Illya Friedman at Hot Rod Cameras recently lent a pre-release Sony FS700 to several members of this forum. Fortunately, I was one of them. Here's what I was able to come up with:
Some thoughts about the camera:
The FS700 is fairly small when all of the accessories are removed. The on-camera LCD is quite viewable in direct sunlight (I had the brightness turned all the way up). Illya had one of his PL mounts installed, so we needed to keep the base/rods connected since the mount is supported by the rods. It was still light enough to fit on a cheap steadicam even with the PL adapter, rods and Zeiss CP.2 100mm attached (max 10 lbs for this particular arm/spring combo).
I shot at the lowest ISO, 400. I used the "CINE 1" gamma, if I recall correctly. It wasn't the flattest, but considering the max AVC bitrate is supposedly 28 mbit/sec I didn't want the image too flat. I think the bitrate at 23.976fps came in at around 22-23 mbit/sec. Not too much, but I feel I was able to make it work. I transcoded all the footage with 5DtoRGB before cutting in Premiere CS6.
There's some roto/tracking in the video for clean-up. I primarily used AE, but had to use Mocha (AE bundled version) for a shot or two. VFX shots were transcoded to DPX with 5DtoRGB. The point tracker in AE was all over the place with some of the stuff because of the noise/compression, but for the most part everything worked out fine.
I was expecting a mess in color correction, but it actually wasn't too bad. As you can see from the video, the grade is fairly heavy. On a few shots, I tried adding a window to part of the background to bring it up but had to remove it because noise was a problem. You could clearly see where the window was because of the increased noise. Oh well, I was warned this wasn't the final version of the camera and to expect extra noise. I didn't think the noise was any worse than any other AVC camera at ISO 400, to be honest.
And of course, 240 fps is nice. It may be possible to do 300 fps when shooting 29.97 (then conforming to 23.976), but I didn't try it. The camera actually writes a 23.976 file when shooting high speed. I assume it buffers 10 seconds internally and then compresses/writes after as 23.976 AVC to the card. It's a little laggy when it writes (bringing the shoot to a halt), but hey, it's 240 fps.
Overall, I'm damn impressed. If anyone has the opportunity to shoot with one, do it.
And then go buy one.
Here's a vid I shot with the FS700. I dig this camera.
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