Sony NEX-FS700 – A Nerds Perspective
“Houston… The unicorn has landed.”
Sony has turned the world on its head today April 2nd, with the release of the new NEX-FS700. This IS the bigger brother to the Sony FS100 touting a new 4K sensor with 8.3 megapixels devoted to recording video. It has on board a 12 bit analog to digital converter handling all that data coming off the sensor, which by the way is a new Sony EXMOR 4K sensor that is supposed to be blazingly fast to be able to provide all that off speed goodness we already know. But, what’s up with all this hype that a 4K signal will be coming out of the camera, a camera that records 1080p60/24 internally through the AVCHD 2.0 codec? Well, this new beast sports a 3G-SDI output as well as a HDMI output supporting 1.4 spec.
Cool. So what do those outputs mean for 4K? First let’s talk about the newly added SDI connection. You will be able to record an 8 bit YUV (that’s 422 for you pixel peepers) signal out of this fancy new connection. What no 10 bit? Nope. You will record this signal to a recorder, most likely padded to 10 bit. Like a Blackmagic Design Hyper Deck Shuttle 2 perhaps. Still no 10 bit but you will be able to get all the aforementioned off speed frame rates to, let’s say ProRes or DNxHD, at higher bit rates than the 24-28 you get with recording internally. I want 4K!
Ok, so how will we get 4K from the FS700? Well it’s going to come from one of the two outputs on the camera, SDI or HDMI. If it comes from the SDI connection you will most likely see 12 bit 4K data, not video or audio, coming through this throughput. And what do you know! The sensor has a 12 bit AD converter on it. Sony may have something here. But wait, what about HDMI? What about HDMI! Death to HDMI right? Not quite. This new 1.4 specification for the connection is pretty nuts. Able to support 4K by 2K video at 24p. Hmm…
So what do we need to get all this 4K goodness in our NLEs? That’s going to require a new video/data recorder that isn’t available yet. And the standards committees that govern what specifications do what; SMPTE, which governs what goes over a 3G-SDI connection, and the HDMI forum haven’t come out yet either.
This is all just pure geek speculation on the cool new toys that are coming available to us filmmakers. This new camera from Sony looks to bring us the new hot thing in cameras from manufactures, slow motion. Be it on board or off board, this camera will be something to check out at NAB 2012. Plus I need to hound some engineers on this “4K ready” thing some more.
Cheers and happy speculating.