Sony just released the much-anticipated Firmware version 3.0 for the PXW-FS7 enabling key features such as 2K Centre Scan for Super 16mm lenses and B4 2/3 broadcast glass, movable focus magnification, improves Zebras, noise suppression in CineEI mode and more.
Here's the full list of improvements in Firmware 3.0:
New Features & Improvements:
- Focus Magnification function is improved. - Support for magnification area position adjustment - Magnification resolution improvement
- Support for “2K Full”, “2K Center” setting in Image Scan Mode
- Support for Interval Recording function
- Expand lowest value of Zebra level to 0%
- Support for Noise Suppression setting in Cine EI mode
- Video Signal Monitor usability is improved.
- The operability of “Iris setting” using the “Iris dial” and the “assignable dial” is improved.
- FS-RAW image quality and operation stability improvement
- Overall stability and operability of the camera is improved
What does this mean for FS7 users? Well, for starters, some users report that the camera's menu's are snappier and the overall boot-up time has been improved. In the new 2K Centre Scan and 2K Full mode - both available already on the FS5, users can now use this function to adapt Super 16mm lenses, which have a much smaller image circle than Super 35 - the size of the chip in the FS7.
You can still use this function with normal lenses, effectively doubling their focal length - as in a digital zoom, but without losing image quality. It's a very neat function that will help wildlife and docu-shooters greatly.
The inclusion of Noise Reduction in CineEI mode is very welcome as well as sometimes those images tend to get rather noisy. With the new Suppression this is mitigated, although not completely eliminated and there is still a possibility of artefacts in the shadows and darkest parts of the image. As always good exposure is key here.
There is now a proper time-lapse function in the FS7 and Zebra levels can go all the way down to 0% making exposing for skin tones via Zebras very useful. According to Alister Chapman it's best to keep zebras at around 40-55% for S-Log3 scenarios, and 55-60% for hypergamma picture profiles.