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Sony NXCAM NEX-FS700 CineAlta
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Old November 24th, 2013, 07:52 AM   #1
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Should I let 4K be a deciding factor?

Hi.
I was hoping someone could give me some input on buying a new Super 35 camera. I have almost decided on a Sony FS700R, but I am wondering if it is the right camera for me. I used to own a Sony FS100 which I sold mostly due to the lack of HD-SDI and ND- filters. I still have 3 NPF970 batteries and extra charger for them. My Swit 7" inch monitor also uses these batteries, so buying a Sony FS700 would be a good choice.

I mostly shoot documentaries now, both for corporate and national TV. I am leaning towards a more cinematic look in my current documentary which is why I am looking at the FS700. As I understand it, the AVCHD codec is not good enough or accepted by broadcast, but I cold bypass this with my Atomos Samurai, though ProRes is not an accepted codec for delivery either.

I am trying to protect my invest for the years to come and what attracts me with the FS700R is the ability to shoot 4K, either now via the Odessey or at a later stage. However I also have a lot of SxS cards from my current EX1Rs and have also been looking at the F3 and the F5. The F3 has a fantastic picture but will never be higher quality than HD. However these cameras are popular in Norway and the broadcasters have no problem accepting EX- codec, at least for now, although I think they are leaning towards a minimum of 50 mbps. This leads me towards the F5, but that camera somehow intimidates me. I am used to the EX1R so the transition to the F3 should be easy. The F5 seems different, but I haven`t seen one myself.

Also looking to buy either Samyang lenses or CP2 series from Carl Zeiss, but not sure if these comply with any 4K standards. Should I let 4K be a concern? Cameras and technology is changing so fast these days, it is hard to keep track.
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Old November 24th, 2013, 08:28 AM   #2
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Re: Should I let 4K be a deciding factor?

4k shouldn't be a deciding factor if you are shooting for broadcast.

For cinema there is a stronger case but still not one where I would make 4k a must-have for a camera purchase.

What would suit your requirements above nicely would be a FS700 with a NanoFlash. That would give you 50mb XDCam for your broadcast customers and 4k for the future. That does assume you can find yourself a second hand NanoFlash since they are no longer in production.

Edit: I did find some new and used NanoFlashes on Ebay.
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Last edited by Chris Medico; November 24th, 2013 at 09:32 AM.
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Old November 24th, 2013, 09:20 AM   #3
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Re: Should I let 4K be a deciding factor?

I see the FS700 as a very good investment at this time.

The big step up from the 100 is the ND's and easily relocated handle. And the slomo 2K RAW, I almost forgot.

And with the addition of the O7Q you are really future proofed. There are many times in my style of shooting even for HD that 4K acquisition makes sense. I actually still deliver most TV commercials as 720. That is how most of them are broadcast here in the NE USA anyway. And I often reframe or stabilize the 1080 for a better 720.

One very useful part of having lots of extra pixels is you can stabilize footage easily and for shooting interviews you can decide how to frame in post. I often shoot 2 cams by myself for interviews, it is nice to frame one wide and use the other for closeups. With 4K you can even shoot 2 people and crop to one if necessary.

It really comes down to your style of shooting and your clients. I also shoot stock footage for Getty and the 4K will future proof this for many years to come. Even if today 1080 is what you deliver.

Just a few thought while drinking coffee on a snowy Sunday morning her in northern NH.
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Old November 24th, 2013, 02:46 PM   #4
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Re: Should I let 4K be a deciding factor?

Thanks Chris and Olof.

Both of your answers make sense. At the moment 720p50 is the standard alongside some 1080 on some of the minor channels.

My last documentary was shot at 720p50 XDCam EX and converted to MXF1080i. I have since noticed that this channel has changed from 1080i to 720p.

Chris, is XDCam at 50 mbps better than Pro Res? It is my understanding that ProRes LT is around 100mbps. Is ProRes an inferior codec or is the Nanoflash more of a broadcast standard? I am thinking I could always convert the finished product to whatever codec my broadcaster would like. Maybe not a good idea?

Olof. I never realized that you could zoom around so much with 4K. Sounds great to have that option. Using the Odessey, how large files would I have to work with? And also, what codec is RAW? Maybe a stupid question, but this is all new to me.

Do bot of you think that the F3 is old technology now? I have noticed it carries the CineAlta logo from Sony. Would the colours and image from an F3 be better than an FS700? Is the FS700 just as robust as an F3? I always treat my equipment with care but it gets lugged around quite a bit.
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Old November 24th, 2013, 03:23 PM   #5
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Re: Should I let 4K be a deciding factor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Svein Rune Skilnand View Post
Thanks Chris and Olof.

Chris, is XDCam at 50 mbps better than Pro Res? It is my understanding that ProRes LT is around 100mbps. Is ProRes an inferior codec or is the Nanoflash more of a broadcast standard? I am thinking I could always convert the finished product to whatever codec my broadcaster would like. Maybe not a good idea?
50mb XDCam is a recognized format for broadcast. It may work better than ProRes will depending on what your clients can handle. Quality wise it will hold up very well with ProRes 145mb.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Svein Rune Skilnand View Post
Olof. I never realized that you could zoom around so much with 4K. Sounds great to have that option. Using the Odessey, how large files would I have to work with? And also, what codec is RAW? Maybe a stupid question, but this is all new to me.
4k isn't a option yet with the 7q recorder. If you want to record 4k RAW with the FS700 that as of today will require the Sony AXS-R5 recorder. One hour of RAW footage will be about 650GB.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Svein Rune Skilnand View Post
Do bot of you think that the F3 is old technology now? I have noticed it carries the CineAlta logo from Sony. Would the colours and image from an F3 be better than an FS700? Is the FS700 just as robust as an F3? I always treat my equipment with care but it gets lugged around quite a bit.
I own a FS700 and a F3. From an operators point of view I would rather use the F3. The image straight out of the camera as you would record for broadcast is better on the F3. The ergonomics while not great are better on the F3 than on the FS700.
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Old November 24th, 2013, 07:05 PM   #6
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Re: Should I let 4K be a deciding factor?

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Originally Posted by Svein Rune Skilnand View Post
This leads me towards the F5, but that camera somehow intimidates me. I am used to the EX1R so the transition to the F3 should be easy. The F5 seems different, but I haven`t seen one myself.
If you're OK with the money, I'd go for the F5, no question.

The reason has less to do with all the quality, codec etc etc reasons, more to do with ergonomics and usability. Compared to the other cameras you mention, you're looking at a s35 camera which handles far more like a traditional shouldermount camera. I'd strongly recommend going to a dealers and having one demoed before getting anything.

It also records HD internally with a full broadcast codec, so no need for separate recorders. And in the future, the 4K RAW option is there if you need it. "RAW" is not a codec as such - it simply means that the data is being recorded straight off the chip, before any in-camera processing. The disadvantages are mainly that it creates large file sizes with high data rates - the advantages are that it's in a class of it's own when it comes to grading and post. Because it's the data before processing, things like the colour balance are not burnt-in as they are with a coded signal - so you can effectively choose your white balance in the post stage, for example.

(That said, different manufacturers implement their RAW modes in different ways - Sony do apply a certain amount of compression to it, for example.)

Finally, I wouldn't really say that XDCAM422 or ProRes are one better than the other - the strengths of one are the weaknesses of the other. What I would say about the F5 is that it also has the XAVC codec, and from your point of view that allows 1080p/50 mode recording. That can act as a master to get an optimum 1080i/25 *OR* 720p/50 conversion from. I'm aware that 720 is quite popular in some Scandiavian countries, but generally 1080i/25 is more common in most of Europe. From an acquisition point of view, 1080p/50 allows you to have your cake and eat it.
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Old December 1st, 2013, 07:42 AM   #7
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Re: Should I let 4K be a deciding factor?

Thanks for all your inputs.

I have narrowed my choices down to 2 cameras after doing a lot of thinking and research and I am still looking at the FS700 or now a Canon C300.

My reason for looking at the Canon C300 is it`s 50 mbps codec accepted for broadcast. A relatively small camera for traveling and doesn`t need a rig or external recorder. I have also been given a very good price from my local dealer with a PL- mount. They have 1 in stock costing 3000USD less than the EF- version. I realize however that PL- glass is more expensive but it might give me the look I am after. As I understand it the CP2 series from Carl Zeiss are more than 4K ready making them a good investment.

The FS700 is obviously less expensive but I was surprised to see how big the external 4K recorder from Sony is. Surely when they can put 4K recording into a small package like the Sony PXW-Z100 maybe next year we will see a Sony FS800 with inbuilt 4K recording.

This is more confusing than I thought.
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Old December 1st, 2013, 03:29 PM   #8
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Re: Should I let 4K be a deciding factor?

NRK used to primarily support both 720p50 and 1080i25, but that have recently started doing a lot more broadcast productions in 1080p25. NRK have been looking at the PMW-F5 and F55.

If you have the money the F5 is amazing. It's not really any more complicated than the FS700 if you stay in the standard gammas. Things only start getting a little more complex when you start shooting in SLog2 or Raw, but you'd soon get the hang of that. The F5 is a camera that you will enjoy shooting with. It's a real delight to use, a cameramans camera.

I don't think I'd want a PL C300. It may be 3K cheaper thanks to the special deal but that 3K will be swallowed up by the cost of PL lenses straight away. PL zooms are serious money. As for the "look". Well a well made 35mm lens is a 35mm lens, whether it's PL or EF or Nikon. I use the Samyang Cine Primes (EF Mount) on my F5 and get beautiful results that in most cases are as good as most of the low cost PL lenses. Then I can switch mounts in a few seconds and use PL lenses, or B4 2/3" lenses, Leica or back to EF or Nikon for low cost zoom lenses. The C300 is a good camera, but HD only, no slow motion and ties you in to a single lens mount type. Ergonomics are more DSLR than video camera, but if your a DSLR shooter that may be what you like.
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Old December 2nd, 2013, 05:59 AM   #9
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Re: Should I let 4K be a deciding factor?

Thank you Alister. I wasn`t aware NRK are doing productions in 1080p25. For the past years I have only shot 720p50.

I am not a fan of DSLR shooting as it feels awkward to me. I like a camera to feel like a camera.

I understand you own both the FS700 and F5. And I am looking forward to your more in depth article on the Odessey 7Q as noted on your website, which I often visit for information.

Is is possible to compare the FS700 and F5? When the FS100 came out it was often referred to as the baby F3.

I have several reasons for looking at the FS700. One is of course cost and the other is the ability to use the speed booster as I understand this will give more of a full frame look? I was thinking about going with the 24-105 L Canon lens as it seems like a good range. I have always liked great panoramic images, but then I maybe should be looking at anamorphic lenses? 4K is the most attractive feature.

On the other hand, the F5 looks more professional and it is good to hear you are describing it as a camera mans camera. Of course if the NRK are looking at it, that would be a good choice for me.

Do you think in the long term this would be a better investment? I don`t fully understand all the codecs and choices that are coming with it. How much extra would I have to calculate to get it up and running? I have the Alphatron viewfinder, lots of SxS cards and 2 Swit V- lock batteries and charger. Is it possible to use these items?

Thanks for your input,
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Old December 2nd, 2013, 04:29 PM   #10
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Re: Should I let 4K be a deciding factor?

I and a group of colleges have evaluated the PMW-F-series camcorders. All of us are using the EX3 today to make documentaries. Our conclusion is we have to choose between F5 and the F55. Future 4K is for us important.
Here are some of the questions. Is the rolling shutter acceptable? Is it OK to have no 4K SDI external outputs? Only one 4K ext recorder could be used on the F5, the Sony AXS-R5. No 7Q! Any other to interface the F5/55? Sooner or later we will need 4k RAW. Is S-Log2 shooting too complicated in documentaries? Is the flexibility between 2K and 4K impossible if one mount the optical low pass filter (the soft filter)? Is the mechanics OK and stable on F5/55? What about the viewer connector?
We also have a lot of questions around compatibility with 720 and 1080 footage, how to mix it with 4K footage. Most of us have large archives.
Some of us have old system cameras to trade in, 2000 Euros pay back until 31. dec. is nice.
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Old December 4th, 2013, 06:42 PM   #11
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Re: Should I let 4K be a deciding factor?

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Originally Posted by Arild Pedersen View Post
Is the flexibility between 2K and 4K impossible if one mount the optical low pass filter (the soft filter)?
Forgive me if I've got this wrong, but is that only an issue if you use the camera to shoot 2K RAW? (Not necessary if shooting 2K/1080 to an in-camera codec?) My gut feeling is that mode is much less useful than either shooting 2K XAVC, or if you want RAW, go for 4K RAW.
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Old December 4th, 2013, 11:10 PM   #12
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Re: Should I let 4K be a deciding factor?

The Canon 1dc is in that budget range, a cinematic DSLR with a minimal 4k capability, C-log, has a decent selection of codecs, frame rates, frame sizes, optics, mounts, supports, goes anywhere and weather sealed. It's high initial price is mitigated somewhat by not having to purchase lens adapters, batteries and chargers, viewfinders etc.

The Sony RX10 and Panasonic GH3 are even cheaper cinematic options without 4k.

Based on your questions, I would not think 4k should be a deciding factor, there is plenty of time and many more cameras to appear.
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Old December 5th, 2013, 12:52 AM   #13
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Re: Should I let 4K be a deciding factor?

Why would a 1Dc mean that you wouldn't have to purchase batteries, chargers and viewfinders? Not sure I understand that. As for the lens adapter, I'd rather have the option to use a variety of lenses, Canon EF mount, Nikon, PL mount, older FD mount or Minolta lenses and so on, then be stuck with ONLY Canon EF mount.....even if I had to buy a few lens adapters.....but that's just me.
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Old December 5th, 2013, 02:07 AM   #14
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Re: Should I let 4K be a deciding factor?

I see your point about the lenses Gabe. When I said that, I was actually thinking the 1dc was available in a choice of mounts like the c500.

I'm one of the few I guess who think the 1dc makes a worthwhile Swiss Army knife, although I don't own it.

By the time you've outfitted a fs700 for 4k, it's more expensive, and more capable as well, but more time consuming to set up, and not all-weather ready, not as easy with a steadycam. I like the things you can do with a 1dc, or the fact that
you can do 4k internal, all you need is a lens and CF card, all it takes is to have it with you. You aren't connecting cables, power supplies, recorders. You're just wearing it around your neck. Adam Wilt made that point about the 1dc when he was trekking in the woods with Art Adams.

Certainly the AX1 and Z100 do all that and more at a much lower price point, but hardly cinematic or your go-to camera in low light, but the 1dc can.
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Old December 5th, 2013, 03:27 AM   #15
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Re: Should I let 4K be a deciding factor?

I don't think you are the only one, I think Philip Bloom liked that camera......
It seems well suited to what you are talking about. Simple 4k without
external recorders. But really it's a DSLR isn't it? DSLRs seem to be
the poster children of 'dressing up'.....cause they aren't made to shoot video.
It's hard to shoot steady video with that form factor....which is why
there are so many DSLR 'rigs' out there. No NDs so you may need a
matte box? How's the screen in sunlight...would you need a external
viewfinder? I don't know a ton about it and I could very well be wrong
but I thought it may need to be 'dressed up' a lot. A FS700
would need a 7q or Sony recorder for 4k which does increase bulk,
but it has built in NDs so no matte box needed. If the stock viewfinder
is shortened, it's totally fine, even in direct sun (admittedly placement
sucks especially for high angle shots). I don't know a ton about the
1DC, maybe it is the ultimate 'low profile' 4k camera, I was assuming
it needed what a normal DSLR did to make it usable for video, but
I could totally be wrong, wouldn't be the first time :)
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