Sony’s new PXW-FS7 Mk II camcorder is now shipping, and we’ve managed to lure a demo unit to our Golden Square premises for customers to try out. Here’s what we’ve learned so far from testing the upgraded version of the FS7…
The original FS7 was a fantastic run and gun camcorder at a fantastic price point. Because people have been so positive, the FS7 Mk II is not a totally new camcorder – Sony have simply added some much-requested extra features. While none of them are particularly groundbreaking in and of themselves, they are all based on common user requests, enhancing an already great camera with some higher-end professional features. (Purists will be happy to hear that the original is staying on the market for the time being.)
In a win for anyone who’s spent time building their perfect FS7 rig, the two cameras are the same form factor so most FS7 accessories will also work with the Mk II.
So, what are the new features?
Well, the main differences in form are the new E mount lever lock and the additions to the unique arm design. This is a newly designed version of the Sony E mount, which is similar to a PL or B4 style lever lock in that you don’t have to rotate the lens to fit it on the lens mount, which is tricky with matte boxes and follow focus on the lens. This new style of lens mount means the Mk II is strong enough to take much larger and heavier lenses. This is particularly significant for B4 adaptors with lenses where the weight is further forward.
Another new feature is the variable ND filter (the same one as seen on the FS5). Like the FS5, it’s an easily over-looked enhancement, but it’s incredible. You can still adjust the ND filter to three options, but unlike most mechanical ND systems, Sony have uniquely created a variable ND filter that is electronically tinted. This means you can set your three ‘ND filters’ to be any level of ND (1/16, 1/64, etc.) from within the menus. Very handy if you want to manipulate the depth of field in any given situation.
Other key changes include:
– The handle now has two levers on it, so it can be adjusted without screws and can be mounted on the bottom of the body, similarly to the FS5, which should allow for easier control of the camera.
– The media slot has been adapted so that the XQD cards stick out more, making them easier to release and grab.
– There are three more assignable buttons, bringing the total on the camera to 10.
– The mic bracket has been redesigned to make it sturdier on top of the camera.
– The LCD viewfinder had been redesigned, with a much improved sun hood. The bar it screws on to is now square shaped, so it locks on – no movement!
– Rec2020 colour space compliance.
– The kit version now includes the SELP18110G – a much wider angle 18-110mm APSC lens (this can also be bought separately).