Sony FS700 Camera

Sony NEX-FS700 Video Camera Review, 1 Year Down The Track

My thoughts on the Sony NEX-FS700 video camera, 1 year down the track. Well, I’m impressed. I’ve been using the NEX-FS700 and without a doubt, it’s my favourite tool in my tool box.

Having used DSLRs extensively, I was looking for a camera that gave me better clarity and definition in the images that it produced.  It needed to be lightweight, I wanted something that I could use with my Canon lenses and it had to be capable of producing TV broadcast quality vision. I also wanted a camera that produced high quality slow motion.

1 year on, I have to say my expectations have truly been exceeded by the NEX-FS700.

It is indeed lightweight and easy to handle so I’ve found it a joy to use on a variety of shoots such as corporate films, cinema ads, documentaries and of course high-end online video. Being such a portable camera unit, it’s a great unit to take with me when I fly, I can just put the camera body in my carry on luggage.  It’s size also means that I can mount in confined spaces if I need to when I shoot.

The camera has the capacity to yield up to 800 frames per second, which is processed internally for super slow motion.  In my experience, I’ve found that the slow motion vision at 800, 400 & 200 frames per second was indeed smooth but that the optimal setting is 200 frames per second for a sharper full HD image.  At times I found that at around 400 fps, the image became a bit soft and at 800 frames per second the footage can create artifacts which meant that footage shot at such a high frame rate might only be better suited for low resolution online video. However, 200 frames per second is more than adequate for my purposes and in terms of the 25 frames per second HD vision it outputs – in my view there is nothing like it in the under $20K price range.

The NEX-FS700 comes with a 4K ready sensor and while it doesn’t shoot 4K internally, this can be done with an external recorder.

The Metabones speed booster adaptor makes it possible for me to use my Canon lenses and that is a big bonus.

The NEX-FS700’s HD-SDI full HD output signal is superior for monitoring compared to the HDMI out mode found in many cameras.

The post production workflow is straightforward.  In Final Cut Pro, you simply ingest the footage off the SD card and straight into your Mac using Final Cut’s Log and Transfer.  This method also allows me to do the transfer and encode it how I like (e.g. ProRes) at the same time, all with the click of a button.

I’m quite happy about the fact that the embedded audio avoids any audio sync work associated with DSLR style filming (and the FS700 comes with 2 XLR inputs with full auto or manual modes).

The camera gives you different filming profiles in contrast and saturation and this can often save time in post production.  A client may want the images sharper and more saturated if the project has shorter grading timeframes.  The options provided are much greater and more detailed than your typical DSLR which can only give you 4 or 5 settings, but the FS700 gives you at least 20.

The feedback I’ve received from our clients has been glowing. Clients appreciate the cinematic quality without the image noise often associated with DSLRs and its H.264 native compression.

In conclusion, since investing in the NEX-FS700 about a year ago, my verdict is that it can be used on almost any kind of shoot from online video to TV to cinema and that makes it my favorite tool in my tool box.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Luke Field, Director of Photography