Sony FR7 Brings Swappable Lenses to PTZ Cameras
Sony’s latest cinema cameras are not intended for use on set or on set. Instead, the FR7 is all about remote control of broadcast and live event venues. This is a PTZ (Pan, Tilt, Zoom) camera designed for fixed point installation and control from a booth. To date, these cameras have used fixed lenses and smaller image sensors. With the FR7, Sony is changing that.
Instead of using a fixed lens, the FR7 supports E-mount interchangeable lenses, the image sensor is the same full-frame chip included in the FX6 cine camera, and it has all the features — 4K60 recording and 10-bit 4:2:2 sampling, electronically variable medium Sexual density control to maintain exposure settings during light changes, face and eye detection autofocus, and subject tracking — simply put, it requires more cameras than many of us.
Therefore, Sony positioned this product for high-end customers. A representative presented use cases ranging from YouTube cooking shows to production-side melodramas, as well as broadcasting from concert and wedding venues and places of worship. Since it has the same image pipeline as FX6, you can match footage in the editing room (with the same editing flexibility), and broadcasters can take advantage of off-the-shelf profiles like S-Cinetone. Includes Genlock connection to sync in multi-camera setups.
An interesting addition to the company’s diverse camera lineup, the FR7 offers some options for PTZ installations. It can be installed upright or ceiling mounted and accepts power from AC mains or Power over Ethernet (PoE). While we expect a lot of people to use it for broadcast, there are also dual CFe (Type A)/SDXC (UHS-II) card slots for internal recording, as well as the full suite of SDI, HDMI, optical and other miscellaneous connections you’d expect.
The FR7 can be mounted on the ceiling or on a crane. (Source: Sony)
Smooth, stable pans and tilts are essential for high-quality broadcasts; Sony touts the FR7’s motors as powerful, yet quiet and responsive for slow and fast camera movements. Sports venues may want to take advantage of longer lenses, and while you can’t put the heaviest lenses on the camera, the vast majority are compatible. The 100-400mm, 200-600mm, 400mm F2.8 and 600mm F4 are the only lenses that can’t handle it.
RM-IP500 Multi-Controller (Source: Sony)
Remote control is available via a web app, and the camera can also be used with the RM-IP500 multifunction controller for $2,625. The controller includes a zoom rocker and a joystick for pan and tilt controls. Although the camera has focus tracking, Sony tells us that the FR7 can’t move the camera on its own to follow subjects — you’ll still need a remote operator. Even so, not to rule out the feature entirely, the rep also said it would be a “natural idea” to add it.
The FR7 will be available at the end of November for $9,699.99. You can also pair it with the FE PZ 28-135mm F4 G OSS power zoom lens in the kit for $12,199.99.
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