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What are the limitations of FS700?

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Terry Leahy
What are the limitations of FS700?
on Nov 1, 2012 at 7:09:09 pm

Hey Ya'll

I'm thinking of selling my HPX370 and switching over to an FS700. The 370 is great because it is always ready to go, good for live events (Press Conferences,Sports) and it has 10 bit color. But it is rare I am shooting sports/live events, I am more doing things along the lines of on location commercials. So I am looking for a camera that crushes my DSLRs into B-Cam status for commercials, which I think (with slow motion) this camera does.

So my question are on the limitations of this camera in regards to my work flow.

Currently my work is mostly controlled/semi controlled environments and the occassional live broadcast event (webstream, iMag).

My HPX is GREAT at the occassional live broadcast and GOOD at Commercials.

I would like to change it for the FS700 provided it is SUPERB for Commercials and GREAT for Live Broadcasts.

What do you all think?

Also, I say superb as for cameras under 10,000 dollars.

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Dennis Hingsberg
Re: What are the limitations of FS700?
on Nov 1, 2012 at 10:41:24 pm

First, I am not a fan-boy. I own Canon, Sony F3, and RED. I don't care about models, brands or companies. I care about how the tools will help me produce the best work that I can possibly render.

As a F3 shooter for a year and avid follower of the new F series cameras and developments I've been getting into a lot of discussions on DVXuser about the FS700.

#1. Internal Codec: It only records 8-bit 420 internally. This is okay for most things, and can endure a little grading despite what anyone is telling you. There are those people who just want to start with the absolute BEST so they are sure that the work looks its best when graded and don't want any limitations imposed on them. Good for them. Then there are those who tell you that lighting and lighting control of your scene are most important, far more than any codec. (that would be my angle.)

#2. Unacceptable HD-SDI: If you want to shoot a feature film you should do it in the highest bit-depth and color space possible. If you haven't shot or completed a feature film, you can't possibly appreciate why I am saying this. Unfortunately even though the FS700 has an SDI port it can only output HD in 8-bit 422. The F3 for example does it 10-bit 422 but you pay a lot more for the camera. 8-bit gives you 240'ish shades of grey, 10-bit gives you FOUR TIMES that. When you shoot a feature 100 things are inconsistent and 10-bits will be the only way to even out tones from scene to scene, correct color and finally grade your film if you do so chose to.

#3. 4k RAW recording: Just announced THIS week is the fact that to use Sony's new recorder planned for the new F series CineAlta cameras you will need to buy the Sony HXR-IFR5 for $2000 which is an intermediary module used to go between the FS700 and the Sony AXS-R5 recorder (no price on that buy $9k-$15k expected, some have rumored $6k).

#4. Single 3G SDI port: So far, no body makes a recorder to record RAW over a sinlge 3G SDI port. The AJA KI PRO QUAD I don't believe has 3G ports, only multiple 1.5G ports. Convergent-Design is trying to figure out a way to get is new 4k Gemini Recorder to work with the FS700. It;s price will be $9k-11k. Media not included.

RAW media costs $1500 to $4000 per 512MB depending on who's you are talking abut. 1TB stores 60 minutes of RAW footage.

In the end, if your goal was cinema I think it is FAR cheaper and proven on option to shoot with the RED Scarlet or RED ONE MX camera. It is 16-bit RAW internal recording to cards, and is much more an industry standard than the FS700.

If you're a hobbyist the FS700 might be for you if you can bare the hefty price tags (and storage requirements) associated with 4k 12-built RAW. If you're a professional or looking to work as a professional RED carries not only a name, but a true sense of comfort knowing it is proven in the industry now for well over 6 years.

In the end, the decision is up to you.

F3 blog
See what's shot on the F3 @

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Richard Cooper
Re: What are the limitations of FS700?
on Nov 21, 2012 at 11:12:45 pm

I think that Dennis makes great points all around. Especially if you are making feature films.
Now, If you are a small shop or individual doing corporate/commercial stuff and the big screen is not your end game (which it sounds like in your post, please correct me if I am wrong) the FS700 will not only crush your DSLR to a b-cam status, but you will most likely never want to touch your DSLR again. At least, this is what happened to me. My 7D has not been used once since getting the FS700. I have hired a b-cam operator with a DSLR but the image/functionality of a DSLR does not compare to the FS700 in my eyes, period... For many reasons that I wont go into here.

OK so for your questions.
The FS700 will make a dramatic jump in quality for your commercial clients but I would keep your HPX370 for your live events. The reason? The lenses. The FS700 is a "cinema" type camera. This means changing lenses a lot to get the perfect focal length for the shots you want/need. I usually have a set of 4 Canon zooms (And a camera assistant). 11-16mm 18-35mm, 24-70mm and a 70-200mm and for a live broadcast event this will just be a huge pain. I mean you could go with a Canon CN-E 30-300mm for the FS700 to get a ton of range in your zoom, but at nearly $45,000.00 this is out of a lot of peoples price range. Even then, you still need the wide angle and the Canon CN-E 14.5-60mm will run you just about $42,000... Just way too much glass and $$$$ for a live broadcast.... and focus would be a nightmare.

So bottom line, I would keep the HPX370 for your live stuff (I can make you way more money than it is worth on the market today and Clients expect this look for this kind of thing anyway) and go with the FS700 and some Canon L series zooms as your "artistic" camera for the "controlled/semi-controlled" shoots. Clients will love the look!... and don't even get me started on the 240fps. Wow.

Good Luck!

Richard Cooper
FrostLine Productions, LLC
Anchorage, Alaska

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Terry Leahy
Re: What are the limitations of FS700?
on Dec 5, 2012 at 3:56:40 pm

Thank You very much guys. I think that this may very well be the next camera for me as if I were to ever shoot a feature film I'd be renting the big guns as opposed to owning. I need something for my work which is mostly corporate/commercial work and want to get beyond the limitations of the DSLRs. I don't mean to knock them, great cameras, but I love the idea of slow motion and higher image quality. Good Stuff!

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