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Old July 17th, 2012, 06:39 AM   #1
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Other competitors to the Sony NEX-FS700?

Hi---general question here...our university division is looking to purchase several new video cameras, and a few of the producers have gotten stuck on the Sony NEX-FS700...to the point where listening to them, you'd think this was the only camera in the under $10K price range worth getting.

I admit from what I've read about it (and the sample footage online) the Sony looks pretty awesome...but is The NEX-FS700 really the only interchangeable lens camera in this price range that's worth looking at right now? (Is it way ahead of the competition?) Given how the big manufacturers typically stay neck-and-neck with new cameras, it's hard to believe Canon, Panasonic, JVC, etc. haven't introduced cameras that are comparable to this Sony.

Features on the NEX that our producers are drooling over include compatibility (with an adapter) with our existing Canon DSLR lenses...the high frame-rates for slow-motion...and built-in ND filters. Beyond those three features, I'm not seeing what else about the Sony stands out?

Opinions wanted!

Thanks,
Scott
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Old July 17th, 2012, 07:06 AM   #2
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Re: Other competitors to the Sony NEX-FS700?

The ND filters and the high frame rates are improvements over the FS100. If you have ND filters covered via a matte box or lens filter attachment and don't need high frame rates the FS100 is an excellent camera and will cost about half of a FS700.

I used an AF100 for a bit and the ergonomics are much better than the Sony NX cameras but that is the only positive thing I can say about it. I just didn't like it otherwise.

In the under $10k arena it is hard to justify something other than a FS100 or FS700.

I made my choice and purchased a FS700. I am quite satisfied with the camera.
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Old July 17th, 2012, 07:54 AM   #3
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Re: Other competitors to the Sony NEX-FS700?

Thanks Chris. I realized after posting that my thread is a somewhat lazy one (apologies). I'm just extraordinarily busy and don't have the time I used to for searching through hundreds of forum posts to get everyone's takes on alternate cameras.

One question I'm wondering (after a bit of searching) regards the PMW-F3 versus the NEX-FS700. I know the F3 is twice the cost (or more)...but is it twice the quality? (And yes, it lacks the high frame rates.)

My biggest concern for our division is that I want us to retain top-quality ENG run-and-gun capability as well as top-quality indoor/studio/sit-down interview capabilities. Some in our shop have the idea that if you're going to do a demanding shoot in the field (for example, shooting stream researchers in an Appalachian mountain wilderness) then it's "ok" to downgrade your expectations and use a cheaper camera (the logic being that in a wilderness, you don't want to risk your super-nice camera).

I want excellent quality in demanding field applications as well as in the studio...and (so far) I'm not sold on the FS700's ruggedness for field applications.

Scott
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Old July 17th, 2012, 08:18 AM   #4
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Re: Other competitors to the Sony NEX-FS700?

I have several cameras. Each are good at what they do. I've not found one camera that is good at everything.

Here is the breakdown and how I use my gear.

PMW-F3 - I use this for interviews and for dramatic work. It is a fantastic camera for those uses. It is NOT a run-n-gun camera. At least not with the lenses I have and can afford. It also is not as rugged as the EX1r. The F3 using s-log produces a very nice image that is hard to match in its price range. Taking advantage of that feature does require investment in external recorders. That pushes the cost of a working kit closer to $20k. Certainly not trivial. If you aren't using s-log the gap between the F3 and FS700 narrows a good bit. The F3 has lower noise than the FS700. In my casual operation of the cameras the F3 is close to a stop faster. The F3 is better if you can justify the higher rate to your customers.

EX1r - This thing is a tank and has been used many times on shows you may have watched on national TV. It is easy to use and rugged. Its not a shoulder cam but works well when you learn how to hold it. Not good in low light but great in about every other situation.

FS700 - This is the newest camera I have and I'll use it for projects that don't need the F3. I'll be able to offer a lower gear rate on this camera. I am also planning to use it with the steadicam rig and take advantage of its face detect autofocus. I think the FS700 can work in many cases as a light run-n-gun camera with the kit lens. It is NOT as rugged as the EX1r. Not even close. It may be even a little less durable than the F3.

The Canon 7d I use when I need to pack light and where I have good control of what I'm shooting. It is great for shooting interviews (the soft image of this camera is very flattering on skin) and when I need something small such as a windshield mounted setup in a car. I'm using it less and less for video though.

Of the above cameras the most versatile one in my opinion is the FS700 with the kit lens. The FS100 will be slightly less easy to use run-n-gun due to the lack of ND filters. You can overcome the issue for sure but it is not as easy as flipping the lever on the side of the camera when you need ND. If you need more durability in your gear then you need to look at something more like the EX1r and hire a large imager camera as needed. The Panasonic AF100 is a better choice if you want a larger than 1/2" or 2/3" imager and looked to be more durable than any of the Sony S35 offerings. I wasn't sold on the 4/3" format and I didn't like the images from the camera as much. Again, personal opinion.
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Old July 17th, 2012, 08:24 AM   #5
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Re: Other competitors to the Sony NEX-FS700?

To run and gun with a FS700 you'll probably need a rig.

Maybe you should also take a look at the new PMW-100 (very small, but complete) and the EX1R (has been around for 2,5 years already: has motorized zoomlens, not interchangable, but it's a strong sturdy camera). These cameras are more suited for run and gun stuff, but aren't as lowlight-sensitive as large sensor cameras.
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Old July 17th, 2012, 06:06 PM   #6
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Re: Other competitors to the Sony NEX-FS700?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post
...but is The NEX-FS700 really the only interchangeable lens camera in this price range that's worth looking at right now? (Is it way ahead of the competition?)
I tend to agree with most of the other answers. The other competitors are the AF100 (Panasonic) and FS100 (Sony) which are both cheaper, and the C300 (Canon) and F3 (Sony) which are quite a bit dearer. There's an element of horses for courses, but overall then I'd also agree the FS700 offers best value for money. I'd say the benefits over the AF100 and FS100 are well worth the extra. It also has the 4k RAW option promised via a future upgrade.

By "interchangeable lens", are you also implying "large sensor"? All the ones listed above are such - but there are cameras like the EX3 where lenses can be changed, with a 1/2 sensor. My opinion is that the large sensor cameras have certain strengths - shallow dof (and slo-mo in the case of the FS700) - but aren't the best choice for more run-and-gun work. (And that comment applies to all the cameras listed above.) As others have said, much better to go with an EX1 for that sort of work.

What about getting a mixture of FS700s and EX1Rs and try to allocate them according to work? The EX1s go into the Appalachian mountain wilderness, the FS700s for the more cinema type shoots? I'm not convinced about taking cheaper cameras into more rugged situations - in this context cheaper may also mean "less rugged"! (ie less likely to survive!)
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