The Sony PXW-FS7M2 (the FS7 II) is an update to the popular PXW-FS7 that includes a variable ND filter and a lever-lock type lens mount that allows for the use of larger, heavier lenses without the need for additional support. Like the FS7 before it, the FS7 II is an E-Mount XDCAM with a Super 35mm EXMOR CMOS sensor.
New FS7 II Features:
- Electronic Variable ND Filter
- Locking E-Mount with Rotating Collar
- FS7 II Telescopic Arm can be adjusted without tools
- 10 user configurable buttons, 7 on the camera body and 3 on the handgrip
- Updated LCD hood to shut out external light for better viewing
- Updated XQD card slot that makes it easier to change cards, even when wearing gloves
- Power LED light
Lever-Lock E-Mount. The new lever-lock type mount on the PXW-FS7M2 securely holds lenses and adapters to the camera that are similar in length and weight to traditional unsupported PL-Mount lenses. The operation of the lever-lock is also similar in function to PL-Mount cinema cameras.
Electronic Variable ND. Variable ND frees the iris from the traditional job of exposure control. Establish depth of field and find your lens’s sweet spot without worrying about tasking the lens with exposure control. Variable ND avoids the image degradation and softening that typically accompanies opening or closing the iris too much. The FS7M2’s Variable ND has three different operation modes: Preset Variable ND, Manual Variable ND and Auto Var-iable ND.
Preset Variable ND
The ND turret knob enables four presets for ND attenuation. The first preset is “clear,” in other words, no ND. That leaves three preset settings, which are user-selectable in 1/3 stop steps within the camera’s 2 to 7 stop range.
Manual Variable ND This mode is ideal for “run and gun shooting.” The operator can manually adjust exposure by turning either a knurled wheel near the front of the camera or an index-finger wheel on the SmartGrip. In either case, the result is a smooth, seamless adjustment of exposure within a 2 to 7 stop attenuation range. Both control wheels can be user-assigned to control ND density--or one of them can be reassigned to adjust audio level or lens iris.
Auto Variable ND Auto ND can entirely replace the Auto Iris function, without any optical aberrations or degradations caused by changes of iris aperture. Auto ND will prove incredibly useful to a single-person crew shooting nature or conducting interviews outside while the sun comes in and out from behind the clouds. Another critical new use of Auto Variable ND will be for shooting time-lapse, to ensure a steadily compensating exposure where desired.
Note that any of the ten assignable buttons on the FS7 II can be assigned to toggle “Auto ND” on/off. This function could be used, for instance, to let the FS7 II quickly establish a ballpark exposure setting, which could then be man-ually trimmed to taste.
FS7 II’s Viewfinder. Built to be a stronger and simpler solution, the FS7 II’s viewfinder LCD is mounted on a bracket using square rods (to retain horizontal alignment) and replaces the original FS7’s single lever clamp system with a double clamp (with discrete clamping knobs for both front-to-back and vertical height adjustment). When using the eyepiece, which features a 52mm diopter, the user affixes it to the LCD using a fixed rectangular steel loop that instantly hooks the eyepiece flush and level. The diopter can also be replaced and switched out for one matching the operator’s eyeglass prescription by removing the rubber eyecup.
The SmartGrip Arm. The length of the PXW-FS7M2’s SmartGrip can be changed without any tools. The new design sports knobs contoured to facilitate locking and loosening by hand. The SmartGrip can also be relocated closer to the camera body. It’s backwards compatible with the FS7 and can be ordered separately.
Signal Processing. The FS7 II is built upon the proven FS7platform. The sensor, ISO sensitivity, and colorimetry specifications carry over. The FS7 II also has two signal processing modes: Cine-EI and Custom. Cine-EI offers three color grading spaces for electronic cinematography production. Custom mode hosts broadcast standards; until now, Custom Mode supported ITU Rec. BT-709, HD standard. A recently adopted signal distribution and display standard, the ITU Rec.BT 2020 defines various aspects of UHDTV such as display resolution, frame rate, chroma subsampling, bit depth and color space. In keeping with the times, the FS7 II adds BT-2020 at UHDTV 3840 x 2160 display resolution and Y, Cb, Cr color subsampling to the Custom Mode. It is possible to record onboard and moni-tor-ing on BT 2020 compliant monitors via HDMI 10-bit 422 or SDI at 10-bit 422 with a 709 monitor LUT applied.