Testing the FS700: Low Light Performance, Dynamic Range, and Slow-Motion
By Andy Shipsides, Friday, 11 May 2012
When Sony dropped off the new FS700 at AbelCine for some quick tests, we put it to work right away. We wanted to test many things, but focused on low-light performance, dynamic range, and the camera’s slow-motion options. The FS700 is an updated model of the FS100, so much of our testing also compared these two cameras.
The first thing I wanted to test was the FS700′s low light performance; I checked the camera’s noise levels and how it performed at its highest ISO. In the first part of the test, I shot a lit chart at ISO levels from 500-16000 (in 1 stop increments) and maintained a consistent exposure. The FS100 has very low noise levels, so I wanted to compare the two cameras. Besides the noise level changes, also note the color and resolution performance on the chart. In the second part of the test, I brought out a single candle source and increased the ISO levels through the same range. You can see how the FS700 compares to the FS100. Also, watch how the camera handles highlights as we get to the higher ISO levels.
For the second test I wanted to see the dynamic range of the camera, so we put it on the scopes to see how it did. The FS700 has much the same dynamic range as the FS100 (11.5 stops), but with the addition of Cine gamma modes. These modes give a nice smooth roll-off in highlights, which can be seen in some of the footage and in the candle light test above.
In the third video, I wanted to have some fun shooting slow-motion with the camera. I started out by striking a lighter at frame rates from 240-960fps. The loss of image quality in 480 and 960 is apparent, but the 240 fps footage really holds up well. We also had a request for some “Matrix style” moves with the camera, so we did a quick spin around with Jeff Lee on the roof at 240 fps.
Other Questions on the FS700
Q: How accurate are the ND filters? A: From my testing, the ND filters were very accurate and did not introduce color shift (properly neutral). I tested this with a waveform monitor to confirm the stop change was accurate.
Q: Are there any sensor crop modes for extra telephoto? A: No, there are no sensor crop modes for normal HD shooting. The sensor is only cropped when shooting at 960 fps.
Q: Does the camera have a stills mode? A: Yes it does. The camera can grab stills at a higher resolution than in video recording: 3,840 x 2,160 in 16:9 / 3,248 x 2,160 in 3:2.
Q: I’ve heard the HDMI outputs 24/24/30p, is this accurate? A: Yes, the camera will output a progressive signal over HDMI, which I tested with the PIX240 to confirm that it worked.
I hope you found these tests helpful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions for further testing, leave a note on our blog, CineTechnica.