Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sony NEX-FS700 Pre-NAB Chat

Yesterday Sony Europe held a chat on Facebook covering the three cameras they have announced for NAB, including the NEX-FS700. You can review the chat log here, but I've assembled the discussion of the NEX-FS700 into a more coherent - and readable - format below:

Alvaro Ortiz, Kanta Yamamoto, Dave Stannard from Sony and Den Lennie of F-Stop Academy are on hand to answer your questions!

Q: I have just bought the FS100, will sony be offering a trade in on for the FS100 when the fs700 arrives?? The FS700 addresses several issues that I have with the FS100. will Sony be able to help with thus upgrading??

Den: The FS700 is not an upgrade from FS100 it's priced at a different level so is designed to compliment rather than replace the FS100. There are times ie in my studio where Fs100 is great and FS700 would be overkill.

Dave Stannard: As Den said the NEX-FS700 addresses a different market segment on both pricing and feature set. At this point in time there is no plan for a trade in. The NEX-FS100 is still a fantastic camcorder for many applications!

Q: Have Sony a finally date to public release in Europe? and a more correct price? 

Alvaro: So far, release date is for the end of June. We cannot confirm more accurate prices with the information we have right now.

Dave Stannard: Pricing is tentative at this stage (so may be subject to change) but our tentative NEX-FS700EK list price is currently €8,800, NEX-FS700E is €8,100

Alvaro: The date of availability will be End of June 2012. So less than 2 months.
Price for FS700E is currently €8100, while for FS700EK (with lens) it's 8800.

Q: I have the EX3 and was wondering if it uses the same batteries/cards etc..?

Dave Stannard: The FS700E use NP-F series batteries - same as the NX5E or Z5E

Alvaro:  Batteries are different (F-type) and cards will be Memory Stick or SD/SDHC/SDXC, that you can also use on your EX3 through a MEAD-SD01 adapter

Q: What functions in the menu about the picture style... gamma contrast etc.. ?

Den: There are brand new Cine Gamma's on FS700 they are fantastic and we felt that we were getting even more dynamic range than expected. FS100 is 11.5 stops and it's amazing, the FS700 appears to go further but as yet we've not tested scientifically. We were able to pull back highlight detail from shot of birds on River at opening of Launch film. We were shooting directly into the sun..

Kanta: The FS700E has PictureProfile and you can control Gamma, Knee, Colurt, Details and more. It is almost same as FS100E.

Q: Curious about the "reduced" resolution for 960fps and how long is the record time. Also, is there line skipping with the 480fps? What is the image quality tradeoff for those modes? 

Alvaro: When working at Full HD 24p, if you want to keep Full HD resolution, you can reach up to 240 fps. For higher frame rates, resolution is lower than FullHD: 1920X432 at 480 fps during 9 seconds, 1920x216 at 960 fps during 19 seconds

Q: When is the 4K recording option due to be released?

Kanta: For 4K recorder, we haven't decide the details of the external recorder including its release data. We will listen to the market feedback then decide.

Alvaro: 4k will not be available at the launching time (End of June). That's one of the reasons why we called it "4k-ready". We cannot provide more information about the future firmware upgrade, sorry.

Q: Is there still a (albeit 1 frame a second like with the FS100) option to record timelapse internally?

Den:  You can shoot 1 fps as in opening shot of launch film

Q: Is the dynamic range of the new sensor improved over the fs100's? How many stops? And are there log type gamma curves, compareable to c-log or at least the technicolor cinestyle for the 5d available?

Kanta: We don't disclose the dynamic range specs but the sensor was purely developped for professional motion picture. The picture quality is like what Den created in the sample footage.

Den: We have not had a chance to test dynamic range, FS100 we did recently and it cane out around 11.5 stops. FS700 felt like a little more. Frank Glencairn has been playing with cine gammas. The cine gammas give a log like picture profile.

Kanta:  FS700E doesn't have Log type gamma but we can find user's favourite PictureProfile settings on the web, which gives you Log like image.

Q: Can I use Canon EF lenses on the FS700 ? Has Sony tested the Metabones adaptor yet ?

Alvaro: Sony cannot guarantee that every lens adaptor will work properly. Despite this, many third-party manufacturers have had access to E-mount diagrams, in order to develop many lens rings.
As of today, dozens of adapters for up to 35 lens systems can be attached to E-mount, and, of course, Canon EF lenses can be used on both NEX-FS700, FS100 and even VG10 or VG20
Face detection is a feature that doesn't depend directly on the lens (unless it's a very bad quality, so that everything is blurry, as an example), but on the camera. So, it's kinda independent of the lens.
And almost every kind of lens can be used over E-mount, so there should not be any problem on using Nikon lenses for face detection

Den: I have camera in front of me and just tested metabones on EF 13-35 and works no problem

Q: How will the latitude of the FS 700 compare to very high end cameras, such as the Epic and Alexa? Is it comparable to these cameras at all?

Kanta: For the latitude, we don't disclose the official spec but the sensor was purely developped for professional motion picture with 4K capabiluty. The picture is realy nice as you can see in the sample footage.

Den: Sorry but trying to compare Alex to FS700 is crazy. totally different machines. However at recent Revenge of great camera shootout, Rodney Charters ASC walked into grade and we had FS100 split screen with Alexa and he couldn't tell them apart

Q: What data rate is the FS 100 capable of? Is it 50mbs?

Alvaro: Maximum bandwidth of the AVCHD codec on both NEX-FS700 and NEX-FS100 is 28 Mbps (1920x1080/50p, 60p), as it's AVCHD 2.0 (also on HXR-NX70 and HXR-NX30). Higher recording quality can be reached through HDMI (FS100) / HDMI and SDI outputs (FS700)

Q: Is the output from the SDI/HDMI 8 or 10 bit, and is it limited to 4:2:2? Is there any drop in quality/heavier compression vs 1080p 25p when recording 1080p 200/240 fps?

Kanta: The FS700 can give your 4:2:2 8bit. And no picture degradation at Super Slow-mo at 240 fps. Faster scanning, you will see degraded image but it is good for analysing motion or Standard Definition video.

Q: Will S-log ever be offered as an upgrade to the FS-700? If not are there other picture profiles that are shared between F3, FS100 and FS700?

Kanta: For S-log type mode, FS700 doesn't have it but it has a preset for F3 users to match the colour. For log, you can find PictureProfiles of customers on the web such as "G-Log".

Q: Is there any chance of a crop sensor mode? I'd like the ability to have increased apparent focal length for event situations where the camera can not be close to the subject.

Kanta: there is no cropping mode.

Q: Any plans for a Sony lens with powered zoom? I know F3 has zoom rocker switch.

Alvaro:  As you could see on some photos, zoom rocker has been incorporated on the hand grip. It will have a future usage. E-mount allows data interchange between lens and camera

Q: Will the fs700 have the same 'type' of plastic body. I appreciate to fit such amazing imageing into the price range there must be fall backs (the plastic body and less then amazing buttons) but will the fs700 be an improvemnet so i can be happy taking my fs700 out of the bubble wrap! :)

Dave Stannard:  The FS700E will feature an enhanced ergonomic design and a robust chassis - bubble wrap not required!

Alvaro: Despite I couldn't have the chance to have it on my own hands, FS700 will be very similar to FS100 in aesthetical terms. We haven't had any report about broken chassis nor malfunctioning buttons.
We need to keep that design in order to preserve low weight, agility and affordability
Regarding the iris and shutter, many users are working with non-Emount lenses, so it mainly depends on the adaptor ring you're using. For instance, at IBC, MTF showed us a couple of remotely-operated rings for FS100 and F3 in which EF lenses could be operated

Den: I don't really get this obsession with the build quality. It has a magnesium alloy frame, and Robin Schmidt has thrown his FS100 around in all conditions and it hasn't broken so I think too much is made of plastic build quality. It hasn't caused me any problems whatsoever in real world shooting. You can see more here:

Mick Jones : As far as build quality. I also had the FS100 put into lots of trying situations such as an external car mount for a 4WD mitsubishi commercial driving it off road and through mud... it held up fine.

Robin Schmidt : Yes indeed, I've hammered mine all over the place, in choppers, on beaches, attached to cars and all over the gaff, it's been brilliant.

Den: there are obsessions with the 'what a camera doesn't and it does irritate me yes. I've been shooting over 20 years and no camera is ever perfect but when I see the tools that are now available it blows my mind over even 3 years ago. So when I experience repeated comments outside of this discussion about 'build quality ' it irritates me. As I mentioned I have several friends shooting in extreme environments all the time without problems. I throw it around - no problems. I'd rather discuss the awesome functions at your fingertips in a camera that costs the same as an EX-3 did 3 years ago. We have never had this much power in a camcorder , super 35mm, 200fps at 1080, ND filters, HD -SDI, stills mode and 4K ready....its incredible.

Q: Will there be an option for a better remote? im thinking only iris and shutter but they would be a huge benefit to have on a remote?

Kanta: For the remote, the FS700E has LANC compatible remote connector. The contorable functions are up to lenses. E-mount lens, you can cotrol focus.

Q: Should I be aware of overheating if using the 240fps slow mo feature regularly throughout a shoot in a hot climate, and does the FS700 feature a fan?

Kanta: No worries. No over heating. But please use it in 0 to 40 degree temperature.

Q: Does the FS700 Have a waveform/vectorscope option as well as the histogram?

Alvaro: So far, just histogram will be available on the LCD VF

Q: Is the data rate of the FS700 50mbs - ie - will it be capable of BBC HD broadcast?

Dave Stannard: The data rate of the FS700E is 28Mbps @ the highest quality. For many of the target users this is no problem. If you need to record at 50Mbps (or higher) you can use one of the many 3rd party recorders on the market

Q: Does either hdmi or sdi allow for external recording of the high frame rates? I know 60p works, but what about 240/480/960fps? Can an external recorder handle that data or is that only possible with the internal cards?

Alvaro: Bear in mind that recording times at slo-mo are limited (I can tell them to you). So, outputs will not be real-time during that slo-mo shooting

Den: I've tested Atomos Samurai and what happens is that when the Super slow mo buffers then writes to card, you can also write those files to Samurai simultaneously

Kanta: Slow-mo is recorded only on memory card in AVCHD but as Den said, you can get normal speed while slow-mo is cached. You can have both slomow on card and real-time image on an ext recorder.

Q: When using something like G-Log and recording that over HDSDI to a recorder, is it possible to apply a LUT or a different Picture Profile to the HDMI out for monitoring?

Kanta: G-log is log "like" flat setting. There is no LUT function on FS700E.

Q: Can the histogram be seen on an external monitor?

Alvaro: There's no dedicated output for histogram, but you can, for instance, use SDI output for recording, and HDMI/EVF for monitoring. And you can superimpose menus/status on the outputs

Q: With the faster readout for slow motion, does this mean rolling shutter is reduced from the FS100?

Alvaro: NEX-FS700 and NEX-FS100, though having both Super35 sensor, have a different imager. We couldn't provide accurate figures about rolling shutter,

Q: When slowmo is stored in the buffer: is it still 'raw sensor data' or is it already compressed? (This is a reply to the Samurai anwser that it writes to recorder when it writes to memorycard from the buffer)

Kanta: The cached slow-mo is compressed by AVCHD and recorded on memory card. While caching, FS700E can give you normal speed output from SDI/HDMI.

Q: Does that mean you can have menus showing on the HDMI and not the SDI?? That would be fantastic

Alvaro: Sorry, I couldn't test it by myself, so I'm not sure if different signals could be driven to different outputs (superimposed to HDMI, clean signal to SDI). Sorry for that; maybe Den can help us...

Q: Is it possible to take a still image while the FS700 is filming?

Den: Yes it is but you will lose live action while image is taken.

Alvaro: You could even select a frame from a recording and convert it into a photo still image, but you cannot capture still images while recording video.

Den: you get the audio recorded under the still image so the still is just laid don on the file

Q: The FS100 isn't quite a full 1080 lines of resolution, but with the new 4K downres have you noticed the FS700 is closer to that or a full 1080?

Kanta: for the resolution, FS700E could have the better resolution than FS100 theortically but I cannnot be sure because it was still prototype.

Q: I've seen the demo video and the new cinegammas look great but does the larger sensor mean there are any other differences in picture quality compared to the FS100?

Alvaro: Sensor on FS700 isn't actually larger than FS100's. Both are Super35 mm sensors. Size is the same. Resolution is different (FS700's is called "4k ready", as it is capable of outputting 4k video images natively)

Kanta: Because the sensor is different there are some differences. But the images from FS700E was just excellent. Great resolution, rich colour. It was a prototype. Our engineer will try to fine-tune by the shipment.

Q: Will the Cinegammas also be available for other cameras such as the EX1R or PMW500 so they can be used on the same productions side by side?

Kanta: The PictureProfile data is dedicated to FS700E. It is not possible to copy to other type cameras.

Alvaro: Apart from Kanta's comment, please bear in mind that you can store/copy picture profiles: you can have up to 99 picture profiles in the same card, for different situations. But you can also copy a picture profile from 1 camera to another, so that you don't need to adjust each camera independently, and, so, it's much more cost-efficient. This feature will be available for NEX-FS100 soon, also (with new free-of-cost firmware upgrade)

Q: Will the camera support recording to SSD drives? (internally)

Alvaro: Yes; in fact, the recording device HXR-FMU128 can be smoothly attached to the right side of the chassis for NEX-FS700, in order to provide up to 128 GB storage

Q: Does it have to be a Sony SSD or can it be Kingston, Samsung, Etc.?

Alvaro: It's just Sony's. It's a reference that is designed to fit in NEX-FS100, HXR-NX5 and NEX-FS700's bodies. It's not just an HDD that you can insert on a slot

Q: How is low light performance? And how is the noise at higher iso? (I don't expect it to be as clean as a F3 or C300, but can you say anything about it?)

Den: if you watch the launch film and note Gavins comments about shooting in candle light at native ISO he was very pleased with lack of noise

Alvaro: Den will be the man to reply, according to his own experiences. But low light performance on NEX-FS100 was really nice... it had THE SAME sensor as F3! In this case, sensor is not the same, but similar. While not getting into high resolutions (photo sensors), low light performance is expected to be nice. Are you used to work with DSLRs for recording video?

Kanta: The FS700 can have ISO500. It is very clean at low light.

Alvaro: One of the most typical discussions we use to have about DSLRs usage is that most of the people are looking for shallow DoF, but they finally realize that sensor resolution is also a bottleneck. The higher resolution, the more problems you could face: as pixel size is smaller, more noise is captured. As resolution is higher than FullHD, interpolation is needed. As more information needs to be outputted from sensor, more time it takes to output it, and more rolling shutter is experienced... so resolution is a VERY important parameter to be aware of when looking for a shallow DoF, as it can generete more problems than the ones it can solve (basicall DoF)

Q: I understand that the profile is for the FS700, but will you offer additional profiles for your other cameras that attempt to match the new standard cine gammas? Many productions want to use cameras like the FS700 for b-roll in quick turn around edits to cut into EX1R or PMW500 etc. I find the F3 hard to cut against the EX1 for colour (obviously not DOF).

Kanta: For your reference, the FS100 is using the same sensor as F3. It is very clean. The FS700E is similar to the FS100. You can imagine the image.

Alvaro: Normally, we use to receive feedback from users that use to publish different configurations, profiles, adjustments... in order to match different types of cameras. But also bear in mind that video recording space of color (it's just to set an example), is not the same as on a cinema-oriented camera. EX1, EX3, 500.. are much more video-looking picture cameras than F3, F65, F35, FS100, FS700... which are cinema or cinema-looking picture cameras. To sum up, that's usually developed by users.

Kanta:  The preset will have F3 colour but you can freely change the settings to match the colour and save the setting on a card to copy or recall. Or you can copy anothr FS700E user's settings if he/she has it.

Q: How does the F700 sensor work? is its bayer shift? does it sample for every RGB pixel or does is interpolate?

Kanta: For the sensor spec and technology, we don't disclose it.

Q: Is it true that I can touch the screen to change focus between objects..or kinda?

Kanta: for Sony E-mount lenses, yes.  You can set A point and B poin in advance. Then FS700E can change the focus position from A to B (or vice versa) smoothly. It is one of the advantages when using Sony E-mount lens.

Q: Are the menus and camera settings identical to the FS100?

Alvaro: The menus will be similar. Obviously, they cannot be identical: as an example, on FS100 you don't have SDI output. But the menu structure keeps very similar

Den: yes mate menus layout is identical to FS100 with some added sub menus ie super slow mo. You can set rate and how to short cut access. In addition you can select start trigger, end trigger or somewhere in between

Q: Would this camera be suitable for event videography?

Alvaro: As many other things... it depends. Obviously, if you're going to capture "reality", it's way easier to do it on a video camera, as video sensors use to be smaller, and, so, DoF is bigger, so you have more "reality" focused, without loss of information. The opposite case is "fiction": on a controlled environment, you can use focus as a dramatic tool, not capturing "everything" that happens in front of the camera. So, for fictional/dramatic purposes, a big sensor is preferred. Despite all this weird explanation, we have noticed that videographers use to use their cameras for "anything", and that shallow DoF is a wanted "effect" very likely to appear in any production... even in nature documentaries! (seen by myself).

Q: Is the FS700 compatible with Final Cut Pro?

Den:  I've been cutting with DCP X an its seamless. James who cut launch film has been using FCP7 with no problems. AVC HD is a great codec

Kanta: Yes because of AVCHD. But the 1080/50p/60p, the FCP itself hasn't support yet. Sony cannnot make comment other company's product development.

Q: With only one HDMI output would you need a splitter to use external monitors and how would it be possible?

Den: you have HDMI and HD-SDI we used Zacuto EVF on HDMI Looped through to external monitor and HD-SDI was used to Samurai

Q: Was the promo video shot entirely on FS700? I mean, even the interviews?

Den: Interviews were shot on FS100


CERAC said...

Will the Atomos Ninja work fine with this or do I need to go to the Samurai?

Michael Murie said...

It has both HDMI and HD-SDI ports, so it should work with either device (in theory; nothing is definite until it's tested and confirmed!)

That'll be for HD only. How ever they do the 4K implementation, I don't think one of these devices - as currently available - will be able to record the 4K output.

Pedro J. Rocca P. said...

Great interview. .... I hope the fs700 really stay under the 8500k....