Freya Black, a UK-based writer, director, cinematographer and artist, urges us not to forget about the Sony FS-700, now that its upmarket siblings have been announced
Not so long ago the Sony FS-700 was the exciting camera of the moment. Not only did it have all the more positive features of the Sony FS-100 including the Super 35mm sensor and interchangeable lenses, but it also had incredible high speed filming modes and the promise of an upgrade to record in 4k in the future.
Way back in... well, April, the FS-700 seemed exciting and groundbreaking but now, a bit over 6 months later, it seems to have already been eclipsed by the release of “the new F” (the Sony F5 and Sony F55) which have really captured people's imagination and excitement, as much for their appearance and style as for the wealth of exciting new features on offer in one package.
So where does that leave the FS700 now? That funny little boxy camera...
High speed modes
Well the FS700 still has those high speed modes and they are still very impressive! The 480fps and 960fps modes actually exceed the speeds even available on the F55. Okay so the 960fps might be a bit too low-res for most purposes but the 480fps mode can still be very usable even if it is sub 1080p resolution and let's not forget the camera can also do 240fps in 1080p, something not even available on the F5. What’s more the F5 and F55 will only be capable of 60fps at release, the high speed modes being a future software upgrade. The high speeds of the FS700 continue to be impressive generally, not just against the “new F” Sony cameras but even against cameras such as the Alexa! That little FS700 camera still has a surprising amount of power for a small price.
It’s not just the high speed features that make the FS700 an attractive proposition however, but also that 4K option! That may seem a strange thing to say when the 4k upgrade and recorder looks like it could now cost almost as much as the camera itself but if you view them together as a package it becomes clear that it is far and above Sony’s cheapest route to 4k. The Sony F5 requires the same outboard recorder to record 4K and let's not forget that it’s not just 4K, it’s also RAW! Even the F55 requires the outboard recorder to record 4k RAW. In fact the FS700 with the recorder is probably the cheapest route to 4K RAW on the market at all at present.
The 4K RAW recorder also gives you another benefit, if you buy one for your FS700 and then end up upgrading to the F5 or F55 at a later date, you already own the recorder which will work fine with either, so you have a clear upgrade path from the FS700 to the “new F” cameras. This is a great development I think. I’d really love it if companies were to make their accessories more compatible across their range of cameras. It’s actually a much nicer way of locking people into your products than creating strange new esoteric codecs every week because there is a real benefit to the customer as well as to the company. They might even find that people upgrade their equipment more often if they can take some of their accessories with them as it brings down the cost of entry for an upgrade.
Powerful punch; small price
The FS700 might have been forgotten and sidelined with all the fuss about the “new F” but it’s probably the cheapest route out there to achieve 4k RAW, and it’s still a super portable little camera capable of achieving really impressive high speed 1080p video right out of the box! Yes it may not have the slick new appearance of the new Sony cameras, but we really should be more concerned with how the final footage looks than how the camera itself looks and that little FS700 packs a powerful punch for a very small price.