Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor


Just when you think Sony have got it right you discover its far from it…Many cameramen and women are still waiting for their FS7’s to arrive, meantime the question is…what lens to buy.

Sony Broadcast may have had a hand in the specifications of the 28-135mm f4 lens but someone in Sony should have noticed its severe lack of wide angle due to the 1.5x crop factor on the Super 35mm sensor taking the 28mm end to 42mm. Its become obvious that this full frame lens was never intended to be used with a Super 35mm sensor camera.

The reason the FS7 is so popular is many of us are fed up with the static manual lens DSLR “look” and want to get back to a camera that not only looks the part but performs with more than one function hence the run and gun problem.

You only have to look at the internet boards to see everyones dilemma, yet again, about which lens to buy for run and gun…this should not have been an issue if Sony Broadcast had a specific lens made for a S35mm sensor. The 28-135 works fine on a Sony A7s as this has a full frame sensor but is top heavy for such a small camera in my opinion.

We seriously need a WA zoom for this camera that does not cost a fortune like the Canon zooms at a ridiculous £25K. Sony have proved you can produce 4K servo zoom lenses for just under £2.5K.


As a comparison of a good run and gun camcorder lets take the Sony PMW-400K, this has a 2/3″ sensor and comes with a 16X lens with an acceptable 31.5mm wide angle, this is Sony’s stock lens for the 400 which is only £1,686 dearer with the lens and its a lot faster at f1.9 !

People have said “but look what you are getting for £2.5K” not realising for £1.7K Sony make a 16x 2/3″ lens so why can’t we get a 10x wide angle zoom for the Super 35mm sensor ?

Many of you say you can, its the 18-200 f3.5-6.3 lens as seen on the FS700…so why is it not marketed with the FS7 simple its not “professional” enough, they were designed for semi pro use and thats obvious by their design.


When Sony brought out the E18-105 f4 lens (£450) for the NEX-EA50, they made sure it was wide enough for the S35mm sensor.


Again the same scenario with the FS700 we get a Sony 18-200 lens (£900). In fact one of my readers has asked why not use one of the 18mm zoom lenses, that might be an option but the lack of aperture ring makes these lenses more awkward to use and manual focus is awkward.

Sony have been bringing out 18mm (1.5x crop factor 27mm) for the last two S35mm camcorders yet the one thats taking the world by storm and the most technically advanced is marketed with a full frame 28-135mm servo zoom…why has this been allowed, Sony must have known all along this lens would compromise the FS7 yet it has been allowed to happen…shameful Sony !!!

With NAB 2015 just around the corner lets hope Sony have a wide angle 4K 16mm – 150mm f2.8 servo zoom lens to show off or to be more practical an 18-135 f4 would hit the mark.


Having been working in the video business since 1988 I have amassed a great amount of knowledge of both the kit and production values over the last 30 years.

10 thoughts on “Sony’s FS7 is becoming a lens nightmare…again…WHY ?

  1. Have You considered MTF Adapter with 2/3″ Broadcast Zoom Lens?
    If you can work Manually, just buy RED Pro 17-50.
    I have been working with C100 and MTF and Fujinon 4.8×10 last 2 years. No Problem.

  2. Hi Philip,
    The FS 7 seem to have a real lens “problem”, but can you use the 18-105 F4 G OSS ?

  3. Is there any reason why you cannot use one of the latter two lenses you describe with the FS7?

  4. That the marketing matter. One sell otherwise hard to sell lenses with a good and easy to sell camera for couple of years and then upgrades the lens to a proper one and sell the upgraded one all over again. Same goes with other accessories such as viewfinder.
    Same thing happens with Apple iPhone and their headphones.
    Marketing strategies… That’s the answer to the whys

  5. Wow, this article is so Spot On.

    I’ve been wondering the same thing ever since Sony announced the 28-135mm Servo Zoom. Great in many ways, but simply not wide enough for the FS7, Period!

    The conundrum is – that all of the other lens choices mentioned here are lacking in one respect or another (even if they will technically “work” on the FS7).

    I need a Pro Level Servo Zoom Lens that is “PARFOCAL” (like the 28-135mm), but that starts out at 18mm or wider.

    HDW : Lazy comes to mind !

    I don’t know what Sony management was thinking in pairing the two.

  6. Philip,

    I thin the big decision behind the development of the current stock lens is also price-point. An F4 lens with a non-mechanical zoom is apparently cheaper to produce.


  7. Maybe our prayers will be answer check out this website and Newsshooter has recently discovered the the FS700 firmware has a update for a new lenses from March 2016 see here
    A new firmware 4.0 is coming for the FS7 this June 2016. There is little details. Flexible spot Auto focus is one item. The FS5 will also be updated next month.

  8. So, November 2016 now. Is the Sony SELP28135G lens the solution?

    Sony’s info: The SELP28135G is a powered zoom lens that has been created to satisfy professional optical and operational requirements for high-quality movie imagery, including 4K, when matched with a 35mm full frame format camera such as the α7S or a Super 35 format camcorder such as the PXW-FS7*. Focus breathing and zoom image shift have been reduced to an absolute minimum, while aspherical elements and advanced multi-coating technology effectively suppress aberration. Quiet operation is also a priority, so an SSM (Super Sonic wave Motor) drive system has been employed for precise, quiet zooming. Independent control rings for zoom, focus, and iris using physical stops are provided for the first time into an E-Mount an lens. Built-in Optical SteadyShot image stabilization adds to the extraordinary performance of this outstanding lens which is supporting a constant F4.

    *Zoom range increases to 42-202.5mm when using the lens on an APS-C or Super 35 camera.

    35mm full frame imagery
    Precision optical design supports top-quality 4K production with minimum angle of view variation while focusing and axial displacement while zooming.

    F4 OSS with extendable zoom range
    The SELP28135G has minimum focus of 0.4 m (AF) / 0.95 m (MF) and has extanded zoom range of 42-202.5mm when used on an APS-C or S35 camera.

    High speed operation with independent control rings
    High-end operation and feel inherited from Sony professional equipment. Three control rings for iris, focus and zoom offer manual control for demanding large format production.

    Quiet operation
    The world’s first SSM (Super Sonic wave Motor) drive in a lens designed for moviemaking achieves quiet zoom and extra-smooth iris control.

    Lightweight and compact
    Compact, lightweight design that is also dust and moisture resistant is ideal for situations that require mobility plus reliability.

  9. Sony have introduced a new Super35/APS-C cinema lens, the 18-110mm G f/4 servo zoom. It is compatible with all Sony motion and still E mount cameras.
    The lens features G-series optics. Intended to answer concerns raised by the 28-135mm f/4 users. It is wider and has the ability to disconnect the servo zoom, having a full mechanical zoom with no servo lag for snap and manual zooms. Approx Price $3495 / £2800 / €3211. Sounds good to me, but then I don’t know what I’m talking about!

  10. Yes looking forward to having a very cautious look at the new 18-110. Just heard it has been held back from sale until next March in Aussie. Apparently the FS7 MkII is due late January and Sony want those streaming out with this lens as the kit lens before they release the 18-110 as an individual item.

    I have switched to the MTF B4 Super16 unit on the FS7 for most of of my run of the mill work. No good for 4K being centre crop but for HD work where you need the characteristics of a B4 lens it’s a very practical answer with only a 0.7 stop light loss. A beautifully controlled servo zoom that’s parfocal with a constant aperture of about F2.3 (on an F1.6 B4 lens,) well what’s not to like about that?

    The MTF B4 to S16 works more than surprisingly well for its price on almost any type of job that requires ENG, concert or sports long lens type of coverage. It has totally transformed the use of the FS7 on many jobs from my POV.

    The first reports from guys who had their hands on the new 18-110 at IBC indicated that its full mechanical zoom is a big step forward over the Fly-by-Wire zoom of the 28-135. They did comment though that following a fast crash zoom the electrically assisted focus tracking couldn’t keep up even in manual focus mode. The parfocal capability of the 18-110 is very much dependent on electronic focus correction as the lens zooms.

    One aspect I wasn’t keen on with the 28-135 was the fact that the rear lens mount is mounted on four plastic posts. There are numerous stories floating around of these mountings breaking. Sony won’t or can’t repair them saying they are unserviceable. Buy a new lens is their answer.

    Also quite a few people complained, I know a couple of them, complained about loss of focus while zooming indicating the focus tracking wasn’t working as it should. These lenses are not optically parfocal. The parfocal behaviour of these lenses is only maintained by electronic correction, even in manual mode. Still they may have fixed these problem in the new lens. Time will tell I guess.

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