DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Below is some general information on some professional cameras and equipment that may be helpful.
The Sony FX9 is already proving to be a very popular camera, the image quality is very high as it uses a new 6k sensor that records 4k internally, The new Cinetone colour from the sensor is similar to the Sony Venice camera and looks considerably better than the FS7. The camera has great low light performance. Dual ISO 800/4000, and a full frame 35 mm sensor that can be cropped to S35.
To use the new Autofocus I have been using the Sony GM series lenses which work very well, (it does not work as well with Canon lenses). Like anything the autofocus system has limitations so you need to plan your shots to get the most out of it.
The ergonomics of the camera are improved over the FS7.
If your shooting Slog you no longer have to overexpose to get the best out of the sensor.
I have used the built in WiFi monitoring to send an image to an iPhone / ipad and thats seems to work well. You can also use the phones hotspot to connect to the camera but I am not sure how much phone data you would end up using.
There is a small issue when shooting HD in Slog you can't apply a viewing LUT, but you can use Gamma Assist, I am sure Sony will sort it soon.
Power is also a problem as its a 19.5v input which means the voltage needs to be increased from your standard Vlok battery and fed into the external DC power socket on the camera. This stops the camera showing you the remaining battery voltage and or time.
For lightweight work the Hawkwoods BP-u98ux batteries are excellent giving 2hrs run time or 1.5 hrs with a Terradeck Bolt 300 attached.
Vocas make some first class and very well engineered accessories for the camera and a lot of the original FS7 mk2 stuff they made for the FS7mk2 fits the FX9.
The Zacuto Graticle eye has been ok, it still has issues with image burn on the OLED screen so I keep moving the scopes about and flicking displays on and off, this seems to have kept the burns at bay but is not an ideal way to work. The FX9 viewfinder is a big improvement over the FS7 one but the cable is still too short if Sony could make an extension cable that would be a great help. (I tried the Zacuto Z finder but I felt it was too heavy and not much better than the standard Sony loupe).
I have been using the Sony GM/G series lenses ...16-35 f2.8/ 24-70 f2.8/ 70-200 f2.8 and 200-600 f5.6 lenses along with canons CN cine primes for full frame work. (CN7 on S35)
Sony FX9-70-200 f2.8 GM
Sony FS7 MK2
The Sony FS7 has been sold in large numbers and is probably the most common broadcast camera. Variable ND and locking lens mount were big improvements added to the MK2 version. XDCA back is a must if you need to use timecode.
Canon CN7 17-120 lens on Sony FS7
Panasonic P2 AJ-HPX3100
The P2 3100 has some of the most pleasing HD picture quality of any camera for TV production. it records 100mps at 1080, very fast to work with and ideal for rough changing conditions like "Extreme fishing," its perfect for Hand held camera work and can easily be hand held all day.
This camera will cover 85% of all camera work and only falls down in very low light and achieving a shallow depth of field.
If youre getting flung about offshore in rotton weather trying to cover fast action or news, this is your camera!....(you will need rain deflectors and waterproof covers).
Lenses HJ11/HJ22 & 18x
I have used the Red cameras a great deal starting with the Red One. I have to say an ace bit of kit that I enjoy shooting with, the RAW image quality is fantastic, its a camera that is very reliable, small in size and versitile. It is great for high quality slow motion. The ability to put almost any lens onto the body and its small size means it fits the Ronin MX and can be ideal for working in cramped spaces. The body is very well built.
Footage is easily dealt with in modern edit suites but like the F55 the amount of shot data can mount up quickly so this needs to be planned for in advance. The Dragon will shoot up to 6.5K.
The lens mount and OLPF can easily be changed on site,
I have found Red Europe a first class company to deal with.
Red Dragon-Canon cine primes
Experimental 3D rig using Red One cameras.
Finally a S35 camera that has actually been designed to be used! It has a viewfinder that works and is in the right position! Interchangable lens mounts and great ergonomics. A first class documentary camera which along with the Red Dragon I like very much. The image quality like all Arri cameras is excellent. It is best suited for use with S35 lenses but can work with EF or B4 mount glass. Slow motion to 200fps at 2K, 60fps at 4K. (it can get heavy).
Lens information 2/3" chip cameras
Lenses for the 2/3" B4 mount chip cameras are generally limited to two manufacturers, Canon and Fuji. Both are great and offer tremendous flexibility for broadcast work, For the vast majority of jobs you only need to travel with two lenses, I like a wide zoom like the HJ11 Canon and the HJ22 Canon which is the long lens and will give you more reach than a standard zoom.
Coupled with the Likes of a Sony or Panasonic 2/3" camera these lenses allow you to work very fast and in conditions that would be much more difficult than with a S35 camera e.g C300 or FS7.
Extreme Fishing with Robson Green C5
S35 Lens information
S35 cameras have enabled all sorts of lenses to be used with broadcast cameras. The high end zoom lenses from for instance Canon, Zeiss or Fuji are all superb and are well suited for film and TV work. Due to the laws of physics these lenses are bigger slower and heavier by quite some margin as opposed to a 2/3" chip lens. The zooms on S35 lenses also come in shorter ranges so for instance two lenses I like very much and use a great deal are the Canon CN 15.5-47 and 30-105 they are two compact zooms that offer a constant aperature, no focus breathing, close minimum focus and excellent image quality but like everything else in the camera world you dont get something for nothing and the downside is you will be changing lenses more often.
The Canon CN7 is a first class servo lens that tries to offer much of what a 2/3" chip lens would have done, its very sharp but does ramp exposure from about 90mm to 120mm, poor close focus distance and has a much smaller zoom range than a 2/3 chip lens.
I like to work with cine primes as much as possible, they have excellent image quality and with practice lens changes can be very slick. The Zeiss CP2/Canon CN and Cookes are all excellent primes, Samyang/Rokinon make cheaper sets of primes but I have found the quality between lenses variable and not that sharp wide open.
IBE HDx35 Mark 11
The HD35 is an adaptor for using 2/3" chip B4 lenses on a S35 camera body. I think this is a good bit of kit with good image quality upto 4K at the long end of say a 18x or HJ22 Canon zoom, however it gets softer the wider you go and will fall apart image wise with the doubler and if the lens is wide open at the wide end.
Sony also make a version that is similar in performance. Mechanical non optical adaptors dont work well as the B4 lenses are designed to focus on a 3 Chip block.
The Mk3 version cured a small issue of fouling when mounted on Canon cameras, otherwise it is the same.
The C300 has been around now for a number of years but still produces excellent pictures. I feel its a camera that has to be used with care and with very high quality optics to get the best out of it. With Canon CN cine primes/zooms or Zeiss optics its picture quality is at its best. Ergonomics of the standard body are hopeless, I have made various brackets/plates/handles etc to make the camera fast to work with. Timecode is a great way to sync this camera to separate sound recording.
Dual recording of the CF cards is very usefull and cards are so cheap they can be used like tape.
This cameras drawback is its low bit rate of 50mps so its not ideal for heavy post production work, however as most TV productions need pictures that are ready to use with the minimum amount of post and colour grading this camera is still very useful.
Due to its small size and light weight it is very well suited to working in confined spaces and jobs like hill climbing.
Ideal lenses, Canon CN primes 14/24/35/50/85/135
CN zooms 15.5-47, 30-105, CN7