Revolutionizing small-crew production and offering intriguing new possibilities for larger outfits, the Sony Cinema Line FR7 full-frame interchangeable lens camera with pan/tilt/zoom capabilities promises to be a powerful tool for creative expression. The camera is projected to make its way from Sony’s factories in Japan to the first customers on November 28th, 2022 (just in time for winter holidays!) but you can pre-order now by clicking the link below. Read on for more details—this is quite an impressive package.
The fast facts
The Cinema Line FR7 is unquestionably designed for working professionals. The camera is based around a 10.3 MP BSI CMOS EXMOR R imager and BIONZ XR processor, and can record 10 bit 4:2:2 QFHD 4K 120p video. (Other top-spec settings include DCI 4K 60p and super-high-speed FHD 240p.) The thing that really sets this apart from other Sony Cinema Line cameras—indeed, from video cameras as a whole—is the PTZ (or pan/tilt/zoom) functionality built into the frame. The FR7 offers up to 380° of remotely controllable lateral motion (panning) and 225° of remotely controllable vertical motion and is fully capable of controlling the focal length of power-zoom E-mount lenses. This is a first-ever feature for full-frame interchangeable lens cameras!
Attach the FR7 to a tripod, ceiling mount, crane, or whatever else you can dream of for a whole new world of professional filmmaking perspectives. Of course, a camera like this is designed to work in places a human operator could not, so remote control is an important part of the equation. The FR7 includes the basic RMT-RC1 remote (see photo in the product gallery below) and can also be controlled via web app. Run the web app on any tablet or PC web browser to control every setting on the camera and access up to 100 customizable preset motions. (Programming can be much, much simpler and creates a more consistent look than hand-control.) If you crave more advanced control with joystick operability for on-the-fly recording, the optional RM-IP500 is there for you. Capable of controlling up to 100 cameras (in ten groups of ten), this is a controller designed for top-of-the-line production values.
The speed of motion can be set to anywhere from 0.02°/sec to a whiplash-inducing 60°/sec, so there’s little doubt that you’ll be able to achieve just the right look. Speaking of look…
Color and sensitivity
The FR7 supports a wide range of color control to match any workflow. S-Log3 and S-Gamut3.Cine profiles (with a claimed dynamic range of 15 stops) enable maximum post-production control over grading, while S-Cinetone applies Sony’s proprietary “cinematic” look in-camera for no-fuss output. The customizable mode also allows you to adjust various parameters in-camera for pre-production grading tuned to the specific look you want to create. HLG HDR support rounds out the package for presentation on high dynamic range monitors.
Sony’s “Cine EI” adjustment is another delightful way to maintain a consistent look across a wide variety of footage. In short, the base ISO is selectable—it can either be 800 or 12,800. Since ISO is digitally adjustable by controlling the gain on the sensor (therefore increasing the noise as the sensitivity increases), setting a higher base ISO allows you to record footage in dark settings with noise levels comparable to the footage recorded with plenty of light. Cool! And with a maximum ISO setting of 409,600, you’ll be able to record in some dark, dark places.
On the other end of the spectrum, the FR7 includes a built in, remotely controllable variable ND filter with a range from 1/4–1/128, allowing you to record in bright lights without needing to use a narrower aperture: have your light, and bokeh too! A breathing compensation feature, supported by select E-mount lenses, allows you to maintain your framing in addition to the exposure. The goal in all of this is consistent, rock-steady footage that won’t give your editor a massive headache.
Keep the focus
As with other high-end Sony camera bodies, autofocus capabilities were a high priority for the engineers behind this beauty. 627 phase detection points, covering 95% of the X-axis and 94% of the Y, allow the Fast Hybrid Autofocus system to work quickly and reliably. Real time eye tracking is available even when recording in 4K, and touch focus on the web app makes manual targeting a breeze.
Connectivity and workflow
In the days of laptops with a single port, it’s refreshing to see robust I/O on equipment used for real work. The FR7 features up to 12G SDI out, HDMI A out, optical out for long distance cabling, XLR in, TC, Genlock, and even an OPTION port that sends tally light signals to additional devices. An AC cable is included for long sessions in the studio.
The LAN/PoE++ connector supports delivering control signals and power while retrieving video/images, using a single cable.
And what if you’re streaming? No problem. The FR7 can go live using the RSTP, NDI|HX, and SRT IP standards.
While the FR7 supports recording footage (including RAW) to an external device, internal memory is served by two card slots, each of which support either CFexpress Type A or SDXC UHS-II memory.
The Cinema Line FR7 is available for pre-order now, as a standalone body or in a kit with the FE PZ 28–135mm f/4 G OSS lens. Click here or visit a Mike’s Camera near you today to be among the first in line!