Sample Super Slow Motion Shots With The Sony NEX-FS700U At 120, 240 And 960-fps
In terms of image quality at 1920×1080, there really isn’t much of a difference between the Sony NEX-FS100U and the new FS700U until Sony issues the firmware upgrade that will allow 4K capture for the FS700U. But for me, the one feature that greatly separates the two cameras is the ability to capture Super Slow Motion shots. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to shoot some tennis players in Griffith Park with the FS700U outfitted with the kit 18-200mm E-mount lens. After trying it out and looking at the footage, for a digital motion picture camera system priced below $10K, the Super Slow Motion feature makes the FS700U a must-have camera.
For normal Quick & Slow Motion, you can capture 1 – 60-fps at full resolution. (1-fps = 2400%, 60-fps = 40% in 1080/24p). If you choose to shoot in the Super Slow Motion function, you can capture speeds up to 960-fps. Although the FS700U does capture up to 960fps, you can only capture full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution at 240-fps or 120-fps. When you go to 480, you’re getting half the resolution and at 960-fps, you’re getting essentially 1/4 of the resolution, even though both are output as degraded 1920 x 1080 files.
Once you select your frame rate in the Super Slow Motion function and press Execute, the FS700u offers 3 different ways to capture your high-speed footage, which are Start Trigger, End Trigger and End Trigger Half. Start Trigger is the most common, which lets you capture footage immediately when pressing the Start/Stop button. When shooting 240-fps, you can record a shot for up to 8-seconds and at 120-fps, you can record for up to 16-seconds. For shooting tennis players I used the Start Trigger because I knew exactly when they were going to start playing.
The End Trigger is designed for doc shooters who may have missed a shot but can still capture what the camera was pointed at. To explains in more detail, lets say your camera is aimed at an exotic bird in the field that you want to capture flying off a branch. Since you’re unsure of when the bird will actually take off, the End Trigger works backwards in the sense that you can trigger the Start/Stop button after the bird has left the frame and still capture the previous 8 or 16 seconds for your shot. After pressing the Stop button, depending on the frame rate you’re capturing at, there will be significant buffering time so make sure you captured the shot you wanted. (You can also cancel the recording at any time.)
For shooting Super Slow Motion movies, the main thing to remember is that you’re going to need a lot more light and when shooting at 240-fps, you’re losing roughly 3 stops. Another thing to remember is when shooting over 120-fps, you will get significant flicker if you’re shooting under fluorescent lights at a 180-degree shutter angle. I did encounter some problems as the sun was starting to go down and the fluorescent lights above the tennis courts switched on. To solve this, you would either need to shoot with flicker free bulbs, very large and powerful source lights (ideally, the sun), and/or setting your shutter angle to multiples of AC frequencies, i.e. 1/30, 1/60, 1/120th, etc. The other thing to remember is the significant buffer time after you stop recording, especially at 960-fps. Make sure you get the shot you wanted before laying it down.
Along with the Super Slow Motion function, for me what really makes FS700U special is its price point of $9,200. Vision Research’s new V642 Phantom high-speed camera can run up to $150,000 and the new compact Miro can run anywhere between $25,000 – $60,000. It might not be fair to compare the FS700U to the Vision Research’s specialty high-speed cameras (the Miro can capture 1540 fps at 1920 x 1080 and the v642 can capture up to 2560-fps at full HD), but if you’re not shooting extreme slo-mo shots of bullets exploding out of a gun or beautiful shots of glass shattering, the FS700U’s 240-fps should suit most of your slo-mo needs.
Shot at 120-fps. For most purposes, 120-fps should be sufficient for most of your slo-mo needs.
Shot at 240-fps. I used the the camera’s Contrast AF function and the focus held as the player moved towards the net.
Shot at 960-fps. Notice the severe image degradation. The ball seems to stay on the racket for an eternity.
For more information on the Sony NEX-FS700U, please visit http://pro.sony.com/bbsc/ssr/product-NEXFS700U/.
Tags: sony fs100u