Blackmagic Design ship Ursa Mini 4.6K and Micro Cinema Camera

Blackmagic Design ship Ursa Mini 4.6K and Micro Cinema Camera

Blackmagic Design have announced that they’re due to start shipping their Ursa Mini 4.6K camera and Micro Cinema Camera. This means that if you’ve pre-ordered your Ursa Mini 4.6K or Micro Cinema Camera from us, it should be on its way to you soon. However, there is one catch: they’re shipping without global shutter.


As Grant Petty himself explains in this (sadly unembeddable) video, “We’ve been having problems with the global shutter feature of these cameras and it’s been holding up our ability to ship them… As performance is not to the level we’ve been striving for, we’ve decided to ship the cameras without the global shutter feature.

“This is upsetting for us because we really wanted to produce a high dynamic range camera that had a global shutter in an all in one design,” he admits, but points out that users can now choose between the Ursa Mini 4K if they’re working on fast-moving projects like sports coverage and want 60fps 4K, or opt for the 4.6K if their priority is to get that high dynamic range.

Apparently, a 4.6K model being used with global shutter would have been capped at 30fps and have had its dynamic range reduced slightly, effectively rendering it the same as the Mini 4K, so at least this way you’re getting your full 15 stops.

If you head over to the Ursa Mini section of Blackmagic’s site, you can download a short film that Grant and co shot with the Ursa Mini 4.6K, and even download RAW files of the shoot so that you can try grading it in DaVinci Resolve. (The free version of Resolve is available here; Grant recommends working in this so that your RAW files don’t get clipped.)

You can see the full Blackmagic Design camera range here. Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Introducing the Sony PXW-Z150

Introducing the Sony PXW-Z150

Sony has today announced the PXW-Z150, the latest addition to its XDCAM range of lightweight, easy to use professional camcorders with new functionality to enable wireless operation and 4K high quality shooting (3840×2160 up to 30P is supported).



According to the press release, the flexible, effortless setup capabilities of the portable PXW-Z150 enable content creators of all experience levels to deliver impressive imagery for content and events shooting scenarios, no matter how tight their brief. The PXW-Z150 is the first professional camera to feature a 1.0 type stacked Exmor RS CMOS image sensor, providing users with  4K recording and impressive 5x slow motion in Full HD – essential functionality for content creators looking to deliver corporate or personal productions to the highest quality.

So what can it do?

The PXW-Z150 can shoot up to 120 frames per second (fps) High Frame Rate continuous recording, in full HD quality. The Clear Image Zoom technology operates at 24x zoom and 18x zoom in HD and 4K modes respectively, in addition to the standard optical 12x zoom. The single 20 megapixel 1.0 type large sensor size (14.2 million effective pixels) offers clear pictures even in low light, giving filmmakers superb clarity and sharpness, opening up the opportunities for flexible shooting in a variety of environments. In response to rising expectations in the fast-paced corporate industry, users can now enjoy live streaming capabilities and FTP wireless connection with built-in WiFi.

Ensuring creative expression isn’t subject to an extensive setup

The PXW-Z150 is ergonomically designed to facilitate shooting with ease. The compact, lightweight body includes integration with advanced features, removing the need for multiple external accessories. The built-in 4-step ND filter is included to offer the flexibility of exposure and depth-of-field control, and the Multi-Interface (MI) Shoe avoids cabling with easy integration between the PXW-Z150 and Sony’s peripherals, such as the UWP-D series wireless microphones.

The PXW-Z150 can be easily controlled by a smartphone or tablet using a WiFi remote, and has a battery life which delivers a remarkable 400 minutes continuous recording time – allowing you to always be on hand to capture what’s needed. High visibility is delivered with the wide viewing angle and high contrast 0.39-type 1440K OLED viewfinder, alongside the 3.5-type 1550K LCD panel.

The PXW-Z150 lends itself to a variety of environments and editing requirements, supporting the conventional broadcasting format MPEG2HD (50Mbps/35Mbps) in addition to Sony’s advanced XAVC (Long GOP) format. The PXW-Z150 provides a wide variety of built-in connectivity options including professional standard 3G-SDI, XLR inputs, HDMI, USB, REMOTE and Composite (phono), eliminating the need for adaptors. To extend recording times and workflow flexibility, the camcorder is equipped with two memory card slots and is compatible with SDXC and SDHC cards. The dual media slots enable various recording options such as backup, simultaneous and relay recording.

“We wanted to introduce a portable camcorder which supports our customers in demanding situations, where there is the need for a solution which provides a quick setup yet with high quality creative options,” said James Leach, Product Marketing Manager at Sony Professional Solutions Europe. “The compact, lightweight camera body coupled with high quality creative features and 4K capability gives filmmakers the tools needed to take their work to the next level, whether it’s corporate, event or online videography. Clients’ expectations within the creative landscape are constantly evolving and content creators need solutions that can not only provide high quality images, but also deliver this in a timely and professional manner. The effortless set up ensures flexible shooting, while the WiFi integration means you can take advantage of live streaming, ensuring the PXW-Z150 is ready when you are.”

Key features of the PXW-Z150

4K high quality shooting with a 1.0-type Exmor RS image sensor and premium G lens.
The PXW-Z150 supports 4K XAVC Long maximum 100Mbps high quality shooting. The 1.0-type Exmor RS image sensor provides high sensitivity and high performance in low light environments. The high-speed read-out ensures high-speed motion shooting with minimum distortion. Videographers can deliver high resolution and contrast from the centre to the edge of the lens, with the high performance 4K-compatible 29-348mm wide-angle lens with 12x optical zoom.

Use on a wide range of applications with 120fps slow motion, rich recording format and network functions.
The camcorder supports full HD 120fps continuous high-speed shooting, which enables 5x slow motion expression. High quality FHD XAVC Long 4:2:2 10bit 50Mbps and the broadcasting format MPEG2HD (50Mbps/35Mbps) are also supported. Users can take advantage of the advanced network functions – such as the camcorder’s built-in WiFi for live streaming capabilities (QoS will be supported by a firmware update) and FTP wireless connections – to integrate wireless workflows, enabling users to keep pace with ever changing client deadlines.

High operability and rich interface, within a compact and lightweight body.
The PXW-Z150 provides extended functionality with three independent lens rings, in addition to high visibility with wide view-angle and high contrast 0.39-type 1440K OLED viewfinder and 3.5-type 1550K LCD panel. Sony’s MI Shoe wireless microphone receivers are supported, increasing the mobility and limiting the need for external cables and multiple accessories. The camcorder’s rich interface includes: 3G-SDI, HDMI, XLR, Cold Shoe and REMOTE. In addition to this, dual media slots facilitate various recording options such as backup, simultaneous and relay recording.

We’ll have pricing for the Sony PXW-Z150 on 1st March. In the meantime, you can put your questions to the team at 03332 409 306 or email For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Thanks for swinging by our 4K shootout

Thanks for swinging by our 4K shootout

We’ve released the models, sent our demo units back on the road and written John Harrison a long and embarrassing fan letter, but there is one thing left to do: thank you, the people, for bearing witness to our epic 4K Shootout last week. 

As well as cameras from JVC, Sony, Canon, Panasonic, AJA and Blackmagic, we managed to round up some of the best peripherals available (Zeiss, Samyang and Tokina glass, Atomos DTEs, Dedolite and Kinoflo lights, Libec tripods, IDX charge kits, Shape rigs, Konova sliders and – last but not least – HPRC cases) so that visitors could try out the cameras fully rigged, and in a fully lit environment.


Broadcast Consultant Anthony contemplates the universe

Award-winning cinematographer John Harrison was there to deliver two oversubscribed seminars on lighting for 4K. Sorry to everyone we had to turn away from the first session, but even our warren-like office can only hold so many people. Those who were lucky enough to make it in were treated to a lighting masterclass on how to make the best use of your Dedolight and Kinoflow kit when you’re shooting at high res, complete with some fascinating questions from a really engaged crowd. For those who like to keep track of these things, John was shooting on a Sony F55.


John Harrison summons light from our boardroom floor, a feat only true DoPs can perform.

Downstairs in Wonderland, we had the shootout proper, with a Sony FS7, AJA Cion, Blackmagic Design URSA (hint, we have £1000 off these at the moment), Sony A7-S, Panasonic GH4 and JVC LS-300 all available for shooting. We’d rigged the cameras as far as possible, with a DTE on pretty much anything (thanks to Atomos for showing up in force with more toys than we knew what to do with).

We also had the incredible JVC GW-S100e 4K remote control camera system, which allows you to capture 4K footage remotely from what is possible the smallest MFT camera we’ve ever seen.

We can't tell if those guys in the back are crowding round an FS7 or queueing for free beer.

We can’t tell if those guys in the back are crowding round an FS7 or queueing for free beer.

Thanks for everyone who was involved, from the vendors who bought their kit to those who showed up last minute for the beer and networking. If you didn’t see anything that was right for you, try our Small is the New Big event on 20th August, where we’ll be pitting pro handheld cameras like the Panasonic GH4, Canon C100 and Sony X70 against each other to find the tiniest and mightiest of the current handheld crop, as well as giving you the chance to try out Optica’s latest sliders and gimbals.

You can register for our pro handheld event here.

Need 4K kit? Take a look at our best video deals here. Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

4K Shootout: Your guide to the current 4K camera crop

4K Shootout: Your guide to the current 4K camera crop

With our 4K shootout due to mosey into town any day now (well, on 23rd July), we thought it was time to take a closer look at four of the cameras you’ll be able to get hands-on with on the day. Take notes, prepare questions, mentally pick out lenses: anything to ensure you’re not overwhelmed when you get the chance to shoot with all four of them side by side. 

Sony PXW-FS7

First up, the Sony PXW-FS7. As we’ve said before, this Super 35mm 4K handheld takes everything we loved about the FS700, ratchets it up to 11 and then marries it to one of the most ergonomic designs we’ve seen in a long time.

The FS7 is the most flexible workhorse of the bunch, well built enough to function as an excellent ENG and documentary camera. The built-in hand grip serves the dual function of making the camera lighter and easier to balance during long shoots, and means that you don’t have to rig the camera to the extent that you expect in order to get the shots that you want – both big pluses for run and gun shooting.

However, that’s not to discount the quality of images you can get from this camera – it’s capable of shooting beautiful footage, and its support for S-Log3 effectively gives you 1.5 extra stops of dynamic range compared to its predecessor, the FS700, and, as S-Log3 is pretty close to Cineon log, the footage you get is easier to grade and you’ve got more chance of achieving a classic ‘filmic’ look.

Sensor-wise, the PXW-FS7 boasts a Super 35mm CMOS image sensor with 11.6 million pixels in a 4352 x 2662 configuration, including 8.9 million effective pixels. The sensor’s high readout speed means the FS7 can support super slow motion 4K shooting, and its full pixel readout capability and lack of pixel binning mean that jaggies and noir are minimised.

While it’s natively E-mount, an A-mount adaptor is available if you want access to a wider pool of lenses. Plus, Sony are so confident about the quality of their hardware that they’re offering an extended warranty on it, which is always reassuring.


AJA are known for their sturdy, unfussy designs, and the CION follows that pattern exactly: its traditional form factor and lightweight body make it an ergonomic choice for longer shoots. There’s also the usual (but highly practical) fact that it can be stored away while fully rigged, so if you need to shoot with no notice, you can just take it out of its case and go.

Design considerations aside, the CION is able to output 4K raw data at up to 120fps via 4x 3G-SDI outputs (you can shoot directly to edit-ready Apple ProRes 4444 at up to 4K 30fps over Thunderbolt, ProRes 422 at up to 4K 60fps, or output AJA Raw at up to 4K 120fps), and records directly to AJA Pak SSD media at up to 60 frames per second. Its APS-C sized CMOS sensor is backed by great internal processing, meaning your end image is noise-free under most conditions, and it packs in an electronic global shutter and 12 stops of dynamic range.

Given the range of codecs and lens options available to you, the CION is a great choice for anyone who’s looking to achieve a cinematic look under a range of circumstances and workflows. AJA’s hardware is typically built like a tank and rarely goes EOL, so we’re willing to bet the CION will be kept current for a good few years – it’s already had some interesting firmware upgrades – making it a safe investment for anyone who needs their camera to last far longer than it should at its price point.

Blackmagic Design URSA

As we’ve said before, of all this group, the URSA is most suited to multiple operators; you can even split the on-camera controls so that one side of the camera controls audio while the other handles image settings, and can check separate scopes on all three of the URSA’s on-board monitors.

The corollary to this is that the URSA really needs to be rigged on a tripod, being, as it is, one of the heaviest cameras we’ve ever encountered. You’ll also need a good stock of V-lock batteries, as the URSA’s massive internal processing power translates to a constant thirst for power, so grab some batteries and a VTC plate along with the camera body if you’re thinking of buying.

However, it can shoot incredibly flexibly, supports high frame rate and delivers what are team our calling “pretty hardcore” image quality, so if you want 180fps ProRes now, no questions asked, this is the camera to set your sights on.


Not often mentioned in the same breath as the other three, but we think the LS300 has a lot more to offer than most people assume. First off, this is a Super 35mm 4K camera for under £3K ex VAT, which is extremely good value. And the fact that it supports a wide range of interchangeable lenses means that you can probably save again by reusing your existing still camera lenses to shoot video. Then of course there’s the fact that it shoots 4K Ultra HD, full HD with 4:2:2 sampling, SD and web-friendly proxy files, so you’re not going to need to replace or add to it for some time, meaning you’ll get great ROI.

It also has some very nifty hidden features and, because it has a full frame sensor and lets you scale down the crop factor by percentage, offers you ultimate lens flexibility. If you want to capture a micro 4/3″ or 2/3″ size image, you simply need to scale to the correct size, then carry on shooting as if you were on a smaller sensor camera. And even if you’re attaching the smallest lenses in your collection, you’ll still be able to pull HD images off the camera – in some cases, even 4K.

It also has XLR inputs, so you have plenty of high quality micing options, and will support auto-focus and zoom rocker use on any lenses that have those features enabled, meaning that with the right accessories the LS300 can become a really interesting run and gun camera, perfect for live events and ENG-style shooting – especially given its live streaming and FTP capabilities.

Register for our 4K Shootout

Drop by our Soho office on 23rd July to get hands on with these guys and put your questions to the team – we’ll also have Varicam, DSLRs like the A7S and GH4, the URSA Mini and the XC-10, as well as Zeiss glass, a 4K lighting setup from Cirrolight (and a tutorial on lighting for 4K with cinematographer John Harrison).

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

How to get the most from your Blackmagic Design URSA

How to get the most from your Blackmagic Design URSA

Blackmagic’s behemoth is a fantastic collaborative camera that gives the illusion that you’re working with £20,000 kit despite costing £3186 ex VAT. But if you really want to get the most out of it, there are a few things you need to know. Our camera specialist James Graham offers these top tips…

Know how you’re going to use it

“It’s not news that this is a pretty heavy camera, and it’s in no way a run and gun model – even if the test footage below shows that it’s a lot easier to manoeuvre than you might think, it’s still a big setup camera that suits itself to multiple operators, three of whom can even have their own high res LCD display.

The Bear in NZ Winter” – Beta URSA Footage from A Couple Of Night Owls on Vimeo.

As you can also see from the video, which was made using an unreleased beta version of the camera, the footage looks fantastic and has only improved in the final model. You are getting great image quality and a lot of flexibility for a pretty remarkable price, which actually makes the URSA a good shout for universities who want to get groups of students round a camera, shooting professional quality footage. It’s also a good reserve camera for anyone who frequently find themselves having to rent out high-end kit but wants to have something slightly more affordable to hand in case of emergency.”

Remember that an URSA is for life, not just for Christmas

As RedShark pointed out in their review, part of the reason that the URSA is built like a brick house it that it’s protecting a huge amount of “internal processing grunt” is that it arrives ready to accommodate a long future of upgrades and developments. If you’re not content with shooting ProRes and 4K RAW at 80fps, all you have to do is wait for a firmware upgrade – the camera will survive anything you can throw at it in the meantime. And the removable sensor block means that when better chip technology comes along, it’s literally a case of swapping out your existing chip and carrying on, because the rest of your camera will still be solid as a rock.”

Embrace the top audio quality

“The URSA comes with two XLR inputs with switchable phantom power and mic preamps. Really very good preamps. If you need convincing, listen to this hands-on review by the videographers at Faymus Media, which uses in-camera voice recording and somehow manages to capture audible dialogue in the middle of New York.”

Don’t lose the allen key

“Literally everything you want to add to or take off your URSA needs this key. Tape it to your body. Mould duplicates. Wear it on a chain. But do not – do not – put it down and then forget where you left it. Blackmagic won’t be happy with you.”

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

We’ve met the Sony PXW-FS7 and it’s awesome

We’ve met the Sony PXW-FS7 and it’s awesome

Sony threw a curveball at IBC by announcing the PXW-FS7 – a Super 35mm 4K handheld that took everything we liked about the FS700 and stepped it up a notch, challenging even AJA’s none-more-anticipated CION.  Obviously, the first thing we did once we were back in the UK was lure Sony to our office, pump them full of coffee and run off with their prototype. Here’s how it fared…

Ergonomics and build

Not to get everyone over-excited, but a straw poll of the M&E team saw the FS7 labelled as having “the best ergonomics of anything Sony have ever built.” The design is extremely well thought out: the viewfinder is easily repositioned and fits nicely against your eye; the I/O and XLR ports neatly hidden in the body; the whole thing is very modular – it feels very much like a traditional camera out of the box, but can be stripped back if you prefer the ‘boxy’ feel of something like the FS700.

But the real game changer is that hand grip, which we bloody love. It makes balancing the camera (and holding it through long shoots) much easier, allows you to maintain a more natural shooting position, and means you don’t have to rig the camera to the extent that you would expect in order to get the shots you want. And because it’s included with the camera, you can basically take the FS7 out of the box and start shooting.

It would be irresponsible of us to make sweeping statements like “this handgrip will change the world” out here on the internet, but who’s to say what we may have shouted in the privacy of our office kitchen? As our test shooter (and most hirsute consultant) Anthony Corcoran said: “The hand grip balances the whole camera so well, it feels almost weightless. And it puts all the important controls literally at you finger tips. I want one.” See below for an image of the FS7 and its grip reducing Anthony to a gleeful child.

That grip arm is easy to position and has a great range of movement, as demonstrated by this da Vinci-esque publicity shot:

Controls, codecs and cards

To call this camera a PXW version of the FS700 is perhaps oversimplifying, but in terms of use and workflow the two are very similar. The FS7 shoots continuous HD at up to 180fps, giving you super slow motion, and will also record 4K at up to 60fps internally. Its layout and controls are “very Sony”, and if you’ve used a FS700 (or really any Sony camera), you’ll be able to operate this right out of the gate.

Most importantly for anyone who has invested in the FS700 and all its attendant gubbins, the FS7 shoots 2K and 4K RAW in exactly the same way, so you can just whack your IFR5 or Odyssey on the back of this and use exactly the same workflow as you always have.

Anthony would also like to give a special mention to the FS7’s log gamma curves, which include support for S-Log3. This has 18% grey set at a bright level, and so delivers a wider dynamic range than the 1300% achieved by the FS700’s S-log2, effectively giving you 1.5 extra stops. And because the log gamma is close to Cineon log, it’s easier to grade and you’ve got more chance of achieving a classic ‘filmic’ look.


While Sony were distracted by the espresso machine, we did manage to sneak off and shoot some test footage, but we’ve been asked not to share it as the footage from the final model is going to be up to five times the quality of the footage produced by the prototype. However, the actual shooting experience was fairly effortless, and having record and zoom controls on the handgrip is great.

Would we recommend it?

Yes. If you’re looking to step up from the FS700, this is the simplest way to do it, and if you’re after a B camera for more high end shoots, the FS7 will slot into your setup quite happily. If you weren’t a fan of the FS700, don’t be put off – the FS7 is seated firmly at the grown-ups table, using pro codecs and generally feeling far more like a traditional camera than its predecessor.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Four excellent replacements for your EX3

Four excellent replacements for your EX3

We started spring cleaning early this year and, while doing anything remotely difficult in December felt incredibly strange, we have to say that getting rid of our old kit actually felt pretty good. We’re up to date now! We’re flexible! We can shoot videos that don’t look five years out of date! It’s all pretty exciting. 

One of the hardest parts of the entire exercise was getting rid of our trusty EX1/EX3 combo. Having gotten us through more case study shoots, product demos and terrifying windows into our collective subconscious than we care to remember, these cameras have earned themselves a special place in our hearts and besides, they’re good, dependable cameras.

But we had to face facts. They’re old cameras. The images they produce aren’t as high quality as those produced by some of their latest rivals, and they don’t make it easy to get fashionable effects like shallow DOF. They had to go. And, if you’re being honest, your EX3 is closing in on the end of its shelf life, too.

In order to help you get through the switch with maximum dignity and minimal angst, we’ve put together this roundup of resources for our four favourite replacements: the PMW-200, PMW-300, NEX-FS700 and PXW-Z100, all of which are perfect for different reasons. And if you don’t see what you need here, you can always put a question to our team by calling 03332 409 306 or emailing

 PMW-200: The new EX1

Sony PMW-200, available now from Jigsaw24

Sony’s PMW-200 is designed to be the direct successor to the EX1, incorporating familiar controls and features but giving the overall image quality a bump thanks to a new image sensor. This sensor was developed to help combat rolling shutter issues, so you can kiss those goodbye, and will also support high frame rate recording, should you feel the need to recreate select scenes from The Hobbit at full speed in your back garden (we have absolutely not done this).

The reviews

The always dependable No Film School have some key specs and a pretty comprehensive video review here (the presenter is really quite keen on Fujinon lenses) and, although they’re big EX1 fans, they do find time to wax lyrical about our favourite feature: the PMW-200’s 15 second cache recording capability. If you’re going to be doing events work or ENG, having all that extra time is going to make it a lot easier for you to capture key moments, and we don’t know anyone who’d turn that down.

For a more comprehensive overview, head over to XDCAM User and take a look at their review, in which an EX1-loving videographer takes the PMW-200 out on shoots in Singapore and the UK. It’s the closest you’re going to get to touching the PMW-200 without pawing it in a showroom.

The essential info

One thing that confused a few PMW-200 users in the early days was the fact that you had to choose whether to format your memory cards as UDF or FAT, seemingly for no reason. Luckily, UrbanFox have worked it out: you want UDF for higher 50Mbps recording, and FAT for your lower nitrates.  And once you’ve got your cards formatted and your footage shot, here’s how to make sure your XDCAM MXF footage will work properly in Adobe Premiere Pro.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that if you’re delivering XDCAM clips to clients, they might not be able to play the footage directly on their Macs. Try this handy workaround to get your footage working with QuickTime Player.

PMW-300: The new EX3

Sony PMW-300, available now from Jigsaw24

If interchangeable lenses are an absolute necessity for you and you’ve always been an EX3 user, the PMW-200’s ample charms may not quite be enough for you. You’ll want the PMW-300, which offers a broadcast quality, EBU-approved 50Mbps codec and interchangeable lens on top of everything you’d expect from an EX3. Like the PMW-200, it features an updated sensor that’ll really help with rolling shutter issues and enable you to shoot HFR.

The reviews 

Let’s start official. You can take a look at the key specs in this Sony brochure, and see Sony Professional’s Ulrich Mors chronicle leaving the EX1 for the PMW-300 in this official video, during which he also feels the need to dunk a SxS card into a glass of water. We do not condone this. There’s also this promotional video, which both showcases what the PMW-300 can do and proves that violins are cool.

There isn’t a wealth of material out there about the PMW-300, probably because it arrived not long after everyone had gotten extremely excited by the PMW-200. Once again, XDCAM User’s Alister Chapman saves the day, producing an epic review comparing the PMW-300 and PXW-100. You should read the whole thing for a practical, thoughtful overview, but for those with limited time, here’s a spoiler:

“I like both of these cameras and would be pleased to own either. But of the two cameras, I think the PMW-300 is the better all round camera. I really like the 300, I think that Sony have really got this one right (with perhaps the exception of the release catch for the shoulder pad). The picture quality is once again best in class and rivals many much more expensive and larger cameras. It’s going to be a good all round camera that will find a home on corporate shoots, news and documentary shoots as well as in low budget studios. The new viewfinder is really delightful and is a big part of what makes this camera so good.”

NEX-FS700: The perfect corporate camera

As well as inspiring us to make a frankly embarrassingly over the top test video in a frantic ten minute filming session, the FS700 got a lot of early love for its super slow motion capabilities and ability to shoot shallow depth of field, which has become popular in corporate videography circles, shorts and, well, everywhere else.

Sony NEX-FS700, available now from Jigsaw24

Another thing we love, though, is that you can pair it with Convergent Design’s Odyssey 7Q to scale up to 4K. This is a 7.7″ OLED monitor-slash-recorder that lets you record DNxHD 8 or 10-­bit  YCC to 1080p, 60/60i,  720p, 60 (.mov, .mxf). How does that get you 4K? Well Convergent Design have set up a new system that allows you to either buy firmware updates for 2K, 4K, HFR and various shades of RAW outright, or rent them on a day-by-day basis.

If you’re typically shooting HD but need 4K for a specific project, you can just hire that firmware for the duration of your shoot and stop paying for it when you don’t need it anymore, making this a really cost-effective way to kick start your 4K workflow. (This is actually why Original Concept TV chose to use the FS700.)

The reviews

Philip Bloom was an FS700 fan, and you can see his test video here. If you’re a 4k skeptic, you might appreciate this review from Studio Daily, in which Barry Braverman is slowly won over by the FS700’s ‘all natural’ charms. This typically thorough effort from the ever-useful XDCAM User is worth a read, as are this review/video overview from our friends at F Stop Academy and this effort from The Film Bakery.

Over on News Shooter, Sam Price-Waldman has undertaken an epic quest to find out if the FS700 is the perfect documentary tool, and his write up is simultaneously very useful and aesthetically pleasing thanks to some lovely screengrabs.

If you want a slightly more long-term view, take a look at this retrospective of one year with an FS700 from Get Deluxe.

The essential info

If you’re here for the super slo-mo, you’ll want to watch this 90 second guide to setting it up for slow motion, and check out No Film School’s guide to dealing with Flicker before you start shooting (there are also some nice sample shoots there, if you want to take a look at some existing shots before you buy). Finally, if you’re wondering which peripherals to buy, we obviously recommend you call our team, but a close second option is this FS700 kit walkthrough from Next Wave DV, which is a nice guide for anyone trying to work out what they’d like to include in a starter kit.

Buy now
PXW-Z100: For videographers with ambition

Sony PXw-Z100, available now from Jigsaw24

Widely hailed as the camera that’s going to do for 4K what the Z1 did for HD, the Z100 is a compact, affordable 4K camcorder that’s proven popular in the corporate and videography circuit, not least because the ROI trimming lets you shoot a single angle of 4K and then trim it to give the impression that you’ve shot an interview from different distances.

Your 4K footage is captured to 10-bit 4:2:2 intraframe XAVC, which is the same codec used in the F5 and F55. It records to the brand new XQD card, and its dual slots allow for mirror or relay recording.

The reviews

Let’s kick off with this Sony-sponsored roundup from filmmaker Matt Davis, who shares his first impressions in a pleasingly sleek and dramatically soundtracked video (he’s also done an unboxing video, if you want to go right from the start). Filmmaker magazine claims this isn’t a review but it does read suspiciously like one…

The essential info

Start off by getting your fill of specs from Sony’s official PWX-Z100 brochure, then listen to Alister Chapman run through the differences between this and its prosumer sibling, the AX1, at IBC. Florian Friedrich has ventured slightly further afield, shooting some test footage in his studio and outdoors so that you can see what the camera is capable of. We refuse to hear a word against his peerless choice of soundtrack.

There are also a few slightly sketchy looking tutorials online explaining how you can convert your Z100 footage to ProRes so you can edit it in FCP, but we should warn you that we’re yet to try these out.

Buy Now

Want to know more about replacing your EXCAM? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or email For all the latest news, reviews and tips, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook


The Mac Pro is finally here!

The Mac Pro is finally here!

Far and away the most anticipated of Apple’s October releases, the Mac Pro has been occupying an unhealthy amount of our thoughts since it was first unveiled back in June.

The round design means it not only looks great on your desk, but also enables a new cooling system that’s going to keep your Mac Pro near-silent (it’s an evolution of the system that’s been used in the most recent iteration of MacBook Pros). And Sonnet are already working on rackmount solutions that take the new shape into account, which is reassuring to know.

Spec-wise, you’re getting an Intel Xeon E5 chip that’s capable of supporting up to 12 cores, four DDR3 memory slots and the flash storage has a top read speed of 1.25GBps, meaning it’s similar to Steve Wozniack’s latest, the iOFX and up to ten times faster than a 7200 rpm SATA hard drive.

Next up on was the memory, which uses 1866MHz DDR3 ECC. Configurable to 64GB, you’re getting up to 60GBps bandwidth in a four-channel controller. Completely accessible by the user, this is also the fastest ECC memory available.

The native GPUs are dual AMD FirePro cards, capable of delivering up to 7 TFLOPS of power between them and capable of driving native 4K displays.

The six Thunderbolt 2 ports mean you can daisy chain up to 36 devices to your Mac Pro (6 per port), and that’s before you even go near the four USB 3 ports, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, HDMI and Line out connections. In fact, Apple very clearly aimed this at anyone working on high end video and with a 4k workflow because the Mac Pro can deal with up to three 4K displays, single and dual-input displays, and the HDMI 1.4 port supports 4K TVs.

From a storage point of view, Mac Pro will now boast Apple’s latest PCIe-based flash storage, and can be configured up to 1TB, with a standard configuration of 256GB.

Mac Pro 2013 key specs:

• 256GB (configurable up to 1TB)
• 12GB DDR3 3CC memory (configurable up to 64GB)
• Dual AMD FirePro D300 or D500 graphics cards as standard
• 3.7GHz Intel Xeon E5 quad core (configurable to 2.7GHz 12 core)
• 6x Thunderbolt 2.0 ports

Want to be one of the first to see the new Mac Pro in action? Register now for one of our December launch events.

Want to know more about the new Mac releases? Give us a call on 03333 409 306 or email For all the latest Apple news, read our roundup post, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.


Sony release v2.0 update for F55, F5 and AXS-R5

Sony release v2.0 update for F55, F5 and AXS-R5

F5 and F55 users, we have exciting news. Sony have released a free update for the F55, F5 and ASX-R5 that unlocks 30 new creative features (you’ll need to update your camera and recorder to access them). 

Highlights of the new firmware include the introduction of High Frame Rate (HFR) support, comprehensive exposure tools, 24p support and the ability to control audio using the rotary dial.

The download is available for free from the Sony site, but there are a couple of things to note before you hit download. First, you will need to update both your camera and recorder to access all the new features. Second, the download contains 15 files, and you shouldn’t attempt to install the update until all 15 have finished downloading. Third, if you find that after installing the update you still can’t access HFR features, do an ALL RESET on the camera, and that should sort if out.

If you’re using a DVF-EL100 or DVF-L700 viewfinder and want to get false colour, you’ll need to download the v2 software to your camera then send the viewfinders away to Sony Service to get this feature unlocked.

Download firmware version 2.0 for the F5, F55 and ASX-R5 now.

Want to know more about 4K and HFR workflows? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or at For all the latest news and reviews, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook


Get £500 cash back on Canon’s C500 (and the Ki Pro Quad!)

Get £500 cash back on Canon’s C500 (and the Ki Pro Quad!)

You can’t move for killer Canon deals at the moment. You can now get £500 cash back when you buy one of our limited stock of exclusively-priced Canon C500 video cameras.  

We’ve got EF mount Canon C500s in stock for just £13,699 ex VAT – probably the best price you’ll find on the web – but you’ll need to act fast to get your hands on one, as we have very limited stock, and after that they go back up to a (still not unreasonable) £16,399 ex VAT. For a limited time, we’re also offering £500 cash back with this model. Who says no to £500 of free money?

Why choose the Canon C500?

The Canon C500 caught our eye because its four 1080p outputs can be combined to create a single 12-bit 4:4:4 or 10-bit 4:2:2 4K image, meaning that if you pair it with a 4K-capable 4K recorder it becomes a relatively affordable way to kick off your 4K workflow. But even if you’re not looking to do 4K work, it still stands up as a great camera for its price – for a start, you’re getting 12-bit 4:4:4:4 1080p, which is never to be sniffed at, especially if you do a lot of chroma keying or other detail-dependant image processes.

Another favourite feature of ours is the support for frame rates of up to 120p, even at higher resolutions, so we can continue to make the extremely dramatic slow motion videos you occasionally see scattered around the blog.

The combination of EF Cinema Lenses and Canon’s Log Gamma feature delivers the high quality video and wide exposure latitude required by digital cinematographers, while the range of source image formats supported means the C500 is equally at home shooting for cinema (using the DCI/SMPTE 2048-1:2011 standard) or television (using the Quad-HD/SMPTE 2036-1:2009 and ITU-R BT.1769 standards).

And what do you do with your £500? Well, there’s always the Ki Pro Quad…

These two are perfect shooting partners, combining to give you the crisp 4K you want from a camera (and a recorder) you can afford. You can buy them as a pair at our website, and we’ll give you the £500 cash back on that bundle, too. Don’t say we never do anything nice.

Want to know more about the Canon range? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.