Thinking of stepping up your filmmaking game in 2020 and considering getting the Sony FS7 camera? It’s great, but 2020 is a huge year for mirrorless cameras. Slow-mo in 4k is here and the bitrate is becoming Netflix friendly. And that leaves the question of whether the Sony FS7 is still a camera worth getting. That’s why in this guide, we go over 6 reasons why you shouldn’t get the FS7 in 2020, and if these are not an issue for you, then the FS7 is a great camera with many advantages over mirrorless cameras.
Sony FS7 Lacks on Color Profiles
Sony FS7 was released in 2014, and while specs-wise it still competes today, the options as far as color profiles are limited.
…It’s just S-Log.
….And that’s not bad by any means, and for many people, that’s exactly what is needed, but we personally love Cine-4 the most…
Why? As it’s a color profile that makes our footage look like we want it to look, with minimal grading needing, while at the same time removing everything we hate about standard video shooting, such as too intense saturation.
Sony FS7 doesn’t have that and that’s an issue because it makes it hard to combine Cine-4 and S-Log when working on a project. It leaves the option of either shooting both Cine-4 & S-Log and then spending hours matching the colors or shooting just in S-log.
The FS7 does offer RAW shooting, and that is without a doubt a thing people look at when buying the camera. Matter of fact, this is one of the reasons we wanted the FS7.
…But that option will cost you at least a thousand more depending on whether you go for a used option or not, and well, not to say that it’s a marketing stunt, but color profiles are already a great option. If you can’t do great things with color profiles right now, you won’t do great things with RAW.
Variable ND Means You Don’t Need a Ton of Filters, But…
The FS7 comes with a variable filter. N4/N16/64 and it’s super convenient because it does solve the issue of filters regardless of what diameter lens you put on.
…But it’s not as practical in real life.
That’s because it’s 3 filters that turn rather than a variable filter.
That means every time you need to switch, there’s a clear showing of the switch in your footage.
…And sometimes depending on the lighting situations, you might not see if the filter didn’t turn a full way, resulting in your footage having parts of the filter in the frame.
This Ken & Feith VARIABLE ND 4-400 filter? It solves that issue as it allows you to transition between different densities smoothly allowing for cinematic filming, while having an ability to change between many scopes of densities, all from one filter.
FS7 Isn’t Going to Blow You Away With Autofocus
Cameras like FS7 are designed for absolute pros, but if you ever used the likes of Sony a7III, it’s just hard to deny the power of autofocus, especially when shooting sports.
The FS7 doesn’t blow away with autofocus. It takes a second or two before it catches focus, and that’s often too late. Not to mention that it’s very poor at keeping a focus on objects which perhaps is a much bigger issue.
The system just doesn’t compare to the likes of the Sony A7 III.
…Perhaps that has a lot to do with the fact that the whole Sony range of great cameras didn’t start to come out until 2014, and during the 6 years, Sony has made great improvements, but either way, at the price point, this is something that is quite annoying because while the experts use manual focus in the movie industry, they know exactly how everything will go down and often have 2 or more people taking care of the camera. When you are shooting documentaries where you don’t know the next action, that can become a quick issue.
XLR is Great But a 3.5mm Slot Would Have Been Nice Too
Some of our favorite products like the Sennheiser MKE 400 are 3.5mm. They are fantastic and we want to keep using them.
The FS7 only comes with XLR outputs for audio meaning you need a set of different microphones for it.
Luckily, there are adapters that solve this issue.
No 4K Slow-Mo in 120 FPS
1080p slow-mo is enough with a crisp lens like the Zeiss 55mm, especially when viewing content on a phone, but on a bigger screen, 1080p slow-mo is noticeable.
The FS7 does come with a 60 FPS slow-mo with no sound recording or otherwise 50 FPS with sound recording when shooting on PAL, but it lacks that extra step and that is perhaps the biggest missing feature on it.
Sure it came out quite some time ago, but at the same time, the costs of acquiring it, even today, are quite steep, and the Sony A7S III offers that slow-mo option, at a much more affordable price.
It’s Not All About Bit Rate
A higher bit rate equals more data equals better footage. Absolutely, but “better footage”, only if the lens is on par.
This is an example of footage shot on full-frame 55mm 1.8 Zeiss on A7III VS Sony FS7 with a Sony 50 1.8mm lens.
The difference? Huge.
Even though the FS7 has a 3x higher bit rate, the footage on Sony A7III looks much crisper, simply because of the lens quality.
That’s why if you spend all your money in the FS7, but don’t invest in a lens, it won’t help you take your videos to the next level.
The Sony FS7 is Great
FS7 is a fantastic camera. you can power it without a battery, USE many audio outputs, and batteries for it are more affordable than for FS7, but the lack of 4K slow-mo, color profile options, the time it takes to turn on, and other already mentioned reasons for why you shouldn’t get FS7 in 2020, are something to consider where the alternatives that are more affordable now exist.
….So? The a7SIII? We haven’t reviewed it yet, so can’t say. But we have reviewed the Sony A7 III, and that’s great too.