Sony is expanding its Super 35mm FS series with the new FS7 II camcorder. The latest model builds on the original FS7’s strengths by adding advanced features including Electronic Variable ND technology, a lever-lock E-mount and a new mechanical design for faster and easier set-up. The new FS7 II camcorder supports Sony’s α Mount system, which includes more than 70 lenses to suit every budget and requirement.
While Sony’s FS7 it remains in the professional camcorder line-up, the new FS7 II will equip creative professionals with a broader range of creative tools and features that Sony derived from actively listening to end users’ feedback. Designed for long-form shooting and production applications, the new FS7 II camcorder is extremely suitable for documentaries and independent filmmaking.
Here is a rundown of the key new features of the FS7 II:
Electronic Variable ND Technology
Sony’s FS7 II camcorder’s Electronic Variable ND filter system, combined with its large sensor, delivers greater exposure control with the option of preset or variable operation modes. Variable ND mode (clear + 2~7 stop range, in seamless transition steps up to 1/128) allows users to adjust the density of the ND filter during shooting and achieve seamless transition between steps.
The camcorder’s expanded ND operations enable fine exposure adjustment by relegating iris to set depth of field, preventing soft focus caused by diffraction and color shift caused by stacking multiple external ND filters.
The camcorder can compensate for exposure fluctuation caused by iris control while adjusting the depth of field. Users can adjust exposure while keeping the same bokeh in changing shooting or lighting environments.
Preset mode allows users to assign three ND settings to the filter turret, which is extremely useful, for example, in selecting the most appropriate filtration range for changing light conditions. Auto ND mode is also available, allowing exposure to stay at a fixed level while adjusting the depth of field with iris control.
E-mount (lever lock type) for Professional Shooting
With the new E-mount (lever lock type), Sony’s FS7 II allows the change of lenses by rotating the locking collar rather than the lens itself. Therefore, users can save considerable amount of time during production as they do not need to remove the lens support rigs.
Mechanical Design Enhancements
Like its counterparts in the FS series family – the FS7 and FS5 models – the new FS7 II features several design and ergonomic updates for comfortable and functional use in the field. The FS7 II’s “tool-less” mechanical design allows users to make on-the-fly changes to the camcorder’s set-up and operation. For example, no tools are required to adjust the Smart Grip or viewfinder positions.
The viewfinder eyepiece provides a third stabilizing contact point during handheld shooting. Durable square section rods and lever-clamps on the LCD and camera body provide simple and precise front-to-back VF adjustment while retaining level positioning.
New 18-110mm Sony G lens
Sony is also introducing a new E-mount, Super 35mm lens specifically designed for documentary and motion picture production.
The new lens, model E PZ 18-110mm F4 G OSS (SELP18110G), covers Super 35mm and APSC sensors. Compact and lightweight (1.1Kg) with an 18 to 110 focal range (6x zoom), the new lens uses a new fully mechanical/servo zoom switchable system, capable of snap zooms and entirely devoid of lag. The focal range is also optimized for Super 35 and APS-C sensors.
The lens is compatible with Sony’s α Mount system cameras, including the α7 series interchangeable-lens cameras and professional Super 35mm 4K camcorders such as Sony’s FS7 or FS5. Although perfectly suited for still image taking, filmmakers will fully appreciate the lens’ extended creative capabilities for shooting motion images.
The lens benefits from Sony’s Smooth Motion Optics (SMO) design, developed to optimize performance during motion image capture. The lens design eliminates undesirable characteristics and artifacts that do not affect still image taking, but can severely limit a lens’ usefulness for motion shooting, such as:
- Ramping: F stop gradually diminishes when zooming tight.
- Not holding focus while zooming.
- Breathing (angle of view variation while focusing).
- Optical axis shift (image moves in the frame while zooming).
The FS7 II supports the XQD memory card format, designed for capturing and transferring high bandwidth, high resolution files. Sony’s latest XQD card, QD-G256E – with an industry-first 256 GB capacity – enables recording time of approximately 45 minutes at 4K 60P and 3.5 hours at 2K 30P. Combined with a read speed of 440MB/s and write speed 400MB/s, users can shoot for longer without the need to change media cards.
The new FS7 II is planned to be available from January 2017 onwards
 Due to a change in the specifications, the SELP18110G is not compatible with the SEL14TC and SEL20TC teleconverters.