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Sony NXCAM NEX-FS700 CineAlta
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Old June 22nd, 2012, 03:31 AM   #1
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Not happy with FS700 ergonomics

I had an FS700 reserved at my dealer (in the UK) and I went to pick it up yesterday.

After trying the camera for an hour or so I cancelled the order. The camera is an ergonomic disaster! Electronically it does some clever tricks but to be honest, how often do people actually plan shooting at 240 fps? Although better than the FS100, it stills feels very cheaply made for a 5K+ camera. It is clear that very little thought has gone into how this camera will actually be used by the operator - the unbalanced brick design; the wobbly VF; the screen that can't be used for high angles, the distance between the lens and essential controls... the list goes on!

These are not minor details, they are major issues! Everyone gets very obsessed with charts and frame rates and specs but ergonomics are a crucial part of how effectively and quickly you can shoot with a camera. I know that this design would limit my creativity and so decided to wait for a camera that had some thought go into it. Sure I could add EVFs, rails, supports etc but this is not only a compromise, it also adds thousands of pounds to the price of the camera.

Meanwhile I'm still delighted with my PMW350 two and a half years on, so Sony can do it when they try!
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Old June 22nd, 2012, 05:07 AM   #2
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re: Not happy with FS700 ergonomics

Well said, Mike. I still find it crazy that the DSLR shallow DoF fad has affected ergonomics/basic common sense to this extent. So few of the cameras released in the last few years take account of the ergonomic necessities of working in production. For instance, I find it mind-boggling that JVC chose to update the ProHD line with full HD chips and then combined that overdue move with ergonomics/form factor that apes the XF305 and other similar over-sized palmcorders. The JVC line was just about the only lower cost pro camera that had sensible ergonomics... I understand the desire for light weight compared to, say, older DigiBeta and DVCAM ENG products but surely this excellent new sensor, processor and memory technology can be installed in a body that we can use on a real-world shoot?
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Old June 22nd, 2012, 06:08 AM   #3
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re: Not happy with FS700 ergonomics

Mike - I feel your pain. Thank you for the "Emperor has no clothes" post. I still want the camera for what it can do, but agree with much of what you say on the ergonomics.

Now a memo to manufacturers:

Will one of you please build a real large sensor (m4/3 at least, S35 preferable and full frame in my dreams), shoulder mounted interchangeable lens camcorder with, at a minimum:

- a 50mbps (give or take a few megabits) broadcast ready codec,
- a reasonable choice of framerates,
- 1080p resolution (at least),
- a power zoom rocker (compatible with affordable non-extending power zoom lenses like the Panasonic 45-175),
- bulletproof autofocus,
- a large, bright rotatable side-mounted EVF,
- a built in ND filter,
- affordable media (SD or CF or SSD),
- full manual audio gain control with metering, a headphone jack and a speaker for playback,
- pro connectivity (XLR and HD-SDI at a minimum), and
- 8MP+ still photos at least as good as an iPhone, Galaxy S III or FS700 for production stills

No more palmcorders with XLR inputs, still cameras masquerading as video cameras, or bizarre bricks with "viewfinders" on top, please.

We will pay you real money for this. At $10,000 it would be a good value for money - at $8000 you'll sell loads of them. At $5000, you won't be able to make them fast enough.

If you pull a C300 on us and try to charge us $20,000 or more, you won't sell many because we will simply struggle along with what we have.

But we won't be happy with you.

Thank you.

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Old June 22nd, 2012, 06:32 AM   #4
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re: Not happy with FS700 ergonomics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Marriage View Post
Meanwhile I'm still delighted with my PMW350 two and a half years on, so Sony can do it when they try!
Sadly they don't try often enough or nearly enough.

Cheers.
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Old June 22nd, 2012, 07:45 AM   #5
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re: Not happy with FS700 ergonomics

I think that the title of this thread is slightly inappropriate. It seems to indicate some hidden flaw in the camera that would only reveal itself after delivery.

There can't be many who would commit themselves to a camera costing over 5K without getting some hands-on especially when the FS100 and FS700 have had so many reviews in which comment at length on the ergonomics of the beasts. So when the box is opened and out pops the awaited device, just how many will be genuinely surprised and feel hurt that they weren't warned. This thread just contains the views of some of those who clearly don't like the design, but there are also many out there who do find it suits their requirements.

For the record, I wouldn't dismiss or rave about it even though I have briefly handled the FS100.
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Old June 22nd, 2012, 08:17 AM   #6
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re: Not happy with FS700 ergonomics

I am with you Steve. certainly I don't like the ergonomics of my FS100 compared to my EX3. Still I want to get my hands on a FS700. And though I wish there was a succesor of the EX3 with many of the specs of the FS700, it just isn't there. Still I think that it is incredible, the choice of affordable camera's we have today. I believe we are very privilaged these days.
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Old June 22nd, 2012, 08:48 AM   #7
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re: Not happy with FS700 ergonomics

This is a "cinema style" camera. It is NOT designed as an eng camera. This is clearly meant to have accessories and give the end user a zillion options as to how it's mounted and used. Maybe I've been numbed by several years of making my DSLRs work in any rig I could think up but I have no problem with this design. I will be purchasing at the end of the summer and it will fit perfectly on my shoulder rig, crane, Steadicam, slider, dolly, and tripod. If I need eng functionality I will call on my xf300. Would it be nice to have one camera fit every style of shooting? Of course! But that's not gonna happen anytime soon. Choose the right tool for the job.

And on a seperate note, at least those in the Sony camp still have the option of buying shoulder mount cameras! Canon has taken that option away from its users!
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Old June 22nd, 2012, 11:16 AM   #8
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re: Not happy with FS700 ergonomics

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Originally Posted by Robert Turchick View Post
This is a "cinema style" camera. It is NOT designed as an eng camera. This is clearly meant to have accessories and give the end user a zillion options as to how it's mounted and used.
Robert, that is what I had hoped the camera would be but it isn't. It is an ergonomic mess. Even with all the accessories in the world, the switches are still in the wrong place. Look at arguably the most popular "cinema camera," the Alexa. Arri understand how a camera works as an extension of the operator. The FS700 is an impressive box of electronics with a lens mount, I really wanted the FS700 but could see no way to make it function in the way I require (for the record I shoot just about everything apart from ENG, including being a Steadicam op).

The reason I started the thread is because I know that demand has led to people ordering blind which is always a bad idea. Luckily I have a great dealer who held their very first camera for me without deposit or commitment.

My other motive is to try and stop this acceptance of poor design that is prevalent in the mid range camera market. I agree that the "DSLR revolution"is partly to blame but sloppy design is the real culprit.

In response to Steve points, yes it may be able to be accessorised to meet some peoples' needs but wouldn't you prefer a decent design to start with? Do you think this is a well designed camera? As a professional should I remain silent when the tools I would like to use are falling way short in certain areas? I'll happily praise what I like but also criticise that which I don't. Other opinions are available :)
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Old June 22nd, 2012, 12:10 PM   #9
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re: Not happy with FS700 ergonomics

Fair enough...and I was just offering another view to what I thought the point of your post was. Most who complain of ergonomics expect ENG-style.

Now, comparing the FS700 to an Alexa is quite a stretch. They have completely different buyers. As for ergos, to me the buttons and controls on the 700 look completely manageable and very similar to other Sony cameras. The Alexa on the other hand is...well...on the other hand! Looks backwards to me! And I probably won't get a chance to handle an Alexa so I'm obviously in a different category of shooter.

Just a reinforcement for your statement about poor design...I purchased the 5D mkIII which is an amazing improvement in picture quality and a few other areas but the geniuses at Canon felt the need to mix up all the buttons. Having come from the 7D, it makes no sense. Then I looked at a friend's mkII and they're different from the 7D AND mkIII. Essentially making it necessary to learn all 3 and hope you remember which one you're shooting with! And that's within the same brand!!!

We must make due with what's available though and the FS700 looks like the logical next camera for the type of work I do. I'll be reading all the reviews and comments up til the day I pull the trigger. Hopefully Canon will answer with a sub-$10k camera...the one we all hoped the C300 was going to be!
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Old June 22nd, 2012, 04:28 PM   #10
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re: Not happy with FS700 ergonomics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Marriage View Post
I had an FS700 reserved at my dealer (in the UK) and I went to pick it up yesterday....
After trying the camera for an hour or so I cancelled the order. The camera is an ergonomic disaster! Electronically it does some clever tricks but to be honest, how often do people actually plan shooting at 240 fps? Meanwhile I'm still delighted with my PMW350 two and a half years on, so Sony can do it when they try!
Mike, comparing the FS700 to a PMW350 shoulder-mount ENG camera is like apples and oranges. I would say there are a lot of DOP's out there who shoot slo-mo and are buying this camera specifically for this purpose.

We have bought the camera to supplement our F3, not our Varicam. With all due respect, your original post sounded slightly hysterical and was specific to your needs and expectations; not necessarily the majority of FS700 buyers.
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Old June 22nd, 2012, 05:15 PM   #11
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re: Not happy with FS700 ergonomics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Marriage View Post
I had an FS700 reserved at my dealer (in the UK) and I went to pick it up yesterday.

After trying the camera for an hour or so I cancelled the order. The camera is an ergonomic disaster!
I don't get it Mike.

Pictures of the 700 are around since when?
A lot of guys (including me) did extensive tests and shared their results with the community,
So you knew exactly what you will get.
And you found out, that you don't like the ergonomics after you played with it for an hour?
Did you actually think, they completely gonna change the design in the production model?

"Warning" treads like that really crack me up.
It's almost insulting to all th guys that put a lot of time in testing those cameras for the community.
Going trough any micro detail in hard and software, writing articles and blogs, answering thousands of questions,
all that - for what?


So at what point did you reserve the camera and why?

For the record: I shoot with the FS100 since day one - on sticks, dolly, shoulder and Steadycam - commercials, narrative andwhatnot, without the feeling of handling an "ergonomic desaster" same is true for the 700.
Actually I really like the ergonomics of them, I can work em both hoodwinked.

Frank
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Old June 22nd, 2012, 05:39 PM   #12
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re: Not happy with FS700 ergonomics

No worries, Mike. Your dealer will have no problem selling your camera.
There are plenty who are more than happy with the FS100/700 ergos and love the picture quality - like me.
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Old June 22nd, 2012, 05:48 PM   #13
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re: Not happy with FS700 ergonomics

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Originally Posted by Frank Glencairn View Post
I don't get it Mike.
"Warning" treads like that really crack me up.
It's almost insulting to all th guys that put a lot of time in testing those cameras for the community.
Going trough any micro detail in hard and software, writing articles and blogs, answering thousands of questions,
all that - for what?
Frank
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Old June 22nd, 2012, 06:21 PM   #14
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Re: Not happy with FS700 ergonomics

I agree wholeheartedly with the complaints about the misleading nature of the original title of this thread.

Therefore I have re-named it from "A word of warning about the FS700!" to "Not happy with FS700 ergonomics" which is a much more accurate description of the content within.

Appropriate thread titles are critically important to the success of any online forum site. Therefore I need your help with this kind of issue should it come up again... please, if you see an ambiguous or misleading thread title, simply report it by clicking the little "!" icon at the bottom left of any post, which will bring it to the attention of myself and the moderators. Thanks in advance,
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Old June 22nd, 2012, 06:58 PM   #15
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Re: Not happy with FS700 ergonomics

As an FS100 owner, I wish the monitor was in a location that allows for better shoulder mount shooting, but I get that its a cinema camera and not an ENG cam and I knew that before buying. Now I shoot like an old medium format camera instead of like you would with a Z1U or a shoulder cam. Aside from that and a so-so top handle (the 700's looks marginally better), I really like the ergonomics of the FS design - all the controls are easy to access, lots of vital functions are not buried in menus, very customizable, and once you get it set up to your liking its a very efficient workflow ... much more so than any DSLR. YMMV.
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