standards. And the Consumer Technology Association is promoting the term "Ultra High-Definition" (Ultra HD) to cover 4K consumer products.
Sony 4K products include the world's leading lineup of Digital Cinema 4K projectors, with over 18,000 systems installed worldwide. We also created 4K live broadcasting tools, including production switchers, monitors and servers. Our line of 4K projectors supports visualization, simulation, auditoriums and post. Our 4K consumer products include the VPL-VW5000ES home theater projector, televisions, camcorders and even the FMP-X10, a 4K home media player with access to over 200 titles in 4K.
(Broadband speed of at least 10 Mbps recommended for HD streaming or 4K downloads, 20 Mbps for 4K Ultra HD streaming. Content subject to change and may require fees. 4K download times will vary based on internet connection speed and bandwidth, and may require several hours for completion. Wireless connectivity requires 802.11 home network (802.11n recommended).)
Screen images simulated.