Home TechnologyGadgets Sony FR7 Brings Swappable Lenses to PTZ Cameras

Sony FR7 Brings Swappable Lenses to PTZ Cameras

by George Mensah
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Sony’s latest cinema camera isn’t intended for use on the set or in the field. The FR7, on the other hand, is all about remote control for broadcast and live event venues. It’s a pan, tilt, zoom (PTZ) camera, which is designed for fixed-point installation and control from a booth. These cameras have so far used fixed lenses and smaller image sensors. Sony is changing that with the FR7.

The image sensor is the same full-frame chip included in the FX6 cinema camera, with all of its capabilities—4K60 recording with 10-bit 4:2:2 sampling, electronic variable neutral density control to keep exposure set during shifting light, face and eye detection autofocus with subject tracking—to put it mildly, it’s more camera than many of us will ever need.

As a result, Sony is targeting high-end customers with this one. On the production side, a representative suggested use cases ranging from YouTube cooking shows to episodic drama, and on the broadcast side, locations such as concert and wedding venues and houses of worship. Because it uses the same image pipeline as the FX6, you can match footage in the editing room (with the same editing flexibility), and broadcasters can use ready-to-view profiles such as S-Cinetone. A Genlock connection is provided for synchronization in multi-camera setups.

The FR7 is an intriguing addition to the company’s diverse camera line, and it provides some options for PTZ installations. It can be mounted upright or to the ceiling and can be powered by an AC or Power Over Ethernet source (PoE). While many will use it for broadcast, it also has dual CFe (Type A)/SDXC (UHS-II) card slots for internal recording, as well as the usual SDI, HDMI, optical, and other connections.

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Smooth, steady pans and tilts are essential for high-quality broadcasting; Sony touts the FR7’s motors as powerful, but also quiet and responsive for both slow and fast camera movements. Longer lenses may be useful in sports venues, and while the heaviest lenses cannot be used on the camera, the vast majority are. The only lenses that are too long for it are the 100-400mm, 200-600mm, 400mm F2.8, and 600mm F4.

A web app allows for remote control, and the camera also works with the RM-IP500 multi-controller, which is already available for $2,625. A zoom rocker and a joystick for pan and tilt control are included in the controller. Even though the camera has focus tracking, Sony says the FR7 cannot move the camera to follow subjects on its own—a remote operator is still required. Nonetheless, don’t dismiss the feature entirely; the representative also states that adding the function would be a “natural idea.”

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