Claim up to £400 cashback on your Sony accessories until March

Claim up to £400 cashback on your Sony accessories until March

If you buy an FS5 or FS7 between 1st December 2017 and 31st March 2018, Sony will give you up to £400 cashback against a huge range of their accessories. This effectively means you get up to £400 worth of accessories for free, making it the most cost effective way to a) kit out your camera or b) buy everyone you know a memory card for Christmas (full disclosure: we tried this last year, responses were… not excellent). 

fs7_full

What do I have to do?

All you have to is purchase an eligible camera and accessories at the same time, at some point before 31st March (the camera and accessories need to be on the same invoice). As a Sony authorised dealer, we keep a range of the eligible models in stock and ready to deliver, so you could be enjoying your new camera and accessories in days.

You’ll then need to send Sony a scan of your invoice and pictures of the serial numbers of the products you’ve bought, which you can do by filling out the participation form here. You’ll need to have submitted this by 30th April 2018 to claim your cash.

Which models are eligible?

More specifically, anyone buying the FS5 or FS5K can claim £220 cashback, while anyone buying a Sony FS7, FS7 Mk II, or FS7K Mk II can claim £400. It’s worth bearing in mind that you’re claiming cash back against the value of the accessories, not the camera, so if you buy an FS7 and £200 worth of accessories, you can only claim £200 back.

The full list of eligible accessories is available here, and includes batteries, chargers, lenses, adaptors, mics, media and mounts, so there’s something for everyone.

Any recommendations?

Official word from our Sony product specialist is as follows:

“The list of potential freebie accessories is huge, so there’s plenty to take your pick from, whether you want to treat yourself to an extra lens or cover off some essentials like spare batteries.

“If you’re going down the FS7 route, it might be useful to get a bit of money off the XDCA-FS7 extension unit, to allow a RAW data output to record 12-bit RAW footage to an external recorder.

“We’re also big fans of using the lenses Sony have collaborated with Zeiss on, so you could pair a ZEISS Sonnar T* FE 35mm F2.8 ZA wide angle Prime lens with the FS5. If you’re not sure how best to take advantage of this great offer, feel free to drop us a line for some further recommendations.”

To get those further recommendations, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Price drop on the FS7, and free RAW upgrades on other Sony camcorders!

Price drop on the FS7, and free RAW upgrades on other Sony camcorders!

Sony have recently announced price drops and free RAW upgrades on some of our favourite camcorders, and we’ve rounded up everything you need to know to get the best deal!

FS7 models

The Sony PXW-FS7 4K 35mm camcorder is now priced at £6799 (£8158.80 inc VAT), with an additional £300 cashback when purchased with a lens adaptor until the 30th September.

Since its release, the FS7 has been a firm favourite with Jigsaw24 and a must-have run and gun camera. The PXW-FS7 is equipped with a Super 35mm CMOS image sensor with approximately 11.6 million total pixels (4352×2662) and 8.9 million effective pixels. The high image readout speed of the image sensor allows the FS7 to support 4K motion-picture shooting and Super Slow Motion, and realises a high sensitivity of ISO2000 and a wide dynamic range of 14 stops. Its ergonomic design includes a grip designed for easy handling and operability, an angled grip that can be easily adjusted with the press of a button, and a shape that supports long periods of use and flexibly accommodates differences among users’ physique and shooting position.

Shop now. 

 

If you’re looking for an upgrade, we’ve also got the Sony PXW-FS7 Mark II now down to £8350 (£10,020 inc VAT) and comes with £300 cashback when purchased with a lens adaptor until 30th September.

If you have a little extra to spend, we’d recommend going for the newest version, the FS7 Mk II. It builds on the great reputation of the original FS7, and includes new features such as an all-new lever lock design on the E mount, meaning you can use bulkier lenses with added stability. Another new addition is the electronic variable ND filter (the same one as seen on the FS5). Finally, the FS7 Mk II can record in BT2020 colour space, making it ideal for future-proofing your purchase.

Shop now

 

We’ve also got the kit version of the Sony PXW-FS7K Mark II, including the Sony SELP18110G 18-110MM servo zoom  lens, at £10,239 (£12,286.80 inc VAT). This also comes with £300 cashback when purchased with a lens adaptor until 30th September.

The SELP18110G 18-110MM included is a powered zoom lens that delivers optimum performance in Super 35/APS-C moviemaking applications, starting at 18 mm wide-angle and extending through an impressive 6.1x zoom range with a constant F4 maximum aperture.

Shop now

 

FS5 models

Until the 30th September, you can get the RAW upgrade free of charge when you purchase an FS5 or FS5K with a lens

The Sony PXW-FS5 is currently at £4875 (£5850 inc VAT), with £300 cashback when purchased with a lens adaptor until 30th September.

With the FS5, Sony have produced an amazing small form factor, large sensor 4K camera. It’s designed to be modular, so you strip it down to just a functioning body (weighing just 830g!) and a lens. Similar to the FS7, the handgrip can rotate 180 degrees and lock into nine specific places within that arc, so it’s so good in terms of weight, balance and ergonomics. The ND filter is digitally controlled, anywhere from 1/4 ND through to 1/28. The FS5 can shoot up to 240fps at full HD – but only in eight second bursts (like the FS7000), on a reliable 100MBp/s

Shop now

 

We’ve also got the Sony PXW-FS5K at £5399 (£6478 inc VAT) with £300 cashback when purchased with a lens adaptor until 30th September.

The E PZ 18-105mm F4 G OSS lens included in this bundle delivers stunning still or movie imagery with the flexibility of 6x power zoom. Maximum aperture is a constant F4 from 18mm wide angle to 105mm medium telephoto, with excellent resolution and contrast throughout. A lever and ring on the lens barrel allow zoom speed to be freely adjusted as required while maintaining a sure, stable grip.

Show now.

 

X70

With the Sony PXW-X70, users will get the CBKZ-X70FX upgrade licence free of charge – an offer that’s running indefinitely! (The licence is not pre-installed, but it’s very easy to install yourself). This camcorder is priced at £1999 (£2398.80 inc VAT) with £130 cashback when you buy.

The super compact X70 features a 1.0 type ExmorT R CMOS Sensor with a resolution of 20 megapixels. The sensor, which is even larger than the Super 16mm film frame, delivers high resolution and fantastic low light performance, as well as offering more depth of field control as demanded by today’s diverse shooting requirements. The camcorder has the ability to record High Definition in XAVC Long GOP, enabling 422 10-bit sampling at 50 Mbit/s. This in turn supports a broadcast-quality workflow, and is used increasingly by professionals across the industry.

Shop now

 

MCX-500 and 2x PXW-Z150 – new live production bundle option!

Instead of the NX5, you can now get two PXW-Z150s with the MCX-500 mixer and RM-30BP remote controller at the special bundle price of £7499 (£8998.80 inc VAT).

Sony’s MCX-500 is a uniquely user-friendly and flexible production switcher makes it simple for a single operator or small team to produce a broadcast quality live event. Multiple video inputs include professional 3G-SDI, HDMI, Composite Video plus dedicated DSK mean you can mix and match kit as needed for each production. To minimise your workload, the MCX-500 offers hassle-free integration with camcorders such as the PXW-Z150. The lightweight RM-30BP remote controller allows you to control all the key features of suitable camcorders while sitting at your control desk. It also allows tally signals to be sent to connected camcorders, so a camera operator knows when each camcorder is on air, allowing you to work faster and more efficiently with MCX-500’s advanced workflow.

Shop now.

 

[CTA] Want to find out more about our Sony camcorders? Give us a call on 03332 400 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24 and ‘like’ us on Facebook.

 

How to set up the Atomos Flame series with the Sony FS7

How to set up the Atomos Flame series with the Sony FS7

Want to get the most our of your Sony PXW-FS7? This video takes you step by step through how to set up an Atomos Flame series recorder with the FS7, and how connecting with Atomos dramatically adds value with more professional monitoring and recording functionality.

Sony FS7 Setup with the Atomos Flame Series from Atomos Video on Vimeo.

For more information on the Sony FS7 and Atomos Flame range, email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com or call 03332 409 306. For everything else, ‘like’ us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24.

It’s time to get HDR-ready

It’s time to get HDR-ready

Remember 2010, when we were all very excited about shooting in native 3D? Well, I think we can all agree that that trend is now dying a death, and ceding its Cool Trend crown to High Dynamic Range (HDR) imagery. However, HDR is different. Rather than a hyped up flash in the pan, it’s actually offering something that filmmakers have been clamouring for – a return to filmic production values, without losing the agility of digital shooting. 

So what exactly do you need to know before you wade into the world of HDR content production? Can you shoot it with your current kit? And what does it really mean for your images? We asked our production team to give us the lay of the land.

First, for the newcomers: what is HDR?

So, the human eye has a functional range of roughly 100,000 nit from the darkest to brightest light it can perceive detail in, and the lens of a camera has a similar range. Until now, however, image processing, transmission and display technologies have reduced this range, meaning bright and dark objects that were perfectly visible to the naked eye appeared clipped or burned in a captured image. You could expose for the highlights and lose detail in the shadows, or expose for shadow but lose detail in the highlights, but there was no way to capture detail in both.

An HDR workflow preserves this full range from capture through transmission, all the way to final display, so your final image has the full dynamic range of the human eye, and therefore appears much more realistic and immersive, as shown in our illustration (alas, this will only work if you’re viewing this on an HDR-ready display). You’ll see more vivid colours, and more detail in shadows.

HDR

 

Screen Shot 2017-02-08 at 11.29.08

But to give some sense of the scale of this change, the brightest possible pixel on an HDR display is about 40 times what it used to be on an SD display, and when you’re working with an HDR image in post, you can tweak brightness levels pixel by pixel.

However, to get the full effect of HDR, you need more than a camera with a lot of latitude. For example, without support for a wide colour gamut, you won’t see as much colour variation in the newly visible section of your image. Support for high frame rates is also recommended, and you’ll need support for 10- or 12-bit capture too, depending on which version of HDR you’re working with.

There are competing versions of HDR?

Yep. The current frontrunner is HDR10, as it’s been picked up by various gaming platforms. Also popular is the more detailed Dolby Vision. The image displayed by Dolby Vision is ‘scene referred’, which means it varies from scene to scene, working with your display to adjust each image. By contrast, HDR10 is static.

Most consumer displays rely on Hybrid Log Gamma, an electronic-optical transfer function protocol  that combines standard gamma with log to create (wait for it) a hybrid that extends traditional gamma beyond the standard curve. Any TV can display HLG, as it displays the standard gamma. TVs brighter than 100 nits (i.e. most LCDs) will then display more highlight information until it reaches its point of maximum brightness, when it’ll clip.

Which of these is the one my smartphone camera can do?

Neither. The ‘HDR’ advertised on smartphones is actually HDR-I, which uses tone mapping to give the impression that you’re seeing images with a higher dynamic range than you are. This is not the same as the true HDR you’ll be capturing on a pro camera for a production workflow.

So what qualifies a camera as being capable of shooting real HDR?

There are several features that your camera needs to qualify as HDR-capable, but the main ones are:

– 10-bit capture to Log or RAW. As a minimum, your camera needs to support ProRes or DNX 10-bit 4.2.2., but don’t feel like you have to stop there. The more bits the better, really.

– Plenty of latitude. Canon’s C300 MkII is being touted as having 15 stops, which is ideal, but the Sony FS7 and FS5 both have 14, and if you have a C500 in your arsenal, that still has a perfectly respectable 12 stops of dynamic range.

– S-Log3/C-LOG 3 capture capability; if you are shooting RAW and recording to Log over SDI, this needs to be 10-bit. 12-bit CinemaDNG capture is also good.

– Rec2020 gamut support.

Your existing camera may already be able to record S-Log3 with the help of an external recorder. (The Atomos Flame and Inferno series are a good bet for this, as they incorporate high quality HDR-ready monitors so you can see your footage accurately on set.)

Which cameras are HDR-ready?

Several such cameras are on, or at least making their way to, the market, but as we mentioned earlier, our favourites among the current crop are Canon’s C500 and C300 MK II, Sony’s FS7 and FS5, and the Panasonic GH4 and GH5. All of these cameras output a RAW signal that can be recorded as ProRes or DNX with the help of external recorder, and all have LOG gamma encoding.

Apart from a camera and maybe an external recorder, what else will I need?

In order to see what you’re doing with your HDR images in post, you will need a monitor that can support HDR. Currently, the simplest and most affordable are the Atomos Flame and Inferno ranges, which offer on-camera HDR monitoring combined with the ability to play back and edit your footage at full res, making a collaborative HDR workflow possible for everyone on set. If you’ve already invested in a Atomos Ninja Assassin, Blade HD, Flame, Shogun or Shogun Inferno, HDR support is available as a free upgrade, but as their screens only hit 500 nit, you won’t be able to see more than seven or eight stops of dynamic range; the newer monitors are 1500 nit and showcase 10 stops.

When it comes to post-production, we can’t in good conscience recommend grading on anything less than DaVinci Resolve. Its ability to power through high resolution and frame rate files without slowing down or falling over is going to be extremely necessary if you’re going to be tackling HDR, and it features the industry’s most advanced and sensitive HDR toolkit. The ability to grade a project for multiple colourspaces at the same time is going to come in handy until you’re delivering HDR 4K all the time, too.

Will my current infrastructure be OK?

To be honest, that depends how much 4K work you’ve done so far, and how many changes you’ve made to accommodate it. That 10-bit workflow with its attendant file sizes and frame rates means you’re going to want to be working on a 10Gb Ethernet network, rather than the standard 1GbE.

You’ll also want to make sure you have plenty of high capacity storage both at your facility and on set. One of the reasons we’re so keen on Atomos devices is that they’ve teamed up with G-Technology to develop the Master Caddy range. These high capacity SSDs can slot into any compatible Atomos recorder to capture your footage, then be removed and inserted in to an adaptor that makes them compatible with G-DOCK and ev series storage from G-Technology, so there’s no need for you to invest in proprietary recording media that’ll only work with one of your cameras (you’ll get better speeds and capacities this way, too).

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Sneak peek: Sony FS7 Mk II

Sneak peek: Sony FS7 Mk II

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… 

fs7_full

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.

fs7_lens_mount

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.

fs7_camera_controls

– 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).

The Mk II can still only output 12-bit RAW via SDI, so you’ll need an XDCA-FS7 camera extension box and a Atomos Shogun Flame, Atomos Inferno or an Odyssey 7Q to get that RAW footage XDCAFS7.

 

– You can buy the Sony PXW-FS7 Mk II camcorder now from Jigsaw24.

Want to know more, or book a demo? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Sony expands the FS series with their new FS7 II camcorder

Sony expands the FS series with their new FS7 II camcorder

Creative documentary and indie film producers rejoice, for Sony are adding to their FS Series Super 35mm professional family with the addition of the new FS7 II camcorder. The original FS7 was a firm favourite with the video team here, and its new incarnation looks set to be just as well loved, adding advanced features like Electronic Variable ND technology, a lever lock type E-mount, and a new mechanical design for faster and easier setup.

Sony FS7 II camcorder at Jigsaw24

“Since its introduction in 2014, the FS7 has become one of the most widely used cameras in a range of production applications, and the original model remains in the Sony line-up. The new FS7 II now gives creative professionals a broader range of creative tools, with new features all based on end user feedback.

The new FS7 II camcorder is designed for long-form shooting and production applications, especially for documentaries and independent filmmaking. Amongst the many enhancements outlined below, the FS7 II can also record in BT2020 colour space, hence making it ideal for today’s 4K broadcast productions.

Electronic Variable ND Technology

The camcorder’s Electronic Variable ND Filter system, combined with its large sensor, delivers greater exposure control, with the option of preset or variable operation modes. Variable ND mode (clear + 2~7 stop range, in seamless transition steps up to 1/128) allows the user to vary the density of the ND filter during shooting and to transition seamlessly between steps. This also ensures an optimum motion delivery by maintaining desired shutter speed.

The camera’s expanded ND operations enables fine exposure adjustment by relegating iris to set depth of field, prevents soft focus caused by diffraction, and prevents colour shift caused by stacking multiple external ND filters. The camera can compensate for exposure fluctuation caused by iris control while adjusting the depth of field. Users can adjust exposure while keeping the same bokeh in changing shooting or lighting environments.

Preset mode lets users assign three ND settings to the filter turret, useful in selecting the most appropriate filtration range for changing light conditions, for example. Auto ND mode is also available allowing exposure to stay at a fixed level while adjusting the depth of field with iris control.

E-mount (Lever Lock type) for professional shooting

The FS7 II revisited E-mount (lever lock type) gives users the ability to change lenses by rotating the locking collar rather than the lens itself, which means that in most cases lens support rigs don’t need to be removed, saving time during a production. The new E-Mount has been designed for demanding applications in the professional environment and will fit any existing E-mount lenses in the market and other mount lenses with an adapter. The new FS7 II camcorder also supports Sony α Mount System, which includes more than 70 lenses.

Mechanical Design Enhancements 

Like its counterparts in the FS Series family – the FS7 and FS5 models – the new FS7 II features several design and ergonomic updates for comfortable and functional use in the field. These new features are based customer feedback around the FS7. The FS7 II “tool-less” mechanical design lets users make on-the-fly changes to the camera’s set-up and operation. For example, no tools are required to adjust the Smart Grip or viewfinder positions.

The detachable viewfinder eyepiece, which comes with a pop-up hood, provides a third stabilizing contact point when shooting handheld. Durable square section rods and lever-clamps on the LCD and camera body provide simple and precise front-to-back VF adjustment while retaining level positioning.

New Sony 18-110mm Sony G lens

Sony also introduced a new E-mount, Super 35mm lens specifically designed for documentary and motion picture production. The new lens, model E PZ 18-110mm F4 G OSS, covers Super35mm and APS-C sensors. Compact and lightweight — 2.4 lbs (1.1Kg) — with an 18 to 110 focal range (6x zoom) it uses a new fully mechanical/servo zoom switchable system, capable of snap zooms and entirely devoid of lag. The focal range is optimised for Super 35 and APS-C sensors.

The lens is compatible with Sony α Mount System cameras, including the α7 series interchangeable-lens cameras and professional Super 35mm 4K camcorders like the FS7 or FS5. Although perfectly suited for still image taking, filmmakers will fully appreciate the lens’ extended creative capabilities for shooting motion images.

The lens benefits Smooth Motion Optics (SMO) design from Sony, which is developed to optimise performance during motion image capture. This lens design eliminates undesirable characteristics and artifacts that do not affect still image taking, but can severely limit a lens’ usefulness for motion shooting, such as:

– Ramping: F stop gradually diminishes when zooming tight.

– Not holding focus while zooming.

– Breathing (angle of view variation while focusing).

– Optical axis shift (image moves in the frame while zooming).

*Due to a change in the SELP18110G specifications it is no longer compatible with the SEL14TC and SEL20TC teleconverters.

XQD Cards

The FS7 II supports the XQD memory card format, designed for capturing and transferring high-bandwidth, high resolution files. The newest XQD card from Sony, QD-G256E — with an industry first 256 GB capacity — enables recording time of approximately 45 minutes at 4K 60P and 3.5 hours at 2K 30P. Combined with a read speed of 440MB/s and write speed 400MB/s, users can shoot for longer without needing to change media cards.”

– The Sony FS7 II is planned to be available in January 2017, and you can pre-order it from us now here.

Want to know more about the Sony FS7 II camcorder? Give us a call on 03332 409 306, email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com or pop your details in the form below. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Sony announce details of upcoming FS7, F5 & F55 firmware

Sony announce details of upcoming FS7, F5 & F55 firmware

Sony have announced that the FS7, F5 and F55 will all be getting firmware updates in January 2016. Although the updates were originally promised slightly sooner, Sony say they’ve been holding them back in order to improve S&Q RAW recording with an external RAW recorder.

The updates – officially titled PXW-FS7 Version 3.0 and PMW-F5/55 Version 7.0 – will be available free of charge “within January 2016″.

Key features of PXW-FS7 Version 3.0 include:

– Support for adjusting the Focus Magnification area position.

– Support for “2K Full”, “2K Center” setting in Image Scan Mode.

– Support for Interval Recording function.

– Support for Noise Suppression setting in Cine EI mode.

– Expand lowest value of Zebra level to 0%.

– RAW image quality improvement at 240/200fps HFR shooting.

Key features of the PMW-F5/55 Version 7.0 include:

– Quick Menu for fast access via Subdisplay (Option Button).

– ITU-R BT.2020 Support in Custom Mode (F55 only).

– MPEG2 50Mbps (50i/ 59.94i) Proxy recording while XAVC 4K/QFHD (50p/59.94p) recording (F5 needs to have the CBKZ-55FX licence installed).

– Simultaneous recording to the same SxS Pro+ card of MPEG2 50Mbps 4:2:2 and 10 bit 4:2:2 4K XAVC in either 3840 x 2160 or 4096 x 2160. The files will have matching Timecode and file naming.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Sony FS5: Smart, cunning and divisive over media…

Sony FS5: Smart, cunning and divisive over media…

I recently got a sneak preview of Sony’s new PXW-FS5. The IBC noise sounded a bit like this was an FS100 replacement (it isn’t). It’s actually much closer to the FS7.

It doesn’t quite have the same 4K clout as the FS7, but it’s got a couple of really smart, discreet upgrades in tech and design, all in a much smaller form factor, allowing shooting from any angle. Sony have produced an amazing small form factor, large sensor 4K camera. Now you’re going to want one of each.

So the sexy specs – 14 stops, QFHD 4K, over-cranking, WiFi/near field communication, choice of two codecs (including XAVC).

blog313

The body

As you can see from the pics, the FS7 closely resembles the FS7. From the tech specs, you can see this thing is half the size. Also, it’s designed to be modular, so you strip it down to just a functioning body (weighing just 830g!) and a lens. What Sony have done with the XLRs on the FS5 is my first favourite ‘smartness’ – they’ve put them in completely different places. One is in the handle where you’d always expect it, the other is in the body. This enables recording XLR audio without anything else attached.

blog319_1

The LCD will rotate into any position on its axis, then there are loads of mounting screws, so it can be mounted in almost any position.

Another smartness – the handgrip. I love the physics-defying design of the rotating arm on the FS7. On the 5, it looks like they’ve taken the handgrip from the 7 and attached it direct – it will rotate 180 degrees and also lock into nine specific places within that arc It’s so good in terms of weight, balance and ergonomics.

The battery

The FS5 ships with a BPU-30 battery, but the camera has a really deep battery-bay –its designed so a BPU-60 will fit flush with the body and a BPU-90 will extrude just a bit. Incidentally a BPU-60 will run it for approx. 4.5 hours, so a great choice on the FS5.

blog316

The best bit

Time for another smartness – and my favourite bit – the ND filter. I kid you not. Firstly, as you can see from my pics, the silver ND dial looks the same, and is in the same position as on the FS7. But it’s brand new technology. It’s not mechanical (or not entirely); it’s digitally controlled. So as you switch the ND filter on, a clear piece of glass is mechanically dropped over the sensor (see pic), but the amount that the glass is tinted (ND-ed) is done digitally. Anywhere from 1/4 ND through to 1/28. To make it simple, that silver dial (which is normally three positions of ND) is still that, but what you want each position to be is set in the Menus – so the silver dial is like three ‘assignable’ buttons for ND.

blog310

blog311

The controversial bit

The next bit you’re either going to love or hate.

For choice of media, Sony have gone for good ol’ non-proprietary SDXC cards. Awesome – you’ll save a fortune on media. And I’m still impressed at the engineering that makes 4K acquisition onto an SDXC card possible. However, there’s a trade-off – bottom line is you can only get 100MB/s as a consistent write speed from most fast SDXC cards, so the FS5 can only shoot UHD 4K up to 100MB/s.

blog307

The footage I saw looked stunning (funny, demo reels always do…), but the trade-off is it can only shoot 4K to SDXC as a Long GOP profile – no Intraframe, which is reserved for the FS7 with its fancy, faster (and much more expensive) XQD cards. If you’re a shooter who moans about the cost of the newer, faster media (whether XQD, C-Fast, AJA PAK…), be careful what you wish for.

Over-cranking

Which brings me onto over-cranking. Yep, the FS5 can shoot up to 240fps at full HD. I know, I know, you’re doing the maths and shouting ‘but that’s impossible if the capture media can only do a reliable 100MB/s!’ Yep. Which is why it can only do it in eight second bursts (like the FS700).

blog321

The FS5 captures it to an internal buffer first, then adds it to media. Another trade-off for cheaper media. Furthermore, there’s no over-cranking at QFHD 4K (unhappy face). However, drop it to 120 fps at 1080, and this buffer becomes a sixteen second burst. And if you’re a real slo-mo freak, it will continue to shoot lower, for every drop in resolution you’re prepared to go –as far as up to 960fps at 260p (260 lines, or ¼ vertical HD resolution), or so I believe.

The boring bit

Resolution – the FS5 will shoot full HD at 4:2:2, 10-bit, at 50p at 50Mb/s or 10-bit 4:2:2 at 25p at 35Mb/s. And if you really want, you can even shoot AVCHD at 24Mb/s and lower. It will even shoot DCI 2K at this 10-bit 4:2:2 profile. Sony’s final trade-off with the SDXC choice – the FS5 will only shoot UHD 4K internally at 8-bit 4:2:0. It will do it in S-Log 2 and 3, but take into account the fact that it’s only 8-bit.

The verdict

A good time to take a good look at yourself and ask – do you prefer affordable media with limitations on shooting, or insanely expensive media (XQD, C-FAST, AJA-PAKs etc) that allows you to do everything? Luckily for Sony, they now have two answers to cover themselves: FS5 or FS7.

Another cunning trick, this surprise announcement really lays down the gauntlet on the (announced a while back) eagerly awaited URSA Mini. Now, wouldn’t it be really cunning if they released a firmware update for RAW…

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Sony offering super savings on cameras for classrooms!

Sony offering super savings on cameras for classrooms!

Want to teach students the professional production skills they’ll need in their future careers (and attract prospective students)? Now’s the time to update your camera kit, as Sony are currently offering education institutions up to £1079* off cameras, including the PXW-X70 and FS7. It’s only on until 30th September though, so it’s a great excuse to dig into that budget!

The promotion covers a wide range of Sony’s professional cameras, from pro handheld up to film cameras. We’ve picked out our top cameras for education below, but if there are any other models that have caught your eye, or you need advice on what camera to plump for for a particular course or scenario, do get in touch with the team – as Sony Professional Solution Specialists, we’re here to help!

What’s on offer?

PXW-X70 – Great for all creative courses

Sony PXW-X70 on Jigsaw24

This 4K-ready camera was the first on the market to combine the dual benefits of a large sensor with a fixed lens, enabling incredibly shallow depth of field, with a real broadcast-quality workflow. A price tag of around £1500 means this camcorder is a professional and practical choice which isn’t going to break the bank. £1475 ex VAT (Save £216* with the Sony promo!)

PXW-X200 – Great for journalism courses

x069aak

A bit of a step up, the X200 features three 1/2-inch type Full-HD ExmorT CMOS sensors to achieve high resolution, high sensitivity, low noise, and wide dynamic range, 17x Fujinon professional HD zoom, and support for the most popular video formats, shooting to SxX cards or even inexpensive XQD, SDXC and SDHC cards via an adaptor. £3915 ex VAT (Save £432* with the Sony promo!)

PXW-FS7 and PMW-FS7K – Great for film courses

Screen Shot 2015-08-21 at 14.35.29

Sony’s FS7 is a complete large sensor camera system that delivers long-form recording capabilities with 4K resolution in a compact, hand-held (and robust) design that makes it great for giving a cinematic sheen to students’ production. £4830 ex VAT (Save £288* with the Sony promo!)

PMW-F55 – Great for high-end production courses

x762aag

The F55 has a Super 35 4K CMOS sensor, global shutter technology that means far fewer artefacts, a wide colour gamut, and internal 4K recording to SxS Pro + cards at up to 60fps and 2K/HD at up 180fps. You can also simultaneously record XAVC 4K files and HD MPEG files to the same SxS Pro + card, for both backup and getting ready for grading.

We recently kitted out Staffordshire University with an F55, and Richard Mortimer, Media Centre Technical Team Leader, has been very impressed: “Now we’ve got mind-blowing technology we can put in front of students, things that they’re not going to see until they’ve been in industry a while and gotten their feet under the table.”

£17,500 ex VAT (Save £1079* with the Sony promo!)

– You can see the full range of Sony cameras here.

How does it work?

The promotion is only available to recognised public or private schools, colleges and universities providing full-time study. For that reason, we don’t apply the savings to the products on the website – you’ll need to get in touch with the team to put an order in, then we can apply your discount. Just remember, you only have until the 30th September 2015!

Want to know more about Sony cameras? Get in touch with us on 03332 409 306 or education@Jigsaw24.com to find out more. For all the latest news and updates follow  @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page.

*Savings are adjusted for exchange rates at time of publishing, and so are subject to change.

 

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 CION

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.

JVC GY-LS300

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 broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.