Sony NEX-FS700. 4K and Hi-Speed in a FS100 style body.

Sony NEX-FS700

The engineers at Sony’s Shinegawa factory have been busy. Announced today is the new Sony FS-700 which at first look appears to be a re-vamped FS-100, but under look closely and it’s actually a very different camera.

Out of the box it will offer 1920×1080 recording at 24/25/30 fps plus a special burst mode that will allow you to shoot at 120 fps for 16 seconds or 240 fps for 8 seconds at full 1920×1080. This is a remarkable feat and while 8 seconds doesn’t sound long, do remember that shoot for 8 seconds at 240 fps will result in a clip almost a minute and a half long at 24 fps. At lower resolutions it’s even possible to shoot at up to 960 fps.

To achieve these high frame rates a new sensor is being used. This has 11.6 million pixels and was designed for video applications. The fact that it has 11.6 million pixels means that with a future firmware upgrade the camera will also be able to shoot at 4K. You won’t be able to record 4K in-board (nor 10920×1080 50/60P for that matter). To record these formats you will need an external recorder. To get the signal to the recorder the FS-700 is equipped with a single 3G HDSDi connector and there will be a special 4K recorder from Sony.

Addressing some of the complaints about the original FS-100 the FS-700 features built in ND filters while retaining the Sony E mount lens system. Some of the function buttons have been made larger to suit those users with big fingers or wearing gloves and additional commonly used controls, like image expand (for focussing) have been added to the hand grip. The addition of the 10 bit 3G HDSDi output is also very welcome and the camera can be switched between 25 and 30fps making it a world camera.

What’s less clear in the Sony press release is what will come out of the Sdi connector when shooting 1920 x 1080. Will it still be 4:2:0 or will this camera output 4:2:2 or even 4:4:4? As the internal recording media is still SD cards or the FMU it appears likely that the recording format will still be AVCHD, so that would mean 4:2:0, 8 bit internal recordings.

Even if the output remains as 4:2:0 the ability to shoot burst of 120 or 240 fps video certainly make this an interesting camera. We’ll have to wait and see how the sensor performs as it will have much smaller pixels than the FS100 or F3 so it may not be as sensitive and might be more noisy. It is after all still rare to get something for nothing, so there may be a price to pay for the ability to shoot at 4K.

US street price is pegged to be less than $10K USD and it should be available in June. Hopefully I’ll get to play with one at NAB in just over a weeks time.

9 thoughts on “Sony NEX-FS700. 4K and Hi-Speed in a FS100 style body.”

  1. Yes, very interesting indeed. Looking forward to your hands-on NAB report to find out what signals are coming out of the back when not shooting 4K. Lets hope they still support 4:2:2 when shooting 1920×1080.(as the FS100) But maybe this time at 10 bits?

    best regards
    Dennis Ersöz

  2. My FS-100 arrived just less than a month ago, i don’t need 4K but i do need ND filters (got the Heliopan ND)….it is the second time that i buy a camera from Sony and after one or two month a better one arrive..well, i’m happy with my choice because i won’t be paying € 3,000 more just to have nd filters.
    If there will be a difference in image quality…that would hurt!!!
    Alister,waiting for your review about the FS700 and maybe some comparison between FS700 and FS100 image quality.
    Samer Aslan

    1. If anything, if your primary format is 1920 x 1080, on paper at least the FS100 should be the better camera, provide you happy to use HDMI for the output. The FS-700 has much smaller pixels and a lot more of them. This normally means more noise and reduced sensitivity. We’ll have to wait and see what happens in the real world.

      These days new cameras come out every year. So you have to be sure that the one you choose will provide what you need and then just be prepared for an updated model to come along fairly soon. I wouldn’t get too hung up on not having the latest and greatest as other than the trend towards larger sensors, overall image quality has only increased by quite small increments over the last 3 or 4 years.

  3. An update on the output is that it’s 8 bit 3G. So even at 1920 x 1080 it will only be an 8 bit output, but it would appear that it is 4:2:2. Certainly the HDMI out is 4:2:2 and goes up to 60fps at 1920 x 1080.

    I’ve placed an order for one!

  4. Hello Alister,

    Great seeing you at NAB and your presentations where excellent as always. Hope your travels are going well.

    Just wanted to point out a small mistake in your info. In regards to when you said “You won’t be able to record 4K in-board (nor 10920×1080 50/60P for that matter). ” That is only partially correct. You can actually record on board at 1920 x 1080 at 50p or 59.94P AKA 60P with all the recording options availible for the camera (Solid State Drive FMU-128 and/or either SD Card or Memorystick) actually the NEX-FS100 was also capable of 1920 x 1080 50p and 60p. It was the first compact

    1. Hi Sam.

      Of course you are correct and I’ve changed the post to reflect this. The FS700 is no different to the FS100 when it comes to recording speeds below 60P. Thanks for pointing out the error in my post.

  5. I am not sure I am following this. The Single out GT3 is only going to be 8-bit. I was hoping for the external out to be 10-big 4:2:2. That would outfit this little baby as a great b camera for F3’s.

    Without 10-bit grading is going to be a bit tough. I assume we can create a profile to closely match S-Long on the F3 so it can be used in a similar manner.


    1. sorry for the typos… fingers faster than the brain.

      I am not sure I am following this. Did I hear right, the single out G3 is only going to be 8-bit. I was hoping for the external out to be 10-bit 4:2:2. That would outfit this little baby as a great B-camera for F3.
      Without 10-bit, grading is going to be a tough. Assuming we can create a profile to closely match S-Log to the F3’s S-Log, it could be used in a similar manner.

  6. The 3G output will only be 8 bit. The internal processing is the same as the FS100 so it’s limited to 8 bit. The 8 bit DSP means that dynamic range and highlight handling will always be compromised compared to the F3 which has 12 or 14 bit processing, so no picture profile or other setting will ever make an FS100 or FS700 perform the same in conventional video modes as an F3. The FS100 (and FS700) are still good cameras, but just don’t have the smooth highlight response of the F3.

    The 4K RAW output will be 12 bit RAW, this is possible as the RAW data bypasses the processor/DSP. There is no reason why this RAW output won’t rival the F3’s log output, but you will have to deal with some pretty big files, maybe 250 to 500Gb per hour, maybe more and an off-board recorder of some sort.

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