The PXW-FS7 reflects years of intense conversations we’ve had with documentary shooters. In response, we completely redesigned the grip, improved the viewfinder, optimized the balance and refined the ergonomics. Of course, the FS7 also reflects Sony’s expertise in 4K and HD codecs, Super 35 sensors and memory recording. The result is the ideal camera for documentaries and the optimum tool for magazine shows, reality TV, unscripted TV and more.
It’s ironic that so-called affordable cameras need to be outfitted with expensive rigs, cages, hand grips, and accessory viewfinders before they can be properly handheld. The PXW-FS7 is different. It was designed from a clean sheet of paper to rest comfortably against your chest or sit well on your shoulder. Zoom, Start/Stop and Assign controls are carefully located on the sculpted, telescoping smart grip. Sony supplies a proper viewfinder that’s perfectly offset to the left with a huge range of fore-aft.
Sony’s α mount lens system offers unsurpassed compatibility with both Sony and third-party lenses. The FS7’s E-Mount can take Cinema lenses and SLR lenses with a third-party adapter, as well as Sony’s E-mount and A-mount lenses. So whether buying new lenses, or making use of lenses you’ve already purchased, the FS7 makes it easy.
Please note the PXW-FS7K model with bundled SELP28135G lens kit is now discontinued.
High Frame Rate shots can turn everyday actions into slow-motion ballet, a visual feast of elegant movement. The FS7 delivers a maximum of 180 frames per second (fps) continuous shooting in Full HD. If your project plays at the cinematic 24fps, you get beautiful 7.5 x Super Slow Motion. There’s no sacrifice in bit depth and no windowing of the sensor. So there’s no crop factor, no loss in angle of view. The camera also performs Slow and Quick (S and Q) motion from 1 to 180 fps in 1fps increments. So you can alter the narrative by selectively speeding up or slowing down the action.
Long-form programs need media that’s both reliable and affordable. As specified by the CompactFlash Association, XQD™ memory cards score big on both accounts. Reliability comes from in-camera recovery. You get very low cost per minute compared to CFast™ cards. And robust communication between the camera and the card’s controller enables read/write speeds up to a sizzling 600 Mbps.
Long-form projects shine with Sony’s XAVC™ L (Long GOP) recording system. Here’s the superior grayscale rendition of 10-bit High Definition, plus the uncompromised detail of 4:2:2 color — all at budget-friendly data rates of 50, 35 or even 25 Mbps in HD mode. You can also record on-board 4K (4096×2160) at cinema standard 24 p*, 59.94 p, 50 p, 29.97 p, 23.98 p or 25 p. Other formats include the same XAVC I (Intra) QFHD (3840 x 2160) and Full HD (1920 x 1080) recordings as Sony’s high-end F55, well-accepted MPEG HD 422, the Apple ProRes 422 codec (with XDCA-FS7 extension unit, sold separately), and even outboard RAW recording (with XDCA-FS7 and outboard recorder, sold separately).
* Requires Version 4.0 firmware or above.
Imagine more than eight hours of spectacular HD content on a single 128 GB card. The PXW-FS7 delivers with the help of the Long GOP version of Sony’s XAVC codec.
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 PXW-FS7, that mission is a success.
When it comes to image sensors, size definitely matters. Sony’s Super 35 sensor delivers “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 large sensor. Other things being equal, a bigger sensor also equates to better low-light sensitivity and lower image noise. And with bigger sensors, the field of view is wider for any given focal length lens.
With the FS7 sensor, size is just the beginning.
From freestyle skiing to water sprays to pyrotechnics, High Frame Rates underscore the beauty and drama of everyday motion. That’s why the FS7 provides continuous recording at Full HD at frame rates of up to 180fps. When you play back at 23.98 p, you’ll enjoy extraordinary Super Slow Motion of up to 7.5 x. Compared to burst mode, the continuous recording of the FS7 reduces mistimed shots and extra takes. The camera also provides Slow and Quick motion from 1fps to 180fps, in 1fps 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 240fps. This creates 10 x Super Slow Motion when played at 23.98 p.
You don’t need a matte box to get the advantages of shallow depth of field even in exterior day shoots. A built-in Neutral Density (ND) filter wheel includes positions for Clear, 1/4 (2 stops), 1/16 (4 stops), and 1/64 (6 stops).
To keep the PXW-FS7 small, light and easily hand-holdable, Sony engineers reserved some special functions for an outboard module, the XDCA-FS7 extension unit, sold separately. The unit adds powerful capabilities:
The XDCA-FS7 extension unit and a V-mount battery pack, both sold separately, form a shoulder mount configuration nicely balanced for zoom or telephoto lenses.
A handheld camera should be able to get you into tight places. To work on your lap. To move with the talent. To shoot high and low angles with equal facility. And a handheld camera should function beautifully against your chest or shoulder, comfortably steadied by your right hand. The Sony FS7 does all of this, and more. The built-in shoulder pad makes for stable shoulder-style shooting, while the curved back sits comfortably against your chest.
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, Start/Stop and a range of Assign controls, including a dial you can use to adjust Iris. So you can operate the camera without taking 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.
Another key to handheld comfort is the telescoping arm that holds the smart grip. Adjust the arm length by simply turning a knob. Another knob at the joint adjusts angle. So you can instantly adapt the arm to suit your physique and your shooting position.
Sony supplies a proper viewfinder that’s perfectly offset for right-eye or left-eye viewing with a huge range of fore-aft adjustment. Just turn a single knob to set the finder’s position. For even greater flexibility, Sony supplies a 15 mm rod mount. The viewfinder takes the form of an LCD monitor and a viewfinder extension box that easily tilts up and out of the way when you want direct viewing. Peaking, zebra and contrast controls enable easy adjustment of focus, contrast and exposure.
Sony designed the PXW-FS7 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. A pair of heat pipes draws heat away from the electrical components and into the cooling duct. The duct dissipates accumulated heat, while its sealed design prevents the entry of dust, dirt and water spray.
The FS7 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 connect and control Sony wireless microphone systems such as the UWP-D11 or UWP-D12 or attach the HVL-LBPC light*.
*Accessories sold separately. HVL-LBPC light does not draw power from FS7.
The FS7 supports 4-channel audio input. In applications such as interviews, this function enables the simultaneous use of an external microphone for recording ambient sounds, the built-in microphone for voice memos by the operator, and two optional UWP Series wireless microphones for voice of interviewer and interviewee. In addition, by the use of an optional XLR adapter XLR-K2M or XLR-K1M, which provides additional 2 XLR inputs, possible applications are further expanded.
All application images ©2015 Thierry Donard Films. Produced by Perfect Moment Entertainment for Nuit de la Glisse 2015.