The Sony FS700: General Specs, Super Slow Motion and 4K/2K RAW Recording

General Specs

The Sony FS700 is a fully professional Super 35mm digital camera that can be considered the Sony FS100's upgrade. It has pretty much the same specs as the Sony FS100 with added bonus features and improvements. To summarize, the camera has a Super 35mm CMOS sensor which captures 1920 x 1080 video at at 60p, 50p, 60i, 24p, 25p, 30p and you can use the HD-SDI to output native 23.98p and 29.97p. ISO ranges from 500 to 16000 and features dual XLRs as well as HDMI and 3G HD-SDI. It also features a 4K resolution sensor that is capable of recording 4K video with an upgrade of the camera and the use of external recorders.

Main Differences with the Sony FS100

The Sony FS700 features an ND filter wheel which the FS100 lacked. It that has 4 settings, "clear", 1/4 ND which blocks 2 stops, 1/16 ND which blocks 4 stops and 1/64 which blocks 6 stops.

New Cinegammas have been introduced with the FS700, which are closer to the F3 than the FS100. Cinegamma 4 is the one with most latitude, 12 stops or so. Cinegamma 3 about 11 stops and favors shadows.

The FS700's autofocus feature also has been improved over the FS100. It uses a new face-tracking firmware that helps keeping people in focus instead of the background or going back and forth between subjects on the foreground and background as happens many times when using autofocus.

When it comes to low light, the Sony FS700 has more megapixels (11.6 MP) so in theory it is worse in low light and should have more aliasing and moire. However it is hard to notice any difference between the FS100 and 700. You can notice more aliasing when shooting super slow motion but at normal speed and same settings, the FS100 and FS700 are pretty much interchangeable.

Finally, the Sony FS700 is a world camera that allows you to switch from NTSC to PAL in the menu which is a nice feature to have if you have international clients.

Slow Motion

The number one feature that sets this camera apart from other cameras at a similar price range is the slow motion capabilities.

Slow motion is captured in full HD up to 240fps. At higher frame rates you lose resolution. At 480fps, you are shooting at 1K. The maximum frame rate is 960fps.

To shoot slow motion you press a button marked S&Q. If you press it once you will be able to record slow motion up to 60fps. If you press it again you will enter super slow motion.

There's 3 different modes to capture super slow motion:

1) Start Trigger Mode

The Start Trigger Mode it's just the traditional way of recording, you press record and it captures what you are shooting for about 9 seconds and then it saves it to the card.

2) End Trigger Mode

In the End Trigger Mode the camera records to a buffer, it constantly records footage but it records in a limited time frame. Let's say you are waiting for a specific moment to shoot slow motion and you don't know when it is going to happen. For example you want to record an explosion but don't know when that will happen. You may very well miss it if you press the record button too late. Or you don't want to waste footage by start rolling minutes before. So, with the End Trigger Mode, instead of having to press record as fast as you can when the event starts, you press record after the event has happened and the last 9 seconds will be captured on the card. This is possible because in this mode the camera is recording continuously to a buffer as well as erasing the frames every 9 seconds. When you see something you like, you'll have about 8-9 seconds to press record...

3) Half End Trigger Mode

With this method the camera is constantly capturing images just like in the End Trigger Mode but then when you press record it only saves the last 4 and a half seconds.

4K/2K RAW Recording

The 4K recording capability has just been implemented by Sony and it works this way:

There's two options to record 4K with the Sony FS700, using the Sony interface and recorder, the HXR-IFR5 and AXS-R5 onto an Access Memory Card, or Convergent Design's Odyssey. But before you do that, you have to upgrade your camera and the upgrade costs 400$. This is waved if you buy Sony's IFR5 interface.

a) SONY Option

The IFR5 interface has a 3G HD-SDI input which produces the 4K RAW images which are then recorded into the Access Memory Card in the R5 recorder. Several frame rates are available when shooting 4K RAW and you will be able to record continuously up to 60fps to DPX format. At 4K RAW, slow motion will be possible up to 120fps in burst mode, 4 seconds at a time. When shooting 2K RAW, you will be able to record up to 240fps RAW continuously to Cinema DNG.

To summarize the Sony option:

1-60fps 4K RAW to DPX format

120fps 4K RAW burst mode (4 seconds)

240fps 2K RAW continuous to Cinema DNG

b) CONVERGENT DESIGN ODYSSEY 7Q Option

Convergent Design's Odyssey 7Q ships as a 720p monitor without recording capabilities. You can then upgrade it into a full on recorder. So, the nice thing about this option is that you will have a 4K recorder and monitor all in one device. As for recording options, the Odyssey 7Q also offers continuous 2K RAW shooting up to 240fps but the 4K recording is more limited. You can record 4K RAW up to 30fps. So, if you don't have any high speed requirements for your project but just need to shoot straight 4K, the Odyssey 7Q will definitely do the job.