First shoot with the Sony FS7

So NOW I’ve shot 2 days in real production with the FS7. After going through 4 x128GB XQD cards I have one word that comes to mind, Impressed.
I am one of those very picky DPs always having things I wish was better and more thought out as far as user friendliness goes. With the FS7 this really is minor stuff.
With the same sensor as the Sony F5, with Slog 3 (slog2 is coming) XAVC, 10 bit internal recording in 422 picture quality is what we’d expect. It really is an F5 in a slimmer package. The body is a magnesium chassi with dust and drip sealed buttons add connectors.
The air vent is kept separate for the internal components so not to get dust and liquids inside.
Handholding (which is what I shot 2 days straight) is superb. I can go all day long. We added the XDCA-FS7 extension back which adds TC in/out (switchable connector), Genoock in, RAW out, 12V hirose out, and 4pin XLR DC in. The back also allowed us to use V-lock batteries which balances the unit nicely. In a free firmware upgrade in the beginning of 2015 the hardware inside the unit will also add proRes recordings to the XQD cards. I would say this unit is also Almost a must to get good balance for handholding.
Since the camera only pulls 19W I went all day on one V-lock battery.
Controls are great and the handle out front works like a charm. 3 assign buttons, rec, zooms rocker (for the 28-135 f4) and a button to rotate the handle. It really makes for easy comfortable handholding.
The viewfinder is sharp and with the use of normal peaking at proper levels I had absolutely non problem pulling focus.
The dual XQD cards worked well and made for quick and easy offload. An SD slot makes for easy setup by saving setup files and adding LUTs etc.
We shot using Canon stills glass and Metabones adapter.

Positive positive positive. Are there any negatives. Yes but very few and pretty minor in most cases.
*Only 2 channels of audio input.
*The handle arm only swings one way and when you need to set the camera on the ground, which I did 20-30 times a day it sort of lays sideways on the ground. This unless you swing the arm all the way back and angle the handle EVERY time.
*The loupe is in the large-ish side. Works great though.
* The E mount seemed sturdy enough for the glass we used but will most likely need support for heavier lenses. Nothing new to most of us.

I am so impressed with the FS7. Sony has opened up to a whole new customer base as well with the price point of this camera. Is the f55 still a winner. Yes of course with global shutter, more options and connections but at a whole other price range. The 2000 orders in Europe and 1500 in the States must say something. 🙂

Disclaimer: No one asked me to write this post, nor have I got payed to express any positive opinions about how the FS7. Although I am a Sony ICE I am free to say anything I want and I am not employed by Sony.

GoPro Hero3+ for still shooters?

I am wondering how many still shooters are using the GoPro Hero line of cameras. I can think of many great potential uses for them, especially since the introduction of 4K.

At 15 frames/s in 4K resolution being able to pull 8MP stills should easily work for action/sports/news photography. Yes at its widest it is fish eye looking but when that doesn’t work you can use other modes with less distortion. Think of mounting the camera in a hockey goal for example, and have 15fr/s continuously, in 8MP.
Before you send lecturing emails 🙂 explaining you need at least 1/500 shutter to freeze the action just consider the possibility. It may not work now but perhaps the next version GoPro Hero 4 will allow for faster shutter speed with increased sensitivity.
Is there anyone using GoPro cameras for news/sport stills work today?? Please chime in.

Big Sony update F5/F55

Today Sony released a major update to the F5/F55 line including the AXS-R5 raw recorder. This, free of charge, 2.0 firmware upgrade includes 30+ features longed for by most who’ve used the cameras.

HFR in both Raw and XAVC as well as waveform histogram and false color!

Great news and well done Sony for keeping on schedule with the upgrades!

Full details on

http://community.sony.com/t5/F5-F55/NEW-Firmware-release-Version-2-0/td-p/195623

RAW on Canon 5D mkiii?

The folks over at Magic Lantern seem to have done it again.  They’ve managed to write a “hack” which allows for RAW  video to be saved to the card, bypassing the H264 compression giving sharper images with more dynamic range.  I can’t figure out if Canon likes this or thinks it may infringe on C100, C300, C500, 1Dc sales…

Here are a couple of articles explaining some of this.

http://www.eoshd.com/content/10324/big-news-hands-on-with-continuous-raw-recording-on-canon-5d-mark-iii

http://blog.planet5d.com/

Handheld and on-board monitor

ESC_onboard1

My current project is a handheld project, simple as that. I would say 85% of this documentary is handheld. We are running around, literally, and light is changing from room to room and color is a constant change. The Sony XDCam PDW-700 has really great in-camera paint options, but in order to get the colors close enough a monitor is a must.

Since it is so much handheld work I decided to move my on-board monitor (which is usually located on the top handle) up front and down low to allow me to have a constant view of it.

I started with the Alphatron viewfinder, removed the eye piece and just used the monitor. This was great small solution color was ok. But the alphatron is missing a thing I really wanted, a waveform monitor or histogram.

ESC_onboard2

So…

I decided to go with the trusted 5′ TV-logic. It is a little bit bigger but the quality screen and waveform monitor makes it worth the trouble.

ESC_onboard3

This is something I will definitely do again if a true run n’ gun situation comes up.

Disclaimer: No connection to either TV-logic nor Alphatron.20130512-145911.jpg

External DC power Canon 1Dc

Yesterday I heard of something I’ve been wanting ever since I got my Canon 1Dc, a way to power it off our big V-lock batteries.

Well Letus has come up with a great solution with a industry standard D-tap plug which runs into a mock battery fitting into the 1Dc. Pretty sweet setup.  I am assuming that since the 1Dx uses the same battery this solution would also work for the 1 Dx.
Today I heard its passing final testing and the product should be ready to ship soon. Cost is in the $150 range.

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Update: Here is a link to Letus website

Disclaimer: No connection to Letus.

BMG 4K camera

Wow. What is going on at NAB this year. BlackMagic design has done it, again. 4K at $4k! They’ve released a 4K , super35mm sensor, global shutter, with internal Prores and Lossless DNG raw camera for $4000!! How is that even possible… Makes you wonder how pricing is set with the other manufacturers…
Can’t wait to see images come out if this camera, but if its half as good as you’d wish it is still a lot of camera for $4k.
It is set be released in end of July, but lets wait and see, since people are still waiting to get there BMDC camera that’s was announced last year…

http://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/blackmagicproductioncamera4k