Sony has just announced the newest member to the XDCAM family, the PXW-FS7, and we were able to stop by Sony’s IBC booth to get a closer look. Expected to ship this October, the FS7 is an E-mount Super 35 camera that records to XQD cards. It has been designed with ergonomics in mind, featuring a small profile and form factor that lends itself to vérité-style shooting.
The rounded back end means the camera can sit against your chest or on top of your shoulder, and the adjustable viewfinder is positioned in an ideal location for shoulder use. A smart grip comes mounted on an extension arm for various shooting positions and includes a zoom rocker, iris dial, navigation joystick, start/stop, and several assignable buttons. The handgrip uses a standard Arri rosette, and can be rotated via a quick release knob, or folded for transport.
Switches for camera settings are placed in familiar and comfortable locations, with adjustments for exposure control, audio levels, viewfinder tools, etc. at the operator’s fingertips. A built-in ND filter is certainly appreciated for those shots requiring shallow depth of field, considering the camera’s base sensitivity of 2000 ISO. Naturally, the FS7 includes S-Log3 and S-Gamut3.Cine support, allowing you to take advantage of the sensor’s capabilities.
The FS7 will record up to 60fps in UHD resolution (3840×2160) using XAVC, but also has XAVC-L (long GOP, 4:2:0 8-bit) for instances where record time is paramount. In HD XAVC, XAVC-L, or MPEG2, you can also record to both XQD cards simultaneously via a new parallel recording mode. Over-cranking (S&Q) up to 180fps in HD is supported using XAVC. The optional XDCA-FS7 extension unit (due in December) includes a ProRes encoder, which enables ProRes HQ and ProRes 4:2:2 recording (HD only, up to 29.97p) to the XQD cards.
While the camera has two SDI (HD 4:2:2 10-bit) and a single HDMI (up to 4K 60p) output, the XDCA-FS7 adds several outputs and additional features. The extension unit attaches directly to the rear of the FS7 and adds Raw output (via BNC), timecode in or out, genlock in, reference out, Hirose 4-pin 12v out, and the option to power the system via V-mount batteries or 4-pin XLR. Without the extension unit, the camera utilizes the same BP-style batteries found on the other XDCAM cameras.
Much like the NEX-FS700, Sony 4K Raw (4096×2160) can be output via the Raw port to the Sony HXR-IFR5 and AXS-R5 recorder, or to the Convergent Design Odyssey7Q (optional Sony Raw license required). With the Raw recorder, you can capture 4K or UHD Raw up to 60fps and 2K Raw up to 240fps. While recording 2K or 4K Sony Raw, you can also record HD files to the XQD cards, which is great for offline editing or as proxy files.
The FS7 can fill numerous roles, but with additional E-mount servo zoom lenses (including a 28-135mm f/4 and 18-105mm f/4) on the horizon it’s apparent that Sony has the documentary shooter in mind.
For more information on the new FS7, make sure to check out Sony’s product page and their official launch video. They’ve also released three minutes of footage shot with the camera, along with an interesting behind the scenes look with Den Lennie.