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Sony NXCAM NEX-FS700 CineAlta
4K EXMOR sensor with SDI, slow-motion recording.


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Old February 20th, 2013, 02:50 PM   #1
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FS700 vs. EX1

I did a quick comparison of these two camera regarding resolution, chroma-resolution and latitude. I recorded the HD-SDI-outputs uncompressed onto a SSD with a Hyperdeck Shuttle to obtain the best possible quality. On both cameras I used the cine2-gamma. On the EX1 I set the detail to off. On the FS700 I set the detail to 0 and the v/h-balance to -2 to equalize the vertical and horizontal sharpness. Gain was set on both cameras to 0dB.

In this test I tried to compare the resolution and chroma-resolution. It is a 100%-crop.
http://dominik.ws/fs700/vs_ex1_chroma.jpg
It is obvious that the EX1 has a higher resolution in general and a much higher chroma-resolution.

Here I enlarged a portion of the previous images for easier examination of the resolution.
http://dominik.ws/fs700/vs_ex1_resolution.jpg

In this test I tried to compare the dynamic range of both cameras. I applied the overlayed curve in AfterEffects in 16bit-mode on both images to be able to look deep into the shadows without clipping the highlights. Images are to downscaled to 50%.
http://dominik.ws/fs700/vs_ex1_latitude.jpg
Also here it is obvious that the EX1 has a greater latitude as more detail is visible in the shadows contrary to the FS700 where things collapse to one single shade because of the 8bit-limitation.

So I have to conclude that the EX1 from 2008 has the following advantages over the more expensive FS700 from 2012 when ignoring the possibly higher image quality when using the 4k-12bit-raw mode as it will significantly increase the price point of the whole package (e.g. RED Scarlet already available and probably cheaper):
-higher resolution
-much higher chroma-resolution (important for chroma-keying)
-greater dynamic range
-10bit HD-SDI-out in contrast to 8bit of the FS700
-assuming that the PMW-200 has the same image-quality: 422 50Mb/s recording on the PMW-200
-lighter
-easier to shoot handheld
-1fps-steps in S&Q-mode in contrast to the 1/2/4/8/15/30/60 options on the FS700
-servo-zoom lens
-more sophisticated shot-transition

The advantages of the FS700 are in my opinion:
-huge amount of lens-choices
-shallow depth of field
-super-high frame-rates
-greater light sensitivity
(-4k-readiness)
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Old February 20th, 2013, 03:14 PM   #2
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Re: FS700 vs. EX1

Miles better peaking in EX-1 as well and interval recording.

I'm really sceptical about the dynamic range though. I had an EX1 and though I can't do side by side comparisons I'd say Im getting at least 2-3 stops more with the FS700... I'd say EX1 9 stops, FS700 12 stops...

Sami
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Old February 20th, 2013, 03:28 PM   #3
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Re: FS700 vs. EX1

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Originally Posted by Sami Sanpakkila View Post
I'm really sceptical about the dynamic range though. I had an EX1 and though I can't do side by side comparisons I'd say Im getting at least 2-3 stops more with the FS700... I'd say EX1 9 stops, FS700 12 stops...
Well, here are the unprocessed images in 16bit-TIFF format:
http://dominik.ws/fs700/dr_test_fs700.tif
http://dominik.ws/fs700/dr_test_ex1.tif
Is my FS700 faulty?!
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Old February 20th, 2013, 03:52 PM   #4
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Re: FS700 vs. EX1

And let's not overlook the huge advantages in workflow speed and efficiency that any XDCAM camcorder offers over the NXCAM cameras.
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Old February 20th, 2013, 04:06 PM   #5
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Re: FS700 vs. EX1

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Originally Posted by Dominik Seibold View Post
Well, here are the unprocessed images in 16bit-TIFF format:
http://dominik.ws/fs700/dr_test_fs700.tif
http://dominik.ws/fs700/dr_test_ex1.tif
Is my FS700 faulty?!
What I can see from these images is that the FS700 sees slightly further into the shadows (although there's more noise). Other than that it's hard to judge. Seems pretty identical to me.

Have you tried the picture profiles from Abelcine? Sony FS700 Scene Files from AbelCine | CineTechnica There's two created especially to get the max dynamic range out of the cam.
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Old February 20th, 2013, 04:32 PM   #6
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Re: FS700 vs. EX1

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Originally Posted by Sami Sanpakkila View Post
What I can see from these images is that the FS700 sees slightly further into the shadows (although there's more noise). Other than that it's hard to judge. Seems pretty identical to me.
These pictures are meaningless until you try to heavily increase the contrast in the shadows e.g. with the curves in Photoshop to gain that cinematic HDR-look. Then you will realize that there's much more information in the ex1-footage than in that from the fs700.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sami Sanpakkila View Post
Have you tried the picture profiles from Abelcine? Sony FS700 Scene Files from AbelCine | CineTechnica There's two created especially to get the max dynamic range out of the cam.
The only parameter in picture-profile settings that could theoretically help is the black-gamma setting. I tested it and it turned out that it gets applied after the 8bit-quantization, so there's no difference than doing it in post.
The FS700-sensor obviously has less noise respectively a better signal/noise-ratio than the EX1 (I can see less noise in brighter picture areas compared to the EX1), but the problem is that all this valuable picture-information gets lost in the 8bit-quantization. I'm pretty sure that Sony has artificially made the camera worse than it could be by not giving it 10bit-processing for market segmentation reasons. If not, then why is a cheaper and 4 years older camera from the same manufacturer able to do it?
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Old February 20th, 2013, 04:36 PM   #7
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Re: FS700 vs. EX1

"Miles better peaking in EX-1 as well and interval recording.

I'm really sceptical about the dynamic range though. I had an EX1 and though I can't do side by side comparisons I'd say Im getting at least 2-3 stops more with the FS700... I'd say EX1 9 stops, FS700 12 stops...

Sami"

So does the FS700 not have very good peaking and interval recording - can't it do time lapse?
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Old February 20th, 2013, 05:24 PM   #8
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Re: FS700 vs. EX1

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Originally Posted by Kent Beeson View Post
So does the FS700 not have very good peaking and interval recording - can't it do time lapse?
I think the peaking of the FS700 is ok, but that of the ex1 has a finer resolution.
No, the FS700 doesn't have interval recording. But recording with 1fps and then speeding it up in post is ok for me.
But what's absolutely not ok is the low picture quality the camera offers. My iPhone shoots almost sharper video. And what's going on in the chroma-channels is just beyond any description. "FS700: Oversampled HD" - best joke ever. Try chroma-keying with this camera and you will feel spoofed by Sony. I'm pretty sure that 4k-raw images from the FS700 will look amazing as at some points the sensor shows that it's really a good one. But paying another 8000$ (2k for the interface and 6k for the recorder and perhaps even more for the firmware-upgrade) is absolutely ridiculous. The best what one can hope for is that the upgrade will be for free and a third-party like Blackmagic Design creates a Hyperdeck Shuttle 3, which directly accepts the 4k-bit-stream of the FS700.
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Old February 20th, 2013, 08:17 PM   #9
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Re: FS700 vs. EX1

Interesting test.
Another reminder that they are different cameras with different uses.
I do worry a bit about setting detail based on menu numbers, since from camera to camera the 'normal' detail setting will mean very different things. (Look at the XDcam 700 and 800, where the same menu number for detail produces a VERY different setting.) It seems that cameras intended to be more 'filmic" set their standard detail level lower, while ones intended to be more 'eng/ broadcast' tend to set their default detail levels higher.
I was a bit shocked at the differences in the chromas for the green screen. It may be worth me doing a similar test of my PMW200 and F3 (presumably recording to a NanoFlash) to get a better sense of what to expect on the green screen front. (If anyone has already done such a comparion please chime in)
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Old February 21st, 2013, 05:01 AM   #10
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Re: FS700 vs. EX1

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Originally Posted by Kent Beeson View Post
So does the FS700 not have very good peaking and interval recording - can't it do time lapse?
The peaking is ok in FS700 and I use it often but with EX1 I remember it was better with low contrast situations.

The interval recording is indeed missing. There's the 1fps recording but you can't specify any other settings like a gap of 5 sec between the recording of frames. So no proper interval recording, rudimentary timelapse yes.
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Old February 21st, 2013, 08:06 AM   #11
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Re: FS700 vs. EX1

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Originally Posted by Dave Sperling View Post
I do worry a bit about setting detail based on menu numbers, since from camera to camera the 'normal' detail setting will mean very different things.
I already took a deep look into the detail-settings. For the most part great changes to those only result in subtle changes in sharpness. Even when jumping from the minimum master-detail setting to the maximum it's not so easy to see the difference. The main problem of low horizontal resolution and distracting artifacts isn't affected at all.
Different on the EX1: Turning off the detail-feature turns it from a video-camera into a film-camera in my opinion. Great boost of image quality by turning it off. Combined with 10bit SDI-out-recording and cine2-gamma you effectively shoot in raw as (almost) no processing/data-loss is happening at all (each RGB-pixel in the recording corresponds exactly to one R-, G- and B-pixel of the three sensors, ignoring the tolerable 422-chroma-subsampling).
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Old February 22nd, 2013, 12:58 PM   #12
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Re: FS700 vs. EX1

I have to be a little careful here...

FS100 was WAY down in resolved detail over the EX1 because

- The EX1 has three chips, the FS100 has one big one
- DSLRs were awful at aliasing, so it looks like Sony made sure that the FS series did NOT alias and that 'courageous' decision hurt the final resolution of the FS100, bringing it down to around 800 lines
- The FS100 was trying to offer something BETTER to the DSLR user, and it succeeded. If you wanted to do the same to your EX1, you had to buy the F3. The Computer power required to pull it all off simply didn't fit the 'ex-DSLR' shooter's profile, but sang hallelujahs to the EX1 crowd.

The F3 was a souped up, S35 sensored EX1 - its image is still a big, beautiful, rich experience (shout S-Log, people!), and you paid double EX1 prices to get it. FS100 was a souped up, S35 DSLR spanker, and you paid double the price for a 7D for it. However, the

So, the FS700 comes out - ditching the F3 chip and sporting what is probably the F5 chip but with cheaper slower electronics. We get a little more resolving power in HD. That tips things for low-to-mid end corporate chromakey, but it's still not EX1 level. You can do it, if you're careful. If you spend $2k on external recorders, a bit more lighitng, you'll be fine, but the jump between that and internal recording is (and I mean this very deeply) a quantum leap. It's not far, to some it isn't even visible, but it's *just* enough to be happier with.

However, I have to say (and it's with a little pain), there is a camera that does AVCHD chromakey a little better.
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Old February 22nd, 2013, 02:05 PM   #13
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Re: FS700 vs. EX1

Quote:
FS100 was a souped up, S35 DSLR spanker, and you paid double the price for a 7D for it
Only double? Here the fs100 is more then 4 times the price of a 7D.
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Old February 22nd, 2013, 04:04 PM   #14
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Re: FS700 vs. EX1

LOL, 'my bad' - prolly thinking 5d Mk whatever. Or the devalued price of an FS100?
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Old February 25th, 2013, 12:47 PM   #15
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Re: FS700 vs. EX1

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Originally Posted by Matt Davis View Post
LOL, 'my bad' - prolly thinking 5d Mk whatever. Or the devalued price of an FS100?
Hi Matt, I saw your C100 and FS100 comparison on Philip Bloom's forum. I am leaning towards upgrading to a C100 myself. The FS's ergonomics are barely acceptable to me, and I like the compactness of e-mount lenses and (let it be said) being able to rely on autofocus and auto-iris if need be. The C100's EVF is also a worry. Plus the FS100 is older and much depreciated in price. But overall I'd probably prefer the C100, even if I don't end get buying it right now.

I wonder whether you've tried comparing the FS's footage when sharpened in post? Can that difference in perceived resolution not be as great as it at first seems?
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