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.
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.
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.
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.
All application images ©2015 Thierry Donard Films. Produced by Perfect Moment Entertainment for Nuit de la Glisse 2015.