Sony's new PXW-FS7 ii
No sooner than I post a long term review about Sony's original FS7 camera, than they go and release a mark ii version. And it's almost as if a Sony engineers had read my blog, as most of my suggestions for improvements have been made! There are already plenty of in depth articles about the camera ready around on the internet, so I won;t go too in depth here. For a more detailed look at what the camera offers, I thoroughly recommend reading Alister Chapman's excellent write up on his blog : http://www.xdcam-user.com/2016/11/pxw-fs7-mkii-new-camera-that-does-not-replace-the-fs7/
But if you want a quick lowdown on the new camera, here's my 'FS7ii need to know' list;
- Same sensor as the original FS7. Which keeps the original one current for a while longer, as they will produce the same image. They use the same cards, same video codec, and the same frame rates and resolutions.
- Body shape and design very similar to the original. The FS7 ii takes the same BPU batteries and XQD cards, and is compatible with Sony's Raw recorder. So great for when owner operators want to upgrade.
- Operational improvements to the body- such as revisions to the arm and body of the camera, really make this into a solid, great to use cinematic documentary camera.
- New lever lock E mount system for mounting lenses and adapters. This is a much more stable mount system, and capable of supporting heavy lenses - but it's still an E mount, so works with existing mounts and lenses too.
- New Vari-ND. Allows ininfite adjustment of the ND strength. Very useful feature, first used on the FS5 camera. Also will allow exposure changes during shot, even with canon lenses with a stepped iris. This technology is very smart, and i can see all cameras using this tech in the future.
- Is it worth it? The FS7ii sells for £10,000 including Vat, the original sells new for around £7,600 inc vat. Whether it's worth the extra for the improvements, really depends on the type of shooting you do. Are the new features worth paying an extra £2400 for? I can see a lot of hire houses selling their FS7's for the FS7ii, and a lot of 2nd hand original FS7's falling into the happy hands of owner / operators or production companies.
Overall, i think this is a good move for Sony. It echoes what I discussed in my FS7 long term review - camera technology has slightly plateaued, but I don't see this as a bad thing. For the industry, this adds some stability, and makes life simpler for producers - with no differences to the footage itself, they can still comfortably book an original or an FS7ii. This new camera fits well in Sony's line up, and does so without making previous technology obsolete. When you get it right the first time then sometimes theres no need for a dramatic change, and an evolutionary rather than revolutionary step can be the way forward.