As I sit here updating the website
I’m flipping between this, and my B&H Wish Lists that I use for planning, and budgeting gear updates and replacements. Currently, I’m torn between whether to get the Sony FS7, or the Sony FS7 II. Both are a bit of overkill for what my current client list requires of me. I’m of the mindset that you should tool up for the work that you want to do, not just what you’re doing currently.
The FS7 II solves all of the issues that come up with FS7, such as the lens mount, the EVF mount, adds REC2020, etc. It’s really a no-brainer, if money isn’t an issue. Which it is. My grand total for a proper video camera capable of shooting 4k 4:2:2 internally, along with a DSLR capable of shooting 4K that cuts well with the former, lenses, and required accessories, is $15k. If I get the FS7II, the body takes up $10k of that, leaving $5k for the A7R II ($3k), and $2k for lenses and accessories. The budget gets eaten quickly, and I ultimately end up with amazing camera bodies and some pretty disappointing lenses. This means I’ll be using a rental house to get glass for any larger gigs.
The FS7, with it’s issues is a great machine. It’s been a sweet spot filling camera capable of run and gun, cinema, or live broadcast. And if I get the FS7, then I have enough left over to get the PZ 28-135mm kit lens. I’ve rented that lens, and like it very much. Despite it not getting wide enough, almost everything else about it shines. I would likely be able to use it for 90% (pulled that number off my shoe) of the work I would use the FS7 for.
The first 4k video camera that I considered was the Sony FS5. It’s small and lightweight design would make it easy to take anywhere (including to the air on a DJI M600). I’ve rented the FS5, and really liked shooting with it. Although, the in-camera 4:2:0 left me wishing for more. Also, the camera was almost too light. It made it seem a bit cheap feeling.
The FS5, is certainly better than any DSLR or Mirrorless camera that I’m used to using. But, that’s the point. I am tired of settling for the quality of video that is eeked out of photography cameras.
I want to have the data, and dynamic range to be able to polish the footage into something that’s diamond-like. I don’t expect that any of these solutions are going to give me ARRI-results. But, I do think that either FS7 will push me (and remind me) to shoot better video. I am almost certain that I’m going to go with the FS7 II, as it is a second generation model, and all my experience points me towards buying something that’s got the bugs worked out. The Rec BT-2020, 4:2:2, and the infinitely variable ND pretty much seal the deal. The lenses options I’ll have for it aren’t too terrible, but not very exciting. I’ll have to fight with what glass I have available for it for the time being.