The picture above was taken on the 4th of February 2012 just over three years ago with my good friend from Holdan, Nigel Cliff. Nigel had brought me one of the first Panasonic HPX-250 camcorders to have a look at.
I received a very telling email from one of my readers Andy Johnstone which I thought I would share with you…
Andy “I was out shooting my HPX250 yesterday on my new film for BBC on a story in Cornwall. As I was shooting I was thinking ‘how on earth would I be able to shoot this on the FS7′. I am sure the FS7 would knock spots off the HPX250 in terms of overall image quality, but the HPX250 does produce a very fine image and these small handheld camcorders are peerless for obs doc work.
The speed at which I work would be totally compromised on an FS7 with all the lens changing and you cannot underestimate the ability to capture actuality that a 28-600mm fixed lens gives you. I think in the rush to get that ‘film look’, many people forget that the most important thing is telling the story. Indeed, at a dinner last night I spoke to vastly experienced BBC colleague who told me that there is a move against shallow DOF shooting in BBC factual as so many key ‘moments’ are missed with all the fiddling about. This colleague also said that people are tiring of the shallow DOF looks for documentary as this is ‘not how our own eyes see the world’. Make of that what you will.
I am very keen to be able to offer clients the best possible images I can produce, but I think I’m going to keep my powder dry and rethink. I think the FS7 with a better stock lens would be much more attractive. I am now keen to see what the response from Panasonic & Canon will be.
Certainly if Panasonic brought out a new version of the HPX250/PX270 with a larger chip, a great stock lens (28-600 – yes please) and 4k (just to keep up with the Jones, I buy it tomorrow.”
I also received an email this week from Ikegami showing off a new 4K 2/3″ sensor system camera which in my opinion if a recorder were bolted on would fit the bill for factual programming, a colleague of mine always told me a 4K shoulder mounted 2/3″camcorder would be just the job for doc and factual work.
Unfortunately it was pointed out to me this yet un-named camera is a system camera and will be on show at NAB 2015. I still think with some engineering and enough “will”… seasoned professionals would jump at the chance at a 4K camera in a form factor that many of them are happy with. This constant changing of lenses on the Super 35mm cameras is becoming tiresome and can lead to lots of production time and shots lost, thats why the Sony FS7 has almost scored a goal but Sony need to bring out a decent servo zoom lens to satisfy the growing ownership. Due to the 1.5x crop your 28mm Full Frame lens becomes 42mm which is not wide enough. (Ref Sonys 28-135mm f4 servo zoom).
Getting back to the Ikegami camera this would allow you to film 4K with a Canon 22x lens and use the 4K capability to punch in on the picture on an HD timeline doubling you lens capability to 44x.
Although I am a Sony PXW-FS7 owner I know exactly where Andy is coming from and he is correct…we do not visualise the world in anything other than a large field of view and if you are filming once in a life time shots the last thing you want is a slightly out of focus shot thanks to a shallow depth of field or a lost shot due to a lens change.