Shooting "B" roll on the streets of Seoul

For the last two years or so, we have been using Sony Z7u’s for all our location film work.  They have been fantastic cameras, but their time has really come and gone.

When the Sony F3 Super 35 was introduced, it was a no-brainer.  We grabbed one as quickly as we could.  The problem was that the Sony F3 was not a direct replacement for the Z7U.  It was/is in a different class.  Yes it shoots much more amazing images, but it is bigger, heavier, and fully rigged, requires a lot more delicate handling.  It’s really not the perfect location/travel camera.

The F3 is also a more sophisticated camera, which means there is more associated gear, which means we need bigger cases which means we need to check them under the plane, and on and on and on…

New Sony FS100

In contrast to the larger F3 Super 35, what was great about the Sony Z7U’s was their compact nature.  We could get on an airplane with two in a shoulder bag and be problem free.  With the Sony F3, its a bit harder to do that.

Furthermore, because the F3 is so good, we really can’t use any Z7U footage in the same film where F3 footage appears, which meant we needed even more new cameras.. Ugh!

Fundamentally, we needed cameras that were exactly the same (in style) as the Z7U, but produced images that would seamlessly integrate along side F3 footage.

We were off to Korea, and if we were going to bring the F3 body, we needed to find a replacement for the Z7U.

FS100 in "low profile" mode on the city street.  180mm Nikon Prime w/ MTF adapter

I guess first I should answer the question, why two cameras?

When it comes to photography, pretty much every colleague I know will have two, sometimes three bodies in his/her bag.  But when you ask a video shooter to see the inside of the bag, you typically will only find one.  Unlike other video shooters, I have always felt strongly about having two cameras, and believe it is critical to our long term success for several reasons.

Here in South Korea, we are shooting interviews of top level executives for one of the largest companies on the peninsula.  The interviews were very difficult to schedule and could not be repeated.  Any technical issues discovered after the fact would be disastrous.  It would be impossible to reshoot these interviews, so we must shoot with two cameras.  Back up on back up on back up…

The largest reason we use two cameras is redundancy.

FS100 and Sony F3 Super 35

The second major reason we like to travel with two cameras is timelapse.  In order to produce good timelapse footage, you really have to just sit and wait.  We often set up a shot and let it run for 60 minutes or more…  Sometimes even longer.  You have to choose your shot wisely, commit, and wait.

Due to the often considerable expense of world travel, we work hard at being as productive for our clients as possible.  For this reason, we like to set up two cameras in close proximity and run both.  Sometimes it’s a long lens on one, and a wide on the other.  Other times we shoot totally different things.  Regardless, we are able to give our clients twice as much footage for the same time on the ground.  It really works out well.

stripped down Sony F3 w/ Anton Bauer batts, Nikon Prime, Arri follow focus and Zacuto rails

So again… What to buy?

(All this build up… but it was really much less dramatic.)

Shortly after we learned about the F3, we heard about the Sony NEX FS100.  The big thing that caught our ear was that the FS100 was using the EXACT sensor as the F3.

The camera would be more “prosumer” oriented and not be able to do as much as it’s big brother, but would be small, light, could use the same lenses as the F3, and had the same exact chip.  I say again.. the SAME chip.  It was again, a no-brainer.  We ordered two.

The two Z7U’s would have a quiet retirement, and the new FS100’s would be their replacement.   Another interesting thing is that we can use the Convergent Design NanoFlash unit with the FS100, allowing us to capture even higher quality footage.

Five days of shooting, and so far so good.  With roughly 35 hrs of footage in the can,  we are really impressed with the rushes.  The stuff is looking awesome!

If we have some time in the next week or so, we will cut together a proof of concept on the trip and post it.

Stay tuned!

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