Sony got so adroit at hitting home runs with their camera offerings that the reaction to the FS7 was that many video shooters were on the verge of ordering the camera sight unseen. Today, at least a few of them are probably glad they waited as the samples from the camera, at least so far, have been seriously underwhelming.
The first troubling sample came from the company Sony hired to produce the demo video. This is the launch video that left a lot of people scratching their heads. To me, and apparently many others, the video appeared soft, lacked contrast and the skin tones were off. It didn’t help that the subject was somewhat colorless and, eventually, most video pros chalked it up to improper post processing. That must be it, it couldn’t be the camera. Sony has a long history of fielding cameras with awesome color saturation and contrast, like this one for the Sony A7R, the A7S, PW-X70 and FS700.
And yet there it was, that flat video with a serious lack of contrast and slightly wonky skin tones. Then came this piece that looked better but still seemed a tiny bit soft but definitely the best footage I’ve seen from the FS7 to date.
Compare that to the BMPC which has sample tests up showing it comparing favorably to the Arri Alexa. When you see the depth of color and clean contrast of the BMPC it’s surprising that Sony hasn’t been able to deliver similar quality in a much higher end camera. There has been speculation that the normal shooting ISO of 2000 is responsible for some of the perceived softness but I’m not an engineer so all I can do is wonder.
It’s possible that we just haven’t seen the right color grading applied to FS7 footage and these concerns are overblown like blown out highlights. The FS7 remains a camera of great promise but, until that home run footage turns up, then the dream of it being a C300 killer remains out of reach.