PARK RIDGE, NJ — Sony is expanding its FS series of camcorders with the introduction of an advanced model, the FS7 II. The original FS7 was introduced in 2014 and will remain in the lineup as the entry-level model.
The FS7 II builds upon the proven FS7 platform, adding new Sony technology, including Electronic Variable ND and a “Lever Lock type” Sony’s E‑mount. Extensive refinements to the viewfinder support system and SmartGrip arm mechanism ensure super-fast and secure “on the run” rig repositioning - all of this while still retaining the simplicity, flexibility and operational comfort of the FS7’s industrial design.
Sony’s new mount system securely locks E-mount lenses to the camera body and enables the use of larger, heavier lenses without need for additional support. Operating the FS7 II Lever Lock Type E-mount is similar to operating the PL-Mount common to cinema cameras.
Sony’s new Electronic Variable ND technology, first introduced in the FS5, allows “run and gun” filmmakers to seamlessly adjust exposure while shooting. Variable ND frees the lens iris from the traditional job of exposure control. With Variable ND, the lens iris can be dedicated instead to the important job of setting depth-of-field. In documentary field work, bright exteriors and dim interiors no longer need automatically result in distracting variations in depth-of-field.
Variable ND also permits any lens to be used consistently at its sweet spot, within its best f‑stop or T-stop range (peak optical performance for that particular lens). In so doing, Variable ND avoids the image degradation and softening that typically accompanies opening or closing the lens iris too much.
The FS7 II offers three different Variable ND operation modes: Preset Variable ND, Manual Variable ND and Auto Variable ND. Large, easily accessible switches on the front side of the camera permit quick switching between these modes with the camera on the operator’s shoulder. Any of the 10 assignable buttons on the FS7 II can be assigned to toggle Auto ND on/off. This function could be used, for instance, to let the FS7 II quickly establish a ballpark exposure setting, which could then be manually trimmed to taste.
The FS7 II’s new Variable ND feature encourages the use of any lens not commonly used in hand-held vérité documentary filmmaking due to the challenges of manually changing exposure while following the action. This particularly applies to older DSLR lenses for which active E‑mount adapters exist.
The third major development in the FS7 II concerns improved ergonomics and mechanical design. Buttons and controls are placed at intuitive locations for easy access while shooting. The operator side of the camera now also includes all the necessary controls for operating the new Variable ND feature. And the number of assignable buttons has increased from six to ten.
The viewfinder eyepiece, when in use, also provides a contact point for stabilizing the camera while shooting handheld. The FS7 II’s new stronger, simpler viewfinder support bracket makes possible quick and easy fine-tuning of the viewfinder’s position - or choosing a radical reconfiguration. Attaching the eyepiece to the FS7 II’s LCD is simpler and easier. The FS7’s eyepiece top latch is replaced by a fixed rectangular steel loop that instantly hooks the eyepiece flush and level, perfectly aligned to the LCD. The FS7 II introduces a collapsible LCD hood for viewing the LCD without the eyepiece.
The FS7 II’s mic holder is no longer permanently attached to the end of the short 15mm rod that acts as a cross bar to join the viewfinder support bracket and the mic holder to the front of the handle. The mic holder’s lever clamp now enables removing, reorienting, or relocating the mic holder. Furthermore, this short 15mm rod can now be replaced for a longer one that enables relocating the viewfinder eyepiece further out for “left eye dominant” operators.
XQD cards now project twice as much from their slots in order to facilitate card changeover, even while wearing gloves.