Monday, April 02, 2012

Sony's new NEX-FS700: 4K, Super Slo-Mo, Under $10,000

Engadget has a press release with details about Sony's new NEX-FS700, the follow-on to the FS100, which I expect to remain in Sony's product line. Here's a summary:

  • The good: The FS700 has a 4K Super 35mm Exmor sensor, and it has a variety of slo-mo modes, including 120 fps in a 16-second burst at 1080P and 240 fps in an 8-second burst, also at 1080P. If you're willing to settle for lower resolution, the FS700 also has 480 and 960 fps modes. It uses E-mount lenses and can support all the usual E-mount adapters. It also has built-in ND filters and a 3G HD-SDI output in addition to HDMI.
  • The bad: The FS700 has the same "Lego blocks" form-factor as the FS100. There have been many complaints about handling the FS100 in the field, including poor placement of controls; it remains to be seen if the FS700 will remedy at least some of these problems.
  • The unknown: Sony's press release quotes the price of the FS700 as "under $10,000 (U.S.)." Leaked reports on the camcorder had it priced at $9,000 or even $8,000. We'll probably know the real price in a few weeks at NAB. In addition, even though the FS700's sensor supports 4K, the camera will require a firmware update at some unspecified time in the future in order to output 4K over 3G HD-SDI to a Sony recorder. Will Sony charge for the firmware update, or will it be free for registered owners of the FS700? Again, we'll most likely learn the details later this month.
Given that the Scarlet-X is already shipping at a $9,000 base price, the FS700 isn't likely to be a game-changer, although it will be considerably less expensive than a fully-equipped Scarlet-X or Canon C300. Canon has a new cinema camera announcement scheduled for NAB, so they may already be preparing to compete in the "4K for under $10K" market. The company that I'm surprised that we haven't heard anything from yet is Panasonic: The AF100 is getting old. Will they have anything new to show at NAB?
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