Sony has announced the latest addition to its cinema line, the Sony FR7, an E-mount interchangeable lens PTZ camera with a full-frame image sensor and built-in pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) functionality, which is the world's first. Its versatile remote control and cinematic features open up creative possibilities in the studio, live production, and filmmaking settings.
If you're not familiar with the term, the best PTZ cameras (opens in new tab) provide pan/tilt and zoom functions for use in conferencing, video streaming, and broadcasting. It is the type of camera often used in reality TV productions such as Big Brother, or to broadcast a church service.
The Sony FR7 has a full-frame image sensor and Sony’s extensive E-mount lens lineup (opens in new tab) work with remote pan/tilt/zoom control, high flexibility in zoom capability, and wide-angle shooting to break through location and space limitations. It also offers the cinematic look and operability that have made Sony digital cinema cameras push the boundaries of the filmmaking industry, plus versatile connectivity and efficient multi-camera workflow support.
Norbert Paquet, Head of Live Production, Sony Europe commented:
“the cinematic look and feel is fast becoming the norm in broadcasting and live production as it opens up new ways to tell a narrative. In parallel, especially in the last 2 years, we’ve seen a steep rise in content created remotely or in small locations where access is difficult. This new camera, the FR7, will answer both these trends in the market with its PTZ and Cinematic features.”
The Sony FR7 features a back-illuminated 35mm full-frame CMOS image sensor Exmor R with approximately 10.3 effective megapixels and wide 15+ stop latitude in a pan tilt zoom PTZ camera for the first time. In addition to the wide dynamic range, low noise, and cinematic full-frame bokeh, this sensor also delivers high sensitivity that allows ISO to be expanded up to an astonishing 409,6004 when shooting in low light.
The most impactful feature of the Sony FR7 is that it features Sony’s E-mount and can mount a wide range of E-mount lenses, including the G Master series with stunning resolution and bokeh effect. A choice of focal lengths ranging from 12mm to 1200mm gives users comprehensive creative control - This is really going to revolutionize the art of remote cinematography, just think of the imaging possibilities of a PTZ camera covering sports such as tennis or football with the control and reach of Sony E mount lenses.
A number of Cinema Line features are built into the Sony FR7 camera to deliver a cinematic look and feel including:
1. The Sensitivity setting allows ISO to be expanded up to 409600*4 when shooting in low light.
2. 15+ stop latitude*3 allows smooth highlights and low noise levels.
3. A number of preset scene files are included including S-Cinetone for natural mid-tones that are essential to healthy-looking skin color, plus soft colors and gorgeous highlights. Since the target look can be created while shooting, time can be saved in post-production. In the Cine EI mode, base sensitivity can be set to either ISO 800 or ISO 12800 to match lighting conditions and minimize noise while maintaining a consistent look. This mode is ideal for post-production, as it allows the use of Sony’s original S-Log3 gamma, wide S-Gamut3, and S-Gamut3 Cine color spaces.
4. Shooting in up to 4K 120p slow-motion is possible, again creating that emotional possibility offered by a cinematic look, perfect for cinema applications and slow-motion replay of major sporting events.
With a new dedicated web application, pan, tilt, zoom, focus, record, playback, and all camera settings can be intuitively controlled from a tablet or computer web browser, which is just bonkers when you think how big and advanced the FR7 is, also, multiple people can monitor FR7 footage remotely at the same time. Multi-camera monitoring is also enabled, allowing multiple cameras to be viewed remotely on one device.
With its integrated remotely controllable pan/tilt mechanism, the FR7 can be mounted on a tripod, on a ceiling with the dedicated CIB-PCM1, or in other locations with limited access so that subjects can be unobtrusively followed and recorded from unique viewpoints. It is also compatible with Sony’s RM-IP500 remote controller for multi-camera production, expanding creative potential while reducing the need for dedicated staff in production studios and other shooting situations. A single RM-IP500 unit can remotely control up to 100 PTZ cameras and provide precious joystick-controlled pan, tilt, and zoom operation.
As well as being the world's first full-frame and interchangeable lens PTZ camera, another rare feature for a PTZ camera is the FR7 also features dual media slots that support CFexpress Type A and SDXC memory cards. The ability to record high-quality XAVC-I footage with metadata makes the FR7 an excellent choice for a wide variety of video production applications.
CFexpress Type A cards are particularly well suited to high bitrate 4K movie production, with high-speed write capability that ensures stable recording of high volume, high frame rate data. Simultaneous recording, relay recording, interval recording, and proxy recording are also supported. The SDI output can also deliver a 16-bit RAW signal to a compatible external recorder (sold separately).
Along with many other professional features packed into a highly-powered and productive PTZ camera capable of using E-mount lenses with focal lengths from 12mm to 1200mm, Sony has hit the ball out of the park with this announcement and I am sure I'm not the only one who is looking forward to seeing these cameras in productions and used across major sporting events.