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


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Old September 9th, 2014, 09:16 AM   #1
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Still Photographer Seeking Advice

My question can really be proposed in any of the HD Camcorder threads, but since I’m really interested in the FS700, I’ll start here. You guys may lead me to another path all together, but that’s OK, that’s why I’m posting.

I’m a still photographer and have included several links of the type and style of shooting I mostly am commissioned to do. In my photography club/guild, there have been a couple of my colleagues purchase some really nice HD Camcorders and are introducing them in their shoots. This will certainly set my work apart, it will offer my clients another aspect to their shoot and I’m totally into it, it fascinates me how awesome these higher end camcorders perform. The slowmo is extremely captivating!

The bad thing is, I have very little experience in filming – the good thing is, I know lighting, ISO/aperture relations, posing – just to name a couple. My point is, with 20+ years of shooting, I have a solid base at still photography and consider myself more of a technical shooter than an artistic shooter. I know that knowing ISO, aperture, lighting will not make this a seamless transition, but I would hope that it can help to some degree.

Is the FS700 a little more camera than necessary or is this a decent/user friendly camera for one to learn on?

My budget is approx. $8k and will likely be making this purchase around February/March of 2015.

The features I really like are:

35mm sensor
HD SLOWMO
ND filters built in
Ability to use my Nikkor lenses – 85mmf/1.4 – 105mmf/2 – 200mmf/2 – 28-70f/2.8 zoom

To have had an HD Camcorder that shoots incredible slowmo would’ve been used in every one of these shoots!!

FITNESS
www.cs2photography.com/j10.jpg

www.cs2photography.com/a4.jpg

www.cs2photography.com/core1.jpg

www.cs2photography.com/core3.jpg

www.cs2photography.com/core5.jpg

www.cs2photography.com/DG2.jpg


BOATING
www.cs2photography.com/D2X_0378.JPG

www.cs2photography.com/D2X_0379.JPG

www.cs2photography.com/D2X_0380.JPG

www.cs2photography.com/1.jpg

www.cs2photography.com/3.jpg

Beauty/Fashion
www.cs2photography.com/m1.jpg

www.cs2photography.com/m4.jpg

www.cs2photography.com/Ace19.jpg

www.cs2photography.com/m2.jpg

www.cs2photography.com/patriotic_5.jpg

Suit maker – Master Tailor JIN LEE
www.cs2photography.com/az1.jpg

www.cs2photography.com/az2.jpg

www.cs2photography.com/az3.jpg

www.cs2photography.com/az4.jpg

www.cs2photography.com/az5.jpg

Last edited by Chuck Scott; September 9th, 2014 at 02:42 PM.
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Old September 10th, 2014, 09:16 AM   #2
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Re: Still Photographer Seeking Advice

The good thing about pro cameras is you can run them on all AUTO or all MANUAL. That means you can start slowly getting predictable results when shooting. If the action gets too intense and the scene is changing too fast, switch to AUTO...
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Old September 10th, 2014, 09:44 AM   #3
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Re: Still Photographer Seeking Advice

I'd wait and see what Sony is announcing this Friday. The FS700 is a 2 year old camera already. It is still a very nice camera and probably will be for a while, but I wouldn't buy one new these days. With the speed of camera technology evolution, if you are looking to purchase 6 months from now, by that time the landscape may change significantly by then.

Do you need super high framerates? You mentioned you like slow mo, but do you need 240fps or is 60fps enough? 240fps is very nice but if you don't need it and are more comfortable with still cameras, perhaps a Sony A7S with a nikon lens adapter that has a built in variable ND filter would be a more cost effective option.

Frankly the primary strengths of the FS700 in the current market are its 4K RAW output and its 240fps 2K/HD capability. If you don't need >60fps slow motion and won't ever be buying/renting a Convergent 7Q or Sony R5 RAW recorder to hook your camera up to, the strengths of the FS700 may be somewhat diminished. Otherwise the A7S has similar or better internal-recording and image quality. The FS700 is better for handheld shooting but you can build out and add size and shape to an A7S as needed. Also the A7S is the best low light stills or video camera out there at the moment which might be useful to you.

Then again, the FS700 is a really great camera for high speed slow motion footage that is very easy and accessible, which I have found to be extremely useful for shooting alongside still photography setups. You get that super slow "moving still" look and you can shoot seconds of footage between strobe flashes if shooting in parallel with stills. There really isnt another camera that does what it can do for the price. And it will only be more affordable in 6months.
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Old September 10th, 2014, 10:16 AM   #4
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Re: Still Photographer Seeking Advice

Thanks for the insight Noah.

I have indeed looked at the A7s and I still come back to saying to myself "it's still a hybrid". I'm sure it's wonderful at shooting video in low light conditions and it's probably a darn good still shooter - it seems to be a very nice all in one unit. However, I'd like something far better at doing one thing than a hybrid that does quite a few things really nice.

The 240fps is just very appealing and I'd like to have something capable of doing that at higher resolutions.

My intentions are to marry these on a shoot, so having a fantastic still and a fantastic HD recorder is my goal. I also intend on getting the Odyssey 7, that monitor looks super if when outfitted with the FS700. I see no point out of the gates to get the 7Q, due to how I'll be using the camera for starters.

I will certainly wait to see what is announced soon and go from there. If it's a nice step up from the FS700 as the FS700 was to the FS100, then hopefully the price of the FS700 is driven down.
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Old September 10th, 2014, 10:31 AM   #5
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Re: Still Photographer Seeking Advice

fs700, no doubt very capable and produces a great image... but.... as noah pointed out there are new cameras popping up, that, and the fs700 is an economical brick, which many don't like and is probably the only reason i never got one.
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Old September 10th, 2014, 11:33 AM   #6
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Re: Still Photographer Seeking Advice

My thoughts..

There is always going to be a new camera around the corner. That is just the way of the world right now. My advice is to not chase the bleeding edge if you are doing this for a living. Buying the latest and unknown is a sure way to get your buns burned.

For event videogrpahy I would recommend not buying anything that isn't a known quantity. I would also say that using a hybrid camera for a fast moving event isn't the best idea for a budding videographer. I would recommend buying a solid usable camera that has some helpful features such as auto exposure, auto focus, and built in NDs. The FS700 is a great camera in all regards. The auto focus isn't perfect but it is quite usable.

The FS700 is an established product. Its strengths and weaknesses are well known. It has some room to grow with the 4k RAW ability. You can adapt practically any lens to it. It would make a good first camera for what you are looking to do.
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Old September 10th, 2014, 11:45 AM   #7
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Re: Still Photographer Seeking Advice

Chris, good usable info here. I agree, there is always going to be a new/better unit around the corner, there's no way around that. I do see a lot of FS700s in the classifieds, not sure whether this is due to upgrades or the camera is not meeting expectations, that would be hard to determine.

Anyway, I am indeed looking for a solid camera that has a good following, potential for necessary upgrades to keep up with new technology and one that is very reputible with little complaints. The ones that have the FS700 are very pleased and delighted with its results.

This may indeed be what I'm looking for based on the reviews and research I've read.
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Old September 10th, 2014, 12:04 PM   #8
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Re: Still Photographer Seeking Advice

Darren Levine "fs700 is an economical brick."

Did you mean "ergonomical brick"? Ergonomical doesn't seem to be a word... hmmm...
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Old September 10th, 2014, 12:12 PM   #9
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Re: Still Photographer Seeking Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Scott View Post
Chris, good usable info here. I agree, there is always going to be a new/better unit around the corner, there's no way around that. I do see a lot of FS700s in the classifieds, not sure whether this is due to upgrades or the camera is not meeting expectations, that would be hard to determine.

Anyway, I am indeed looking for a solid camera that has a good following, potential for necessary upgrades to keep up with new technology and one that is very reputible with little complaints. The ones that have the FS700 are very pleased and delighted with its results.

This may indeed be what I'm looking for based on the reviews and research I've read.
I suspect some of those sales are to stay a jump ahead of the next camera from Sony. It could be a good time to pick up a deal with the smell of blood in the water.

Regardless of what you do end up getting built in ND filters is a feature I can't stress strongly enough having in a camera used for event video. Rapidly changing lighting is a certainty and fiddling with external NDs is not what I want to be doing when the important stuff is happening. I would make that a top priority feature. You'll be very glad you did.
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Old September 10th, 2014, 12:29 PM   #10
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Re: Still Photographer Seeking Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Scott View Post
The bad thing is, I have very little experience in filming – the good thing is, I know lighting, ISO/aperture relations, posing – just to name a couple. My point is, with 20+ years of shooting, I have a solid base at still photography and consider myself more of a technical shooter than an artistic shooter. I know that knowing ISO, aperture, lighting will not make this a seamless transition, but I would hope that it can help to some degree.

Is the FS700 a little more camera than necessary or is this a decent/user friendly camera for one to learn on?
As a former stills photog that got into video the "right" way (by going to school), the first question I have for you is:

- when you shoot stills, do you manual focus 99% of the time?

Because if you DON'T, the move to HD with an S35 sensor (and the anticipated shallow depth of field that everyone seems to "need" these days) is going to be a lesson in HURT.

I would suggest that 80% of enthusiast to "pro" footage I see these days is out of focus.

Yup. People will deny it or try to say it is an aesthetic decision but out of focus or focus seeking IS out of focus - I too am a "technical" imager first and creative/artistic second.

Moving targets and short throw focus rings make S35 shooting difficult enough for those of us with years (or decades) of practice; starting out that isn't what I'd suggest.

Now... if you've been a live sports photog professionally, you can probably ignore the above OR if you only intend to shoot seated interviews or beauty shots of non-moving objects in a repeatable scenario, have at 'er!

Just walk in with realistic expectations and realize there is a significant learning curve.

Good luck!
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Old September 10th, 2014, 12:39 PM   #11
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Re: Still Photographer Seeking Advice

By the way, I took a look at some of the portfolio pieces you linked to - very nice! I especially like your use of rim lighting.

Which leads me to my next observation - it sure looks like you use a fair bit of flash in your work, at least the pictures I opened. Remember that hot lights for video require significantly more power to get the same output - strobes need only be bright for a mere fraction of a second and are very bright for that fraction of a second. Hot lights needed for the same exposure will be VERY high powered indeed in order to "beat" daylight for outdoor shoot. Of course, studio lighting can be more controlled. A $200 LED light isn't going to give you that beautiful wraparound rim lighting I'm seeing in your work.
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Old September 10th, 2014, 03:17 PM   #12
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Re: Still Photographer Seeking Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun Roemich View Post
As a former stills photog that got into video the "right" way (by going to school), the first question I have for you is:

- when you shoot stills, do you manual focus 99% of the time?

Because if you DON'T, the move to HD with an S35 sensor (and the anticipated shallow depth of field that everyone seems to "need" these days) is going to be a lesson in HURT.

I would suggest that 80% of enthusiast to "pro" footage I see these days is out of focus.

Yup. People will deny it or try to say it is an aesthetic decision but out of focus or focus seeking IS out of focus - I too am a "technical" imager first and creative/artistic second.

Moving targets and short throw focus rings make S35 shooting difficult enough for those of us with years (or decades) of practice; starting out that isn't what I'd suggest.

Now... if you've been a live sports photog professionally, you can probably ignore the above OR if you only intend to shoot seated interviews or beauty shots of non-moving objects in a repeatable scenario, have at 'er!

Just walk in with realistic expectations and realize there is a significant learning curve.

Good luck!
Shaun, based on your question of manual focus and the rest of the information you've provided, renting said FS700 may be an option to consider since:

A - I do not shoot 99% manual focus
B - My intentions are not to shoot sitting interviews
C - I would like a shallow depth of field with my existing fast glass
D - I'm not a live sports action photog


So, based on these pointers, renting the FS700 or a comparable unit may be a cheap way to find out if the results are not as expected and the learning curve seems to be too steep to delve in to. This may prevent "my lesson in HURT".

Thanks for the heads up.
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Old September 10th, 2014, 04:28 PM   #13
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Re: Still Photographer Seeking Advice

Some interesting articles about shooting at high framerates with the fs700 that you might find interesting:

Slow Motion with the Sony FS700 - TBJ Productions - TBJ Productions
What You Need to Know Before Shooting Slow Motion with the FS700, and Some Recent Examples

There is more to fing online through a google search that can help you get the best results when shooting slow motion.
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Old September 10th, 2014, 05:00 PM   #14
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Re: Still Photographer Seeking Advice

Just be aware that if $8000 is your real total budget then you will have a lot more expenses going into video than just a camera.
Monitors are expensive and you should have at least one 127" and I like a small one also 5-7",\. That can set you back $3K right there.
You'll need a good tripod - expensive.
You'll need a lot more wider lenses than an 85.
Add to that batteries, cards for recording , lights, and some grip gear and you can figure a few more K.
If you want to get fancier its great to have a matte box and grad filters..... it just goes on.

Lenny
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Old September 10th, 2014, 06:54 PM   #15
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Re: Still Photographer Seeking Advice

That is a good point about the budget. I have about $14k in my FS700 kit.
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