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Old February 24th, 2015, 05:19 AM   #1
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FS7 good replacement for EX3?

I shoot documentary, stock, corporate films and whatever else crosses my path such as event registration etc.

I am a one man band and currently own a Sony EX3 and a Panasonic GH4.

I love the convenience of my EX3 but like the idea of a camera that's just as convenient but adds the 35mm 'look', 4K, the options of using all sorts of lenses and a great dynamic range.

The FS7 does seem a little intimidating: particularly because I have never worked with S-LOG/LUT's and am not at all proficient in color correction.

So my question is: how steep is the learning curve? And say you have a very simple assignment and you need fast turnaround and want to work with the image straight out of the camera- will that work?

I have (in addition to a bunch of FD glass and some funky Carl Zeiss Jena, Meyer-Optik lenses) the Canon 24-105 F4 and the 70-200 F4. If I complement those with the Tokina 11-16, will that be a nice starter set?

And how useable is the Sony 28-135 for run 'n gun/documentary? I get confused with the numbers and sensors... Compared to the stock lens on the EX3?

In addition to the body (and the wide angle lens), what do you consider an essential part of the FS7 kit? (except for Doug Jensen's much acclaimed tutorial dvd. Can I trade in my EX3 dvd, Doug ;-)

(I don't want an external monitor but from what I read I probably do want a comfortable -adaptable- shoulderpad for better balance with different lenses)

Thanks in advance.
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Old February 24th, 2015, 07:54 AM   #2
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Re: FS7 good replacement for EX3?

I still have my EX3 and I use it a lot if I really need to move fast and nail focus quickly. It is still an excellent camera.

The FS7 is great though it has some early teething problems, none fatal, but just be aware. The image quality is very superior to the EX3 especially in high contrast scenes. It can be used with scene files that produce very similar look to the EX3 if you like. This can be handy if used in conjunction with the EX3.

Shooting with Super 35 sensor is more difficult as the focus becomes very critical. But the images from the FS7 are stunning 10 bit 422 XAVC is a very nice codec compared to XDcam at 35mb/s. And 4K internal is fantastic.

Lens choices are interesting for the FS7. The Metabones adapters work but have some quirks like flashing when changing iris and pretty lousy auto focus on most canon lenses. The 28-135 is a nice lens but really not wide enough for many shooters and if you are used to the EX3 kit lens not as versatile.

So my bottom line is the FS7 is a great camera that takes some getting used to. It is not as easy to use as the EX3. But once you figure out what settings to use, in different lighting situations, the images are way better than the EX3.

Shouldering is OK for short periods of time as supplied, but with a shoulder kit, of course I make one as do many other manufactures makes the FS7 very usable as a shoulder cam. I also recommend adding a Metabones/large lens support if you plan on using larger lenses.

I would think about buying Doug Jensens video series about the FS7 before buying even just to really get an idea of how to use the FS7.
https://vimeo.com/ondemand/fs7/118814379

Personally I love the camera and it is my new A-cam.
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Old February 24th, 2015, 09:43 AM   #3
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Re: FS7 good replacement for EX3?

Jeroen: if you like the EX-3, one other option might be to look at its successor...the PMW-300.

50mbs...4:2:2 color space, XAVC recording. You could likely pick that camera up and rock 'n roll almost out of the box, with your EX-3 background. (And Doug's "Mastering the 100-200-300" DVD, of course)

But it's tough these days to buy a camera that does not have either a large format sensor and/or 4K capability...unless it serves your needs for the next couple of years, and no one is clamoring for 4K just yet for any of your shoots.

I shoot both an EX-3 and an F3 these days. I love the shallow DoF and rich colors the F3 can generate, but run and gun fast focus, hand held work is not its forte...and that's something to consider for an FS7 purchase as well. With anyone moving up into the large sensor market, I'd really recommend renting the unit a time or two and put it through its paces to make sure you're able to make it do what you need.
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Old February 24th, 2015, 10:18 AM   #4
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Re: FS7 good replacement for EX3?

Thanks, Olof. It's interesting to hear you say that when you need fast operation, you still take out the EX3. And Bill probably does, too. For what kind of jobs would you typically NOT use the FS7? Or is that basically any job with little time and/or without a sound person?

Unfortunately I would need to sell the EX3 to pay for the FS7.

It seems like the FS7 is not the most practical of camera's. Is this mainly because of the lack of a good, wide zoom?

What kind of lenses do you use?

What about the Canon photo lenses like the 24-105 and the 70-200 icw the Tokina 11-16?

The PMW-300 is not where I want to go, Bill, but I see your point. I want an EX3 with FS7 imagery. And I want 4K.

What about working with S-Log? How difficult is that? If you want to be real basic about it, could you just shoot s-log and throw a LUT over it? Is that how simple it can be?

Bill, the F3 doesn't look like it was made to go on the shoulder, unlike the FS7. Should make a big difference, I would think.
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Old February 24th, 2015, 10:57 AM   #5
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Re: FS7 good replacement for EX3?

You probably know this but just in case, moving to a cinema camera like the FS-7, you are leaving behind capability and quality in the lens. The obvious loss is in a motorized zoom which is great for fast composition. Also, I find photo lenses in general a step down in quality when you are use to video lenses (unless you get the very expensive cinema lenses). Then there's the lack of aperture ring. Then going with an adapter to a full manual lens, look at if it has intermediate aperture or full stops. Does it click and ruin sound track? Many are not par focal. Zoom and Focus rings not so smooth and typically a short throw. There are however newer lenses that start to address use of photo lenses for video. Mostly AF driven. I stopped following Sony lenses when I found restrictions like no aperture lower than 3.5 when adapting the faster A mount lens to an e mount camera. So maybe it's different now.
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Old February 25th, 2015, 08:04 AM   #6
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Re: FS7 good replacement for EX3?

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Originally Posted by Jeroen Wolf View Post
Thanks, Olof. It's interesting to hear you say that when you need fast operation, you still take out the EX3. And Bill probably does, too. For what kind of jobs would you typically NOT use the FS7? Or is that basically any job with little time and/or without a sound person?

Unfortunately I would need to sell the EX3 to pay for the FS7.

It seems like the FS7 is not the most practical of camera's. Is this mainly because of the lack of a good, wide zoom?

What kind of lenses do you use?

What about the Canon photo lenses like the 24-105 and the 70-200 icw the Tokina 11-16?

The PMW-300 is not where I want to go, Bill, but I see your point. I want an EX3 with FS7 imagery. And I want 4K.

What about working with S-Log? How difficult is that? If you want to be real basic about it, could you just shoot s-log and throw a LUT over it? Is that how simple it can be?

Bill, the F3 doesn't look like it was made to go on the shoulder, unlike the FS7. Should make a big difference, I would think.
I typically still use the EX3 if I have to shoot sports and cover a whole field or lots of different distances with long lens and wide quickly changing situations.

Or as a B-cam or C-cam with inexperienced shooters. I often let interns use it.

Audio is as easy and probably better in the FS7, soon with new FW it will have 4 channels with balanced inputs (with a $500.00 adapter).

I use Canon FD and EF lenses, but mostly the 24-70 f4 Sony is on the FS7. I have also use d the 18-200 F3.5-6.3 for R&G in HD, not good enough for UHD. I have the 28-135 f4 on order. I think I will really like that lens. I will probably rent some PLs if I need for upcoming projects. But I have not had a reason to yet.

I have a couple dozen Canon lenses that work with the FS7. My favorites are:
24-70 f2.8 L v1
70-200 f2.8 v1
17-40 f4 L
100mm Macro f2.8
100-400 f4-5.6 L
8mm Tokinon for extreme wide shots
A bunch of old FD's from the 70's completely mechanical. These are the most used FDs
24mm f2
35mm f2
70-210 f4
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Old February 27th, 2015, 12:22 AM   #7
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Re: FS7 good replacement for EX3?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeroen Wolf View Post
Thanks, Olof. It's interesting to hear you say that when you need fast operation, you still take out the EX3. And Bill probably does, too. For what kind of jobs would you typically NOT use the FS7? Or is that basically any job with little time and/or without a sound person?

Unfortunately I would need to sell the EX3 to pay for the FS7.

It seems like the FS7 is not the most practical of camera's. Is this mainly because of the lack of a good, wide zoom?

What kind of lenses do you use?

What about the Canon photo lenses like the 24-105 and the 70-200 icw the Tokina 11-16?

The PMW-300 is not where I want to go, Bill, but I see your point. I want an EX3 with FS7 imagery. And I want 4K.

What about working with S-Log? How difficult is that? If you want to be real basic about it, could you just shoot s-log and throw a LUT over it? Is that how simple it can be?

Bill, the F3 doesn't look like it was made to go on the shoulder, unlike the FS7. Should make a big difference, I would think.
Jeroen:

I was exactly in your same position a month ago: I have owned an EX3 for 7 years and love it, but I was ready for the next step in camera evolution. I truly believe that the FS7 is that camera, and it will be a freelance workhorse camera for years to come, but there are some things you must understand to be ready for this purchase:

1. You probably won't get much for your used EX3. It is sad to say, but this is a discontinued camera, and when I tried to sell mine to help pay for my FS7, the highest offer I got was $2500. For that price I decided to keep it because it still works and looks great. So now I have two cameras!

2. The camera does not sit comfortably on your shoulder for long periods of time as is. I know the sales brochures say it does, but I personally do not agree (nor do two other FS7 owners I know). You will need a shoulder pad and a battery unit or the extention unit for the back to give you comfort for long handheld shooting. I got both and it added $3000 plus battery costs to the price of the camera.

3. Coming from a ENG lens, you will find the lenses for the FS7 frustrating. There is a kit lens that I bought, but it is slow at a F4, and at 28mm it is NOT wide enough. There is a Sony 18-200 that has the range you need but it is NOT parfocal and is even slower at a 3.5-6.3. Then there are still lenses that are also not parfocal and are a pain in the butt to manually focus!

The workflow is fine, it's not as hard as you think, and you do not have to shoot S-log, but is nice as an option when you need it. Doug Jensen at Vortex media has a six hour long training video I recommend you get if you buy the camera that will walk you through everything you need to know about it.

So be warned, the "$8000 camera" is really a $15,000 camera, but if you get all of the accessories and learn what you are doing, it really is an amazing tool that should provide years of excellent results.
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Last edited by Brian Mills; February 27th, 2015 at 02:34 AM.
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Old February 27th, 2015, 04:50 AM   #8
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Re: FS7 good replacement for EX3?

Thanks, guys. @Les If I buy the MetaBones Smart adapter I can work with my Canon 24-105 L lens and use the iris ring on the camera, I understand autofocus is too slow with the adapter but then, it was too slow even before, right? I hardly ever used autofocus on my EX3. (I don't do sports or lots of fast-action stuff)

Olof: I have a nice set of FD glass as well. Really like some of them. Glad to hear you make use of them on the FS7. I really like the cheapo 50mm 1.4. Surprised you don't have it!

@Brian I know my EX3 will bring me only around 2500,- but that's still around 1/3 of the FS7...

As far as the camera's sitting nicely on one's shoulder: the EX3 is not comfortable either for long periods of shoulderwork... but at least you won't have to spend 3000,- to make it!

What I like about the FS7 is that I can start working with the camera straight out of the box, with the lenses I have, and then add accessories as desired and budget allows.

But like always, we'll wait until after NAB to spend any money ;-)
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Old February 27th, 2015, 12:09 PM   #9
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Re: FS7 good replacement for EX3?

You mentioned buying a Metabones adapter. You will have to confirm this for Europe, but in the USA Sony is running a promotion where they will give you a free Metabones adapter via mail-in rebate if you buy before March 31.

Check with your authorized Sony salesperson.

They are probably running that special now as an incentive for people that are sitting on the fence before NAB.
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Old February 27th, 2015, 12:40 PM   #10
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Re: FS7 good replacement for EX3?

Thanks for pointing that out, Brian. But as I said, I can't get myself to buy anything before NAB... Do you use the adapter? Are all the 'issues' fixed?
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Old February 27th, 2015, 07:36 PM   #11
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Re: FS7 good replacement for EX3?

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Originally Posted by Jeroen Wolf View Post
Thanks, guys. @Les If I buy the MetaBones Smart adapter I can work with my Canon 24-105 L lens and use the iris ring on the camera, I understand autofocus is too slow with the adapter but then, it was too slow even before, right? I hardly ever used autofocus on my EX3. (I don't do sports or lots of fast-action stuff)

Olof: I have a nice set of FD glass as well. Really like some of them. Glad to hear you make use of them on the FS7. I really like the cheapo 50mm 1.4. Surprised you don't have it!

@Brian I know my EX3 will bring me only around 2500,- but that's still around 1/3 of the FS7...

As far as the camera's sitting nicely on one's shoulder: the EX3 is not comfortable either for long periods of shoulderwork... but at least you won't have to spend 3000,- to make it!

What I like about the FS7 is that I can start working with the camera straight out of the box, with the lenses I have, and then add accessories as desired and budget allows.

But like always, we'll wait until after NAB to spend any money ;-)
I do have 2 of the 50mm 1.4's, I don't like the Bokeh in either FD or EF. I do use them sometimes if I need really fast lenses, but the Bokeh is so much nicer in my other lenses that I guess I am spoiled.

The FS7 is usable and very nice actually right out of the box. For short on the shoulder and cradling works very well. For all day shouldering I like my $390.00 solution and a brick battery on the back for balance, just like I do on the EX3, I make a shoulder Brick battery kit for that as well.

If you shoot mostly on sticks you are all set.

The Metabones V4 still has issues adjusting aperture with current FW, but they are very usable. Mechanical lenses work perfectly.

If you do add big heavy lenses I suggest getting a Metabones/big lens support. I make those too.

You can see the parts I make for the FS7 and other cameras at my WEBstore:
Westside A V Studios WEB Store
FS7 kit:
Sony FS7 shoulder brace
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Old February 28th, 2015, 04:04 AM   #12
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Re: FS7 good replacement for EX3?

Olof, what brand of Canon FD to Sony E-mount adapter do you use? And what kind of bricks? (I've always used Sony BPU-60 batteries but if I buy an extra shouldermount I guess that defeats the purpose. Is it at all possible, actually?)
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Old February 28th, 2015, 06:44 PM   #13
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Re: FS7 good replacement for EX3?

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Originally Posted by Jeroen Wolf View Post
Olof, what brand of Canon FD to Sony E-mount adapter do you use? And what kind of bricks? (I've always used Sony BPU-60 batteries but if I buy an extra shouldermount I guess that defeats the purpose. Is it at all possible, actually?)
I use Photodiox, this is my second one they seem fine quite rugged and mine at least fit snug but not ridiculously tight.

I actually have plates that accept BPU batteries and fit on a cheese plate just like the IDX V-mount plates I usually use myself. I like the IDX batteries because you can stack them to balance a really big lens FF and matte box. I usually don't use big lenses and FF MB when shouldering so it is not that big a deal, but it is nice to know you can.

I used to use AB but I feel their quality has fallen behind both in chargers and batteries, and IDX, Swit and PAG are better these days IMHO. Some shooters like the Goldmounts better but I actually prefer the V-mounts now.
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Old March 1st, 2015, 09:38 AM   #14
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Re: FS7 good replacement for EX3?

I just want to echo Brian's analysis of the reasons for carrying two cameras. Think of it this way -- the zoom range of the kit lens is less than 5:1. The zoom range on your EX3 is 14:1 (and a wide angle adapter is easy to attach to the front.). If you're running around and don't have time to change lenses, do you want the added convenience and focus 'forgivingness' of the 14:1 and a smaller sensor?
As an example, I shot the feature length documentary 'Deli Man' (Which opened last friday in theaters in Texas and Florida, with New York and California openings next weekend) using an F3 for interviews and beauty shots, while almost all the 'running around' footage was done with an EX1. Often we would break in the middle of an interview and grab the EX to run and catch something as it was happening elsewhere, only to return to the same F3 interview setup still in place. Yes, the interviews have a slightly different look than the EX1 footage, but we used the picture profiles to match the colors closely, and I was amazed how good the EX footage looked when I saw the film at a festival screening at Lincoln Center in NYC.
The system worked so well that in the meantime I've been testing using a PXW-X180 as the run-around camera -- with its built-in 25x zoom lens, plus its built-in Variable ND filter, ability to 'soft switch' between different gain settings, and wi-fi streaming options!
So I've become a big believer in the two (or more if you count my A7s and ActionCam) camera system for shooting..
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Old March 1st, 2015, 09:46 AM   #15
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Re: FS7 good replacement for EX3?

Same here Dave. I used an EX3 for all the fast paced run-n-gun and a C100 for the beauty/interview shots until a year ago - when I replaced the EX3 with the PMW-300. Horses for courses...there is no one camera that can do everything well - which is why I have two!
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