Archive for September, 2013

PostHeaderIcon Sony FS700RH: Economical 4K But We Need the Optics To Go With It

It goes without saying the FS700 performs very well. At 4K its images have a pleasing organic look that can be honed or tweaked during grading and finishing almost without limitation. In pro-level cameras the SDI output is typically 10-bit but in RAW mode the FS700 outputs a 12-bit proprietary signal via 3G-SDI. Sony has thus far not permitted third parties like Convergent Design to capture the 4K RAW data. For this shooters must use Sony’s 4K recorder and interface – the AXS-R5 coupled to the HXR-IFR5.

Aside from the storage and associated workflow issues the real drawback to 4K image capture is the need for high-quality optics; satisfactorily capturing high resolution images in 4K demands the highest performance (i.e. expensive) lenses we can find to offset the increased visibility of once well-concealed optical defects.

Recently I had the opportunity to shoot with the updated FS700 for SPACE COWGIRLS, a new web series written by Allyson Adams and directed by Adele Slaughter.  The vintage Canon FD series lenses available offered a nice range of focal lengths from 20mm to 135mm with decent functionality. Still I couldn’t help but notice at 4K resolution their less than stellar performance: reduced contrast, increased flare, curvature of field, and many visible chromatic aberrations, The FS700 recording in 4K may indeed be the most economical solution around, but let us recall that 4K capture doesn’t in and of itself produce 4K images; we still need the appropriate optics to go with it.

The Sony FS700RH on the set of SPACE COWGIRLS, directed by Adele Slaughter

The Sony FS700RH on the set of SPACE COWGIRLS, directed by Adele Slaughter.