sony fs700 test:
the autofocus looks pretty darn useable.
they also speak of the berger electronic focus puller being used with it. anyone ever use one? do you track with a finger on an external wireless monitor?
Real men don't autofocus . . . right? I heard that back in the still photography days and I resisted it out of some kind of macho thing, until I used a camera like the Nikon that could virtually hit autofocus on 90% of the imagery.
Then you sent hmm, this is nice.
The two downsides to the Sony autofocus is you have to keep the main subject somewhat close to the center. It does seem to track a little off center once the subject is moving but once the subject gets far right/fat left it pulls the background.
It would be great if sony had adjustable focus points like a still camera or even better a moveable focus point like a scarlet where you could track focus, or even beter than that, real face recognition like those tiny nikon point and shoots.
The second downside to the fs autofocus is your doing a shot wide open and the subject is moving to the camera in a left to right, (or right to left motion) and once the subject passes, it will pull to the background.
Motion cameras autofocus is not generally set up to snap focus so it doesn't just slam the background into focus once the subject passes, but it does go fast enough to be noticeable, which takes the viewer to the background expecting something to be there.
The best way around this is to have your hand on the manual/auto focus of the lens and click it to manual once the subject is still in frame but right before it exits. It doesn't take a lot of practice with this.
The autofocus with a subject coming towards you with a long lens is very good, as long as you have a clear view. A field is easy, a busy new york street isn't.
Where the FS series shines is if your tracking with the subject in some moving device, whether it's a dolly or a low budget wheelchair. You get a great look, the subjects can stop turn, do normal things other than walk at a constant speed and look realistic. For these situations it's great.
Now if your going to manually pull focus without an expert focus puller I strongly suggest those tiny Zeiss Nikon mount lenses. The throw is short, even for long distance movement, like 1/4 block away to full face and since the lens turn is about 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch in rotation, it takes usually one of two practice runs and your brain will lock in. Those tiny Ziess still lenses look really tiny on something like an R-1 but they are scary sharp and so well built there is no slop in the focusing, so even someone new to film making can pick this up in a few minutes.
What I think all motion cameras need is some kind of image stabilization controlled by the body, rather than the lens (for practical reasons. It's really amazing how it smooths a shot out without that hand held see sick up and down movement you get in walking, or that floaty steadicam look which works well on some projects but kind of floats so much it seems to take some of the realism out of the shot. (just an opinion).
What I don't understand is why there isn't some kind of third party infrared focus puller that allows a second person to point at a subject and that is relayed to the camera to hold just one subject in focus, (like the long lens type of shot of a person walking down a busy NY street).
Maybe that is technically not possible.
Regardless the FS 700 looks like a pretty good deal, the slow mo if not overused is nice, though it also needs time lapse which is a ver nice way to insert a background scene into a video piece.
The built in ND's are worth the bump in price, though Sony needs to add a bunch of constant F stop e-mount lenses yesterday, and/or get that new adapter and firmware out that allows their full range of A mount lenses to autofocus easily (especially with image stabilization).
P.S. I like this guys little test and he showed that good footage can be obtained without a crew of 20. Still I would love to see a real test or report where there is serious money on the line $30,000 or so with client's impossible schedules and budget concerns. Also follow the footage from pre pro to final output.
That's the stuff that everyone really wants to know, before putting down the 10 grand worth of camera gear. IMO