Daniel Haggett

London based Lighting Cameraman / DoP 

When the Sony FS7 came out I was expecting the price to be way higher considering its pretty unbelievable numbers on paper.  When you consider the price of Sony's F55, this thing is incredibly cheap.  Here is how it stacks up side by side to the Canon C300

   FS7  Canon C300
Sensor  Super 35mm Super 35mm

Resolution 

 4k HD 1080
Slow mo  180 @ 1080  60fps @720
ISO sensitivity  2000  850
Dynamic range  14 stops  12 stops
Record format XAVC   10 bit MXF    8 bit

 

The FS7 retails for around $8k in the US and £6k in the UK.  By comparison the C300 currently retails for far more (around £8k UK, $11.5k USA)  However, over the past months Sony have been shifting massive quanties of the FS7 and Canon aren't stupid, they know they must bring the price down.

Today B&H announced a massive price drop and are now selling the Canon EF at $6499.  This is priced perfectly to compete with Sony's FS7.  It is surely only a matter of time before other retailers start making similar reductions.  

So which is the right camera to buy?  This obviously depends on who is buying.  If you own a large number of Canon lenses already,  then this may push you towards a C300 (once the price drops), otherwise the FS7 specifications look a lot more attractive.  The third option, is to wait.  It seems Canon will definitely be announcing a new camera before long.  One of the big bugbears of C300 users is the ergonomics of the camera, and the FS7 is much the same as the C300 in that sense.

This is a very unscientific test of the two cameras side by side, but it does help give a sense of the picture quality and the dynamic range of the two cameras. NB This isn't my test, just something I stumbled across on Vimeo.

One part of the video that surprised me was the weired purple fringing in the highlights on the FS7.  If you look at the last few shots, take a look at the trees in the background at the centre of the image.  When I switched between the FS7 and C300 I felt that the FS7 didn't have a particularly filmic look, instead it had more vibrant TV colours.  Having said that, this could have been down to the weired fringing isue.  That is enough for me to stear clear of the FS7 for now, but I am sure Sony will fix this in later updates.

Interestingly, sales companies in the UK have been struggling to keep up with demand and can't access enough FS7s.  However, they have also said that C300 owners are not trading many cameras in at the moment, so it seems that many C300 owners are waiting to see what will happen next.

I see the FS7 being taken up by shooting APs or small companies,  as the price for the cameras specifications can't be beat.   As for me, the first camera I ever owned had a retail price of around 50k, since then prices have dropped and I bought my most recent camera the C300 at 12k (3 years ago).  I would prefer to see a few improvements in terms of ergonomics and form factor. If a new camera came out that addressed these issues, then I wouldn't mind spending a bit more money.

If you are thinking of buying the Sony FS7 it is definitely worth reading Dan Chung's review on the camera.  He as spent time shooting with it on paid jobs, so his thoughts go well beyond a few technical specs.  Also The Delivery Men (those who shot the above video test).