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Sony Launches FR7 and Initiates a New Era of Cinema PTZ Cameras – YMCinema

Sony introduces the cinema PTZ (Pan, Tilt, Zoom) camera. The camera titled FR7 will join the Sony Cinema Line. The FR7 is the world’s first PTZ camera to combine a full-frame image sensor, lens interchangeability, and remote shooting functionality. Will the FR7 open up a whole new era of cinema PTZ cameras?

Sony FR7 Cinema Line PTZ Camera
Sony FR7 Cinema Line PTZ Camera

Yep, you might get used to this new definition. A PTZ camera that is armed with a full-frame sensor and is capable of lens interchangeability. What can be done with that? A lot of cool things, like watching Big Brother in a shallow depth of field. But why? Because it can. Implementing the cinematic look & feel in reality shows, might elevate the level of entertainment of the show. In fact, during the pandemic, we wrote about cinematic broadcasting. For instance, filming MMA fights (with no crowd) with large format cameras. That brought a ‘strange’ cinematic look to the fight due to the very shallow depth of field. Many audiences claimed that it looked like a video game. Others actually liked it. Anyway, as the popularity of large sensor cameras rose, it was a matter of time until it got to the boring PTZ cameras. So, meet the new Sony FR7. A new PTZ that joins the Cinema Line. Yes, you heard right — A Cinema Line PTZ camera.

Sony has just launched the FR7, which is the world’s first PTZ camera to combine a full-frame image sensor, lens interchangeability, and remote shooting functionality. As stated by Sony: “Sony Cinema Line’s new PTZ camera opens new creative and cinematographic possibilities for content creators, from movie makers to live event or music video producers”. Now let’s get to the press release. It says that: “Sony announces today the latest addition to its Cinema Line, the ILME-FR7, an E-mount interchangeable lens camera with a full-frame image sensor and built-in pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) functionality. Its versatile remote control and cinematic features open creative possibilities in a studio, live production, and movie-making settings.

Sony FR7 Cinema Line PTZ Camera
Sony FR7 Cinema Line PTZ Camera

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”. That means, directors will be able to broadcast events and shows, and preserve the cinematic texture, like shallow depth of field, more accurate colors, enhanced camera movement due to a larger field of view, and more.

Sony FR7 Cinema Line PTZ Camera
Sony FR7 Cinema Line PTZ Camera

The FR7 features a back-illuminated 35mm full-frame CMOS image sensor Exmor R with approximately 10.3 effective megapixels in a pan tilt zoom (PTZ) camera for the first time. In addition to a wide dynamic range, low noise, and cinematic full frame bokeh, this sensor also delivers high sensitivity. Moreover, The FR7 features Sony’s E-mount and can mount all E-mount lenses including the G Master series with stunning resolution and world-class bokeh. A choice of focal lengths ranging from 12 mm to 1200 mm gives users comprehensive creative control.

Sony FR7 Cinema Line PTZ Camera: Interface
Sony FR7 Cinema Line PTZ Camera: Interface

According to Sony, a number of Cinema Line features are built into the camera to deliver a cinematic look and feel including :

  • The Sensitivity setting allows ISO to be expanded up to 409600 when shooting in low light.
  • A 15+ stop latitude prevents blown highlights and blocked shadows.
  • 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-consuming post-production can be eliminated in some applications.
  • In the Cine EI mode, base sensitivity can be set to either ISO 800 or ISO 12800 to match lighting conditions and to 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 range, wide S-Gamut3 and S-Gamut3.Cine color spaces.
  • Shooting in up to 4K 120p slow-motion is possible, again creating that emotional possibility offered by a cinematic look.

Watch the sample footage below:

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. 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 a 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. The FR7 can be used with Sony’s high-performance RM-IP500 remote controller for PTZ cameras, providing precise joystick-controlled pan, tilt, and zoom operation.

Sony FR7 Cinema Line PTZ Camera: Interface
Sony FR7 Cinema Line PTZ Camera: Interface

Fast Hybrid AF and pan/tilt/zoom functionalities combine to focus on static or fast-moving subjects precisely and smoothly over a wide area, to avoid blurred images, even when a shallow depth of field is used. The integrated BIONZ XR engine realizes detection performance for pinpoint eye focus even when subjects are looking at steep angles, allowing the operator to concentrate on composing the best shot. Touch AF-Tracking can be used to initiate focusing with Real-time Focus tracking on the desired subject when using the FR7’s web application, with Real-time Eye AF if an eye is detected.

Sony FR7 Cinema Line PTZ Camera
Sony FR7 Cinema Line PTZ Camera

The built-in Variable ND filter allows seamless ND adjustment. An Auto ND function keeps exposure constant by automatically adjusting the ND filter to match changing light. A remote control is also possible, allowing exposure control at a distance from the camera.

Sony FR7 Cinema Line PTZ Camera
Sony FR7 Cinema Line PTZ Camera

A rare feature in a PTZ camera, the FR7 also features dual media slots that support CFexpress Type A and SDXC memory cards. The ability to record exposure settings and other metadata with high-quality XAVC-I footage 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 deliver a 16-bit RAW signal to an external recorder. However, at the moment, Sony doesn’t say which type of raw is recorded.

Sony FR7 Cinema Line PTZ Camera
Sony FR7 Cinema Line PTZ Camera

The new FR7 will be available in November 2022 for approximately $9699.99 USD and $12,399.99 CAD. The FR7K, which includes the FR7 and SELP28135G lens, will be available for $12,199.99 USD and $15,699.99 CAD while the CIB-PCM1 ceiling bracket will be available for $119.99 USD and $159.99 CAD. It will be sold at a variety of Sony’s authorized dealers throughout North America. Explore the Product Link at the end of the article. Moreover, the FR7 will be showcased for the first time at Sony’s booth at IBC in Amsterdam from September 9th to 12th.

Imagine watching a reality show with a very shallow depth of field. That would feel strange, and unnatural. In my opinion, the audiences are not ready yet for cinematic broadcasting. The feedback on the MMA (Mixed Martial Art) fights filmed with Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras was mixed. Suddenly, everything becomes more clear, and more cinematic, giving you the impression that you’re watching a video game, rather than a sports event or a show. Back then, due to the COVID restrictions, Sony said that the reason for the use of FF mirrorless cameras was to focus more on the athletes rather than on the crowd since there was no crowd. But it looked too….cinematic and clean. I don’t say that this is a bad thing, it’s just….different. Nevertheless, you can get used to it easily. What’s your opinion about the FR7? Would it ruin your experience watching shows? Or should it upgrade it significantly by making it more special and artistic? It’s that yearew era of cinema PTZ cameras?

Product List

Here’re the products mentioned in the article, and the links to purchase them from authorized dealers.

  • Sony FR7 Cinema Line PTZ Camera

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